THE BEST FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY MADE BY AN ITALIAN

Between the vineyard of Langhe in Barolo, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

The Best Two-Week Food and Wine Tour of Italy: Your Ultimate Guide to Food and Wine Tasting in Italy made by an Italian.

I have wanted to go on a food and wine tour of Italy since forever!

I have always lived abroad and Italian food and wine are for sure among the things I have missed the most!

So I used my year off to taste local food and wine and drive around Italy.

But I couldn’t find a food and wine tour that would cover the whole country of Italy. Usually these tours are around only certain areas. Which I understand, I mean, Italy is quite long and, let’s say it, food is amazing everywhere.

So I created my own two weeks itinerary of almost all regions of Italy. 

I started from Emilia Romagna (the region of my friend Cinzia who traveled with me) and finished in Rome, my home city. Being a two-week tour, unfortunately I had to cut off some regions. On this tour you won’t find the islands (Sardinia and Sicily). For practical reasons but also because both of them deserve a proper visit and not just a quick stop. Sadly I had to cut off also Valle d’Aosta, a place that I love (especially its fontina) but too far from the rest of our destinations. Umbria and Marche because they are regions where I can easily go since they are so close to Rome. And the poor and lonely Molise. For you I have no excuses sweet Molise. Just forgive me!

If you want to follow me in this idea bear in mind that what you will do basically is driving, eating and drinking!

WHAT YOU FIND IN THIS TOUR: I will describe the destinations of our food and wine tour, list the local food and wine that we tried, and recommend hotels and restaurants that we chose.

WHAT YOU NEED: two weeks, a car, good company and an eager stomach!

QUICK “THING”: We combined a food and wine tour with a tour of the Italian villages and cities we have seen on the way. The focus of our tour though is eating and drinking so we didn’t spend too much time being proper tourists. It’s clear that many destinations deserve a deeper and slower visit. So take it more like a quick taste of places that you might visit in the future in a proper vacation. 

ONE MORE THING: I don’t eat fish. So you won’t find it much on this tour. But I promise I will give you some information on a few fish dishes that my friend Cinzia tried.

All right, I guess we are ready! Let’s start then with Emilia Romagna!

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 1. STOPS: MODENA, PARMA, PIACENZA, VENICE.

FIRST STOP: MODENA.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Piazza Grande. ⭐️Cathedral. ⭐️Ghirlandina. ⭐️Ducal Palace. 

Let’s start our tour with Modena, the very first stop of our food and wine tour of Italy.

The symbol of Modena is its Ghirlandina, the bell tower of the Cathedral, 89 meters tall. You can’t miss it also because it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Cathedral and Ghirlandina Tower of Piazza Grande in Modena

You can see the tower from Piazza Grande where you can admire also some other important buildings: the Cathedral (dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and Saint Geminianus) and its Ghirlandina bell tower, the Town Hall and its traditional porches, and a big block of limestone called Preda Ringadora.

So basically the heart of Modena is Piazza Grande. But another very interesting place is for sure also the Ducal Palace, the former seat of Este court, home today to the Military Academy of Modena.

Facade of the Ducal Palace of Modena

Unfortunately I haven’t tried its food and wine because we had lunch in Parma, but I can tell you that the city is famous for its balsamic vinegar (that we tried on Parmesan cheese in Parma) and Lambrusco, a red sparkling wine.

SECOND STOP: PARMA. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 50 minutes.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Cathedral. ⭐️Baptistery.

I have to confess that in Parma I spent more time eating than touring! So my paragraph about what to eat and drink in Parma is definitely longer than the one about what to see. Oopsy!

But you should definitely go to Piazza Duomo to see the Cathedral and its pink marble Baptistery. Visiting the Cathedral is absolutely worth it for its beautiful frescos, especially the Assumption of the Virgin, painted by Correggio.

WHAT TO EAT IN PARMA – OUR MENU.

🍽Plate of Cured Meat of Parma (Culatta, Prosciutto di Parma, Coppa, Strolghino di Culatello, Salame di Felino);

🍽Gnocco Fritto (hot squares of fried dough);

🍽Parmigiano Reggiano with Aceto Balsamico di Modena (Parmesan Cheese with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena);

🍽Tris di tortelli (Small raviolis filled with pumpkins, herbs, cheese) with Parmesan Cheese.

WINE: Nabucco.

WHERE TO EAT: Trattoria Corrieri, Parma.

Cured cuts of Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano with Balsamic Vinegar, Tortelli, at Trattoria Corrieri in Parma, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

THIRD STOP: PIACENZA.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 15 minutes.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Piazza dei Cavalli. ⭐️Cathedral. ⭐️Palazzo Farnese.

Here we are at the last stop in Emilia Romagna: Piacenza.

We parked right next to Palazzo Farnese, which was once the residence of the Farnese family and today houses important Municipal Museums.

Facade of Palazzo Farnese in Piacenza

From Palazzo Farnese you can walk to Piazza dei Cavalli. Here you can admire the Gothic Palace (the Town Hall of Piacenza), the Governor’s Palace, and the Church of San Francesco.

View of Piazza Cavalli in Piacenza

And the horses which give the name to the square! In the middle of the square in fact are the equestrian statues of Alessandro and Ranuccio Farnese.

After a short walk you get to the Cathedral (dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary), another important building of the city.

Facade of Piacenza's Cathedral

FOURTH STOP: VENICE.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h and 40 minutes.

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Agli Artisti, Venice.

Some advice on parking in Venice! I don’t recommend you driving all the way through Venice because parking is very expensive.

We parked our car in a place where we paid only €5 per day. From there you can take a bus that takes you to Piazzale Roma. The address of the parking is Via Augusto Righi.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 2. STOPS: VENICE, TRIESTE.

FIRST STOP: VENICE.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️St. Mark’s Square. ⭐️Rialto Bridge. ⭐️Bridge of Sighs. ⭐️Murano. ⭐️Burano. ⭐️Torcello.

I never had the chance though to visit the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. So I took advantage of this food and wine tour of Italy to “pass by” Venice and finally see them.

So don’t take this part of the article as a guide to things to do in Venice. Take it more as a little taste of it. Besides, visiting Venice is always beautiful, even just for a few hours, am I right?

Obviously a must-see in Venice is St. Mark’s Square. I can still remember how excited I was the first time I saw this stunning square. There are so many things to see that you need a couple of more eyes.

Picture of Piazza San Marco in Venice

St. Mark’s Basilica with its unique bell tower, Doge’s Palace, the Procuracies and St. Mark’s Clocktower. It looks like all the buildings of the square are in some sort of a beauty contest.

Another wow place of Venice is for sure Rialto Bridge, the oldest and most famous bridge of Venice that spans the Grand Canal.

And of course the Bridge of Sighs, another unique landmark of Venice.

Besides its beautiful buildings, the soul of Venice is in its canals, narrow streets and bridges. Every single corner of Venice is a magical place. You can just wander around the city and get lost.

And take one of its legendary Vaporetti.

The first stop is Murano, a complex of islands that is famous for its laboratories of glass blowing. You can watch a live demonstration of glass blowing in Murano Glass Museum or in one of its shops (in certain hours there are free demonstrations).

