You Have Tried Osteria Francescana Now You Should Try Tokuyoshi

When a restaurant is good, and it is worth to visit, the atmosphere, the ambiance all play a role but what makes the difference is the menu and the chef. And when a great chef decides to open a restaurant, why not try it out?

We have already talked about Osteria Francescana and its Michelin’s Star Award Winner chef Massimo Bottura. We did not mention the great sous chef of that restaurant. Of Japanese origins, Yojii Tokuyoshi, after working for years side by side by the great Bottura, decided to move to Milano and open his restaurant. If you Osteria Francescana in Modena, then you should not miss out Tokuyoshi in Milan. The main chef of this newly restored restaurant with a Japanese sounding name, but with Italy and its cuisine still at the center of attention, was sous chef of Osteria Francescana, meaning that he must have learned a great deal about high-quality cuisine. However different in styles and menus, Tokuyoshi must have gotten some inspiration from the talented Massimo Bottura. We can easily say that the bar of expectations for Tokuyoshi is quite high. The restaurant has already gained its own Michelin Star, but is visiting it worth it?

Should you visit the restaurant and enjoy a delicious meal at Tokuyoshi? Give yourself an idea by reading this review and then make up your mind.

The restaurant is very well located in the historical center of Milan, less than 500 meters (or 0,3 miles) from the famous Basilica di Sant’ Ambrogio. That’s already a plus.

Let’s continue with the ambiance. Please be aware that the restaurant will re-open in February 2020 after some refurbishments and reconstructions so, some of the details of this review might be different.

The Tokuyoshi restaurant is, without doubt, stylish, but classic and not excessively formal in its design and setting. The tables are blacks and not covered by the “classical” cloth, which gives the room a more minimalistic look. But what is special about it is the presence of some individual tables, all centered around a bigger so-called “social table”, allowing for better interactions and a “better sharing” of the restaurant experience. The lights are soft and there is a sense of relaxation and intimacy at the same time which goes against the classical stereotype of “high-cuisine” restaurants.

What about the menu? The entire menu is strictly Italian, characterized by the presence of some of the most traditional classic dishes such as the amazing cannolo or the rich and creamy risotto, only to mention two of them. On the other hand, the Japanese influence is discrete and not invasive, silent on the menu but that can make a big difference to some of the most traditional flavors thanks to many accompanying sauces or the dish composition. As it mentions on the restaurant’s website the idea of the restaurant is to propose an “Italian cuisine seen through the eyes of a Japanese”.

The restaurant was offering three different “fixed” degustations before which have now been replaced by a single one called “Omakase”, which in Japanese means “I will leave it up to you”. It is a fixed price experience directed by the chef who will choose the menu and the dishes for your degustation case by case and depending on the ingredients available for the season. The restaurant also offers its clients the choice to opt for the a la carte menu and there is a different degustation for sake.

To give you a sense of how could be a degustation at this restaurant, here is an example of one degustation called “Italy means Japan” and it is supposed to present a Japanese-Italian fusion version of some classical dishes. It starts with some entrees, including a revisited version of fish&chips, delicious home-made bread with butter, anchovies, and olives and a vegetable broth. There is then a cannolo filled with stockfish. But the real king is the Mackarel filet Gyotaku, which is supposed to be the most representative dish of the restaurant. The presentation is simple and beautiful at the same time and it is a delight both to the eye but especially in terms of flavors. There is then a strong version of eel, followed by a classic traditional broth and a tasting of a special oyster- risotto. It follows a beautiful dish of pork meat and some pigeon. All the dishes are studied in all of their details which makes you feel attended and cared at this restaurant. It is then the time for the dessert, really contemporary and modern, but delicious as everything else.

As you can read, the degustation includes quite a lot of dishes and the portions are quite big and filling.

The degustation costs around 135 euros per person and if you are a lover of high-cuisine or just want to have a different experience at a great, superior restaurant, it is money well spent. You will have to book in advance, but you can easily do so by calling or by visiting the restaurant’s website.

All in all, if you loved Osteria Francescana, you should visit Takuyoshi in Milan too. The two restaurants are different in style but the quality is excellent in both. Not only that, if you want to taste classic Italian recipes with a slight Japanese taste and great attention to details, Takuyoshi is the place for you.

In Takuyoshi the food is not only delicious, but also beautifully presented. The staff at the restaurant is kind and cordial, they describe and explain the dish with details with professionalism but it also knows when to leave you in peace enjoying your meal without being too intrusive. If you are a wine lover, the sommelier does a great job suggesting you the best wine for your good

Are you still not convinced? What are you waiting for? The restaurant re-open soon, consider going there for a sublime food experience that will not pass unnoticed or forgotten! Many people claim that Takuyoshi is a must-go restaurant when in Milan, why would you want to miss it?

Food Tours From Bologna

Italy is well-known around the world for its delicious food. But maybe you didn’t know that for food lovers, Bologna is a must Italian destination! For something the city has three popular nicknames: “la dotta” (which means the educated), “la rossa” (meaning the red, referring to the color of its roofs) and “la grassa” (as the fat one, because of the delicious culinary tradition that this city offers).

Bologna is home to several traditional foods such as the beloved tortellini or mortadella as well as lasagne. When in Bologna, taking a food tour is the best way to explore the regional and local cuisine of Bologna. Their several food tours you can take around the city. This article will introduce three food tours where you’ll be able to visit food factories and not only taste the food but also see with your own eyes the entire production process until it arrives on the table of consumers.

