Rome has a lot to offer in terms of drinks, let’s get started.
In this article, I want to give you a guide on what you can order for coffee in the morning and which coffees you should avoid in the afternoon. I want to share how many wine options Italy and its regions offer. I want to share why I love aperitivo so much and some options you can order for yourself so you can see why it’s such a special time in the magical city of Rome.
I’m from Canada, so for me, getting used to coffee culture in Rome took a little bit of time. You normally don’t see people walking around with big cups filled with coffee, and then there aren’t many cafes with big cosy couches you can spend hours in. Both of which are things that are common in Canada.
In Italy, coffee tends to be a quicker ordeal. Of course, there is still the time when you’ll meet a friend for coffee, sit for a while, and catch up. Or maybe you’ll meet for a coffee, standing at the bar, which in Italian is called il banco, and then take a walk together.
However you take your coffee, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Italians do many things well, and coffee is one of them.
Ordering a Coffee
First, let me give a little run down on ordering a coffee in Rome. Rome is a big city that sees many international people everyday, so you’ll most likely be fine ordering in English. But, if you wanted to try out your Italian, you should say:
Vorrei un caffè, per favore.
I would like a coffee, please.
Then, of course, you replace the word caffè with whichever coffee you’re wanting to order.
Starting with the word “vorrei” is the polite way to order. And using these simple manners is always appreciated rather than just demanding “un caffè.” If you are not feeling confident of adding the “vorrei,” be sure to add in your please and thank you, in English or Italian, the two languages that will be most commonly understood.
- Caffè ristretto – a short espresso
- Caffè lungo – a long espresso
- Caffè doppio – a double espresso
- Caffè deca – decaffeinated espresso
- Caffè macchiato – and espresso shot with some milk foam on top
- Cappuccino – espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam
- Caffè con panna – espresso with whipped cream on top
- Caffè affogato – espresso with a scoop of gelato
- Crema al caffè – a thick creamy coffee treat
- Caffè latte – if you want what many countries refer to as a “latte”, in Italy, you’ll have to order a “caffè latte” if you want a coffee beverage and not only a glass of milk.
- Caffè americano – espresso in a taller glass and hot water to fill it up.
- Caffè shakerato – espresso, ice, and sugared syrup shaken in a martini shaker
- La moka – coffee made using a moka coffee maker (not from bars, but you may have one in your house in Rome)
- Caffè corretto – espresso with alcohol
- Caffè d’orzo – an espresso-style drink made from barley and has no caffeine.
I would say that these are the main options you’ll need for bars in Rome. Before I move on to the next category of drinks in Rome, I want to mention a few important things to remember.
Things to Remember When Ordering
- Always try to order in the politest way you can. There has even been talk of cafes, what Italians call bars, having signs that say that the price increases when manners are not used. I don’t think many places implement this, but it doesn’t hurt to proceed with caution and be kind.
- Italians do not drink cappuccino after noon. It is common to drink cappuccino whenever you like in many other countries, but in Italy, it is frowned upon. Of course, nobody should refuse your service, but you might get a few funny looks from locals.
- Oftentimes when you sit at the tables in the bar, the price goes up. If you want to avoid that and just want a quick coffee, order it for al banco at the bar.
- In many, if not most, bars in Italy, you’ll pay for your coffee, cornetto, and whatever else you want first at the till and then take your receipt to the bar, give it to the bartender, and tell them what you want.
Italy and wine, these two words fit together very well. You can find wines from every region in a city like Rome. I’ll give you a list of which wines are from which regions and which are specific to Rome’s region of Lazio that you should try out as well.
Regions and Their Wine
This list won’t be of every wine from every region because the regions in Italy are full of diversity and delicious creations. The lists would be too long.
|Nero d’Avola||Greco Nero||Vermentino||Primitivo||Primitivo|
|Syrah||Greco Bianco||Monica Nera||Sangiovese||Sangiovese|
|Campania||Trentino-Alto Adige||Le Marche||Emilia-Romagna|
|Sangiovese||Trebbiano||Pinot Grigio||Pinot Grigio|
|Pinot Noir||Petite Arvine||Brachetto|
|Vermentino||Brunello di Montalcino||Montefalco Rosso||Cesanese|
I want to mention I am not a sommelier. These wines are based on what I’ve tried and researched online. Some sommeliers share their knowledge online, and I recommend anyone coming to Italy to see and check the best wine in Rome for them, as everyone has different preferences.
Best Wine Bars in Rome
- Antico Forno Roscioli, via dei Giubbonari 21. 22, tel. 06/6875287
area: Campo De Fiori
A wine bar run with passion and experience by the Roscioli family. Choose between the over 1500 wines while tasting their fish carpaccio, the soups, or their delicious desserts.
- Trimani, via Goito 20, tel. 06/4469661
area: Termini Station area
A wine temple. Gourmet specialties are sold and served here but above all, wines from all over Italy and the world.
Rome’s History With Wine
Rome has a long history with wine. Wine, for ancient Romans was a very important part of everyday life, and they drank it like water. Actually, the ancient Romans mixed their wine and water and drank it at all times of the day. It is speculated that the wine helped improve the water quality available to Romans at the time.
Along with this, their wine is said to have had a much higher alcohol content than the wine we are used to today. So, the mixing of wine and water served two purposes apparently, improving the quality of the water and also lowering the alcohol content of the wine.
As many would imagine, a popular wine-making method involved stomping on the grapes with their feet. The Romans also tried many different techniques to flavour their wine. They used things like honey, salt water, herbs, spices, and anything else they could think of that they thought might improve the taste.
This is a beloved part of Italian life. If you go out in the early evenings in Rome, you’ll see many people out with friends and family sitting at a table with beautiful drinks and some snacks on the table. This time of day is called aperitivo, and you have to partake when in Rome.
What is Aperitivo?
Aperitivo happens anywhere from around 5 pm to 7 pm, I would say. It involves a drink of some sort: wine, a cocktail, a spritz, a beer, or whatever you like. Along with your drink, there is also some light food involved, things like chips, nuts, little pizzas or sandwiches, anything like this.
The drinks and food are brought out to you and your group, you get to sit together, drink and eat and enjoy watching Roman life happen around you.
It is said that this happy time before dinner is a way to open your stomach up for dinner to come. While you can order any drink you like, I want to give you a little list of some popular and delicious aperitivo beverages.
- Aperol Spritz – An aperol spritz is a beautiful orange drink that you’ll see all over Rome at this time. It is made up of aperol, prosecco, and soda, and often there are fruits that are added for garnish to the drink.
- Negroni – If you’re wanting something a little more bitter, this could be for you. Still a beautiful colour, this drink is made up of gin, vermouth, and campari.
- Prosecco – A favourite drink of many people, prosecco is a wonderful sparkling wine option.
I just want to mention there are quite a few different kinds of spritz, and they’re all quite nice, so if aperol is not for you, but you want to be a part of the spritz fun, try:
- Campari Spritz
- Hugo Spritz
- Limoncello Spritz
A digestif is normally an alcoholic beverage that is drunk after dinner. The purpose of having a digestif after a big meal is to help with your digestion, hence the name.
A digestivo is going to be a short drink that has a fairly high alcohol content. I want to leave you with a list of some different digestivi, so that if you wish to really embrace the Italian way, you can order one of these after your delicious meal in Rome.
- Amaro – Amaro translates in English to bitter. Some amari are more bitter than others but don’t write them off because of their name. Some of them can be really quite tasty.
- Limoncello – A digestif that I don’t think needs any explanation, a sweet and lemony option that you have to try while in Italy.
- Sambuca – If you like the taste of anise, this is for you.
- Grappa – A grape-based digestif, a great option for any wine lover. Even if you don’t love wine, this is a very delicious option.
- Amaretto – Amaretto is a sweet Italian liquor and very delicious.
Beer is known to many people all over the world, and Rome can offer you some good options. Things from classic to craft beers, Rome is a city that has it all.
- Peroni Nastro Azzurro – is a very famous brand, and it is a well-loved premium pilsner that you’ll find all over Italy. It is an easy-to-drink light lager and tastes delicious under the Roman sun.
- Moretti – Moretti is a quality beer that is for sure one of the classics. It is an Italian lager that was first brewed in 1859. It has slight hops and a refreshing finish.
- Classic Peroni – The original beer created by the brand, Peroni is probably the most popular and well-recognized beer in Italy.
Rome is a city that is home to many people, people from different cities, regions, and countries, and with that wonderful mix comes a lot of beautiful influence and creativity. That is shown through its growing craft beer scene.
Because it is still a growing scene, I don’t want to name any specific places as there could be new, wonderful, and delicious options that are around when you’re in Rome.
But do be sure to do a quick search online for the best breweries in Rome. You could also ask your host of the place you’re staying if they have any ideas on places nearby that you should check out.
Non-Alcoholic Drinks in Rome
I mentioned many alcoholic drink options here for you, but there are also some very good non-alcoholic options. Italy will have endless options for you to choose from for any kind of beverage choice. Here are some popular non-alcoholic drink options for your time in Rome.
- Crodino – This is probably the most popular non-alcoholic aperitivo drink. With its infusion of different spices, herbs, and citrus attributes, this drink is known as the non-alcoholic spritz.
- Cedrata – This is my very favourite of the options. Cedrata is a beautiful yellow colour. It is light and delicious and is made from a fruit called cedra, which is like a giant lemon. Cedrata is like a surprising lemonade.
These are two options I would steer you towards. Crodino if you want something a little more bitter, and cedrata if you’re leaning more towards sweet.
With that being said, don’t be afraid to ask the workers of the place you’ve stopped at for recommendations and to see what they have available to you.
These are something that you will surely see when you’re visiting Rome. Rome has approximately 2,500-2,800 of these fountains in Rome. The nasoni fountains started being installed in 1870 to provide drinking water to the people of the Eternal City. They have stood the test of time and are still a beloved little part of the city. They can be found all over the place; some are intricate pieces of art, and others are small, plain fountains with a spout halfway up.
They are called nasoni because a nasone translates into a “large nose”, which is what their spout is often compared to.
These nasoni are so useful and are totally safe to drink from. Take a water bottle with you, or buy one to refill, and you’ll find them all throughout the city while you’re touring. It’ll be hard to get dehydrated in Rome.
In the end, your holiday should be fitting to your likes and interests. So, I hope my run down of these different beverage options has helped give you some background information. Maybe it has even encouraged you to research further what you’d like to try before your trip.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your hosts and locals for help. They know Rome the best.
- Try new things. If you don’t like whatever you tried, Rome has much more to offer you.