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When in Rome, don’t shop in supermarkets or eat fast food. Dodge the tourists and do as Romans do: shop in delis and markets, drink artisan beers, eat the best pizza, gelato and the cucina of Rome’s top chefs.

Budget: Family trattoria Da Cesare serves all the classics, from rigatoni alla amatriciana (pasta with bacon, onion, tomatoes and goat’s cheese) or gnocchi, both €10, to grilled scottadito (lamb chops), €13. Finish with ricotta and pear tart, €6. (

Roscioli is Rome’s favourite foodie address. Shop for a picnic or goodies to take home such as handmade salumi, or eat in and enjoy impeccably sourced produce made into dishes such as artichoke salad or carbonara, both €15, and tiramisu, €11. Wines by the glass from €5. (

Blowout: Il Sanlorenzo’s vaulted rooms are the setting for Rome’s freshest seafood brought direct from local Ponza island fishermen. Sample spaghetti with sea urchins, €25, and the day’s catch baked in salt, €10/100g. (

Budget: Chef Luigi Nastri makes the most of Mediterranean ingredients in his restaurant Settembrini. Order lemon risotto with squid and liquorice, €16, or pasta with pulses and prawns, €12, à la carte, or as part of his five-course seafood dinner, €55. (

L’Arcangelo offers classic Roman flavours in a refined trattoria near Piazza Cavour. You can’t beat its tonnarelli with pecorino and black pepper, €15, or baked squid and spicy pancotto (bread soup) with bitter chocolate, €22. (Via Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli 59; 00 39 06 3210992)

Blowout: Il Pagliaccio offers some of the city’s most imaginative food. A la carte from €35, or multi-course menus for €135 and €155, featuring dishes such as cuttlefish and broad bean dim sum with octopus. (

Budget: Il Goccetto is an enoteca (regional wine shop) near the piazza Campo dei Fiori offering a range of imaginatively chosen wines by the glass, from €4 to €18, or by the bottle. Handmade cheeses and cured meat complement the wines. (Via dei Banchi Vecchi, 14; 00 39 06 6864268)

Bir e Fud, an atmospheric, cult beer bar in the arty Trastevere district showcases over thirty of Italy’s artisan beers, from €5. They perfectly match the pizzas they’ve been paired with, from €12, and the hand-cut crisps. (Via Benedetta, 23; 00 39 06 5894016)

Blowout: Rome’s favourite barman, Pino Mondello, and chef Luigi Nastri have taken over Bar Giolitti to create the Settembrini Café. This is the place for cocktails such as Cynaroni, €8, or champagne, from €9. (Via Settembrini 19-23; 00 39 06 97610325)

Budget: Book well ahead for La Piccola Maison, a clean-lined small b&b in a 19th-century palazzo near Via Veneto’s glam boutiques and caffes. Doubles from €70. Its pale-toned furnishings and sparse design offer a welcome respite from the colourful street life down below, a few steps from La Dolce Vita’s Trevi Fountain. (

If you fancy a quiet retreat after a day among the tourist crowds, Villa Urbani is an intimate b&b in an art nouveau villa on the hill of Trastevere. The light-filled house has modern furnishings and free wi-fi, doubles from €100. (

Blowout: Residenza Canali ai Coronari offers peaceful rooms in a period palazzo furnished with antiques. From here you can step out into Piazza Navona for a nightcap or gelato. Doubles from €189. (

Must do
Budget: Lunch in the cafeteria at MAXXI, architect Zaha Hadid’s museum of the 21st century, and the 2010 World Architecture Festival’s best new building. Choose from the local or low-cal menus: paccheri with mackerel, €10, or grouper and vegetables baked in paper, €14. (

In a piazzetta behind Piazza Navona is Rome’s finest ice cream shop, Gelateria del Teatro, in Via San Simone. Sage and peach, pear and caramel, sesame or banana – heaven in a cone, from €3.50. (Via di San Simone 70; 00 39 06 45474880)

Blowout: Where better to blow your money than farmers’ market Mercato San Teodoro, open Saturdays and Sundays. Shop for cheeses from the Lazio region, olive oils and fruits and vegetables. (

The article ‘Budget and blowout guide to Rome’ was published in partnership with BBC Olive magazine.





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