Let’s dive in!

Visiting a Parmesan Cheese Production Factory

Ok, Parmesan (or Parmigiano in Italian) seems to be pretty much in every traditional meal in Bologna. Let’s be honest who doesn’t love Parmesan? (Or cheese in general, but this is another story…)

The home of Parmigiano Reggiano, however, is not Bologna but, as the name suggests, it is Parma. You can easily join a food tour to Parma from Bologna and you’ll be able to add a unique experience to your trip.

You’ll arrive at a factory where the cheese is made from raw milk and then molded into the characteristic “wheels”. Learning how the delicious Parmigiano arrives on our table is fascinating and you’ll be able to taste different types of aged Parmesan cheese and try to identify the difference during the tour. The tour will also make you appreciate the value of the “original” Parmigiano Reggiano against the many imitators around the world.

Discovering How Balsamic Vinegar is Traditionally Produced

balsamic vinegar

Balsamic Vinegar (or Aceto Balsamico in Italian) is native of Modena, a city that can be easily reached from Bologna. The “real” and traditional DOP balsamic vinegar (DOP stands for “of protected origin) can only be produced in private houses in Modena. During the food tour, you’ll learn and recognize the big difference between traditional balsamic vinegar and the industrial version of it. The vinegar itself is made from grape juice but it is a lengthy process that takes at least 12 years to age. The food tour is a fantastic exploration in the details of this traditional method of production. Tastings are included, and if you’re interested in purchasing some products, you’ll be able to receive bargain prices for most of the traditional balsamic vinegar qualities.

Learning How Mortadella, Parma Ham and San Daniele’s Ham are Produced

covering ham with sugna – a protective layer of Fat

Bologna is famous and proud of its Mortadella. But once you’re there why not learn about how the famous Prosciutto di Parma (Parma Ham) and Prosciutto San Daniele are produced? They all come from the same region and by joining a food tour, you’ll be able to discover the secrets of the production of all three types of ham. During the tour, you’ll visit the “MUSA”, the first charcuterie museum in Italy. The museum is located in Modena, but the price of the tour includes transportation from Bologna to the museum. You’ll not only discover the long history of cured meat, the tools, and techniques used to produce them and the traditional uses but also will be able to taste a variety of them. The visit offers a very complete understanding of the production of different types of cured meats and the various steps needed to come to the final process.

You’ll learn how technique and precision are essential even in the food industry and what makes Italian cured meats so special and unique.

So here you are, three types of food tours you can join as a day-tour from the city of Bologna. Could you ask for more? Learn about regional products, their taste, their production methods and appreciate their taste even more thanks to amazing tastings that are designed to enhance the flavors of some of the regional foods that make Italy so important in the food industry. What are you waiting for? Get your taste buds ready, it will be a fantastic experience!

Some of the Most Delicious Italian Christmas Desserts

December means, for many, that Christmas is coming. It means family get-togethers, delicious food, and (sometimes) overeating. Now, we all know that Italy is famous for its delicacies, but maybe you might not be aware that Italian traditions for Christmas time are also very interesting, and yummy! The most amazing thing is that despite being such a small country, Italy’s regional differences in terms of traditional food are apparent even for these kinds of traditional meals.

Every region, sometimes even every specific city has something traditional that is different from other parts of the country when it comes to setting the Christmas menu. This article is about three of the traditional Christmas cakes in Italy, if those sounds delicious to you, they are just the beginning!

Emilia-Romagna: Il Certosino Di Bologna

Certosino

The typical Christmas dessert of the city of Bologna is called “Certosino”. It is part of those types of desserts that in Italy are known as “panforte”, literally “strong bread” because they can be enjoyed only after a long preparation time and some “resting periods”. Those resting periods are essential for the dessert, that needs to be prepared before the middle of November to be eaten at Christmas.

This dessert is a long tradition, dating back to Medieval times. The Certosino is a dessert that is made out of flour, honey, raisins, and almonds. Despite the ingredients sound quite simple, the preparation is quite difficult. However, you can buy Certosino in Bologna in almost every bakery in the city, do not forget to try it out!

Tuscany: Ricciarelli Di Siena

Ricciarelli from Siena-2

Tuscany, or better, the city of Siena has a different dessert that cannot be missing on local Christmas dinners. This dessert is called “ricciarelli”, a sort of biscuits (but calling them like that is rather diminishing) made or almond flour, eggs, and sugar. They are eaten at the end of the meal, usually accompanies by some vin santo (sweet wine) or amaretto.

The preparation of this dessert is quite long and tedious, but the final result is so yummy, you will never get enough of this wonderful dessert! The origin of this dessert can be found in the 15th century, where almond paste in the form of marzipan was very popular. If you are in Tuscany around Christmas time, you’ll easily find ricciarelli in every bakery or food-related shop. Just give them a try and you’ll quickly fall in love with this delicacy!

Veneto: Il Pandoro Di Verona

Wikimedia images

This is the king of Italian desserts when it comes to Christmas. I know we said that each region has its specialty, but Pandoro is just so yummy that it is the dessert that really will be present in every Italian house for Christmas dinners and family meals. Soft and simple, it is loved by everyone. The secret of its delicious taste lies behind the apparent simplicity of this dessert. Its dough is very soft and golden-colored because of the eggs, and biting on it, not only you’ll love the texture, but also, you’ll discover a wonderful flavor of vanilla.

