Gilli —Florence, Italy.
Opened by Swiss immigrants in 1733, this restaurant, confectionary, and bar is one of those places you have to put on your list to visit if ever in Florence. Located on the Piazza della Republica, this is the spot to watch stylishly dressed Firenze residents stroll past. If the weather allows, grab a table outside and enjoy a glass of wine with a bowl of pasta with wild boar ragu.
Piazzale Michelangelo —Florence, Italy.
Florence is a beautiful, compact city perfect for walking. Around every corner is another picture-perfect historic building or church. But, to get the best views of the city, cross the Arno River and climb the stairs (or hop in a taxi) and go to the Piazzale Michelangelo.
Aroma Ristorante—Rome, Italy.Classic Italian cooking all the way. Incredible pizzas and pastas. But, save room for the tiramisu. Some of the best we’ve ever tasted.
c.u.c.i.n.a.—Rome, Italy.Wow! A kitchen and home accessory store loaded with the basics. Towels, platters, glassware, and linens. If in Roma, stop by one of their three stores.
Trattoria da Carlo —Orvieto, Italy.
By chance we discovered this small restaurant in the charming Umbrian town of Orvieto. What a delicious surprise. The young owner/chef, Carlo, presides over the place with the help of his charming mother. Everything is made by scratch with the finest ingredients and love.Try the hearty ribollita soup (simmering for two days) and the tagliolini alla zucla (pasta with pumpkin and sage).
Hotel Vannucci—Citta della Pieve, Italy.
Wonderful small hotel in our favorite town in Umbria. Great rooms, friendly staff, and delish food. Plus, the melon gelato is out of this world.
Italy—Feast of the Epiphany (January 6).La Befana, the gnarly old witch swoops across Italian skies on the evening of January 5. According to legend, she delivers candy to the good children and coal to those that have been naughty. Being a kind witch and a good housekeeper, La Befana has been known to sweep the floors before flying away. Santa, do you do windows?
Italy—major cities.All aboard! Speed between Italy’s metro areas on the country’s new high-speed Frecciarossa (Red Arrow) trains. At 360-km/per hour the Rome to Milan journey takes just two hours and 45 minutes. Now, that’s veloce (fast).
Maio Restaurant—Milan, Italy.
Enjoy the food and the spectacular views at this restaurant. Located on the seventh floor of La Rinascente (the epic department store), the eatery offers amazing vistas of the Duomo (Milan’s cathedral), located just across the street.
Peck—Milan, Italy. The famous Milanese food emporium. Wander the displays, then head upstairs for lunch (and a glass of wine). On the way out, stop and have a scoop of their homemade gelato. Yum!