Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy Holidays to All

Happy Holidays Everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful time during this holiday season and that the new year brings new adventures to your life.  I will be celebrating Christmas away from home, so see you all in 2015!  

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year!!  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Il Ginanicolo, One of the Best Views of Rome

"She taught me to slow down.  To look up and enjoy the view.  To not worry so much about the end result that I end up missing things along the way.” Lisa Schroeder, Chasing Brooklyn

You may already know that ancient Rome was a city with seven hills, each one with distinct importance and enough history to fill volumes of books.  In present day Rome, there is a hill called the Gianicolo that has lots of interesting attractions and that seldom gets included in pre-planned city tours.  If you have a little extra time in Rome and are looking for a great view of the city, head to the Gianicolo hill and you will find the following:

One of my favorite views of the Rome.    I don't have to say much, just look at the image above and judge for yourself.

A canon that shoots at noon everyday!  Kids (maybe not those afraid of loud noises) will love the thrill of listening to a real canon shoot at noon, everyday, rain or shine.  It is said that the shooting of the canon was started by Pope Pio IX in 1847 to synchronize the sounding of the bells in all the churches of Rome.  The canon has been on the Gianicolo hill since 1904.

Monument to Garibaldi.  An equestrian statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi overlooking the Gianicolo hill.  

The Fontanone.  Officially called the Fountain of Acqua Paola it debuted in the latest Italian film to win an Academy Award to the Best Foreign Language Film, the Great Beauty

The Gianicolo hill is located near Saint Peter's and Trastevere, if you are in the area, don't hesitate to visit this great part of town.  If you are an avid photographer, the stop at the Gianicolo is a must!  If you want to read about another place from where to take great pictures of Rome, click here.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Italian Food: Where to Order Your Favorite Italian Dishes

"They have preserved the conditions of preparing food, handed down through generations, and have come to know them as expressions of their families." Bill Buford, Heat

We all know Italian food it's amazing, then why on earth do I hear many people saying they came to Italy and didn't really get an extraordinary meal?  I think I know the answer.  They are ordering the wrong dishes in the wrong places.

So let's back up a little.  Italian food is very regional, meaning the dishes you find in one part of Italy are not necessarily what you would want to order in another region.  They are specialized in their cuisine as it mostly involves very local ingredients.  Here is the deal for those of you planning to visit Italy and would like to have an out-of-this-world experience when it comes to food.  Of course this will require you to be a bit open-minded and willing to order something you may not have had in mind.

The tip of the day: order your dishes according to your location, be adventurous and you will be rewarded with an amazing meal.  So here is they list of regions and the dishes they're known for:

When in Rome (Region: Lazio) order the following:
  • Spaghetti All'Amatriciana (red sauce with pig cheeks bacon that tastes just like bacon)
  • Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (like a local mac and cheese with pepper)
  • Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (pasta with egg, pecorino cheese and the pig cheek bacon)
  • Carcciofi alla Giudia (artichokes jewish style)
  • Abbacchio alla Romana (roman baby-lamb)

When in Florence (Region: Tuscany) order the following:
  • Bistecca Alla Fiorentina (Florence-style steak)
  • Ribollita (soup with beans and chard)
  • Pappa al Pomodoro (local bread soaked in tomato sauce)
When in Venice (Region: Veneto) order the following:

  • Baccalà Mantecato (creamed baccalà)
  • Sarde in Saor (Sardines Ventian-style with raisins)
When in Genova (Region: Liguria) order the following: 
  • Troffie al Pesto (short fresh pasta with pesto sauce, their local specialty)
  • Anything al Pesto
  • Farinata (Chickpea flour bread, kinds of like a corn bread consistency)
When in Milan (Region: Lombardia) order the following:
  • Agnolini di Carne in Brodo (small meat-stuffed pasta in broth)
  • Risotto (typical Milanese dish)
  • Tortelli Alla Zucca (pumpkin-stuffed ravioli)
  • Cotoletta Alla Milanese (breaded chicken breast)
When in Bologna (Region: Emilia Romagna) order the following:
  • Tagliatelle al Ragu (the real name for spaghetti Bolognese)
  • Piadina (flat bread with any local ham)
  • Lasagna al Forno (baked pasta layered with meat sauce)
  • Anything with balsamic vinegar reduction
  • Polpettone (meatloaf)
When in the South of Italy and anywhere near the ocean, always go with seafood and fish.

When inlands, something with mushrooms (funghi) is always good.
When in doubt order Spaghetti al Pomodoro (tomato sauce) or Spaghetti aglio olio (pasta with oil and garlic). And Naples=Pizza.

Hope you have a wonderful trip to Italy and that you get to try their amazing dishes and remember their fresh and intense flavors for years to come.  If you live in Rome and are looking for international food, click here for a list of non-italian restaurants.

And that is all for today.  Buon Apettito