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L&B Italian Tours - Search results for: Campania

Duration: 2 hours

Type of Service: Heart of Naples Stroll with Local Street Food Tastings

Explore Naples’ UNESCO Recognized Historic Center

Meet your local expert guide and intimate group of just 10 people or fewer in the heart of Naples before embarking on this mind and palate-opening experience. You’ll then be off to sample some of the most delectable flavors and sought after culinary delights that Italy has to offer at authentic, hand-picked food vendors that will allow you to mingle with the Neapolitans themselves.

A Stroll to Make Your Stomach Roar - All along your evening stroll, your guide will fill you with the urban legends and history that make Naples come to life, as you dine on delectable examples of the city’s famed street food. If you thought you knew pizza, think again. Naples is home to so many original varieties that you’ll have a hard time choosing. Then pass to the savory ‘pagnutiello, ‘cuoppo’, or ‘cup’, due to the paper cone it is served in, or the ‘cuppetiello’, another succulent version that will make your mouth water.

 If you have a sweet tooth, then you’re definitely in the right place, too! Naples is home to some of the best and most famous pastries in the world with such delicious creations as scrumptious ‘sfogliatelle’, rich ‘Baba’ soaked in rum or the epicurean ‘zeppole’, filled with custard, jelly or cream. Your journey will take you through narrow, picturesque alleys as they open onto elegant piazzas.

Naples from the Inside Out - Pass from Piazza del Gesù, with the splendid Spanish-style Baroque Church of Gesù Nuovo and an incredibly sculpted monument dedicated to the Holy Virgin. Visit the ancient heart of the city along Spaccanapoli, one of its oldest streets, dividing it in half. See San Gregorio Armeno, famous for its Christmas market and where the most beautiful Nativity scene figures you have ever seen are sold year-round by sculptors that rival Michelangelo and Bernini.

 You’ll also pass the Naples Cathedral, where every year on September 19th the blood of its patron saint, San Gennaro, miraculously reliquifies in a procession that animates the entire city. Then it’s on to other scenic streets, like Via dei Tribunali and finally into Piazza Dante, the city’s former market square, where your tour will end and it will be easy to catch a taxi or the metro back to your hotel.

 No other tour offers such an authentic view of the real city of Naples, with its unique atmosphere, amazing architecture and intense flavors. Your perception of this exotic city will never be the same after you have cut through the myths and discovered why this city is so loved. This is truly Naples at its best.

Things to Know:

  • 2 hours walking tour of UNESCO recognized Naples historic center
  • 8 food tastings from authentic local vendors
  • Expert local English-speaking guide
  • Small group of no more than 10 people
  • Tour is offered April - October
  • Tour is offered on Wednesday and Saturday
  • Tour time is: 6:30pm (1830)
  • Meeting Location Point:  Piazza del Gesu’ Nuovo – more details are given upon booking
  • Wear comfortable walking or tennis shoes

  

Additional Info

  • Region Campania
  • City Naples
  • Duration 2 Hours
  • Highlights

    Enjoy the most characteristic locales and flavors of one of Italy’s premier gastronomic capitals in intimate groups of just 10 people or fewer for a personal experience like no other.

    Savor Neapolitan delights as your guide leads you on a delicious dining experience. Follow your expert local guide on this carefully planned evening stroll to see some of the top sights, Baroque architecture and picturesque piazzas that Naples has to offer with captivating commentary on the history of one of Italy’s oldest cities.

  • Detailed Itinerary

  • Pricing & Booking

     $56.00 per person to include tasting fees. The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking following the procedures below. Please be sure to review the pricing upon booking.

    Booking Procedures and details: Upon hitting the “book now” button, you can choose your date and time, and look over the cancellation policy (terms and conditions), and preview the precise pricing. Once you have entered your details, L&B Italian tours will request your credit card number. We will not charge your credit card until we have confirmed the details for your reservations, this usually happens within 24-48 hours for tours and up to 4 days for trip packages. Once the card is charged your reservation is confirmed. Along with the confirmation, you will get a complete recap of your booking that includes maps, meeting places, times and contact numbers.

    Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

  • Price $56 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 8.75 hours

Type of Service: From Naples - Pompeii and Vesuvius Tour with Lunch and Wine Tasting

The Complete Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius Experience - Meet up with your expert local guide in the center of the fascinating city of Naples and hop aboard a comfortable private coach to head straight for the archaeological area of Pompeii. Your guide will prepare you for everything that’s in store on our Pompeii tours from Naples, sharing the captivating stories and history behind the fateful day in 79 AD when Mt. Vesuvius exploded in one of the most catastrophic eruptions ever, covering the area in a thick layer of ash and rubble.

Absorbing Explanations and Descriptions - Once we get to Pompeii you’ll benefit from skip-the-line, pre-booked entry and the expertise of an official local guide, as you walk this former port town’s main streets just as the ancient Romans did on stones that are still worn with tracks from the carts that tread them nearly 2,000 years ago. We’ll visit the forum, the center of Pompeii’s political and social life, the startling plaster death casts of the victims of the violent eruption that destroyed the city, as well as take a look inside intact dwelling complete with their porticoes, mosaics, and frescoes. The city’s baths and gymnasiums will also impress as you look across the millennia at a moment frozen in time forever.

An Epicurean Lunch with Local Food and Wine - After Pompeii, head up the lush slopes of Mt. Vesuvius itself to meet its most famous wine producer for a tasting of 6 fantastic native varieties produced from the volcanic soil right under your feet. Enjoy an inviting 3-course lunch of some of the region’s most delectable culinary delights, including cheeses, cured meats, pasta with local ‘piennolo’ heirloom tomatoes and a mouthwatering ‘pastiera napoletana’ pastry dessert with ricotta cheese and fruit. Admire sweeping views from the terrace over the surrounding countryside, and visit the vineyards and cellar with a careful explanation of the grape varietals and each step in the winemaking process from the family that owns them.

 From here we’ll finish our ascent to the edge of Mt. Vesuvius’s crater. Take the chance to look an active volcano in the face on the 20-minute hike where you’ll get to look inside the caldera and take in the most breathtaking panoramas of the day. You’ll see Naples, the bay and the island of Capri from a height of over 4,200 feet, as well as bask in the pristine nature that surrounds you.

Things to Know:

  • Expert, local English -speaking tour guide
  • Groups no larger than 25 people during guided tour of Pompeii
  • All transfers in private air-conditioned coach
  • Skip the line admission tickets and reservations included in tour cost
  • 3 course-lunch with 6 wines produced at the vineyard
  • Tour is offered April - October
  • Toured is offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday
  • Tour Time:  Tour departs at 8:45am and check-in by 8:30am
  • Meeting Point Location: Naples Train Station – more details are given upon booking
  • Wear comfortable walking or tennis shoes

 

  

Additional Info

  • Region Campania
  • City Naples to Pompeii and Vesuvius
  • Duration 8.75 Hours
  • Highlights

    Explore the archaeological wonders of Pompeii and the imposing splendor of Mt. Vesuvius with an incredible food and wine experience you won’t find anywhere else. Visit the most famous wine producer on Mt. Vesuvius where you'll enjoy a tasting of 6 local wines, a 3-course lunch and a visit to the vineyards and cellar, with a complete explanation of the grape varieties and winemaking process from the owner. 

  • Detailed Itinerary

  • Pricing & Booking

    $178.00 per person for a full day tour to Pompeii, Vesuvius to include lunch, wine tasting fees, and transportation.

    The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking following the procedures below. Please be sure to review the pricing upon booking.

    Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

  • Price $178 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 4 hours

Type of Service: Tasting Naples - Half Walking / Half Driving Tour

Book your private Food Tasting Tour and discover Naples with a walking tour through some of its well-known delicacies! Naples is one of the most ancient cities in Europe. It was founded by the Greeks and ruled by many different countries – Romans, Byzantines, Germans, Normans, French, Spanish and Austrians – that left an indelible mark not only on the cultural heritage of the city but also on its food tradition! The best way to explore a foreign city is to smell and taste it!

During the walking tour you will experience the thrill of traveling through time, history, architecture and culture and you will be able to enjoy some of the most important monuments of one of the oldest cities in Europe. Your local English Speaking Escort will bring you to some of the most beautiful areas and key locations: from the Royal Naples, the city’s modern heart, to the Historic Centre listed by Unesco as a World Cultural Heritage Site. This private excursion will take you to the boulevards, the churches, the squares, the narrow streets and the most prestigious buildings of the town (Royal Palace, the Maschio Angioino Castle, the Opera House, the Church of Santa Chiara and so on) to fully appreciate Naples’s historic charm. The town offers indeed a wide range of places that can be visited according to your interests and feelings.

Food is an important part of Naples cultural heritage, spirit and identity. Your tour escort will accompany you off the beaten path, through the lively narrow streets and hidden corners of the town to let you immerse inside the food scene of one of the greatest culinary centers of Italy: with your ultimate food experience you will have the chance to taste traditional local specialties such as the rich coffee tradition of the well-known Neapolitan Espresso, some of the local amazing pastries and the most popular delicacies of Naples bakery tradition. The Tarallo, local salty biscuit enriched with almonds and black pepper, the Pizza Margherita, the queen of Neapolitan and Italian food culture in the world and the famous Limoncello liqueur.

Meet your local expert guide and intimate group of just 10 people or fewer in the heart of Naples before embarking on this mind and palate-opening experience. 

Things to Know:

  • Part walking tour/ part driving tour - private tour
  • During the walking tour you will experience the thrill of traveling through time, history, architecture and culture and you will be able to enjoy some of the most important monuments of one of the oldest cities in Europe
  • Food tastings from authentic local vendors
  • You will experience the full flavor of Naples lifestyle, cuisine and heritage in a single excursion
  • Expert local English-speaking guide
  • Tour is offered March - November
  • Tour is offered Monday - Saturday
  • Tour time is: 9:00am and 1:00pm, based on availability
  • Meeting Location Point: Hotel in Center City or Naples Train Station - more details given upon booking
  • Wear comfortable walking or tennis shoes

  

Additional Info

  • Region Campania
  • City Naples
  • Duration 4 Hours
  • Highlights

    Enjoy the most characteristic locales and flavors of one of Italy’s premier gastronomic capitals in intimate groups of just 10 people or fewer for a personal experience like no other.

    Savor Neapolitan delights as your guide leads you on a delicious dining experience. Follow your expert local guide on this carefully planned evening stroll to see some of the top sights, Baroque architecture and picturesque piazzas that Naples has to offer with captivating commentary on the history of one of Italy’s oldest cities.

  • Detailed Itinerary

  • Pricing & Booking

     $350.00 for 2 people to include guide, driver and tasting fees. Each additional person up to 7 people is $25.00 per person on this private tasting and landmark tour.  Ask about discount upon booking.

    The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). 

    Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

  • Price $175.00 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 3 hours

Type of Service: From Sorrento - Farm to Table Experience - Guided Tour of  "La Masseria Farm - small group tour

Enjoy a relaxed guided Tour of  "La Masseria Farm since 1898. 

Visitors to the farm will see a typical Sorrento Peninsula garden, beautifully landscaped with a wide variety of crops. The farm extends to a valley composed of volcanic rocks and soil; its stunning terraces slope down to the Naples Gulf. On the terraces, olive trees produce the typical Sorrento Peninsula Extra virgin Olive Oil, lemon trees produce the exclusive "Oval of Sorrento" variety, and chestnut trees produce sweet, fragrant fruit. Trunks of the Chestnut trees are used to build the famous “Pergolas” to defend the lemons from bad weather. In addition to citrus fruits such as oranges and mandarins, the farm cultivates different varieties of fruit trees and seasonal vegetables. Summer time crops include tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, and onions.

Learn about lemon and olive oil farming in this region.  See friendly animals (goats, chickens and pigs), seasonal crops, fruit trees, hives for pollination/honey production, lemon and olive groves  with explanations about production, the farm’s history, hands-on demonstrations of traditional farming techniques followed by a visit of the ancient wine cellar, little farm's museum and old olive oil mill.

You will experience the tasting of the products such as typical homemade lemonade, sliced lemons with sugar, honey and extra virgin olive oil on homemade bread and local cheese. 

At the end you'll  taste  farm's  genuine products and you will enjoy an authentic Italian meal accompanied by quintessential beverages which will leave you breathless.

