Where to Find the Cheapest Properties in Tuscany

Lunigiana in the northern part of Tuscany is where you can find the cheapest properties to buy probably in the whole of Italy. It is a hidden gem tucked away in the mountain ranges of the Apuan Alps. One of the best things about this region is its location which is only 35 minutes away from Cinque Terre. It is also in close proximity to Pisa and Parma airports which are only less than an hour’s travel.

The stunning landscape, serene atmosphere, sumptuous food, flavorful wine, and immaculate air are just among the few reasons why tourists are mesmerized by the beauty of Tuscany. Once you visit this beguiling place, you will always find a way to return time and time again. This is the reason why many tourists prefer to purchase a property in Tuscany so that they can enjoy the convenience of their own vacation home every time they visit. It is a viable solution even for foreigners who don’t necessarily need to reside in Italy in order to acquire a property. On top of that, there are a lot of amazing homes in Lunigiana particularly in Pontremoli that are being sold at a very cheap price. Here are three (3) of the best homes for sale in Pontremoli, Tuscany.

Own a Stone 3-Story House for Only 100k Euros in Pontremoli

Coming home to this charming 3-story stone house will fulfill your yearning for the good old days when life was simpler and slow-going. As you approach the 210 square meter property, you will be welcomed by the thick stone exterior walls of the home’s facade that beautifully blends into its natural surroundings. Then you will know, you have returned to your own beautiful farmhouse in the enchanting Tuscan countryside. With its six (6) bedrooms, there is definitely enough space for your whole family and even some guests. The farmhouse has seen better days and is a standing witness to the colorful history of Pontremoli. It has stood the test of time and is the reason why it is so full of character that you can’t help but be proud of this property. The farmhouse features five (5) cellar spaces that are located on the ground floor with a wood-burning oven in one of its spaces. Three (3) of the bedrooms are located on the first floor with one communal bathroom and the rest of the rooms are on the second floor. The main entrance will also lead you to the second floor where you can find the living room, dining area, kitchen, and a large bathroom. It also features a porch where you can relax and see the serene view outside the farmhouse while enjoying the fresh Tuscan air. Aside from the rolling hills, you can also enjoy a fun-filled day at the beach while in this property since the coast is only 40 kilometers away.

Majestic Period House with Frescoes in Pontremoli for Under 120k Euros

If you’re willing to pay a little extra for the view, then this majestic period house with frescoes in Pontremoli is a great option for you. It is composed of two (2) houses that are joined together to form a delightful double-fronted stone house in a 346 square meter property. The ground floor of this house features an entrance hall, kitchen, and a dining area that stretches out to a piazza with a gorgeous view. Throwing memorable parties is an absolute guarantee with the intimate ambiance of the piazza. Its five (5) spacious bedrooms with three (3) bathrooms are situated on the second floor and it all opens out to a large hall with a balcony to enjoy that beautiful backdrop of the rolling hills. On the top floor is a large attic for extra storage but it also holds a lot of possibilities such as an extra room or another living area where your family can enjoy. There is also a large space outside the house where you can build a pool, plant a garden, or install any recreational facility for your family and guests. With just a few updates, you can have a spacious vacation home with beautifully frescoed ceilings and amazing views of the mountains. As you slowly create a home out of this majestic house, you will gradually restore it to its former glory and you will fall in love with it even more. The house is a work of art in itself and adding your personal touch will make it, “your very own masterpiece.”

Fairy Tale Stone House in Pontremoli for Only 50K Euros

Who would have thought that for only 50,000 euros, you can own a home that seems to have been magically taken out of a storybook and installed in Pontremoli to bask under the Tuscan sun? The whimsy style of this fairy tale stone house is comparable to a movie set or a magical theme park that will not fail to invoke your imagination. Fortunately, this is not a fictional home but a real house that you can dwell or live in. This fairy tale home stands on a 95 square meter property surrounded by the beauty of nature. With its three (3) floors, it is spacious enough for your whole family, and considering its low price tag, this home just sounds too good to be true. It features two (2) bedrooms, two (2) bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, and a rustic style living area that boasts a traditional wood-burning fireplace. The living area will definitely give you that rustic vibe with its exposed wood beams, thick stone walls, and a multi-functional fireplace that can also be used for cooking. The existing interior style in this storybook home will make it extremely easy for you to furnish and decorate the place. With the abundance of natural materials outdoors, you can always opt to repurpose and recycle raw materials such as wood to create functional pieces to add to your new home. Living in this home will allow you to celebrate life in its simplest yet satisfying form.