One of the canals of Murano with the bell tower in the background

While walking around Murano, pass by the Church of Saint Peter Martyr and go inside to see the fresco of the Baptism of Christ. Some experts say that it was painted by Tintoretto. Another famous building of Murano is Palazzo della Mula and the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Mary and Saint Donato.

Have a spritz and take another Vaporetto to Burano, the island of lace and colorful houses.

Some colorful houses of Burano

In Burano you can’t walk without stopping every second to take beautiful pictures. Each house is in different colors and walking around Burano is like walking in a painter’s palette.

Fun fact: each house is in different colors to allow fishermen to recognize their house when they went back from the sea even on foggy days.

Another peculiar thing of Burano is its leaning bell tower. Do you know when you try to take a picture of a tower and it always turns out kind of leaning? Well, in Burano it’s the other way around! I tried to take a picture of the leaning tower but it always turned out kind of straight! What is that, a curse or something?

Ok maybe I got it right from here. What do you think?

The leaning bell tower of Burano

Finally we go to Torcello, the island of the first settlements in the Venetian lagoon. Today only about 10 people live there! The landmark of the island is the ancient Devil’s Bridge.

The Devil's Bridge in Torcello

WHAT TO EAT IN VENICE.

I must say that Venice is not my favorite place to eat. There is a lot of seafood and as I said earlier I really hate it!

But I want to give you the whole picture of what to eat in Venice, so I’ll be strong and talk about fish for you! A typical dish of Venice is Schie (some lagoon prawns) that you can eat with polenta. But also Sarde in Saor (sardines with onions) and baccalà mantecato (creamed dried cod).

Another typical dish is the Venetian liver. “Finally, something you can eat, tell me everything about it!”. Sorry, I turn you down again. I don’t eat liver either. But I can tell you that is liver cooked with caramelized onions.

Venice food isn’t for me!

“What did you eat then?”. If Venice food isn’t for you as well, there is something you can do. Have a lot of spritz and cicchetti, some sorts of tapas served on slices of bread or polenta. You can have as many as you want in the “bacari” near Rialto Bridge.

Cicchetti in one of the Bacari near Rialto Bridge in Venice, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

But if you’re craving real Venice food, I suggest you then eat in one of the restaurants by the canals of Burano. There is an amazing vibe there!

WHAT TO DRINK: Manzoni Bianco. Spritz.

WHERE TO EAT: Al Vecio Pipa, Burano.

SECOND STOP: TRIESTE.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 50 minutes.

WHERE TO STAY: B&B Dream, Trieste.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 3. STOPS: TRIESTE, UDINE, MISURINA, SAN CANDIDO.

FIRST STOP: TRIESTE.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Molo Audace. ⭐️Piazza Unità d’Italia. ⭐️Grand Canal. ⭐️Roman Theatre. ⭐️Saint Giusto Hill. ⭐️Lighthouse Vittoria. ⭐️Miramare Castle.

This morning we wake up in Trieste, a city on the very east side of Italy, only a few kilometers from Slovenia. And since it’s morning, we have some coffee in one of the historical coffee shops in the city.

Trieste is a very peculiar city with two souls: Mediterranean and Central European.

You can easily walk the city center. We start with the Molo Audace, which takes the name from the destroyer Audace, the first ship of the Italian Navy that arrived in Trieste.

The pier is right in front of Piazza Unità d’Italia, the largest square by the sea in Europe. The square is the beating heart of Trieste where you can admire important buildings like the City Hall and Palazzo del Governo. In the middle of the square there is the Fountain of the Four Continents.

View of Piazza Unità d'Italia in Trieste

A few minutes walk from Piazza Unità d’Italia there is Grand Canal, which allowed the boats to transport the goods from the pier to the city. Say hi to James Joyce, one of the writers who passed by Trieste.

Statue og James Joyce on the bridge of Grand Canal in Trieste

We climb up to the upper part of Trieste, passing by the Roman Theater, which still hosts shows in the summer.

View of the Roman Theater of Trieste

Once you reach Saint Giusto Hill you can see the Castle of Saint Giusto, the Cathedral of Saint Giusto and the War Memorial Monument.

San Giusto Castle and Roman Ruins at San Giusto Hill in Trieste

We go back to our car and drive towards Vittoria Lighthouse that was built in memory of the mariners who died during the First World War, and the beautiful Miramare Castle, home of the Habsburgs, including Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg and his wife Charlotte, but also Princess Sisi.

Time to say bye to Trieste and head to Udine, where we are going to have lunch.

SECOND STOP: UDINE. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Piazza Libertà. ⭐️Cathedral. ⭐️Piazza Matteotti. 

Udine really took me by surprise. To be honest I didn’t have great expectations. I decided to go there because I know that food is amazing! But once I was there I found out that it’s also a beautiful city.

Let’s start with Piazza Libertà, which was defined as the most beautiful Venetian square on earth. There are many things to see here! Loggia del Lionello which is right in front of Loggia and Tempietto di San Giovanni, the beautiful Clocktower with the Lion of St. Mark, and the statues of Hercules and Caco.

Piazza Libertà in Udine seen from Loggia del Lionello

Also, in this square there is Arco Bollani, where you can start your walk up to Udine Castle. Legend has it that it was built by the Huns for Attila so that we could overlook Aquileia burning down.

So Udine proudly welcomes you already with its stunning square.

If you walk a little further you can see the Cathedral and its tower that houses a museum.

Facade of Udine Cathedral

Finally we pass by Piazza Matteotti where you can see the Fountain of Giovanni da Udine and the Church of San Giacomo (the square is in fact also called Piazza San Giacomo).

Facade of San Giacomo Church in Udine

WHAT TO EAT IN UDINE – OUR MENU.

🍽Prosciutto San Daniele;

🍽Bigoli con guanciale di Sauris, cicciole e formaggio frant;

🍽Frico e Polenta.

WINE: Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso.

WHERE TO EAT: Trattoria ai Frati, Udine.

Prosciutto San Daniele, Bigoli con formaggio frant, guanciale e ciccioli, frigo e polenta, at Trattoria ai Frati in Udine, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

Lunch in Udine was for sure one of my favorite lunches of this food and wine tour of Italy. Starting with Prosciutto San Daniele, which is literally divine. It melts in your mouth. But also that pasta! One of the best I have ever had! Formaggio frant is basically a combination of the the leftovers from cheese production.

Another traditional dish is frico, also a combination of cheese melted with onions and potatoes. It’s usually served with polenta. A must-try for sure, but not as good as that pasta!

But let me talk about the wine! Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso is absolutely amazing, one of my favorite wines of this tour.

THIRD STOP: MISURINA LAKE.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h and 50 minutes.

We drive through a breathtaking scenery road between the Carnic Alps and the Dolomites. The air is getting cooler and the view is amazing.

One stop to do before getting to Trentino Alto Adige is for sure Misurina Lake.

Misurina Lake is also called the “Pearl of Dolomites” and you’ll get why as soon as you see it.

Landscape of Misurina Lake with the little house and the Dolomites

Unfortunately it was a rainy day but the lake is spectacular in all of its versions.

We have a quick Spritz and drive to the last stop of today: San Candido.

FOURTH STOP: SAN CANDIDO.

JOURNEY TIME: 30 minutes.

