An Italian Food Journey You Must Repeat

So, I went to Italy a few weeks ago. Rome, specifically. I was there on business. However, I had plenty of free time to tour, see the sights and take it all in. And boy did I. I sure took the food in. I captured my culinary highlights of Rome in pictures and put them together in what I refer to as Jen’s Italian Food Coma—I mean, Journey.

One of my first stops and experiences with local Italian culture and food was a visit to Campo de’ Fiori, where the statue of Giordano Bruno serves as a focal point and represents the excitement of the square. Here, vendors line the piazza displaying their goods. You can buy gorgeous fruits, baked breads, cheeses, meats, flowers, spices, all at very reasonable prices. Locals and travelers alike hustle and bustle side by side while shopping the wares of the market. At night, the pubs and cafes that line the perimeter of this hub come alive. It is definitely a must for any foodie.

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I expected to eat a lot of antipasto, meats, cheeses and noodles on this trip. I was pleasantly surprised to find a plethora of fish on all menus, in every restaurant, for any meal. Fish is a definite main staple in Italy, and I had it for lunch and for dinner. It was often simply prepared with few ingredients, and always fresh. I particularly enjoyed a dinner at Pierluigi, an authentic local restaurant where I was able to select my fish from the case and have it prepared and filleted tableside.

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Pierluigi, Piazza de Ricci,144, Rome.

Cafes, restaurants and food carts decorated the many piazzas, alleys and neighborhoods, showcasing the region’s cuisine and all easily accessible whether walking or riding. Tourists and locals sample and eat what they want, when they want—on the go or sitting down for a full meal. It is very common to see people in Rome walking around with a sandwich in hand, from Panepiu, for example. It may be fast and convenient, but be assured it’s going to be good. High-quality premium food and ingredients are part of the culture in Italy.

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Panepiu Bistrot, Via Florida, 21, 00186 Rome.

And of course … saving the best for last. Dessert. “When in Rome” became my motto for dessert. I made it my mission possible to sample every gelato that stared me down. The winner was a combination of Gianduia (Nutella) and Cioccolato Fondant Tanzania (Dark Chocolate) at ORIGINI Gelateria. I actually thought I died and visited Chocolate Heaven for a few short minutes. Maybe I just blacked out or had a freezy headache. Anyway, once revived, I realized that it was indeed worthy of every loving spoonful. The milk, pure cream and rich cocoa and hazelnuts made it delectable and downright sinful; it was unlike anything I have ever known as “ice cream.” I went directly to the Vatican to confess.

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ORIGINI Gelateria, Via del Gesù, 73, 00186 Rome.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was my waistline. I’d like to say I ate like a Queen, probably more like a King or possibly a Pope, not sure. Whatever, the food in Italy made me feel like royalty every day.

  • Photography: Jennifer Cohen