Perfect Lunchtime Trip from Rome: Frascati, Italy

I don’t normally recommend day trips or really, much running around at all, for people who are on vacation. This is probably why I would make a terrible tour guide. But, if even a lazy bones like me can haul my ass up the hill to Frascati for a delightful afternoon, you should too. Here is everything you need to know about having lunch in Frascati, according to me.

Frascati

1. Take the 11.52 train from Termini. The ticket costs 1.90 euro each way and are good for any train time. You can buy them at a ticket window, from any ticket machine, and even from the newspaper stands within Termini – get them for both directions, since the bar at the station in Frascati might be closed and then you’ll be riding the train without a ticket.

PLEASE NOTE that the train leaves from track 15, which I call the Harry Potter track because if you are standing at the front of Termini the numbers jump from 14 to 16. You have to take that platform 400 meters back to reach track 15, and the track is hidden behind a large pillar. Leave plenty of time for this, and keep walking.

2. When you get to Frascati a half hour later, follow the people up to the front of the station. On your right you will have to cross a street and walk up a LONG staircase. Take your time, Frascati’s not going anywhere.

3. When you get to the top, check out that amazing villa! And then go to your right until you reach the large area with the balcony, opposite the villa – that’s Rome you see spread out below you.

Frascati

4. If you’re looking at the villa as seen above, head left and walk straight on – you’ll see a pedestrian only street there where the piazza ends. Follow that until you get to a funky re-done church. My friend Leo hates this church, because it’s not original architecture or something – but whatever, take a picture, it’s pretty.

5. Find the street that’s further to your left and to the church’s right, and follow that until you get to Piazza del Mercato. Yes, all those places are really selling fresh roasted pork. Go ahead and let that sink in.

6. The market the piazza is named after is in front of you, on the far side. To the left of that market is Leda, the Queen of Pork. Go to her and order “porchetta per X persone per la cantina.” I’ll tell you why in a moment. She’ll slice off some fresh roasted pork, and you can let her choose some cheese for you as well. Also, make sure to get some rolls from her, and don’t forget to get some sun dried tomatoes and artichokes with plenty of extra oil. I’ll tell you why in a moment. This should run you no more than 10 euro per person.

Frascati

7. If you’re facing Leda, the Queen of Pork, there is a small street to your left. Walk down that street until you come to Piazza dell’Olmo, and the Trattoria dell’Olmo; it’s your first left. This is the oldest cantina in Frascati. Wait until the old lady notices you, and ask, “C’e’ spazio per X persone?” She’ll tell you where to sit.

Frascati

8. Unwrap your purchases. This is the moment.

9. The old lady will ask you what you want. Just say “un mezzo litro” or “un litro” – by law she is only allowed to serve you wine and water. Don’t ask if she has anything else to drink, because she does not – nor can you bring any other beverages in. And, she’ll hate you. She’ll also bring you knives, and napkins – but if she doesn’t, there’s a roll of paper towels by the door, help yourself. The wine is white, but it’s actually an amber color and sweet. This should run you about 2 euro per person.

10. Make yourself a pork sandwich. Use the oil from the tomatoes and artichokes as a condiment on the bread. Swoon as you eat the best roasted pork you ever had in your life. Wash it down with homemade wine. Check out what everyone else is eating, too.

Frascati

The trains back to Rome run at 29 minutes after the hour. I’ve eaten nice and slowly, and walked around a bit, and made the 2:29 train back to Rome with no problem.

UPDATED: Read this post to know why I am adding the pertinent info here:

Osteria dell’Olmo di Reggi Rita,
Piazza dell’Olmo, 3
Frascati.
cell. 347.4045273

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64 thoughts on “Perfect Lunchtime Trip from Rome: Frascati, Italy

  1. Sweet Buddha, this looks transcendent. I’m going to save these instruction, follow them like a treasure map and when I get back to California I’ll build a temple in your honor. You deserve one for a post like this.

