/Porchetta Done Right: Il Norcino Bernabei in Marino

Porchetta Done Right: Il Norcino Bernabei in Marino

There are few things in this world as delectable as porchetta done right. Unfortunately, much of the stuff I have eaten in Rome or Ariccia lately has been dried out choke-inducing rubbish overpacked with spices to mask the pork’s utter lack of flavor. Thankfully, there are still pork pros around that treat this traditional product as an art rather than a commodity. I took a trip to Marino Laziale just outside of Rome this weekend to visit the shop of Vitaliano Bernabei, one of the area’s great porchetta makers.

Bernabei’s family pork business is nearly a century old and the products he makes and sells are done in the traditional way-no chemical preservatives, no fillers, no nonsense. While he makes lots of types of pork products (dried and fresh salamis, prosciutto, and coppa di testa to name a few) he is best known for his porchetta. The video below illustrates the process (in Italian), including an awesome stabbing sequence. The maestro stresses the importance of cooking the pork for a long time at a low temperature (around 7 hours at 90C) to obtain its characteristic juiciness. I would also point out that Bernabei uses smaller animals than most of his competitors, which leads to a more flavorful final product.

When Mamma Parla and I arrived at Il Norcino, a hot porchetta “trunk” was waiting for us on the marble slab behind the counter. Bernabei sliced us off some thick slabs with gorgeous fat strips and crispy browned skin and we took it to the belevdere behind the shop and ate it with some hot crusty bread. The warm fat popped and melted, dissolving into the bread’s nooks. The slightly pink meat, lightly flavored with salt, pepper, garlic, and fennel pollen, was moist and perfect. Was it worth the trip from Rome for this sandwich? Oh yeah.

Getting to Marino is simple. Just hop on a train at Stazione Termini (schedules on the Trenitalia website). The cost is €3.80 ($5) round-trip and the ride takes 34 minutes. It’s a hike up a steep staircase from the station to the centro, then a 5-minute walk to Bernabei’s renowned pork store. Il Norcino is located at Corso Vittoria Colonna 13. Additional details and opening times can be found on their website

2017-02-17T15:23:12+00:00 November 28th, 2011|Categories: Culture, Food & Wine, Gastronomic Traditions, Meat, Pork, Rome & Lazio, Travel|23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. just VASGO November 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    Love love LOVE porchetta! Haven’t heard of this place so very glad to see you have a recommendation out of town. Thanks especially for sharing that video! I have always wondered how it’s prepared and that was a great find. Well done!

  2. Sue November 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    I am going to the wine festival next year in Marino where my grandfather Pasquale was born. I’ll definitely go to this restaurant. Jess is coming-if you’re in Rome come along too.

  3. CanM. November 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    I had some really disappointing porchetta experiences in the past couple of months in NYC. This looks like the thing that I SHOULD’VE eaten.

  4. mart November 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    Don’t get them like that over here….. Smalle means younger or other type?

  5. Kevin November 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    My wife and I just got back from a trip to Italy and while I didn’t get any porchetta in Rome I was able to procure some in Montalcino with the help of our guide as we were day tripping around Tuscany. I had read about it prior to our trip and it was one of the things on my list to try. I was not disappointed, unfortunately I don’t believe it’s very common in the states. I guess that means we will just need to return.

  6. janie November 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Your post made my day! I hope to visit here some day-I dream of porchetta!

  7. Margaret in NJ November 28, 2011 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    OMG…that looks amazing….

  8. Pete November 28, 2011 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    I’m drooling! We’re definitely going there!

  9. Frank November 29, 2011 at 12:28 am - Reply

    When porchetta is good, it’s incredible. One of the things I most miss from Rome. That and puntarelle and filetti di baccalà, real carbonara…

  10. Veronica November 29, 2011 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Thank you for speaking about this incredible product! Marino is my town, and BERNABEI is the top! But…have you tried another unmissable food, the CIAMBELLA AL MOSTO I mean? It’s a traditional doughnut made with the must of the grapes. Next time, do not miss it! The best producer for me? NASONE! Enjoy Marino, Enjoy the beauty of the Roman Hills where the sweet life is awaiting you… 😉 (And…match it all with our premium wines)

  11. Food Lover Kathy December 1, 2011 at 6:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for the recommendation and the photo of that porchetta. Definitely going there my next visit to Rome.

  12. Mamma Parla December 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Anyone traveling to Roma should include this day trip on their itinerary…beautiful vistas & yummy porchetta. Right across the street from Il Norcina is a bakery (convenient!) and in the square a bar…pick up a bottle of beer on your way over to the shop for the perfect picnic lunch!

  13. Best Bites in Rome, 2011 Edition December 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    […] fish and meats that we manipulated as little as possible and some street food here & there (porchetta from Bernabei in Marino, pizza rossa on some days at Roscioli), one dining out experience is still in our minds: […]

  14. Tiana Kai August 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Wow, this looks amazing. My nonna cooks a mean one, but this looks even more devine! buon appetito.

  15. […] transported back to Roman times, even if for a day. If you make it to the festival, make sure to check out Norcineria Vitaliano Bernabei for the best porchetta in the Castelli Romani. The event starts at […]

  16. […] eating, lard loving carnivores out there. Gone are the days of chowing down on a luscious slice of Vito Bernabei’s porchetta sandwiched between two crisp pieces of Bonci’s pizza bianca. As of November 3, 2014, Gabriele […]

  17. […] Porchetta Done Right: Il Norcino Bernabei in Marino – Parla Food […]

  18. Kristel October 14, 2015 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    I want to do this tomorrow… Which station do I want to get off at? There are several stations with the word Marino in them.

  19. Kristel October 16, 2015 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the quick reply! We just got back… Had a perfect evening and oh man, that porchetta!!!!!

  20. […] Bernabei‘s famous porchetta. You should read about Katie’s visit to the shop here. Porchetta, was apparently one of those things I’ve never had a good version of, and never […]

  21. awed1 (Bill Brown) November 22, 2016 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    How do you cook it? What temp? How long? etc.

    • Katie Parla November 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm - Reply

      There is a recipe in my cookbook Tasting Rome🙂

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