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Sep 19, 2012 05:50 AM

Family Day-Trip to Rome


I'm going taking my family to Rome for the day on Sunday. Our train arrives at 10:30 and leaves at 7:30, which is too little time, but we are only aiming to explore the Forum and the Palatine hill. Three questions:

-Only one meal out, so I'd like it to be a good one, in a place not too tight since I have 3 children. Any suggestions for a great Roman lunch in that area, on a Sunday?

-I'll also be looking to pick up supplies for a dinner on the train, so I'd love any suggestions for great places to pick up olives (I'm living in Spello, and I'm stunned by the lack of olives!), cheese (I'd love something other than pecorino), and cured meats. Preferably en route between the forum and the train station so we can pick up supplies on our walk back.

-We love street food! Any places to pick up a warm snack of any kind would be marvelous!

Thanks chow hounders, you've always enhanced every trip I've taken!


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  1. I can't believe I'm going to post this, but go to the Forum and Palantine hill and then take the metro to Piramide and walk to EATALY. Eat there and shop there.

    I heard EATALY is a zoo on Sundays, but that might have calmed down. But you probably need an eating strategy for feeding 3 kids in there, understanding how the place works for meals.

    Or you might consider doing it in reverse, when EATALY restaurants might be less crowded: Go directly to EATALY, first. Shop, then sit down to eat around noon. Go to Forum/Palantine in the afternoon. It means toting a backpack full of olives and cheese around ancient Rome, but you can probably manage.

    I've never eaten there, so can't tell you if the food will be up to your wishes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: barberinibee

      If Eataly in Rome is anything like Eataly in NYC (that is, a mecca for tourists), I doubt the crowds will ever die down.

    2. Eataly is a zoo, doesn't offer much local food and eating at the restaurants is neither easy, nor good. Not really between termini and forum either, but a good option is to go to one of the farmer's markets - either the one at san teodoro or the other in the ex mattatoio. Both accessible by bus from termini. But they close around 3 on sundays (i think, i always go in the morning) so you'll have to do that in the morning. Olives, cheeses, meats, all in abundance and big variety. At san teodoro you can even sit on the terrace and eat lunch.

      12 Replies
      1. re: vinoroma

        remind me of the days and hours for the two farmers markets?

        Why not have a leisurely Sunday Roman restaurant meal in Testaccio (Perilli maybe???) - its a quick walk /bus or tram from the forum/papatino/colosseo - you could then walk over the aventine visit the San Teodoro market before it closes and go on to explore the Capitoline are, which to me is the most fascinating part of that whole area, with the ancient churches, wonderful square, view over the forums and museums. Making it back to the termini is simple from this area.

        Apologies if my geography is a bit wacky - I dont have access to a map at the moment.

        1. re: jen kalb

          Replying, it looks like the market is open til 6 pm
          giving you time to have a VERY leisurely lunch and look into Santa Sabina, etc on the Aventine

          There has been a wedding going on at San Giorgio di Velabro every time we have walked by on a weekend over the years - just a charming corner of Rome to wander through and I think the blog link above mentions a popular bar/cafe for refreshments if you start to fade.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Jen, I got the impression that with 3 kids in tow, a leisurely lunch wasn't in the cards. Maybe I misunderstood.

          2. re: jen kalb

            To expand on Jen's suggestion: if you were to go to Testaccio, Flavio al Velavevodetto seemed very kid-friendly when we were there for Sunday lunch in April. It was full of Italian families of all ages.

            1. re: lisaonthecape

              lisa, how did the food at Flavio stack up qualitywise to the other traditional roman places? I am considering it for my visit but wont really have all that many dining opportunities overall.

              1. re: jen kalb

                The obvious comparison would probably be Perilli, but I haven't been there and can't compare (so many of our Rome visits were with my kids when they were younger and we usually cooked at "home" most evenings). It wasn't the best meal I had in Rome--that would have to be the gnocchi at L'Arcangelo, with close seconds being Trattoria Monti and the 12-Euro lunch at L'Asino D'Oro. At Flavio, for my primo, I had pasta sauced with vignarola. It was good, but not great; I would have preferred the vignarola on its own. My husband had tonnareli, either cacio e pepe or alla gricia, I can't remember which, and that was excellent. My secondo was fried baby lamb chops, and they were delicious. So, overall, good food but not the greatest. I guess I would compare it with Armando al Pantheon in overall quality--but this was just one meal. The atmosphere was very homey, with lots of Italian families out for Sunday lunch. If I were in Rome on a Thursday, I'd go with L'Arcangelo.