    • Went with my sister in August while visiting in Rome and did the trip – A few differences – the track they used this time was 17, and Leda’s was closed when we got there. Instead we went to one of the other ones there and did the rest of the trip as stated. It was great – the food was good, and the lady was very pleasant and nice to both of us. I spoke Italian and told her it was an honor to meet her. We also got a nice picture of her.The wine was amazing. We had a nice relaxing lunch and enjoyed the best gelato ever on our walk back to the train. I need more of your short little trips to do because this was a nice adventure and change for me while visiting Rome. Loved it. Thanks so much.

  2. This really does sound like the “Perfect Lunchtime Trip from Rome: Frascati, Italy” The pictures are awesome. And I drooled on my computer when I saw the last picture. I had food envy.

  3. Pingback: Day Trips from Rome | Italy Travel Guide

  4. Did the trip this past Saturday – perfect directions! I will say that things seem to be quieter on Saturdays (only two stands were open). Also, I hoped to explore other parts of Frascati with the guidance of the local tourist office. However, when I asked a police officer about the tourist office, she mentioned that it was no longer operating (something about budget cuts I think). Lucky for me, this police officer used to work at the tourist office, so she had plenty of advice for exploring the town!

  5. 10 of us in Rome for the Rugby week-end. Followed these instructions – purchased our suckling pig, olives, artichokes,sun dried tomoatoes plus fresh tomatoes off the big fruit and vegetable stand also in the Piazza. Eventually found the Trattoria – instructions correct – but building looks nothing from the outside! Wonderful day enjoyed by all.

  6. we did this trip last week – amazing! we had a gorgeous sunny day. what a perfect day trip from roma! i wonder, though, if leda knows about your blog post – she must be wondering about her surge in popularity!

    thank you!

  7. I am traveling to Rome with my mom in a couple weeks. We really wanted to do the Frascati wine tasting tour from Rome to Frascati, but unfortunately, they don’t run on the day we can go. We plan on following this excursion post for a lunchtim trip, however we REALLY wanted to visit a winery there and taste. Is that possible, do you know? Are there any local tasting rooms open to the public?

    (p.s. we are also doing your daytrip to Orvietto!)

    Thank you for your advance, and wonderful trips that we can follow!

    Nicole

  8. I don’t know if Leda knows about this blog, but the cantina lady sure does! :-) We did the trip yesterday and when I walked in with the blog printout in my hand she laughed out loud and turned to an old man and said something about “internet!” Haha.

    • OH MY GOD YOU DID NOT. hahahahahahahahahahahhahahaha

      I’ll have to go there next weekend and tell her it’s me. She’ll either spit at me or buy me a litre. More importantly, DID YOU LIKE IT?

      • Yes I did! She needs to put a sign out front that says “I’m the old lady, and the napkins are exactly where you think they are.” This was the absolute highlight of our two weeks in Europe. It’s hard to care too much about volcanic ash when your face is buried in a heap of succulent roasted pork!

        • Ha, I’m so glad you liked it. I can’t tell you how tickled pink I am that it was your highlight!

  9. When we went a couple weeks ago, the Cantina lady had the blog printout posted on the wall! It was pretty funny.

    And the trip was as amazing as you said it would be – delicious, perfect and fun! A great day.

  10. i am trying to plan a couple of day trips and one overnight day trip from rome for next month..do you think this would warrant an overnight or is better suited for a day trip? or do you have a better suggesstion for an overnight? we’re hoping for somewhere relaxing with a nice b&b or small boutique hotel (not too expensive of course!)…any suggestion would be greatly appreciated!!

    • I would say that Orvieto is better for an overnight stay, or even two days… from there you can also visit Assisi. Frascati is definitely a day trip.

    • My mom and I went to both Frascati and Orvieto. I love the day trip to Frascati, the Porchetta was out of this world! We followed the blog, and ate with the locals at the cantina. (We passed it at first, and asked the butcher down on the right, and he corrected us that it is Osteria dell’Olmo, not Trattoria). It was a great afternoon trip.

