• 23 February 2018

We’ve all come to know and love the comforting taste of Fettuccine Alfredo. The perfect combination of parmesan cheese, fettuccine and butter. But where does this iconic dish come from and how was it first made? We’ve gone to the birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo, and guess what? The story is as great as the dish!

The history

Alfredo di Lelio, had a passion for delicious Italian food

In 1920, Alfredo Di Lelio sat with the problem of a pregnant wife who refused to eat. He decide to make her the simplest plate of pasta he could think of. And just like that, he made Fettuccine Alfredo.

This all happened in the exact spot where the restaurant Alfredo alla Scrofa stands today. Alfredo opened the trattoria (Italian restaurant) doors in 1907. He turned it into one of the places to be in Rome. Later, in 1943, he sold the restaurant to one of his acclaimed waitrons. The current owners, Mario Mozzetti and Veronica Salvatori, are the fourth generation of owners!

Their love for the restaurant, inspired author Clementina Pipola to write about the birthplace of the original Fettuccine Alfredo, and the family behind it. The first edition of the book Fettuccine Alfredo – una vera storia d’amore was released in 2017. The English version of the book, Fettuccine Alfredo – a real love story, will be available soon – follow their Facebook page for updates.

So famous, we had to try it!

Celebrities were like locals in Alfredo’s trattoria. Ava Gardner (left), Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin (right)

Alfredo alla Scrofa’s fame reaches far and wide! And it all started with the American newlyweds Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. In 1927, after tasting the delicious Fettuccine Alfredo and falling in love with the Italian hospitality they went back to the US and made the trattoria one of the places to be seen in for film stars and musicians!

To this day, every year on 7 February, North America celebrates National Fettuccine Alfredo Day. It’s because of the far-reaching love for this dish that we decided to venture to the birthplace. Expat Explore visits this historical Italian restaurant on our tours of Rome. This experience completes the Italian experience of traditional food, welcoming hosts and a bit of la dolce vita!

Audrey Hepburn
Sophia Loren (left) and Jimmi Hendrix (right)

Where can you find it?

If you’re exploring Rome then you won’t have to venture far to find this Italian gem. Alfredo alla Scrofa is only a few steps away from Piazza Navona, placing it in the heart of Rome’s historic center. The Piazza Navona is home to three famous fountains – Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Fountain of the moor and the Fountain of Neptune.  So, if you’re roaming through the iconic square during lunch or dinner time, you’re in luck! Alfredo alla Scrofa is open 7 days a week at lunch and dinner!

The beautiful Piazza Navona, home to Fountain of the Four Rivers (Fontana die Quattro Fiumi), the Fountain of the moor (Fontana del Moro), and the Fountain of Neptune (Fontana del Nettuno).

What can you expect from Alfredo alla Scrofa?

Think family, passion and delicious food. In short, true Italian cuisine enjoyed amongst the stars. On the walls you will see the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra and many more. The collection of signed guest books goes all the way back to the twenties!

Family and love are just as important as the food in this trattoria. In fact, celebrities were such regulars that they formed part of the Alfredo alla Scrofa family. Tony Curtis even decided to don an apron for an evening, and pretended to be a waitron!

The entrance to the birthplace of Fettuccine Alfredo

Dishes to try

Of course the star of the show is the Fettuccine Alfredo. But you can also add the typical Roman Saltimbocca. This Italian delight is veal wrapped with prosciutto and sage; marinated in wine, oil or saltwater. And then to end off, indulge in some homemade Tiramisu.

Alfredo alla Scrofa’s delicious Tiramisu will not disappoint

The most important elements of Italian dining? Quality and tradition, combined with a good wine. Now that sounds like the perfect experience! Did you know that Italy is the original home of Fettuccine Alfredo? But 2017 was the first time they celebrated National Fettuccine Alfredo Day on February 7.

If you’d like to find out more about Alfredo alla Scrofa, take a look at their website or give them a follow on Facebook.

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