gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio


I may have gone a little overboard.

gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

[Catch-up post] Pilgrimage to the Pittsburgh Steeler Bar

[This is a day I missed blogging, so I’m retroactively including it]

Mom and I made the long trek across Rome on foot to go to La Botticella, a Steelers bar in Rome, owned by a Pennsylvania native. We had some beers and watched the Rome vs Lazio match, because when in Rome, you do as the Romans do.

On the way there, we passed three fountains. Once we got there, we drank a beer called Tre Fontane (“Three Fountains”).

We stopped by the Trevi fountain on the way there and back to toss in a couple of coins (to ensure our return to Rome) and, of course, to take photos.

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Arrivederci, Italia!

The Moon and Venus were a lovely accent to our last night in Rome

Grazie mille!

I need to say thank you to lots of people:

  • Mom, for joining me and reminding me to relax on my vacation
  • Joni, Minnie, Jamie, and Nate, for helping me prepare
  • Simon and Marc, for their helpful insights
  • Fabio, for showing me around Firenze, expanding my Italian vocabulary, and for great advising about my blog
  • Valeria, for nerding out with me about Guglielmo Marconi
  • Sara, Michele, and everyone at Mama Florence for such a fun time and for teaching me so much
  • Breezy, Christina, Dale, and Melissa for commenting, so I knew someone was reading

What’s next?

Learning a new language

Now that my trip to Italy is complete and I’ve gotten a chance to use the Italian I learned, I want to try learning some Spanish.

More travel

My hiking buddy I are in the planning stages of a trip to Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii and maybe also South Korea.

Also on my list are Toronto (or somewhere else in Canada), Mexico (not sure where yet), and the UK. I’d also love to return to Italy to see Calabria (where my grandfather was from), Naples, and more of Tuscany.

More blogging

This trip was the beginning of my blog, but I’m going to make it a habit (and I’ve still got a couple more Italy posts to write). What would you like to see me blog about? Please leave me a comment and let me know.

Italia 2020 Gennaio

The Vatican

A two hour tour: so much to see, so much information, so much walking – the grand finale of our trip to Italy.

A sculpture representing the river Nile
A ceiling fresco in the Room of the Immaculate Conception
Italia 2020 Gennaio

St. Peter’s Basilica

Our tour guide gave us an overwhelming amount of interesting information, but since I can’t do it justice, I’ll just share some of my photos.

The largest Christian church in the world
The tomb of Saint Gregory the Great (Pope Gregory I), who is credited with the creation of Gregorian Chant.
gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy

A shop (and now also a museum) that has been around since 1221 CE, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is credited as the world’s oldest pharmacy.

We tasted mallow tea, rose tea, and bitter herbal liqueurs. I of course bought some to bring home.

cooking gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

My second lesson at Mama Florence

This place is so awesome! The instructors are great chefs and excellent teachers: they are engaging, fun, patient, and quite knowledgeable. In addition to teaching us how to make the food, they shared helpful information about technique and food science. (Anyone who knows me knows these are a few of my favorite things.) I was almost sad to leave at the end of the lesson.

It was also more fun this time because Mom was with me. After thousands of pizzas she’s made for me, I was finally able to return the favor.

Today we made pizza (with perfect crust!), tagliatelle with black kale and garlic pesto, eggless cavatelli with eggplant ragù, and (without any exaggeration) the BEST gelato I have ever tasted – orange and vanilla with berry sauce.

If you are ever in Florence, you absolutely must treat yourself to a class at Mama Florence!

Here are the finished products:

A couple of process photos:

Our class also included a tour of the Mercato Centrale, where our instructor taught us about the vegetables, fresh pasta, cheeses, and meats. She even gave us a cheese tasting (but I was too busy to take a photo of that).

gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

Osteria de Pitti

Osteria de Pitti is my favorite restaurant I’ve been to on this trip. A newly-opened restaurant with fantastic food and excellent service, it’s one of the few places I’ve gone to more than once. I took Mom there last night and we both had a great dining experience!

gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

Cioccolata Calda

Checked off another thing from my must-try list. An Italian hot chocolate – “cioccolata calda”. It’s richer and creamier than any hot chocolate I’d get at home – like drinking a melted candy bar!

All of the chocolate here – whether it’s in a drink, pastry, or candy – is much less sweet than in the US, letting the flavor of the cocoa come forward. I wish I could bring this tradition home with me!

gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

A day at the beach – Santa Severa

I know, you’re surprised that I willingly went to the beach.

Mom had the idea to see the sea and it was a lovely day! We got a little sun and some fresh salt air. We split a bottle of red wine. Mom ate some sea creatures (😝 to each their own, I guess). It was leisurely, but left us both pleasantly fatigued.