If Rome is synonymous with anything other than breathtaking art, inimitable culture and basically being the birthplace of modern civilization, it’s for its pasta — and its pizza, but that’s a whole other BUCKiTDREAM post! Since its invention sometime in the 10th century, pasta has been a staple of the Italian diet (how they manage to keep their figures in the face of so many carb-loaded delights is beyond us).

As all you gastronomically inclined BUCKiTDREAMERs will attest, you simply cannot be a foodie and not visit Rome. Every alleyway and side street in the city will provide you with osterias and trattorias offering menus packed with every pasta dish you could possibly imagine. If you’re looking for somewhere to begin, fill your stomach and BUCKiTDREAM planner with these five mouthwatering dishes, and you’ll understand exactly how Rome earned its reputation as the gastronomic heart of the Western world.

It’s time to loosen your belt, BUCKiTDREAMER. We’re about to dive stomach first into the best pasta that Rome has to offer. 

Cheese and Pepper Ravioli at Le Mani in Pasta Tucked away in ultra-hip Trastevere, Le Mani in Pasta is every carb lover’s dream. Hidden behind an unassuming black door down a side street, this ristorante has one specialty: divine pasta. The waiters are incredibly friendly, and most of them speak very good English — or at least enough English to debate with you if they think you’re not ordering the most delicious meal on the menu that night. All dishes are for sharing, including the incredible cheese and pepper ravioli. Served in a huge porcelain dish, the cheese, and pepper ravioli is simple but mind-blowing. With a huge helping of grated cheese served on top of the cheese-stuffed ravioli that’s tossed in a cheese sauce, this dish is enough to send any cheese lover to nirvana. The amount of pepper is perfect, too. The meal is best topped off with a large glass of whatever your ever-opinionated server recommends.

Address: Via dei Genovesi, 37, 00153 Roma, Italy

Spaghetti Carbonara at Da Sergio Tourists come to Rome in search of the authentic Roman meal, and often what they’re offered is the exact opposite. Franchise chains masquerading as traditional Roman trattorias are a dime a dozen in the Eternal City, and it takes an intrepid diner to fob these off in search of the real thing. Luckily for you, BUCKiTDREAMER, it doesn’t get much more authentic than Da Sergio. Located down a tiny alley on the Vicolo Delle Grotte, Da Sergio is as Roman as Caesar himself. When dining here, expect to see locals who seem as if they’re straight out of central casting. Although all the pasta dishes plated up here are to die for, the spaghetti carbonara is a dream. And no, we’re not talking carbonara made with cream. That’s a Western mutilation of the classic dish, which should instead be made simply with eggs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper. If you’re lucky, you might even be served by Sergio himself — a real Italian character.

Address: Vicolo Delle Grotte, 27, 00186 Roma, Italy 

Amatriciana Flambé at Trattoria Vecchia Roma An already-delicious plate of amatriciana pasta flambéed in a wheel of cheese? Sign us up! Trattoria Vecchia Roma has inventiveness down with this delectable pasta dish. To get the full experience, we suggest you go with their excellently curated set menu where you’ll get antipasto, the previously mentioned heavenly dish, a second meat dish and dessert, which you can savor with some limoncello and delicious house wine. The best thing about this dish? It’s only less than $30!

Address: Via Ferruccio, 12/b/c, 00185 Roma, Italy

Tonnarelli With Prawns and Tomato at Trattoria Luzzi Trattoria Luzzi has everything a classic trattoria needs: incredible food; great, cheap wine; and an air of chaos! Centrally located just a stone’s throw from the Colosseum, tourists are often shocked to find this place packed to the brim with locals — always a good sign. Sure, the trattoria can be chaotic at times (to say the least), but that’s part of the charm! The pasta is excellent and cheap; all pasta dishes are right around $10. The cream of the crop, though, is the tonnarelli with prawns and tomato. The tonnarelli is hand-crafted by the owner each day. Served with bright red tomatoes and fresh prawns, this dish is an authentic Roman masterpiece.

Address: Via di S. Giovanni in Laterano, 88, 00184 Roma, Italy

Strozzapreti al Lard di Colonnata e Pecorino di Fossa at Da Danilo A Tuscan-inspired invention of Danilo Valente and his mother, Lina, the Strozzapreti al Lard di Colonnata e Pecorino di Fossa at Da Danilo is one of the most gastronomically evocative meals in all of Rome. For those of you not well-versed in the many styles of pasta, strozzapreti is a long, twisted form of cavatelli. One of the most interesting things about this variety is its nickname: “priest-strangler.” (Rumor has it that several gluttonous priests overfed themselves with the hand-rolled pasta and choked to death.) This sinisterly named pasta — but heavenly tasting dish — is tossed with a deliciously light tomato sauce that has been mixed with softened ribbons of cured lard. Cave-aged sheep’s milk cheese is grated on top to provides the perfect tangy hit with every mouthful.

Address: Via Petrarca, 13, 00185 Roma, Italy

When in Rome, you must do as the Romans do. If that means you get to eat and drink like a king, then why wouldn’t you?! If you can muster up the energy after eating all this delicious pasta, make sure to share your culinary memories on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Don’t forget to hashtag it #BUCKiTDREAM!