We get to San Candido right after sunset, so the town welcomed us with a spectacular light.

The village of San Candido with the blue light after sunset

Take into consideration that in Alto Adige they have dinner quite early so it might not be easy to find an open restaurant at that time.

Luckily Enoteca dell’Orologiaio welcomed us with open arms! We ordered a plate with some delicious speck and local cheese. Super yummy!

Platter of speck and Malga cheese, and Lagrein wine, at Enoteca dell'Orologiaio in San Candido, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

And today is the day of the best wines! We tried some Lagrein wine that we absolutely loved!

WHAT TO EAT IN SAN CANDIDO.

🍽Plate of speck and malga cheese.

WINE: Lagrein.

WHERE TO EAT: Enoteca dell’Orologiaio, San Candido.

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Heidi, Dobbiaco.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 4. STOPS: SAN CANDIDO, LANDRO LAKE, BRAIES LAKE, SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE, ORTISEI.

Today it’s all about Alto Adige. A little spoiler: the scenery is absolutely stunning!

FIRST STOP: SAN CANDIDO.

We go back to San Candido to see it with the sunlight.

The town is very small, so a short walk around Piazza San Michele is just enough.

A street leading to Piazza San Michele in San Candido

SECOND STOP: LANDRO LAKE. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 20 minutes.

We go now to Landro Lake basically for three reasons: get the peaceful vibe of the turquoise-green colors of the lake, stop by the Tre Cime di Lavaredo viewpoint, and eat plenty of Knödel and spätzle. Very romantic, isn’t it?

WHAT TO EAT IN LANDRO LAKE – OUR MENU.

🍽Three types of Knödel (herbs, beetroot, cheese);

🍽Spätzle with cream and ham;

🍽Apple fritters.

WINE: Lago di Caldaro DOC.

WHERE TO EAT: Ristorante Lago di Landro, Dobbiaco.

Spatzel with cream and ham, knodels, apple fritters, at Ristorante Lago di Landro, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

THIRD STOP: BRAIES LAKE.

JOURNEY TIME: 35 minutes.

We take a wonderful drive to Ortisei and stop at another beautiful lake in South Tyrol, the gorgeous Braies Lake.

Boats on Braies Lake

It was just a quick visit for us, for a little virtual dive into the wonderful emerald waters of the largest lake in the Dolomites. But you could spend the whole day here and take a rowing boat ride for example.

IMPORTANT INFO: Lake Braies from July 10th to September 10th and between 9:30 and 16:00 is only accessible on foot, by bike or by public transport, or possibly by booking a parking space.

FORTH STOP: SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE.

JOURNEY TIME: 50 minutes.

We continue to drive on roads with breathtaking views. I was literally glued to the window with my eyes wide open and excited like a child. These views are certainly among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

We make a stop in San Vigilio di Marebbe, a well-known ski resort in winter and an excellent starting point for beautiful walking routes in summer.

After a short walk in the village, we take a taste of the thematic path “Tru dles Liondes” which retraces the legends of the kingdom of Fanes (it looks like it’s all about tasting on this trip!).

A wooden marmot in Tru dles Liondes Trail in San Vigilio di Sarebbe

FIFTH STOP: ORTISEI. DINNER.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 20 minutes.

Guess what? We keep driving on amazing scenery roads up to today’s final destination: Ortisei in Val Gardena.

Ortisei is famous for the ancient tradition of its woodcarvers who produce mostly religious-themed sculptures.

The pedestrian area of Ortisei is considered by many to be the most beautiful in the Dolomites, so we couldn’t skip a nice walk there!

Church in the pedestrian area of Ortisei

And obviously, a nice dinner as well!

WHAT TO EAT IN ORTISEI – OUR MENU.

🍽Grilled Taleggio cheese on mixed salad;

🍽Speck Knödel soup;

🍽Eggs, speck and potatoes witch cheese fondue (honestly it sounds better than it actually tastes like, you can skip this dish).

WINE: Lagrein (I can’t help it! I love it so much that I had to take it twice).

WHERE TO EAT: Mauriz Keller, Ortisei.

Grilled Taleggio, soup of speck knodels, egg with speck and cheese fondue, at Mauriz Keller in Ortisei, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Pradell, Ortisei.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 5. STOPS: VALPOLICELLA, SALÒ, BRESCIA, BERGAMO.

After a Heidi-like morning, sadly we leave Trentino Alto Adige.

But Valpolicella cheered us up immediately with an amazing lunch!

FIRST STOP: MARANO DI VALPOLICELLA. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h and 30 minutes.

WHAT TO EAT IN VALPOLICELLA – OUR MENU.

🍽Tortelli al Monte Veronese di Malga, Pero Misso della Lessinia e ricotta affumicata; (tortelli with local cheese, peer, smoked ricotta); (this should be a holy dish!)

🍽Risotto all’Amarone in cialda di Parmigiano Reggiano; (I’m speechless)

WINE:  From Black to White. Amarone della Valpolicella (the king of wines).

WHERE TO EAT: Antica Osteria Paverno – Marano di Valpolicella.

Tortelli with peer and smoked ricotta, Risotto all'amatone, at Antica Osteria Paverno in Marano di Valpolicella, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

This was also one of the best lunches of our tour. But I knew already that Valpolicella would not let me down!

And what about Amarone? A wine that should be an institution. Fabulous.

SECOND STOP: SALÒ (GARDA LAKE).

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 10 minutes.

With so much happiness and Amarone in our veins we set off towards Lake Garda.

Many beautiful villages overlook the lake, but we choose Salò to explore an area of the lake that we did not know yet and that wasn’t too far from our itinerary.

View of the town of Salò over Garda Lake

Salò is a very nice town on the Riviera dei Limoni. We take a nice stroll along the lake, cool off in a bar and drive to Brescia.

THIRD STOP: BRESCIA.

JOURNEY TIME: 35 minutes.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Piazza della Loggia. ⭐️Duomo Vecchio. ⭐️Duomo Nuovo. 

Not too far from Salò, there is one of the most important cities in Lombardy: Brescia, also known as the “Lioness of Italy”, for resisting the Austrian army in 1849.

Brescia is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites as part of the group of sites “Longobards in Italy“.

Actually there would be much more to see in Brescia. But we just had a short and easy walk in the city center.

We started from Piazza della Loggia, unfortunately known for the terrorist attack of May 28th, 1974. Here you can see the Loggia, which now houses the Municipality of Brescia, the Clock Tower with its copper statuettes that strike the hours, and Fontana della Pallata with two figures representing the two rivers of Brescia: Mella and Garza.

The clocktower in Piazza della Loggia in Brescia

Our walk continues towards another important square in Brescia: Piazza Paolo V, also called Piazza dei due Duomi. Here, in fact, the two cathedrals of the city are located next to each other. The Duomo Nuovo (Summer Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta), built in 1603. And the Duomo Vecchio (Winter Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta) from the 10th century. Its peculiarity is its circular shape, that’s why it is also called the Rotonda di Brescia.

Piazza dei Due Duomi in Brescia

Well, we are kind of in a rush. We have to leave Brescia and get to Bergamo, where we are going to have dinner. Again.

FOURTH STOP: BERGAMO. DINNER.

JOURNEY TIME: 40 minutes.

