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3 day intro to Rome - feedback please

Hi all: I'm new here and have been scouring the various related posts over the past few weeks. Really appreciate review and suggestions for a quick weekend in Rome in early May. Given that we'll be there the weekend of the beautification ceremonies, want to make sure to make reservations as needed (sounds like many places do not take them). There are 3 of us - me (30 something from San Francisco, my mother from Maui and late 20s brother from Boston). Priorites are solid food, variety/highlights of what Rome has to offer, ambiance, reasonable cost (whatever that may be; no need for high end, dress up places). We are staying in the Campo de Fiori area.

Friday: Arrive at 9 am, Pizzarium (will be tackling Vatican City), dinner in local area - thinking Al Bric Enoteca

Saturday: Explore open market at Campo de Fiori, lunch at Roma Sparita, dinner at Da Remo *No reservations at either place right?

Sunday: Lunch near Campo or Spanish Steps (Palatium? Pierluigi?), dinner reservations already made for La Campana (for 8pm)

Other places that caught my eye include: Palatium, Cul de Sac, Forno campo de Fiori

Sounds like dishes/thing to try include:
Carbonara
Fritti
Pizza (sit down for dinner)
Seafood dishes
Cacio e pepe

Wine: What is the best way to not break the bank on wine? Happy hours? By the glass? Do restaurants typically have a "house wine" and would you rec just going with that? We enjoy wine and do want to try the variety of Italian wines.

Thank you all,
Dee

-----
La Campana
Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

Palatium
Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

Al Bric
Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Pierluigi
Piazza Dè Ricci, 144, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

Cul de Sac
Piazza Pasquino, 73, Rome, Lazio , IT

Pizzarium
Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

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  1. Ciao Dee,

    what a lovely post - you have done homework, giving us enough info about yourself and asking for specific feedback. Wish everyone on CH would post like this.

    My only headache is with your weekend being the Beatification weekend. For one, there will be masses of people everywhere, second, I am not sure about the openings of all these places. I am not saying they are not, I just can *imagine* some of them being closed. Our big researcher on this board (and very reliable source) is Katie Parla, maybe she will chime in.

    I am almost positive the Vatican will be swamped on Friday. Pizzarium is a great place. For dinner, if you want to go to the price level of Al Bric, I would rather suggest Roscioli, on the other side of Campo dei Fiori. (reservation a must)(Have carbonara here)(great wine list)

    On Saturday you can make a pizza slice from Forno Campo dei Fiori your mid-morning snack. The market is not that interesting to hold your attention for too long, you can then go to Trastevere, stroll there and have lunch at Roma Sparita (fritti and cacio e pepe here!). No reservations, right. Da Remo is nice for Roman style pizza, no reservations.

    Palatium is very interesting, but closed on sundays. You might think about doing that on friday evening maybe. Sunday dinner at La Campana is perfect (though I would prefer lunch there).

    Definitely add artichokes, peas and fava beans to your list. Stuffed, deep fried zuccini flowers are starting as well. If you want seafood dishes, consider going to La Gensola in Trastevere, they should be open everyday, lunch & dinner.

    Wine: You won't break the bank. If you are really interested in italian wines, do not go for the house wines, they will be of lower quality and local (nothing wrong but you won't be sampling the italian variety). Markups for bottled wines in restaurants in Italy is very very reasonable, nothing like in the USA, so go ahead order a nice bottle from the lists. Lovely bottles anywhere starting at 20, sometimes even lower. For by the glass, maybe pre-dinner nipping, Il Goccetto is my favorite. Roscioli has a very nice wine list, Palatium has the best the region (Lazio) has to offer. If you go to La Gensola, very nice wine list there as well. At Pizzarium, drink beer!

    Have fun!

