Thursday, February 23, 2012

TGIF: Italy recommendations, anyone?

Things are a bit crazy and topsy turvy here at the DfB headquarters lately, but in the meantime, the blog is featured over on Harvard Common Press's food blog blog (oh my, how meta!), BlogEats, this week! Click on over to check out the incredibly flattering feature here.

In other exciting news, I'm going to Italy soon! I'll be traveling in Rome and the Amalfi Coast area, so I would love, love, love any recommendations you might have in terms of must-see or must-eat places there! Oh yeah, gelato for breakfast: here. I. come.

Happy weekending, everyone!


  1. hello, I am italian. I HAVE TO SAY I LOVE ROME. I live near Milan but you know Rome is THE non-plus-ultra.
    I study Hisotry of Art, so my advice is VISIT VISIT VISIT, enter in EVERY church, look every angle, every house, go in every museum oyu can. Rome is not a city with monuments, is a city MADE OF monuments. some houses are build with frescos and walls of anticent buildings, you know?
    and there are BILLIONS of churches that guides do not mention ut that are beutiful, like "Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza" or "San Carlo alle 4 fontane" and don't forget Ara Pacis too!!
    If you want, you can repy me with which type of art you like the most and I can advice you better!
    A kiss

  2. I am Italian, too, and went to Rome multiple times. I love Villa Borghese and Trastevere/Gianicolo area. The best way to go is just to take a walk around and enjoy the warm sun and the early spring that is blessing us these days. 
    I would humbly suggest, instead of gelato for breakfast (since you will have the whole day to enjoy some :D), to get a maritozzo at Castroni after some great food shopping in their shop. Also, have coffee at Sant'Eustachio near Pantheon, and gelato at Gelateria Gracchi. Other food places: pizza and beer take away at Bonci in via della Meloria, bread and pizza bianca at Forno Roscioli, lunch or aperitivo at salumeria roscioli, beer at Open Baladin, cacio e pepe and lamb roast at Da Felice Testaccio, fresh produce at Mercato di San Teodoro, cheese and wine at Beppe e i suoi Formaggi, pizza for dinner at Sforno or La Gatta Mangiona, carbonara or ammatriciana or gricia at L'Arcangelo. Just don't be afraid of carbs and try pasta as much as you can, the best pasta is made in the above mentioned Roman restaurants, and you'll see, the trend is to keep it very al dente. The restaurants above are all in the medium price range. For more upscale dining, Il Pagliaccio, Open Colonna, La Pergola, Settembrini. 
    Hope you enjoy the beautiful Rome, and that these tips help!

  3. Hi Steph, 

    I'm a South African living in Rome (in Trastevere) since last August. My favorite restaurant for authentic Italian lunch is the Ristorante Alle Fratte di Trastevere-- the owner is so sweet, and in true Italian style, he greets everyone who enters! (
    After you've had that meal (or maybe before the meal, to work up an appetite), I recommend you climb the nearby Gianicolo (Janiculum Hill) for an unbelievable view over the city with the Fontanone as your backdrop (

    A friend of mine, a journalist at the Vatican, took me to the nicest dinner I've ever had. If you're looking for upscale Italian fare, and if you wouldn't mind rubbing shoulders with uber-high-ranking Vatican officials, head to the Hotel Columbus for stuffed zucchini flowers or quail egg risott0. (,+Via+della+Conciliazione,+Rome,+Italy&hl=en&cid=10790692225879596662).

    These are just my favorite picks, but it's really a challenge to have a bad time here! Buon divertimento!

  4. I'm not Italian, just a Cleveland burbs babe (if I can be a babe at this old age) so I can't comment on your Italian adventure.  BUT I must say that is a simply wonderful article on you at Blog Eats...contgrats!!!!!

  5. SO Jealous!!! I want to go spend 6 months eating my way around Italy, someday... sigh :) Have a blast x N

  6. Amelia from z tasty lifeFebruary 24, 2012 at 6:26 AM

    Hi Steph:
    I am Italian but living in Atlanta (BTW, we met at BlogHer Food). I grew up in Sorrento and then moved to Rome. So here are some tips from me:

