Rome has shut down in August. During Italy’s traditional summer holiday of ferragosto, it is normally near impossible to find an open restaurant or shop.
to the economic crisis, the number of Romans leaving for ferragosto has
diminished, with Italian newspaper Il
Messaggero reporting that only one
in three Romans will leave for a week or more this year, down 10% from last
be bad news for Italians, but it’s good news for Rome-bound tourists,
especially for those coming for the food. Visitors will still need to plan and
book their meals in advance — especially for the two weeks in the middle of
August ― but an incredible amount of restaurants will remain open this year,
including some top-quality, authentic spots.
were usually the first restaurants to shut in summer – after all, if the menu stayed
faithful to Roman tradition, the calendar probably did too. Luckily, Flavio al Velavevodetto will
open for both lunch and dinner every day in August, including the national
holiday of 15 August. The restaurant’s classic Roman dishes – such as bucatini all’amatriciana (pasta
with tomato and pork cheek) and coda alla vaccinara (stew made with oxtail)
– are favourites of Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini. The restaurant’s location makes
it an even better summer choice: built into Monte Testaccio (a hill created by
the ancient Romans, who dumped their used amphorae here), its upstairs terrace gets a cool breeze on hot days. On the
ground floor, a glass wall shows off the broken pottery.
upscale than a trattoria but still cosy,
Roman institution Roscioli
dishes out both Roman classics and Italian cuisine with a twist. Try the cacio e pepe (traditional Roman pasta with
Pecorino Romana and black pepper) and
linguina alla siciliana (pasta with
wild fennel, red prawn and cumin). Roscioli will be open daily through August,
except for Sundays and on 15 August.
In the mood
for fish? Osteria La Gensola, one
of Rome’s tastiest seafood restaurants, is open every day this month, except
for 15 August. Head to this top-notch Trastevere spot for super-fresh fish
dishes such as spaghetti with sea urchin or grilled calamari.
Some of the
city’s top spots for contemporary cuisine are open through August too ― including
Rome’s newest Michelin-starred restaurants. Two-year-old Pipero al Rex offers
specialties such as goose carpaccio with apple and mustard, while Metamorfosi features twists on the
classics, such as gnocchi with
cuttlefish and peas. Both restaurants are serving dinner Monday through
upmarket spot for Sunday? At Michelin-starred Glass Hostaria, Cordon Bleu-trained
chef Cristina Bowerman whips up a creative menu that changes frequently. Past
dishes have included items such as tagliolini with oysters, leeks and vanilla. In August, Glass is open Tuesday
Ristorante Antico Arco, meanwhile, is open
seven days a week during ferragosto. Located just out of Rome’s centre on the
beautiful Janiculum hill, its menu includes specialties such as raw yellowtail
with lime, ginger and fennel, or carbonara
with black truffle. Open from noon to midnight, this is also a good option
for a late lunch, as many of Rome’s restaurants close between 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm.
The new Splendor Parthenopes is also
open every day, from 7 am until 2 am. It is a great option for families, since
the menu has something for everyone, including pastries, cheeses, meat, fish, pasta
the area near the Vatican
museums and St Peter’s Basilica
is a tough one for food, even at the best of times. Luckily, one local favourite
is remaining open through August. Pizzarium (Via della Meloria 43; 063-974-5416)
offers some of Rome’s tastiest pizza al
taglio (pizza by the slice). There’s
no table service – and it’s pricy – but the slices, sold by weight, are made
with the day’s freshest ingredients. Chef Gabriele Bonci uses 200-year-old
starters for his sourdough, making for a deliciously fluffy crust.
Amanda Ruggeri is the
Rome Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes revealedrome.com.