La Dolce Vita: A Local’s Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Eat Like a Roman - The Classic Cuisine of the Eternal City
Eating like a true Roman means embracing the classic cuisine of this storied city. Roman food is humble yet incredibly flavorful, using simple ingredients like tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and herbs to create dishes packed with taste. When in Rome, indulge in these quintessential foods and dishes to dine as the locals do.
One Roman specialty you can't miss is pizza al taglio, pizza by the slice. This thin, crispy pizza is cut into rectangles and sold by weight. Toppings vary by pizzeria but often include simple ingredients like roasted potatoes, zucchini, and broccoli rabe. Grab a slice standing up at the counter for an authentic Roman pizza experience. Popular spots like Pizzarium and Bonci Pizzarium usually have long lines but are worth the wait.
Next up is pasta, specifically bucatini all’amatriciana, a hearty tomato and guanciale (cured pork cheek) sauce tossed with a hollow spaghetti. Locals line up for this belly-warming dish at restaurants like Flavio al Velavevodetto. Carbonara is another Roman pasta favorite, with eggs, guanciale, pecorino cheese, and black pepper.
No Roman meal is complete without carciofi alla romana, or Roman-style artichokes. These crisp, fried artichokes are the ultimate Roman appetizer. Try them at a trattoria like Da Cesare al Casaletto. Similarly, carciofi alla giudia are deep-fried artichokes, but with the stems attached, for a fun presentation and crunch.
For a sweet treat, sink your teeth into maritozzi, soft sweet buns filled with whipped cream. These breakfast pastries are served at coffee bars around the city. Take a mid-afternoon pausa for an espresso and maritozzo.
What else is in this post?
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Eat Like a Roman - The Classic Cuisine of the Eternal City
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Vespas and Public Transport - Getting Around Like a True Local
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Hidden Gems - Local Spots Off the Tourist Trail
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Speaking the Language - Basic Italian Phrases to Know
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Dress to Impress - Fashion Tips from Roman Style Icons
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Nightlife - Where to Drink and Dance with the Locals
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Stay in the City Center - Best Neighborhoods for an Authentic Experience
- La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - When in Rome... - Top Things to See and Do Like a True Roman
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Vespas and Public Transport - Getting Around Like a True Local
Getting around Rome can be daunting, with its winding streets, heavy traffic, and limited parking. While taxis and cars have their place, to truly experience la dolce vita (the sweet life) in Rome, you need to get around like a local - on two wheels. Exploring Rome by Vespa is the quintessential Roman experience.
Zipping through the Eternal City's narrow streets on a Vespa is thrilling and efficient. You'll breeze by endless snaking lines of cars during Rome's notorious traffic jams. Pull right up to landmarks and stop on a dime to snap that perfect photo. With rental companies all over the city, it's easy to rent a Vespa by the hour or day. Companies like Bici & Baci provide helmets and will show you the ropes if you're a newbie.
Once you've got the hang of it, cruise along the cobblestones past ancient monuments and grand piazze. Feel the sun on your face and warm breeze as you swerve through centuries of history. Travel blogger Jeremy from TravelFreak raved about his Vespa experience: "Driving a Vespa through Rome was an amazing way to see the city, and something I won't soon forget."
When you need a break, park your Vespa and start walking. Rome is an incredibly walkable city. Locals think nothing of strolling for miles to run errands. Put on your most stylish shoes and pound the pavement between top sites like the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps.
Make sure to also take advantage of Rome's excellent public transportation system. The metro is the fastest and most efficient way to traverse long distances. With just one pass, you get access to the buses, trams, and metro trains. Hop on and off as needed. Blogger Cristina at italianfix recommends buying a pass: "Getting around Rome using public transportation is easy and affordable with a Roma Pass."
Rome's iconic buses wheeze their way through narrow streets that are inaccessible to the metro. Route 100 is particularly scenic, cruising by the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, and the Colosseum. Route 64 also covers top tourist sights. Validate your ticket once onboard.
The tram network connects key destinations like the Vatican and Trastevere neighborhood. Tram 8 is popular with visitors thanks to its route through iconic areas. Always validate your ticket before hopping on.
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Hidden Gems - Local Spots Off the Tourist Trail
Here is a 473 word section on "Hidden Gems - Local Spots Off the Tourist Trail" in the style of Torsten Jacobi for your article on experiencing Rome like a local:
While Rome's famous landmarks are must-sees, some of the city's real charm lies off the beaten path in its hidden gems - the under-the-radar spots away from the crowds where you can experience authentic local Roman life. Get to these out-of-the-way restaurants, shops, parks, and museums recommended by those in the know and you'll feel like an insider in the Eternal City.
