25/05/2024

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The Best Food Tours in Rome, Italy

20 min read
The Best Food Tours in Rome, Italy

If you’re thinking of visiting Rome, you might be thinking about trying some of the tasty Roman food on offer. And one of the best ways to do that in Rome is to take a food tour or cooking class.

We suspect that when you think of Italy, one of the first things that comes to mind will be delicious Italian food. Certainly, when we travel in Rome, or Italy in general, the food is always a highlight of our trip!

Italian food covers a wide range of dining styles and includes so much more than pizza and pasta. One of the challenges of dining in Italy is how to distinguish between authentic, quality Italian cooking and the more tourist-oriented fare.

Rome is a huge city and there are so many options when it comes to dining out that it can be difficult to know which to choose. We have found when we travel that one of the best ways to sample the local food and learn how it is made is to take a food tour.

We have taken several food tours in Rome, as well as cooking classes and pasta making workshops, which have helped us learn how to make some of the classic Roman dishes.

In this guide we’re going to share some of our favorite Rome food tours so you can get the best food experience in Rome. These will cover both walking tours with food, as well as cooking classes, as these are very different experiences that are both worth doing in our opinion.

We recommend reading this guide along with our other Rome content when planning your trip. These guides include our guide to spending 1 day in Rome, 2 days in Rome and 3 days in Rome, as well as our guides to the best gelato in Rome and the best coffee in Rome.

Rome Food Tours on Foot

We love food tours and have done them all over the world. It’s usually a great combination of a walking tour where you can learn about the history of a destination, combined with lots of tasty local foods from some of the best producers in the area.

We also love that when we take a food tour the guide will be passionate about food and is normally very happy to recommend good dining options for the rest of our stay. For this reason, we think it can be a good idea to do a food tour in Rome near the start of your visit.

Rome has a lot of food tours to choose from, but these are some of our favourites.

Pasta making class walks of Italy Rome eating

 

Trastevere Sunset Food and Wine Tour

If you’d like to try some lovely Italian wine whilst sampling delicious Roman food, then this food tour with Take Walks of the trendy Trastevere district is one to consider.

This is a 3-hour Trastevere food and wine tour with a maximum of 12 people which takes place in the Trastevere neighborhood. This is to the west of the Tiber river, just south of the Vatican City area, within easy walking distance of locations like the Pantheon or Colosseum.

The tour includes a lot, so you will definitely want to come hungry. It includes a number of wine tastings (the pours were definitely generous when we did this tour!), a classic spritz at a very popular local bar, and a number of food bites and dishes including charcuterie, cheese, snacks, a delicious plate of pasta, and gelato.

There is some walking, but not a huge amount. You’ll also learn about the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome from a knowledgeable local guide. As with any walking tour you will of course want to wear comfortable shoes.

This is definitely one of our favorite food tours in Rome. The only thing to be aware of is that there’s quite a lot of alcoholic drinks included. Of course, soft drinks are available instead, but if you aren’t into drinking (or are not able to drink alcohol) then you might consider one of the other tours on our list.

As a brief aside, we’ve taken walking tours with Take Walks (also known as Walks of Italy) all around the world and always had a great experience. Their food tours are actually run by their sister company, Devour Tours, and you can book their tours on either site. The tours are exactly the same. They offer a variety of great food tours across Italy (and the world).

If you are wanting to do a walking food tour in the Trastevere, but the recommended tour with Take Walks doesn’t work with your itinerary or you are looking for something with less alcohol, there are a lot of other options out there. This is one of the most popular areas for food tours in Rome and you can see and compare a wide variety of other options here.

Aperitivo in Rome

Aperitivo in Rome

 

Testaccio Food and Market Tour

When we visited Rome with Jess’s family, we really wanted them to experience a food tour, so we chose this tour of Testaccio with Take Walks.

Found to the south east of central Rome, Testaccio was traditionally the center of trade during Roman times. In the 19th century it became a huge industrial area, and it is well-known today as the place to find some of Rome’s most traditional foods.

The 4-hour food tour explains the history of the area, and includes both breakfast and lunch. We’d suggest coming hungry because a lot of food is included. The tour also includes coffee and a glass of wine.

When we did this tour, it started with coffee and a traditional pastry at a lovely cafe. Then we headed to the Testaccio market. Here the tour stopped at several local market stands, some of whom produce very traditional Roman foods.

