Get ready for Carnival In Italy!

February in Italy: the Peninsula is invaded with masks, confetti, colours and lights that make for a very exciting and unique atmosphere. In other words, it’s Carnival! Kids (and adults too!) get excited and start to seek their favourite costume, from fairytales or comics, fantasy goes wild.

carnevalw1

Carnival’s protagonist is indeed the disguise: so important that every main Italian city has its own “Maschera” (think of Arlecchino…). The mask allows to transform themselves into whomever they wish to be – at least for a few days.

The origins of Carnival date back to the Roman Saturnalia festival that rang in the new year. The term “Carnevale” derives from the Latin “carnem levare” for “take away the meat” or “carne vale”, “farewell to meat” – which explain the function of the celebration: an opportunity to indulge and use up such treats before the start of Lent.

Now celebrations are way less foolish than back in the days, but the spirit remains – Carnival is still that period of the year when you can be just the way you want to be, from Spider Man to an ethereal angel.. and eat a lot of nice stuff (you don’t know what to eat? Try our food tour!).

Amongst all, three are the must-see Carnival in Italy: Venezia (the most famous one); Viareggio and Milano. They all share the fun and the concept behind Carnevale, yet they are totally different from each other.

Let’s check them out!

MILANO

CARNEVALE A MILANO

Traditionally, Carnival in Milan starts when other Carnivals end. It is also known as “Carnevale Ambrosiano”: it is a unique tradition in Italy, which origins – according to a legend – to the time when the city’s saint patron Sant’Ambrogio was not in town, as he was gone on a religious pilgrimage. The Carnival was therefore postponed, in order to wait for his honorable presence.

Tradition has been kept, so this year you will be able to segwaying around in Milan celebrating both Carnevale and San Valentino: parties and parades will start on Saturday 13.

Today the Carnival of Milan is a street parade with clowns, jugglers, music and fun. The final parade is usually on Saturday from the morning until early afternoon and takes the following route: Palestro, Piazza San Babila, Corso Europa, Piazza Fontana and Piazza Beccaria. Every year there’s an official theme and the cart must be dressed according to it. Traditional Milanese masks Meneghino, a jolly servant who likes kidding rich people, and his smiling wife Cecca lead the parade with the city band.

VENEZIA

Venezia

Thousands of tourists come to Venice to see and take part in its magnificent Carnival; walking round in fancy dress in this city’s magical scenery means taking part in a truly exceptional happening. Those mysterious, disturbing Venetian masks, eyeing you from the city’s alleyways are part of what we imagine the Venetian world would have been like 300 years ago.
Wearing masks has always been more than just simple fun for the Venetians; it is still a strongly felt tradition with deep cultural roots. The Venetian propensity for hiding behind masks was legendary: a rigid caste system coupled with ample opportunities for indulging in a host of vices made anonymity very desirable in an overcrowded city where detection was otherwise unavoidable.

Loose yourself in the magic of the many “calle” and “campino”, hide in the crow, do whatever you please – just don’t forget to dress up! There’s little point in experiencing Carnival as a mere on-looker; without a mask, at the very least, you’re not getting the full benefit. Mask shops out-number butchers and greengrocers in Venice. Head for traditional mascarei: they’re not cheap, but you will bring home a most precious souvenir.

VIAREGGIO

Viareggio

If you go to Viareggio during the Carnival, you will have the chance to assist to a very funny and participative event, with a great seasight and some great fish to eat on the side. Viareggio Carnival’s main characteristic is given by the great parades of floats and masks, usually made of paper-pulp, depicting sometimes harsh caricatures of popular people, such as politicians, showmen and sportsmen; the parade is held on the Viareggio avenue located alongside the local beach.

This year’s parades are on February 7, 14, 21 and 28, and of course on Fat Tuesday (Martedì Grasso), February 9. The floats are enormous, colorful and often not-so-much politically correct. It’s satyr in its very essence, and you will get a taste of the famous tuscan sarcasm – a bit sour, but plenty of fun!