      Orvieto, on the other hand, I wanted to stay a couple days in. In fact, I want to retire there someday in one of those beautiful villas at the base of the hill, with vineyards and olive orchards. It the most charming and lovely place I have ever been to. One day simply isn’t enough time. The shopping, and eating, everything is wonderful. We took a lot of time to talk (or at least try to) with the local shop owners/artisans. They are beautiful! I jotted down the name of a few hotels, and definitely plan on going back with my husband. After getting home I looked up some hotels, and the rates are really reasonable, most under $100/night.

      Thanks Miss Expatria for the great suggestions. I wouldn’t have known about these hidden gems at each town if it weren’t for your guidance. – Nicole

  11. I have been putting together a plan for a trip to Rome in August and had my itinerary set in my mind. Then I discovered your blog and it has thrown everything for a loop. I can not wait to try this little trip and possibly Orvieto. And the eating suggestions in Rome sound wonderful

    I have just started blogging and this should certainly give me something to blog about LOL

    I have four days in Rome and then out to Marino for an Irish wedding.

  12. I live in Frascati and know the lady in the osteria dell’olmo well. When I went to buy some wine I saw her print-out. The only complaint she had was that she’d been described as an OLD lady! She doesn’t feel or look old and she’s a very hard worker!

  13. Pingback: The Rick Steves of Frascati, Italy Day Trips « Miss Expatria

  14. Amazing blog post – just what I was looking for! My husband and I have three days to kill between the Amalfi and catching a flight out of FCO to Provence and have decided to stay in neighboring Grottaferrata at Locanda della Spuntino (it was too cute to pass up). We have done Rome before and wanted to do something in the countryside with a lot of local flavor. Your lunch afternoon is just the kind of thing we love! We had an completely unplanned lunch adventure similar to the one you describe a few years back in Pienza – walked into random butcher shop, made friends with owner, walked out with unbelievable pork sandwiches, glasses of wine in hand (from their own bottle behind the counter), and a couple of wheels of cheese while grinning like a bunch of idiots! I can’t wait to check out Frascati and the yummy nibbles! If you have any other places in the area (we will have a car) you think we should check out, please let me know. LOVE your blog!!

  15. We followed this plan to a “t” and it was absolutely perfect! The Queen of Pork is still there, and we went straight to the cantina with our food. We order a liter followed by a “gift” of another 1/4 liter from a local friend we made. By the time we were done with our food, we had been invited over to a table of friends who meet up every Wednesday for bread, cheese, and of course, wine. The owner spoke Italian with us, only because he knew that tourists who come out of Rome are looking for a more authentic experience. We were the only Americans in town today, and we knew that town up and down before we left. Frascati, we miss you already!

  16. My daughter lived in Frascati for 4 years.We frequented this porqueta shop ,but never went to the Cantina.We’re going back in march 2011,and looking forward to see this “old Lady”.We have always enjoyed Frascati’s restaurants and ice-cream parlours and now feel at home there.

  17. On Saturday March 5, we did our lunch trip from Rome to Frascati.

    Minor adjustment to the train times, now the train leaves Rome at 11:54AM and departs Frascati at 14:37 PM.

    We followed your directions and advice and when we finished ordering the Porchetta the owner explained that she had received alot of business because of your article and mentioned having airline crews from Rome on layovers come up to Frascati and order her Porchetta to take the the Cantina. The owner asked that we pass along her thanks to you for sending all the business, so consider it passed….

    We spread out our food at the Cantina and ate it slowly while finishing off a Liter of Frascati White Wine and a glass each of her red wine to taste the difference. (STAY with the White Wine, a customer at an adjacent table had driven in from Rome to get his two 4 gallon jugs filled with the white wine. He mentioned her White wine was 14% alcohol content. Our bill at the Cantina for the wine and water was 5 Euros.

