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Picnics in Rome

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chasbob Sep 27, 2008 12:09 PM

Hello. We're brand, spanking new to Chowhound as a friend just referred us to the site. We're just about to head off to Italy for our first time. I've been scanning the postings for suggestions on restaurants and it all seems both daunting and exciting. I have two specific questions to ask about Rome - if anyone has some suggestions. 1) We like to hit food shops and just buy some items for a picnic to eat and watch the world go by. Can anyone suggest some locations that might be appropriate for sitting and eating al fresco on a bench or the grass - preferably with a view to the city or people-watching? 2) If we do eat in a park or other location, are we allowed to drink wine while eating there? (Technically, we're not allowed to do that here in Vancouver.) If it makes any difference, we'll be staying in the Aventine Hill district.
Thanks a lot, in advance, for any advice. We're getting very excited.

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  1. katieparla RE: chasbob Sep 27, 2008 01:37 PM

    If you are staying near the Aventine, you must go for a picnic at the Parco degli Aranci (orange gardens) on the Aventine Hill and the Villa Celiamontana on the nearby Celio. You can pick up everything you need at Volpetti in Testaccio (next to the Aventine. They will supply utensils and napkins, though, if I recall correctly, they wont open the wine. I could be totally wrong about that. Anyway, its never a bad idea to carry a wine key with you when traveling. You never know when it will come in handy. The Villa Borghese is another great picnicing spot.

    I would steer clear of eating near/on monuments. eating at roman monuments was banned by the city (though they seem not to be enforcing the rule) in July. plus, there are few places with benches where you can sit and eat and people watch.

    Drinking wine in public parks is definitely tolerated, if not totally legal. I doubt italy has blue laws like we do in North America and if they do they are surely not enforced!

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      frankki RE: chasbob Sep 28, 2008 07:09 AM

      Hi - one of our favorite outdoor places is the botanical gardens on the testavere side of the river. it's not too far from where you are going to be and is absolutely lovely!! it's in the hills, so there's a great view over roma. it's beautiful! ps - many places en route to pick up lovely supplies for a picnic (you could pass thru campo di fiore before you cross the bridge). buon viaggio!

      1. steve h. RE: chasbob Sep 28, 2008 11:01 AM

        build your picnic basket at the market at campo de' fiori (including beer and wine) in the morning and then take the 116 bus to the villa borghese. find a nice place in the park to hang out. maybe visit the gallery if you have a ticket. walk or bus back to your hotel/apartment.

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          chasbob RE: chasbob Sep 28, 2008 01:10 PM

          I'd like to thank everyone for the responses. They are greatly appreciated - or should I say Grazie Mille. I see that both Volpetti and Campo de' Fiori are closed on Sunday. That will likely be one of our picnic days - especially as we're hoping to go to the Borghese that day. Any ideas on how to stock a picnic "basket" on a Sunday morning?

          2 Replies
          1. re: chasbob
            steve h. RE: chasbob Sep 28, 2008 01:17 PM

            chasbob,
            buy on saturday if you choose. drop the goodies off at your place and return to grab a late-night meal. the campo is pretty cool. learn a bit about the bakeries and shops that surround the square.

            1. re: chasbob
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              Hungry Celeste RE: chasbob Sep 29, 2008 11:43 AM

              Definitely buy your supplies on Saturday. I enjoyed lots of make-it-up-as-you-go-along outdoor dining in Rome, thanks to the wonderful bakeries in almost every neighborhood. My suggestion is to plan your days around sightseeing, figure out what neighborhood you'll be visiting around mealtime, and search out the best bakeries or foodshops in those areas. Another suggestion is to buy food before lunch, as many shops close for the early afternoon hours.

              Don't overlook supermarkets: DeSpar has a couple of locations in the centro storico--a great cheese case, some prepared foods, and a decent selection of breads. These generally don't close for the afternoon, either.

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