Eating Italian

The Umbria Region of Italy

Umbria is a great region of Italy next to the more famous and crowded Tuscany. It is home to many great small cities worth a visit. Some of the cities we love are:

  1. Perugia
  2. Assisi
  3. Orvieto

Perugia is home to Italy’s famous Chocolate, Perugina. You can tour the factory outside of Perugia. Perugia itself has a wonderful historic center with some great hotels and restaurants.   If you are driving, the roads are very narrow and tight. Don’t try to bring a larger car into this area. There is great parking at the foot of the hill leading to the historical center. Escalators take you up the hill.

Assisi is home to Saint Francis. It is a wonderful hill town. The Saint Francis church there is a huge double church (one one top of the other) and the crypt houses his body. His original small church is inside a large church outside Assisi. Both are worth a visit.

Orvieto is a wonderful hill town with great views of the surrounding area. You can take good train service from Rome to Orvieto. Across the street from the train station is the Funicular that takes you up the hill to Orvieto. The cathedral here is massive and has frescos that tell bible stories. The food and wine here is wonderful.

Now walk these three cities with us in our YouTube video below:

– George

Categories: Assisi, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Towns, Trains, Tuscany, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuscany, Italy

Everyone wants to go to Tuscany, Italy. It is home to the greatest Italian wines, great food and majestic cities. Great cities like Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona and Montepulciano are located here. The road system is a good one with Italy’s main Autostrada, the A1, cutting through its center. The A1 can take you out of Tuscany north to Milan or south to Rome and Naples.

A drive along the A1 reveals hill-top cities everywhere. I just want to exit the highway and find my way up to a new small city on a hill-top. Come walk with us through some of Tuscany’s major cities and some fun ones. What ever your plans  are: wine, food, old cities, museums, architecture or sheer beauty, it can be found here.

Click on the YouTube link below to visit Tuscany and some of its cities …

– George

Categories: BLOG, Chianti, Cortona, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, General Travel, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Montepulciano, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Museums, Regions of Italy, Romance, San Gimignano, Siena, Small Towns, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tuscany, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to properly see Italy

I get asked all the time how to see Italy so you don’t miss anything? What should I see on my first trip? How is the food? Is it safe? So this BLOG is to answer these questions and state some rules:

  1. There are no rules
  2. I don’t believe in tours. They take you to the worst restaurants in Italy and move you along from site to site too fast. Most people take tours because they are afraid of getting lost, Can’t speak the language or don’t want to miss anything. Use your smart phones GPS to get around. Search on top things to see.
  3. The big cities are a must but the real Italy is in the small cities. Don’t miss these.
  4. Italy can’t be seen in one trip. Plan several trips and enjoy it more.
  5. If you are seeing 10 cities in 7 days, you have not visited or seen Italy.
  6. The food, outside touristy places is fantastic. Eat with the Italians in small Trattoria.
  7. Museums are important but the art in Italy is all around you everywhere you go.
  8. Stay in small hotels not big American ones. Don’t worry about your points, you are in Italy.
  9. Learn a few key phrases in Italian and use them.

OK you are on your first trip and don’t know where to go. Plan Naples and Rome or Florence and Venice. Spend time in each city. You win nothing by running from site to site and then moving to the next city. In fact you lose a lot! Italy is a country that moves slowly. Sit and observe it. Walk with the Italians at lunch time (la passeggiata). It is not enough to see the famous art and buildings but the people who live here. Communicate as best you can. Use simple 2-year old talk or charades.

Tours normally work against these goals. They force you to eat where they make the most money. They rush you from one site to the next. You see Italy through a bus window. This is not much better than seeing it on TV. If you must take a tour, find a small walking or biking tour. Find something in a van not a huge bus. Make sure you have a few days on your own to explore as you want to. Don’t be afraid to take trains between cities. They go almost everywhere. Within cities the metro is clean and efficient.

Rome is a city of architecture and history unlike any other in the world. Naples is old and many Americans came from this area of Italy. Florence is the capital of art and the Renaissance, Here you will find unbelievable art and the beginnings of modern thinking. Venice is the most unusual city in the world. Here you will explore a large city made up of sidewalks and canals. There are no roads or cars. Enjoy these cities but take time to understand the history, the people and the food.

