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3 days in Rome/3 days in Florence

  • EATTV May 11, 2007 09:51 AM
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What are some good tips for best bet meals and specialties for 3 days in Rome and 3 days in Florence in August? Also any street food or snack tips? Per favore.

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  1. We just got back from Paris and Florence. Our hotel gave us 3 recommendations in Florence, we went to 2 - very happy. Trattoria Marione - via della Spada, 27r. Good wholesome family run - very crowded, many others love it. On the same street even better and more crowded - Ristorante La Spada, via della Spada, 62r. We never made it to their recommendation for an excellent pizza place, kind of bummed because we never had good pizza in Italy. It was called Dante's and it was across the river over the Ponte alla Carraia (bridge) not too far.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lexpatti

      Second the rec for Trattoria Marione - had lunch there yesterday and everything was very fresh, well prepared and inexpensive. I had a simply grilled seabass which came with some arugula and tomatoes. It was out of this world and only cost 8.5 euro.
      The house wine was delicious as well. Lots of Italians eating here on a Sunday afternoon.

    2. snack tip in rome: porchetta sandwich at aristo campo (campo de' fiori) is pretty good. can also recommend their salumi platter paired with a chilled tocai. informal place (eat/drink outside on the side of the building so you don't have to directly face the campo). inexpensive. a decent stop after a busy day.

      8 Replies
      1. re: steve h.

        Volpetti, the gourmet shop in via Marmorata, stays open in August, so you can always get super picnic material and takeout -- and I do recommend taking a panino of prosciutto or cheese on your sightseeing. There are parks to eat in and good water from fountains all over town. You can thus save room and money for dinner. Gastronomically the summer is less interesting than winter or spring. There will be tons of peppers, zucchini (the specific Roman kind, zucchine romanesche), eggplants, and green beans. Pollo con i peperoni, chicken stewed with sweet peppers, is a specialty. Lot of tomatoes, of course, always with basil.

        1. re: mbfant

          This is helpful. I am moving the trip up to late July because of the August closings. Do you know the Lugarno Hotel in Florence and have you stayed at the Russie or Minivera in Rome?

          1. re: EATTV

            Love the Lugarno in Florence! In Rome, I have a decided preference for the location of the Minerva compared to the Russie. The Russie is newer and has more cachet at the moment, but I'd rather be close to the Pantheon than to the Piazza del Popolo.

            In Rome, be sure to try individual pizza slices from Antico Forno Campo de'Fiori (obviously in the Campo de'Fiori area). I am not a coffee drinker, yet I'm a huge fan of the granita di caffe (My preference: con crema) at La Tazza D'Oro in Piazza Rotondo. And you must get a tartufo at Tre Scalini. We always order this as a take-out and sit on the benches in the Piazza Navona.

            Finally, here's a rec that doesn't quite fit your request but I really want to pass along: Osteria dell'Ingegno: (Piazza di Pietra 45 -- located mid-way between
            the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon). It's a great place if you want the
            Italian version an American-style salad lunch. That is, if you'd like a lunch entree salad rather than a hot meal of pasta or meat/fish/chicken, this is the place to go. I've enjoyed their version of a Nicoise salad and my husband has enjoyed the Italian equivalent of a chef's salad. At another lunch, we enjoyed their chilled tomato and red pepper soup along with a simple mixed green salad. Everything has been delicious with fresh, quality ingredients. This place includes an appealing wine bar so there are lots of choices by the glass. When we ate there, I didn't hear English being spoken at any table in our vicinity. FWIW, the Italians were eating a salad plus a plate of fresh fruit or pasta.

          2. re: mbfant

            If you go to Volpetti, there's a pasticceria a couple of doors down Marmorata (Barbieri) that has the best pastries I had in Rome (I became addicted to their code d'aragosta and the last day I went in they had fabulous bite-sized tarts with tiny wild strawberries; I wished I had thought to try their gelato earlier, as it was excellent). The problem in Rome, in fact, is to keep from eating constantly -- there is seemingly a place that sells food (pizza, panini, gelato, pastries or a combination thereof) on every block.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Barberini, via Marmorata 41-43, and it's closed Wednesdays. It's very good.

              1. re: mbfant

                Thanks for correcting the name -- I have a card, but I don't have it with me!

                1. re: mbfant

                  Someo f the best espresso and cappuccino in Roma too!

              2. re: mbfant

                We just got back from Florence and we spent 4 nights at the Lungarno Hotel. We loved everything about it. Great location, great service, nice rooms.

                One of our favorite restaurants is Mamma Gina's just down the street from the Lungarno. Great waiters and great food. We loved everything they served us. Greatr pastas, eggplant parm, barley soup and meat dishes.