    We were joined by a Mother, father and daughter from England at our table, which are communal. When we saw them unwrapping the identical food items we asked if they were here based on your blog? Turns out they were and loved the place as well.

    Your blog has made an impact not only on the two business owners in Frascati but all of us that followed your advice as well. As residents in Rome for the next 18 months we plan on returning to Frascati many times.

    Thanks.

  18. My husband and a group of friends and I did the Frascati run two years ago, and it was everything described in this blog. We ate at Zohra’s Cantini, an equally delightful experience. Don’t miss the fresh olives too – best thing you ever put in your mouth, if you like olives. Salty, but not processed. We were the only English speaking customers in the small cantini, but blended with the locals and had a great time. We are returning with a new group of friends in June and plan to take them. Seeing these pictures makes my mouth water. Thanks for reminding me of one of the best days of our Italian vacation. It was a nice break from the hustle bustle of Rome.

  19. Christine,
    Thank you so much for posting this and the follow up blog. My wife and I are in Rome right now. Yesterday we followed your directions and had a wonderful time. We are not city people so after 5 days in the city we really needed a break. This was just the thing. Except for a little confusion at the “funky church, everything was exactly as you said. The pork was delicious. We chatted with Leda and the people at her stand and your blog was brought up. She said to say that asking for extra oil was not necessary as there is plenty. :)

    The Osteria was something else. We did get one knife and two forks though!!! Got our own paper towels. Noticed a picture of Frank Zappa and asked her about it. From what we could understand he actually drank wine in that very place…note for all Zappa fans.

    Thanks again!

  20. Brilliant trip. i made it to frascati on sunday evening, and there were some wonderful little markets going on, in the town square. i got some lovely pork and bread; although unfortunatley the Osteria is closed on sunday evenings. however, it was still a wonderful trip, and the markets more than made up for the Osteria being closed.

  21. Hi,
    Thanks so very very much for all your info. We went there in the first week of July. We did exactly as you suggested. Lena was closed so we bought the porchetta from the other stand – the first one that you find as you enter the square. It was super. La signiora Rita is super friendly as the locals we found in the cantina. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we went back the week after!!!!! Wonderful… wonderful experience. I recommend it to all.

  22. Christine,

    I love your blogs! We’re heading to Italy on our honeymoon and are planning to take this day trip to Frascati exactly as you spelled it out on a Sunday, do you know if anything might be closed on Sundays? We don’t want to miss the pork or the wine or the train!

    Melanie & John

    • hi, i went on a sunday in July this year, and while the pork stand was open, the little Osteria where you get the wine was closed.

  23. Leaving for Rome and staying at the Colonna Hotel in Frascati on Sept 8 and leaving on the 10th. Went to the Colonna Hotel Website, it reported that all the rooms were filled, found a hotel website and discovered there were two rooms available. Snapped a room for two. Will be walking to the Hotel from the train station, seems easy, great blog. Will be taking lot’s of pix. Live in Huntington Beach, Ca. blogs http://www.MikesMunchies.com, http://www.BellagioBlog.com will be following your directions, Grazie Mike Colonna

  24. I am SO glad we stumbled upon your blog while looking for recommendations on day trips just outside of Rome. We took all of your advice regarding Frascati. We got Porchetta at Leda’s and ate Fava Beans & drank the white wine at the one of the old cantinas (not sure if it was the one you recommended since it was not an old lady, but a nice gentleman – either way it was a BIG HIT!) My mom, sister and I had a great relaxing day trip with some of the best food of our whole trip!