If you are feeling adventurous, you may have the opportunity to try traditional staples such as tripe (I did, and thought it was quite delicious) as well as cured meats, fresh seasonal produce, cheeses, etc.

Of course, the exact stops and foods offered will depend on what is available and in season when you take the tour.

Finally, there was a full sit-down meal with different kinds of pasta at a local restaurant, accompanied by wine. Then the final stop is of course for gelato.

This food tour definitely focuses more on the food than the drink, and is an excellent option for those of you looking to try some more historically traditional Roman foods that you might not be able to get anywhere else. We also really loved learning about the Testaccio area as you pass by historical sites dating from Roman times to what was at one time Europe’s largest slaughterhouse in the 20th century.

Our guide Fernanda was incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining, and Jess’s parents thought the tour was a highlight of our time in Rome. The Testaccio area is Jess’s personal favorite place for a food tour in Rome.

Again, if you love the idea of a food tour in the Testaccio neighborhood of Rome, but the recommended one does fit your itinerary, you can check out other food tour options in the Testaccio here.

Trastevere Food Tour Rome

Trastevere Food Tour Rome

 

Campo de’Fiori & Ghetto Street Food Tour

If you’re looking for a quicker food tour without drinks included, then consider this 2.5 hour street food tour of the Campo di Fiori and Jewish Ghetto area.

The Campo di Fiori is located very close to the old center of Rome, just south of the Piazza Navona, so is very easy to get to.

The food tour offers great value and includes at least five different foods. These can vary depending on the tour and availability, but usually include classics such as porchetta, suppli (breaded rice stuffed cheese balls), pizza, and gelato. You’ll get to try the food of course, but also learn about its history and the reasons it became popular.

This being a walking tour, you also get to see some of the highlights of the old city center, including the location where Julius Caesar was killed and the Pantheon.

Overall, a great value food walking tour to consider for your next visit to Rome.

Rome Food sampler

Come il Latte Gelato Rome

 

Private Rome Food Tour

If you’d prefer a private food tour of Rome, that’s also an option of course. This tour can be booked as a private tour for up to 10 people, and you can choose between either doing a tour in the Trastevere neighborhood or Jewish Quarter. Both are great areas.

It can also be booked as a normal small group tour, where the group size is limited to 14 people, making it still a fairly intimate experience. Just be sure when booking that you choose the correct option, whether you want a private tour or to join a group tour.

All the tours include at least 5 street food tastings which normally include classics like suppli and cannoli. This tour also includes two alcoholic drinks: 1 beer and 1 wine per participant.

For more private Rome food tours options, you can see and compare a lot of great private options here. Just be sure to carefully read the tour inclusions and past reviews before making your booking.

Rome sampler plate

 

Rome Cooking Classes and Workshops

What better souvenir from Italy than the knowledge to make your own delicious Italian food that you can take home? Well, you can do just that by taking a cooking class in Rome.

These are obviously different from a walking tour because the majority of the experience takes place in a single location, where you work with a chef to actually create a dish.

However, some experiences might include a visit to a local market or producer to source fresh ingredients, which is so important in Italian cooking.

 

Rome Pasta-Making Class

If there are two things that probably spring straight to mind when thinking about Italian food, they would be pizza and pasta. So it should be no surprise that the most popular cookery classes in Rome focus on these two dishes!

Our first recommended cookery class in Rome is this 3 hour pasta making class with Take Walks.

This takes place at a purpose-built location in the trendy Trastevere region of Rome. Run by a local chef, the class has you enjoying some Prosecco with an aperitivo of cured meats and cheese to start.

After this, your chef will teach you how to make pasta from scratch. You get to help make two different pastas and two different sauces. Expect to get your hands floury!

Once your pasta is made, you can relax with a glass of wine and taste the fruits of your labor. You’ll also learn about how gelato is made and get some to taste at the end. You also of course get recipes of all the dishes so you can make them again at home.

We did a version of this food tour with Take Walks before it moved to its new location and had a really good time doing it. So, we have no hesitation recommending it in its new custom-built location! Group sizes are limited to 14, so it will never be too crowded either.

If the above recommended pasta making class doesn’t fit into your itinerary, there are a number of other pasta making classes and workshops in Rome and you can check out this list for more options.