WHAT TO EAT IN BERGAMO – OUR MENU.

🍽Casoncelli alla Bergamasca (meat dumplings with butter, sage and grana); (delicious!)

🍽Scarpinocc de Par (very similar to casoncelli, but stuffed with bread and cheese).

WINE: Valcalepio Rosso.

WHERE TO EAT: Trattoria Caironi, Bergamo.

Casoncelli alla Bergamasca and Scarpinocc de Par in Bergamo, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

We were really full from our lunch in Valpolicella, but we had to try the typical dishes of this area also because tomorrow we leave Lombardy and have lunch in Piedmont.

I have not visited Bergamo this time both because I already have in the past, and because of the tight timing of this tour.

Actually in hindsight I would have made some changes regarding this part of the itinerary, but I’ll tell you all about it at the end of the article.

WHERE TO STAY: Stay Bergamo, Bergamo.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 6. STOPS: OMEGNA, FORNO CANAVESE, TURIN.

FIRST STOP: OMEGNA (ORTA LAKE).

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 40 minutes.

Today we have an appointment with Orta Lake, a small lake of glacial origin.

There are many towns overlooking the lake, but we chose Omegna.

We took a quick walk along the lakefront and said hi to the Nigoglia, the only outlet of the pre-alpine lakes that flows north. Basically, the Nigoglia instead of flowing towards the sea, flows towards the mountains and for this reason it is called “the river that goes up“.

The Nigoglia River that flows in Omegna

And although it’s morning and we have very little time, it’s always “wine o’clock!”. So we enjoy a nice glass of Erbaluce.

SECOND STOP: FORNO CANAVESE.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 50 minutes.

I’m so excited! Forno Canavese was among the best, if not the best, experiences on this tour.

We were guests of my friend Carlotta’s family and her mother prepared for us.

I can’t even find the words to describe the amazing dishes prepared by mom Cori! All truly exceptional! I have no photos to show you because we sat at the table with the family and we spent a beautiful afternoon away from phones and social media, but I can describe for you the menu of this fantastic day!

WHAT TO EAT IN FORNO CANAVESE.

🍽Russian salad;

🍽Raw meatballs with porcini mushrooms;

🍽Vitello tonnato (sliced veal with tuna-flavored mayonnaise);

🍽Fresh Tomino;

🍽Cured tomino with beer jelly;

🍽Zucchini in carpione (fried and marinated);

🍽Agnolotti al Plin (meat raviolis with ragout);

🍽Stuffed peaches;

🍽Typical sweets (including torcetti, amaretti, baci di dama and many others).

WINE: Barbera. Nebbiolo.

WHERE TO EAT: I’m sorry, I can’t give you the address of Carlotta’s mom! Although I struggle to recommend a restaurant that is as good! But don’t worry, I won’t leave you with an empty stomach today! I’ll write you a few restaurants recommended by Carlotta herself where you can find more or less the same dishes!


BONUS TIP: In Forno Canavese there is the only Dutch windmill in Italy. The history of this mill is very sad. It was commissioned by a local businessman in honor of his son, a boy in love with the windmills who tragically died in an accident.

Us at the balcony of the windmill in Forno Canavese

The road to get there is quite bumpy, but I suggest you go there anyway, it’s really beautiful! The mill is private and cannot be visited. But we were lucky enough to find a guest of the mill who let us in and see the mill from inside. Beautiful experience!

THIRD STOP: TURIN.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h.

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Amadeus E Teatro, Turin.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 7. STOPS: TURIN, POCAPAGLIA, BAROLO, CAMOGLI.

FIRST STOP: TURIN.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Mole Antonelliana. ⭐️Piazza Castello. ⭐️Cathedral. ⭐️Piazza San Carlo. ⭐️Roman Quadrilateral. ⭐️Piazza Vittorio Veneto. ⭐️Sanctuary of the Consolata.

Turin is a city I’ve always wanted to see! I felt bad to go there only as a stop on a food and wine tour in Italy, but I promise I’ll come back and visit properly!

Let’s start with the undisputed symbol of the city, the Mole Antonelliana which houses the National Cinema Museum.

Mole Antonelliana of Turin

Next it’s of the most important squares in Turin, Piazza Castello, where you can see some important buildings including the Royal Palace, the Teatro Regio, Palazzo Madama, the Royal Church of San Lorenzo.

View of Piazza Castello in Turin

The Royal Palace was the royal residence from 1646 to 1865 and is part of the Royal Museums complex which includes the Royal Palace, the Royal Armory, the Royal Library, the Sabauda Gallery, the Archaeological Museum, the Chiablese Room and the Royal Gardens. The Royal Gardens are free so we take the opportunity to walk around and take some nice photos.

Royal Gardens of Turin

Also in this area is the Cathedral which contains the Chapel of the Holy Shroud, where the original shroud is said to be kept. Unfortunately, it cannot be seen because they keep it sealed and exhibit it only for special events.

Facade of the Cathedra of Turin

We walk now to the Roman Quadrilateral, the place where the Romans founded their first settlement. Here you can observe the remains of the walls and the gates including Porta Palatina.

Ruins of the Roman Quadrilater in Turin, including Porta Palatina

A very important church in Turin is the Sanctuary of the Consolata.

Outside of Santuario della Consolata of Turin

Finally, we pass through two important squares in Turin. The first is Piazza San Carlo, beautiful and very elegant! Here you will find the twin churches (one is San Carlo, the other is Santa Cristina), the equestrian statue of Emanuele Filiberto, and the traditional arcades.

View of Piazza San Carlo in Turin

The other square is Piazza Vittorio Veneto, which overlooks the Po River.

The visit to Turin was short but intense; it’s now time to drive through the Langhe to eat and drink!

I want to go back to visit this dynamic city even more, in particular I can’t wait to visit the Egyptian Museum, to go inside the Mole and take its famous glass-walled elevator, to go to the Basilica of Superga and much more!

SECOND STOP: POCAPAGLIA. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h.

I don’t want to be rude to Pocapaglia but I have to confess that it was our spare wheel.

Actually we were meant to eat white truffle in Alba, but since June is not a truffle period at all, we had to fall back on Pocapaglia.

I must say, however, that we ate and drank very well here too. After all, we had no doubt!

WHAT TO EAT IN POCAPAGLIA – OUR MENU.

🍽Tajarin with meat sauce;

🍽Barolo stew.

WINE: Barbaresco.

WHERE TO EAT: L’Ostu ‘D Racunis, Pocapaglia.

Tajarin with meat sauce, Barolo stew, at Ostu 'D Racunis in Pocapaglia, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

I must say that there was not much left to taste of Piedmontese cuisine, since Carlotta’s mother had already cooked all kind of food us, so we chose dishes that we haven’t tried yet.

THIRD STOP: BAROLO.

JOURNEY TIME: 25 minutes.

That was a sublime experience!

Drinking Barolo in Barolo. Is there anything more perfect than this?

We went to Astemia Pentita, a wine cellar where you can sip excellent Barolo and participate in wine tasting tours.

We chose the Barolo that came directly from the vineyard in front of us, the Barolo Cannubi, with a platter of local cold cuts and cheeses.

Cured meat and cheese and two glasses of Barolo at Astemia Pentita in Barolo, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

Heaven on earth!

