Let your stomach lead the way
Invece del classico tour d’Italia con visita alle località usuali, quali Venezia, Roma e Firenze, perché non fare una deviazione gastronomica? Con l’aiuto di italiannotebook.com, abbiamo compilato una lista di sette posti differenti da visitare durante il vostro prossimo viaggio in Italia. Continuate a leggere per sapere come far avverare un sogno!
Instead of touring Italy the “old fashioned” way and just visiting the usual spots like Venice, Rome and Florence, why not take a gastronomic detour? With the help of italiannotebook.com, we’ve compiled a list of seven different places to visit on your next Italian journey. Read on to learn how to make your trip to Italy a foodie’s dream come true!
Bologna, Emilia-Romagna - Bologna’s medieval city center bursts at the seams with the bounty of the surrounding countryside. Its street-side market stalls, butcher shops, bakeries and cafes have been temples to the gods of Italian cuisine (think prosciutto from Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese) for over 600 years.
Recently, a newer kind of temple has moved into the scene. Eataly, an enormous complex dedicated to all things gastronomic, now occupies a five-story palazzo right in the heart of the market district and offers both traditional and innovative ways to experience food. Founded in Turin, and boasting locations all over the world, Eataly’s philosophy is to provide interactive culinary experiences with the best artisan products Italy has to offer.
Whether it be picking up a round of Robiola cheese imported from the Langhe district, enjoying a glass of Brunello in the wine bar or attending a cake-decorating lesson, a visit to Eataly will transport those who worship at the altar of cucina italiana to a new level of piousness.
Via degli Orefici, 19
Caffé al bacio
Naples (Campania) - Neapolitan baristi (bartenders, as in at a café) have an infinite number of twists on your traditional caffé. In Piazza Bellini, next to the excavated Greek foundations of the city, Intra Moenia is a bookstore-café frequented by artists and students, and the finest choice on the menu is Caffé al bacio (caffe with a kiss).
The barista coats a brandy glass with syrupy Nutella (you are missing out on life if you haven’t heard of this divine chocolate-hazelnut spread). She then adds a healthy shot of espresso and a dollop of milk foam. Cocoa flakes sprinkle the top. It’s expected that you’ll stir the hot beverage for a long time before taking it down in four or five gulps.
Caffé al bacio also comes with an auditory twist. Intra Moenia is one block away from the music conservatory; so often you’ll drink while listening to a delicious soprano practice her scales from an open second-storey window.
Edizioni Intra Moenia
Piazza Bellini, 70
Life Imitates Art
Patricia Glee Smith
Turin, Piedmont - Redomante Pappi, owner of a magnificent delicatessen, manages to combine gastronomy and art. Together with his wife and daughter, he prepares various dishes each day and arranges them with panache in his shop window. The lavish display wouldn’t be out of place in a Dutch Master painting.
He is passionate about food and the dishes he creates are ever-changing and as delicious as they look. His traditional food is often inventive and he has been known to use unusual ingredients such as wild herbs, elder and acacia flowers, poppies, clover and nettles, to name a few.
There are desserts too, such as the seasonal fruit tarts and the wild-rose flavored Bavarois to finish up. If you are still hungry there is also a selection of cheeses, hams and salamis, superb condiments and oils (including the seldom seen hazelnut oil, used in Piedmont) and the famous handmade breadsticks of Torino. And don’t forget an excellent wine from the area (such as Barbera or Dolcetto).
But that’s not the end of the story: Redomante and his daughter sculpt pumpkins (or watermelons or cantaloupes…whatever is in season) to decorate the shop window every day. They are stunning creations, and another token of his love for beautiful presentation. Worth a visit if only to window shop!
Gastronomia Redomante Pappi di Elena Pappi
Via dell’Arsenale, 20
Said dal 1923
Rome - The current abundance of sugar-laden chocolate bars (and bunnies) belies the fact that chocolate was once a luxury item, produced with passion by master craftsmen. If you hanker after the real thing, then the answer to your prayers may be found in the heart of the San Lorenzo district, a working class neighborhood that makes Said dal 1923 even more of a discovery.
Near Termini Station, in an alleyway just off Via Tiburtina, Fabrizio de Mauro produces a deliciously eclectic range of artisan chocolates, just as his grandfather did nearly a century ago. The building, which now houses the shop, factory and restaurant, was once the factory of this third-generation, family-owned business, but after the original shop was bombed in WWII the entire business moved to its current location.