Rome cooking class

Rome cooking class

 

Rome Pizza Making Class

Of course, we couldn’t share a guide to our favorite cooking classes in Rome without including one on pizza making! This 2.5 hour pizza making class is also with Take Walks at their dedicated cooking workshop location in Trastevere.

This evening workshop has you creating a pizza from start to finish under the watchful instruction of a professional chef. You’ll do everything from creating the dough through to adding the toppings, cooking it, and of course, eating it!

The experience also includes aperitivo to nibble on, unlimited beer and wine throughout the evening (soft drinks also available) and a sit-down meal where you get to eat your pizza as well as some gelato made on-site by the instructor.

Overall we think this class offers a great value experience and will be fun for all the family.

Again, there are lots more pizza making classes to choose from if this one doesn’t have availability or fit into your itinerary. You can see more options here.

Pizza in Rome

 

Rome Fettucine and Tiramisu Cooking Class

If you have a sweet tooth and would like to learn how to make a classic Italian dessert, as well as pasta, then check out this 2.5 hour cooking class that teaches you to make both fettucine pasta and tiramisu.

This cooking class is held at Oste Cavour restaurant, which is found just to the north east of Castel Sant Angelo.

This class has you learning how to make two classic Italian dishes. First, your professional chef instructor will teach you how to make pasta from scratch using flour and eggs. You’ll be shown how to turn the base pasta into various shapes, including the classic fettucine shape.

Once you have made your pasta, it will then be prepared by the restaurant staff with a sauce of your choice. You’ll then learn how to create and layer a tiramisu, one of Italy’s most well-known and delicious desserts.

When you have finished cooking, you’ll get to eat and enjoy the dishes that you made. Expect a sit-down meal where you get to eat your fettucine (with a sauce of your choice), followed by your tiramisu. You will accompany this with a glass of wine (or soft drink), followed by a coffee or limoncello.

Rome cooking class

 

Private Rome Cooking Classes

If you’d like to learn some more traditional Roman dishes in a private environment, then we would suggest this private cooking class experience.

You can book this for a private group of between 2 and 10 people, and the class lasts for three hours. You’ll actually make a whole meal, including a first plate, second plate, and dessert.

Whilst the menu may vary, a traditional experience has you being welcomed with a glass of prosecco and some homemade pizza.

Following this you will learn how to make ravioli, fettucine with a traditional cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) sauce, and then a tiramisu for dessert.

Once you have made everything you will then of course have the opportunity to eat your creations, accompanied with wine and water. You’ll then finish the experience with an espresso.

Overall this is a great option if you are looking for a private experience learning to cook in Rome, and it covers a good range of popular Italian dishes.

Rome cooking class

 

Things to Think About When Booking a Rome Food Tour or Cooking Class

Before you book a Rome food tour or cooking experience, there are a few things we suggest considering. These will help ensure you book the right tour for you.

Our main tip is not to compare tours based on price alone, there’s definitely more to consider when choosing. Here’s what we suggest you think about when comparing food tours.

 

Food Allergies & Dietary Preferences

The first thing to consider is whether or not the tour will actually meet your food and drink preferences. This is particularly important, of course, if you have any allergies as you want to be sure your needs can be met.

In addition, if there are certain foods you don’t eat or really dislike then obviously you will want to be sure there are alternatives. It is important to let the tour operator know in advance so they can ensure the tour is a good fit for you and make appropriate arrangements.

For example, many tour operators can accommodate common food allergies, vegetarians, pregnant women, and non-drinkers.

However, group food tours may not be a good fit for some travelers. We find that many Italian food group tours, due to the nature of most of the foods included (which tend to be heavy in bread, pasta, meat, wine, pizza), often cannot accommodate vegans, those wanting a gluten free tour, or those with multiple food allergies. But there are tours that can accommodate these dietary restrictions with advanced notice.

If you are having difficulty finding a tour, I would recommend booking a private tour or cooking class instead where the guide can accommodate your food preferences and allergies.

Many Roman food tours include alcoholic drinks, and in our experience tours with more alcoholic beverages tend to cost more than those without, just due to the additional cost this incurs to the operator. Whilst alternatives are normally available, you might find it’s better value to book a tour without drink inclusions.

