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Wineries between Rome and Florence

Between Rome and Florence there is also the entire region of Umbria! Why not stop off in a few spots there? There are many excellent wineries in the area of Orvieto, which you would be passing through.

Otherwise, take a detour into the Umbrian valley and stop at Arnaldo-Caprai http://www.arnaldocaprai.it/ in Montefalco who just won European Winery of the Year from Wine Enthusiast magazine.

Then, for a smaller boutique option, keep heading north into Torgiano, one of the oldest DOCG zones in Italy, and do a tasting at the Terre Margaritelli winery http://www.terremargaritelli.com/international/.

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Mar 31, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Grappa

Nonino is good, but very commercial. If you want to try a truly excellent grappa try something from Le Grappe di Susanna at Distilleria Gualco in Piemonte, they are artisan grappa producers. http://www.distilleriagualco.it/ITA/index.php I love dry grappas and their Grappa di Cortese di Gavi is one of the best I've had. I also really enjoy their aged grappas.

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Mar 17, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Spirits

Best white truffles in Florence and Rome

You might want to consider a trip to Gubbio in Umbria (between Florence and Rome) - they are famous for white truffles. They have their annual White Truffle Festival, Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Tartufo Bianco, the weekend of November 1 (a national holiday). Other (lesser known) towns that specialize in white truffles are Pietralunga, Citta' di Castello, and Trevi.

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Mar 08, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy
1

Verona, how about: antica torretta, alla ruota, al duca?

I haven't been to those, but I can highly recommend Osteria Al Carro Armato (typical Veronese) and Osteria dal Cavaliere (enoteca with interesting food - great for lunch and/or aperitivo).

http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/2012/...

Feb 24, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Pasta Factory Tour?

I have organized groups in the past for tours of the family-owned La Romagna pasta factory in Foligno, Umbria http://www.pastalaromagna.com/ - specializing in fresh and dried egg pastas - fun to see!

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Feb 02, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Olive Oil Estate Tours

Unfortunately in April, there is not much going on in the world of olive oil - the mills (in Umbria, at least) are only open between October and December. As for seeing an estate, you just have to drive around the olive trees are everywhere! :-)
What part of Italy are you planning to go to?

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Jan 05, 2014
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Florence/Umbria Trip Report

Glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Umbria!
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Dec 06, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Best Fried Artichokes in Rome

I have only had them at one restaurant, da Giggetto, because they are so good there that I don't want to be disappointed by the possibility of inferior chokes at another restaurant. ;-)

Nov 16, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome, Umbria, Tuscany and Bologna Itinerary

I didn't know Osterie d'Italia had an app - I'll have to get that too! I hope it is as complete as the books :-)

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Oct 30, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Rome, Umbria, Tuscany and Bologna Itinerary

You may want to rethink the Cortona/Umbria portion of your trip, as Cortona is very far from all 3 of the destinations you were thinking of in Umbria (Orvieto, Spoleto, Norcia).
What about spending the night in Orvieto on you way up from Rome?as you will definitely need at least 1 full day in Orvieto. Then, from Cortona, it would make more sense to visit Lake Trasimeno, Perugia, Torgiano, and Umbertide areas (of Umbria).

Or, if you are not already locked into your villa in Tuscany, why don't you stay in a villa in Umbria? Cortona is pretty far from most of the more touristic towns - minimum 80 min drive to all of the following: Assisi, Spoleto, Montefalco, Bevagna, Norcia, Todi etc - you will end up spending a lot of time in the car. Places are a lot further away than they look on the map and the roads are often small & windy!
I highly recommend the Umbria Slow App https://itunes.apple.com/it/app/umbria-slow-food-culture-travel/id455434882?mt=8 for your travels in Umbria (activities/food/where to stay).

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Oct 30, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Lunch in Umbria

Try Osteria Piazzetta dell'Erba, La Stalla, or Trattoria La Pallotta. See you on Tuesday! :-)

Oct 13, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

November in Italy - Bologna Tuscany or Umbria? Rome always on the table

I'll "third" La Palazzola! I used their Gran Cuvee and Rose Brut at my wedding. Scacciadiavoli also makes a great Spumante e Rose Spumante Brut from Sagrantino grapes - very interesting!

