Rome / Florence Food Itinerary

20 years after our honeymoon in Italy, my wife and I + our 15yo / 12yo sons will be heading back! Given flight prices and timing, we’re only hitting Rome and Florence with a couple day trips planned. I’ve gone through the various threads and pulled together a meal itinerary and wanted to sanity check if there are any glaring inclusions (i.e. DON’T GO THERE) or exclusions (i.e. DON’T MISS IT)!

For context, everyone in the family loves Italian food, my wife is a pasta fiend. We tend to prefer low-key, more lively but not packed / crazy scenes versus high-end, white table cloth dining. Not that we’re against the latter, but we just like to chill with good food. We tend to prefer lighter food, i.e. less creamy preps but are fine with nicely fried items.

All that said, here’s what we have in mind. None of this is set in stone, except for a couple sentimental favorites (which I’ll note.) Please fire away with thoughts!

Arrival Day: Dinner @ Perilli
Day 1: Lunch @ Tram Tram, Dinner @ Trattoria De Cesare
Day 2: Lunch @ TBD (thinking Mercato Centrale), Dinner @ Roscioli
Day 3: Lunch @ Emma, Dinner @ Trattoria Monti
Day 4: Lunch @ Enoteca Pitti Gola

Arrival Day: Dinner @ Tamero
Day 1: Lunch @ Il Santo Bevitore, Dinner @ Trattoria 4 Leoni (sentimental value)
Day 2: Lunch @ Da Cesari in Bologna, Dinner @ Aroma
Day 3: Lunch @ TBD (thinking family cooking class), Dinner @ Trattoria Casalinga (sentimental value)
Day 4: Lunch @ Tamero (we love pasta and this place seems great, so our only repeat…), Dinner @ Trattoria Cammillo

We also love Gelato and are thinking Carapina in Rome and Carabe, My Sugar and Santa Trinita in Florence.

Fire away please!

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I couple of suggestions, in Rome:

  • our favorite restaurant, specializing in seafood is Il Tempio di Iside
  • I am pretty sure that Enoteca Pitti Gola is in Florence (right across the street from the Pitti Palace)
  • Antico Arco was fantastic in 2017 (you can taxi up the hill and then walk down after dinner to Trastevere, dont miss Fontana dell’Acqua Paola on your way down with magnificent view over Rome)
  • Much has been written about Roscioli - I personally liked it very much and liked Emma even better

In Florence (going in May)

  • We did not care for Il Santo Belvitori in 2017 despite all the acclaim
  • Our must visit place is Buca Dell Orafo - for bistecca fiorentina
  • Also going to 4 Leoni on the evening of our arrival - nothing wrong with that place.
  • Other places we are considering Trattoria Pandemonia, Cibreo

Finally I have never been to any of these for lunch as we usually only go out for dinner.

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Also check out hungry onion, there are some discussions on Rome and Florence there

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Yep I posted on HO as well! Just curious. You’re the second person to imply that going all out for lunch / dinner may be overdoing it. But what do you do instead for lunch? Are you just nibbling at various places, i.e. paninis or lampradotto or a mercato? That’s the part i’m trying to figure out… I want to maximize our eating pleasure but also leave room to snack through out the day!


Also, at Buca Dell Orafo… I want to do Bistecca but my issue is no one else in my family can eat rare… they are all medium rare - medium type folks. And i’ve heard a lot of the Bistecca spots will only do rare. Is that actually true?

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there is no medium or rare when you order, there is just bistecca…
here is the photo from Orafo in 2017

We typically stay in apartments rarther than hotels and often make it to our kitchen for light lunch with charcuterie, cheese, salad, or veggies. Or pick up some sandwiches along the way, have a picnic, or sit down for light snacks/drinks in a simple place. Maybe you pick a bottle of wine and some sandwiches and climb up to pizzale michelangelo and have your lunch while gazing over Florence?
That said, if you pick well, you can have lighter options in some of the places you have selected, except that you will miss on some of the food there, and that maybe just perfect for you.

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Got it. Makes sense! We will have to play that by ear as the wifey much prefers seated dining, lol. and Happy wife = happy life.

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well you made to 20 years! can’t argue with success! Do what feels right for your family and don’t have any FOMO!

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You’re only in Italy for a week. You’ll be walking around a lot, working up an appetite. Why not enjoy a serious lunch and serious dinner every day? You might want to have a picnic lunch sometimes just because there are so many great things in bakeries and delis.

The same people own Roscioli and Emma and there’s a lot of overlap in the menus. Emma is in every respect the better of the two, so I’ll never sit in Roscioli’s uncomfortable chairs again, though it’s a good deli.

If you want to eat lunch at a market, I highly recommend Testaccio. One of the best markets and one of the best less-touristy neighborhoods in Rome. While there, also visit Volpetti, one of if not the best deli in town.

Mercato Centrale is next to the Termini train station, a neighborhood I’ll go to great lengths to avoid.

Don’t waste a meal on steak if you don’t like it rare. You can get better beef in the US anyway.

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Totally true

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2nd Tempio do Iside. It was one of our favorite meals in Rome along with Emma. This was an amazing raw langoustine/shrimp? with that crazy blue roe. The crab pasta was delicious but very messy to extract the meat from the crabs

I dream of Santa Trinita gelato. I literally had gelato twice per day in Florence. I tried the place 2 blocks away that seems to get better reviews but I love Santa Trinita. My favorite flavors were various fruits, pistachio and the peanut gelato. Yum.

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Are those scampi (langoustines)? Hard to tell without the shell. It’s worth going out of your way to get those.

(As I said, I’ll go to great lengths to avoid Termini.)

my family is still talking about those blue roe langostines. Posting some of our photos too.



Ok, you convinced me on La Gensola… Never thought this but we have 3 seafood restaurants booked on our vacation which will hopefully lighten up a few meals.

Super excited about Santa Trinita… I’ve read more than a few descriptions saying it skews less sweet, which is exactly what I want!


Pierluigi - avoid at all costs

why? i saw “high class gastronomy” and that’s a turnoff for me… nothing wrong with it, but in general, i much prefer low key dining and don’t love the fanciness / fussiness of what gastronomy typically implies.


I recall lots of horror stories of rude service, improper charges, etc pre-covid on Chowhound.

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I could not agree more strongly or emphasize this more! Do not go to Pierluigi.

Got dragged to Pierluigi by friends. Thoroughly mediocre bordering on poor, bland and unimaginative. Was so pissed I wasted a meal there and didn’t get to go to Tempio di Iside.

Others know Rome better than I, but would second @robert’s rec for Testaccio market. Really good food and a fun lunch.

The only other thing I’d put on your radar is pizza, maybe taglio at Bonci (or wherever people are liking these days) or Neapolitan at Piccolo Buco. And I had a great meal at Trecca, but it’s a bit out of the way and has a very small menu in comparison to De Cesare.