The shape of Pandoro is traditionally conical, with edges that resemble a star, usually with eight points.

It is really hard to make a good Pandoro at home, but the good news is that Pandoro is so popular you will be able to find it everywhere! Traditional brands are making them industrially, such as “Bauli” or “Melegatti”, or you can also find artisanal pandoro in many bakeries. No matter what you choose to buy, trust me, you’ll love it!

The origins of this Italian traditional Christmas dessert do not come from the country, In reality, it seems that Pandoro was first originated in Austria, where it was called “Vienna’s Bread”. Today, the name Pandoro means “Golden Bread”, and it will probably be one of the tastiest desserts you’ll ever try for Christmas.

Here was a brief list of some of the most popular Italian desserts for Christmas time. As we’ve already mentioned, Italy is a very interesting country, not only for its amazing and strong culture but also for its diversity. With that, it means that wherever you are in Italy, you might find some different traditions. In any case, you should try everything you can, as Italian food is rarely not satisfying!

Where to Buy Parma Ham in Parma?

In the Northern Italian countryside, you will find the city of Parma, it may be famous for a variety of things including its University and cheese, but what it is most famous for is its Prosciutto di Parma otherwise known as Parma ham.

Prosciutto di Parma is a delicious dry-cured ham that follows an intricate process that can take up to several years, in order to obtain the perfect final taste that everyone knows an loves. While there are other regions in Italy that have their own version, Prosciutto di Parma is the most famous and sought after of them all, even earning certain degrees of protected status.

If you are ever lucky enough to visit or live in the city of Parma and want to experience the most authentic and appetizing Prosciutto di Parma in the country, then we have found the ultimate places for you to go and have just that.

1) La Prosciutteria

The moment you walk into La Prosciutteria all of your senses will be overwhelmed by the sheer number of hanging hams on offer. There is a massive selection for you to choose from, and it is clear to see why this place is famous among locals as well as tourists. The shop provides an assortment of wonderful smells and wonderful sights, and as a bonus, they specialize in other local meats and cheeses, and have fresh bread daily. La Prosciutteria is quintessentially Italian, a place that is a prime example of where you should buy or try Parma ham, it is a delightful shop and you will most certainly leave with a smile.

Situated right in the heart of Parma, the shop is easy to access and easy to find.

The address for La Prosciutteria: Via Farini, 9/c – Parma

Their opening times vary depending on the day/season, so in order to never miss your chance to visit, check out their website for the complete list of opening times: https://www.silvanoromaniparma.it/

2) Casa del Formaggio

For more than thirty years Casa del Formaggio has been serving up some of the best traditional Italian food available, from their fresh plates of pasta, a vast selection of cheeses, and of course, different meats. Their choice of cured meats includes some of the best Parma ham you can buy in the region; you will find only the highest quality of ham at Casa del Formaggio, a ham that has been cured slowly and traditionally with the end result being a perfect and mouthwatering example of why Parma ham is held in such a high regard in Italy.

Casa del Formaggio is located right in the center of Parma and is easily accessible by car or on foot.

The address for Casa del Formaggio: Str. Nino Bixio 106 / C Parma

The shop is open Monday- Saturday

Morning 8:30-13:30 / Afternoon 16:30-19:45

3) Salumeria Garibaldi

Salumeria Garibaldi is another excellent choice for those wanting to find the best Parma ham that the city has to offer. For nearly seventy years this shop has severed the area with its finest hams and cheeses, earning itself as a reputation for providing its customers with a gastronomic delight. Their succulent selection of Prosciutto di Parma has been mastered over the years to be some of the best and famous in the country, with theirs being recognized on a national level. The passion and enthusiasm that the owners of Salumeria Garibaldi have for their work come through in the rich and full flavors of the products, and they truly serve some of the best Parma ham in the whole of Italy.

Conveniently located near the city’s main railway station, you will have no problems with finding it.

The address for Salumeria Garibaldi: Strada Garibaldi 42 43121 Parma

The shop is open Monday – Saturday

08:00-20:00

You will never look at Parma ham in the same way again after you have had the experience of tasting some of the most authentic Parma ham not only in the region but also in the country. Once you have visited the area you will fully understand why the province has earned itself the nickname of the food valley of the world.

Is FICO (Eataly) in Bologna Worth Visiting?

Italy is a country that has a lot to offer both new and experienced travellers alike. It has great people, architecture, and the country is steeped in history dating back for millenia. But what really makes Italy stand out is the food, and there’s no better place to experience it than in the city of Bologna.

Bologna is often referred to by the locals as “la dotta, la rossa e la grassa”, which means “The Learned, The Red, and The Fat”. This is a reference to the city’s university, which is considered to be Europe’s oldest, the distinct red hues of the terracotta buildings, and of course, its phenomenal food.

The city itself has long since been a world-famous destination for foodies. It has some top grade restaurants, markets filled to the brim with exotic ingredients and locals that know their way around food. Bologna’s fame in food itself has culminated in the creation of a food theme park known as FICO Eataly World.

What is FICO?

