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Traveling back-roads looking for artisans who hand craft the best
products, prepare the best food, make the best wine.
New Favorites in Campania and PugliaI’ve decided to take a new approach. Not doing my usual write-ups or itineraries, but adding lots of places with a very brief explanation, but most importantly putting them on the map. Antonio Giardino is a terrific baker in Campania, worth a visit especially for his bread and sheet pizza. ...
Agnelli CookwareConfession: I’m a housewares junkie. I can’t resist anything that belongs in the kitchen or on the table. My shelves and cupboards are full so in order to acquire I’ve got to eliminate. Since some of my ceramic-coated pans were getting weary I was thrilled by an offer from my ...
Eating in FlorencePeople ask me all the time where to eat in Florence, the city I call home. Recently someone blogged about ten places to eat incredibly well in Florence. I disagreed with most choices. And found the list somewhat simplistic, impressed with trendy Michelin-starred places, not really what a visitor needs ...
Gelo al CaffèRistorante Crocifisso has always been my favorite restaurant in Noto, a spectacular Baroque city in southeast Sicily. Any time of the day is perfect for a visit with Corrado and Carlo Assenza at their Caffè Sicilia, a destination for gastronomes that I’ve written about elsewhere. But a recent dinner at ...
Il CipressoI don’t know what took me so long to get to Ristorante Il Cipresso in Loro Ciuffenna. It’s one of those places that flies under the radar, not in most guidebooks, but for me, worth a voyage. Superstar butcher Dario Cecchini, my Tuscan brother, took me there for dinner, along ...
Pino: Super Sicilian ChefPino Cuttaia is the greatest chef in Sicily, and one of the greatest in Italy. The food at his restaurant La Madia is original and creative, but has deep roots in the island’s traditions. Pino’s dishes evoke flavors remembered from his childhood and often use ingredients found only in farmhouse ...
HomepageCarissimi, I know. I ignored my website and it got stale. I piled pieces I’d written in disorganized lists in my Italian regional files. Magazines closed and their websites changed. The places that I wrote for with pleasure mostly disappeared. I looked around and wasn’t thrilled with the print world. ...
How Brunello Cucinelli Eats at His Italian Headquarters in Solomeo VillageBrunello Cucinelli likes his food just as he does his clothing: elegant, simple, and impeccably well made. “I could live on bread and oil,” he confesses with pride as he strolls through Solomeo, the medieval hilltop village that the designer has restored as his company’s headquarters. Granted, that saltless Umbrian ...
Cooking with the DuchessI’ve got to thank Santa Rosalia, nicknamed Santuzza, the patron saint of Palermo, for meeting the Duchess of Palma di Montechiaro. I was visiting the city and a great friend (the Duchess’s sister-in-law, Marchesa Anna Tasca Lanza) suggested that I watch the opulent fireworks display in honor of the saint, ...
New Year 2013It's a new year, time for change. I've got a new assistant, Megan DeAngelo, who is simply fantastic. She'll be conducting food lovers' tours, gelato crawls and an exciting new program that's a work in progress. I'm planning some big changes for my site - there's lots of useful information but ...
Campania Part 1I love Campania - the people, cuisine, wines, and ingredients. Pasta is always al dente. Tomatoes reach gastronomic heights. Pizza can be divine (or disastrous). Anchovies are a specialty, fresh, preserved, or made into colatura, fermented juice. I decided to go on an anchovy-centric excursion through the region, with a ...
Autumn Culinary Adventure in PugliaMy Autumn Culinary Adventure in Puglia is sold out! This year the adventure will focus on the region of Puglia (the heel of the Italian boot) from October 14-18, 2012. I'm excited, and thrilled to introduce you to some amazing regional chefs and wines, without too much schlepping. We'll be based ...
Sicily, Part 6We were on our way to Mount Etna, my favorite active volcano. I was returning to the village of Linguaglossa - population 5000, 14 butcher shops, my kind of place. We'd be based at the delightful hotel Shalai Resort, contemporary décor in a restored 19th century noble residence with frescoed ...
Sicily, Part 5I had an appointment with Francesco Pantaleone, wanted to visit his contemporary art collection since I'm very interested in the work of Francesco Simeti and he has some fine pieces. But Pantaleone was called away to Catania and my visit was cancelled. Yet another excuse for a return to Palermo. ...
Sicily, Part 4I love Sicilian pottery (although there's quite a bit of unattractive stuff around) and wanted to visit the Ceramic Museum in Burgio. I hoped to indulge in a shopping spree with local artisans - I had examined some of the Foresteria's attractive pottery, and written down the names of the ...
Sicily, Part 3Massimo had never seen the archeological site of Gela, overlooking a coast despoiled by oil refineries, or the fantastic Archeological Museum, always empty, always impressive. And it was a perfect stop on the way to Licata to see Pino Cuttaia, the island's greatest chef, and dine at his restaurant La ...
Sicily, Part 2After breakfast we listened to a presentation by Professor Attilio Scienza on Sicilian wine, genetic varietal improvements, eco-compatible winemaking. My favorite line of the morning: "The best way to know the future is to invent it." It was followed by an open tasting with producers and their wines. I bumped ...
Sicily, Part 1"Sicily. It's a continent," a friend explained. It's a great approach to this vast, self-contained island, layered with more than 28 centuries of history and traditions, influenced by practically every civilization that passed through the Mediterranean. I never tire of exploring. I'd been invited on a press trip, Sicilia en ...
Salumi-TherapyIt was an invitation I couldn't refuse, from my friend Ivan Bertelli, host and manic animator of Hosteria da Ivan outside Parma. I was invited for a session of salumoterapia. Think Italian spa meets cured pork, a re-tox program. Ivan, like most Italians, is a spa veteran and pairs this ...
The Center, Part 3How could I miss shopping at the Caprai outlet? Cashmere scarves and hats appealed - great gifts, so we detoured on our way to a fish meal on the coast. Vito had spoken to his friend Cesare Pancotto, coach of the Barcellona (in Sicily) basketball team and fellow food-lover. We ...
The Center, Part 2Vito navigated us through Umbrian superstrada traffic, finally arriving in the hills south of Foligno, olive trees and vineyards instead of strip malls. The medieval village of Montefalco is adorable, dedicated to the San Francesco, the olive and the vine, with dozens of shops selling wine and extra virgin, postcards ...