A Bit of Venice: My Favorite Cicchetti Bars

Venice gets an undeservedly bad rap when it comes to food. Punters shepherd hungry tourists into trattorie along the Grand Canal, serving up the ubiquitous menu turistico of pizza and spaghetti with meatballs.  With just a little bit of extra planning, the best cicchetti in Venice is really right around the next corner.

WHAT ARE BACARI?
Bacari are now where you can find some of the best local food.  These are the traditional wine bars that serve Venice cicchetti, the much talked about food of the moment. Cicchetti are best described as Venetian tapas: bite-sized bits of baccalà  (cod puree) smeared toast, deep-fried olives, tooth-picked pickled onions and anchovies, croquettes, etc.  Wash these down with the local wine, prosecco or Aperol spritz and you have yourself a delicious Venetian […]

August 21st, 2014|Destinations, Italy, Venice|7 Comments

A Bit of Paradise: A Luxury Villa in Italy

How lucky can one girl get!  I swear it could not have gotten any better. It was the height of luxury and I never wanted to come down.  One of my dearest friends was spending four weeks in Europe this summer with her family, traipsing through Austria, Germany and Italy. My luck was that I invited myself along to join them in Puglia.  No, I didn’t have any hand in the planning! Yes, I may have agreed when asked if Puglia were the perfect choice for a short July break. Yes, I may have hinted that I had five days free to spend time with them. But I promise, it was my friend’s dream to stay in a trullo and that’s the reason why I found myself […]

August 13th, 2014|Destinations, Italy, Puglia|9 Comments

Italian Ceramics in Grottaglie, Italy

Walking down along the lovely Via Francesco Crispi in the Puglia town of Grottaglie Italy, I thought maybe I had a little too much pasta and limoncello at lunch. Everywhere I looked – every store in this famous centre for Italian ceramics  – seemed to be owned by someone whose last name was Fasano.

It’s vaguely, kind of, reminiscent of Ray’s Pizza in New York City.  There is the Original Ray’s, the Famous Ray’s and the just plain, old Ray’s pizza..all doing the same thing – slinging pies with slightly different toppings.  Same here!  In the Quartiere di Italian Ceramics, is there one massive kiln hidden away cranking out pots for everyone?? How do you know which was really the first?  I just don’t know the answer […]

July 31st, 2014|Destinations, Italy, Puglia|9 Comments

A Bit of Italy: the Perfect Evening in Rome

The Piazza di Spagna glimmering at dusk
Sofia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Roma – they are all the same in my book – Italian glamor girls of the 50s & 60s: past their prime, a bit jaded, a bit old-school, but still sexy enough to enjoy a great night.  It is a wonderful, magical, crazy place filled with more treasures than I can write down in just one post…it takes a lifetime of visits to see everything and she will always surprise you.

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June 29th, 2014|Destinations, Italy, Rome|10 Comments

Venice Itinerary for the First Timer

Venice, Venezia, La Serennissima…everyone knows its name…it’s been dreamt of, written about, extolled, lauded, hated (by few) and now it’s your turn to experience it with a little help from my Venice Itinerary for the first timer.

THE RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL VENICE ITINERARY
A few rules and then you are on your way:

It is completely and utterly touristy.  It has been that way since the Renaissance.  Revel in it.
It is hot, crowded and sometimes smells. The water is very old and cleaning up dog poo is not a priority but if that’s all you see and smell then you have no heart and you should head out to Singapore instead.
Avoid any restaurant that has a menu turistico sign outside – you can find […]

April 17th, 2013|Destinations, Italy, Venice|1 Comment

A Bit of Italy: Venice Revisited

Gosh darn, I love Venice!  It is the most enjoyable place to discover new bits.  All the hustle and bustle of a big city but no traffic, no noise, great food….the list goes on.  I could be there a month and not do everything I want….this time it was a week with the girls.  Our apartment was fabulous – I totally recommend Views on Venice!

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August 30th, 2012|Destinations, Italy, Venice|0 Comments