We all know the feeling of our friends coming home from holiday and boasting about the amazing sights they saw and experiences they had. Usually, when someone visits a country you can guess which city or area they stayed in, Italy is much less predictable. In fact, it will probably leave you pretty confused and overwhelmed – how can a country have that many incredible cities?

Not to worry, LivinItaly will do its best to help you. So, you’ve always wanted to go to Italy but never known which part? Well, you’re soon to find out.

Lets start with the obvious – Rome. Famous for its religious culture, thousands flock to this enormous city to feel enraptured by the intense experience it provides. If that side of things isn’t for you, no need to worry, Rome offers so much more. Revel in the endless artwork that is St Peter’s Basilica and the colosseum.

LIVIN’tip: 

Drag yourself out of Rome beautiful center for a day and visit “Castelli Romani”, in particular, stop at “Ariccia” and sample a true “PORCHETTA”, a traditionally slowly wood roasted pig, deboned, rolled and stuffed with herbs & garlic. Have it in a sandwich or on a plate. However you sample it, don’t expect anything too fancy, just honest & true Italian flavors, served ‘street food’ style, for those who love a bit of crackling…… Buon Appetito!!

 

Venice is a one of a kind city that provides an experience you can’t get anywhere else. Made up of canals, no roads, Venice is a tranquil city of unique and quaint findings. Hop on to an iconic gondola and if you’re really feeling it, you can pay out that little bit more to be serenaded as you sail.

LIVIN’tip: 

Pay a visit to the super famous “Harry’s Bar” and after having read it’s fascinating story, make sure you sample a “Bellini” cocktail or a “Carpaccio” in the only place in the world that can say their versions of these famous recipes, are truly the best…..after all, they are the ones who invented them! If it was good enough for Hemingway, it is good enough for us!!

 

Arguably, there are a lot of romantic places in the world, but to me nothing beats fair Verona. Shakespeare placed star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet there for a reason – the undeniable beauty and romantic atmosphere. Enjoy the history and heritage whilst discovering the beautiful nature and culture that’s so evident on every corner. Fall in love at first sight with authentic Verona.

LIVIN’tip: 

If you love food & wine as much as we do and fancy a trip to Verona, it might be worth checking out the dates for the next VINITALY fair, the largest wine exhibition in the world and one of the oldest (1967) if you like some point scoring 😉

It is of course open to the public and there you will find the most amazing array of wines and food that you will ever see…..pretend to be a big buyer and you’ll surely have a tipple or three!

 

 

Florence – birthplace of the renaissance. That description in itself justifies a visit to this historic masterpiece. Spend hours in awe of the terra-cotta-tiled dome cathedral, followed by the stunning Ponte Vecchio (old bridge). Seen as the capital of Tuscany, Florence is the perfect destination for popping to smaller cities like Lucca.

LIVIN’tip:

Aaaah….What else to suggest to an English gastronome to eat when in Florence, if not a “BISTECCA ALLA FIORENTINA”, or essentially a T-Bone steak with a difference. Don’t be fooled though, a Fiorentina is not necessarily sourced from local beef (Tuscany) but what it should always be, is matured for a minimum of 20 days, cut as thick as ‘4 fingers’, weigh a minimum of 1.5kg and cooked on a wood burning fire, meticulously selected to give different aromas to the meat. There are several famous and homely places that would be perfect to try this: Trattoria Tullio a Fiesole, Padellina,  il Ballini, il Cecchini, Sanesi a Lastra a Signa. One last thing, if you are planning to stay a little longer than 5 minutes, do NOT ask for your steak to be cooked well done, you might get carried out of the city walls!

 

Everybody recognises the stereotypical leaning tower of Pisa photo, yet it doesn’t stop anybody recapturing the image themselves. This medieval city, also in Tuscany, has a vibrant, yet affordable dining and drinking scene. Romanesque buildings, Gothic churches and Renaissance piazzas line the streets, making every turn of a corner more interesting than the next.

LIVIN’tip:

In the heart of Tuscany, you will find all that is good in the whole region, from the great Sangiovese wines and the olive oil, to those typical dishes that, as it often happens in Italy, were created out of necessity, from simple ingredients available to the masses, or from those ingredients the land was ready to provide. One of the many that would deserve a mention, is the “Pappa Al Pomodoro”, who would have thought stale bread and tomato could taste that good…. as i always say, “Simplicity Is Genius”!!

 

You’re probably still feeling spoilt for choice, right? Just means you’ll have to take more than one trip to Italy to explore the beauty in its full, who can blame you?