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Oct 11, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

November in Italy - Bologna Tuscany or Umbria? Rome always on the table

Definitely Umbria! ...but I'm biased ;-)
November is still a nice time to travel in Umbria. Apart from the fact that it is prime time for both white and black truffles, it is also the olive oil harvest, which means new oil. The freshly pressed olive oil is incredible - it has a fluorescent green color and is extremely tannic and peppery - very unique - and it is only considered "new" for 2 months. All of the olive oil mills will be open the first week of November for Frantoi Aperti http://www.frantoiaperti.net/ and restaurants will be dousing the new oil on everything for the whole month.
If you are here the first weekend of November, there is also a wonderful little festival in the town of Montone called Festa del Bosco.
As for arriving, Rome is definitely best, but if you think it is cheaper to fly into Milan and make a stop along the way, then do so. If you are taking the train (from either Rome or Milan), know that Foligno is actually the main train station of Umbria, not Perugia - there are many more direct (or fewer changes) to/from Foligno. Then there is an Avis car rental right there in the station as well. I strongly recommend renting a car for your stay in Umbria. Many of the most beautiful areas are not reachable by train.
I recommend that you stay either in the central valley area: Spello, Cannara, Bevagna, as they are between both of the main highways, or the Todi/Derutas areas which are close to the E45. All of these towns are perfectly located for easily traveling around Umbria.
Here is a link for some of my favorite places to stay and eat: http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where...

Oct 10, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Lardo

Here in Umbria, we use it chopped with garlic and rosemary then spread on chicken before roasting - delicious! Also great used as soffritto, mixed with finely chopped carrots, onions & celery for a soup base (for us, lentil, chickpea or farro soup).

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Sep 27, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Where to stay, go and dine in Abruzzo

Abruzzo is great - we vacation there every year (we live in Umbria). The only thing is that you have to plan to spend a fair amount of time driving around on windy mountain roads pretty much everywhere you go.
Are you looking to stay on the seaside or in the central area?
On the seaside, I like the area around Lanciano, which is a really nice medieval city and fairly central so you can easily go to the beach or up into the mountains -the Majella are nearby and you can take a daytrip to the Gran Sasso or Campo Imperatore areas.

Here are some restaurants that I have accumulated over various trips, so they are not necessarily near each other:
Ofena: Agriturismo Sapori di Campagna
Lanciano: Ristorante ai Vecchi Sapori
Castelli: Trattoria Iolanda (Jolanda)
Intermesoli/Pietracamela: Ristoro Venacquaro
Pineto: Gelateria Cono Verde/Pizzeria Adriatica

and my favorite is right in the middle of Campo Imperatore in the Castel del Monte zone there are a few little shacks - one is called Ristoro Mucciante and you basically just go in, tell them how many arrosticini you want, then you take them outside and grill them (grills are ready to go) - these are then enjoyed with house wine out of Peroni bottles - not to be missed!

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Sep 20, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

NYC foodies in Umbria/Tuscany

Looks good Letizia - we are looking for a new place to go for our anniversary this weekend, I was thinking of La Laconda di Montecchio, but Le Casaline is a lot closer! :-)

Sep 16, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

NYC foodies in Umbria/Tuscany

If you plan to head over to the main valley area (Bevagna, Cannara, Spello, Montefalco, Assisi etc), see my post here for my favorite places to eat:
http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where-to-sleep-eat.html
Also, there is a great festival going on in the town of Foligno (kind of the "city" of Umbria) called Primi d'Italia from September 26-29 - a celebration of pasta - lots of fun if you are in the area! http://www.iprimiditalia.it/

Sep 15, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

What food related items do you tuck in to your luggage?

I always bring back a special bottle of Umbrian olive oil. If you are lucky enough to be in Italy late Oct-Dec (during the olive harvest), the olive oil is still considered new "olio nuovo" and has an extra tannic, grassy peppery flavor - it rarely gets exported to the states before Jan/Feb when its flavor starts to then mellow out.

