Livitaly Rome Food Tour in the Jewish Ghetto
Rome is full of amazing places of interest that we all have heard of. But what about taking yourself off of the beaten track and exploring hidden parts on a Rome Food Tour in the Jewish Ghetto? We chose to do the Livitaly Rome food small group tour on our recent trip to Rome and we learnt so much!
The Livitaly Rome food small group tour was an easy choice to try something completly new. We tried many local traditional Roman foods such as Jewish artichoke and even zucchini flower stuffed with mozzarella. We tasted ham and cheeses with local honey, freshly made pizza and real Italian pasta! To top it off we finished with gelato! We visited the Pantheon, saw roman temples, old ruins and parts of Rome we didn’t even know existed. It was such an interesting way to explore the city of Rome and what is better than sampling Italian food and wine on a Rome Food Tour.
Traditional Jewish Artichoke in Romes Jewish Guetto
Our meeting point for the start of the tour was the Turtle fountain in the Jewish quarter in Rome. Here we met our guide Patrick by the fountain where he explained about the area in which we stood. The Turtle fountain is in Piazza Mattei and was one of many fountains in Rome it is also said to be the first drinkable Jewish fountain in the area.
The Jewish Ghetto (which is what it is actually called ) was originally closed off and surrounded by 5 gates. One of those gates was at the entrance by the Turtle fountain. This pedestrian friendly area is also the oldest Jewish settlement in all of Europe where all of the restaurants are kosher food.
Finding the Stumbling stones of the Jewish Ghetto
We headed off for a walk of up the Via della Reginella to visit the Jewish ghetto of Rome in search of traditional Jewish artichoke. Patrick told us of the area and the experience that the Jewish people lived with during the war. Whilst living in the area they had to wear a band if they wanted to leave the neighbourhood.
One of the most poignant things we saw were the stumbling stones in the Jewish quarter. These cobblestone-sized memorials stones are referred to as stolpersteine in German which translates to stumbling stones. They were installed outside the last place of residence of victims of the Holocaust.
In 1943 the area was raided and thousands of Jewish people disappeared from the Jewish Ghetto never to return. Only 16 survived to go home.
Some of those that didn’t return are remembered by their plaque. Each plaque has the details of the victim’s name, date of birth, the date and place of deportation, and date of death in a Nazi concentration camp. There are almost 200 stumbling stones in the nine districts of Rome.
Tasting traditional Jewish artichoke
Our first food stop was Giardino Romano to try some of the famous Jewish artichoke.
All of the restaurants in this area are Kosher and most of them serve the artichoke. We soon found our quaint restaurant and were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and our appetiser. Jewish artichoke is eaten around the area as snack or a main meal.
The artichoke was deep fried and slightly salty and it was served with a mozzeralla filled zucchini flower and deep fried anchovies. I was pleasantly surprised by the artichoke it is definitely something you could pick up and eat on the go like the locals do in the area. The Prosecco went down a treat whilst we chatted and introduced ourselves to each other.
Temple of Apollo Medicus Sosianus and the Portico of Octtavia.
After our Rome appetiser Patrick showed us the ruins of the Temple of Apollo Medicus Sosianus and the Portico of Octtavia. The Portico of Octavia is the remains of an ancient walkway through to the Temple of Apollo.
From here you can see the remains of the temple and through to the Theatre of Marcellus. By day the area is beautiful and free to walk and by night it has a buzz and is lovely to wander around too.
Antipasti in Rome
Out next restaurant was the Pane Vini e San Daniele restaurant which was decorated with wine bottles in racks and miniature fairy lights. Here we tried a selection of local hams and cheese all washed down with a glass of red wine. The Wine was a Refossco made with a young grape from the area of Refossco it certainly went down a treat with our Italian Ham and Caciocavallo cheese.
Patrick suggested we try the cheese with honey as it was a compliment to it. I Had tried this before in Italy it works very well, in fact I am hooked! Cheese just won’t be the same again without an accompaniment of local Honey.
Where was Julius Ceaser killed?
Julius Ceaser was killed on the site of the Theatre of Pompey at the Largo di Torre.
Upon leaving the restaurant Patrick showed us exactly where Julius Ceaser was killed at Largo di Torre Argentina. Patrick was very knowledgeable and answered many of our questions on our tour.
Rome has many layers of history “much like a lasagne” patrick said. In fact every time they try to dig the new subway station they find another ruin or Roman bath
The site of the Theatre of Pompey and its temples were discovered when they unearthed a huge bust of Fortunes head ( Fortuna Huiusce diei- luck of the day ) It has only more recently come to light that there were four temples and a holy area on this spot. Temples are now named A, B, C, and D.
The remains of the temple in Largo di Torre Argentina where Ceaser was killed is now a cat sanctuary..
Real Italian Pizza charged by the weight
If you choose to do the Rome food tour you will be treated to real roman pizza! At Alices you pay for pizza by weight! Here you watch pizza that is made fast and also served instantly. Square pizza with an array of toppings.
Many local workers come here for their lunch as its tasty and quick. They take a ticket in this fast paced pizza take away in Rome and pay by the weight of the pizza. We were served Real Margarita with basil peppers and cheese and the Cacio and Pepe Pizza. The Cacio and Pepe pizza is a Roman pasta dish normally but here they serve it on pizza!
“Cacio e Pepe” means “cheese and pepper” the ingredients of the dish are black pepper, Pecorino Romano cheese all on a pizza base instead of pasta.
Patrick also xplained that the original recipe for pizza is used in Alices making it traditional as well as tasty. It had the most amazing flavour the crispy base had huge real italian pizza bubbles.
We approached the back of the Pantheon towards our next stop for pasta. The back of the Pantheon is also just as fabulous architecture as the front.
The Oldest functional building in Rome is the Pantheon which means old god. The unique thing about the Pantheon is the hole in the roof where the rain comes in.
The Pantheon’s columns are Monolithic pieces built from one piece of stone from Egypt which make it truly magnificent. As the Pantheon is now a place of worship it is free to visit. We popped in after our tour as it was only around the corner to get a good look. It can get very busy but the wait was only a few minutes to get inside.
Amatriciana Pasta at the Pantheon
Our Pasta dish was Amatriciana which is like a Carbonara but uses tomato instead of egg. The sauce is made of tomatoes, pancetta, pecorino cheese and ground black pepper. It was delicious and all washed down with a large glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Where can I find real Gelato in Rome?
Our last stop on our rome tour was to find some real Italian Gelato. We headed off to Punto gelato on Sant’Eustachio. By now we were feeling full but some rich cool gelato was perfect to finish our Rome small food group tour.
I have seen many a gelato in italy before but the selection of flavours here was out of this world. Who would of thought you could try buffalo gelato?
With flavours such as Kiwi, Lemon sorbet, Buffalo milk with pink pepper, and tiramisu there was so much choice.
I chose the milk chocolate and buffalo ricotta with strawberry and balsamic vinegar. It was amazing!
We had an amazing time on our Rome food tour with Livitaly, I was really amazed at how much we fitted in to one afternoon.
It is most definitely a perfect way to experience Rome and get off the beaten track.
Livitaly also do tours in Florence have a look at our tour.
Take look at my other gelato making Italy tour with Livitaly here
I was kindly gifted the Rome tour to experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own.