Hi all, first time posting here on DWM, so let’s talk about traveling, one of my favorite things to do. For the last few years I have had the great fortune of being able to travel all over the world, from exotic locales like Morocco to the frozen wonders of Iceland. My latest trip may not have included camel riding into the Saharan Sunset, but I definitely experienced some of the best meals I have ever eaten and gazed upon some of the most amazing works of art and history in the world. If you haven’t guessed it, I just spent an entire week in Italy!
My trip started after a long flight, and a layover in Paris. After retrieving my luggage, we had a private water taxi shuttle us to our hotel.
This boat ride through the Grand Canal in Venice, was highly reminiscent of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland, minus the drops of course. After check-in, I had my first real Italian meal of lasagna and tiramisu, and a good night’s sleep.
We spent the next day exploring Venice, our first stop was a Murano glass factory, followed by a visit to the Doge’s Palace.
The Doge, as chief magistrate of Venice, lived in a Palace worthy of the richness and opulence of Venice, featuring gold leafed ceiling and some of the only frescos in Venice.
After we finished touring my friend and I proceeded to eat our way back to the hotel, we taste tested every chocolate shop we passed and ordered the most adorable cannolo and topped it all off with two scoops of gelato.
After all of this, we took a break and then had a late dinner, where I had the most divine lobster fettuccine.
The next day we were on a full day’s drive for Florence, stopping for a delicious wine tasting on a farm in the Tuscan countryside, as well as for the Leaning Tower of Pisa. At the Fattoria Il Poggio, where we stopped for lunch we toured the vineyard and had homemade pasta with ragu, prosciutto, pecorino, sun-dried tomatoes, and homemade bruschetta all made on site following DOP standards, paired with 3 reds and 3 whites (I obviously had to grab a couple of bottles to bring home!)
Then we were headed to Pisa. Because of how I have always seen the tower, I personally thought it was one tower in a field. I was wrong; it is built next to a large basilica. We spent about an hour there walking around taking pictures. After Pisa, we settled in to finish our drive to Florence, or Firenze.
Arriving late, my friend and I had a late dinner of smoked salmon ricotta toast and truffle and tomato pizza.
The toast, topped with shavings of white truffle, was amazing. It had the perfect balance of savory and creamy, however, the pizza really impressed. Thin slices of pizza were made from dough leavened for 36 hours, and buffalo mozzarella, topped with little tomatoes and truffle shavings. I look at the pictures I took, and miss it already. We spent the next day doing a walking city tour of Florence, stopping to see The David and Michelangelo’s prisoners at the Academy of Arts and the Florence Cathedral.
We also crossed the Ponte Vecchio (the only original bridge left in Florence) to see the Pitti Palace, where the Medici’s spent their summers. In the evening, my friend and I shared porchetta and an amazing cannelloni. Both of which were phenomenal as expected.
The next morning, we headed out bright and early for our drive to Rome, we stopped in the medieval town of Assisi, where St. Francis was laid to rest. Walking up the hill to the basilica, my friend and I noticed a couple of stores offering wine tastings, so we decided to forgo lunch after our tour for wine tasting.
Our first wine tasting was what I expected, 3 wines, choice of white or red, and some cheese and desserts bites. The second tasting, was where we truly experienced the generosity of the locals. We asked to do the tasting, the waiter said, “of course! Do you like whites or reds?” Our group responded with a mixture of both, and he ended up serving us not 3 but 8 types of whites and reds. Along with the 8 wines, we had 2 types of prosciutto, 2 types of salami, 2 types of olive oil, 4 types of balsamic vinegar, 3 types of cheese, and house made bread. Needless to say, we made a good decision skipping lunch.
In Rome, my friend and I took a quick shopping trip, and then returned for dinner with the tour group. Our trip was coming to an end quickly and so we had a farewell dinner. I must say, it was not the most impressive dinner. In fact it was the least impressive I’d had thus far, but that’s most likely because I don’t love pesto.
In the morning, on our last full day in Rome, we took the bus to Vatican City, where we learned that Rome is the only city in the world where there were two of every Embassy, as the Vatican is its own state.
We learned that Vatican City is a combination of 12 museums, and we would not be able to complete touring in one day. We visited past Popes’ apartments, the Sistine Chapel, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica and Square, where we witnessed, the sheer amount of people, even in low season that visit the Vatican each day.
After the Vatican, we headed out to a walking tour of the Piazzas and Fountains of Rome. I had gnocchi and gelato with a shot of espresso for lunch.
On this walking tour, I finally got to revel in the beauty of the Trevi Fountain and all of the other amazing works of art that are part of Rome.
After the fountains tour, we took a taxi to the Coliseum, then slowly meandered our way home on foot. During our walk, we stopped for pizza, where we ordered by weight!
We snacked on four flavors: zucchini blossoms and anchovies, prosciutto and potato, sausage and porcini, and mushroom. We took a short break, then headed out to a late dinner. We ended up at Osteria de Fortunata, and it was amazing. I knew it would be as soon as I stepped out the cab, for there in the window were two Italian ladies making FRESH pasta to order.
Here I had the most amazing carbonara in my life, the panchetta was crispy, the sauce was rich, and the pasta was perfectly al dente. I also partook in my friends sciatavelli amtraciana, which is a red pork cheek ragu.
After dinner while attempting to walk off the fullness, we ended up stopping at another gelateria, and getting tiramisu as well.
Unfortunately, all trips must end, and too soon it was morning and we prepared to leave. On this most amazing trip, I experienced some of the most delicious foods, and a lot of amazing art. If I get a chance I will most definitely want to go again, not only to eat, but to experience the centuries of history and culture of Italy.