            2. We stayed at Hotel Scoti in Florence - fabulous - awesome price - would stay again in a minute, excellent location, phenominal hosts. google them for other great reviews.
              http://www.hotelscoti.com/

              1. for Firenze, i have a bunch of recommendations (most of which are pre-prints -- see http://nightingaleshiraz.com/onedayin... and http://www.nightingaleshiraz.com/ital... -- the latter having tips for all over but Florence at the end). in particular i love Trattoria ZaZa and Borgo Antico (both really really reasonable, sit-down places that -- unusually for Florence -- have long or right-through-to-dinner lunch hours). i also love doing the enoteca (winebar) rounds -- Le Volpi e L'Uva and Fuori Porta are both great (especially when you want to eat but aren't in the mood for a full meal), as is Santo Bevitore -- all three are in the Oltrarno.
                in Rome, there are some great, only-in-Rome places in the Jewish Quarter -- my personal favorite is Da Giggetto but it has been getting mixed reviews in the last few years. again, enotecas can be wonderful watering *and* feeding holes -- i love Ai Tre Scalini in Monti, Angolo Divino and Il Goccetto in the Campo de’ Fiori area, and Enoteca D'Orio in the Nomentana/Regina Margherita area.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nightingaleshiraz

                  A thousand Thanks for this.

                2. For a resonably priced, family run exprience in Florence, you can't beat Trattoria Il Bargello near the Uffizi at Borgo dei Greci, 37/r. We had a fantastic meal there amidst a mixture of local and tourist patrons. Reuben, our waiter, suggested most of our meal, as well as our wine, and was spot-on with every suggestion. The pasta with boar's meat sauce was the best serving of any we had during our trip. He paired our meal with a fantastic local red wine that was reasonably priced for the exceptional quality (40 Euro). I don't think you can go wrong with this establishment.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: magoo

                    I agree! I have had three great meals there, and always excellent wine recommendations. I highly recommend it!! Not the rubbery mozzarella many places serve, it was fantastic, very, very fresh. I wouldn't recommend anything for dessert except vin santo. Not a place for a gourmand, but a very good meal at a trattoria. Extremely helpful service from Reuben also!

                  2. In Florence, go to San Lorenzo market! It's perfect for snacking. Here's my previous post from many years ago. I still dream about that bolito misto.

                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/262633

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Porthos

                      This is such a classic post. Bravo!

                    2. Just spent seven days Rome/two days Florence.

                      In Florence we had a great reasonably priced dinner at Natalino (pear-filled tortellini in gorgonzola sauce, veggie ravioli with zucchini flowers and curry, couple of Florentine steaks and good local wine. It's a couple of blocks from the Duomo. Had an average dinner at Mamma Gina (more expensive than Natalino), which we found to be more touristy as far as the menu went. As we stated elsewhere, everything within a couple blocks of the Pontevecchio appears overpriced and geared to tourists.

                      We agree with the poster who enjoyed Trattoria Za Za. Had lunch there - an exceptional polenta with liver and porcini and probably the best Caprese salad of the trip. We ate in the outdoor square area although the restaurant seems comfortable as well.

                      We second the reply on visiting Le Volpe e L'Uva - lots of small producers featured, reasonable prices. We brought home six Tuscans for under €100 (bought a styrofoam wine shipper from Mailboxes Etc. for €7.50). They also do tastings of wine and olive oil at Olio e Convivium, but we got attitude because we arrived at a time that was inconvenient for them.

                      If you're going to eat near the Pontevecchio, probably best to keep it to pizza - Open Bar would be a decent choice.

                      In Rome, our best meals were at Gusto (the grilled octopus with olive and almond was my single most memorable appetizer the entire trip - the fettucine with rabbit was good, but not over the top great) Gusto is surprisingly affordable for the quality.

                      El Arco di San Calisto in Trastavere - had a wonderful fried baccala, a light ceci soup loaded with rosemary and a braised oxtail entree (which I had to try, but was really too "heavy" for the warm evening).

                      Costanzo - we had lunch there (get in early, 12:30-1:00 - it fills up fast) and would definitely go back again and again. There were delights like an amuse bouche of a deep fried olive stuffed with liver. The mozz bufula was still wonderfully runny. Get the artichoke alla Romana as well - it's done in many places, but none with the care showed here. House wine is a bit more expensive - bottles, not carafes, but a terrifically fruity Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (Valle d'Oro).

                      Would add that a couple blocks from Trevi is a gelato place that is not to be missed - San Crispino. They had a NYT write up. It's more like a lab than a typical gelato display (no mounds - everything covered in stainless). Had a scoop of Barolo and a scoop of bergamot, wife had honey and peach - it really was better than other excellent gelatos we'd had - don't know how or why, but it's astounding.

                      Most other meals were not as memorable, but if you find yourself in the Monti area and your waiter tells you he's from Plainfield, NJ - run, don't walk. We can't remember the name of the place now, but it might have been the worst meal not only in Rome, but on Earth.

                      1. Enoteca Cul de Sac in Rome is just off Piazza Navona on what I believe is the south end near the "Talking statue" and is very affordable and has an incredible selection of vino. Cibreo and Garga in Florence are pricey but IMHO worth it.