The original paraphernalia and machinery used by Fabrizio’s grandfather adorns the shop and restaurant, adding to the feeling that this is an Aladdin’s cave of chocolate delights, rather than yet another sweet shop. Whether you’re a chocolate lover, or you love a chocolate lover, do make the detour!
Said Dal 1923
Via Tiburtina 135
P: +39.06.446 9204
Shopping, the Old-World Way
Susan Di Bonaventura
Florence (Tuscany) - In Florence, the place to go for shopping is the Mercato Centrale. This market, located not far from the train station, has anything you could possibly want in the form of produce, fish, and meats, and local fare. The treasures of the sea are offered in a special sector and the meat section is not to be missed.
Not far you can also find things like shoes, underwear, slips, dresses, men’s clothes and flowers. Indeed, markets like the Mercato Centrale fulfill the needs of daily life. Markets like this one gives you another kind of shopping experience. Going to buy is an event, it’s slow paced and a great way to catch up on the local gossip and happenings. Also, instead of buying meat all neatly packaged in cellophane, where one kind is distinguished from the other only by a label, get personal with your food. Go and stare at it in the eye. No mistake in what you are buying there -- not when the poultry still has its head and some feathers and small animals like rabbits come with their fur!
But that is not all, walk around and you will find shiny, freshly-caught fish, calf and pig snouts, ears, feet, tails and other parts. Whether you are a chef or just love to eat: it’s all there to take home for an exotic meal.
Via dell'Ariento, 87-r
50123 Florence, Italy
Sagrantino di Montefalco
Montefalco (Perugia, Umbria) - The foothills of Umbria nurture many vineyards that rival those of their Tuscan neighbors to the north.
Montefalco, nestled between Spoleto and Perugia, is finally getting its due for producing brilliant reds made from the Sagrantino vine.
Sagrantino (not to be confused with Sangiovese, which can also be found nearby), earned its DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status in 1992. It is an excellent dry wine by itself, but also pairs well with roasted meats and game.
The centro storico of Montefalco is worthy of a visit whether you’re a wine connoisseur or an average Joe like the rest of us. Its hilltop location offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside lined with the same vineyards that produced the wine you’ll have that very evening.
A Success Story
Patricia Glee Smith
Conco (Vicenza, Venice) - Conco is a pretty village in the Venetian Alps. Hemmingway spent time nearby during WWI. Both World Wars brought great poverty and partially destroyed the town; many were forced to emigrate. For those who stayed behind, hard work and sacrifice was needed to slowly restore Conco to its former beauty and wellbeing.
One success story involves the Cortese family. Signor Stefano (pictured) established a bread bakery. The bread was good and soon became a staple of the village. Years later, his two young sons, rather than pursuing careers elsewhere, opted to carry on the family business. Ilario (pictured) enrolled in a professional school for pastry making, a passion of his. Gabriele created a charming bakery shop/coffee bar for Ilario’s pastries.
Located in the central square (where even the sidewalks are of local pink marble), it has become a popular meeting place for breakfast, a game of cards or a pre-dinner sip of prosecco. As for the wonderful pastries now renowned in the whole region, they never make it to the next day!
Medieval Cloister / Hospital Café
GB, Editor, Italiannotebook.com
Rome - Here’s another case in Rome where an older building has been incorporated into a newer one and where its function therefore changes without however losing its personality. If you happen to be in Trastevere in the morning (best time to visit, really) and make it to Piazza San Cosimato and its lively daily market, be sure to check into the hospital…per un caffé.
The Nuovo Ospedale Regina Margherita has completely enveloped the ninth-century Benedictine church and cloister of San Cosimato itself, and a visit is delightful for various reasons.
First, the double columned cloister with its rose plants and fruit trees is probably quite similar to how it appeared 1,000 years ago, and just as pleasingly peaceful. It is also a cat sanctuary, which would not be complete without the Roman marble bathtubs and columns sprinkled throughout. Supposedly, the area is the site of Augustus’s naumachia, an arena for mock naval battles. Mixed among the many ancient Roman inscribed marble pieces mounted along an entire wall of the wrap-around inner portico are plastic signs for the centro geriatrico or endoscopia digestiva.
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