Meet your guide in Florence: Antonio

Florence is, all considered, a little city. But… it takes time and if you’re not sure about what to see you can find yourself wasting your time. That’s why we’re here for you!  We’ve tailored a tour that combine historical interest, beautiful landscapes and a lot of fun: the last part is provided by our tour leaders, especially when they are young and fun and truly “fiorentino”.

So put your helmet on… but, before jumping on your Segway, meet this month’s guide Antonio, our only male (he’s proud to say) Segway tour leader in Florence!

Hello! What’s your name?

Antonio Bencistà!

Where are you from and where do you live?  

I was born in Florence, and I’m happy to live here still!

Name of tour you lead and where: 

SEGWAY TOUR, BIKE TOUR, EASY ENTRANCE BRUNELLESCHI’S DOME TOUR, FLORENCE  FOOD WALKING TOUR.

What are your favorite parts of the tours you lead?

I love everything about them – the view from the Dome, the refreshing relax on top of Piazzale Michelangelo, but most of all I love segwaying around the streets in the rare moments they are not too crowded!

antonio-on-segway

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: 

My favorite lunch place is a restaurant called “Cucina del Ghianda”, which is located in Via dell’Agnolo. For dinner I like to treat myself in the charming Oltrarno, where the main nightlife area for locals is: there you can find “Passaguai”. Try it!

What is your travel mantra?

It’s a motto so important to me that I have it tatooed on my back: “life is a journey, not a destination”.

What’s next on your travel bucket list? 

It will probably be Cuba. I always wanted to go there, and now I want it more than ever: I have to see it before it changes too much.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? 

IMG_20150927_140246

Unless you’re lucky, you will probably have too little time to see everything. So be smart and plan your trip: make up your mind about what you would absolutely like to see in each city, make reservations if you can, but, most of all… follow your taste! You don’t have to see necessarily all the “must see” spots.

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to? 

Aside from Florence, which is the absolute favorite of mine, my choice goes on Rome and Naples. Those places took my heart.

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving?

Here in Florence, it is not possible to leave without tasting at least a bite of “Panino al lampredotto”! It’s a tripe-style sandwich sold at every kiosk in the city center – and you won’t find it anywhere else!

Then of course a must eat is the “bistecca alla fiorentina”, the Florentine T-Bone steak, to be well watered down (ahem) with good red Chianti!

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? 

We normally don’t climb up to the Piazzale Michelangelo on a Segway, but I was lucky enough to be the tour leader for that one time. It was inusual, funny and I totally enjoyed it.

What do you like most about leading tours?

I love it when, at the end of a tour, happy customers say: “well, you know? without you we would just have wandered around, not having a clue at what we were looking at!” It’s lovely to feel that you made it worthy.

What makes your tour unique? 

First of all, the fact that I’m the only male tour leader of Italy Segway Tours in Florence: that definitely makes my tour unique!

seg_antonio

Second… well, my sense of humor!

6 wonderful things to do in Italy (in 2016)

Christmas time is always a moment for next year’s good intentions, and what’s better than planning a  new trip maybe to Italy? There we are! 6 wonderful things to do in Italy (in 2016) as a special gift for you! Start this 2016 with a twist!

MILAN

Barbie Exhibition  - Milan

Barbie Exhibition – Milan

Barbie – Until March 2016 in the beautiful frame of the MUDEC – Museum of Cultures the newest museum in the city – is possible to visit a colorful exhibition dedicated to a global icon: the Barbie! But that’s not all, this former industrial building renovated by David Chipperfield houses also the permanent exhibition, an ethnografical exhibit which displays artifacts coming from all over the world. Until August 31 the entrance is free!

Affordable Art  Fair Milan – Like in all the major international cities, also Milan hosts every year this event. Can you imagine a 4-days art fair where works of emerging or more established artist are displayed and where everything is for sale and cheaper than 6,000€? This is Affordable Art Fair Milan from March 12th to 17th. We promise, whether you like graphics, paintings, photographs or sculptures, you won’t be disappointed.

