If you want a more Italian experience/ ambiance you need to go for the later reservation, after 9:00. The 7:00/ 7:30 reservations will be all foreigners. I highly recommend making reservations before hand. We had no trouble making the night before and day of reservations.
Trattoria de Gli Amici
The Trattotoria is managed by a social cooperative promoted by Saint'Egido Community. Disabled people, professionals and volunteers work here together because best things are made in friendship. We happened upon this restaurant on our trip back in 2014, it is located in a charming Piazza just a tiny bit off the beaten path with a very nice outside area. We immediately fell in love with the mission, the food is great and despite being in a very touristy area/ time only Italians were at the restaurant.
Piazza S Egido 6, Roma - Trastevere
PianoStrada laboratorio di cucina
Beautiful. Located just a few blocks from our hotel and just far enough from the touristy craziness to offer a quiet dinner. We walked by and fell in love with the interior. Flowers, candles, plants, dried fruits in beautiful jars cover every inch of the restaurant. The dinner was absolutely delicious. I had a special that was a pasta with seabass, it was beyond. I am drooling as I write this and the bread is amazing.
Via delle Zoccolette, 22, 00186 Roma RM
+39 06 8957 2296
Ristorante Santa Lucia
Beautiful terraced deck a few blocks from Piazza Navona. Great food and love the ambiance.
Largo Febo, 12, 00186 Roma RM
+39 06 6880 2427
Ginger Sapori e Salute
Great stop, in the middle of everything. Very nice salads if you need a change of pace from pizza and pasta. Very pretty modern interior.
St. Eustachio Square, 54-55, Centro Storico
Casa & Bottega
This was our morning hangout when we came back in 2014. Love this place, great for a coffee and pastry and to regroup when you are in the city center.
Next time!!!! We didn't make it, but have heard its delicious pizza! Will just have to come back.
Viale di Trastevere, 53-59, 00153 Roma RM
Beautiful Italian clothing, great price point, a lot of linen and leatther. I scored here, leather jacket, 2 tops, a skirt and leather belt! Located near Campo DiFiori on a very touristy street, but this was a great find!
Via dei Giubbonari, 67, 00186 Roma RM
Walked by this boutique on our first afternoon in Rome and returned a few times to purchase several small pouches for organizing/ traveling. All the products are designed in Italy and then printed and assembled in India. These make great gifts!
Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, 40, 00186 Roma RM
Piazza Farnese Luxury Suites
I ended up really liking this hotel and the location (I wasn't sure at first). It is right off of Campi DiFiore which isn't my favorite Piazza, but ended up finding some really cute spots in this neighborhood. My room number was 102 and had been recently renovated, I would stay in this room again. My parents stayed on the piazza side and it was loud. The staff is super welcoming and helpful. I didn't love the lobby area, but plenty of cute places to hang out close by. Just a tip before checking in ask for your room to not have the cleaning scent sprayed (it is very strong).
Piazza Farnese 101, 00186 Roma, Italia
Notes For Next Time
If staying at Farnese, check out Via del Pellegrino for cute cafés and shops.
Antica Latteria Roma - right next to our hotel, cute little wine bar. It was closed the first few nights we were there and so we didn't discover it until our last night in Rome.
Vicolo del Gallo, 4, 00186 Roma RM
In 2014 we stayed on a quiet street off of Via Del Paca. It was an AIRBNB, I really liked this area and would recommend staying there if you can find a nice place.
Alberobello – 23.6 miles & 18.2 miles
Today was the first real day of riding. We broke the ride into 2 segments with a break for a cappuccino, lunch and tour of the town of Alberobello. Our charismatic guide Nemo shared his knowledge of his beloved city, the first known Trulli city dating back to the 14th century. All Trullis were constructed with white limestone and without mortar so that they could quickly be dismantled in order to evade taxes.
Day one we did a short 12 mile ride to get used to our bikes. We road to the coolest little local coffee/bar shop. They had the most amazing ceramics made from local artists.