FICO is a theme park that’s about 10 hectares big, and is dedicated to Italian gastronomy. It has a huge collection of exhibits that shows how Italian cuisine is prepared from the ingredients to the finished product, representing the country’s deep food traditions.

This theme park has everything from cultivated fields to stables, housing more than 200 animals, and more than 2000 types of vegetables and fruits. FICO also has approximately 40 food factories that people can visit and partake in the preparation of various ingredients, and a little over 40 kiosks or restaurants where you can have a taste of the actual dish.

FICO certainly has a lot to offer if you’re into food, whether you’re a novice foodie or a veteran gourmand. But is it worth visiting? Here’s some of the pros and cons for you to consider so you can decide for yourself.

The Good

The Attractions are Varied

FICO’s motto sums up the number of attractions perfectly: “Dal campo alla forchetta”, from field to fork. Every square inch of the theme park certainly has something to explore, from the creation of traditional Italian food ingredients, especially cheeses, to the actual cooking and serving of those same ingredients to create authentic Italian cuisine. It’s not infinite, but this place will certainly keep you busy for more than a couple of days, maybe more.

Everything in One Roof

Because many of the exhibits are meant to showcase Italy’s traditional cuisines, you can basically find everything food-related in Italy within one place. This means that there’s no need to run from one point of Bologna to another if you’re hellbent on trying out every restaurant or food kiosk in the city. If you want to have a food tour of the city, you can practically do it in one place.

There’s Plenty of Shops

If you’re going down with a bit of a shopping fever, FICO also has something for you to do. Aside from a good selection of food factories and farms, there’s also about 44 food stalls and restaurants where you can buy everything food-related that Bologna has to offer. If your idea of a good souvenir involves authentic food or ingredients, then there’s no better place in Italy.

There’s No Entrance Fee

While the stores themselves do sell things, getting into the actual FICO theme park is free. This means you can take as many friends and family with you as you want, for as long as you want. Of course, many of the individual exhibits themselves might charge an entrance fee, so make sure you bring your wallet regardless.

The Bad

It’s Huge

10 hectares isn’t a joke if you’re planning on walking around FICO. If you can rent out a scooter or a bike, then you’re free to ride it in, but not a car. It’s best to rent out a bike before you actually get to FICO in the first place, because…

It’s Not Easy to Get To

FICO is a good distance away from Bologna’s city center, and is a bit out of ways from the main highway. It’s not completely remote, but it can be a hard place to get to if you’re not familiar with the city’s shuttle system, or if you didn’t rent a car.

It’s Geared More Towards Locals

FICO hasn’t made much effort to catch the attention of the foodies outside of Italy, so it can be difficult to navigate without the proper guidance. Don’t get us wrong, it’s good that Bologna is spreading awareness of Italy’s food traditions to the people of Italy. But the locals aren’t the only ones who would appreciate the gastronomic journey Italy has to offer, and if steps were taken to correct this, FICO will certainly have way more visitors.

Bottura’s Osteria Franceschetta a Dinner Review in Modena Italy

Franceschetta58, co-owned by Michelin Starred chef Massimo Bottura is a restaurant that wants to represent a new Italian kitchen where tradition and innovation come hand in hand. Located in a semi-industrial area of Modena but still reachable by food by the city center, the restaurant sets itself as a more friendly and accessible way to the high cuisine, but at contained prices. The combination of a high-quality and rather casual atmosphere makes the restaurant particularly good.

The restaurant wants to be a low-cost version of Massimo Bottura’s much more exclusive Osteria Francescana (which, by the way, is ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world). The chef accomplished the realization of a successful, less exclusive but still high quality and well-researched restaurant by partnering up with Marta Pulini, an expert in the area of the contemporary brasserie. Both chefs managed to give birth to a restaurant where tradition is not completely re-invented, just re-interpreted with amazing results and sometimes surprising results.

The Ambience

Entering the restaurant, I got the feeling that the whole place is designed for customers to have a different experience while enjoying good, Italian food, The building is a renovated tire shop where you can decide to share a communal wood table or can sit at one of the more intimate tables. The design is simple but in line with the personality of the restaurant: young but with good taste, ambitious but efficient. The mismatched glassware and silverware, the mix between industrial and urban style, might not be of everyone’s taste, but I liked it. It all suggests a link with the “modern” and contemporary style, which is also reflected on the menu. It seems to be a more hipster version of the classic “fancy restaurants”.

The Service

Franceschetta58 is opened six days a week and offers an à la carte menu for dinner as well as a shorter “quick” smart lunch menu. I went for dinner, so I can mainly speak for that.

During dinner, there is the possibility to pick between two fixed-price menus or to choose one or more dishes from the à la cart menu.

The presentation of the dishes is very attractive and particularly creative: some of them are so wonderful you don’t even want to eat them! But then, once you give in and take the first bite, the combination of flavors, the texture, everything balances out so well. Franceschetta58 is one of the few restaurants that offer well-researched and innovative cuisine for everyone. The prices are not overly expensive but fair, and the professional but not invasive staff makes the whole experience better. It is always positive to receive good service and at the restaurant, the choice of the best wine for your meal is supported by very helpful experts that make everything they can to make you feel at home.

I was really satisfied with the way I was treaded. I found the restaurant differentiating from similar but more exclusive restaurants by an ambiance which is not stiff, as it often happens at this kind of restaurant. Instead, the casual ambiance allowed me to enjoy my meal peacefully and feeling at ease.

