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Italian Travels: An Essential Guide

Buongiorno and welcome to Italy! Is it your first time here or your nth visit? Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful country to explore, filled to the brim with rich history, delicious food, captivating culture and interesting sites! No wonder this beautiful boot shaped nation is a favorite among tourists around the world! It’s the perfect place for a holiday.

If you need some help planning for your luxury Italian vacation, perhaps this information can assist you as to what to eat, when to go, where to visit, and how to travel . So come on, explore Italy!

DISHES TO EAT

Although they are not big rice eaters, northern Italian sure do know how to prepare the carbohydrate. Risotto is a rice dish cooked in broth and may contain butter, wine or onions. Each region has its own special recipe, with Venetto making a black, cuttlefish risotto while Mantua makes theirs with parmesan cheese, sausage, and pork. There are numerous ways to prepare it, with most preferring to cook it atop a stove while others wish to bake it. Whichever way, as long as it is al dente, and rich and creamy, then you have a good risotto.

Coming from the city of Milan is the veal casserole of Ossobuco. As for the taste, that all depends on which variety you choose from: modern or traditional. The modern variety contains tomatoes while the traditional has only cinnamon, bay leaf and gremolata. This is best served with a good serving of Milanese Risotto.

If you’re feeling a bit cold, then perhaps some Ribollita will do you good. It is a Tuscan soup made with extra bread, onions, beans, kale, cannellini and more. It is said to date back to the middle ages, where servants gathered their masters’ excess food to create their own meals. If you want it at its most flavorful, come at autumn when the vegetables are at their best condition.

The caffeine drenched Tiramisu is maybe younger than any of these dishes as records show it was not until the late 60s that it made its debut. Tiramisu is made with coffee soaked ladyfingers, which are then layered with a mixture of sugar, cocoa flavored mascarpone cheese, and eggs-—truly a delight on your tastebuds!

If you’re feeling a bit hot, why not cool off with some gelato? It’s the Italian version of ice cream, with the differences being gelato has more milk than cream, has lower fat content, is denser and has more flavor than ice cream. Delicious? Yes and worth every euro.

SITES TO SEE

A popular destination is Pisa and it’s all because of a certain strange tower. Aptly named “The Leaning Tower of Pisa”, it is actually the freestanding bell tower of the local cathedral. It used to stand straight until in the 12th century, it started to ‘lean’, mainly due to weak foundation. Until today, there are arguments on who the true architect of the cathedral is. Perhaps we will never know, a mystery unsolved until time untime.

The Roman coliseum is also a must visit; this ancient megastructure is the largest amphitheatre ever built and was built in 72 AD and finished in 80 AD. Its iconic structure has become the basic model for most modern coliseums around the world. As you tour it, go ahead and pretend to be a gladiator slaying the lions or a Roman emperor, ready to give a thumbs up or down.

Be taken back in time as you explore the ruins of what was once the city-village of Pompeii. Once a busy, bustling city, it was destroyed in 79 AD when what they thought to be an extinct volcano erupted and unleashed hell on Pompeii and surrounding villages. Many tried to escape, but were unsuccessful. Today we can see the body casts of those who tried to escape along with Pompeii’s well preserved structures, like the forum and baths.

WEATHER TO EXPECT

There is no uniform climate surrounding Italy. Up north, expect harsh, chilling winters and expect hot, humid summers with the occasional thunderstorm. Central Italy has a more pleasant climate, with the winters shorter and the summers longer. In Southern Italy, don’t expect to wear heavily padded vests or jackets during the winter as the cold never reaches the likes of the north while summers are quite dry and full of sunshine.

ACTIVITIES TO DO

If you have all the time in the world and are touring the different regions or cities of Italy, then it is highly recommended to go wine tasting in Tuscany. Another fun thing to do if you want to splurge a little is to go on a shopping trip in the world’s fashion capital —Milan. If you’re in Venice, no visit would be complete without a gondola ride through the city’s canals. And when in Florence, check out the Uffuzi Gallery a museum established in 1581. Today, may prominent works of art can be viewed there such as Botticelli’s “The  Birth of Venus” and Parmigianno’s “Madonna of Long Neck” .

ROOMS TO STAY

As you travel, you will need a place to stay in whether it’s just for a night in Amalfi or a week in Sardinia. This will not be a problem as the country is full of places to stay in. There are so many options, but one has to be careful as the place where you are staying in must not be just a bed to sleep in, but rather a place where you can truly and really rest after a day of exploring what the area has to offer. Rooms can be as affordable as 18 Euros in a hostel or you may want to stay in a hotel room instead. You may also opt for Airbnb, though it’s highly recommended to pick a superhost as you will be assured of a quality stay. You can even rent a room or a whole medieval castle since these are available on the site.

WAYS TO TRANSPORT

It will be fairly easy to go around Italy, as there are many modes of transportation available for you. Trains are one of the most popular and one of the quickest ways to get from one place to another. Buses are also a great choice, though there are no long distance buses available. You may also hire a car, hail a taxi or rent a vehicle for other road transportation option. You may also choose to go by plane if you are to go, shall we say Palermo to Milan. If you’re not a fan of flying unless absolutely necessary, the ferry is there to serve you.

Italy may seem like a small country, but it’s anything but that. It’s where everything began, where a religion was given approval and was spread around the world. It is where thoughts and words were formed, where an empire was formed and its influences still seen today.  It is where geniuses thought of ideas and where artists created works still appreciated today. Italy small? In landmass, yes. In influence, no, so go on and take this guide and explore Italy.

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