    -----
    La Campana
    Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

    Palatium
    Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

    Al Bric
    Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    Roscioli
    Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    Pizzarium
    Via della Meloria, 43, Rome, Lazio 00136, IT

    La Gensola
    Piazza della Gensola, 15, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

    Il Goccetto
    Via dei Banchi Vecchi, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

    1. Sounds like you have a great weekend planned! But not so sure about your visit to the Vatican, as there will be - literally - hordes of pilgrims!
      Sunday Lunch: I see you have Pierluigi on your list. I know it's not a favorite of others on this board, but I always eat very well there and if you reserve a table outside, on a beautiful day in May....there is no prettier piazza in Rome. Their spaghetti alle vongole is excellent.
      I agree: Roscioli a better choice over Bric.
      Make sure you fit in Gelato.
      If you are wandering around Trastevere I would suggest a slice of pizza at Renella, a stop at the chocolate shop Valzani, and then ice cream at Fior di Luna.
      Hope this helps,
      Elizabeth
      ____________
      www.elizabethminchilli.com

      -----
      Roscioli
      Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

      Pierluigi
      Piazza Dè Ricci, 144, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

      Fior di Luna
      Via della Lungaretta, 96, Rome, Lazio , IT

      1. Ciao Dee! Roma Sparita does take reservations, and given the city will be packed with an additional 5 billion people for the beatification, it's a good idea to call ahead and book a table outside.

        I 100% agree with vinoroma on going to Roscioli over Al Bric. Book asap.

        Palatium is certainly loads better than Pierluigi but as vinoroma states, it is closed Sundays. Might I suggest Sunday lunch at Flavio al Velavevodetto in Testaccio? Book in advance! You can eat outside on the patio after a stroll through the Roma Farmer's Market, which is located in the old slaughterhouse (enter near Ponte Testaccio).

        -----
        Palatium
        Via Frattina 94, Roma , IT

        Al Bric
        Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

        Roscioli
        Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

        Pierluigi
        Piazza Dè Ricci, 144, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

        19 Replies
        1. re: katieparla

          Oh, roma sparita takes reservations? Wasn't aware, thanks for correcting me. And flavio great idea. But are you 100% sure the farmers market will take place on may 1st?

          1. re: vinoroma

            Thank you all! I was hoping you 3 would respond. :)

            Just one question. The main reason Al Bric was on my list is bc it seemed convenient to where we're staying (after a day of travel and Vatican) and a decent option. Do you have other suggestions for the Campo area if Al Bric weren't the initial plan? Roscioli sounds like a great option that I'll definitely make reservations for if you don't convince me otherwise. I'm not necessarily looking for an enoteca or that price point (prefer to not go higher, however). Thank you again.

            -----
            Al Bric
            Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

            Roscioli
            Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

            1. re: 808to415

              I really like Cantina Lucifero. it's right next to Al Bric! it is a very low keep place with nice cheese and cured pork dishes, as well as a few daily pasta specials and nice steak tartare.

              Roscioli serves some of the best food in the city and i would definitely recommend it even if you werent staying in the area. it is certainly more of a restaurant than an enoteca (as is al bric). as vinoroma suggests, get the carbonara! and start with burrata:)

              -----
              Al Bric
              Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              Roscioli
              Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              Cantina Lucifero
              Via del Pellegrino, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

              1. re: 808to415

                Hi 8,
                I'm a fan of Al Bric because I'm a fan of cheese and wine. The wine cellar is very good, the ambience is relaxed and quiet. I'm also a fan of Roscioli where the wine and cheese is also very good. At the end of the day, Roscioli is bold and brash: a favorite of hipsters in the evening and the cognoscenti for lunch. Al Bric is quiet to the point where you can ask questions, get answers and enjoy the wine. Both are neighborhood places and shouldn't be confused with high-end destinations.

                It's not a question of either/or. Rather, it's a question of your mood and how you feel at the end of a busy day.

                -----
                Al Bric
                Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                Roscioli
                Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                1. re: steve h.

                  Steve! Of course Roscioli is a high-end destination! It just affects a traditional look, which is to say an idealized traditional look, not an actual one. Also it's small. OP seems worried that it's not close enough to Campo de’ Fiori, but should relax. It is very close.

                  -----
                  Roscioli
                  Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                    1. re: mbfant

                      I think roscioli neither does nor tries to look traditional or neighborhood place-y. In which italian traditional/neighborhood place do you see huge picture of göreme and jazz playing, bistro style tables & chairs?

                        1. re: katieparla

                          I'm laughing so hard my sides are splitting. That is some hideous art in the back room. It's a damn good thing that the burrata, cabonara and wines are so good.

                        2. re: vinoroma

                          The cheese shop front of house, where I eat my lunches, is interesting. Deb and I like to grab a two-top next to the cold case. Casual shoppers stare at my food, comment on my wine selection before placing their cheese/salumi orders at the counter. I reciprocate sotto voce.

