Learn more about Italy: Internstional Living
The two highest costs you will encounter are: 1) Airfare and 2) Hotel costs. These two items can be lowered with a little work on your part. Here is how:
Lowering the cost of hotels:
Let me know in the comments below if you have other tricks…
Next to airfare, hotels will be your biggest cost. If your staying for an extended period of time, they may be the biggest cost of the trip. You first have to decide on:
- Is it a special occasion like a honeymoon where you want an expensive hotel with nice amenities and views.
- Are you independently wealthy and the price is of no concern
- Are you visiting Italy to see the country, the people, etc. In this case you will only be sleeping in your hotel room. The small Italian hotels will work fine and give you more of a sense of being in Italy.
Hotels, like anywhere, change price seasonally and as they become more popular. Shop and see what the prices are. DO NOT PAY EXTRA for breakfast! Breakfast in Italy, as the Italians do it, is the cheapest and easiest meal. Go to the nearest bar (they are everywhere) and order an espresso, cappuccino, latte or coffee Americano and a sweet roll. This will cost you 2 Euros outside the big cities and maybe 5 Euros in the cities. Italians usually choose a cornetto. This is a small roll that can be plain, filled with chocolate, jam or cream.
What ever you choose, enjoy Italy. Do not try to do too much. Be an Italian while you are there. You do not need Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and eggs! Eat like the Italians which is so much more healthy for you.
The cost of flying to Italy or anywhere is often your largest expense. Airfares have been on the rise and baggage and seats are costing even more on top of airfares. There are some tricks to manage these costs and we talk about them in this video.
Lets list some ideas to help manage airfares:
- Use Hopper app to predict when airfares will rise and fall
- Use other travel apps like TripAdvisor, Orbitz and airline apps to compare prices
- If you are using miles to pay for your trip, get your ticket early (11 months prior to flight)
- If you are using travel cards like Capital One Venture our cash to pay for your airfare, use techniques above to predict when to buy.
Then sit back and enjoy your trip. Watch my VLOG on airfares:
– George Febish
Naples is considered the birthplace of pizza. It started in the late 1700’s. Early pizzas had things like tomatoes, cheese, anchovies and garlic on them. In 1889 after Italy became unified, King Umberto & Queen Margherita visited Naples. Chef Raffaele Esposito of Pizzeria Brandi and his wife created a new pizza for the Queen and named it after her. It was to have the colors of the Italian flag: Red – tomato sauce, Green – Basil and White – Mozzarella Cheese.
This pizza was not known outside of Naples until around 1940’s. Today it can be found all over the world. The original style, still made in Naples, uses a wood burning oven (between 600 & 750 F), 00 pizza flour, live yeast, fresh basil, EVOO and buffalo mozzarella cheese. It is thin crusted and light. Each person gets a whole pizza, which is NOT sliced and eats it with a fork and knife or takes a slice in the streets of Naples in paper. It was street food for the poor.
ORIGINAL NAPLES PIZZA RECIPE:
Making the dough:
Mix flour, water, salt and yeast. Pour a liter of water into a dough making machine, dissolve 50-55 g of salt, add 10% of the total amount of flour you are planning to use, then dissolve 3g of yeast, and start mixing gradually adding the remaining 1.8 Kg flour until the dough reaches the desired texture and consistency, defined as “Il Punto di Pasta”, smooth to the touch and very extensible .
Let the dough rest on a marble slab or a wooden surface for 2 hours covered with a damp cloth and then divide into individual ball-shaped portions of 180 grams each.
Set aside in a container to rise for a second time for 4-6 hours at room temperature.
Use your hands and with a round motion roll out the dough on a marble slab covered with flour until it becomes 3 mm thick with a 1-2 cm edge.
Take about 60g to 70g of chopped tomatoes and using a wooden spoon place in the center of the disk of dough. With a spiraling motion, spread the tomato over the surface. Then add a pinch of salt on the tomatoes, 80 – 100 g of DOP buffalo mozzarella, cut into strips and some basil leaves. Again with a spiraling motion starting from the centre, add 4 to 5 grams of extra virgin olive oil.
