This Bucket List Bar Stanley Tucci Visited In Rome Is A Must-Add To Your Itinerary

With one foot in the film industry and one in the world of culinary artisanship, Stanley Tucci isn't just an award-winning Hollywood icon, but a master of Italian fare. While born in New York, his roots are Italian on both sides of his family, tracing his heritage back to the small town of Calabria. The actor, cookbook author, and TV personality set out in 2021 to document the best of Italian food across the world, from his hometown of New York to the capital of Italy. His series, "Searching for Italy" dives deep into some of the world's leading Italian dining establishments. Season one episode two highlights the best of Roman cuisine, curating the ultimate foodie tour for viewers visiting Rome. While there's no shortage of mouthwatering pizza and pasta plates, Tucci also included a quaint neighborhood staple specializing in hand-crafted beverages that should sit at the top of every food lover's bucket list.

Nestled in a quiet corner of Rome's Trastevere neighborhood no more than a block away from Piazza di Santa Maria, Bar San Calisto is a community staple. A laid-back venue where you'll likely catch elders convening over a game of cards and university students sipping Aperol spritz on a warm, summer day, youth and elders alike flock to the counter of this low-key bar. Slightly rustic and changing little over the years, Bar San Calisto isn't just one of Tucci's favorite food destinations, but one of the most iconic bars in Rome, as well. 

Visit this budget-friendly neighborhood gem

Blending right into the old-age Neoclassical facades that make up much of Rome's cityscape, Bar San Calisto can be all too easy to miss by those not directly seeking it out. Nevertheless, it carries all the qualities that appeal to tourists and locals, with a historic ambiance and low price tags for drinks. According to Punch Magazine, Bar San Calisto averages over 400 guests a day, beckoned in by this budget-friendly Italian bar's low-cost beverages and comforting atmosphere. In the 55 years Bar San Calisto has been a familiar presence in Rome, they've continued to divert from rising inflation rates, maintaining a reputation as an affordable and community-oriented venue.

Black-and-white tiled flooring and a graffiti-covered exterior may quickly deter unsuspecting tourists from the entrance, but Tucci knows better. This hidden community gem doubles as a nightclub, with bartenders brewing coffee during daylight hours and delivering drinks late into the night. While it may transform into a lively hot spot for drinks, it doesn't relinquish its vintage Italian cafè ambiance, holding fast to its bohemian aesthetic and authentic vibe. Catering to locals and tourists alike, it's a great spot to relish in local culture by immersing in conversation inside the cozy abode or watching the world slowly pass by on the open-air terrace. 

San Bar Calisto is not the kind of cocktail lounge where waiters float between tables serving guests late into the night. Instead, locals fetch their drinks at the bar themselves before mingling among friends and family.

Indulge in maritozzos with a side of coffee

Aperol spritzes, soda, and Campari line the shelves of this dive bar, creating a diverse drink menu that satisfies the palettes of all neighborhood locals. However, it's the coffee that Tucci specifically sought out at this bar, walking out the door with nothing but a simple caffè. Peanuts and potato chips are as creative as the food options are, aside from the star of the show, and Tucci's personal order — the maritozzo. 

A type of sweet bread stuffed with a cream filling, these scrumptious oversized morsels have been an icon in Italian culture since the Middle Ages. While today, they're enjoyed as an indulgent sweet treat, they were traditionally viewed as a symbol of love and affection. Originally a sustaining treat Roman women would send with their husbands on long laboring days, they were later used as a sacred part of marriage proposals in the 1800s. Oftentimes, the men would place the ring inside the maritozzo when planning to propose, always on the first Friday of March. It was during this era that the name "maritozzo" was born, derived from the Italian word "marito," which translates to "husband." 

In the modern age, this honeyed bread is formed into a brioche pastry and sliced down the center, where creamy spoonfuls of panna (whipped cream) are folded into the dough. Oftentimes, decorative features like chocolate chips or fresh fruit are tossed into the mix for an inventive take on a traditional maritozzo.