Rome’s Oldest Cantina

Rome is one of the most popular touristy cities in the world but that doesn’t mean it lacks local lustre. When Alicia and I were on our walking food tour with Eating Italy, our guide Kate took us off the beaten path in the neighbourhood of Trastevere. In Trastevere you’ll find Rome’s best places to eat and drink, including the city’s oldest public cantina.

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!

Old archway to the cantina


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.

Rome's oldest cantina


Kate and SO much vino!


I’ve never seen so much vino in my life!

We wanted to drink ALL of them!


Italians go through a lot of bottles!


Salute from me and Alicia!


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!

Rome's caciofiore cheese


Sorry for my poor lighting, but we were sooo far underground!


Homemade polpette


How to Get Here: via dei Genovesi, 31


I was a guest of Eating Italy Food Tours however all opinions expressed are my own.



A Canadian journalist turned blogger, Cristina traded in the conventional 9-5 to live life by her own terms. Her passion for local travel and experiences has taken her to more than 25 countries and 50 different cities. She\\’s currently planning her next chapter of volunteer travel around the world.

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