Ultimately, you are paying for the tour and the food or drinks, so it’s important that you are going to be able to enjoy everything (or at least most) that is included! If you have specific dietary requirements, you will definitely want to reach out to the tour operator in advance to be sure they can meet those prior to booking.

Pasta in Rome

 

Inclusions

When looking at a food tour or cookery class, it’s important to understand what is and what isn’t included.

A tour should list exactly what you should expect to get. For a food tour for example, whilst the exact dishes might not be detailed (as they may be subject to availability or seasonality), there should be an overview of how many dishes you will be sampling and an idea of portion size.

If drinks are included, either soft or alcoholic, again, this should be listed.

Any other inclusions or exclusions should also be made clear. For a cooking class, you should get an idea of what you will be cooking, whether you will be eating it (normally you will!), and if other foods are also provided.

In our experience, most food tours include enough food that they are equivalent to at least a meal, often more. So we always come hungry and ready to eat. But this may not always be the case, so it’s important to know in advance.

Rome cooking class

 

Length

Food tours and cooking classes can vary in length, but usually last between 2 and 4 hours. Generally, the longer the tour, the more you will get to experience.

For a walking tour for example, this might mean more tastings and time for a sit-down meal. For a cooking class, it might include a visit to the local market before you get to cooking.

If you are doing a group tour, it can also give you more time to get to know some of the other group participants, or ask more questions of your guide.

Longer tours do tend to be more expensive of course. There’s not a “best” length for a food tour, it really depends on the experience you are looking for and how it fits into your itinerary. For instance, longer walking tours may be difficult for those with more limited mobility.

We have done both longer and shorter food tours and cooking classes in Rome, and enjoyed both formats. For a cooking class though we do recommend booking a longer option if choosing between tours though, as otherwise it might feel a bit rushed.

 

Time of Day

Food tours and cooking classes take place at different times in the day, and depending on your itinerary and preferences you might find that one or another tour works for you.

We’ve taken food tours in Rome at different times of the day. Generally, we find that tours with more drinks included are more common in the afternoons and evening, and can be a nice way to finish off a day of sightseeing.

Alternatively, tours that focus on visiting markets and food are more likely to take place in the mornings and over lunchtime so as to get access to the freshest produce.

If you like to do a lot of sightseeing and fit a lot into your visit, then you might prefer to book a food tour for the evening. This will let you do your sightseeing during the day, and then do the food tour or cooking class in the evening when the sights are closed.

Also note that tours generally take place no matter what the weather outside is like. So be sure to dress appropriately and bring raingear if needed. If you are visiting Rome in the summer, taking an evening tour (or early morning tour) can be ideal if you want to avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day.

Rome cooking class

 

Price

One main factor to consider is of course going to be price. Food tours in Rome generally can be found priced from around 50 euros per person and up.

The price depends on a number of factors, from how long the tour is through to what exactly is included. So when comparing, definitely check what the tour includes.

In our experiences, tours with more alcoholic drinks tend to cost more than tours without any alcoholic drinks. Tours with more food, and especially larger portions such as a sit-down meal, also tend to cost more.

Don’t forget that most tours don’t include a tip for your guide, so you will want to consider that in you budget as well to reward your guide if you enjoy the tour.

One other factor to consider when evaluating price is the tour companies’ cancellation policy. Most food tours in Rome allow you to cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund (or to rebook for another date). If you no-show or cancel last minute, you will generally be charged the full price of the tour. So be sure you know the cancellation policy for your tour.

 

Group Size

Food tours, like any tours, are available in a range of group sizes. In our experience, most food tours tend to be fairly small groups, usually no more than 15 people or so.

This is just because it can be impractical to guide a large group of people and provide them with good food all at the same time. So a large group food tour at a low price would be something we would probably be wary of.

Generally, we have found that smaller groups work best for food tours. Everyone can hear the guide and have the opportunity to ask questions. It’s also easier to get to know the other folks on your group tour if it’s a smaller group.

Dinner in Rome

 

Physical Mobility Considerations

If you have any physical mobility limitations, you will want to carefully check the tour description, length, and any physical requirements. Most of the popular food tours are unfortunately not able to accommodate wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

Most of the food tours require at least a bit of walking, some may cover quite a bit of ground. The pace of a group tour can be too fast for someone with limited physical mobility. Many older buildings in Rome do not have step-free access, have narrow doorways, and some can’t accommodate wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

We find that the best tours for people with reduced mobility are either private food tours or the cooking workshops. Most of the classes and workshops we have found can accommodate those with limited mobility and who are in wheelchairs.