It might be a bit hard to reserve a table, due to the increasing popularity that the restaurant is gaining (and deserving) but all the efforts will be worth it in the end! Don’t expect to go there for dinner and find a free table, as it doe not happen often.

The food

Despite the creative combinations of traditional and international cuisine, of classic Italian dishes with a touch of creativity and a strong personality, the focus remains the regional territory of Emilia Romagna. The result is a unique and tasty mix of amazing flavors and the re-discovery of classic dishes under a new light and new flavors that enhance the taste of the ingredients. I highly recommend the Tortellini in Parmesean Cream, you get an amazing traditional dish from Modena, with the enhanced flavor of the so-called “king of cheeses”.

Seasonal dishes are constantly updated and added according to the availability. My friend tried the Baccala that was also really good, delicate and tasy.

Even if not entirely, the majority of the menu is based on local ingredients such as the famous Parmiggiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese is actually from the region where the restaurant is located) and Aceto Balsamico di Modena (balsamic vinegar, specifically from Modena). Even if they sound pretty simple ingredients, the menu offers the opportunity to experience them in a completely different way.

I’ve heard that during lunch the only option available is the smart menu, so you can’t choose anything else despite the three options available.

Overall, I think the food is particularly tasty and the flavors are a good representation that Italian cuisine can evolve and it is not just about tradition. The price to quality ratio is optimal, if you want to have a good, fulfilling experience while eating delicious food, Franceschetta 58 is an exceptionally good option. I for sure recommend the restaurant!

Where To Buy Parmesan Cheese in Florence.

If you want to bring unique gift from Florence to your friends and family, Parmesan cheese is a great option! Parmesan is one of the Italian cheeses with the longest tradition. It is a hard grating cheese and it has a strong taste, so it is usually used grated on spaghetti. Of course, it can be bought even in the other countries, but it will never be as tasty as true Italian Parmesan. Here are the best places to buy it in Florence:

Dilemma: where to buy Parmesan cheese in Florence

Supermarkets

Parmesan can be found in almost every bigger supermarket in Florence. But we suggest you visit either supermarket Coop or Esselunga, because they are part of big chains that guarantee quality and freshness of the products, and they have more convenient prices than small shops. Also, the supermarket staff will be glad to cut and pack the piece of Parmesan in the size you want. Or you can choose from already cut and vacuumed packed pieces of cheese.

There is a Coop supermarket in Via Cimabue. Coop is one of the oldest supermarket chains in Italy, and it is known for the freshness of all its products. Good thing is that it is open until 9 PM every day, except Sunday. It often has special offers and discounts.

Esselunga is very modern chain of supermarkets with a great variety of products. There is one Esselunga supermarket in Via Masaccio, a 10 minute walk from Piazza della Liberta. And there is one Esselunga supermarket located on the other side of the bridge Ponte alla Vittoria in Via Pisana, near Giardino di Villa Strozzi. Esselunga supermarkets are open from 7:30 AM to 9 PM every day, except Sunday. But, it is good to know that Esselunga in Via Massaccio is open even on Sunday from 9 AM to 8 PM, which makes it one of the only supermarkets in Florence that are open on Suday afternoon.

Esselunga Supermarket sell parmesan cheese in Florence. Source of the image

Eataly Florence

Eataly is famous shop that sells only Italian products of the highest quality. It is located in city center, near the Florence Cathedral, in Via De Martelli. The atmosphere is rustic and elegant, and you will feel as a true Italian. The shop is divided in different sections that sell traditional products such as cheese, wine, desserts and many more things. It is a perfect place for if you want to try something delicious, but also if you want to buy present for someone. They have great choice of cheese, as well as delicious Parmesan cheese. The staff is awesome and they will be happy to give you some recommendations. They offer free tasting of cheese and wine so you can be sure you like it, before you take it home with you. There is also restaurant space where you can relax and enjoy in Italian food. Eataly is open from 10 AM to 10:30 PM, every day except Sunday.

Mercato Sant Ambrogio

Mercato di Sant Ambrogio – Florence – source of the image

If you truly want to experience Italian way of living you should visit a traditional market! Mercato Sant Ambrogio is located near Piazza Ghiberti, in city center. The market is open from 7 AM to 2 PM every day, except Sunday. It is one of the most popular spots in Florence, where both locals and tourists meet to shop, taste new products or simply chat. Most people are actually selling their own home-made products, so this market may be the best place to find something really authentic and healthy. They have great offer of fruit and vegetables, cheese and fish, and of course Parmesan cheese. Vendors are friendly and they will suggest you the best products you have to try. They will also be happy to recommend you some hidden gems of Florence, that only locals know. Mercato Sant Ambrogio is very busy so be prepared that you will need more time if you want to shop here rather than in supermarket, but it is definitely worth it! Mecato Sant Ambrogio is one of the historical sites of Florence, it was opened in 1873, and as such it deserves to be visited.

There is variety of options and all those places offer Parmesan cheese of the highest quality! Just choose the place that suits you the best, according to the available time and location.

5 Great Things to do in Piedmont in 2020 – Italy

The Langhe region it is famous for its wines and UNESCO world Heritate for its landscape.

Piedmont is a mountainous region in Italy that borders Switzerland and France. It’s famous for its undulating landscapes, beautiful villages, delicious cuisine, ancient history, and classic wines. Besides those, Piedmont also has several landmark developments and baroque architecture.

