With the nice weather and beautiful scenery in Italy, people are naturally flocking outside at local favorites. I’ve located some of my favorite spots by seeing other people go there or by stumbling upon the place by chance. Here is a list of my top 10 favorite places in Rome!
1. Carlo Menta– This is a Restaurant that is extremely affordable and it’s very close to the Tiber Campus at JCU. The best lasagna I’ve ever had has been at Carlo Menta! Suggestion: Try not to order from the tourist menu. Those dishes tend to be premade.
2. Ristorante alle Fratte di Trastevere– This is another restaurant that is located in Trastevere. One of the reasons I like this place is because it’s so close to my apartment. The man that owns the restaurant is usually standing outside trying to persuade you to come in because it’s “the best restaurant in Trastevere!” He may not be wrong. The food here is delicious! Suggestion: One of the workers is from New York and she makes the best bagels! The bagels are fresh Saturday and Sunday mornings but they go quickly. If you’re ever missing breakfast from home, this place will satisfy the craving.
3. Dar Poeta– This is a restaurant that is near the Guarini Campus at JCU. I heard other students talk about this place and decided to try it. The food prices are affordable and they have the best calzones! Dar Poeta was a little hard to find, but it was worth the scavenge. Suggestion: Order the Nutella calzone for dessert! It changed my life.
4. Hostaria del Moro da Tony (Tony’s)– This restaurant is pretty close to the JCU campuses and is very popular among students. The host, Tony, is very friendly and generous. The bread they serve with the meal is delicious, and so is the house red wine! Suggestion: They often will throw in free dessert with your meal. The smaller group you’re in, the better dessert you will get! (Example: In a group of 8 you’ll get pineapple, but in a group of 3 you’ll get tiramisu).
5. Pizzeria Florida– This pizzeria is right across from the Cat Sanctuary, and it’s my favorite pizza so far! The pizza is sold by weight and is pretty cheap. I prefer the pomodoro pizza but there are many other kinds to try. Suggestion: Try to go earlier in the day because there are more options. They stop making pizzas later in the night, and they sell out of the good stuff!
6. G-bar– This bar is packed on weekends! I see most of my fellow JCU students at this bar before everyone heads out to different bars/clubs. The inside is pretty small, but the real party is outside. Suggestion: Watch for special deals.
7. Mercato Trionfale– This is a local supermarket that has EVERYTHING (in season). My Italian teacher took our class here, and I loved it! Mercato Trionfale is near the Vatican and it’s the largest market I’ve ever seen. I was impressed by the variety of meats, cheeses, and fruit. It’s very hard to find tourists here, so you’re getting a good, local price. The people there were super friendly and helpful as well. Suggestion: It helps to know some Italian, since nothing is really written in English. Also, some of the sellers will let you try their product if you just ask!
8. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary– I fell in love with this historical landmark the moment I saw it! I’m a bit of a crazy cat lady, but others can appreciate its magnificence as well. The sanctuary is a shelter for stray cats and is in the ruins of Torre Argentina. There are tons of cats here! Some of the cats are very friendly and will let you pet them. Suggestion: Get some pizza from Pizzeria Florida right across the street while you watch the cats! Do not feed the cats.
9. Piazza di Santa Maria– This site is very popular among students and locals. A fountain sits in the middle of the square, and people often sit on the steps of the fountain to eat or to look at one of the oldest churches in Rome. The piazza looks very Italian and is incredibly pretty. Suggestion: This place is prime for people watching!
10. Antica Gelateria del Viale– This is one of MANY gelato shops in Rome, but its convenience is what makes this gelateria stand out for me. It’s right on my walk to and from the Tiber campus. I’ve had to change my route to school because the gelato here is just too tempting. The gelato prices are about average, but they give you a stamp card to receive free gelato on your tenth purchase. Suggestion: Try the limone gelato!
Veronica is a student at University of Minnesota, Duluth studying at John Cabot University during the Spring 2014 term.