FLORENCE

 

Fashion at Pitti Uomo

Fashion at Pitti Uomo

Pitti UomoIf you’ve ever have wondered what is the essence of the Italian elegance, between Jan 12th and 15th you’ll have the chance to see it with your eyes. If it happens to you to see stylish men going around, spot fashionable bloggers taking pictures here and there, feel like being part of a fashion show don’t worry, is “just” Pitti Uomo, the “world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections”. Where? At the Fortezza of course!

Music in Paradise – Rossini, Händel, Schumann..if you are a music and art lover then you’ve got more than one reason to put this on your agenda. From January to March 2016 three concerts are programmed in the heavenly frame of the Sala del Paradiso, a big space in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in which the ancient façade of the Duomo is reproduced. A reservation has to be done, since there’s just 200 seats for each concert and they are for free!

ROME

Rome MarathonStarting from today, you still have 112 days to train yourself and take part to the Rome Marathon on April 10th. The route is so beautiful that won’t even feel tired. Want a preview? Well, imagine to start from the Capitoline Hill, run by the Roman Forum and the Coliseum, and to end in an iconic place like the ancient Roman hippodrome Seriously, is there any better place in the world?

 

Pope Francis opening the Holy Door

Pope Francis opening the Holy Door

Extraordinary Jubilee of  Mercy – In case you need an extra reason to visit the Eternal City, consider that 2016 will be the year of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy announced by Pope Frances. Jubilees are a catholic tradition since 1300 which attract millions of pilgrims to Rome asking forgiveness for sins. The crucial moment for the pilgrim is the passage through the holy door. Even if for the first time ever have  been opened thousand of holy doors all around the world, the most symbolic one is of course the one in St Peter in Vatican City. A registration to the events can be made here.

Well, it seems that there’s a lot to do :-)

Just one little thing…We wish you a merry Christmas and a bubbly New Year!

Meet Your Guide in Rome: Lucilla

Meet your guide in Rome: Lucilla

This month’s “Your guide in Rome” is Lucilla, an energetic and characteristic Naepolitan girl, who’ll teach you everything about “fantastica Roma”!

 

Meet Lucilla

Meet Lucilla

Name: Lucilla

Nationality and City of residence: I am proud to be from “Bella Napoli” but I’ve been living in Rome for almost 4 years.

Name of tour you lead and where:  Pizza and Food Walking Tour in Rome and the fun Segway Tours as well!

What originally brought you in Rome?  I moved to Roma because I fell in love, yes I fell in love for this beautiful city called Roma! And also because I received a job offer I couldn’t refuse ;)

Your favorite part of the tour: My favorite part of the tour is seeing the “WOW” in the eyes and expressions of my customers and seeing them touched by the beauty and the amazing history of Rome.

Lucilla and Martina on tour

Lucilla and Martina on tour

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: To be honest I prefer sweets, so my favourite place is not a restaurant or a pizzeria but a Sicilian Gelateria and Pasticceria called Ciuri Ciuri…delicious! And my favourite flavor is Pistacchio!!

Travel Mantra? Leave at home stereotypes and expectations about the place you are visiting! Get lost in the city and don’t be afraid of asking locals for directions, for suggestions or to take you a picture!

What’s next on your travel bucket list? Cuba… it must be a special place, still holding onto the past times and traditions!

Lucilla Segway tour

Lucilla Segway tour

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to? I think that Italy is special because every city and every region is so different and beautiful. I love Tuscany, Florence, Sicily but above all Naples  and all Campania region with Capri, Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano, Pompei, Ercolano! I think it’s a wonderful and interesting  region and trust me, it’s not only because I’m from there!

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? If you are travelling about Italy forget the stereotypes  and explore each city avoiding comparisons, for Italy is so various! I suggest to explore the South of the “boot”:  Sicilia, Puglia, Campania, because they are all bellissime!!!

Lucilla & Martina at Ciuri Ciuri

Lucilla & Martina at Ciuri Ciuri

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Aside from Carbonara ? The real italian Pizza and Gelato!!!

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? Every tour leaves me something but one of the most memorable experiences was on a Segway Tour with a group of ladies in  their early 80s who were riding the Segway better than I do!

What do you like most about leading tours? I love seeing my customers moved by the beauty of Rome! I love my job and I think I am very lucky because through the eyes of my customers I can see what the majority of Italians lost: to get surprised by the great beauty we have in front of us everyday, like while running to catch a bus, stressed  and driving in the traffic, noses in the phones, etc… Thanks to my job and my customers I can still enjoy the beauty!

See you Soon!

See you Soon!

What makes your tour unique? Obviously…Me and my Neapolitan attitude!

 

When you’re booking, make sure to ask for Lucilla!

Till next month!

Met Your Guide in Florence: Bene

This month we introduce you to Benedetta, “Bene” for friends, a genuine Fiorentina who’ll guide you through Florence’s alleys.

Bene

Name:  Benedetta

Nationality and City of residence: I was born in Florence, but now I live in Montespertoli, a small town in the countryside, not too far from Florence

Name of tour you lead and where: segway in Florence

Night Tour

Your favorite part of the tour: It’s fun when people arrived in the office, scared of riding the segway but at   the end they want to bring them home!

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: I don’t have a favorite restaurant, but I think that if you cross the river and get lost in the Oltrarno neighbourghood, you’ll be surprised by good food and good price!

One thing visitors to my city can’t miss: Ponte Vecchio by night all light up!

Travel Mantra? I don’t have one, but there’s one word that I always use, which became a sort of mantra. The word is “allora” and people keep asking me “what does allora mean”? I have to stop saying it…

What’s next on your travel bucket list? New York, for sure: I meet every day people coming from NY and it’s a shame that I have never been there! Second: go back to Japan, where I have been for my honeymoon! And something that I am sure I will never do (but why not dream of it) the Trans-Siberian, from Moscow to Vladivostock by train: 9000 km across countries, people, 8 different time zones… Maybe one day…

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to? My second, after Florence, favorite city is Siena, around 100 km south of Florence. My absolute favourite part of Italy is not a city in but a region: Sicily, the southern Italian region. Sicily is where Europe meets Africa, a mix of architecture and history, Arabian e Greek style and the food…oh my…

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Many visitors think that the life in Italy is slower, tha we don’ t rush, that we have siesta and that we enjoy life: well things in actuality are slightly different

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? I would like people before leaving to try the food like we eat at home, the traditional from Florence, not the lasagne, but the chicken liver pate crostini, the soup made with vegetables or with beans, and I would like them to try THE bistecca, the real one , the one three fingers thick and rare not medium cooked!!

Bene in tour

What do you like most about leading tours? I love to  share my city, the place where I grew up, every corner that is significant for me, with people coming from all across the world and I would like that people, when back home recalling “Florence” they would think of me. I am very lucky to be doing this job, because I can travel all around the world in the mind of people, I hope so!

What makes your tour unique? My smile :)

Make sure to ask of “Bene” when booking your tour in Florence!

 

Pope Francis in Florence

Tomorrow is a special day in Florence: Pope Francis the First will move from Vatican City towards the City of the Renaissance.
This Pope, as you know, is very beloved by both worshippers and non religious, because of his friendly and open attitude.

bergoglio-thumbsup

Anyway, to see a Pope moving from Rome is a very rare occasion, and Florence will be turned upside down by the changes of traffic ways, the restricted accesses to a lot of areas and the security enforcements.

For those who want to follow Pope Bergoglio’s movements, here a general program:

He will leave Vatican City at 7 in the morning, arriving in Prato and visiting the local Cathedral, then he will hold a speech for the local chinese community there, which is very compact and conspicuous.

After that he will move to Florence by helicopter, landing on Campo Di Marte’s Artemio Franchi Stadium.
From there, by car and in disguise, he will move to Piazza San Marco, in the very center of Florence (if you made some of our tours, you knew) and he will finally take place on the so-called “Papa-Mobile“.

papamobile

Around 10 in the morning, he will move towards the Dome, visit the Cathedral and the Baptistry and then he will hold his speech to the those who gathered at the Permanent council of the Italian bishops conference at the Vatican.

After the speech he will visit the Santissima Annunziata Church to pray in a restricted council of observants, then he will have lunch into a homeless shelter nearby.

Around 2:30 pm Francis the 1st will go at the Stadium, where a simple but majestic “open aired church” has been built for his open Mass. The Crucifix on the altar is a masterpiece of the 14° Century, and the whole architecture has been designed with precise suggestions from the Catholic Art through the centuries.

Franchi

Unfortunately tickets are required to assist – due to the massive presence -, but there will be 2 maxi-screens in the city center to follow the Pope’s movements: one in Piazza Santa Croce and one in Piazza Della Signoria.

There will also be some parades in the city center’s streets, all heading towards the stadium; and a pilgrimage that will be jointed there.
It’s actually a very interesting day, also for those who belongs to other confessions, because it can show some cultural aspects of Italy and of Catholicism that aren’t really known if you don’t belong here.

Just be careful: Florence will be basically locked to cars from 8 in the morning until 6 pm (in the center, 8 pm near the stadium)! Put on the most comfortable shoes you have and join the crowd – it will worth it!

Meet Your Guide in Rome: Barbara

This month you’ll meet Barbara, a most sweet guide and also a pillar of Rome Segway Tours!

BarbaraName: Barbi Bond aka Barbara

tionality and City of residence: Italian, I’m a genuine “romana”

Name of tour you lead and where: I’ll lead the Segway Tours and the Pizza Food Walking Tour in Roma.

Your favorite part of the tour: The very beginning, when we meet our customers and we get to know each other!

Favorite Local Restaurant in your city: “Hostaria de Pastini” (via de` Pastini close to the Pantheon)  for the greatest “Carbonara” and the best “Tiramisu” you’ll find in Rome!

During The TourOne thing visitors to my city can’t miss: Trastevere! Can’t leave out the West Side of the River when visiting the Eternal city. The atmosphere and the views are breath-taking and romantic, it’s the perfect balance of past and present living together.

Travel Mantra? Relax, leave all worries behind and enjoy the moment.

What’s next on your travel bucket list? Australia! I hope…

What is your favorite Italian city to travel to? Florence. I still don’t know the city well and that’s why I enjoy it whenever I visit because I learn somenthing new every time.

What’s your best travel tip for those coming to visit Italy? Eat all the eatable! Food is the heart and soul of one’s culture!

What’s the food that someone must try in your city before leaving? Carbonara! a most delicious pasta dish, with eggs and bacon, yumm!

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had on one of your tours? The most memorable experience, was on a Segway Tour with a very nice family of which the kid was repeatedely scolding the mom, who was enjoying a little too much the speed of the Segway!!Barbara During the Tour

What do you like most about leading tours? Decidedly the satisfaction of the customers at the end of the tour.

What makes your tour unique? Doing my best to meet the customer’s needs, to make their experience the best ever!

See you soon in Rome!

Visiting Italy in autumn

Without any doubt, visiting Italy in autumn is one of the best things you can do. Just think about leaving the crowd and the heat of summer behind you and imagine the fragrance of chestnuts and truffles spreading in the air while driving slowly through enchanted landscapes painted in yellow and orange.

Autumn colors in the Langhe

Autumn colors in the Langhe

Autumn is also the perfect season for spending time in the so-called città d’arte (art cities) like Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples and admire the monuments in peace without lining or being squeezed by the crowd.  Sunny days can be amazing, and in case of rain, options are multiple. The easier? Find shelter in a museum and admire world renowned artworks or enter chic boutiques and do some shopping!

As sun comes back, rent a car and go for a drive in the countryside, maybe looking for a sagra (food  festival), since autumn is also considered by experts the best season for eating in Italy.

About  Milan

Giotto in Milan

Giotto in Milan

There’s no chance to get bored here! Among other things, just give a glance to the rich cultural offer of Palazzo Reale and pick one of the exhibitions  (our tip is Giotto).

If the Milanese fog is too chilly, go straight to the elegant QC Termemilano, a SPA in the  city center surrounded by history where you can even enjoy an aperitivo in bathrobe.

In sunny days don’t hesitate to rent a car and go to explore the countryside, smell the mist and delight your eyes with the unreal autumn colors, maybe in one of the best scenery in the world: the Langhe. Less than 2 hours by car from Milan there’s the white truffle world’s capital: Alba, where every year takes place the most important Italian truffle festival.

About Florence

You’re convinced that you’ve already seen everything in Florence? Maybe not, until the end of December, Florence will become a museum in open air where admire Jeff Koons artworks in an innovative conversation with the medieval architecture of the city and statues of the Italian Renaissance.

Food festivals in Tuscany

Food festivals in Tuscany

For tasting the Tuscan cooking at its best, once arrived in the city go to a Tourist Information Office and ask where the next sagre will take place in towns and villages around the city. Once there, you’ll have the chance to taste delicious porcini mushrooms or meat, to talk with locals and to do a unique experience.

And what to do in case of rain? What about indulging in a cup of hot chocolate, better if in the best cioccolateria in Florence?

About Rome

Appia Antica

Appia Antica

Whit less crowd, some places unveil their most charming aspect, like the peaceful park of the Appia Antica. Strolling there, surrounded by the Mediterranean nature and millennia-old ruins, can be an even mystic experience.

Sunsets in Rome can be moving and incredibly romantic, especially in autumn. Our suggestion is to enjoy the one you can admire from the top of the iconic Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland), the view from here embraces the entire city: the Colosseum, the Imperial Forums, the the River Tiber and Jewish Ghetto, up to  the Capitol Hill and to the Quirinal.

In the second half of October, Rome hosts a famous international film festival, why don’t take the chance, mix with the Romans and become part of the event? It will be also a great opportunity to see a different aspect of the Eternal City, usually unknown for most of the visitors.

Meet your Guide: Cristina

NAME: Cristina!
Hi, Cristina!

Hi, Cristina!

NAME OF TOUR YOU LEAD AND WHERE?
I lead… quite a lot! You can find me in a Florence Segway Tour, a Florence Bike tour, a Florence Food Tour, and Florence Duomo with Brunelleschi’s Dome climb.

 

YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE TOUR?
I really like the customers’ questions, above all when they’re made by kids: It’s an enjoyable interactive moment!

 

FAVOURITE LOCAL RESTAURANT IN YOUR CITY?
I’d really suggest everyone to try the Trattoria Angiolino, in via Santo Spirito, a fun typical restaurant with a local menu, in one of the most authentic quarters of Firenze.

 

ONE THING VISITORS TO YOUR CITY CAN’T MISS?
Everyone should pay a visit to the Church of San Miniato Uphill: it’s an unique romantic atmosphere, especially at sunset… there’s a bit of effort to make, but the reward will worth it!

 

TRAVEL MANTRA?
“Remember: a light luggage… to fill with a lot of kitsch souvenirs!”

 

yum!

yum!

WHAT’S NEXT ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET LIST?

I really want visit to the Universal Food Exposition in Milan. A food-addict as me cannot miss it!
WHAT’S THE FOOD THAT SOMEONE MUST TRY IN YOUR CITY BEFORE LEAVING??
It may sound an easy answer, but… it’s the one and only!
Don’t miss our T-bone steak, called Fiorentina. Better still in match with Chianti red wine!
WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE YOU HAD ON ONE OF YOUR TOURS?
On a Segway tour, a customer went down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend with an amazing Tiffany diamond.
He was still wearing the protective helmet.

 

in the country!

in the country!

WHAT IS YOUR BEST TIP FOR THOSE COMING TO VISIT ITALY?

Keep calm and drive… in our wild countryside. Italy has plenty of charming and little known towns that are waiting for you to discover them!

 

WHAT MAKES YOUR TOUR UNIQUE?
I love to lead my tours with a good compromise of fun and culture!
Next time you come to Florence… don’t forget to ask for Cristina as your tour guide!

A book-and-wine tour in Italy

Autumn: a glass of wine and a good book!

Even better, a glass of wine and a good italian book, right where it is settled. Let’s see where to go for a nice italian literary wine tour through Italy!

1) Sicily. A good thing of autumn in the south is that travelling is very low budget. And in Sicily the sea is still pretty warm, so, between a good meal and a page, you might still enjoy the wonderful seaside!

camilleri-ok1

WHAT TO DRINK: a good passito after lunch. Sicily is famous for its Passito di Pantelleria, a sweet wine that goes with desserts.
WHAT TO READ: Andrea Camilleri, La forma dell’acqua (“The shape of water”). This old man that just turned 92 is one of the most famous mystery writer in Italy. The main charachter of his stories is Salvo Montalbano, a cop with his ideas and a pretty good taste when it comes to food!

2) Puglia: There is an italian band who named itself after its land’s wine. They’re called Negramaro, like the wine in Salento: it’s strong and (sounds like an heresy) best served cold, it hits your head and make you happy. Drink it carefully while dancing a “pizzica” on the last evenings outside, and the morning after enjoy the Negramaro singer’s book.

WHAT TO DRINK: Negramaro di Salento
WHAT TO READ: Lo spacciatore di carne (the flesh dealer), by Giuliano Sangiorgi. A history about family, traumas and love, in a language that only a rock singer can invent.

3) Tuscany. well, as we like to say, “ci piace vincere facile” (that’s an easy win)! Almost all tuscan writers put at least a glass of wine in their pages, just because you cannot think a tuscan person living without it. Now it’s almost Novello time – the new wine, light and bitter. And it’s a joy, taking a tour between the grapevines all red, maybe at sunset…

vite-vigneto-campo-autunno-felinda-fotolia-750x498

WHAT TO DRINK: A good, classic Chianti
WHAT TO READ: Marco Malvaldi, Odore di chiuso (“fustiness”). Malvaldi is another mystery writer, but this time, instead of summoning its typical charachters – old men gathered in a old bar – he chose to let a food legend act. Pellegrino Artusi, writer of the most ancient and famous recipe book in Italy, is the main character of this funny novel.

4) Piemonte. this region comes with great wines, the very famous Barbera and the Moscato D’Asti, and it’s a wonderful place for a car-trip. The Langhe zone is quite a wonder to see – even if now it’s already pretty cold. Even better though, you will enjoy your wine (with some Alba truffles) more!

WHAT TO DRINK: a sparkling prosecco made in Asti
WHAT TO READ: A neve ferma (“…until stiff”), Stefania Bertola. A romance about food and friendship, sparkling and funny like an Italian Bridget Jones’ diary.

5) Liguria. Another sea – literally, we’re on the other side of Italy. Liguria is in so many songs, thanks to two of our very famous songwriters, Paolo Conte and Fabrizio De André, because of its atmospheres a bit gloomy, quite suspicious, always slightly dark… and still full of life and joy. So listen to some of the most famous Paolo Conte and De André’s songs and let yourself be inspired to eat a rich pasta col pesto!

Pasta-al-pesto

WHAT TO DRINK: a red “Golfo del Tigullio“, light and slightly sparkling
WHAT TO READ: Maurizio Maggiani‘s Il coraggio del pettirosso (The robin’s courage). A story about being strong and telling the truth, and enjoy life no matter what. The perfect conclusion to a great italian tour!