Rome is a city with a lot going for it: a wealth of history, monuments, art and cuisine fit for an emperor.
Whilst food in Rome is not a secret, expat cookbooks abound on the subject as well as sought after restaurants and markets, like Mercato di Testaccio, forming as much of the visitor experience as the main attractions themselves, this is a city where much of its culinary reputation goes before it.
There are, however, a wealth of specialised local food products that make Roman food, or that of the region Lazio, even more exciting.
We've picked selected some of the beloved locally produced foods of the region, which every visitor should try. As they say, when in Rome...
8 Traditional Foods to Enjoy in Rome and Beyond
1. GUANCIALE AMATRICIANO
One of the key elements of the famous Amatriciana Pasta, guanciale, or pork cheek is one of the specialties of the municipalities of Amatrice (Rieti) and is made by salting the cheek for a period of about five days.
This is a ham typical of Viterbo, made with tanned pork loin.
3. PORCHETTA DI ARICCIA IGP
This irresitable pork is baked to perfection with a crispy exterior and gently spiced interior. Once you've tried it, more than likely stuffed into a fresh panino with a cold beer, there's no turning back, you will be a fan for life. Typical of the Roman town of Ariccia, the old tradition (probably dating from pre–Roman times) the Porchetta di Ariccia is celebrated at the famous festival that originated in the 1950s.
4. ABBACCHIO ROMANO IGP
Abbacchio is an ancient Roman term that indicates a young milk fed or suckling lamb. Whilst almost a hundred recipes abound for this delicate and lean meat, the most famous is "dell'abbacchio," a leg of lamb baked with diced potatoes and usually served for celebrations like Easter or Christmas.
5. PECORINO ROMANO DOP
This is a grated cheese with an intense flavour and ancient history: being appreciated as far back as Roman times. One of the culinary traditions of Lazio is to eat fresh Pecorino Romano with fava beans every 1 May.
A goat cheese consumed fresh or aged. Marzolina is easily identified by its unusual elongated cyndrical or conical shape. It can also be preserved in oil and flavored with spices yielding a generally sweet and rich flavour.
7. CARCIOFO ROMANESCO IGP (Roman Artichokes)
The humble artichoke forms the hub of Roman cuisine. A friendlier artichoke to manage than most, aside from its characteristic colour and globe shape, it's also pleasantly free from thorns. The most famous Roman recipe is to deep fry the artichoke and serve crispy.
This unusual, slightly bitter vegetable comes from the shoots of a specific variety of chicory that are found between February and March. Traditionally, puntarelle are served as a side dish or antipasto dressed with garlic, anchovies and olive oil. While the preperation may be more fiddly, the extra work is most definitely worth the effort .