Italy: Experiences and Discoveries

Florence, Bologna, Manarola and Venice: AirBnb
 
I’ve been eyeing AirBnb for a while and was finally able to use it on this trip. The accommodations we got did not disappoint or at least most of them. My favorite was the 800 year old apartment in Florence. Our host Paolo was gracious and very knowledgeable about the city. He recommended a really good restaurant and gelato place. I also loved that informative and interesting books about Florence and Italy lined his bookshelves. He has five other Airbnb listings which I would love to see in future visits. The one where we stayed was near Ponte Vecchio. All I can say is that it was simply lovely and if you ever need to go to Florence, book with Paolo.

Modena and Bologna: Amazing-Italy Tour
 

My trip buddy was such a good researcher and booked a Bologna food tour through Amazing-Italy Tours for our side trip. Our guide, Andrea obviously loved his job. He was so funny and always offered to take our photos. He explained everything from the process of making Parmigiano-Reggiano to curing pork for prosciutto. As for the balsamic vinegar, he recognized how passionate the owner, Romano was about his craft and family business and let him do the talking. After the tour, we had a three hour lunch of lasagna, tortellini, salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar, figs with parmesan shavings, stuffed tomatoes and gelato.

 

Cinque Terre: Limoncello

You might see bottles of this liqueur a lot around Italy and since I am not an expert, I wouldn’t know which you should buy. I do know however that the best one we had was the homemade limoncello that our host, Franco, poured for us on our arrival in Manarola, Cinque Terre.  If you are so inclined, there is a basic recipe available on Rick Steves website. There is also an informative article about the drink in this post from Walks of Italy website.

 

Venice: Fried Seafood

We were rewarded well in our effort to ditch the throng of day trippers to Venice and to find the best fried seafood. We got them to-go in paper cones from Vecio Fritolin. I think we got there by accident just trying to avoid the crowd. I don’t know how food writers do it but I am incapable of describing taste right now except by using the word YUMMY. I was happy to part with my 10 euros for it. There was also another hole-in-the-wall one called Frito Inn along Cannareggio which we found out about through Trip Advisor. I don’t know why but that paper cone just seemed bottomless with the fried squid.

image from VecioFritolin.it website
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