                1. re: lisaonthecape

                  ok thanks for the recap.. We are very fond of Armando and also of the food at Monti (we were less happy about the attitude, but not enough to stay away.)

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    I didn't experience any attitude at Monti--had a lovely dinner there with another CHr who was travelling solo in Rome at the same time.

                    1. re: lisaonthecape

                      I know - alot of folks have a great time - the sons are charming - our lunch experience included, in addition to having a delicious meal among a crowd of interesting romans - not being told the daily specials, not receiving the antipasto ordered, receiving our meal 20 minutes after the folks next to us - who ordered later - receiving smaller pours of wine by the glass requiring us to order second glasses, and it was not cheap, and finally being ignored for long stretches. hopefully we will have a chance to redeem the experience this year.

          3. re: vinoroma

            Whew! Thanks for saving them, vinoroma!

            I actually fell for the line that EATALY was a heaven-sent asset to Rome because it brought Romans the joys of being able to food shop on Sundays for the first time in history.

            Silly me.

            Next time I am in Rome on a Sunday, I think I will walk on my knees to San Teodoro in penance (and then eat a lot of great olives and cheese when I get there).

            1. re: barberinibee

              :) eataly has been discussed (and is still being). I do not think it is a good thing, and have written my reasons before (in short: very few local food, not good quality, expensive). But i also hear a lot of roman friends loving it, so there must be some good thing to it. But food shopping on sundays has been possible before eataly, at many levels - supermarkets to specialty shops to farmers markets.

              1. re: vinoroma

                well, I think the vox pop in Rome has just as much chance of being right as the vox pop in any other country, especially when public opinion is so easily manipulated by corporations. I'll therefore stick to my low opinion of EATALY. :)

            1. re: barberinibee

              These are great ideas, everyone, thanks! Yes, I'm looking for a leisurely Roman lunch. My kids have been living in Italy long enough to expect to sit and enjoy their meal (and they are 5, 10, and 14, not too young) . If you have any more ideas, please keep them coming! I am so incredibly appreciative!

              1. re: mdamiani

                Do you think you would like to go to one of these farmer's markets before or after touring? Might affect suggestions on where to have that leisurely lunch.

                1. re: barberinibee

                  Great question, I think when we arrive, we'll probably want to head straight to the forum. And then lunch. So I'm thinking the only farmer's market we'd be able to go to would be one open on our way back to the train station. Which is unfortunate, I miss a good farmer's market!

                  1. re: mdamiani

                    thie link I provided above says the mkt at San teodoro is open til 6 on Sunday
                    not sure all the vendors hang around but still -I will be interested to hear about your experience, since we will be there (staying nearby) a week after your visit.

            2. HI Michelle,
              I understand about the lack of good olives in Umbria! Weird, but so true.

              For a Sunday lunch, with kids, not far from the Forum and Palatine I'd suggest Gigetto. I know others on this board don't like it, but I go there regularly (as do a lot of Romans) and it is the perfect place to go with kids in tow. If you reserve a table outside (and do that if weather permits) then the kids can get up and stretch their legs if the meal stretches out. Do order the fried zucchini flowers, but skip the artichokes which are not in season now and not very good. For pastas they make killer cacio e pepe, amatriciana and carbonara. They are very happy to serve you family style if you all want to sample and share. Desserts (if you have room) are prepared by one of the sons who has the bakery next door, Dolce Roma, and include expat delicacies like cheesecake, sacher torte and some times even brownies.

              After or before I'd stop by the Farmer's Market at San Teodoro to stock up.

              Hope this helps!


              1 Reply
              1. re: minchilli

                Thanks everyone! Elizabeth, I'm wondering if Umbrian olive culture has all gone to oil? It is pretty spectacular oil. In any case, we ended up getting train tickets that left later, so we can have dinner as well. Tried to reserve for L'Asino D'Oro, but they are closed Sunday (next time... next time...), instead booked Gigetto for lunch. We shall steer clear of the artichokes, and rather focus on the zucchini flowers. Now we are looking for a reliably swift (not quick, just not a place you get ignored for long stretches) restaurant for dinner somewhere in the vicinity of the Forum or Termini. Pizza or otherwise. Tricky because it's Sunday (Monti is closed, too). We'll have to come back when the kids have a school holiday so we can be in Rome not on a Sunday!