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Italy is one of the most loved destinations in Europe! This post is a celebration of the country that invented “Dolce Far Niente,” its amazing people, as well as our Italian friends and industry partners. #tourismstrong
As the late Anthony Bourdain said: ‘Italian food at its best is like Japanese food, but with more emotion. ‘
Italy’s food needs no introduction as most every country has their own Italian restaurant or a version thereof. If you’ve been to Italy, you know that there are many different variations of pasta, sauces, flavors, cured meats. Every region seems to have its own specialty. For food lovers, Emilia Romagna provides some of the most exciting options as this small region is home to Bologna, Modena, and Parma.
In our family, we enjoy many different pasta sauces. One of our favorites is “Carbonara.” Technically a very easy, quick, and straight forward recipe, requiring only a handful of ingredients. All you need are spaghetti, a slab of bacon (slices work too), olive oil, eggs, pepper, and parmesan or pecorino cheese (freshly grated, please). You don’t need to add salt because the bacon is flavorful enough. However, don’t forget to salt the water!
Other than that, Antonio does an excellent job of explaining how to prepare true Spaghetti Carbonara.
Click here for more Italian Cooking Lessons you can watch online.
Picture yourself cruising in through Tuscany in a convertible, or along a rocky coastline in a Fiat 500.
Italian tunes are bound to make you happy and give you a good feel for the language as well as the smoky voices of many of its most famous artists. Some of them are deeply engraved into my memory, taking me straight back to 80ies Italy, spending family vacations along the beach in Pescara. Or watching one of the classic Adriano Celentano movies, which were always a blast.
Click the picture for our sample playlist on Spotify.
There are so many great movies to watch when it comes to Italy.
If you want to get a feel for Italian filmmaking, you cannot skip Federico Fellini, who is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. ‘Life is a combination of magic and pasta.’ A quote of his is one of my favorites.
There is quite a bit of selection for movies with a lot of Italian scenery.
Much of The Tourist is set in Venice, whereas Under the Tuscan Sun is filmed in the beautiful town of Cortona, Tuscany, as well as the Umbria region, which is home to Lake Trasimeno. Bernardo Bertolucci’s movie, Stealing Beauty, is set in one of Tuscany’s beautiful villa with many beautiful shots of the fantastic scenery.
Of course, there are many more movies. Please be aware that many of them are Rated R and not necessarily suitable for the younger generation.
I returned from Milan earlier this year, where I met with hoteliers and tour operators of many regions, including two emerging ones, Basilicata and Sicily. Both are incredibly beautiful and still relatively untouched. I’ll be eager to share more information with my clients that have already explored much of Italy before. Oh, and if you were wondering, the 2020 Italian Capital of Culture is Parma.
Plus, here is a nice overview of the many different experiences, Italy offers.
If you are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent reads for you!
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Four very different women, looking to escape dreary London for the sunshine of Italy, take up an offer advertised in the Times for a “small medieval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be let furnished for the month of April.” As each person blossoms in the warmth of the Italian spring, quite unexpected changes occur. For more.
Italian for the Gourmet Traveler by Fred Plotkin
In recent years, dozens of cookbooks have explored Italian regional cookery and captured the flavors of Tuscany, Emila-Romangna, the Veneto, and Sicily, among other places. But for Fred Plotkin, who has spent the last two decades scouring Italy from tip to toe in search of memorable food, nothing can compare to the herb-perfumed cuisine of Liguria, the Italian Riviera. Now in the first-ever cookbook devoted to this region, Plotkin offers definitive proof that Ligurian food is not only the tastiest in Italy but the healthiest as well — the ultimate Mediterranean diet. From pesto and focaccia, the regions best-known specialties, to more unusual dishes such as fava bean soup, pumpkin-filled pasta topped with tuna caviar, braised duck with green olives, and a cherry tart Genovese, Plotkin shows how to re-create more than 200 authentic Ligurian dishes — and enjoy a true taste of paradise. For more.
Angels & Demons by Dan Brown
World-renowned Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is unimaginable: a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization, the Illuminati. Desperate to save the Vatican from a powerful time bomb, Langdon joins forces in Rome with the beautiful and mysterious scientist Vittoria Vetra. Together they embark on a frantic hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and the most secretive vault on earth, the long-forgotten Illuminati lair. For more.
The House of the Medici: Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hippert
At its height, Renaissance Florence was a center of enormous wealth, power, and influence. A republican city-state funded by trade and banking, its often bloody political scene was dominated by rich mercantile families, the most famous of which were the Medici. This enthralling book charts the family’s huge influence on the political, economic, and cultural history of Florence. Beginning in the early 1430s with the rise of the dynasty under the near-legendary Cosimo de Medici, it moves through their golden era as patrons of some of the most remarkable artists and architects of the Renaissance, to the era of the Medici Popes and Grand Dukes, Florence’s slide into decay and bankruptcy, and the end, in 1737, of the Medici line. For more.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence. For more.
How about a classic Italian pre-dinner drink this time?
Negroni is a highly popular Italian drink, considered a pre-dinner drink. It is very straight forward to make. Don’t forget, it’s stirred, not shaken.
- 1/3 Vermouth Rosso
- 1/3 Bitter Campari
- 1/3 Dry Gin.
Preparation: Served on the rocks, you need to use a medium tumbler or an old-fashioned glass, stir the ingredients directly in your glass and garnish with a half slice of orange and lemon peel.
This list is compiled in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but also as a resource for anyone considering to travel to Italy, or wanting to get a feel for the country before their trip.
Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.
Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!
Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.
To plan a trip contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org