It was Christmas time during my senior year of high school back in 2016. Most people were excited about being home for winter break and seeing their families. But I had something else to look forward to. Something infinitely more exciting than visiting my family. For a late 18th birthday/ graduation present, my mother and my stepfather decided to take me, my younger brother, and my younger sister on a vacation to Rome for a week. We would be celebrating Christmas there, which excited me so much. I could not wait to see the Roman Colosseum and make a wish at the Trevi Fountain. However, I was even more excited to try true Italian cuisine. Here are the foods that you MUST try while in Rome, Italy!

Pasta Al Amatriciana

I always have been, and always will be a pasta lover. So, I cannot deny that I love pasta al amatriciana. For those who have never heard of it before, al amatriciana is essentially pasta with marinara sauce, with the addition of pancetta (Italian bacon) and some spices. This was my go to meal at every restaurant in Rome, and each chef made it their own way, but it was always delicious.

penne alla vodka, pasta, homemade, Easy, dorm
Tess Citron


This is kind of a no brainer. Italy is the birthplace of gelato, so why not try some authentic gelato while you are there? On my trip, I only went to one gelato place. I do not remember the name, but I do remember ordering strawberry gelato to switch up my usually order of orange-chocolate. It was the perfect combination of refreshing, creamy, and sweet. Orange-chocolate and strawberry are my two favorite flavors, but feel free to order whatever. It’s Rome and it’s gelato, so all the flavors most likely taste amazing.

cake, chocolate, pizza, candy, feast
Emily Palmer

Panna Cotta

This is a lesser known dessert at Italian restaurants in the United States, but based on the restaurants I have visited in Rome: panna cotta was always on the menu. For those who have never heard of panna cotta, it is like a mix of custard and pudding. It is usually served with chocolate or fruit, and it is perfect for those who have a sweet tooth. After trying panna cotta my first night in Rome, it was my go to dessert for the rest of my trip. I highly recommend it.

sweet, cream, jam, milk, pudding, tea, gelatin, honey, panna cotta, coffee
Lee Nguyen

Even though all the food in Rome was amazing, these foods, in my eyes, stood out from the rest. Going to Italy was an experience that I have so far only had once, so I did my best to try as many new foods as I can. So, I encourage you to do the same. Be adventurous and try the foods on the list (or even more), because visiting another country is not an opportunity that you get very often.

Here are some other awesome articles suggesting what to eat while in Rome, Italy!