Letter from Rome

Justin Livingston, elegant retiree (see 10 Food Question) is spending a month living in the Vittoria area in Rome.  Here is his Roman food story.


Justin Livingston
Justin Livingston

I am staying in the Vittoria area, north of the Vatican and near Piazza Mazzini. This was a working class area, but is becoming trendy, but as yet untouristy.

Street in Vittoria area

The large covered Trionfale Market is about a 15 minute walk  from my apartment and was recommend by my Roman landlord. There is a fantastic availability of fresh food – vegetables, fruit, cheese, bread and pasta. I buy the half green tomatoes which are so full of sunny flavour, as well as the reddest strawberries I have ever seen.


Fresh fruit at the Trionfale market


Because I don’t have an oven in the flat, I make dishes which I can saute on hotplates as well as salads. There is a fantastic array of fresh food, so this is not a problem. I have braised fennel, cooked delicious Italian sausages and made fiori di zuccha (stuffed zucchini flowers).

Buying cheese at the market
Buying cheese at the market

If not eating at home, I go to my local pizzeria/hostaria the Giacomelli. This is a family restaurant and absolutely full of locals. It is atmospheric, not expensive and not haute cuisine, but perfect if you are eating alone as a traveller.
Pizzeria Giacomelli

I ate there last night and had a lovely pizza with peas, artichoke, suasage and mozzerella. There is a huge range of pizzas, as well as the usual beef, veal and chicken dishes. The Padrona and her daughter are front of house, with Signora Giacomelli taking the money as people leave and her daughter Cristiana greeting customers, most of whom she knows, as they arrive.

Signora Giacomelli
Signora Giacomelli

The restaurant has been there since 1945 and is always busy with good service and a lively atmosphere. It’s just the sort of experience I wanted to have by staying here for a few weeks, longer than I have ever done before.
My shopping from the market
My shopping from the market

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