Matera via Palagianello – 40.2 miles
After breakfast at the Maseria we rode through the trulli filled coutryside to the town of Palagianello. The town was founded in 1102. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at a funny cafe in town (my Moms Italian was very helpful). After lunch we had a 45 minute drive to the ancient cave town of Matera. We met our fabulous guide for sweats and cappuccinos before entering the historical center know as Sassi. In the 3rd Century BC the city was allegedly founded by the Romans. The city was dug into the rocks. In 1993 was declared “World Heritage” by UNESCO. The best way to see Matera is to wonder around the winding streets, we laughed that this never would be allowed in the US, too many obstacles!
It was a 2 hour drive back to the Masseria. For dinner we went into the old town of Ostuni (10 minute drive), which is known as the white city. We ate at the charming family restaurant Taverna della Gelosia. It is a popular local spot that was chalk-a-block full of the owners collection of shadow box framed religious relics. As with all of Puglia they are known for their appetizers. Try the pasta nera, it is a medieval recipe.
Ristorante Taverna della Gelosia
Vicolo Tommaso Andriola, 26, 72017 Ostuni BR, Italy
+39 0831 334736
Cellino San Marco (Le Veli) – 39.9 Miles
Today we rode to the Li Veli winery with a stop at Luigino D’Errico in Mesagne for cappucino made by Luigino himself. From there we rode to the beautiful winnery Li Veli in the Salento area. We enjoyed a beautiful private lunch with wine tasting followed by a tour of the winery.
For dinner we went to Al Solito Posto. This is unlike any pizza place I have ever been to. Loved the contempory fun interior. Again it was hard not to fill up on the unbelievable appetizers.
Al Solito Posto – gourmet pizza
Via Cesare Braico 37, 72017, Ostuni, Italy
Tel. +39 0831 305850
Martina Franco & Olive Oil Tasting at Trisole – 38 miles
Today we stopped for cappuccinos in the beautiful historic town of Martina Franca. The Gran Café, is located directly outside of the city gates. We had time for a very quick walk around of the city and then back in the saddle to ride to the Family Owned Trisole Olive farm.
We were so lucky to be at the olive farm during harvest. Outside the farm there was an olive tree that is over 1000 years old. Walking into the harvest area the smell was overwhelmingly delicious. We saw two processes of making olive oil. The traditional process with old stone that grind the pit and the olive which produces a more bitter and strong olive oil. And the new way which the pit is removed from the olive and produces a more delicate taste.
For dinner we went into Ostuni for cooking class. We dined at the same delicious restaurant Osteria del Tempo Perso.
Gran Café – cappuccino break
Piazza Venti Settembre 7/A, 74015 Martina Franca
Tel +39 329 375 9082
Osteria del Tempo Perso – for dinner
Via G Tanzarella Vitale, 47 – 72017 OSTUNI
Tel. +39 0831 304819
Cycling Along the Coast – 37 miles
Today we skirted the ocean with its numerous beach clubs and miles of undeveloped beaches. We stopped at another local coffee shop overlooking the Adriatic before doing a climb up to the mountains. We ended the biking portion of the trip at a beachside restaurant.
We enjoyed a fun and information wine tasting at the Masseria and followed by yet another wonderful dinner.
I can not say enough wonderful things about our biking tour with Cicloposse. For me it is very important to experience the local culuture. The places Marco chose were as local as it gets. Some of the coffee shops, cafes and bars I could not even find online. I felt like we got a true Italian experience. The bikes were top of the line. Marco and Tomaso were wonderful and always kept us laughing. Julianna was behind the scenes and did everything to make our trip seamless and customized to our groups desires and abilities. We are already looking forward to our next adventure.
S.P.14 Ostuni – Martina Franca
+39.0831.303729 | email@example.com
The masseria Cervarolo is a farm with trulli houses. It was built in the XVI century, and has been restored over the past 5 years. It is located just 6 km from Ostuni village.
We called the Masseria home for 6 nights, while we explored Puglia by bike during the day. The owner Tio and the staff made us feel so welcome from the moment we arrived and they were waiting at the entrance. The most beautiful breakfast is served in the dining area. The library area in the main masseria serves as an evening cocktail area, where it is fun to meet other guests. In the comfort of the library area we had an educational wine tasting evening from a lovely, passionate young sommelier. Late afternoon simple cooking classes are organized to show how to make the local specialties (orcchiette, focaccia, taralli, and biscotti).
