Trevi fountain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)By Isla Campbell
Rome is a must-see destination on any European holiday. It has a rich mix of history, art, culture and architecture. Experiencing where the gladiators fought in the Roman Coliseum, the great architectural marvel of the Pantheon or the sublime beauty of the Trevi Fountain will take up a lot of your time in Rome, but you'll need somewhere to eat and relax as well. Many people enjoy Italian food at home; nevertheless experiencing Italian food in Italy's capital city is a must-do on any trip to Rome.
One of the best ways to make sure you get the most edible enjoyment out of your trip is to pair up the big sights with the local Italian markets. One of the best piazzas to visit in Rome is the Piazza Navona. Originally a competition arena, it now plays host to some exquisite architecture and sculptures. Piazza Navona is also surrounded by tourist-filled restaurants that spill out onto the square. If you feel peckish whilst at Piazza Navona and want to experience local Roman fare, Campo de'Fiori, just around the corner, is a must-see. Campo de'Fiori is a large outdoor market, brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables during the day, and providing a great meeting place in the evening with an abundance of cafés, bars and restaurants.
If you are on your way to visit the Vatican City, the Trionfale market is a handy and inexpensive place to grab a bite to eat en route. The authentic Italian cuisine and great local atmosphere in these markets make them a much more authentic local experience than sitting in one of the tourist restaurants across the city.
After you've thrown your coins into the Trevi Fountain and wished to return to Rome, why not pay homage to the one of the great Italian foods, pasta? The National Museum of Pasta Foods is a small museum located close to the Trevi Fountain and showcases the history and evolution of pasta through the ages; after you've visited, you'll view your spaghetti in a whole new way.
For more authentic Italian cuisine, without the tourists or the tourist prices, the Testaccio and San Lorenzo districts are worth a visit. Whilst off the beaten track, these areas are still easily accessible and will give you a great evening of traditional Italian flavour. If you've spent all day walking around the city and want to eat somewhere closer to home, most hotels in Rome will be able to offer advice on where the best restaurants are in their area.
After dinner you'll need to indulge in some dessert in the form of Italian ice-cream, often called gelato. The Villa Borghese and the surrounding gardens are great for taking a leisurely stroll away from the crowds, and they happen to be in the upmarket Parioli district, which is famous for its gelato.
Rome offers amazing culture and history for its visitors to experience, and if the sights are paired with discovering some of Italy's fine cuisine, your journey to Rome will be one you won't forget.
Isla Campbell is an online, freelance journalist and avid traveler and pilates devotee. When not on the road she lives on the outskirts of Oban.
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