Garum: Rome’s new library and museum of food An old monastery houses treasures old and not so old

Several illuminated glass cases displaying historically important cooking equipment

Matteo Ghirigini in front of a display case housing a copy of Bartolomeo Scappi's original cookbook of 1570 It is impossible to avoid the past in Rome; indeed, the past is why so many people come to Rome. If you’re interested in the history of food, though, there’s been nothing to see since the pasta museum shut its doors, aside from a few restaurants resting on their laurels. A new museum, at the bottom of the Palatine Hill and facing the chariot-racing stadium, has put food history back on the tourist map. I was very fortunate to get a guided tour from the director, Matteo Ghirighini, a few days before Garum, as it is called, opened its doors to the public. I learned so much, including the French origins of a Roman street food and the most convincing origin story yet for perhaps the most contentious pasta dish.


  1. The museum’s website is packed with information about the place and a growing list of food history stories.
  2. Transcript right here.
  3. All photos by me.

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