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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!

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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.

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gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

The Best Pizza I’ve Had So Far

While I let Mom recover from her flight, I took a walk, and the guy at the hotel front desk recommended Pizzería Mediterránea. It was an interesting experience: Lots of people hurrying in and out, taking numbers, and the people behind the counter scurrying back and forth, frantically serving Pizza al Taglio (cut to order and priced by weight).

Crispy, flavorful, and decadent – it’s the perfect snack!

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Italia 2020 Gennaio

I’m back in Rome

I’ve reached the halfway point of my trip. I’m very glad that Mom will be joining me soon!

Yesterday I took the train back to Rome. I checked into the Hotel I had reserved and it was totally gross. Luckily, I was able to find a last-minute deal on one right around the corner which is way better and has a restaurant in the hotel. I always seem to have good luck when I’m traveling.

Today was pretty chill – more walking and a little shopping (I’ve bought several scarves and hats while I’m here since they’re all on sale).

The view from the train
The view from the train
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Italia 2020 Gennaio

Il Duomo

This is one of the sights I was most excited to see in Italy, ever since I learned about it in my Visual History class at the U of Memphis. I’ll leave it to Wikipedia to tell the full story, but the size and weight of the dome required an incredible advance in the engineering of the time and was inspired by the shape of a chicken’s egg, which is a naturally strong shape.

The cathedral is covered in incredibly intricate art. It’s incredible the lengths that the Italians went to create a physical manifestation of their faith.

I climbed all 463 steps and was rewarded with a great view

After a short rest, I also climbed the bell tower that you see in the pictures above (Giotto’s Campanile).

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cooking gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

Cooking lesson at Mama Florence

Today I attended a cooking lesson at Mama Florence cooking school. It was amazing. We made pear and pecorino salad, spinach/ricotta ravioli, taglierini con limone, mashed pumpkin with thyme and caramelized goat cheese, and two kinds of biscotti for dessert. I also improved my knife skills and learned several re-usable cooking tricks. This place is absolutely great!

I didn’t take many photos, obviously because my hands were messy the whole time, but here are some:

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gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

Florence

I love walking around this city. There are lots of narrow cobblestone streets that diffuse the traffic and lots of cool shops. The city is full of great art, big and small, old and new:

I went up to the Piazzale Michelangelo and got great views of the city.

I visited the Basilica di Santa Croce, where several historical figures are entombed: Florence Nightingale, Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and the opera composer Gioachino Rossini.

I’ve had some great food. The best thing about restaurants in Italy is all of the fresh-baked bread.

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gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

I know, I’m behind in posting…

I have tons of pictures to sort through before I do. I’ll have some time tomorrow on the train to Bologna. For tonight, I will leave you with something I learned today.

Grappa is delicious. It’s like if wine and whiskey had a baby.

It is also dangerous. 😛

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gastro-tourism Italia 2020 Gennaio

Florence Day 1

Took the train to Florence today then walked along the Arno river. I think I might already be in love with this city. It’s much more chill than Rome was, there’s a lot of really interesting decorative details, and there are a bunch of quirky shops.

I had the most AMAZING dinner at Osteria di Pitti: ribollita (hearty vegetable and bread stew) and gnocchi with gorgonzola cream sauce and walnuts. For dessert, I had freshly baked cantucci (almond biscotti).

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Italia 2020 Gennaio

Day 3 – Walked until my feet hurt

Today I saw the Basilica of St. Sabine…

…checked out the sculptures outside the Captoline museum…

…watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier (Tomba del Milite Ignoto)…

…and saw an exhibit on how Italy became a country and how the language was unified.

Went to the Tempio Maggiore Di Roma, which is gorgeous and has a museum. A lady gave a talk about the history of Italy’s Jewish population, most of which was made up of Sephardi Jews who migrated from Spain during the Spanish inquisition. I also saw artifacts from the time leading up to world war II and clothing from a concentration camp.

In the afternoon, I walked across the Tiber river an explored the Trastevere, where I saw some cool street art, buildings, and statues. I also had an amazingly delicious lunch followed by some great gelato.

Now I just have to decide where to go for dinner. Decisions, decisions…