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L&B Italian Tours - Search results for: Lombardy

Duration: 3.5 Hours

Type of Service: Taste Milan Food Walking Tour – small group tour

Milan is a unique city with two souls: a very traditional, (northern) Italian; and one that is bustling, innovative, fashion-driven, with the energy that you can find only in few European capitals. It’s also their combination that makes this city unique. We will show them both to you, taking you in three different neighbourhoods.

Our walking Milan food tour starts with a wine tasting, a local Franciacorta sparkling wine in a hidden and unique venue, a little gem kept by wine lovers. This is the traditional beginning of a feast in Italy, and the perfect start for a dive into the Milanese atmosphere. Your licensed guide, your Food Ambassador, will walk you through recipes, dishes, curiosities, history and lifestyle showing you Porta Romana area, known to locals for the quality of its restaurants; the bustling area of the Darsena, not far from the Navigli, the center of Milanese nightlife; and the classy San Lorenzo area.  We will also take you on a short trolley ride. Our gastonomic tour includes of course the most traditional of local dishes: Risotto alla Milanese, in one of the most renowned restaurants. We combine it with a more innovative pasta dish, as well as with an exquisite white wine.

We choose only passionate and high-quality local producers, and the best food venues that only locals know. That’s why our tour also includes the only cheese shop in Italy that sells cheeses only made with unpasteurized milk; or an Italian reimagining of fashion-Milan favourite dish: sushi! These are just some of the stops that, walking you through a proper Italian meal of five courses paired with wine, ends with a dessert that may be a modern version of tiramisu or something equally creative.

This walking food tour is designed to experience some of the best food and wine in Milan, while discovering the two souls of this city: on the one side the old and traditional; and on the other the innovative, bustling and experimental. You will taste dishes coming from centuries-long traditions, such as the renowned Risotto alla Milanese; you will hear about the production of the famous Franciacorta wine while sipping it; but you will also explore hidden venues, gems known only to locals for the quality of their dishes. The best local specialities are paired with great wines.

Things to Know:

  • A professional guide with food and wine tasting in Milan
  • Small group tour of 15 people or less
  • Visit 6-7 venues
  • Ride a local tram
  • Amount of walking - 1.9 miles
  • Tour is offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
  • Tour begins at 11:30am /Tour check-in at 11:15am
  • Recommend walking or tennis shoes
  • Please specify your dietary restrictions at time of booking
  • Meeting Point Location:  more details are provided upon booking
  •  Our food tours take place whether rain or shine and we have indoor options for all stops

 

Additional Info

  • Region Lombardy
  • City Milan
  • Duration 3.5 hours
  • Highlights

    This walking food tour is designed to experience some of the best food and wine in Milan, while discovering the two souls of this city: on the one side the old and traditional; and on the other the innovative.

  • Pricing & Booking

     $120.00 per person and includes all food and wine 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.

    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 $120.00 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 13.5 hours

Type Of Service: Cinque Terre and Portovenere from Milan - small group tour

Leave the City for The Coast - Let us take you on an incredible journey to experience some of Italy's most breath-taking scenery for yourself. Pack your day with an authentic taste of the Italian Riviera, where small maritime villages huddle near the sea and cling to the rocks in unbroken harmony with nature. It is no wonder why this area's history and traditions have been awarded the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO and inspired artists, writers, and visitors to absorb its delightful atmosphere.

Begin your day aboard a private coach for a transfer from Milan to La Spezia, throughout the journey your expert guide will fill you in on interesting facts and stories about the region of Lombardy to Liguria as you pass by. Leaving the busy city of Milan behind for the day, you will learn how the rocky Ligurian coast was settled over the centuries due to the hard work of its inhabitants.

Ferry to the Famous Dorian Castle - Cruise across the 'Gulf of Poets' by ferry to the enchanting seaside town of Portovenere, famous for its tall pastel-colored houses and evocative views from the ruins of Doria Castle, where you will have free time to explore. See why this impressive landscape was so admired by Petrarch, Shelley, Byron, and Montale whose musings immortalized it and be sure to try the regional specialty – pesto –this is where it was first created!