FOURTH STOP: CAMOGLI.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h.

Here we are in the splendid Camogli, a seaside town on the Ligurian Riviera di Levante on the Golfo Paradiso.

The sea village of Camogli from the top of the stairs

The seaside towns of Liguria are all so gorgeous!

I must say that after a few days of eating, drinking and driving around Northern Italy, I started to miss the sea!

We walk along the Camogli seafront among the colorful facades of its houses and stop for an aperitif in one of the restaurants by the sea.

We are quite full so we taste “only” the typical cheese focaccia, and a glass of wine, obviously!

WHAT TO EAT: Focaccia with cheese.

WINE: Pigato.

WHERE TO EAT: Osteria delle Sette Pance, Camogli.

Cheese focaccia at Osteria Sette Pance in Camogli, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

WHERE TO STAY: Al Piccolo Scoglio – Room & Breakfast, Camogli.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 8. STOPS: VARESE LIGURE, VOLTERRA.

FIRST STOP: VARESE LIGURE. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h.

Small disappointment of the day.

We decided to have lunch in the Ligurian hinterland and, as a local suggested, we headed to Varese Ligure.

I only had two wishes: trofie with pesto and pansoti with walnuts.

Well finding them is not as simple as I thought.

The first restaurant we tried in Varese Ligure didn’t have them, so we changed restaurant. It was so embarrassing!

The second restaurant had the trofie al pesto but no pansoti. I can’t believe that in Camogli I had found both of them on the menu! If I had known, I would have had lunch there.

Anyway I had the chance to eat them several times (super yummy, especially in Portofino and Porto Venere), but I wanted to eat them again badly!

Oh well, too late I guess. At least there’s wine, that can always cheer you up!

WHAT TO EAT: Trofie with pesto.

WINE: Pein.

WHERE TO EATOsteria du Chicchinettu, Varese Ligure.

Trofie al Pesto at Osteria du Chicchinettu in Varese Ligure, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

SECOND STOP: VOLTERRA.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h and 20 minutes.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Piazza dei Priori. ⭐️Porta San Felice. ⭐️Porta all’Arco.

Volterra is a beautiful hilltop village of Etruscan origin.

Many Twilight fans know it because it was mentioned in the vampire saga, but don’t ask me more, it’s not really my thing! Besides, the scenes were not actually shot here but in Montepulciano (our stop for tomorrow’s lunch).

Vampires aside, walking through the uphill and downhill streets of Volterra is amazing. The heart of the town is Piazza dei Priori with its Palazzo dei Priori, the Cathedral and the Baptistery.

Facade of Palazzo dei Priori in Volterra

Right past the Porta di San Felice there is a wonderful view over the Tuscan hills.

Viewpoint of Volterra over the Tuscan hills

There are other gates in the old walls of Volterra, the oldest is Porta all’Arco, still quite intact.

WHERE TO STAY: Locanda Il Boschetto, Volterra.

In the inn where we slept we ate and drank some Montepulciano wine, but for real authentic Tuscan lunch you will have to wait for tomorrow!

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 9. STOPS: SAN GIMIGNANO, MONTEPULCIANO, CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO.

FIRST STOP: SAN GIMIGNANO.

JOURNEY TIME: 45 minutes.

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️Towers. ⭐️Piazza Duomo. ⭐️Piazza della Cisterna.

San Gimignano is probably one of the most beautiful towns in Italy.

Its medieval old town has remained almost intact, especially because of a law of 1282 which prohibited the demolition of houses except to build more beautiful ones. San Gimignano has earned full marks to enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The most distinctive feature of San Gimignano is its tall towers (also a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which each belonged to a wealthy family. In the past there were 72 but today only 13 are left standing.

Walking in the medieval town of San Gimignano is like taking a step back in time. From the parking lot we got through the old walls and soon arrived in Piazza della Cisterna where the market once took place.

Me and the well of Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano

The square takes its name from the water cistern from 1287 which is located under the travertine well. Here you can see several houses with their towers (Ardinghelli, Becci, Cugnanesi). One particular tower is the Devil’s Tower, so named because the owner found it slightly taller when he returned from a trip and LOGICALLY it must have been the Devil!

A few steps from Piazza della Cisterna is Piazza Duomo, where you can admire the Cathedral (Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta) which houses the Chapel of Santa Fina with the frescoes by Ghirlandaio.

Facade of the Cathedral of San Gimignano

Other buildings that you can see in Piazza Duomo are the Palazzo del Comune, the Torre Rognosa, the Torre Grossa, the Torri dei Salvucci (also known as the Twin Towers) and the Loggia del Comune which now houses the Civic Museum of San Gimignano.

Salvucci Towers, or Twin Towers, of San Gimignano

Before leaving San Gimignano, go through via degli Innocenti for a splendid view over the Tuscan hills.

Viewpoint of San Gimignano over the Tuscan hills

San Gimignano is also famous for its Vernaccia and saffron. The restaurants we see along the way make me want to eat here, but we decided to have lunch in Montepulciano. On the other hand, in Tuscany you eat and drink well everywhere!

SECOND STOP: MONTEPULCIANO. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 30 minutes.

WHAT TO EAT IN MONTEPULCIANO – OUR MENU.

🍽Pici all’aglione (home made pasta with garlic);

🍽Straccetti di Chianina all’aceto balsamico (Chianina straccetti with balsamic vinegar);

🍽Carpaccio di Chianina al tartufo (Chianina carpaccio with truffle); 

🍽Cantucci con Vin Santo (almond biscuits to dip in Vin Santo).

WINE: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

WHERE TO EAT: Trattoria di Cagnano, Montepulciano.

Pici with garlic, Chianina straccetti with balsamic vinegar, Chianina carpaccio with truffle, cantucci and vin santo, at Trattoria Cagnano in Montepulciano, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

We are again in the top of the ranking of the best lunches! It was amazing!

Each thing we ordered was better than the other. Tuscany never lets you down!

After lunch, before leaving, we pass through Piazza Grande to take a photo of the Palazzo Comunale.

Facade of the Palazzo Comunale in Montepulciano

THIRD STOP: CIVITA DI BAGNOREGIO.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 20 minutes.

We are finally in Civita di Bagnoregio, a place that I have long wanted to see.

Civita di Bagnoregio is an Etruscan town; one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It rises on top of a tuff spur in the Valle dei Calanchi which unfortunately is exposed to the risk of landslides and erosions. For this reason Civita di Bagnoregio is famous with the name of “dying city” given by the writer Bonaventura Techi who lived here as a young man.

To protect the village, an entrance fee of €5 has been put in place. Residents are obviously excluded. Like ten!

You will surely recognize the bridge that leads to the entrance to the village, where many Instagrammers take their “follow me” photo.

Me at the bridge leading to the entry gate of Civita di Bagnoregio

But no one is following us so we set out on the long climb to visit the town. I must say that the 40 degrees Celsius and the post lunch in Montepulciano did not make it easy at all! But we don’t give up!

We walk through the beautiful town, pass through Piazza San Donato, the main square with the Cathedral of San Donato, take something to drink, say hi to the cats of the town and go back to the car.