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Sep 11, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Advice for First Night Newbies

I second Cadorna! There aren't really "light options" on the menu, but what they have is great. Get the Antipasto Cadorna for 1 - it is big enough for 4pp and is Fantastic, and then each get a pasta. Personally, I think that their main courses are very skippable, but then you have more room for their Tiramisu' for dessert!

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Aug 16, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

American Wedding Cake in Cernobbio, Italy--Lake Como

If you look online and search for "Torta Nunziale" + Lago di Como (or plug in some of the towns around Como), I'm sure you will find something. American style wedding cakes are very fashionable in Italy right now.

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Jul 31, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Amatrice for Amatriciana

thanks DistendedBelly! I've never made reservations in the past and haven't had a problem, but it can't hurt to make them.

Jul 27, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Amatrice for Amatriciana

still good! :-D That's the beauty of Italy -traditional foods remain traditional - no "tweaking" or modernizing of recipes (usually)!

Jul 25, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Amatrice for Amatriciana

The restaurant in Hotel Roma has the BEST Spaghetti all'Amatriciana - definitely try to make it there for lunch!

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Jul 25, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Lunch in Umbria

Lisa, you will be very disappointed to hear that Sandri has closed indefinitely as they were having economic difficulties. The fact that they closed just before Umbria Jazz shows just how bad the Italian economy is right now - it was in all the papers. So sad.

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Jul 24, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Matera/ Martina Franca/Locorotondo updates?

In Matera, definitely eat at Antica Trattoria Lucana - really fantastic!

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Jul 24, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Lunch in Umbria

Closest to you, I really like Osteria a Priori in Perugia- they only have Umbrian products and are open all day so you can easily pop in anytime for just a snack.
Definitely check out "da Marisa" in Torgiano - the restaurant is really ugly from the outside, but it is just an old traditional trattoria. Marisa, who is around 80 yrs old cooks lunch and dinner every day - and it is great!
If you want a truly stellar meal, go to Villa Roncalli in Foligno. Just one caveat, the meal/service is veeeerrrrry long, but it will almost assuredly be the best meal you have, as the chef makes everything by herself, to order. The only reason they don't have a Michelin star is because of the service.
Here's a link to my complete list of my favorite Umbrian restaurants: http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where...

Don't forget that October is prime truffle and olive oil time - the BEST time to be in Umbria! The town of Trevi comes alive this month with lots of festivals.

Jul 24, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Best quality Italian supermarkets?

The two best of central Italy are definitely the Coop and Emi (sometimes called Emisfero) chains.
The Coop also has a line of high quality products regionally sourced around Italy called FiorFiore - great for pasta, coffee etc. Their organic line called ViveVerde is also pretty good.
The Emi chain has a line called Sapori Umbri, which I haven't tried, but should be a good range of Umbrian products.
If you can, try to buy most of your fruit/veg from the local "Fruttivendolo" (fruit/veg store) in your town, as these typically tend to be of a little higher quality than the supermarket (unless, of course, you are lucky and there is an open air market in your town.)
As Elizabeth said, stay away from the Lidl and also Eurospin.

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Jul 09, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Long Report: Three Weeks in Rome, Umbria and Venice with Two Kids (7&10)

Unfortunately we in Umbria did have A LOT of rain this year - but it looks like you at least got a funny story out of it to remember! ;-)

Jul 08, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Long Report: Three Weeks in Rome, Umbria and Venice with Two Kids (7&10)

Glad to see that you included Umbria in your travels - and it seems like you really got into the "country life" as well! ;-)

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Jul 08, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy

Flavio al Velavevodetto

I went last year and was disappointed. I had seen Flavio on TV (I live in Italy) and was really excited to eat some Roman classics like roasted abbacchio and sweetbreads, etc., but I found the menu to be really ho-hum. The most "exciting" entree was breaded lamb chops which were mediocre at best. Granted, I only went once, so I could have hit it on a bad day, but I wouldn't chance wasting another meal there. I would just go to Quinto Quarto instead, or anything else that Elizabeth Minchilli recommends.

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Jun 25, 2013
LifeItalianStyle in Italy