I dream (most comfortable bed with ironed sheets) of returning to this beautiful retreat.
We did a day trip out to Sienna via the train. The train is very easy and drops you at the bottom of the city. Then we took a long escalator up to the old city. We enjoyed wondering through the streets that are a bit less crowded before reaching the Piazza Del Campo. There is a great coffee shop on the corner right when you enter the old town gates.
Osteria Le Logge
Via del Porrione, 33
+39 0577 48013
Loved this restaurant. The kitchen has a large window that looks out to the streets. Just one block off of the Piazza Del Campo. Make a reservation, ask to sit on main floor.
L’Antica Torre (The Ancient Tower)
My parents and I stayed in L’Antica Torre and we loved it! The apartment is beautiful and so interesting with all of its history. We loved to meet the owner, Gianni and learn the history of the tower and how he renovated it. The apartment is spacious and incredibly clean. I could not believe the location, it is smack in the heart of everything. We enjoyed walking across any of the bridges to get out of the city center a bit and found prices for food less and a bit less touristy. The tower is a 5 story walk up which made us feel like we could indulge in pasta and gelato.
*All dinners in Florence it is best to make a reservation.
La Ménagère – best for cappucino and light food
Via dè Ginori 8r | San Lorenzo Neighborhood
This unique modern space is a perfect setting to get some early morning (they open at 7) work in while drinking a cappuccino. It draws a trendy crowd of both locals and tourists.
Cafe il Sole – best for casual lunch
Via Guelfa 25r | San Lorenzo Neighborhood
We went to the Marceto Centrale for lunch, not realizing the main floor is closed on Sundays. Fortunately we stumbled upon this eclectically decorated, think rose decorated tablecloths, christmas lights and Italian soap operas on the tv cafe. Food was great and prices were even better. I had my go to pesto gnocchi followed by a cappuccino. Interior decor is cute and cozy and they have outside dining. A great alternative to the Marceto Centrale when in the Saint Lorenzo area. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Mangiafoco Caffè | Dinner or Glass of Wine/Cheese
Borgo Santi Apostoli, 26
+39 055 265 8170
This cute restaurant was a few steps from our Airbnb. We came here for a glass of wine and ended up staying for dinner. Food is yummy, interior is cozy, staff is very friendly.
Cantinetta Delle Terme | Dinner
Via Delle Terme 14r
+39 055 239 6084
This restaurant was downstairs from our Airbnb. Although it is located just one block off the main drag, it has fair prices and not too touristy. I really enjoyed the ribollito soup and they have nice wine by the glass. Make a reservation and request to sit on the main floor.
SAN SPIRITO NEIGHBORHOOD – Staying in the city center can be overwhelming crowded, not to mention expensive for dining. I love finding the spots that locals love. The San Spirito Neighborhood is a short walk across the bridge (one or two up from the Ponte Vechio).
Trattoria Giovanni | Dinner
Via Sant’ Agostini, 38R | San Spirito Neighborhood
Loved this tiny restaurant. Here I enjoyed bruscetta with pecorino and truffles to start. Followed by picci pasta with ragu. We had dinner here, they are also open for lunch.
Trattoria Angiolino | Dinner
Via di Santo Spirito, 36 R | San Spirito Neighborhood
+39 055 239 8976
Fun scene, big bar which you can dine at which is not common in Florence. We left at 11:00 and there were still people waiting to sit down.
Its that time of the year again. Fall off season, which translates to: travel time. First stop is Don Ferrante Hotel perched on the rocks above the Adriatic Sea. The tiny city of Monopoli is the heal of Italy’s boot is comprised of narrow white stone streets, large rock stone pavers, white ceramic pots laden with succulents, castles, cathedrals and the beautiful blue sea.
This tiny boutique hotel is beautiful and has the most stunning views of the Adriatic Sea. The staff is exceptionaly friendly and accomindating. The rooms are elegant down to the Frette ironed sheets. The breakfast is wonderful, try to get a table in the window perched above the sea. Persecco on the roof top terrace is a must. I loved everything about Don Ferante.
