When in Rome: How to Live like a Local

One of the best ways to truly understand and experience Rome and its culture is to live as Romans do! Embrace the local customs. Eat what we eat, and go where we go. So, when in Rome, here’s how to live like a local:

1. Breakfast on Cappuccino e Cornetto

Start your day the Roman way and have a breakfast of Cappuccino e cornetto – which is a Cappuccino and a sweet croissant. For extra points, stand at the bar instead of sitting down.

The best start for any Roman adventure – Cappuccino e cornetto.

2. Head to the Aventine Hill – Rome’s Best Kept Secret

Rome is one of the most incredible places to visit in all of Europe. It can at times be busy. That’s ok – we’re keen for you to see our treasures. However, if you want to experience a quieter place, head to the Aventine – the hill of poetry, one of the Eternal City’s best-kept secrets. It offers the best view of Rome, and it is popular with the locals.

A view through a tree lined keyhole from Aventine Hill, Rome.

3. Sample Some Aperitivo

The apertivo is one of Italy’s best creations. You can experience it any bar in Rome from around 7pm until 9pm. It simply means to ‘whet one’s appetite’, and to prepare your stomach for our rich Italian meals. Romans will use this time to get together in a bar and have a Negroni or a drink of your choice – and the price usually includes a free light snack that will be served with your drink.

Head to the bar in Rome from 7pm – 9pm to prepare for dinner with an aperitivo.

4. Eat at a Family Run Trattoria

A family run Trattoria will have a steady stream of clients – usually locals. It’s the best place to taste our delicious food. One of the best is near the Pantheon – Antica Trattoria da Pietro al Pantheon. The food is amazing, the owner is very friendly and will guide you through the options – which are always seasonal – and the wine is incredible and very reasonable, which is probably why it is always very busy with locals.

For the best culinary experience in Rome – eat where the locals eat – usually at a small, family run Trattoria.

5. Try True Roman Pizza from a Bakery Rather than a Restaurant

For the best pizza experience in Rome, buy some from a bakery rather than a restaurant. They make wonderful pizza dough on sheets; cut down into squares – a perfect size to eat on the go. You can try some authentic pizza at the historical bakery at Antico Forno with a local food host from Gray Line Rome.

Takeaway Pizza from a bakery will be one of the best pizza experiences you’ll have!

6. Go Shopping Where the Locals Shop

Italian food is renowned for its quality, and this is down to the wonderful fresh ingredients we use. You can find these at the shops and markets the locals frequent. Visiting the city’s food markets or street markets is a genuine and authentic Roman experience and the best way of getting under the city’s skin. Try Mercato Campo de’ Fiori on Piazza Campo de’ Fiori or Rome’s oldest farmers’ market Mercato Trionfale for amazing bread, fruit and cheese. You can also try one of Rome’s food walking tours where we’ll tour the markets alongside local expert.

Fresh food and veg at Campo de Fiori – Rome’s famous outdoor market.

7. Enjoy Some Roman Gelato

Rome is famous for its gelato. However, locals in Rome know how to distinguish artisan gelato from ice cream. You can find the best gelato shop in town with our help on our Hop On, Hop Off bus tour and tasting tour of Rome.

Locals and tourists alike love Rome’s gelato – to find the best, tap into some local knowledge on a tasting tour.

8. Swap the Streets for the City’s Green Space

Rome is best known for its streets and ancient buildings, however it does have some exquisite parks. Villa Borghese – once the country retreat of Cardinal Scipione Borghese – is now a gallery that houses works by Bernini, Caravaggio and Titian. It’s surrounded by beautiful gardens and that’s why all Romans love it – it is like an oasis in the midst of the city.

This stunning gallery houses works by Bernini, Caravaggio and Titian

The best way to really understand Rome and to get under its skin is to do as locals do. From enjoying a breakfast of Cappuccino e cornetto at the bar, before heading to the Aventine Hill for a beautiful view of the city, or swapping the ancient streets for beautiful sculpted gardens at Villa Borghese – living like a local in Rome will show you another side to the city. See what we see, go where we go, eat what we eat. Come; why not even get shown around Rome by our local tour guides too. Alternatively, contact us to find out more!