Cook in a wood- brick oven at a temperature between 450C° to 480C°, rotating the position of the pizza frequently to make sure the heat is spread evenly.
Use your hands and enjoy the taste of Italy!
Often, we make our own dough, but today we were testing some prepared doughs from both Trader Joes and Publix Supermarket. We also make our own pizza sauce from marzano tomatoes, but sometimes you just have to have a quicker alternative:
Dough Balls from Trader Joes and Publix
Sauce – Premium Organic Paesano Tomato and Basil (available at Costco)
Buffalo Mozzarella from COSTCO
Fresh basil from our supermarket
We brought the dough to room temperature, divided it into two balls and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then on a floured surface, we pressed the dough out in all directions from the center to form a circle. You then grab a side of the dough and pull out and fold back over your hand to increase the size of the pie. This is continued all around the pie several times until it is the size you want (around 10”). The center should be paper thin and thicker around the edges. The Trader Joe’s dough was the best to work with and had the best results, forming a larger pie without tearing. The Publix dough was a bit more delicate, but also made a very good pizza.
Next ladle some sauce on pie in center and spread it out in circles around pie. Then season the sauce with Parmesan cheese and garlic (if desired). Next place the fesh basil and finally the Buffalo Mozzarella cheese. Then sprinkle some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) over the top.
Pre heat your oven to 500-550 with a good quality pizza stone in it. After it reaches temperature wait another 15 minutes to allow stone to reach the temperature. Use a pizza Peel to slide the pie onto the stone. It should only take about 5-6 minutes to cook. The edges should be brown and check bottom so it doesn’t get to dark.
The crust edges should be crispy but the bottom center should be soft. Take pie out of oven and let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing or serve whole like in Italy.
If you are doing a second pie, allow oven to reach temperature again before putting it in.
Below is a video VLOG of us making this pizza …
– George & Jo Febish
Puglia is a region of Italy in the south-east corner including the heel of the boot. The YouTube videos below are of Puglia and some of its more interesting cities:
Polignano a Mare is a great small city on the Adriatic coast. This is the location of the famous cave restaurant Grotta Palazzese.
Puglia is a wonderful place to visit. We drove so we could fully see the beautiful countryside. Enjoy!
– George Febish
Public transportation can be daunting in a foreign country but train travel in Italy is easy and common once you understand the basics. There are different types of trains from high speeds to locals and the cost changes accordingly. Having a ticket doesn’t always mean you have a seat. Some tickets require validation before boarding. If they are not validated a heavy fine may be imposed.
The rules are simple and train travel in Italy is relatively easy. You can go almost anywhere by train or get close enough to your destination. Trains even go to Sicily. The train is loaded on a ferry and travels to the Island of Sicily where it is put back on tracks and your journey proceeds. There are European trains that will take you to any major city in Europe.
Sit back and watch our short VLOG video on how to use the Italian train system.
– George Febish
Here are 12 differences between America and Italy. They are not all the differences but some to consider on your trip. Italy is a wonderful country with great people, food, wine, museums and countryside. It is a different country with different customs and ways. These are not good or bad just different. Be aware of differences and don’t be shocked.
The YouTube video below goes through the 12 differences:
– George Febish
These stories are true and happened to myself and my wife, Jo Anne in Italy. The first three are funny and the last is informative. Travel, especially to Italy, is all about stories and experiences. We have many experiences in Italy. These four stories are a few of them.
Enjoy traveling, Enjoy Italy and have fun. You will never forget your experiences, your trips or your stories. Please watch the video below to hear our stories:
We recently went to Italy to spend a relaxing time at our condo in southern Campania. Normally we take an extra week and travel to some other area of Italy but this time we just wanted to relax at the beach and enjoy Italy. This is a story about our local area, the people and the food. It is also a story about how Hurricane Irma caused us to have the longest trip home ever.
Watch the video VLOG below and follow us through this interesting trip to the mezzogiorno: