Rome might be one of the most touristy cities in the world but it certainly doesn’t lack local lustre. When Alicia and I went on a walking food tour with Eating Italy, our guide Kate took us off the beaten path in the neighbourhood of Trastevere. We hit up local spots we wouldn’t be able to find on our own, including Rome’s oldest public cantina.
I loved the aging rustic façade with Italian vespas lined up outside!
Easily missed from above ground, Spirito diVino is an ancient wine cellar dating back to 80 BC, and which is tucked away beneath a local family restaurant. We were about to have a wine-tasting in a wine cellar that is 150 years older than the Colosseum itself!
We made our way down a few old, narrow stairs to a chilly, underlit, yet beautifully rustic basement with more than 800 bottles of wine. Surrounded by wooden barrels and dusty shelves, we sampled a bottle of Casolare, a well-aged and bold Montepulciano grape from Le Marche region. Kate says the best Italian wines don’t even make it out of the country! There are 675 ethnic grapes grown only in Italian soil and produced in very small amounts so you would have to come to Italy just to taste them! The grapes here are so rich and juicy, I can’t blame Italians for wanting to keep their wines close.
I’ve never seen so much vino in my life!
We paired our wine with homemade Italian polpette and caciofiore – a type of percorino cheese made in the Lazio region. It’s a really bold cheese with a sharp flavour. There are only a couple of cheese shops in Rome that carry it but, if you do find some, it’ll run you about 20 euros a pound! Sheesh, that’s some expensive sheep!
Sorry for my poor lighting, but we were sooo far underground!
Spirito di Vino is one of the first stops on the Eating Europe tour in Rome, a 4 hour food adventure in Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood. While all opinions are my own, they are fully responsible for the serious wine buzz I had during the rest of our walk.