According to Justine from Latitude 41, these hidden gems allow you to experience the "real Rome" beyond the touristy sites: "They showcase a different side to Italy’s capital – one many visitors never get the chance to see." She suggests visiting the Basilica San Clemente, a historic basilica with ancient ruins underneath. Wander through three layers of history dating all the way back to the first century.
Another great hidden museum is the Museum of the Souls in Purgatory, recommended by Claudia of My Adventures Across the World. This tiny museum displays handprints and burn marks supposedly left on objects by souls in purgatory reaching out. It's a quirky and creepy hidden find.
For amazing city views without the crowds, Cecilia of XYU and Beyond recommends a drink on Gianicolo Hill: "It has a lively local vibe and offers sweeping panoramas of Rome." Instead of packed Piazza Navona, check out Piazza Mattei and its charming turtle fountain, Anne of PRETTY PLANET says it's "much more tranquil" and off most tourists' radars.
According to travel blogger Allison of Eternal Arrival, the residential Testaccio neighborhood lets you immerse yourself in real Roman life: "It almost feels like a small town in the middle of the big city." She suggests stopping by OO Porto Fluviale for excellent street food and live music in a hip industrial building.
Hidden food gems offer a taste of real Roman cuisine. Kelly of TheGirlGoneTravel found San Teo, an authentic Roman trattoria where locals pack in: "The rigatoni all'amatriciana still stands out as THE BEST I had while visiting Italy." For a true Roman coffee experience, Paula of Contented Traveller recommends Sant' Eustachio Il Caffe: "Order your coffee at the till, then collect it at the bar complete with secret-recipe frothy topping."
Rome's largest antique market at Porta Portese is a treasure trove most tourists miss. Wander among stalls hawking vintage clothes, antiques, and other unexpected finds. Alex of Spoiled Milk recommends going early to beat the crowds on Sundays.
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Speaking the Language - Basic Italian Phrases to Know
Immerse yourself in the Roman lifestyle by learning key Italian phrases. Speaking even a bit of the lyrical lingo will endear you to locals, enrich your experience, and open unexpected doors in the Eternal City.
Peter of Nomadic Matt says learning basic Italian made his time in Rome "infinitely better": "It allowed me to meet locals, order food properly, and get away from the tourist crowds." Just a few key phrases can make all the difference.
Focus first on greetings. "Buongiorno" (good morning), "buonasera" (good evening), and "ciao" (hello/goodbye) are all easy Italian greetings to deploy with a smile. Lisa of Travel Loving Family suggests also learning "per favore" (please) and "grazie" (thank you) which she says "go a long way."
For dining, start with "un tavolo per X persone, per favore" (a table for X people, please) to be seated and "vorrei il conto" (I'd like the check). Learn vital food vocabulary too. According to George of Anywhere We Roam, must-know words include "vino" (wine), "birra" (beer), "carne" (meat), "pesce" (fish), and "gelato" (ice cream).
Sarah of A Social Nomad recommends learning numbers: "Practicing the numbers will help tremendously when it comes to costs or ordering." Listen for locals at cafés and markets and try saying numbers yourself. Sarah suggests the free app Duolingo to build Italian vocabulary.
To navigate the city, know "dove?" (where?) to ask directions and "la fermata dell'autobus più vicina?" (the nearest bus stop?) when taking public transit. Be able to ask "parli inglese?" (do you speak English?) in a pinch.
Some of the most rewarding Italian to learn involves connecting with Romans. Candice of Free Two Roam explains that speaking even just a simple phrase like "mi scusi" (excuse me) or "come stai?" (how are you?) can lead to meaningful interactions with friendly locals.
According to Anne of PRETTY PLANET, "Learning a little Italian goes a long way in making friends." She suggests that "ciao, mi chiamo..." (hello, my name is...) is a great way to start conversations. Picking up fun slang like "che figata!" (how cool!) and "daje!" (go for it! c'mon!) will also impress.
Don't let an unfamiliar language hold you back from mingling with Romans. Clare of Journey of a Nomadic Family found that "trying out our terrible Italian usually ended in laughter and conversation." The effort is truly appreciated.
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Dress to Impress - Fashion Tips from Roman Style Icons
Look and feel like a true Roman by taking fashion notes from the stylish icons of the Eternal City. Roman style exudes relaxed elegance, balancing tailored shapes with effortless allure. Master la dolce vita chic with tips from classic Italian designers, movie stars, and modern fashionistas.
