Phyllis, Barberini Pasticceria, Testaccio, Rome

The Sweet Side of Rome

They’re everywhere! Gawd knows how we could have ignored the many and I do mean many, Pasticceria’s in Rome! Maybe we just kept telling ourselves “we don’t normally eat a lot of sweets” or something.” Ha! We finally succumbed on this trip. For research purposes only you understand!

A tip from Elizabeth Minchilli sent us to Pasticceria Barberini on via Marmorata in Testaccio. Well OK, sure we were going to Testaccio anyway…so a quick stop at Barberini for an espresso and maybe a “treat” to share??? You bet! If you share you only feel half as guilty! I admit it, we went twice! Can’t resist those little sfogliatelle! Elizabeth says the Sacher Torte is fantastic, just in case you’re in the neighbourhood…

And then there was the gorgeous window displays at i dolci di NONNA VINCENZA a pasticceria “tipica Siciliana” on Piazza di Monti Citorio. The first thing that leapt out at me was the cake stand of “St. Agatha’s Breasts or Minni di Sant Agata.” Sant’ Agata is Catania’s patron saint who lived during the third century AD. She was the daughter of an important rich local family and was very religious. She decided, while still very young, to dedicate her life to God by resisting any men who wanted her.  This was a turbulent time in Sicily when Christians were being persecuted. She became a martyr when Roman proconsul DSC_8424 nx2Quintian had her burned at the stake for refusing his advances. She was often depicted carrying her breasts on a plate because one of the tortures she supposedly suffered was having her breasts cut off. So now we have these small round pastries with a white icing and a candied cherry on top in honour of St. Agatha.

Being the suggestible person I am, when I read about Maritozzi con Panna, the Roman sweet buns filled with whipped cream that are often eaten for breakfast, I just knew I would have to find them! They are eaten for breakfast, no kidding… (sometimes without the cream), as well as later in the day. In Rome we are hot on the Maritozzi trail, sniffing our way along! We finally found some at a Pasticceria near our apartment one afternoon….sadly, non crema (no whipped cream)…however the woman at the Pasticceria kindly pointed across the street to the Mercato where we would find cream and do it DSC_1979 nx2ourselves!! Just not quite what we had in mind! We bought the buns anyway and ate them, senza panna, for breakfast. Of course, like I said, being suggestible also means that I need to try something and am not going to give up, so with those Maritozzi con Panna still rumbling around in my head, a couple of weeks after returning home I hauled Carol Field’s “The Italian Baker” off the shelf and made some WITH CREAM! So there! Hot tip: they were delicious without the cream too, warmed up with a little butter slapped on top!


Thank you Carol Field, you saved the day! Lucky for us, I know how to bake!  Mind you I’ll still be searching our and trying other recipes!

It’s a good thing we were on foot in Rome so we were able to “stumble upon” all sorts of places not only for fancy pastries but places like Antico Forno Roscioli. We would not have wanted to miss out on the astounding amount DSC_8427 nx2 ver 2of goodies that we, of course, wouldn’t have a hope of trying more than a few! We got a couple of “strudel di mele” (small, almost Danish like pastries with apples) and a small loaf of bread, all to take back to the apartment, all delicious!

Panificio Bonci…Gabriele Bonci the prince of pizza in Rome! We were very pleased to learn that he had opened up his Panificio not far from where we stay in Rome! We had the most fantastic “Roman” style pizza slices at his Pizzarium the previous year and knew, without any doubt, that his Panificio would be just as amazing! It’s pretty tiny, always busy, with amazing bread and other assorted goodies such as crostata, cornetti, various small cookies and biscotti…we bought a wonderful loaf of whole grain bread and we couldn’t leave without some of their excellent piazza bianca. Great stuff!!! If I could have hauled home a bag of the flour he sells I would have!!



  1. Mmmmmm, my “la dolce vita” sweet tooth is cryin’ the blues right now! Yummmmmmmy! Ready to return to Rome!
    Grazie for sharing, Phyllis…(I think? LOL)!

    • Definitely ready to return to Rome Victoria! It will be a bit of a torture waiting until we can go again but I will console myself with cooking as much Roman food as I can! And…working my way through The Italian Baker bread/pastry book!

  2. You make me realize that it is time to return to ROME! What a delicious post to read first thing in the morning and dream about bella Roma!!

    • Dear Lora, thrilled that you enjoyed the post! Everytime I look at the photos I want to head to the airport! When we left at the end of October we thought…well we’ve spent, in total, about 2 months here perhaps we should see other parts of Europe??? Well I can tell you that Rome just keeps on calling! What can you do but listen to her call to you? In the meantime, I plan to keep on baking and cooking Roman style!

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