Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Aug 23, 2011 03:13 PM

Street Food

We will be traveling through Venice, Siena, and Rome in early November. Is the concept of "street food" something one might find in any of these cities? Looking for street vendors offering up yummy traditional treats. Does this exist?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sorry to report that there are no such thing as street vendors offering up yummy treats in Venice. There are some food to go such as pizza slices, panini, some internationalized fare such as sausage roll, 'hamburger', stuff pita, etc. These are all sold in small shops. Nothing similar to the hot dog carts plying their trade in street corners of Manhattan. If Venetians want to eat light or 'graze', they go to bacari or front bar of restaurants and eat cicchetti.

    1. In Rome, food sold from trucks on the street is overwhelmingly aimed at the lowest form of tourism. (Markets on the street are something else.) There is no concept of buying something delicious from a pushcart and eating it on the hoof. But Roman bars, gelaterias, and pizza al taglio shops are the next best thing, and not to be sneezed at. The only foods you see Romans walking around with are pizza al taglio, or pizza bianca, and gelato.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mbfant

        The pizza al taglio at Pizzarium in Rome was better than any other pizza I've ever had. I would pick that any day over an authentic neopolitan pie.

        Highly recommended.

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

      2. Don't look for street food in Siena either as you certainly won't find any. There is a spot off the Campo that sells pizza by the slice and "ciaccino ripieno" that you can eat on the run, but that's about it. (there are many, but this one on Banchi di Sotto, is really the only one that is worth it in my opinion)The good news is that there might be some good festivals going on in that period. I know of one that usually happens in Late November in the center that is great:
        "La Festa delle Castagne" which is for Chestnuts. It's held by a Contrada, but it's not exclusive.
        There will surely be many others going on in Tuscany, as it's a good food period.

        There are some great foods to be had in November in Siena, one of which is one of my all-time favorites: Pan Co` Santi. It's definitely something you could get as a snack as it's a slightly sweet bread that is full of walnuts and raisins. It's not light, but it's fantastic.

        Have a wonderful time!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ambra

          you have reminded me that roasted chestnuts is somethiing you will find sold on the street in fall and winter in Rome and elswhere - I guess it qualifies as a tasty streetfood treat. to look out for.

        2. If you're in Siena on a Wednesday, there's a porchetta truck at the market that Mark Bittman of the NYTimes liked:

          1. Thanks so much. I thought as much since I didn't see any posts regarding street food "on the street." But thrilled to hear about the Porchetta in Siena. We will be there on a Wednesday and both my husband and I are huge pork fans. We'll have to give it a try and report back.

            Thanks for your help everyone.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hmast

              Well, I did find that article about the porchetta quite strange, having been a resident of Siena for four years. Sienese do in fact shop for clothes in the center (and some do at the market as well)and don't in fact much shop for food in the center where the tourists do. Hmmmm.

              Havign said that, the Wednesday market is HUGE, and has pretty high quality stuff compared to other markets. Keep in mind that it ends about 13:30 and you'll be hard pressed to find which porchetta truck is mentioned in the article as there are usually a few. The only thing I can tell you is, that that last truck on the right, which roasts all kinds of yummy things is pretty good. Or at least once was. (I'm a food safety nut so I only go in winter. Something about eating food that has been roasting under a hot sun grosses me out!) My husband adored their stuffed roast rabbit. But it's not the kind of thing you eat standing up. We'd bring it home. I can't remember if they have porchetta though. they had good crochette di patate, albeit probably of the frozen variety!

              There will also be a fried fish truck or two if you like fish! Usually calamari and shrimp (shell on!).

              I'm sure you'll eat well there, just keep the time in mind!