I have an amazing opportunity to go to Italy this fall and am super excited for it! We are about 6 months out and I’m sure time will drag. The anticipation of a trip really drives me though. I cannot get enough of researching the place I’m going. Mostly the research is centered around what to eat and where which is no different as I prepare for Italy!
Before we talk food though, let’s talk about how we’re getting there and where we’re staying. I was quite surprised by how inexpensive the airfare was to Italy. It was decided that we would fly into Milan and take a train to our first stop. The cost to fly into Milan was less than any of the other large cities in Italy which is why it was chosen (always check flying into another, local airport if possible to save i.e. Midway instead of O’Hare in Chicago). The airfare from JFK to Milan came in under $600 for a nonstop roundtrip ticket. Not terrible.
Next we decided on lodging. Initially hotels were considered but with what we wanted to spend it was not giving spectacular options. It occurred to me that we should be considering Airbnb or similar outfits to find lodging. This proved to be another great idea! I cannot believe the places we are getting for our money. We ended up below budget for each person and with Airbnb we are at $85 per night per person. Each place is a full apartment with kitchens and laundry facilities in them. This will help by giving us the option to cook meals and do laundry. And you know what that means? More space in the luggage for souvenirs and gifts!
After getting travel arrangements figured out and made another thing I wanted to do was to learn the Italian language. For this I chose to go with Living Language. No particular reason other than there was a special buy that I got on the program. I’ve had this set tucked away for a bit waiting to be pulled out one day and put to use. The program comes with books and CDs in 3 parts – Essential, Intermediate, and Advanced. There is also online access, an e-tutor, and an app. The app has come in quite handy by allowing me to practice what I’m learning at any time and place. There are flash cards and games on the app as well as the lessons from the book complete with the audio part. I also copied the CDs to my phone so I can listen to it while I’m driving and practice. So far it has taken an hour to go through one lesson which is divided into 2 parts. In order to really take it all in I’ve decided to focus on one part of each lesson per week to start out. I’m sure as I go I can do this in less time.
Now to figure out the country of Italy as a whole and then to drill down each city separately. I came across this infographic which seems to have the essentials of things for a quick glance item.
One of the main things I like to focus on is local food. What is this place known for and where is the best place to have it at are what I search out. For Italy a few of the first foods that come to mind is pasta, pizza, gelato, cappuccinos, and wine.
Found this listing of popular street food items that I can’t wait to try! A few of you may have heard of arancini and zeppole but there are so many other Italian foods! There’s a couple on the list that I’m hesitant to try but I try to try everything once when it comes to food.
Came across this list of the best, most authentic gelato you can find in Italy. You better believe I’ll be checking out the validity of this list whenever I can. I promise to report my findings to you. On the off chance I’m not able to try one of these vetted shops then this article will help me steer clear of imposters.
Another thing Italy is known for is coffee. I was surprised to learn that if you want to sit down and have a coffee you can be charged more for it. Most people stand at the bar in the cafe to enjoy their coffee. Cappuccinos are had in the morning as it’s thought that the milk is too heavy to have later in the day. Espresso is considered a digestive and if you like to have an after dinner coffee with your dessert then this is what you would order. Normally I would order a cappuccino for after dinner but guess I need to start getting used to espresso.
As I go along with my food research for Italy I am finding that a lot of it is right up my alley! One of the main breakfast choices is cappuccino with a pastry. This is similar to what I will eat for breakfast now, a latte and scone. I am a huge fan of pizza and love seafood and wine. This infographic from Walks of Italy helps show what each region’s specialty is.
I know I’ve gone on and on about food stuff and not touched on all of the history to be seen in Italy but stick around! I will be sharing about places to see in each of the cities we’ll be stopping in and it won’t be just about the main attractions. Our main stops will be Venice, Rome, Florence, and Milan with day trips to places like Pompeii and Naples. You won’t want to miss it!
Are there any eats you’d recommend? Must see places? Please share and who knows, it may make it on the itinerary!