Fettuccine alfredo is one of the most beloved dishes in the Italian-American culinary canon. It’s not, strictly speaking, an Italian dish, but some may be surprised to learn that the first-ever serving of fettuccine alfredo was plated in Rome by an Italian chef named Alfredo di Lelio, rather than by an Italian immigrant on American soil. Of course, there are many differences between the fettuccine alfredo di Lelio originally created and what’s found across the US today. You’d be hard-pressed to find the Italian-American classic in any restaurants in Italy nowadays, but it’s still on the menu at Alfredo alla Scrofa in Rome, aka “the birthplace of fettuccine alfredo.”

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One of the biggest differences between Italian and American fettuccine alfredo is the use of heavy cream in the Italian-American dish — alfredo sauce as Americans understand it doesn’t exist in Italy. Di Lelio’s version was a simple dish made with just three ingredients: fettuccine (a flat, thick noodle and one of the countless pasta types you’ll encounter in Italy), parmesan cheese, and butter. Proteins such as chicken and shrimp were also added stateside.

If you’re curious to see what Italian fettuccine alfredo is all about, it’s said that there are only two restaurants in Rome — or Italy, for that matter — that serve the dish as its inventor intended: Alfredo alla Scrofa and Il Vero Alfredo, a second restaurant opened by the di Leilo family in 1950. There, fettuccine alfredo is served tableside using only its original ingredients.

Where to try fettuccine alfredo in Rome

Alfredo alla Scrofa: Opened in 1907, Alfredo alla Scrofa is located near many of the city’s most popular attractions in central Rome. It’s a five-minute walk from Piazza Navona, a seven-minute walk from the Pantheon, a 10-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain, and a 12-minute walk from the Spanish steps.

Where: Via della Scrofa, 104/a, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Il Vero Alfredo: Il Vero Alfredo is located less than half a mile upriver of Alfredo alla Scrofa. It’s right across the street from the Museo dell’Ara Pacis archaeological museum.

Where: Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 30, 00186 Roma RM, Italy