Cruise the Cinque Terre - From here you will embark on a mesmerizing cruise up the coastline to the Cinque Terre, where the landscape is dominated by dramatic green hills that plummet into crystalline waters. After you’ve had time to explore it’s time to embark on a cruise up the coastline to the Cinque Terre, where the landscape is dominated by dramatic green hills that plummet into crystalline waters. As the last signs of civilization begin to fade away you will begin to spot the vivid colors of the little towns overlooking the seashore: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso, the latter of which is our second stop.

Enjoy Some Free Time - Take some time to yourself, try some of the local flavors on offer, like mussels with Cinque Terre DOC white wine, or explore the towns picturesque little streets and alleys. There is also an optional hike to the Capuchin Monastery on a summit that stands over beautiful rooftops, terraced vineyards, and the sea. Beach lovers will want to make sure to bring their swimsuit, as the sand and emerald water will beckon.

When you think you've seen all of the possible beauty, you'll hop on the boat for our last tour in Manarola, which is considered the oldest of the five lands, famous for its picture-perfect, colorful houses. Once again, you'll be able to discover the area on your own and even one final aperitivo to bid farewell to this extraordinary place.

Sites Visited

  • Poets’ Gulf
  • Portovenere
  • Monterosso
  • Manarola

Things to Know:

  • Round-trip transport from Milan in a comfortable air-conditioned coach
  • Public boat tickets
  • Free time in Portovenere, Monterosso, Manarola
  • 2 hours boat cruise 
  • 45 mins optional light hike with tour leader
  • Groups of 25 people or fewer.
  • Expert local guide
  • Audio headsets when appropriate
  • Wear comfortable walking or tennis shoes
  • Tour is offered April - October
  • Tour is offered on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Tour Time:  departs at 7:30am / Check-in between 7:00am - 7:15am
  • Meeting Point Location:  Milan Garibaldi Train Station - more details given upon booking

 

 

Additional Info

  • Region Liguria
  • City ManarolaVernazzaCornigliaRiomaggiorePortovenere
  • Duration 13.5 Hours
  • Highlights

    See the best of the Cinque Terre's amazing sea-side towns, as well as visit Portovenere, all in a single day trip from Florence.  Admire the Gulf of Poets and Cinque Terre on a short cruise up the coast, then explore them on foot on your way back down.  Follow your guide on an optional light hike allowing you to truly appreciate the natural beauty of Cinque Terre, or spend your free time tasting pesto or shopping.

  • Pricing & Booking

    $180.00 per person to include round-trip 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.

    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 $180 per person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 3 Hours

Type of Service: Last Supper and the Best of Milan Walking Tour – small group tour

Milan is one of the world's top fashion capitals, but there is much more to this hip, urban metropolis – it is also home to an incredible patrimony of art and culture which includes Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest masterpiece, the 'Last Supper'.

No-Wait Tour of Duomo - On this Skip the Line walking tour of the best of Milan – we’ll take to the city by foot starting with a visit inside the famous ‘Duomo’ located in the most central point of the city. Milan's impressive cathedral is often described as one of the most beautiful churches in the world, so much so, in fact, that American author Mark Twain dedicated a whole chapter to it in his book 'Innocents Abroad' – describing it as “…so grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful!”.

19th Century Shopping Arcade - Our next stop is the impressive Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II – a 19th century glass vaulted shopping arcade. Brimming with fashionable shops and cafés – it is often called the ‘salotto di Milano’ or ‘Milan’s drawing room’ for its importance as a common meeting point through the years for the Milanese.

Rich History: Brera District – Next, it’s through the Brera District. Rich in historic buildings and ‘literature cafés”, restaurants and fashionable bars – this area has long been home to artists and intellectuals. Brera's picturesque and winding streets lead us north to Castello Sforzesco. An imposing medieval castle and fortress, Sforzesco was once seat and residence of the family that ruled Milan and now houses several of the city's museums and art collections. Your guide will explain more about it from the outside.

The Last Supper - The final stop and culmination of this Milan tour is none other than Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, hidden away at the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. This enormous and complex 15th century mural captures the emotional moment in which Jesus announces that one of his 12 disciples will betray him. The painting had been severely damaged over the centuries and has only very recently undergone a painstaking 21-year restoration, revealing the original colors and details of this masterpiece. The delicate nature of this mural and its importance means that Last Supper tickets are strictly limited to those who have pre-booked – and only one group is allowed to stand with the painting at a time in air-conditioned room for 15 minutes.

