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Last minute Rome itinerary help!

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My girlfriend and I are going to Rome tomorrow for three days (wednesday night through sat night) and it is my first time in Italy. I have read through these boards like crazy not to mention lots of other websites but my head is spinning trying to settle on places to go. any help would be greatly appreciated!!

We are staying in the Jewish Ghetto off of Piazza Maffei near Piazza Costaguti. Having never been to Italy before, I am looking forward to trying pasta, pizza, gelato, espresso, etc. I'm thinking we have three dinners to plan and three lunches/snacks. We're probably more interested in trattorias/enotecas than fancier places but might splurge for one dinner. Here is what I have so far. please advise!!

Wednesday night: we get in around 9:30 pm. Noticed that Il Sanpietrino is right near us and is open late. Have read good things about it...Can't tell if it's pricey or not (ie how much for a pasta dish?)

Other things I'm considering:

-pizza bianca at Antico Forno
-gelato at San Crispino
-espresso at Sant Eustachio
-tartufo at tazza de oro
-dinner at one or two of these: campana, cavour 313, antico arco, Nuovo Mondo (pizza), Armando al Pantheon, Checchino Dal, matriciana, augusto
-lunch at sosa margherita or Paris in Trastevere
also, a friend told me that many bars will put out free food to go with drinks. any places people recommend for this? or does the food tend to be not so great??
Thanks in Advance!!!

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  1. Sanpietrino was in flux last time I checked but had lowered prices. It's really near you so you can look at the menu posted outside, which may, however, be visible only when the restaurant is open (there is a big heavy door). Pizza at Antico Forno is good, nearby Roscioli probably better. Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'Oro are neighbor-rivals. Tartufo is specialty gelato of Tre Scalini. I don't like it much. Have granita di caffè at Tazza d'Oro instead (cheaper than Sant'E). Your dinner options are all over the place, in every sense. What do you actually want? In any case, of your list the ones I actually go to are Antico Arco, Armando and Checchino. Nuovo Mondo is good pizza but not much of an evening. Campana always gets mixed reviews. It often fills a need but is no longer on my A or B list. Cavour 313 is a wine bar and doesn’t satisfy the evening appetite for hot, chewable food of my habitual dinner companion.

    Lunch at Sora Margherita, a hole in the wall, is probably better for your lunch than Paris, which is a serious restaurant. Paris is better, but for lunch in the heat I'd go with the one that's less of a big deal. I would like to know your friend's bars. The only place I have ever had substantial snacks is at Ciampini in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, where I once sat and had an aperitif (something I don't get to do often for some reason) and they brought many yummy things. Otherwise I feel lucky to get some potato chips.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      Thanks for your helpful response! I realize that I listed quite a hodgepodge of places partly because I don't know the geography and also where a lot of these places fall in terms of classification (tratorria, enoteca, restaurant) Since we'll have just arrived from the airport, I think Sanpietrino will be great for our first meal because it's close. For our three lunches, I'm thinking one day antico forno or roscioli, one day Casa Bleve (for antipasti), and one day Sora Margherita. For dinner, I am having problems...I'm sure location and sightseeing will affect where we end up but if getting a great introduction to food Rome is the primary goal, which three would you choose (keeping in mind we don't have a huge budget but will definitely splurge for a fantastic meal) and which might give a nice variety?: Armando al Pantheon, Antico Arco, Checchino, La Piazzetta, Colline Emiliane, Al Ceppo, Trattoria Monti

      Not sure what my friend was talking about regarding bars that serve free food...will have to ask him again.

      thanks for your suggestions!

      1. re: tummyache

        Are you always going to be around Campo de' Fiori at lunchtime? Your lunch choices are fine, but all in the same general area, and know that Casa Bleve is expensive and all about the wine. You start choosing a little of this and a little of that from the bar and add a couple of glasses of wine and pretty soon you've got a bill that would buy you a modest dinner elsewhere. I love it, and I go there, but it's not like one of those trattorias with a big antipasto spread. Sora Margherita is the exact opposite in every way. There are two Rosciolis, one on via dei Giubbonari, which is chi-chi and a pizza al taglio on via dei Chiavari (practically across the street), which is what you want. You don't actually have lunch at Antico Forno, but you can get sandwiches made of pizza bianca to take away, which could be an idea. I like everything on your final list of restaurants, but for a splurge on a limited budget, I'd say Antico Arco, and precede dinner with a walk in the park to see the sunset. (Look at a map.) If you prefer unreconstructed Roman tradition (but upscale, with great wines and cheeses), you want Checchino. I love Al Ceppo too, but save it for your next trip. The others on your list are excellent but lack the atmosphere that says "splurge". Any of them would be way above average for your "normal" dinners.

        1. re: mbfant

          Thanks! I think I've settled on dinners: sanpietrino tonight, la piazzetta tomorrow night, antico arco/checchino friday night, armando early dinner saturday. We probably won't always be around campo de fiori for lunch. But will probably fill those in with snacky things in preparation for big dinners. Any recs for something good near Villa Borghese for saturday lunch?

          1. re: tummyache

            No Borghese ideas off the top of my head, but if you're having an early dinner, you won't need much. Don't leave booking for Friday too long.