When we think Italy and food, it is easy to conjure up thoughts about ‘real authentic’ pizza, and spaghetti and meatballs. It is easy to build up a food fantasy based on typical Italian dishes prepared in local hometown establishment even before stepping onto Italian soil. What one should remember is that most of the gastronomical delicacies prepared in your favorite Italian restaurant, are adaptations based on the availability of ingredients and regional preferences, and though it satisfies your urge for Italian cuisine, the variation you will be treated to on your Italy excursion may not resemble or taste like what you have become accustomed to.
Doing a bit of research and acquiring some knowledge about this fascinating and beautiful country can truly enhance planning a trip to Italy. Italy affords the traveler a broad variety of ways in which to experience this region. The wine connoisseur may wish to tour the Tuscany region, which is known for Chianti. The history buff will want to visit ruins dated back to the Roman Empire and earlier. Those who get their rush of adrenaline from gliding down the snowy white slopes will enjoy winters in the Italian Learning Basic Italian…
A visit to Florence would have to be a wonderful experience any time of the year. For me it was Christmas, and one of my best ever. Fewer tourists, no queues, soft winter sun, cheaper accommodation, and the best excuse in the world to spend hours on end inside shopping and feeding my soul made for a buon Natale!
Pisa is one of those places everyone has heard of – and the Leaning Tower is without doubt its most famous feature.
Near the Ligurian coast, just north of Livorno, Pisa is a perfect day trip from Florence. I took the train, enjoying every inch of the hour and half journey across the Tuscan countryside, breathing in the landscape, the villages and towns along the track, the cypress stands, the farmland shrouded in an eerie winter December mist.
In Italy’s North East, Verona is one of those fantastic Italian cities full of the joys of past and the present. Roman artifacts abound. Even walking down the street you can stop in your tracks as you pass across the top of a Roman road. Breakfast in my hotel – a wonderful mix of cosy apartments and luxury rooms – was a great way to start the day. The dining room was circular, the centerpiece an amazing thousand year old mosaic floor under glass. And the steaming silver jugs of thick hot chocolate Italian-style, fresh fragrant, buttery brioche-type rolls and apricot nectar on the menu had me in raptures.