Sites Visited:

  • Leonardo da Vinci's 'Last Supper'
  • Duomo (Cathedral of Milan)
  • Brera District
  • Sforzesco Castle (from outside)
  • Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II

Things to Know:

  • See the best of Milan on a guided walking tour of the city's top sights from its piazzas and arcades to the incredible Duomo combined with Da Vinci's masterpiece, the “Last Supper”
  • Skip the Line Access to the 'Last Supper' means you won't waste hours waiting in line - tickets often book out weeks in advance and the general access line can often stretch for hours.
  • Small group sizes of only 25 people or less mean you'll get the best from every second of your Milan tour and that your expert, English-speaking guide will have time to answer all your questions.
  • Tour is offered on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday - based on availability
  • Tour times on 9:30am and 10:30am weekdays / 1:30pm and 2:30pm on weekends
  • Meeting point location: Piazza del Duomo more details are given upon booking
  • While the area is quite flat, we recommend you wear comfortable walking shoes 

Additional Info

  • Region Lombardy
  • City Milan
  • Duration 3 hours
  • Highlights

    Milan is one of the world's top fashion capitals, but there is much more to this hip, urban metropolis – it is also home to an incredible patrimony of art and culture which includes Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest masterpiece, the 'Last Supper'.

  • Pricing & Booking

     $95.00 per person for this three hour guided tour.

    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 $95 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 2.5 Hours

Type of Service: Best of Milan by Night with Rooftop Aperitivo and Appetizers – small group tour

An ‘Aperitivo’ with a View - Meet your tour guide in the heart of Milan in the shadow of one of the most impressive Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe. On this Milan night tour, you’ll see the city’s best, in addition to sipping on a Spritz or glass of Prosecco as the sun goes down and the city lights up for another evening of style. The ‘aperitivo’ is one of Milan’s favorite pastimes and you’ll enjoy this famous evening drink with appetizers as you soak in the atmosphere at one of the city’s top venues with stunning views over the Cathedral of Milan and the skyline of its historic center from a rooftop terrace. This is truly Milan at its finest.

See the City's Most Spellbinding Sights - Your first stop is Milan Cathedral. Often simply referred to as the ‘Duomo’, it is the second largest church in Italy after St. Peter’s. Cherish views of this imposing edifice that took over 6 centuries to complete while its countless spires leave you in awe. In his book ‘Innocents Abroad’, Mark Twain gave it a chapter of its own, describing it as “So grand, so solemn, so vast! And yet so delicate, so airy, so graceful!”

The next stop is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a dazzling 19th-century glass vaulted shopping arcade. Brimming with fashionable shops and cafés, it is often called the ‘Drawing Room of Milan’ for its importance as a common meeting point. Passing through the gallery we arrive at Piazza della Scala, the square which houses the world-renowned Scala Theatre, which has been Milan’s Opera House since 1778. Some of the greatest musicians, singers, and composers in history have performed here, most notably Giuseppe Verdi, whose famous operas, such as Falstaff, often premiered on its influential stage.

Milan Will Enchant You as the Sun Goes Down - Next, you’ll go through the Brera District. Rich in historic buildings, literary cafés, restaurants and fashionable bars, this area has long been home to artists and intellectuals alike. Winding picturesque streets will lead you north to Sforza Castle, where your guide will tell bewitching tales of this imposing medieval castle and fortress, once the residence of Milan’s ruling family and now housing several of the city's museums and art collections. At night the battlements are awash in rays of evocative light, making it the perfect ending note in the symphony that is the city of Milan.

Take this opportunity to combine Milan’s best with the unrepeatable chance to enjoy an ‘aperitivo’ in true Milanese style.

You’ll see why this fashionable and dynamic city takes so much of the Italian limelight.

