Italy is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and the largest producer of wine by volume. With over 2000 grape varieties that span the entirety of the peninsula, the country has a long and rich history of cultivating wine dating back millennia. It is a deeply entrenched part of daily life and inextricably intertwined with Italy’s culinary traditions so it’s as much a culture experience as a pleasurable pastime in the country. Wine lovers in Rome will find many great options for partaking in this most enjoyable of activities: whether you opt for a rustic enoteca, sleek wine bar-bistro or restaurant with an extensive cantina, these spots are sure to delight your inner enophile.
Bar, Italian, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Vegetarian, Fast Food, $$$
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This delightful enoteca, with a name that translates to ‘The Little Drop’, packs a great atmosphere and bottles of wine prominently displayed in a cozy space. Housed in a rustic and evocative 16th-century palazzo, Il Goccetto is replete with a frescoed wooden roof, medieval chandeliers and 800 different labels of Italian and French wines lining its walls. It also has a glowing deli of cheeses, vegetables and cold-cuts to pair with your vino for the perfect pre-dinner aperitivo.
Al Vino Al Vino is a well-stocked enoteca located on Via dei Serpenti, right in the heart of Monti, and yet its great charm lies in the fact that it’s easy to miss. You’re always guaranteed to find a seat (an anomaly at the nearby Ai Tre Scalini) and be afforded courteous service. You can’t beat the price-quality ratio, with many bottles selling for under €20, and the menu has great small plates for the table: don’t pass up the sweet-and-sour eggplant caponata which is mouthwateringly flavorful.
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This unapologetically ‘radical-chic’ wine bar is an oasis of enophiles and leftist-leaning intellectuals in the middle of all the action. Despite its proximity to touristy Campo de’ Fiori, Il Vinaietto is refreshingly untrendy and exceedingly local – always a welcome find in the historic center. With a dozen wines by the glass ranging from €4-6 or a wide selection of affordably-priced bottles for sale (uncorked for a fee), it’s a nice place to stop by for a quick drink and chat with friends. The crowd is slightly older and the bar doesn’t offer much in the way of snacks so pick up some pizza at the nearby Forno Roscioli which you can enjoy inside alongside your wine.
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For quality wines and premiere food products from the Italian peninsula, head to Il Sorì in San Lorenzo, a standout locale in proximity to Rome’s largest university. It’s an intimate little spot with passionate and knowledgeable wine enthusiasts who are happy to talk you through their selection or a tasting. Il Sorì also prides itself on offering some of Italy’s finest gastronomic delights, such as prosciutto from Siena and cheeses from the Apennines, selected from local producers. With a carefully crafted and ambitious menu of entrées, you’ll want to stick around for dinner.
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Il Tiaso is a picture-perfect wine bar located in the alternative Pigneto neighborhood. Effusively cozy, this ‘enolibrary’ hosts wine tastings, live music and film screenings in a jovial atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. There offer a wonderful selection of wines by the glass, along with beers and spirits, and an assortment of cheeses, meats and bruschette to accompany your drink. If you’re after a casual and heartfelt little bar, Il Tiaso is it.
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Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, Beer, $$$
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From the outside you’d never guess that Enoteca Ferrara houses a restaurant, osteria, wine bar and brewery within its walls. And you’d never guess it used to be a convent: that is, until the two sisters who inherited decided to turn it into a drinking and dining establishment. Wine lovers will be impressed by the enormous list of bottles, a veritable Wine Bible with over 1,600 labels. If you’re unsure where to start, you can order from a dozen wines by the glass and enjoy a small aperitivo buffet along with your drink.
Spirito DiVino is a restaurant that is best known for its impressive, ancient wine cellar but its enological prowess is matched by its fabulous food. Its wine cellar is considered the oldest in the city, dating back to 80 BC, and now contains almost 1,000 bottles. On the menu you’ll find comforting and innovative dishes such as stracciatella di bufala with tomato confit and bread crumbs and braised pork with apple purée. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, Spirito DiVino is even part of the Slow Food Movement which supports traditional methods of agriculture and purchases products from local farmers.
Wine Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Spanish, Mediterranean, European, $$$
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Located close to the Spanish Steps, Enoteca Regionale Palatium is a great bet for stellar wine and food in the posh Campo Marzio district. This sleek wine bar-bistro promotes specialties and local products of the Lazio region: the origin of each product, in fact, is clearly identified on the menu. The dishes are classic with some innovations and showcase the best seasonal ingredients. There is an ample selection of Lazio wines by the glass and bottles are incredibly reasonable given the upscale location.