GetYourGuide has a filter where you can search for tours that have been marked as wheelchair accessible by the company, and you can see that list here. But I would still be sure to carefully read the description to ensure it is a good fit for your level of mobility.

For those who are having difficulty finding a tour that can accommodate them, I would consider hiring a private guide or booking a private tour who can set up a food tour itinerary or cooking class that can accommodate your needs and abilities. Sage Traveling, which specializes in disabled travel, offers private tour guides in Rome and can arrange a walking or rolling food tour. You can see more about those here.

 

Rome Food Tours with Children

If you are looking for a food tour in Rome with children, you’ll want to make sure the tour allows kids and is something that would be suitable for them. Some food tours can accommodate younger children and some cannot. Note that most walking tours in Rome do not allow strollers as these can’t be accommodated in many small restaurants, bars, and alleyways.

Be sure to check for any age limitations before booking. Many of the evening food tours which tend to include a lot of alcohol are only for those 18 years of age and older.

Many food tours we’ve done are definitely geared to adults and they may not be great experiences for younger children. So you will want to read a tour description carefully to see if you think it would suit your family or not. Consider how much your children are likely to actually eat and if they will be OK with the length and amount of walking involved.

We have generally found that many of the Rome food classes and workshops, particularly the pizza making ones, are some of the most family friendly options, especially for those with younger kids. The instructors are usually good at keeping kids busy and entertained and they get to eat what they make (something that appeals to any age!)!

For example, this pizza making class and this pasta and tiramisu class are two options you might want to consider. Both have good reviews from families. Or you can do a tour that is specifically designed for kids and families such as this tour.

 

Neighborhood

Rome, like any city, is made up of multiple neighborhoods. Each of these has its own attractions, as well as its own vibe.

The main thing though that you will likely want to think about is how the neighborhood fits into your Rome itinerary. Luckily, you’ll find food tours and cooking classes being offered in many of the central areas of Rome.

While Rome is easy to get around and is fairly walkable for the most part, it’s important that the food experience you pick is in a location that you can easily get to from where you will be on the day you choose to do it.

 

Further Reading for Visiting Rome

That’s it for our guide to booking a food tour in Rome. We also wanted to share some more guides we’ve put together for Rome, based on our many visits to the city.

We’ve also visited many other parts of Italy, and we’ve included some of these posts below as well, as well as some other resources we think you’ll find useful.

  • We have a guide to spending 1 day in Rome, as well as guides for 2 days in Rome and 3 days in Rome, which should help you plan your time effectively. We also have a guide to things to do in Rome in general.
  • You can’t visit Rome without trying gelato – the Italian version of ice cream. See all our favourite places to find the best gelato in Rome
  • Another popular Italian pastime is drinking coffee, particularly espresso! See some of the best cafes to drink coffee in Rome
  • We’ve taken a number of other walking tours in Rome. See our guide to our favourite walking tours of Rome here. We also have a full review of the Vatican VIP Key Master’s tour, which is one of the most exclusive tours of the Vatican you can take.
  • We have a detailed guide to visiting the Borghese Gallery in Rome which is one of our favorite art museums in Rome.
  • We have a guide to visiting the Colosseum, as well as a guide to visiting the Vatican. These have everything you need to know to plan your visits to this remarkable attractions
  • Beyond Rome, we have a guide to Florence, suggested things to do in Milan, and tips for a day in Venice
  • We also have a detailed 10 day Italy itinerary to help you plan a trip in this wonderful country
  • If you’re planning on visiting Rome in summer, read our tips for visiting a European city in summer to stay sane
  • If you’re looking for a physical (or Kindle!) guidebook, we recommend the latest edition of Rick Steves Rome guide, which has lots of practical information to help you make the most of your stay

And that’s the end of guide to the best Rome food tours and experiences! We hope you found it useful. If you have done a food tour in Rome (or elsewhere in Italy), we’d love to hear about it. As always, if you have any questions or feedback on this post, let us know in the comments below!

A guide to the best food tours in Rome as well as the best cooking classes in Rome, all based on our personal experiences in the Eternal City

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