Its location on mountainous north-west Italy means that it’s perfectly ringed by the Alps. So, it features beautiful lakes and offers scenic views of the Alps. Piedmont as a whole is very large. However, there are some places and things that you should absolutely not miss out if you visit this region. Outlined below are some of the top 5 things to do in piedmont in 2020

Visit the Outstanding Barolo Town.

Barolo – Piedmont

Barolo is a UNESCO-listed site and one of Italy’s most outstanding regions. Known for the production of premium wines, spending summer or even autumn in Barolo feels like a dream. Life in this small town is enjoyable, rejuvenating, and relaxing.

Located in the Langhe Wine region, Barolo features large farms of beautiful vineyards. This hilltop area has a small population and hence it’s perfect for summer holidays. The viticulture hub has been around for centuries and it has experienced significant progress over the past few years. Generally, it’s a quiet and prosperous region.

The well-preserved streets and numerous windy roads make evening strolls fun. This almost sleepy town is ideal for leisurely or romantic walks. Barolo immerses you in a completely beautiful scenery everywhere you set your eyes. From here, you can get clear views of the Alps as well as Monviso.

There is more than wine, vineyards, and nature in Barolo. The ancient castles, welcoming locals, and the authentic local dishes are some of the things that make tourists love Barolo. You can sample different meals, immerse yourself in the local culture while learning the history of this town.

Take a Trip to Alba

Italian’s Alba town is renowned for its eye-catching architecture and tasty cuisine. Located in Piedmont, Alba is a must-visit location for any serious foodie. In the whole of Italy, Alba has the highest number of Michelin star restaurants. Well, this high concentration is driven by the availability of white truffles. Every October, white truffle lovers usually normally visit Alba, just to get enjoy the annual festival.

Besides being associated with white truffles, Alba is also renowned globally for its architecture. This city’s charm is found in the extensive towers, medieval streets, and palaces. The Church of San Domenico and the Alba Cathedral of San Lorenzo are some of the religious buildings that will capture your attention. Besides those, the well-preserved Social Theater and the Dog House are other great buildings found in Alba.

Explore Bra

Sitting on the edge of the beautiful Langhe hills, Bra is a populous commune found in the province of Cuneo. Its popularity comes from the fact that it features many palaces and churches from the 17th century. Besides that, Bra is considered as the “food valley”. It’s the region where the slow food movement started.

So, why should you visit Bra in Piedmont? Well, this is any foodie’s heaven. The picturesque village features family-run shops selling tasty chocolates, organic sausages, and cheese. Bra exhibits local traditions thanks to the slow food movement. As a tourist, you will enjoy fresh local delicacies obtained from the village farms. Although Bra might not have enough to offer in terms of modernity, it’s one of the best places to sample various Italian cuisines.

If you love history, some of the places you can explore include the pollentia ruins. This is where the famous battle of the Romans and Goths happened. There is also the Sant’Andea baroque church which has history dating back to 1682 while the church of Santa Chiara is also found within this locality. Overall, this is an excellent location to catch a breath of fresh air in addition to the beautiful scenic views of the snow-capped Alps Mountain.

Eat Battuta di Fassona

Raw meat and raw sausages in Piedmont

Battuta di Fassona is a classic appetizer in Piedmont. Once the knife-cut raw meat hits your taste buds, you will easily get captivated by this delicacy. Apart from farming, Piedmont is a region that’s popular for hunting, especially game meat. So, most of the best delicacies are usually made from raw farm products or animals. Historically, the natives used to eat raw-cut meat. Well, this is because this region can get extremely cold, especially during winter. Since then, this ancient tradition has been carried over for decades and people still enjoy raw meat.

So, what makes Battuta di Fassona a delicious raw-cut meat? Well, knife-cut meats are usually rich in amplified tasty fat. As a result, they end up tasting better than ground meat. Battuta di Fassona is a delicious appetizer that engages your taste buds. Its taste is even more enhanced with the lemon juice, black and white pepper, and olive oil used for seasoning. To cater to different taste preferences, the meat is usually available in different variants. Understand that the quality of Battuta di Fassona lies in the preparation process. You can even ask for the “knife beat” so that you can fully savor this meat!

Party at the Collisioni Agrirock Festival

Attending the Collisioni Agrirock festival will be the perfect culmination of your Piedmont trip. This is the largest and one of the most loved music festival in Italy. Collision features literature, food, as well as wine. It is a versatile festival that blends different programs to create one interesting festival.

You will definitely enjoy Collisioni. The agrirock festival’s setting in a small village offers a unique experience that locals in Barolo and tourists enthusiastically wait for every year. What makes this festival engaging and authentic is the seamless combination of different components. The artistic and literary part as well as the music, food, and the Italian wine culture are some of the things that you will absolutely enjoy. During the festival, you will also get a chance to engage in wine tastings, lunches, dinners, and cellar tours. Collisioni Agrirock festival will enliven your Piedmontese summer tour thanks to the broad range of Italian cuisine and renowned artists.

5 Interesting Things To Do in Palermo (With Video)

Out of the many tourist destinations in Italy, Palermo still manages to stand out from the rest. Palermo is Sicily’s main capital. It’s rich in history, magnificent architecture, large markets, and restaurants among others.