La Spezia Food Walking Tour Cinque Terre

Emilia Delizia is proud to offer a food walking tour to explore the food of La Spezia and Cinque Terre on foot. In 2 hours you will be taken around the historical centre of La Spezia and taste all its world’s famous food. You will try Sgabei (fried dough), Testaroli and Panigacci, frittura mista (mix fried fish), farinata (chickpea pies) and ice cream.

In this food centered experience we will walk through the allies of La Spezia. This sea front town just next to the Cinque Terre has a lot of amazing food to offer. Try the world famous mix fried fish, anchovies and mussels along with some of the most amazing chickpea pies called farinata.

How long does it last: approx 2 hours
Where is the meeting point: La Spezia main train station
What time: we meet at 10.00 am.
How many people: We take very small groups around, you need to book for at least 2 people.
What will I eat: We will try to include as much local specialties as possible: such as on.
How do we get around: The tour is almost entirely on food. Just some light walking so wear your best shoes.
Who is taking me around: To give you the best experience these tours are only lead by locals with deep knowledge of the local area.

Unexplored Northen Tuscany along the via Francigena.

Explosting hidden towns and villages along Via Francigena in Northen Tuscany

Even though it is the home to a lot of people, the northern part of Tuscany remains less explored by tourists. This part of Italy includes spectacular monuments and mouth-watering food but what stands out the most is the Renaissance art and architecture, which consists of world-renowned art pieces, galleries, and museums. With that said, there are many surprises and hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered by walkers and backpackers that are in the area of Via Francigena. Here is more information on Via Francigena and all of its best-kept secrets:

The cIsa Pass on the via Francigena a leg between Parma and Pontremoli.

WHAT IS VIA FRANCIGENA?

Via Francigena is a pilgrimage route that runs from Canterbury, through different points of France, Italy, and Switzerland. It dates back to the Middle Ages when it was considered the most important pilgrimage route from the north to Rome. Even to this date, there are pilgrims that follow the ancient footsteps of Sigeric the Serious and travel either on foot, with bicycles, or on horseback.

The ancient road that covers four countries covers 354 kilometres and 16 legs (like Cisa Pass – Pontremolli, Massa – Camaiore, and Altopascio – San Miniato) all of which touch various villages and towns. For the visitors on the road, accommodation is also available as there are many hostels in the area run by confraternities and parish churches. Also, among some of the must-see sights from Via Francigena are Monteriggioni, the forgotten villages in the Apuan Alps, the towers of San Gimignano, and the Cypress tree avenues based in Val d’Orcia.

PONTREMOLI

Considered one of the main towns of Lunigiana, Pontremoli is one of the most fascinating destinations in northern Tuscany. This small and picturesque Italian city can easily astonish its visitors with the combination of intriguing accents, culinary traditions, and mesmerizing nature. Pontremoli, which is believed to have been named after the words Pons Tremulus (translating to trembling bridge), has been through a lot of history that goes back to the Middle Ages and Roman Era.

Among some of the foods that you must try while you are in Pontremoli are Amor wafer cakes, Bianco oro aperitivo, Testaroli, Torta d’erbe, and Procini mushrooms. In addition to these, there are more savory herb pies than you can thing of and Sgabei (fried dough) that can leave you speechless. As for things to do, Pontremoli is famous for the acclaimed Stele Statue Museum, and many other landmarks such as Castello del Piagnaro, Pieve di Sorano, and Ponte Della Cresa are some of the many gems of Pontremoli that are worth the visit.

