Italy as you may or may not know it, Italy is one of the most visited countries in Europe. What attracts tourists to this place? Is it the food, the history, the scenery? Personally, I heard a lot of great feedback from this place but as a foodie who is greatly spoiled in Montreal, I wanted to understand what the craze was about Italian food, experience it where it all began. My experience was separated in four distinct areas: Rome, Bologna, Florence and Tuscany. Just like the popular movie 'Eat, Pray, Love', every area allowed a magical experience that brought the best out of me.
48HRS IN ROME
When you only have a few hours in a big city you try to do the most touristy things you can think of. When in Rome? You visit the Colosseo, Vatican, have a Panini & pasta, check out the Spanish Steps and shop around for some great pieces. It was fun and intense but Rome is not the place where my love first started.
For this special part of my trip I had the privilege of living with the locals and discover a part of what Bologna has to offer. Home of the first university in Italy, Bologna sets itself apart for the culture, the young energy from the students and of course the food! In the area, I visited the Parma region (parmesiano reggiano) Modena (balsamic vinegar) and the Ferrari museum in Maranello to name a few. All of this was possible with the help of Bluone Wine & Food tours founded by Raffaella and Marcello Tori 20 years ago. Their extensive experience in the traveling industry and authentic Italian cooking has led them to create Bluone to share their love and passion for Italy to other tourists from around the world. What is great about this company is that everything is intimate so you really get a 'hands on' experience. From a private cooking class directly in an herb garden to truffle hunting, get ready to see different sides of Italy that only the locals can offer. I strongly recommend this kind touring company! Visit their site for more information.
FLORENCE & TUSCANY
After my perfect culinary experience, I had no idea what was in store for me in Florence and the Chianti region, I literally fell in love! The architecture, ponte vecchio, the history, the food, the Fattoria Vitticio winery.... everything was right! All around the Tuscany region you can find wineries but the Vitticio winery offers an exclusive experience because you have the possibility to stay in their amazing apartments to wake up under the Tuscan sun. Everyday walk down to the little down called Greve for lunch and just breathe in the air around. If you want to visit Florence by car it is 20minutes away or take a shuttle. I was there for a week but would have stayed longer to explore more regions like Sienna and drink more wine from the Chianti region. All of this means that I have to schedule my next trip very soon. If you have any questions (where to stay, who to contact) please feel free to comment and I will be glad to help.