  25. Alec B
    Thanks for the info on Frascati. I will be in Rome next monday 28th june for 4 day before we get on our greek cruise. I wanrted to get out of the city and this looks like the perfect place. Thankyou again Alec & Glenda

    • Excellent! I just made this trip again last week with a friend and it absolutely lives up to my own hype. LOL

  26. These are great tips, thanks so much for all the wonderful information!

    We are going heading to Rome in late August this year. After reading your blog, we are planning on going to Frascati on a Sunday but it seems like the Osteria is closed on this day. So after we buy our lunch at Leda’s, do you have any suggestions on where to get drinks and a nice place to eat?

    • I’ve gone there at least a half a dozen times on a Sunday and it’s been open. In any case, there are many cantinas around town; just pop your head into one of them and ask if they have space!

  27. We did this on our last day in Rome (a couple of weeks ago). The Osteria was closed…it was a Sunday. But as we were buying our food from Leda, regina di Porchetta, my sister (who speaks pretty decent Italian) was telling her how we had found your blog and followed your directions, but the Osteria was closed. Not a problem! She had her assistant show us to a different place where we were able to eat our lunch and partake of (lots of) wine! It was our most fun, relaxed day in Rome. (no doubt the wine was a factor :) Thanks for the info…

    • That’s so weird she’s closed on Sundays now, we used to go there all the time on Sunday! Hm….

      • We went Sunday, June 2nd and she was there. There was a strolling guitar player who was a little odd but happy. Then the local friend of the owner’s picked up his guitar and we had a party!

  28. What about the Villa? Is it open to the public? I spent the summer of 1980 in summer school in Rome. Frascati was a great getaway. We roamed the gardens of the Villa. Seemed like they were restoring the Villa. Christine. I love your blog. Headed there next month.

    • I don’t think it’s open to the public, no. I could be 100% wrong, though. But I’ve never seen anyone on the grounds, roaming or otherwise.

  29. Pingback: Jumping the Train to Frascati to See the “Queen of Pork” | American Ragazzo in Italy

  30. I went this afternoon. Sept 20, 2012. Outside of the summer, everything closes down for “le ore di pasta” ie lunchtime, because people go home to eat. So you have to get there way before 1pm. I arrived at 1:30, thinking that the stands would be open for any self respecting Roman who came to visit, who not be caught dead eating before 1:30 in the afternoon. I did get a porchetta sandwich at a little stand near Leda , but no cantinas were open Del’olmo is closed for renovations. The Osterie have porchetta and pasta, frutta e vino, and you cannot just go there at lunchtime for wine. You have to eat. So, I ended up taking my sandwich home to eat tomorrow. What I did have was a great pasta al cacio e pepe at an Osteria San Gaetano which is, I believe on /via Mentana. The place was great and cheap. From Piazza Roma, you can walk directly up the street that runs into the Cathedral and turn right at the first cross street and walk up to the end where the stairs are and you are there.

  31. Went for lunch from Rome. Found the market around 1:15, loaded up on good eats. The proprietress pointed us to a cantina, which we found to be closed, so she called the owner there who had gone out for coffee. She returned, let us in, served us a lovely half liter of wine. Lunch was excellent. It was a nice way to take a break from the city. We walked up the hill for more views and to work off lunch. Took the 4:30 train back with a great sunset to watch on the short train ride back.

  32. We were there on Wednesday and Leda was closed. There is a deli at the left side of Leda and they sell porchetta too. We bought a porchetta sandwich , sundried tomatoes , artichokes and olives. The cantina was closed so we bought a bottle of frascati wine and had a picnic at the park in front of Leda. It was a very good lunch outside of Rome.

  33. Just finished licking the grease of my fingers…This was an unbelievably delicious picnic. The grilled eggplant is also amazing. Leda gave me some kind of cheese with pistachios. Mmm-mm good.
    I don’t think the cantina was open (maybe because of the time – Sunday around noon), at least I didn’t find it, and it was a bit of a challenge to find a good spot to spread out but this was one of my favorite meals ever.
    Total was slightly over 11 euro and I am stuffed!
    Thanks for the great tip!

  34. Pingback: Day Tripping – Rome to Frascati | Dreaming In Italian

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