Dolce

Italy

Italy is a country that stretches from France, Switzerland and Austria in the north to almost Africa in the south. It is bounded on three sides by seas. The country is very mountainous and can be rugged in some places. Italy has a great system of roads called autostradas. They link all major cities and the north to the south. The train system works! Trains usually run on schedule. You have very fast trains that link major Italian cities with the rest of Europe and local trains that go to many smaller cities.

Italian Flag Italy Map

The currency is the Euro and the Capital of Italy is Rome. The language is Italian but many areas speak a dialect.

Escape Here lists 10 interesting facts about Italy. Some are very interesting like:

  1. It is the fourth most populated country in Europe because of high birth rates and low death rates. Italians must be doing something right!
  2. Italy has some of the highest mountains in Europe (the Alps).
  3. More than 50 million tourists visit each year. Most of them only see the major cities. Italy has so much more to offer the educated tourists.
  4. Pasta with tomato sauce wasn’t eaten here until the 1600’s. The food we mostly associate with Italy is relatively new to Italians.

Of course We would add:

  1. Great food & wine
  2. Gelato
  3. Chocolate
  4. Bread
  5. White Truffles – our all time favorite Italian food
  6. Mountain and seaport towns
  7. The language itself is so musical
  8. Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s

Whatever your taste, there is something in Italy for you. Get off the couch and go! Enjoy life the way it was meant to be lived.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Autostrada, Bread, Chocolate, Dolce, Eating Italian, Euro, Europe, Gelato, Italian Facts, Italian language, Italy, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Trains, White Truffles, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Italian Dark Chocolate

OK, we have our white truffles and wine but there are two other great desserts (dolce) to taste in Italy. The first is fine chocolate and the second Italian Gelato. Today we will focus on the fine chocolate. Most Americans know about Perugina Baci. These are the Italian version of a chocolate kiss. They are made with real dark chocolate and hazelnuts. Inside the wrapper with the chocolate kiss is a paper with a proverb on it. We have always enjoyed Perugina. If you are in Tuscany near Assisi where Saint Frances’ Cathedral is located, stop in Perugia. Perugia is home to Perugina chocolates. It is located just outside the city and has a tour of the factory. You can, of course, taste the chocolates. Perugia is a great small town to visit as well.

Baci

As you travel the Italian countryside, you will find small towns with chocolate shops. These shops have people who make their own homemade chocolates. Most will give you a sample to try. This chocolate is totally fresh and without preservatives. Pop one into your mouth. Hold it on your tongue and let the rich dark chocolate melt. The sensation is very sensual. Now chew it and enjoy the tastes. Dark chocolate is healthy and enjoyable.

Europeans use much less sugar than we do here in the States. Our sweets have become too sweet. Sugar is addictive and the food industry knows it. In Italy things have a little sugar but it’s not overpowering. Enjoy the other flavors in the candy. We find that American milk chocolate actually hurts your teeth because of the sugar content. The Italian chocolate never hurts.

Now you know how to enjoy a day. Start by having a meal with white truffles (in season). Maybe a pasta dish. Enjoy the flavors with a glass of local wine. Stop by at a chocolate shop and enjoy a small piece of chocolate. Tomorrow we will cap the day off with some gelato.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chocolate, Dolce, Europe, Gelato, Italy, Perugia, Sweets, Truffles, White Truffles, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Roman Holiday

Rome is a super attraction for visitors the world over. It is a marvelously preserved ancient city. Rome has two main parts, inside the old walls and outside. Inside the walls encompasses most tourist attractions (but not all – Villa Borghese is outside the walls on a hill). You can walk this part of Rome easily. In August be aware of the heat and have plenty of water. Rome has an excellent metro system (subway) that can get you anywhere you want to go. Rome also has several train stations that connect it to major and minor Italian cities as well as the rest of Europe.

Sites like the Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, Spanish Steps, Old Rome and Pantheon attract visitors each year. Try to enjoy the small streets and local restaurants between these cities. Stop for some chocolate or a gelato. Watch the Italians and the visitors. You can easily tell them apart. If you are in love, this is a city of romance. Share it with the person you love. Be spontaneous and romantic. Enjoy this great city.

Walk the old streets of old Rome. Think about the fact that you are walking the same cobblestones as the ancient Romans. Breathing the air looking at the mountains. Of course Rome is a huge modern city now but let your imagination run wild for just a moment. When you get tired stop and have a something to eat and order local wine. Don’t go to tourist places. Pick something that local Italians are eating at. For just a short time you are a Roman!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Chocolate, Dolce, Eating Italian, Europe, Gelato, General Travel, Italy, Metro Travel, Rome, Trains, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Carnevale Italia

Carnevale in Italy is celebrated on Ash Wednesday (February 18, 2015). It is a celebration Catholics do before entering Lent. In the USA it is a big celebration in New Orleans (called Mardi Gras). In New Orleans it is celebrated on Fat Tuesday. In Italy the city of Venice celebrates each year with masks, parties and lots of sweets (this is what is given up for lent).

lady-in-red-carnevale

Italians love festivals and their sweets (dolce). Lent represents a period of abstinence. So before entering this period they celebrate a period of indulgence. If you are able to be in Venice at this time it is a wonderful celebration. If you know an Italian family, join them for their celebration. It is a happy time so enjoy.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Carnevale, Dolce, Europe, Festivals, Italy, Sweets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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