Me at the bridge leading to the entry gate of Civita di Bagnoregio

WHERE TO STAY: We stayed in a small house I have in Corchiano, a small town near Viterbo. If I didn’t have this option though I would have stayed at Il Casale di Aquarubra, Celleno.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 10. STOPS: CARSOLI, PESCARA.

FIRST STOP: CARSOLI. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h.

WHAT TO EAT IN CARSOLI – OUR MENU.

🍽Fettuccine al tartufo (fettuccine with truffle); 

🍽Chitarra alle cardoncelle (homemade pasta with local mushrooms);

🍽Arrosticini di pecora (sheep meat); 

🍽Pecorino;

🍽Uovo con tartufo (egg with truffle); 

🍽Dolcetti tipici (typical sweets).

WINE: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

WHERE TO EAT: Al Caminetto, Carsoli.

Fettuccine with truffle, Chitarra with cardoncelle, sheep arrosticini, pecorino, local sweets atAl Caminetto in Carsoli, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

Today the lunch situation has gotten a bit out of hand. Oops!

Obviously, in Abruzzo you cannot miss the sheep meat (even if it is quite heavy and hard to digest).

SECOND STOP: PESCARA.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 30 minutes.

Let’s say that of all the beautiful towns we are visiting, Pescara is kind of an ugly duckling. But I’m eager to see it; plus it is a strategic stop before driving to Puglia.

The symbols of the city are its Ponte del Mare, a bridge that connects the two shores of the city, and the “trabocchi“, wooden platforms that were used in the past for fishing and today have been turned into a fish restaurant.

Trabocchi of Pescara on the sea

This must be for sure a very special experience for fish lovers. But even if I was, I don’t think I would have been able to eat even a herring after that huge lunch!

However, in all this touring around we really needed a day off, and we relax a bit with a pleasant walk along the seafront of Pescara.

WHERE TO SLEEP: B&B Calypso, Pescara.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 11. STOPS: GIOVINAZZO, POLIGNANO A MARE.

FIRST STOP: GIOVINAZZO. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h and 45 minutes.

Finally Puglia! Among my favorite regions, especially from the food and wine point of view!

From today we will drive many kilometers because we begin to travel the long south.

The first stop is Giovinazzo, a seaside village in the province of Bari that I know because I worked with people from there and they showed me wonderful photos of this town. So I couldn’t wait to meet Giovinazzo in person!

And it was really worth it.

I love to discover those little places off the beaten path. I find them of a unique authenticity, not spoiled by tourist traps.

The peculiarity of this splendid seaside village is its fortified waterfront. Giovinazzo is built entirely of white Apulian stone and has a small port.

The fortified beachfront of Giovinazzo

WHAT TO EAT IN GIOVINAZZO – OUR MENU.

🍽Burratine; 

🍽Capocollo; 

🍽Strigoli al grano saraceno con salsiccia lucana, cardoncelli e pomodoro infornato (buckwheat pasta with sausage, mushroom and baked tomato).

WINE: Primitivo.

WHERE TO EAT: Allamuraja, Giovinazzo.

Burratine, Capocolli, Buckhweat Stringoli with sausage, mushrooms and baked tomato at Allamuraja in Giovinazzo, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

As soon as I arrived in Puglia, my wish was to eat a burratina. But I could only find fish in the menus of the seaside restaurants.

When Allamuraja’s waiter approaches, I ask him if they have burratine (they weren’t on the menu) and he replies with that splendid Bari accent “Of course we do!”. Heart-shaped eyes. I love you.

In short, the lunch was divine, the burratine sent me to heaven for a few minutes, the welcoming was fantastic. I love Puglia. I love the South.

SECOND STOP: POLIGNANO A MARE.

JOURNEY TIME: 45 minutes.

Polignano a Mare is probably the place I liked the most of this tour.

A real pearl on the Adriatic. A postcard-worthy old town. Welcoming. Clean. Magical.

Polignano a Mare is located right on a promontory overlooking the sea. The glimpses of the Adriatic are spectacular and you can read around the town poetic phrases, related especially to the sea. A sea lover like me couldn’t help falling in love with this place!

View of the Adriatic Sea in Polignano a Mare

WHAT TO EAT IN POLIGNANO A MARE.

In Puglia I kept saying “there are so many things to eat in Puglia and so little time!”.

I felt so overwhelmed because I wanted to eat so many things but I didn’t have enough time to eat them all!

So we decided to eat small snacks in different places.

We started with puccia with mortadella and stracciatella. Now this is a very delicate question for the Apulians. For some (Lecce and surroundings) the puccia is a sandwich with olives. While for others (Bari, Taranto and surroundings) it is bread stuffed in different ways.

Puccia with mortadella and stracciatella in Polignano a Mare, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

Watch out because this is something that divides Puglia and creates real factions. A bit like arancino / arancina in Sicily. (I’m still an arancino team).

However, everybody agrees on panzerotto, a superlative stuffed fried calzone. The classic filling is tomato and mozzarella, but you can stuff it with other things as well. You can also choose if you want it fried or baked. Personally, I always have it fried!

Panzerotto of Rotellina in Polignano a Mare, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

A local guy recommended “La Rotellina“ to try panzerotti. And I always listen to the locals! Thank you!

Finally we sip some Nero di Troia at the beautiful terrace of “Aquamarea” with a view of Lama Monachile. Now, I understand that the label says to serve it at room temperature. But if the room temperature is 40 degrees, maybe I would have put it in a cool place for a moment, don’t you agree? I felt like I was drinking mulled wine!

View Lama Monachile from the terrace of Aquamarea in Polignano a Mare

WHERE TO STAY: Welcome Holiday House, Polignano a Mare.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 12. STOPS: ALBEROBELLO, OSTUNI, MATERA.

We have breakfast with pasticciotto, a shortcrust pastry filled with cream, and off we go. Actually pasticciotto is a Lecce traditional sweet, but in this case we are not fussy! It’s so good!

Pasticciotti in a bakery of Alberobello

FIRST STOP: ALBEROBELLO.

JOURNEY TIME: 30 minutes.

Well, you cannot travel around here without visiting the famous Trulli of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Besides, Alberobello is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy.

Some Trulli of Alberobello

The peculiarity of the Trulli, in addition to their unique shape, is that they were built using a dry-stone wall technique (without mortar) so that they could be easily destroyed (it was all a trick to evade taxes for new buildings). Basically, they had to be temporary constructions so that in case of inspection they could be demolished and then rebuilt once they have passed the inspection.

So smart! Maybe a little uncomfortable, I guess. I picture in my mind the situation like “hey, the controller is passing”, “oh damn it, I go demolish the house and then put it back together”. Everything to save some money!

By the end of the 18th century, once this law on new buildings was removed, the structure of the Trulli without mortar was finally reinforced. So you’re fine, your Trullo won’t collapse while taking your selfie!

We first visited the Trullo Sovrano, the only two-story Trullo, which can be visited for only €2. The Trullo Sovrano was built properly, with mortar and all, thus violating the construction rules. Also because I guess that dismantling two floors would be quite challenging!

Entrance to Trullo Sovrano in Alberobello

Then we walk down to the districts of Monti (where there is the area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO) and Aia Piccola to stroll among the Trulli with pinnacles of various shapes and different symbols. What these symbols represent, we don’t know fur sure. Some believe that they were magical symbols linked to propitiatory rites probably for the harvest. There are also symbols related to the zodiac and astrology. Or maybe the owner of the Trullo simply liked to decorate the roof like this, without meaning. Go figure!