When in Monopoli eat the seafood. Throughout the day fishing boats come and go with the daily catch. You can watch the locals catch octopus with their hands.
Puglia has many wines to offer and at incredibly reasonable prices. My preference is Primotivo.
You will want to make reservations for dinner.
Puglia is known for its appetizers. Many times they will just be sent out without ordering them. Often times we found ourselves full before the main courses had arrived.
Via Dell’Erba 39/41
Monopoli | 080 4107175
Local, very authentic.
wedding photography by Kate Holstein
Dream of returning to Castello di Vicarello with my Mom for a cooking class with the owner Aurora.
We stayed here at the Podere Carceroni, just down the street from Castello di Vicarello. Great pool, lovely flower lined gazebo and nice breakfast.
Obica – Mozzarella Bar
Via Tornabuoni 16
Beautiful courtyard in the city center.
Caffe’ Dell Oro –
Lungarno degli Acciaioli, 2, 50123 Firenze, Italy
Beautiful breakfast sanctuary, immediately off the Ponte Vecchio.
Via Baccio Bandinelli, 98, 50142 Firenze, Italie
+39 055 713 0272 | www. rivalofts.com
Boutique hotel blending city lifestyle with a welcoming warm atmosphere. Ten minute bike ride, 20 minute walk along the river park (bikes free for guests). Easy to drive to and park at hotel.
Piazzetta dei Del Bene, 7/a
+39 055 268528
Tues – Sat 10-10
Minutes from the Ponte Vecchio, but feels like one of the quietest squares in town. Great neighborhood bar feel nestled at the end of an alley under a fig tree. Hip, relaxed and delicious place, perfect to stop at any hour of the day.
Monteverdi – Castiglioncello Del Trinoro Tuscany – hotel, spa and restaurant
Exquisitely restored 12th century mini village (25 inhabitants) of Castiglioncello del Trinoro, Tuscany. Be ready to relax with a fabulous book and soak in the beautiful setting. Gorgeous spa, restaurant, bar and Enoteca. Great for a day trip or spend a night or 2 here.
Dopolavoro Restorante & Bar – Below La Foce
Traditional Tuscan farm to table dining, vegetable garden is across the street. Often have live music in the evenings.
La Foce – Gardens
Marvelous estate, you can stay here or if budget does not allow go for a garden tour and hike.
La Bandita Townhouse – Pienza
Boutique hotel located in the heart of Pienza. Mix of modern and old. The restaurant was our go to hangout.
Casina Di Piazza – Pienza – Airbnb
Great price, center of town, clean 2 bedroom Airbnb.
La Bandita Townhomes – A must
We spent a lot of time here (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Elegant setting, friendly staff and excelent food.
Trattoria Latte du Luna – Simple, fresh and resonable
Authentic Tuscan restaurant. Very reasonable, Try the peci pasta
Buon Gusto – Galato and smoothies
The best spot for homemade gelato.
Il Picolo Caffe – casual dining
Cozy inside seating, great outside patio in the back. After traveling all day and having a big pasta lunch at La Bandita, this was a great spot for a casual dinner of prosciutto, cheese, and antipasto.
Bar Il Casello – Best view in Pienza
Order inside and enjoy your vino overlooking the Tuscan fields
Venice is a constant inspiration. The juxtaposition of the old with the new encourages us to think in a different way.
Bologna, a city miles of covered terra-cotta arcades is a walkers dream. We began day one by strolling to the Piazza Maggiore. Our destination was the Morandi Museum. My passion for still life paintings gets reenergized when I see this artist’s work. Giorgio Morandi was born and raised in Bologna and is one of the city’s favorite sons. His still lifes and landscapes offer a purity of form and a distillation of colors that evoke a powerful image. The current exhibit is paired with the works of American artist Wayne Thiebaud. Thiebaud’s understanding or shape, form, shadows bring a modern juxtaposition to the exhibit. When entering museum…..take the stairs…amazing structure!