Plan more trips to visit places like Verona, Bologna, Capri, Amalfi Coast and the millions of small wonderful sea port and mountain towns. We love driving south from Rome on the A1 to our home. We see an interesting town high up on a mountain side in the distance. We use our iPhones to identify it and plot a course to it. After exploring the town we have a café at a bar or lunch in a small local restaurant. This is enjoying Italy and getting to know it.

Food and wine are a national pastime in Italy. Everyone is an expert. The truth is most food comes from farms in the vicinity, wines and olive oil are made locally.  The food is made from ancient recipes handed down over time. No-one cooks pasta as good as an Italians mom!

Hotels are for sleeping after a long day touring. You don’t need a resort type hotel. Pick local small hotels. We always prefer a room with its own bath (not all come this way). These small hotels are often family run. You get to know them as friends if you take the time.

Learn how to say some Italian phrases like Buon Giorno (Good day), Buona Sera (Good Evening – at sunset and beyond). Arrivederci (Good Bye) and Ciao (Hello and Good Bye). You might also want to ask How much? (Quanta Costa?). Jo Anne’s favorite is Quanta costa le Scarpe? (How much are the shoes?). Simply saying Buon Giorno to someone you pass will bring a smile and a Buon Giorno in return. Italy is a friendly place.

This brings us to How safe is Italy? Italy is very safe. There is almost no violent crime. There are pick pockets in large cities. Beware of you purses and wallets. Italians drive very fast so beware of cars speeding by you. We are never fearful walking around large cities like Rome. You are in Italy to learn and enjoy life. Just do it and enjoy a gelato.

Italy is the most romantic place on Earth!

Ciao,

George

 

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Bologna, Cafè, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, GPS, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pasta, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Orvieto, Italy

Orvieto is a small city in Umbria Italy on top of a butte of volcanic tuff. It is a wonderful city to walk around. If you drive or take the train, you arrive below at ground level and must take a funicular up to the city. Once in the city you at an old fort that is worth investigating. There are small streets, wonderful restaurants and a marvelous Duomo (Cathedral).

We spent a day here. We arrived by train from Rome in the morning. We walked around the entire city. The shops were wonderful and had unique items to buy. Jo bought a purse from a woman who actually made it. We then had lunch and relaxed. We love taking in the Italian life all around us and talking with locals. After lunch we visited the huge Duomo. There are bible stories painted on the outside and throughout the inside if this unbelievable church.

After Duomo we walked more and saw the back edge of the city (opposite the funicular). From this edge, we could see down over the vast countryside below. This is a city to be enjoyed slowly.

Come walk with us around Orvieto in our YouTube video below.

Ciao,

– George

Categories: Church, Driving in Italy, Duomo, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, Funicular, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Orvieto, Ristorante, Romance, Rome, Shopping, Small Towns, Umbria, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Casal Velino, Italy

Casal Velino is the sister mountain town of Casal Velino Marina. It is a very small town high up on a mountain. There are some very good restaurants there and a bar with a view of the sea and Casal Velino Marina below. This town has only a few roads and then walkways that are narrow and steep sometimes leading to stairs. The people here have lived here all their lives. This town is in the Cliento National Forest.

Come walk with us in the YouTube video below.

– George

Categories: Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Driving in Italy, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Towns, VLOG | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maratea, Italy

Maratea is in Basilicata Italy. It is the only part of Basilicata that touches the Tyrrhenian Sea. The city is high on a mountain and has a peak above it with one of the largest Christ crosses in the world. The road up is twists and turns and hangs off the mountain in spots. This city is wonderful to walk around. It has a great main piazza with a beautiful old fountain. The shops and restaurants are fantastic.

Come walk with us around romantic Maratea Basilicata, Italy.

– George

Categories: Basilicata, BLOG, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Maratea, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Ristorante, Romance, sea, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Capri, Italy

The Isle of Capri is a true place of beauty. This is why it became the playground of the rich and famous. Many people are confused by the isle’s name of Capri and the city of Capri on the Isle. The Isle has two main cities: Capri and Anacapri. This island is rugged with cliffs and a huge mountain near Anacapri. It has two beaches, the large and small beaches. The ferries drop you off at the large beach. There is a large marina there and porters will take your bags to your hotel. This is a great idea since you will be walking.