Things to Know:

  • Meet the Gargiulo family and learn the day to day operations of the family farm
  • Visit the farm animals on the farm, and stroll among the lemon and orange groves, olive trees, fig trees, and garden
  • A family run farm with tasting of the homemade products they make
  • Tour of the family wine cellar
  • Enjoy an authentic lunch with fresh ingredients grown on the farm with home-made wine
  • Feel free to bring your camera, wear sunscreen and hat in summer and comfortable tennis shoes 
  •  Tour begins at 10:00am with hotel pick-up at 9:30am
  • Tour days are Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • Meeting point location - Pick-up from hotel in center city of Sorrento - more details upon booking

Additional Info

  • Region Campania
  • City Sorrento
  • Duration 3 Hours
  • Highlights

    Your tour is an experience not to be missed for anyone who is traveling in the Sorrento.  Come behind the scenes of our family-owned farm since 1898 and enjoy hands-on demonstrations and tastings of freshly made Italian delights! 

  • Detailed Itinerary

  • Pricing & Booking

    $68.00 per person to include round trip transportation to and from hotel in Sorrento and includes lunch.The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). 

    Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

  • Price $68 Per Person
Published in Amalfi Coast/Sorrento
Saturday, 09 December 2017 22:08

From Sorrento to Amalfi Coast - private tour

Duration: 8 hours

Type of Service: From Sorrento to Amalfi Coast - private tour

The Amalfi Coast is the perfect day tour to those who wish to discover the breathtaking landscapes of the enchanting Amalfi Coast.

Discover the famous beauty of one of Italy’s most iconic shorelines with this full-day tour of the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento. Travel in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle along spectacular coastal roads, stopping to visit the region’s three most popular and beautiful villages — Positano, Amalfi and Ravello. With tips from your knowledgeable driver, enjoy leisure time in each town to stroll narrow cobblestone streets, shop for unique handmade goods or perhaps dine on the waterfront.

Amalfi: The origins of Amalfi, it too part of UNESCO heritage, seem to date back to Roman times and the history and the culture heritage of the city, makes of Amalfi a lively tourist center. In Amalfi you can visit the Saint Andrew’s Cathedral built in the X° century and finished in the XIX° century with its baroque style, the Paper Museum and the Compass Museum that enclose the history of this city. Between the little streets of the city you can shop the limoncello liquor and all the famous products of this area. Today Amalfi is the largest and busiest city of the coast.

Positano: is famous all over the world for its beautiful views of the Salerno Gulf, its colors and nice streets where you can buy some souvenir like the famous painted potteries and the sandals handmade and decorated with crystals. Positano dates back to the ninth century, at the time of Saracen invasions. It was to defend it against them that we have the particular architecture of this perched town in addition to the three watchtowers, still perfectly preserved today, of Fornillo, Trasita and Sponda. Other point of interest in Positano, is the beach named Marina Grande where you can admire the clean and crystal water.

Ravello: is famous for the ancient and amazing villas and the beautiful landscapes on the sea. In the center of the village you can find the cathedral and then the two main villas, Villa Rufolo and Villa Cimbrone that are circled by wide gardens where there are ancient statues, fountains and unique views of the coastal area and the entire gulf.

Things to Know:

  • Meeting point location – Meet your driver in front of your hotel
  • Tour begins at 8:00am or 8:30am - guests choice
  • Wear casual comfortable clothing, walking or tennis shoes
  • Knees and Shoulders must be covered when entering churches for both men and women
  • The most charming excursions of the Amalfi coast in only one day
  • Private tour- your will not join a group and you will avoid the lines
  • Professional English guide/driver with great knowledges of the coast
  • Amalfi – Visit the Cathedral or paper making museum and explore the multiple shops, souvenir stores and cafes – 1 hour visit
  • Positano - enjoy an hour of free time to explore this little town. Walk through the colorful buildings across the sea, browse the traditional boutiques, and visit the church of Santa Maria Assunta with its unique dark Madonna.  – 1 hour visit
  • Ravello - simply enjoy walk around the town square, visit the church, cafes and shops during your visit – 1 hour visit plus lunch in a typical “trattoria” or light lunch in the village
  • Tour is offered Mid-March – Mid-November
  • Tour days are 7 days a week based on availability
  • Your driver/guide will make several restaurant recommendations for you to choose from or you can choose your own
  • Guests is responsible for lunch and admission to gardens and churches
  • Admission fee is paid for paper museum in Amalfi
  • Flexible tour with options to stop along the way for pictures and selfies

 

  

Additional Info

  • Region Campania
  • City Sorrento to Amalfi Coast
  • Duration 8 hours
  • Highlights

    The Amalfi Coast is the perfect day tour for who wish to discover the breathtaking landscapes of the enchanting Amalfi Coast. Enjoy exploring the coastal towns of Amalfi, Positano and Ravello.

