Panella, Rome, ItalyRomans have loved their bread for the past 2000 years.

The famous “Panis et circenses” (bread and circuses) poked fun at how easily the Emperors could maintain their power over the masses in Ancient Rome.

Although the circuses (gladiatorial battles, pageantry and ancient circus performances) may have been replaced today – some would claim by soccer – bread remains just as important to the daily life of Romans as it did in ancient times.

Panella, Rome, ItalyWhen in the Eternal City, do as the Romans do and visit a veritable institution, Panella l’arte del pane – ‘the art of bread’ – (Via Merulana, 54 – close to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore), one of the city’s most famous bakeries.

Romans and visitors alike flock here daily for various types of freshly-baked bread, pizze, appetizers, torte rustiche and cakes.

The recipes are from all regions of Italy and are baked according to traditional recipes, always using fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Panella, Rome, ItalyThe window displays are also seasonal and changed frequently. It’s worth a visit just to peek inside to see the creations.

Take your purchases home or enjoy a snack or a light lunch along with the locals – at stools around a central table, where you can order freshly-baked, mouthwatering delicacies. They also have cocktails and light lunches or dinner, inside or al fresco.

When you’re in this Colle Oppio neighborhood, be sure to see the Ancient Roman Auditorium di Mecenate, just in front of Panella, the stunning mosaiacs in the church of Santa Prassede, and the nearby Colle Oppio park.