Symbols on some trulli of Alberobello

SECOND STOP: OSTUNI. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 45 minutes.

We now move to the province of Brindisi to visit Ostuni, the white city.

The old town is in fact entirely built in white lime, which gives a picturesque aspect to this beautiful village.

A street of Ostuni, the white city

Finding your way through the narrow streets of Ostuni is not easy. The town looks like a labyrinth and getting lost around its narrow streets is amazing!

WHAT TO EAT IN OSTUNI – OUR MENU.

🍽Orecchiette con le cime di rapa (homemade pasta with turnip greens); 

🍽Bombette di carne.

WINE: Negramaro.

WHERE TO EAT: Il Posto Affianco, Ostuni.

Orecchiette with turnip greens, bombette, at Il Posto Affianco in Ostuni, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

We cannot leave Puglia without eating its legendary orecchiette with turnip tops! Fabulous!

The meat bombette, on the other hand, are less known, but a must in the Apulian cuisine as well. They are meat rolls stuffed with cheese (usually caciocavallo). They are also found in different versions with the most varied fillings.

We actually wanted to eat in a bombette restaurant (Osteria Braceria Pantagruel) but we found it closed. Meh.

THIRD STOP: MATERA.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 45 minutes.

Today it is a wonderful place next to another!

How can you not fall in love with Matera? The first city in the South of Italy to be included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which also earned the title of European Capital of Culture in 2019.

View over Sasso Barisano di Matera

Matera is known all over the world for its Sassi, a complex of cave houses carved into the tuff. It was born as perfect exploitation of the natural context of the city for residential purposes, but unfortunately in the 50s it became a national shame for the bad hygienic conditions and the overcrowding of the houses. Luckily, a great recovery program was able to restore the Sassi di Matera to their splendor. Thank god!

Today the Sassi di Matera offer an incredible spectacle, especially at sunset.

View over Sassi di Matera at sunset

So let’s go between the two Sassi, Sasso Barisano and Sasso Caveoso, for an unforgettable walk in this incredible place of Italy.

WHERE TO SLEEP: Bed&Book, Matera.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 13. STOPS: RIVELLO, TROPEA.

Today we drive the “Basilicata Coast to Coast”!

On our way we stop at a country house in Rivello to have a traditional lunch.

FIRST STOP: RIVELLO. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 2h and 10 minutes.

WHAT TO EAT IN RIVELLO – OUR MENU.

🍽Antipasto misto lucano; 

🍽Fusilli con mollica e peperoni cruschi (fusilli with breadcrumbs and cruschi peppers);

🍽Gnocchetti al ragù di maiale e cacioricotta (gnocchetti with pork ragout and cacioricotta).

WINE: Aglianico.

WHERE TO EAT: Il Rifugio del Cavaliere, Rivello.

Antipasto lucano, Fusilli with breadcrumb and crusco pepper, ragout gnocchi with pork and cacioricotta, at Rifugio del Cavaliere in Rivello, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

Fusilli are the typical pasta of Basilicata and crusco pepper is a very crunchy dried pepper. Really a great dish! I wouldn’t say the same about the gnocchetti, but I couldn’t resist the “cacioricotta”.

SECOND STOP: TROPEA.

JOURNEY TIME: 3h and 40 minutes.

There is a shorter way to get to Tropea but we decide to drive along the coast. Like we didn’t drive enough already, right?

But I must say it was really worth it! The blue that welcomes you to Calabria is amazing!

HIGHLIGHTS: ⭐️ Norman Cathedral. ⭐️Panoramic Balconies. ⭐️ Isola Bella.

Tropea, also called the Pearl of the Mediterranean, was the winner of the Borgo dei Borghi 2020/2021 competition for the most beautiful villages in Italy.

The village of Tropea is indeed beautiful. The old town overlooks the sea, and welcomes you with its narrow streets, its noble palaces, and panoramic balconies overlooking the turquoise sea of Costa degli Dei, including the view of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell’Isola (which is called Isola Bella).

View of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria dell'Isola (Isola Bella) in Tropea from one of the balconies of the village

Walk around the narrow streets of the village of Tropea, and pass by the Cathedral of Maria Santissima of Romania, the patron saint of Tropea, also called the Norman Cathedral because it was built by the Normans on the remains of a Byzantine cemetery towards the end of 1200.

The outside of the Cathedral of Maria Santissima di Romania, or Norman Cathedral, in Tropea

WHAT TO EAT IN TROPEA.

We are too full to eat but if we don’t go to Tropea food, Tropea food comes to us. That was the saying, wasn’t it?

In fact we load the machine with Tropea onions (luckily we are in the final phase of the journey), chilies and anduja.

Another very traditional thing to try is the Tartufo di Pizzo, the famous hazelnut ice cream with a heart of melted chocolate.

We will make up for it tomorrow with a Calabrian lunch in the Sila. In the meantime, however, there is always room in the stomach for a glass of wine!

WINE: Cirò.

WHERE TO SLEEP: Arcobaleno Tropea, Tropea.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 14. STOPS:TROPEA, SERRASTRETTA, CETARA.

FIRST STOP: TROPEA.

We cannot leave Tropea without taking a swim in its wonderful sea!

All beaches are gorgeous. In particular, the beach of Marina dell’Isola, right next to the rock of Isola Bella. Like a postcard!

SECOND STOP: SERRASTRETTA. LUNCH.

JOURNEY TIME: 1h and 45 minutes.

The road to Serrastretta is pretty winding. In fact, we have to climb into the Sila and the air is finally getting cooler!

WHAT TO EAT IN SERRASTRETTA – OUR MENU.

🍽Antipasto calabrese; 

🍽Fileja con salsiccia (traditional pasta with sausage);

🍽Spaghetti con ciccioli e peperoncino (spaghetti with pork and chili peppers) (honestly, I thought it would be hotter).

WINE: Magliocco Rosso.

WHERE TO EAT: Il Vecchio Castagno, Serrastretta.

Antipasto Calabrese, Fileja with sausage, Spaghetti with pork and chili at Vecchio Castagno in Serrastretta, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

THIRD STOP: CETARA.

JOURNEY TIME: 3h and 50 minutes.

We are finally on the Amalfi Coast, on its eastern side. Precisely, we are in Cetara, a beautiful seaside village famous for the anchovy extract.

But I am not interested in anchovies. There is only one thing I crave to eat as soon as I arrive in Campania: the legendary, unique and fabulous pizza!

WHAT TO EAT IN CETARA – OUR MENU.

🍽Pizza margherita con mozzarella di bufala (do I really need to translate this?)

🍽Montanara (fried pizza with tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and basil).

WHERE TO EAT: Il Piennolo, Cetara.

Montanara and Pizza Margherita con Mozzarella di Bufala at Piennolo in Cetara, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

WHERE TO STAY: La Sorgente B&B, Cetara.

FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY. DAY 15. STOPS: CETARA, MAIORI, MINORI, AMALFI, PRAIANO.

FIRST STOP: CETARA.

Today is a day entirely dedicated to the Amalfi Coast!

