The World's Oldest Italian Restaurant Has Been Serving Pasta For Over 500 Years

While there's an undeniable buzz to visiting an exciting new restaurant, storied eateries offer an appeal of their own. Whether it's that old-school diner that's been operating since childhood or iconic establishments like Antoine's — America's oldest family-run restaurant — in such establishments, food is a vessel of continuing history.

It may come as no surprise, then, that one of the world's oldest functioning restaurants is in history-packed Rome. Located in a central neighborhood a short walk away from the several-millennium-old pantheon, Ristorante La Campana offers records of operation in its exact location since 1518.

The menu's as Roman as it gets; classics like cacio e pepe and carciofi alla giudia are some of the establishment's most popular dishes. And while tourists are frequent, especially with its convenient location, loyal regulars are still a common sight. The restaurant's seemingly typical appearance, combined with a rich legacy, is exactly what makes it so special. Let's dive into the details.

Ristorante La Campana has been serving Roman classics since 1518

With its tiled floor, simple decor, and white tablecloths, La Campana may not seem too different from other establishments in the area. However, its lineage runs deeper than most, with the family operating the business since the 19th century. In fact, a photograph of the current owner's great-great-grandparents is seen gracing the walls. Yet recently, when consulting tax documents, it was revealed its history runs back even further. Documentation shows the restaurant's name was registered in 1518 at the exact same address.

Once further validated, such historical records would render La Campana not only Rome's most senior business but the oldest restaurant in the world, too. Currently, the accolade belongs to Madrid's Restaurante Botín, which has been operating since 1725. La Campana's team has expressed interest in formally obtaining the title, with verification from the Guinness Book of World Records. So when enjoying a meal at La Campana, its comforting old-world energy may feel familiar, but its roots date further than most.