It’s one of the biggest islands that sit in the Mediterranean Sea. Palermo’s close proximity to Malta and Tunisia makes it a favorite to most tourists. Generally, it’s a thriving city that’s full of life while giving you a breath of the fresh Mediterranean breeze. So, what are some of the things that you can do in Palermo?

Swim at Mondello Beach

Mondello: Warning it can be very crowded.


Mondello beach is a stunning location with beautiful views. Originally known as a fishing village, this small borough has significantly grown over the years. It’s now one of the top tourist destinations in the autonomous Sicily region. The contrasting blue skies and the white-painted architecture makes it a picturesque destination. As one of the popular tourist’s sites in Palermo and it, therefore, gets really crowded. The white sandy beach, the cool shore breeze, in addition to the numerous boat rides makes this places one of the places that you must visit in Palermo.

If you are visiting Mondello beach, there is a wide range of activities to engage in. it doesn’t matter whether you are an adult or a kid. From boat rides, swimming, to sun basking, there is definitely something enjoyable to engage in. The sunsets and sunrises on this beach are also captivating. So, if you want content to post on your social profile, this is one of the best places to visit in Palermo.

Eat At the Ballaro Market

Ballaro is a well-known market in Palermo that’s filled with locals and tourists alike. It’s the biggest and also the oldest market in this city. Its reputation breaks borders and it’s known globally for its uniqueness. Located right in the central area of Palermo, Ballaro is the perfect place to rest and take a meal after a morning of exploration.

Once you reach this place, you will be hit by a tantalizing scent of different cuisines. The broad food variety will also capture your attention thanks to their rainbow colors. From the delicious seafood to the local cuisine, eating at the Ballaro market is obviously among the top things to do while you are in Palermo. The clean streets are dotted with compact dining tables, giving you an opportunity to sample different meals before you can make an order. You can also purchase take away fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meat, and cheese among others. The fun thing about Ballaro is that the vendors are always shouting and screaming to attract customers. Well, this is a unique and interesting way of advertisement.

Eat Spleen Sandwich At Focacceria San Francesco

Focaccia con la milza

Focacceria San Francesco’s spleen sandwich is captivating and mouthwatering. Not only will it capture your attention but it will also engage your taste buds. Even when you are full, you will still crave for more. The tasty meal is usually cooked for several hours. After that, it can be served with ricotta, pecorino, or bread.

Eating the spleen sandwich at Focacceria San Francesco is simply an amazing experience. The restaurant’s ambiance, as well as the surrounding environment, make everything enjoyable. If you are in Palermo for a couple of days, you will not only eat here once but a couple of times more.

It’s worth noting that Focacceria San Francesco specializes in various cuisines. They include Mediterranean food, Italian food, and delicious southern-Italian cuisine. If you love fast food or are interested in vegetarian-friendly meals, then your needs will be well-catered to while you dine here.

Learn about Plants at Orto Botanico di Palermo

Palermo Botanical gardem

There is nothing as refreshing as visiting the Orto Botanico di Palermo. The wide range of tropical plants is simply amazing. This garden is not only an academic institution but it’s one of the best places where you can interact and feel nature.

Orto Botanic di Palermo has a vast variety of tree species. With a history that dates back to 200 years ago, this garden will help you understand how certain plants evolved. Besides that, you will learn about the distribution of various tropical and subtropical plant species found in the Sicily region.

Note this garden also supports numerous variety of plant species. They have different sizes and shapes. Besides the tropical and subtropical plants, there is also a massive plant collection of the Mediterranean origin. Visiting the Orto Botanico di Palermo gives you an opportunity to understand the climatic conditions of the Palermo city. The garden supports over 12,000 living plant species. This means that’s its climate is favorable enough to accommodate massive flora and fauna.

Climb to the top of Palermo Cathedral

Palermo Cathedral

Climbing the top of this cathedral is definitely worth your time and money. The architectural design, as well as the Silica color of this magnificent building, will capture all your attention. It’s a place that’s rich in history that dates back to 1185. From the outside, this cathedral is impressive. The gigantic building features multiple architectural styles which simply add to its impressive appearance. This is enhanced by the beautiful additions from the Neoclassical and the renaissance period.

Walking through this phenomenal landmark will leave you in awe. Note that visiting the church is usually free. But if you want to get a view of the crypt, treasury, and the nearby area, then you have to pay. The treasury has a collection of paintings, jewelry, and objects. The crypt, on the other hand, is the cathedral’s bottom floor. It has unique granite columns which offer support and it’s well-decorated with stone coffins. With just a few euros, you can climb the top and get beautiful panoramic views of the city. This is one of the renowned places in Palermo, so, you can’t miss tourists here.

Final Thoughts

Palermo is a versatile city that’s welcoming to everybody. Whether you are interested in outdoor activity, sampling different cuisines, learning about nature, or engaging in beach activities, there is something for everyone. As Sicily’s economic and cultural center, this city has significantly evolved to become an attractive tourism capital.

As word of warning Palermo has the craziest traffic ever seen in Italy. So drive only if you are really confident dealing with lack of proper road signs, speeding vehicles, and congestions. Also many drivers do not respect the road priority so be always alert for who is around you and where he or she is going.

Mondello beach can get extremely congested during weekends and from the first weeks of June. Having said that the sea water is not the cleanest thatyou can find around. Still worth a visit to Mondello when it is not so busy.