We take a stroll around Cetara before setting off along the coast.

We walk along the beach to the Viceroyal Tower, the symbol of Cetara.

Cetara seaside with its Viceregal Tower

Another symbol of Cetara is the majolica dome of the Church of San Pietro, one of the many that characterize the landscape of the villages of the Amalfi Coast.

Glimpse of Cetara with the dome of the church of San Pietro

SECOND STOP: MAIORI.

JOURNEY TIME: 20 minutes.

The original plan was to reach Minori, take a stroll and have lunch, but we couldn’t find any parking spots! It was insane!

But, since Maiori and Minori are very close to each other, we decided to park in Maiori (there is much more parking available there) and walk to Minori.

While we were having a delicious coffee cream in Corso Reginna, we asked the locals and decided to reach Minori by taking the Sentiero dei Limoni, a scenic route of about 1 hour and 400 steps.

View on the Amalfi Coast from the Lemon Trail from Maiori to Minori

Great idea if it wasn’t that:

  1. It was June.
  2. It was noon.
  3. There were 40 degrees.


When I arrived at the restaurant in Minori I had to cool off before going inside because my temperature was 38.4 degrees!

Beyond my thermal discomforts, the Sentiero dei Limoni is truly suggestive and offers splendid views of Minori and the coast. Once upon a time, it used to be the only land connection between Minori and Maiori and women carried their lemons baskets throughout this journey! Crazy isn’t it? We felt a little like them today!

THIRD STOP: MINORI. LUNCH.

WHAT TO EAT IN MINORI – OUR MENU.

🍽Caprese fritta (fried mozzarella and tomato); 

🍽Fiori di zucca ripieni di ricotta affumicata (zucchini flowers stuffed with smoked ricotta);

🍽Provolone del Monaco DOP; 

🍽Delizie al limone (lemon dessert).

WINE / SPIRIT: Furore. Limoncello.

WHERE TO EAT: Giardiniello, Minori.

Fried Caprese, Zucchini flowers with smoked ricotta, Provolone del Monaco DOP, Delizia al Limone at Giardiniello in Minori, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

Today we wanted to spoil ourselves a little and ate in a fancy restaurant on the Amalfi Coast; it’s the last day of our food and wine tour in Italy, after all!

A traditional dish of the area is the Scialatielli all’Amalfitana (with seafood) which I clearly did not have but Cinzia tried them and confirmed that they are very good.

Another specialty here is the Provolone del Monaco DOP, a cheese that is produced in the area of the Lattari Mountains.

And of course we can’t sweat on the Lemon Trail without the reward of some Delizie al Limone (exquisite local lemon dessert) and Limoncello!

FOURTH STOP: AMALFI.

JOURNEY TIME: 20 minutes.

Even if the heat almost killed us, we cannot skip the town that gives the name to the whole coast: the one and only wonderful Amalfi.

Not to be missed is Piazza Duomo with its Cathedral of Sant’Andrea and the Fountain.

Piazza del Duomo in Amalfi, with its Cathedral of Sant'Andrea

We take a walk through the narrow streets of Amalfi, have a coffee and a mini baba, and drive along the coast to reach today’s last stop.

FIFTH STOP: PRAIANO (POSITANO).

Here we are at the last stop of our food and wine tour of Italy!

We are really exhausted by the heat, the drive and the eating and drinking at all times!

Tomorrow we should have stopped by the Royal Palace of Caserta before returning to Rome but we are so tired that we have decided to take a rain check! We will just pass by quickly to Positano to take some pictures of the colorful houses of this beautiful village nestled in the mountain overlooking the sea and we will get back on our non-stop journey to Rome.

View over the colorful houses of Positano

In the meantime, we relax with this splendid sea view from our room.

Seaview from the balcony of Hotel Villa Bellavista in Praiano

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel Villa Bellavista, Praiano.

BONUS TIP: HOW TO PACK FOR A FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY.

It might sound silly but a good packing strategy for a food and wine tour in Italy is essential.

Consider that you will sleep in a different hotel every night, so you can’t carry your big suitcase every time. Some hotels can only be reached on foot because the parking areas are outside the city center.

How to pack then? I found this method absolutely great!

Divide the luggage into three parts:

  1. The big suitcase with all your clothes, shoes, underwear etc. In short, your daily changes.
  2. A bag for dirty clothes.
  3. A bag with the stuff you use every day (toiletries, contact lenses, toothbrush, make-up etc.).

Once you parked do this. Add to bag 3 (which you always take with you to the hotel) the clothes, underwear and shoes that you will use the next day. Only take bag 3 to the hotel, leave the rest in the car. Also put a bag in bag 3 (possibly not in plastic, save the planet!). Make sure you park in a safe area where you feel comfortable leaving your bags in the trunk overnight.

The next morning, when you check out, fill the bag with the clothes you took off the night before. When you get back in the car, empty the bag into the bag for dirty clothes. And voila! The game is done! You have what you need every day without breaking your back by carrying your suitcase around Italy.

SOME CHANGES I WOULD DO TO OUR FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY.

I loved the food and wine tour that we did in Italy. It is certainly among the most beautiful holidays I have done!

But in hindsight, maybe there are some small changes I would make to my itinerary to improve it. Here they are:

1. THE TIMING. OCTOBER IS BETTER THAN JUNE.

We traveled in June, thinking it wouldn’t be that hot. “Big mistake!” as Julia Roberts would say to those nasty ladies who didn’t want to sell the fancy clothes to her. The heat was unbearable; the everyday-40-degrees-temperature made the whole tour very challenging.

So maybe I would do it in late September if not October. True, days are shorter, but a few degrees less would definitely make the tour much easier. Besides, in Alba you can also find truffles!

2. THE DIRECTION OF THE TOUR. THE SOUTH FIRST.

These changes apply if the tour is done in June. In this case I would have driven in the opposite direction because the South gets warmer and warmer as the summer days pass by!

I had seriously underestimated the hot factor. The last few days on the Amalfi Coast I believed I could… fry!

3. FRANCIACORTA IS BETTER THAN BERGAMO.

Nothing personal with Bergamo, God forbid! But since this is a food and wine tour, maybe I would have replaced the Brescia and Bergamo part with some remote village in Franciacorta, possibly on the shores of the beautiful Lake Iseo (the southern part of the lake, otherwise we are no longer in Franciacorta ).

I show you the map downloaded from Wikipedia so that you can take a look at the towns that are part of Franciacorta.

Map of the towns in Franciacorta
Photo Credit: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franciacorta#/media/File:Territoriofranciacorta.jpg

CONCLUSIONS ON OUR FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY.

These are just some small changes that can probably make the tour a little more enjoyable. But it was still a wonderful journey, despite the heat, the sweat and the fatigue.

You can’t go wrong, any stop you decide to do on a food and wine tour in Italy will still be the right choice. Italy is an extraordinary country, the food is excellent everywhere, the wines are all amazing, and there are plenty of fantastic towns and villages.

You can’t wait to go, right? So I say bye with a toast, to you and to this unique and wonderful country that is Italy!

Me toasting with a glass of Amarone in Marano di Valpolicella, one stop of our food and wine tour of Italy

THE BEST FOOD AND WINE TOUR OF ITALY MADE BY AN ITALIAN

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