  • Detailed Itinerary

  • Pricing & Booking

    Price varies according to group size. Four people is $436.00. The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking. 

    Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

  • Price Prices varies according to the number of people in your party
Published in Amalfi Coast/Sorrento

Duration: 4 hours

Type of Service: Villa Ida Cooking Class in Sorrento

Your cooking lessons will take place in Sorrento in an amazing setting in private grounds with beautifully manicured gardens, orange and lemon trees, swimming pool, outdoor patio and ceramic decorations.  Upon your arrival, we will be welcomed with fresh orange juice, a slice of delicately flavored plum cake with Neapolitan coffee.  You will move into the kitchen area and embark your unique experience of learning to cook delicious Italian food.  Classes are based on menus of traditional Italian cuisine with particular emphasis on Neapolitan recipes. 

Although the menus vary according to the season, you will begin with an appetizer, continue with a first and second course, and end with a delicious dessert, all prepared by you and others in your cooking classes. The recipes will be clearly demonstrated in a warm and relaxed atmosphere by “Zia Angela”, who will share with you the secrets of preparing typical local cuisine as she learned from her mother “Ida“.

Menus are selected that reflect the freshest ingredients of the season, and the vegetables featured in the menus are produced at “Tenuta Mastro Giacomo” by Zia Angela’s husband.  Typical Neapolitan music will set the tone for your cooking classes.

The cooking classes last approximately 3 hours, during which you will take a break to visit the family’s wine cellar and taste some uniquely handcrafted, homemade wines and local cheeses. “Charlie” the man behind the production of this wine, will explain the various phases of his wine production.  Then, carafes will be filled with a selection of these wines that you will enjoy while continuing you’re your lessons and with your lunch.

At the end of your cooking lesson, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor and dine on all that you created, either by the pool, under the “Pergolato” or in the cozy “winter garden” by a warm fire. 

Things to Know:

  • Cooking class begins at 9:30am and concludes at 1:30pm
  • Cooking class – minimum of 2 and maximum of 20 people
  • An interpreter/hostess will assist guests during the cooking lesson and will serve lunch at the end of the class
  • At the end of the lesson, you will receive the recipes
  • Fun, Informative, Great Food and Highly Recommended Cooking Class
  • Afternoon cooking class available from 4:00pm – 8:00pm based on availability
  • Class offered Monday – Saturday, year-round based on availability
  • Meeting Point Location:  Walking and Driving directions are given upon booking

 

 

Additional Info

  • Region Campania
  • City Sorrento
  • Duration 4 Hours
  • Highlights

    We invite you to join us for a unique Italian experience as you learn how to prepare some of the typical regional dishes of Sorrento and Campania. Your cooking classes take place at Villa Ida, a private residence set amidst beautifully manicured gardens, orange and lemon trees, a swimming pool, and outdoor patio.

  • Detailed Itinerary

  • Pricing & Booking

     $132.00 per person to include a three-hour cooking class with lunch.The prices listed above are an estimate based on the daily exchange rate with the Euro. Due to the fluctuation in the Euro, the prices are subject to vary by up to 5% (usually a decrease, occasionally an increase). The precise price is confirmed upon booking following the procedures below. 

    Please note: L&B Italian Tours have an on-call operator in Italy, in the event that anything changes or you have problems in Italy, you can contact us easily. 

  • Price $132 Per Person
Published in Amalfi Coast/Sorrento
Thursday, 12 November 2015 19:26

Regions in Italy

So you’ve decided you are GOING TO ITALY! How Exciting! Many people dream of visiting Italy and experiencing la bella vita, and while you certainly can’t avoid it anywhere in the country, there are some things to think about before you take off that will make your time that much more enjoyable.

First, Italy is a large, and very diverse country. Traveling across regions is almost like traveling across countries themselves. The Italian people are very attached to their City, Region, and Country, in that order, so be sure to talk to locals wherever you go to get to know the intricacies of the very different regions of Italy.

Planning your trip’s itinerary won’t be easy since there is SO much to see and do, but a little background on the country’s layout is helpful when decided what it is you want to get out of your time: are you looking for sports? history? art? food? beaches? mountains? fashion? design? Italy has it all, but some places have it better than others!

Italy can best be divided into three geographical areas: north, middle and south, although again across those areas culture, food and tradition varies greatly.

 

Northern Italy: Alta Italia

Northern Italy is made up of the Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, and Trentino Alto-Adige. It boasts such famous cities as Milan, Venice, Turin, Genoa and Bologna. The weather is cooler than the rest of the country due to the northern location and proximity to the Apennines and Alps. This area is traditionally the more wealthy part of Italy, and houses most of the country’s industry. Cities like Milan and Venice can be slightly more expensive than some cities in the central or southern parts of Italy. However, public transportation and tourism services are much more developed and functional than in other parts of the country!

The major airport for the northern region is Milan’s Linate International Airport. There are many other airports in the region however, including Bologna, Venice and Genoa, so do some price comparisons before booking your ticket. The climate in this region varies considerably, both depending on time of year and location. Venice gets extremely hot in the summer, while Turin and the Lake District (Cuomo) stay much cooler and tend to be flocked by Italians trying to beat the heat during the summer months. The Italian Alps begin their ski season as early as November in some places.

Northern Italy has many attractions and offers activities for everyone. Those who enjoy sport and the outdoors may want to visit the lakes for water sports, or go hiking in the Italian Dolomites. Everyone should see Venice at least for a day while they still can! Milan is great for anyone interested in design or fashion, and also has a wide selection of galleries and museums for those interested in both Renaissance and contemporary art. One can also visit the Italian Riviera for some great beaches.

The cuisine of this region is also quite variable, but generally tends to be no the heavier side of some of the traditional Italian specialties we normally think of. This is where Italians eat risotto with saffron, polenta, LOTS of parmigiano reggiano (from the Emilia Romagna province – an area that all foodies must visit), heavy meat dishes and stews, etc. Closer north near the Austrian border we see a lot of Austrian or Slovenian influence in the cuisine, as well as the wines. Prosecco is from the Veneto, and Gewürztraminer is from Trentino Alto-Adige. Think lots of nice white wines, and a LOT of grappa!

 

Central Italy: Tuscany and Rome

Central Italy is made up of the regions Lazio, Marche, Tuscany and Umbria. Geographically it also contains Abruzzo and Molise, but they are traditional grouped with Southern Italy due to cultural similiarities. This is where the rolling hills of Unbria and Tuscany call to mind Napa Valley. This is wine country. Central Italy is home to cities like Florence, Siena, Perugia, and of course Roma. Still quite wealthy, but more varied wealth across regions, central Italy is also extremely easy to explore via bus or train, so you can visit some little hill towns in the Val D’Orcia, or take a train and ride up and down the coast. This section of Italy is full of tiny medieval towns, and if you do your research ahead of time, you could get to participate in one of their on-going traditional medieval festivals!

Rome and Florence both have international airports, as does Pisa. Flying into Bologna is also an easy way to get to Florence as they are connected via both fast and regional trains. The weather in the region is quite temperate, with clearly distinct seasons similar to the weather on the mid-Atlantic coast of the U.S. The winters are cold, and although snow is uncommon it is not unheard of. The summers get quite hot, going up to one hundred degrees, and the air tends to be humid, especially inland.

Florence and Rome are the dominating destinations in Central Italy, and rightfully so. Rome as the capital and Florence as the birthplace of the Renaissance are not to be missed if possible. I would argue each city really deserves its own trip to truly get the most out of what they have to offer. Rome is a massive metropolitan center, filled with tourists all year round. The Vatican is a major destination, its museums housing some of the most beautiful and famous Renaissance artwork, as well as the Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The City of Rome of course has many ancient Roman ruins that would excite anyone remotely interested in human history: the Coliseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Catacombs, just to name a few. Florence on the other hand is the must-visit for anyone interested in Renaissance art or history, and is also a good base to explore some of the smaller towns in the region that will have you thinking of Under the Tuscan Sun. The Chianti region is full of tiny gems to visit and have an amazing meal at, as is the area between Siena and Rome. You’ll have to get to know the regional bus lines though!