 

Things to Know:

  • On this 2.5-hour tour experience Milan’s most captivating sights on this dazzling evening stroll through the city’s famous streets and piazzas from a local expert guide
  • Admire the gothic splendor of the Milan Duomo cathedral
  • Take a walking tour around Milan’s historical center at sunset
  • Enjoy an aperitivo drink and tidbits at a rooftop terrace overlooking Milan's skyline
  • Tour is offered April - November
  • Tour is offered on Tuesday and Thursday / small group tours of 15 people or less
  • Tour begins at 7:15pm (1915) and check-in is at 7:00pm
  • Ideal introduction to Milan for first-time visitors
  • Meeting point location - Piazza del Duomo (more details are given upon booking)
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes 

Additional Info

  • Region Lombardy
  • City Milan
  • Duration 2.5 Hours
  • Highlights

    Delight in the dazzling local tradition of the ‘aperitivo’, or evening drink with appetizers, at an elegant rooftop terrace where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the Milan Cathedral’s spires and the city’s historic center accompanied by a Prosecco or Spritz.

  • Pricing & Booking

     $88.00 per person for a 2.5 hour guided tour with snacks and wine tasting fees included in tour price.

    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 $88 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples

Duration: 2.5 Hours

Type of Service: Milan Regional Food & Wine Experience on the Ancient Canals – small group tour

Getting to Know Milan from the Inside Out - Many tourists complain about how difficult it is to get to know Milan, to scratch the surface of this fashionable city.  Our combination canal and wine tour is the solution.  Touring in a small, intimate group, you’ll feel more like you’re having a night on the town than taking a formal tour.  Our unique night tour combines a walking tour of the Milan canals – one of the most popular and scenic districts of the city, especially in the evenings – with authentic, local food and wine at some of its busiest bars.  Traveling with our expert, local guide in a small group of up to 15 people, our tour will give you, not only a taste of the food, but also the culture and history of Milan.

The Canals of Milan - From Ancient Defense to Bohemian Hub - Built for defense, irrigation, and transportation, the famous navigli - or canals - of Milan, once formed a vast network. In the 1930s, most of the canals were filled in, and only two canals remain.  Today, a vibrant, popular neighborhood has developed around them, crowded at night with locals who browse in its bookstores and galleries or enjoy its casual cafes and bars.

Your first stop will be the “big canal” to relax with a glass of local wine and get to know your group and your guide.  You’ll then stroll to the smaller, prettier canal, while your guide describes the area’s history, including Leonardo da Vinci and Napoleon’s involvement with the canals.

Savoring the Local Flavor - Next, we’ll stop at one of the Milan’s best wine bars, where you’ll enjoy some more wine paired with local delicacies: cheeses, meats, olives, and bread. The friendly, outgoing bar staff will join your guide in explaining what you’re sampling and what makes it a specialty of the region.  As you’re tasting your Milanese treats, you can discuss your experience of Milan with your guide or your group. You’ll continue our walking tour, admiring more art galleries and shops, feeling a kinship with the locals who have come to the neighborhood to have fun and relax.

A Delightful Happy Hour - We’ll end our evening on a high note in true Italian style with an aperitivo, which means ‘happy hour.”  Aperitivos can offer anything from a single delicacy to a buffet. In our case, it will be the latter! Help yourself to a variety of authentic Milanese foods to enjoy with a glass of Italian wine. This is an excellent opportunity to ask your knowledgeable guide what else you should experience  - local sights, restaurants, bars – while in Milan. This unique walking tour lets you experience Milan like a local – learning about and enjoying its culture, food, and wine in a charming and popular neighborhood.

 

Things to Know:

  • 2.5-hour evening canal walking tour in Milan including wine and snacks 
  • Start with a glass of wine before you explore the historical Navigli neighborhood 
  • Learn about Leonardo da Vinci's links to the Navigli area 
  • Visit an enoteca that specializes in quality local food for samples of wine, cheese, meat and more
  • Tour is offered April - November
  • Tour is offered on Wednesday and Friday / small group tours of 15 people or less
  • Tour begins at 6:00pm (1800)
  • Ideal introduction to Milan for first-time visitors
  • Meeting point location - Via Casale / Via Valenza (more details are given upon booking)
  • While the area is quite flat, we recommend you wear comfortable walking shoes 

Additional Info

  • Region Lombardy
  • City Milan
  • Duration 2.5 Hours
  • Highlights

    Explore the beautiful evening air as you navigate the canals of Milan on this appetizers and wine tasting tour.

  • Pricing & Booking

     $88.00 per person for a 2.5 hour guided tour with food and wine tasting fees included in tour price.

    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 $88 Per Person
Published in Milan/Naples
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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