When it comes to food, Rome is a city that delights the senses. From the aroma of freshly baked pizza to the sight of a perfectly crafted pasta dish, the capital of Italy has it all. However, as a traveler, it can be difficult to know when to sit down for a meal in Rome. With so many options and cultural differences, it’s important to plan your eating schedule to fully experience the city’s culinary scene. In this article, we’ll explore the best times to eat in Rome and the cultural customs surrounding meals.
Lunch: The Main Meal of the Day
In Rome, lunch is the main meal of the day and is typically eaten between 1 pm and 3 pm. This is the time when many restaurants have their “menu del giorno” or daily specials, which offer a great value and a chance to try traditional Roman dishes. It’s important to note that many restaurants close between 3 pm and 7 pm, so plan your lunch accordingly to avoid disappointment.
Aperitivo: The Italian Happy Hour
Aperitivo is a popular Italian tradition that takes place before dinner, typically between 6 pm and 8 pm. It’s a time when locals gather to enjoy a pre-dinner drink and small bites, often served as a buffet. Aperitivo is a great way to experience the local nightlife and socialize with the locals. Some popular places for aperitivo in Rome include the trendy neighborhood of Trastevere and the historic Campo de’ Fiori square.
Dinner: A Late Night Affair
Dinner in Rome is a late-night affair, with most restaurants opening at 7:30 pm and serving until 11 pm or later. It’s important to note that many restaurants do not take reservations and can have long wait times, especially during peak tourist season. To avoid disappointment, plan ahead and arrive early or late to beat the crowds.
Gelato: The Perfect Dessert
No meal in Rome is complete without a scoop of gelato, the quintessential Italian dessert. Gelato shops can be found on almost every corner in the city, but it’s important to look for shops that make their gelato in-house using fresh, natural ingredients. Some popular gelato shops in Rome include Gelateria del Teatro, Giolitti, and Fatamorgana.
In conclusion, eating in Rome is an experience not to be missed. With its rich culinary history and vibrant food scene, it’s important to plan your meals accordingly to fully appreciate all that the city has to offer. From lunch to aperitivo to dinner and gelato, Rome has something for everyone. So, buon appetito and enjoy your culinary adventure in the Eternal City!