Italian food rules: the lowdown

May 22, 2019

Italians give the appearance of being laid back and relaxed, but when it comes to food all this vanishes. Overtake on the inside lane, run a red light or smoke in a club, sure, but do NOT mess with culinary tradition. These rules are numerous, rigid, at times laughable and, in my English opinion, not worth taking too seriously if you actually want to enjoy your meal - but they are a pretty essential part of Italy, so here's the tea.

A traditional Italian meal...

Will go like this: antipasto (starter), primo (pasta) secondo (meat and vegetables), fruit, dolci (pudding), coffee and liquors. And yes, yes, it IS as filling as it sounds.

Do Italians eat like this every day?! Absolutely not, thank god. Mostly a primo on its own is fine at lunch, and a secondo or a pizza at dinner.

What's it really like living in Rome? Costs, language, FAQ

May 15, 2019

I've been living in Rome for about a year in total now, and I still get asked every time I meet someone: why are you here?

Sure, to anyone outside Italy living here seems idyllic. Pizza, pasta, good wine, sun, sea, sand... we all know what Italy is famous for. But beyond the rosy picture that tourists have of the country, the reality is pretty different. The economy is tough, politics are unstable, many young Italians choose to leave because jobs are few and far between. So, I thought I'd give an honest rundown of what it's really like living in Rome.

Rome on a budget: what to do, eat, drink and see

April 02, 2019

I am no stranger to budget travel. In fact, I unfortunately happen to be one of those people who has a bit of a problem spending money, even when I do have it - not the best trait, in reality. Some would call it tight, I like to call it *thrifty*. Anyway, when I was living in Rome a couple of years ago money wasn't in abundance - which was tricky for me, being someone who likes to eat and drink out, a LOT. So I had to learn the secrets of doing this in Rome without spending a fortune, and I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone tends to see Rome as quite an expensive place, and I guess it can be - I remember my parents coming back from Rome a couple of years ago with the defining memory being the time they paid €20 for two scoops of ice cream at a gelateria near the Spanish Steps - but it really doesn't have to be that expensive. Rome is definitely possible on a budget - here are my tips.

Magical Trastevere food tour with The Roman Guy

March 27, 2019

Last week was a real milestone for my blog: it was the first time I've been invited to cover an event, which is super exciting! The Roman Guy, a Rome-based tour operator, got in touch a couple of weeks ago and asked if I'd be interesting in coming on a food tour of Trastevere, in exchange for a non-biased review on my blog. *All opinions are still my own!* Since this involved three of my favourite things, namely food, Trastevere and learning about Rome, I obviously said YES PLEASE. So, without further ado...

Local Foodie Tour in Trastevere by The Roman Guy 

I'll admit I've always been a little sceptical about tours in general - yes, they're great for learning hard facts about the city, but being part of a crowd and herded like sheep from monument to monument isn't something that really draws me in. This scepticism was doubled on a food tour - would it really be authentic food?

The first thing I should say about this tour is that the group was really small. The maximum is 12, but there was only eight of us on my tour - which I think was the perfect amount, as it allowed us all to get to know each other.

Review: Vittorio Spezie e Cucina

March 21, 2019

The area around Termini often gets a bit of a bad rep, but I quite like it. San Lorenzo is full of cool bars that are buzzing in the evenings - they're full of students and a little bit 'edgy', so they remind me of my time in Bologna. Then the other side of the tracks there's Piazza Emanuele, famous for being one of the more multicultural areas of Rome - traditional Roman architecture sits alongside street markets and ethnic restaurants. I kinda love that juxtapostition, and I guess the owners of new restaurant and bar Vittorio Spezie e Cucina do too - it brings together traditional Italian food with the spices of the Piazza Emanuele area. 

Where to eat in Rome if you're bored of pizza

March 12, 2019

Guys, I love Italian food. I really do. I regularly get asked by friends and family how I manage to not be hugely overweight here - my answer is: everything is fine in moderation. Moderation is not, however, an easy thing to achieve when you're surrounded by super cheap and delicious pizza and wine every single day - and in my first year here I did succumb to temptation and put on a few (many) pounds. But I like to think I've got the hang of it now (and by that I mean I joined a gym, so I can eat exactly the same amount but feel much better about it by hitting the treadmill every now and then).

Anyway, my point is this. Italian food is delicious - but when you live here, the lack of variety can get kind of boring. Especially if you're from somewhere like the UK or the US, where there are restaurants from every country imaginable: Japanese, Kurdish, Turkish, Lebanese, Sri Lankan... etc, etc. It was a bit of a shock to me to come here and not be able to mix it up and grab a curry when I fancied it, or even be able to buy a spice mix in the supermarket and whip up some Thai food at home.

But finally, after a couple of years here, I've worked out some go-to places when I want to eat anything other than Italian. If you're in the same boat, have a read and check it out - and if anyone has other suggestions, please please let me know!

Where should I stay in Rome? An area guide

March 04, 2019

Working out where to stay for a weekend break can be tricky if you've never been to the city before - especially if you're on a budget. You want to be in the right area, close enough to the centre to be able to see everything, but not close enough that you'll be paying £200 a night in a super fancy hotel (unless that's what you can afford on holiday in which case, good for you! I'm jealous!)

So I've made an area to guide to help out anyone that's looking, with some of the central areas that I'd recommend staying in and why.

The definitive list: where to eat & drink in Rome

February 25, 2019

I don't know about anyone else, but in winter it's a real effort to get myself out of the house. It's cold, dark and the thought of standing around waiting for a bus for half an hour with only my flimsy Primark umbrella to protect me from the rain isn't particularly inspiring - most evenings it's more appealing to just to crack open a bottle of red wine, crawl under my duvet and put on Netflix rather than venturing out. But, guess what, we've nearly made it. We're at the end of February and the days are getting longer, the clocks are about to change and there's a tangible feeling of spring in the air. I can *almost* remember what it's like to sit outside after work in the sun with a cold glass of wine - and it feels GOOD. 

So, in an effort to restart blogging now that I actually have the time to spend on it, I've put together my definitive list of where to eat & drink in Rome. I get a lot of questions about this from friends and Instagram followers and, honestly, it's good for me to keep a list of where to go in what area too. I'll try and keep it regularly updated as I try out new places, but for now, here it is: