Every so often, we have to reflect on our roots. Besides pasta, the greatest food every created, Italy is known for many things, including beaches, cruises, fashion, and culture. Each region of the country has its own distinct qualities and in order to highlight what the motherland has to offer, we’ve chosen 5 of our favourite hotspots to check out as recommended by Pasta Pantry’s owner, Nathan Satanove. While it’s impossible to soak up all of Italy in a couple of weeks, these picks are excellent and diverse destinations worth checking out. If you’re looking to trade the frigid winters of Edmonton and Sherwood Park for a sunny, scenic paradise, you’ll love this selection.
Travel Through the Amalfi Coast!
Featuring breathtaking coasts and a gorgeous landscape, there’s a reason why people from all over the world come to visit this scenic destination. The Amalfi Coast is perhaps the best way to experience the beauty of the Meditteranian. Take a walking tour of the area (even if you’re afraid of heights) or visit the Museo Correale to see a number of amazing Neapolitan pieces and artifacts. When you’re done, stop by anyone of the nearby restaurants and sip on a drink made with limoncello, one of Italy’s most popular liqeurs which comes from the region. If you have the chance to venture through this coast, we wholeheartedly recommend you do so. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Just make sure your camera has a lot of memory; you’ll be taking a ton of pictures!
Relax in the Cinque Terre!
Located on the Italian Rivera, the Cinque Terre (the name translated means five towns) boasts a refreshing, peaceful setting that is a far cry from the hustle and bustle that is found if some of Italy’s cities. Because of the narrow, winding roads, it’s suggested that you ditch the car and enter the area via train. Once you step inside, you’ll be exposed to the serene nature that will tempt you to call it your new home. Tour the Torra Guardiola, a former WWII naval installation, or go for a swim before heading to a local cafe to grab an authentic Italian cappuccino. Once the sun beings to set, find a restaurant and try some Spaghetti al Pesto. This famous green sauce is native to the Liguria region and is best enjoyed with a platter of succulent seafood.
Go for a Gondola Ride in Venice!
What would an Italian excursion be without a trip through the canals of Venice? Described by many as a marble palace, this historic city has been the pinnacle of culture throughout the ages. Since Venice is actually made up of 118 small islands that are connected by canals and bridges, it is essential that you travel throughout the area by gondola. Once you’ve witness the stunning architecture, (we recommend visiting the Peggy Gugenheim Colelction and the Basilica di San Marco) stop by a local market and stock up on seasonal favourites like Sant’Erasmo castraure (baby artichoke) and radicchio trevisano (bitter red chicory.)
Shop til you Drop in Milan!
Milan, known for its cutting edge design and fashion work, is the perfect place to see a mixture of Italy’s history infused with a modern influence. Visit Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural, The Last Supper,” or venture through the streets and barter with any one of the local shops when you go shopping. When you get hungry, try one of the region’s most famous dishes, the osso buco. Made with veal shanks that are braised with with vegetables, broth and a healthy amount of white wine, it’s a meal that can’t be beat.
Dress up in Florence!
As the home of many high-end fashion boutiques, Florence is a favourite for those who want to live it up in the big city. Catch a football game or learn all about the latest up and coming designers. After dining on the most delicious minestrone you’ve ever had, satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of panettone.
We hope you enjoyed our list of Italian places that you need to visit! If you want a slice of Italy without having to travel thousands of kilometres, head over to Pasta Pantry today! Also, if you’re not following us on Facebook and Twitter, make sure you do so immediately to hear all about what we’ve got cooking.