Again, each region has its own traditional cuisine, but Central Italy has some of the healthiest, heartiest, what traditionally would have been peasant food but has now been elevated to an incredible level of International renown. Bistecca alla Fiorentina can only be truly enjoyed in Tuscany, just as Rome is the place to eat Saltimbocca or Osso Buco. Siena is famous for its sweets, traditionally eaten at Christmastime, and the Umbrian town of Norcia, in the Appennine foothills is where the best black truffles can be found, as well as some of the best pork products like prosciutto and salame. The hills are home to wild boar, which is cooked into many traditional stews or sauces. This is also wine country, so look out for Chianti, Montalcino, Montepulciano, and Vernaccia di San Gimignano. I could write a whole article about Tuscan cuisine, and I probably will, so check our blog frequently!

 

Southern Italy: Untouched

Southern Italy is where many Italian Americans origins are. It is the poorest part of the country, and encompasses the “foot” part of the boot of Italy, as well as the island of Sicily and some other Islands off the coast of Naples. It is made up of the regions of Abruzzo, Apulia, Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Molise and Sicily. Due to traditional poverty and well-known corruption, transportation to many less-frequented yet extremely beautiful areas is difficult without a car of your own. The trains are regional and buses connecting cities are infrequent. We’ll talk more about renting cars in Italy later, but this may be the area to do so if you are up for the challenge!

The nearest major international airport is Rome, but there are two smaller airports on the east coast: Bari and Brindisi, both in Apulia. Naples has an international airport, and the island of Sicily may be reached via Palermo in the north or Catania in the south. The climate in the South is Mediterranean, so again variable across seasons but markedly warmer than the north or center of the country. The area is frequently overlooked as a tourist destination, so it is a nice respite from the throngs of Florence or Venice if you have the chance to visit. The beaches are spectacular, overlooking truly crystalline water. On clear days you can even see Africa from certain points along the coast.

While Sorrento, the Amalfi coast and the island of Capri are all beautiful places to visit, they are also the most famous tourist destinations in this area. If you are looking for beautiful vistas and country club style and treatment, these resort towns are a perfect place to pamper yourself or take a boat out. If you are more on the adventurous side, continue south and explore the towns of Calabria, famous for its spicy peppers and warm inhabitants. From Naples you can climb Mount Vesuvius and eat a traditional Neapolitan pizza. Matera, in the Basilicata region, is slated to be the European Capitol of Culture in 2019, and boasts what are thought to be among the first ever human settlements in Italy carved out of the rocks that make up its ancient city center. Those interested in architecture will enjoy the cities along the southern coast of Sicily, where due to volcanic and seismic damage, many buildings were rebuilt in a new Sicilian Baroque style.

Southern Italian cuisine is what most Americans think of as Italian cuisine: eggplant parmigiana, pizza, calzone, spaghetti, maccheroni, and the list goes on. The region is big on short, dry pasta, as opposed to the soft egg pastas of the northern, wealthier regions. Mozzarella is from this area, as is ricotta, made light and fresh. San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the volcanic soil under mount Vesuvius, and are used ubiquitously. Many of the dishes served in the south have Italian-American counterparts due to generations of Italians emigrating to the US from these regions due to extreme poverty. This part of Italy also of course produces much of its own wine, but the wine tends to be drunk young and domestically, rather than bring preserved and shipped. So come here if you are okay with some chilled red table wine or a beer with your pizza!

This has just been an EXTREMELY brief overview of what you might expect as you plan your trip to Italy. Every part of the country has its own secrets, cuisines, and traditions, but if you can’t move there, these generalized descriptions should help you tailor where you want to start and end your visit to the big boot. Once you determine your itinerary, be sure to check seasonal weather charts so you can pack accordingly to where you will be visiting. Read on for more about the items that you will need to bring with you to get the most out of your Italian vacation!

Published in Tips & Tricks
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