This is not a show about monuments or statues or the treasures of antiquity. This is about people, often extraordinary ones, living their lives in the Rome you don’t see much of in the travel guides or TV shows.


Osteria Dal 1931

Via di Donna Olimpia, 44, 00152 Roma
What Bourdain ate: Chianti, prosciutto and artichoke hearts in olive oil, ravioli.

L’angolo degli amici

Via Alcide Pedretti 50/52, 00121 Lido di Ostia
Popular locals spot for day drinking and sturdy versions of classic Roman cooking.

Tratoria Morgana

Via Mecenate, 21, 00184 Roma
What Bourdain ate: Assorted Roman pastas, snails, artichoke.


Stornello: An Italian folk poem or song.

Li mortacci tua: (“To your dead relatives”) Can be used as a phrase of endearment or an insult, depending upon hand gestures and context.

Bomba: Slang for bombolonas, filled donuts.

Bourdain on Mussolini:

“Before World War I, Benito Mussolini was considered a bully and a crackpot—a short-tempered, ever-pontificating soapbox orator from the small town of Predappio. In time though, the country was divided and in crisis. It saw itself as besieged by enemies from within and without. It needed someone who said he could ‘make Italy great again.’ He was a man on a horse saying, ‘Follow me.’ And they did. When fascists marched on Rome, the prime minister resigned, and Benito Mussolini was appointed leader by the king. It could happen anywhere. It happened here.”

Bourdain on resistance:

In this episode, Bourdain pays tribute to Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of Italy’s great filmmakers. Pasolini depicted the humanity of the working class. A noted opponent of fascism, he was beaten to death in the Roman suburb of Ostia by a band of young male hustlers in 1975. But in a city where some monuments to Mussolini remain, long after Il Duce’s death, many say Pasolini’s opposition to fascism got him killed. A monument was erected in Ostia, near the spot where he was killed.


Asia Argento: Roman polymath: Actor, singer, director, and model. Her father, director Dario Argento, helped redefine the modern horror genre.

Abel Ferrara: Provocative American director of such films as King of New York and Bad Lieutenant. Rome transplant.

Sara Pampaloni: Bourdain’s friend.

Fiore Argento: Asia’s sister; actress.

As so many have found throughout history, it is easy to fall in love with Rome. She is seductively beautiful. She has endured and survived many things.