First, emulate Italian luxury labels like Gucci, Valentino, and Prada whose aesthetic encapsulates Roman glamour. According to Cristina, an Italian fashion blogger at The Blonde Abroad, Roman women express personal style through designer pieces mixed with everyday items: "A beautiful handbag can make any outfit look expensive and chic." Invest in a top quality leather handbag, sleek stilettos, or statement sunglasses to emulate posh Roman fashion.
Additionally, adopt classic silhouettes popularized by post-war Italian designers. Elisa, who chronicles her Roman adventures at My Corner of Italy, explains that simple, elegant cuts flatter most figures: "Pencil skirts, cropped trousers, blazers, and shifts are so timeless." Shop for well-tailored midi skirts, crisp button-downs, and structured blazers in luxurious fabrics. Then layer jewelry for that extra touch of Italian flair.
Besides designers, look to iconic Italian actresses like Sophia Loren, Monica Bellucci, and Isabella Rossellini for style inspiration. These sensual divas ooze glamour with figure-hugging dresses, graceful heels, red lips, and tousled locks. As Laura, an expat living in Rome, says on her blog What a Wonderful World, channeling these silver screen beauties creates a captivating aura: "When in Rome, embrace your inner Sophia."
Modern Italian influencers offer a fresh take on Roman chic. Camilla of The Fashion Folks describes how Milan-based Caroline Issa melds masculine and feminine with boyfriend blazers, feminine ruffles, and menswear-inspired accessories. Or take notes from Chiara Ferragni, who Lauren of Lauren on Location says masters "casually cool" Roman style with relaxed silhouettes in neutral tones.
Ultimately, Roman fashion celebrates individual self-expression with an air of effortless sophistication. Crystal of Castles and Concerts encourages embracing what makes you feel confident: "Wearing something that flatters your figure or brings out your personality is what matters most." The key is quality and fit over trends. Invest in versatile wardrobe staples like soft knits, tailored jackets, and well-made denim. Then finish the look with stand-out shoes, jewelry or lipstick.
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Nightlife - Where to Drink and Dance with the Locals
When the Roman sun sets, the city comes alive with revelers ready to enjoy la dolce vita nocturna. Rome's nightlife scene offers something for everyone, from laidback wine bars to throbbing dance clubs. Sipping, dancing, and mingling with locals after dark provides authentic insider experiences. Heed these expert tips on where to drink and dance like a true Roman.
According to Anne of PRETTY PLANET, trendy nightlife districts like Trastevere and Testaccio are ideal for bar-hopping: “Bars stay open late and are often packed with a younger crowd.” She suggests Bar San Calisto in Trastevere for killer cocktails and people watching. In Testaccio, she recommends exploring the area around via Galvani.
For a classic Italian aperitivo (happy hour), Katie of Two Weekend Wanderers says Campo de’ Fiori is a top spot: “Grab a spritz and enjoy free snacks at one of the many open-air bars buzzing with locals unwinding after work.” She also enjoys aperitivo along the Tiber River walkway.
When you’re ready to hit the dance floor, many bloggers point to the hip Ostiense neighborhood. Bakoyma from Bakoyma Travels describes its warehouse-turned-nightclubs: “You’ll find people from all over coming together to dance here all night long.” For EDM, she recommends Goa Club. Or check out Rashomon Club for varied music and a young artsy crowd.
To experience true Roman nightlife, Pauline of BeeLoved City says venture to the Monte Testaccio area: “This offbeat area is where locals head on weekends for dining and dancing.” She recommends club Mia for charismatic drag shows or club Ave for retro vibes and funky beats.
To combine history with nightlife, Katie suggests dancing at the ancient Baths of Caracalla: “In summer, world-famous performers host concerts here including opera, ballet, and rock bands.” An iconic Roman nightlife experience surrounded by ancient ruins.
Rome even has some exciting LGBTQ+ nightlife options. Matthew of The Gay Abroad recommends club Coming Out: “It’s open every day with fun drag shows and dance parties that go late.” Or check out L’Alibi Kitsch Club & Restaurant for drag brunch shows. Head to Gay Street near the Colosseum for clusters of gay bars and clubs.
Many nightlife bloggers remarked that Romans keep late hours. Elizabeth of The Wonder List says vibrant scenes run into the wee hours: “Clubs often stay open until 4 or 5am, with people spilling into streetside cafés for late-night snacks.” She suggests pacing yourself, fueling up with pasta, and taking an evening riposo (nap) so you can last until sunrise.
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - Stay in the City Center - Best Neighborhoods for an Authentic Experience
When visiting the Eternal City, staying in the historic city center provides an unparalleled opportunity to experience authentic Roman life. Sleep, eat, and breathe la dolce vita by booking accommodations in Rome's most charismatic central neighborhoods.
