1 Prime position Metres away from the Pantheon, Armando is a quietly elegant, but not at all precious, trattoria serving excellent, traditional Roman food. Try the fettuccine con le rigaglie (fresh egg pasta with chicken livers) and the torta antica.
2 Fine wine tastings Hande Leimer’s wine tastings at VinoRoma are illuminating and relaxed. Her most popular tasting is ‘My Italians’, a two-hour event held in her handsome studio near the Colosseum.
3 Superior sandwiches At Mordi & Vai ex-butcher Sergio Esposito’s sandwiches are some of Rome’s greatest (and best value). The classic, panino con l’ allesso, is a soft roll dipped in rich meat broth, filled with meltingly tender boiled beef.
4 Keep cool In case of indecision, nocciola e cioccolato (hazelnut and chocolate) is a good default position at Il Gelato. A brisk 10-minute walk from the Colosseum other favourites at this gelateria include lemon and wild strawberries, pear, port and almond, and the Roman favourite, stracciatella.
5 Pizza heaven Get to Forno Campo de’ Fiori by 11 to grab a late-morning snack. Order a slice of both pizza bianca (olive oil and salt) and pizza rossa (with tomato). Don’t stand by the door or the bins – take your hot pizza into the relative calm of Piazza Farnese and eat it beside one of the fountains.
6 Market fresh Modern and bright Testaccio market is as tremendous and genuine as its grubbier previous incarnation. Wander between stalls selling fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and cheese, then buy mozzarella from Lina (box 89), bread and pizza from Artenio (box 90), and tomatoes and strawberries from Gianluca (box 32). Between Via Aldo Manuzio and Via Beniamino Franklin.
7 Seasonal pasta At trattoria Flavio al Velavevodetto, partly burrowed into Monte Testaccio, the quartet of classic roman pastas – carbonara, gricia, amatriciana and cacio e pepe – are all superb. In season, order artichokes either Roman-style (braised whole with mint and garlic) or Jewish-style (deep-fried until they look like an exquisite bronze flower).
8 Coffee culture Rome is peppered with bars in which the real business of life is conducted over small cups of espresso, drunk standing at the counter. Follow suit at Bar Barberini; pay first, stand at the counter holding a small coin on your receipt, order, and drink in both coffee and atmosphere. Via Marmorata 41, 00 39 06 575 0869
HOW TO DO IT
Return flights from various UK airports to Rome Fiumicino cost from around £60 return (easyJet.com). Double rooms at Hotel Re Testa, above Testaccio’s new market, cost from around €90, B&B. More information: turismoroma.it.
Trust olive: Rachel Roddy is a Rome-based food writer. Her first book, Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome is published by Saltyard books (£25).
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