While Rome offers up plenty of options for foodies of all stripes, there’s much more to be had if you’re on the hunt for more unique experiences than the typical market tour or learning how to make pasta. Take a look at these quirky things to do in Rome for food lovers, and
Get cursed at by your waiter
If you like a side of theatrics with your main, then its worth checking out Cencio la Parolaccia. It’s famous for one thing — hurling insults at its customers. The reviews for the food are so-so, but it’s the atmosphere you’re paying for here — think Soup Nazi from Seinfeld, but much more verbally abusive. Established by Vincenzo “Cencio” de Santis and Renata de Santis, in 1941, the pair decided to marry a traditional restaurant with elements of traditional folk entertainment based on foul language in the Romanesco dialect. The result — and the Chicago Tribune probably said it best — is: “By the time you sit down, you’ve probably been insulted more in 5 minutes than you have in the rest of your life.” Definitely one of the more unique things to do in Rome for food lovers next time you find yourself in the Italian capital.
Cycle off the calories with a Food + Bike tour
A few tour companies around the city offer a twist to the traditional walking food tour of Rome — they do it on bikes instead. You’ll cover a lot more ground than on foot, which means you’ll get to see plenty of the sights Rome is famous for (the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain for example) while still having plenty of time to savour some pizza, gelato, and or course an espresso. Now that’s just the icing on the cake. (Though it should be noted most tours do not provide icing nor cake. Bummer.)
Visit a chocolate factory
Many think that the Swiss and Belgians have the chocolate market cornered, but the Italians have a thing or two to say about that. SAID dal 1923 is a bit of Roman institution, and although chocolate and Italy are not generally synonymous, the folks behind the brand are doing their darndest to prove that Italians can perfect ALL types of food. You’ll get a lesson on the history of the factory, as well as an opportunity to try some of their delicious coffee in addition to the marvellous chocolate.
Listen to Nuns sing Ave Maria while you dine
L’Eau Vive (literally, The Living Water) has been around since the 1960s. It’s actually of chain of traditional French restaurants run by an order of nuns called the Lavoratrici Missionarie dell’Immacolata.
The order has outlets in Peru, The Philippines, and Burkina Faso as well as many other exotic locales. The main draw is not the food — although by all accounts the meals are pretty stellar — it’s the singing that keeps putting bums in seats in this establishment. Twice nightly, the multicultural mix of nuns gather together in traditional dress from their native countries to sing Ave Maria to the applause of diners. Who needs grace before a meal when you’ve got a choir?