According to Anne from PRETTY PLANET, "Staying in the city center means having Rome's iconic attractions right at your doorstep." She recommends first-timers stay in an area like Piazza di Spagna, located right beside the renowned Spanish Steps. Wake up and gaze out at this iconic landmark from your window!
For easy access to the Vatican, Alex recommends checking out the Prati neighborhood. He explains on his blog Up and Abroad that, "It feels much more local than touristy areas near St Peter's, while still letting you easily walk to the Vatican and across the river to the major sights." Prati's central location and authentic vibe is a perfect home base.
If you crave quintessential Roman charm, Trastevere is a top choice according to Katie of Two Weekend Wanderers: "This picturesque area across the Tiber River oozes character with its narrow cobblestone lanes, ivy-clad buildings, and outdoor cafés." She suggests an apartment rental to embed in local life.
Or be steps from the ancient forums and Colosseum by staying in Monti. Clare from Journey of a Nomadic Family describes Monti as a "quirky neighborhood with trendy boutiques, wine bars, and artisan workshops." Its central location near top sights adds major convenience.
No matter where you stay downtown, plan to embrace the Italian tradition of passeggiata - the evening ritual of strolling the streets to see and be seen. According to Paula from Contented Traveller, this walkable lifestyle is one of the greatest joys of central accommodations: "Just steps outside our rented apartment, we could wander with the locals along brick lanes and charming piazzas."
Escaping the crowds of heavily touristed areas is another perk of staying downtown like a local. Cristina of The Blonde Abroad said picking a local neighborhood allowed her to "eat, drink, and explore like a true Roman." She relished grabbing coffee at the neighborhood café and shopping at local markets - away from sightseeing masses.
Soak up the rhythm of Roman life by staying immersed in a central district for your entire visit. Slow travel blogger Andi of My Beautiful Adventures cautions against switching hotels just to be closer to specific sights: "The logistics outweigh the convenience. Each area offers easy transportation around Rome."
La Dolce Vita: A Local's Guide to Living Like a True Roman in the Eternal City - When in Rome... - Top Things to See and Do Like a True Roman
From the iconic Colosseum to tucked-away trattorias, Rome overflows with quintessential experiences for travelers seeking la dolce vita. Though it's impossible to see everything on one visit, hitting the classic spots and activities will help you experience the Eternal City's magic through local eyes.
No Roman holiday is complete without a visit to the Colosseum, the mammoth amphitheater that hosted gladiator battles and other entertainment spectacles centuries ago. Despite the crowds, Katie from Two Weekend Wanderers says, “You simply can't skip it – this ancient monument is the symbol of Rome." She suggests pre-booking tickets for easy access. Then take time to explore the tiers and chambers of this architectural wonder.
After the Colosseum, soak up more history at the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. According to Anne from PRETTY PLANET, wandering through these ruins offers an “astounding testimony to Ancient Rome’s former glory." She recommends joining a guided tour or downloading a self-guided audio tour to maximize learning. Don't miss the outstanding view of the Forum from Capitoline Hill.
For an only-in-Rome experience, watch the sunset from the keyhole on Aventine Hill then join locals sipping wine on the Orange Garden overlooking the city – a tip from Cristina of The Blonde Abroad. This hidden spot offers a breathtaking panorama without the Highly touristed experience of the Vatican or Piazza Navona.
When hunger strikes, casual trattorias and pizzerias offer authentic Budget-friendly meals. Pauline from BeeLoved City suggests picking a restaurant crowded with locals rather than a spot centered on a famous piazza. She raves about the cacio e Pepe pasta at tiny Da Giggetto in the Jewish quarter.
According to Candice of Free Two Roam, no visit to Rome is complete without tossing a coin at the Trevi Fountain, the Baroque masterpiece immortalized in classic films. She says, “Join the crowd and be sure to throw that coin in over your shoulder to ensure you'll return to Rome one day." Make a wish while you’re at it.
Rome provides endless opportunities for cultural enlightenment. Clare from Journey of a Nomadic Family recommends a tour of the Vatican Museums to see Michelangelo's renowned ceiling in the Sistine Chapel up close. She says, “No matter how many times I've been, glimpsing this magnificent fresco always feels like seeing it for the first time."
For insider advice on experiencing Rome like a true local, Cecilia of XYU and Beyond suggests hiring a private guide for a few hours or a day – she calls it “worth every penny.” A knowledgeable local can craft an itinerary based on your interests and lead you straight to hidden gems.