Once at the marina at the large beach you can take a bus up a windy road or a funicular up the hill to the center of Capri city.Take the funicular. it is fast and fun. At the top is the main piazza with its clock tower. In this area are many restaurants, bars, gelaterias and stores. Many of the small streets are alley like but take them and you will discover many interesting stores and shops.

So many tourists opt to come on a ferry in the morning and leave in the evening. This is the biggest mistake you can make! Stay at least one night. After the tourists have left, the locals come out. Be a local and enjoy life. This is what being an Italian in Italy is all about. Remember Italy is not a quest to visit as many places as you can in a week. It is about the food, the people, the life, the museums and the cities. You can not fully enjoy or understand Italy without sitting back in each city and being part of the life. Running through a city causes you to miss the life all together reducing Italy to just another tourist destination. Believe me, Italy is not just another tourist attraction!

Come walk with us through the cities of Capri and Anacapri and join us on a boat ride around the Isle. Be romantic in one of the most romantic places on Earth…

– George

Categories: Anacapri, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Blue Flag Beaches, Blue Grotto, Cafè, Campania, Capri, Cave, Cooking, Cruises, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Ferries, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mount Vesuvious, Museums, Naples, Passegiata, Planning a vacation, resorts, Ristorante, Romance, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Stairs, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, Villa Brunella, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento is a popular tourist destination on Italy. Sorrento is on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Naples. You can see the Isle of Capri looking south-west and Naples looking north. Mount Vesuvius, the famous volcano, can be seen to the north as well. Sorrento is the western gateway to the famous Amalfi Coast Road. Salerno is at the other end with great cities in between like Amalfi and Positano.

Sorrento has beaches at the bottom of cliffs, a seaport where you can catch a ferry to Capri, Naples, Positano and Amalfi and great shopping areas. There are great bars and restaurants around this city. So sit back and enjoy Sorrento in our video below:

-George

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Beaches, Campania, Capri, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Naples, Positano, Ristorante, Romance, Salerno, sea, Shopping, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Travel Guides, Traveling without a tour, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bari, Italy

Bari is a seaport city on the Adriatic Sea. It has a beautiful old town. As you enter Bari, it’s a large city. as you approach the old section, which is on the sea, you must park in lots at the edge of the old section and walk in. This area is pedestrian and Vespa only. The streets are narrow and wind around. It is easy to get lost but we used GPS on our phones to find our hotel.

Once we found the hotel, we were surprised to see it was closed until 4 pm. We had to walk our suitcases back out to the car. Then we explored and had some lunch. The city has a wonderful Piazza in the old section which comes to life at night. There are great restaurants here that can get very crowded.

After a good exploration, some lunch and some Limoncello, we retrieved out bags and headed for the hotel again. The owners of the hotel also owned a small restaurant across from the hotel. They gave us a plate of cheese and bread.

That evening we tried a restaurant in the Piazza and was rewarded with a great meal and a show of Italians parading by. This is what we love about Italy. Don’t rush! Don’t have a tight agenda! Visit a few places but get to know them well. Enjoy the local foods and wines. Observe the locals. Enjoy life more and be less stressed! This is Italy!

…Most of all be romantic!…

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– George

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Bari, Beaches, Bread, Cheese, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, GPS, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Limoncello, Puglia, Ristorante, Romance, sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Locorotondo, Italy

Locorotondo is a wonderful white city in Puglia, Italy. It is located down near the heel of the boot on the Adriatic Sea. In this entire area you can see Trulli homes (dome-shaped homes). Most people think of Alberobello for Trulli homes but they are located all over this area of Puglia. Other great cities in this area are Cisternino, Ostuni and Polignano a Mare (home of the Cave restaurant).

These cities are mostly white walls with beautiful flowers to add colors. They are unique places to visit. Each town is small and can be seen in a half to full day. Stop in bars and restaurants and enjoy the local flavors.

Come walk with us around Locorotondo in the video below. This is Dolce far niente!

 


– George

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Alberobello, Bars, Cave, Cave Restaurant, Cisternino, Dolce far niente, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Grotta Palazzese, Italy, Locorotondo, Ostuni, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Romance, sea, Small Towns, Southern Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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