Vlog About Parlemo best things to visit in 5 days

Lunigiana: Off The Beaten Track in Tuscany – Pontremoli, Fivizzano, Equi Terme

Lunigiana is located on the northernmost part of Tuscany. It’s one of the regions that’s less explored by tourists visiting Italy. However, Lunigiana is a place that’s rich in history. Besides that, it’s a beauty to behold thanks to the small hill-top towns and natural landscapes.
If you are going to visit Lunigiana, then you will leave with three memories. The rich history, scenic mountains, and food. It is known to offer great cuisines which perfectly engage different taste buds. Situated on Tuscany’s tip, Lunigiana sits between Liguria, the Apuan Alps, and the Apennines. Below is an overview of Lunigiana: Off the beaten track in Tuscany and what you can see.

1. Pontremoli 

This is a small city that’s found in Tuscany. Pontremoli was previously a commune of Latin Catholic bishopric. So, it was the sole door for monks, pilgrims, and saints in Central Italy. Found in Lunigiana, Pontremoli has a mixed personality. Its charm is warm and unique. Since its origin, it’s one of the contested villages. And although it has been burned down, it still rises. But what can you see and engage in this town?
This place is rich in history. Ponte Della Cresa, for instance, is a bountiful place that was one of the multiple entrances which people used to access the city. It has four distinct stone arches and it spans over the river Verde. There is also Ponte & Tower del Cassotto which are the symbols of Pontremoli. It’s an entrance and bridge which facilitate easier communication with the neighboring coast.
Don’t forget to visit the stele museum. It’s one of the most mysterious and ancient heritages found in this land. It’s home to numerous stele statues and you will find different dimensional sculptures. A visit to Pontremoli is not complete if you cannot eat testaroli. This is a renowned pasta which is pancake-like. Testaroli is often served with pesto. If you always love to dip your bread in a sauce, you will love it.

2. Equi Terme 

Equi Terme is a stunning region with great natural phenomenon. The mountain town is found within beautiful caves, marble mountains, lush nature, and natural springs among others. It’s renowned for its unique location, beside one of Apuan Alps’ peaks. It’s solidly perched on a rocky and steep slope. Note that Apuan Alps’ marble core contains healing waters that are used in the Terme di Equi baths. These waters are classified as mineral springs and they have an average temperature of 24�C. The popularity of these waters is solely based on their healing properties. People can use them to heal otolaryngology and respiratory problems, joint and bone problems, skin issues in addition to angiology.
Grotti di Equi is another area that’s found close to this bath. The UNESCO-Recognized site is consists of numerous karst caves. It features beautiful wells, lakes, and fascinating underground tunnels.
This is a perfect place to relax, enjoy beautiful scenic views, and heal your body. The Equi Terme Caves are great for an excursion. Just like the natural water spas, they were also formed through erosion. The caves which cover around 1000 meters have three main parts i.e.
La Buca: It’s considered as the entrance to the caves. Note that water no longer flows in this region.
The proper caves: this is where the water still exerts erosive power. As a result, it leads to the creation of stalagmites and stalactites. The proper caves region is made up of several partitions which feature enchanting and surreal characteristics.
The “expert” area: it covers an area of around 500 meters. This area suits only for an experienced caver. As a result, only experts can access it. The cave complex has a paleontological and archaeologic site which is important internationally.
Apart from the caves and the natural hot springs, it’s also vital to go through the village streets. You will come across a picturesque neighborhood, spire-bell tower, and a medieval-like chapel.

3. Fivizzano 

This is indeed one of the most interesting and renown towns in Lunigiana. Fivizzano has a rich history. Besides that, its culture and folklore are interesting. It’s sometimes referred to as the beautiful corner of Florence because everything about it is stunning.
As a historic center, some of the places which visitors can explore include the defense walls. They were built in 1540. There is also the Baroque fountain, the Palace & Tomb of Arcadian Labindo among others. There were many foundries, iron factories, tanneries, paper mills, printing, and dye works. Based on its humanistic culture Fivizzano has played a major role. Note that this is where the Jacopo da Fivizzano initially opened Italy’s first print houses. From its diverse culture and rich history, this region was home to famous notaries, doctors, jurists, as well as men of letters.
Fivizzano gives tourists the chance to explore the Verrucola Castle which is found near the town center. The castle is currently the residence of Pietro Cascella, a popular sculptor. Other areas which a visitor can explore include the Ceserano region which has beautiful vineyards and farm. Besides that, Parish Church of San Paolo di Vendas is also a place that is a must to visit.
You cannot miss out some of Italy’s favorite delicacies in this area. From farm restaurants which cozy restaurants to Michelin restaurants, there is a wide range of delicacies to enjoy.
Generally, this region is suitable for nature lovers and those who love history. Fivizzano is an area that’s found deep within the Apuan Alps Park as well as the Appennino Tosco—Emiliano National Park. Besides that, the Sassalbo mountain village and the Frignoli Botanical Gardens all make this place interesting.

To conclude, Lunigiana is renowned for its unique history. It has amazing small towns which are unexplored thanks to its off the beaten track location. This makes it one of the perfect areas to explore in the Northern side of Tuscany. The beautiful caves, isolated castles, delicious meals, and great itineraries all make this place worth visiting. You will definitely have the time of your life because there is no tourist traffic.