                          It's all good.

                      1. re: steve h.

                        Thank you all for the views and tips for Roscioli, Al Bric and Flavio al Velavevodetto. Will let you know where we end up!

                        -----
                        Al Bric
                        Via Del Pellegrino, 51, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                        Roscioli
                        Via dei Giubbonari 21/23, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                        1. re: 808to415

                          You'll have a great time in Rome. Maybe consider Ditirambo for your cacio e pepe fix. It's near the Campo.

                      2. re: 808to415

                        I like both L'Angolo Divino , which is an Enoteca with a really interesting wine list (lots of biodynamic and natural wines) and good food. I also really like Vino e Camino, between the Vatican and Campo area.

                        -----
                        L'Angolo Divino
                        Via dei Balestrari, 12, Rome, Lazio , IT

                        Vino e Camino
                        piazza dell’Oro 6, Rome, Lazio , IT

                      3. re: vinoroma

                        The 1st of May San Teodoro Farmer's Market is open 100%, Testaccio I'm almost sure... 99% ;)

                        For the feedbacks you are in very good hands!

                        1. re: tavoleromane

                          i was referring to the Roma Farmer's Market above. Is that open too??

                          1. re: katieparla

                            Yes I was referring to Farmer's Market too.
                            The other market in Testaccio square will be closed.

                            1. re: katieparla

                              @kp: Yes - I'd like to know about the Roma Farmers Mkt as well. Started another thread with this query..

                              1. re: DistendedBelly

                                saw the new thread and think tavole romane has the info you need.

                                thanks @tavoleromane thanks for chiming in on this. it's been a hell of a week (is it only tuesday???) and havent been able to research this.

                        2. re: katieparla

                          If it's cacio e pepe you're after, I would warn you away from Roma Sparita. Over two recent trips to Rome, we've made a quest of cacio e pepe. It was great at Da Felice, Checcino, Piperno, Armando (lunchtime visit), and La Matricianella (where it was made with dry pasta and was still fabulous -- kind of like one hand tied behind your back). Sparita was the only place it wasn't good. Lackluster taste and dry. We think the dryness may be a fundamental physics problem with their preparation. They serve it in this gimmicky cheese bowl which may be sucking away the moisture -- and a key element of cacio e pepe is the proper emulsification. Whatever the cause, it was the only disappointing cacio e pepe we've had in Rome. To go a bit further, Sparita is the only place where we believe they tried to cheat us ("Service is not included -- leave cash for a tip." Our experience is that service is always included.). Da Felice would be my top rec for cacio e pepe. It's wonderful and they do the final toss at the table in front of you. It's fun to watch the dish come to life.

                          -----
                          Matricianella
                          Via del Leone, 4, Roma , IT

                          Piperno
                          Monte de' Cenci, 9, Rome, Lazio , IT

                          Roma Sparita Pizzeria
                          Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24, Rome, Lazio 00153, IT

                        3. You might like to try Pasta alla Griscia, too.
                          Fried zucchini flowers (mozzarella inside) as part of the _fritti_.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pericolosa

                            Actually, it's fried SQUASH blossoms that I meant to suggest, which ya'll probably know is "Fiori di ZUCCA." The "Z" must've hijacked my code-switching.

                          2. Having just been reduced almost tears at the Sistine Chapel today (and not in a good way) on account of Easter week crowds, I can echo the sentiment that you need to be seriously well-armed to tackle the Vatican right off the plane, on Beatification weekend. We are staying in the Campo di Fiori area, and can attest to Ditirambo, having dined there on this board's recco. Cacio e pepe indeed fine, service a bit off, but good food. We've also enjoyed a fine dinner at La Campana, and another good one at Giggetto, although marred only slightly again by forgetful service (I really WANTED that puntarelle!). Tonight had a swell mess of fish at Dar Filletaro de Santa Barbara, loved it.

                            -----
                            La Campana
                            Vicolo della Campana, 18, Roma, IT 00186, IT

                            Ditirambo
                            Piazza della Cancelleria, 73, Rome, Lazio 00186, IT

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Splendid Spatula

                              Thanks all. Continuing to fine tune the list and make reservations.

                              As for the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel...yes, I am quite worried about the chaos. I booked tickets online for Saturday, April 30 at 8 am. I hope the advance tix and early time will help us better navigate the crowds.