Hannah Drake

Best of Rome Walking Tour & Cooking Class

TravelHannah DrakeComment

We thought it would be fun to start our time in Rome with a walking tour and I loved the combination of a walking tour and cooking class, probably the number one thing I wanted to do while we were in Italy. So we booked the tour for our first full day in Rome, after getting to take it easy and being able to explore on our own the evening before and the morning of the tour.

We met our tour guide, Nina, near the Spanish steps, where we hung out for a little while, playing cards until it was time to meet. Our tour was just us and a mother and daughter from Chicago, and it was really nice to have such a small group because we could ask questions easily and it wasn’t ever a struggle to keep up with a large group.

I highly recommend doing a walking tour with Nina if you’re ever in Rome and because of that recommendation, I’m not going to go through all the details of the walk but instead let the photos tell the story. The only thing I’ll say is that it was such a bummer that the Trevi Fountain happened to be empty while we were there. They were doing a scheduled cleaning and planning on refilling the fountain either the day we left or the day after we left. It was a disappointment to not get to see it in all its glory.

I thought it was kismet that about two weeks ago I got an email from Nina saying she had started her own tour company after leaving Best of Rome. Her new company, Sublime Tours, currently offers nine different tours. It looks like ours was the Pasta Class.

The tour led us to the restaurant where we would do the cooking class portion. Nina explained that we would go into the kitchen to learn how to make bruschetta (pronounced with a K sound like “brusketta”) and then two different pastas, including cacio e pepe and—I think—amatriciana, a pasta with a tomato base and pork belly. She explained that cacio e pepe is a proper Roman recipe and has been Americanised as alfredo. Italians don’t actually eat fettuchine alfredo and if you find it at a restaurant, you’re at a restaurant that’s designed for tourists, not Italians and especially not Romans. As someone who would always get fettuchine alfredo, I’m 100% team cacio e pepe now. It’s still creamy and delicious, but I don’t feel like I want to die after I eat it. Nina said it was born out of typical ingredients any Roman would have in their fridge: pecorino cheese, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. That’s all you need!

The cooking class was a lot of fun. The chef was Italian and didn’t speak much English, so Nina translated. It was cool being in the kitchen of an actual restaurant and getting to learn from an actual professional. The food we made was so delicious. I wish I could go back to that meal now! Making pasta from scratch is really easy too and we’ve made it a couple of times since we’ve been back, almost always as cacio e pepe.

WHAT TO WEAR IN ROME

I decided to include this section for any ladies planning a trip to Italy in the late summer or early autumn. Consider the cobbled streets of Rome when choosing your footwear and stick to something with a sturdy sole. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and you want something comfortable. Rome won’t be as warm as the cities on the coast, but it’s still hot during the day. You might want a light jacket in the evening, especially toward the end of September.

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