    - to do: morning walk in the morning campo dei fiori, piazza farnese, via giulia, via del governo vecchio, piazza navona, pantheon, then go to piazza di spagna and surroundings and look for via margutta. In trastevere go to piazza santa maria in trastevere. Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, also visit Galleria Borghese in villa borghese (Raffaello, Canova, Bernini, etc.). Visit the new modern museum Maxxi.
    - Brunch: Gusto in piazza augusto imperatore
    - Lunch: Obika for something fresh, mozzarella bar (via dei prefetti), or pierluigi in piazza dei ricci if you are hungry (also for dinner): great people watching.
    - Coffee: Sant'Eustachio and Tazza d'oro (ask for granita di caffè con panna) in the Pantheon area.
    - Afternoon: go to caffe' della pace, near piazza navona, for a coffee and then behind the corner a beautiful spot, to the exhibition at the Bramante cloister (
    -salotto 42 (piazza di pietra, really nice spot),
    -or informal: at campo dei fiori (don't go after 9 pm, it gets too crowded with every kind of people)
    -or elegant: hotel de russie (via del babbuino);
    -behind Pantheon, in piazza delle coppelle the area is nice, there are different restaurants, like: maccheroni, coco, riccioli, and quinzi e gabrielli
    -international, chic, and a place where people go to be seen is dal Bolognese in piazza del popolo (tel. 06 961106), difficoult to book
    (you can use Sorrento as a base)
    - day trips: Pompeii's ruins, Massa Lubrense: great little fishing village (you could eat pizza down there), Positano, Amalfi, the small fisging village "Furore", Vietri sul mare (best hand painted pottery), Ravello (wonderful medieval village perched over the Amalfi coast: they have the best rum baba's!), the scenic hike "Sentiero degli Dei" (Path of the Gods: along the cliffs of the Amalfi coast), Capri (go by hydrofoil), Naples (visit Napoli sotterranea: underground Naples, and of course you HAVE to have pizza, caffe' and sfogliatelle!)
    - Breakfast: al Fauno in Sorrento (great to sit down in the square to people watch) or da Pollio (best Brioche: try it with gelato in the afternoon)
    - Lunch: "da Emilia" fresh seafood down at the Marina Grande
    - Gelato (and late night crepes): pasticceria primavera on Sorrento's main street
    - Dinner: "La Torre" in Massa, a wonderful slow-food "presidio", Pizza "da Gigino". If you are into that sort of thing, the most recognized restaurants in the area are Don Alfonso and Torre del Saracino.
    - Also see/do: the orange grove (immediately past Piazza Lauro in Sorrento), go see how they make fresh mozzarella ("da Apreda"), go check out the fish market (just great to see the local catch), walk through the meandering roads and stop by inside the churches, look for concerts inside the wonderful St. Francis cloister (chiostro di San Francesco > me and my husband got married here!!!)

    Safe travel, bring back lots of food goods, and shoot me an email if you have more questions!!!

    P.s. check out some of my photo posts from my Italy trips:,,

  7. There is a cat sanctuary in Rome that is really neat. All the cats hang out in the ruins. And of course the colosseum is spectacular. 

  8. Gelato for breakfast. I look forward to hearing all about that. My favorite time to enjoy gelato in Roma was in the thick of the afternoon as the sun scorched our backs. Alas, Rome was a whirlwind for me, but I look forward to hearing of your escapades.

  9. Visit Pompei, eat the pizza in Naples, and enjoy the wonderfulness of Serranto. We loved it there. Everything there was quite delicious, and they hand out limoncello for FREE!!! ENJOY your trip.

  10. come to visit, you would be most welcomed!

  11. I am so jealous of your Italy trip! I haven't been in a long time, so I'm of no help. Just eat lots of amazing food and document the heck out of it for the rest of us.

  12. One word: Positano. In this breathtaking beach town, we loved stopping at the wood fired pizza oven on the beach, where you can order a pizza to go, and eat it while sitting in your chaise lounge, looking out at the beautiful, blue Tyrrhenian Sea.
    Also, I love your blog and follow it religiously. I make nearly everything you post. You are an inspiration! Keep up the good work!

  13. We went to Rome in December! Here were our food highlights: Forno Campo de Fiori: the BEST pizza al taglio you'll find! It's in the Campo de Fiori square, also a popular place for a lovely farmers market. Pizzarium: a wonderful place for thicker and super inspired pizza. Be sure to get the lemon soda to go with it! It's close to the Vatican. Corsetti1921: also a favorite in Trastevere. Their pasta carbonara was amazing! For gelato Gelateria Valentino: near the Trevi Fountain was our absolute favorite. Try the dark chocolate. It's out of this world! 

    Hope you enjoy Italy. It's amazing!

  14. I have to say that San Crispino is probably some of the best gelato I have ever had as well (and I've taken no less than seven trips to various places all over Italy-- Sicily, for future reference, is definitely a standout in terms of the highest concentration of excellent gelato in one geographical area). San Crispino really is not to be missed. If you do make it to Napoli, as others have recommended, try Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente. My family and I got a pizza made fresh from start to finish before our eyes and handed out to us from a sidewalk window, and eating that dripping, boiling hot pizza standing up in a cobblestoned Napoletano street was hands down the most incredible, you-could-never-imagine-pizza-like-this pizza-eating experience of my life. One final recommendation: it seems silly to seek out Tuscan cuisine in Rome, but Ristorante dal Toscano is truly a gem. The pici al algione and the beef pizzaiola were particularly revelatory. I'm sure you'll have an incredible time!

  15. Conrgrads!!! I AM VERY HAPPY FOR YOU! Big fan, love your recipes and photos. Have a good time in Italy.

  16. You have to go to da baffeto for's some of the best i've ever had. the place is sort of run like the soup nazi though hehe...i think it's part of the charm!

  17. Ok, places you need to eat ice cream: Gelateria di San Crispino, Gelateria del Teatro, Ciampino. Sorry to sound militant but I feel strongly about ice cream! I have pictures and interesting flavour combos from all of the above on this post -

    Also, the Villa Borghese is one of my favourite places in the world so I'm seconding (17th-ing) all the existing recommendations. And Pizzarium does unbelievable pizzas with sourdough bases, totally worth the small trek out past the Vatican.

    Hope you have a great trip!

  18. When my family went to the Amalfi Coast, we stayed in Positano and one morning rented a little boat to explore Capri and the beautiful caves and beaches there. I think we brought a lunch along, but it was so beautiful I'll never forget it and you should definitely do the same if you have the opportunity. In Positano, down by the main beach area, there was a little pizzeria where my brother and I ate that served a very delicious Marinara pizza. Italy is such a beautiful place. Have an amazing trip! 

  19. I can't believe I just read through all the comments here (which I rarely do in blogs). I love Rome and the Amalfi Coast ans I love hearing out people's suggestions...I'm so jealous you are going...Have fun!


I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!