Pontremoli a must do stop on Via Francigena

SARZANA

Down along the Via Francigena you can find Sarzana. It is the home to a little over 20,000 Italians. Popular among the locals for its cathedrals, citadels, fortresses, and diverse monuments from different eras (especially from the Roman Era), this commune is situated in the eastern part of the Province of La Spezia in Liguria. Established around the year 1000 a.d., this place was once a small medieval village that was fortified with multiple bastions and ramparts.

Throughout the years, mainly because of its location next to the regions Emilia, Liguria, and Tuscany, Sarzana slowly became an important hub and tourist destination. Presently, this quiet and spectacular town is the place where landmarks such as the Fortress de Sarzanello, Fortezza Firmafede, Sarzana Cathedral, and Lido di Lerici can be found. Here, you can also try some of the best Fritto misto di mare, Linguine ai frutti di mare, and Pappardelle with sugo di lepre in the entire country.

Sarzana during one of the many events during the summer
Sarzana pretty street

CARRARA

Another underrated small town in northern Tuscany is Carrara near the via Francigena. Just like Sarzana, this place is both a city and commune and it is believed to have been inhabited for the first time back in the 9th century BC. Notable for its blue-grey and white marble that is quarried here, Carrara is approximately two hours away from Bologna and Florence, which makes it the perfect getaway from the dynamic atmosphere in the big cities.

Speaking of which, there are not only many attractions (such as CARMI, Monte Sagro, and Piazza Alberica) but plenty of delicious meals that can be found in Carrara. The most famous food product is Lardo di colonnata (used as an appetizer and in various dishes) but other foods that are worth trying are Calda-Calda (also called farinata or cecina a chickpea pie), Marinated cod-fish, biscotti ai pinoli (pinenuts cookies), and Pasta and beans.

Around Marina di Carrara
Carrara has sand, sea and parasols!

Massimo Bottura Opens The Cavallino Ferrari Restaurant in Maranello.

WHO IS MASSIMO BOTTURA?

Massimo Bottura began his culinary career in 1986 by assuming control of the Trattoria del Campazzo, a restaurant situated just a few kilometers away from the center of Modena. This was, for him, a “reeducation center”, the place where he shaped his gastronomical identity, often crafting recipes that combined regional dishes with light brushes of French cuisine, through techniques he learned from renowned chef Georges Coigny. In 1995, he opened the OSTERIA FRANCESCANA, which in 2011 was awarded 3 Michelin stars, and achieved 1st place in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016 and 2018.

Bottura is also a FERRARI lover and has recently become a loyal ambassador for the brand, assuming the helm of the newly-opened “Ristorante Cavallino” in collaboration with French designer India Mahdavi, who was in charge of reinterpreting the restaurant’s original design in a modern light, while retaining the most distinguishing features from its glorious past.

WHAT IS CAVALLINO?

The Cavallino _has a history that is deeply linked with the history of Ferrari itself and, consequently, plays an important role in the annals of the whole Emilia-Romagna region. It was originally a farmhouse that served as the company’s “canteen” from the moment Enzo Ferrari purchased the land that now serves as Ferrari’s main manufacturing complex. In 1950, it became the “Ristorante Cavallino”_, evoking the prancing horse emblem that always identified the Ferrari label.

The historic complex has served as the main venue for Scuderia Ferrari’s celebrations and other memorable events organized by the company. Distinguished members of royalty, such as Princess Liliana de Rèthy and Prince Bernardo of Holland have graced this facility with their presence in the past. Enzi Ferrari himself used to eat there twice a day until he passed away in 1988. 21 years later, the Cavallino would have to close its doors and would not operate until its grand reopening on July 13th, an event in which various F1 champions and legendary personalities gathered.

THE DESIGN AND DECOR

In the NEWLY-IMAGINED CAVALLINO, tradition blends in perfect harmony with the standards of today’s design language in order to enhance its outdoor and interior architecture, as well as its overall Italian identity. All in an attempt to provide consumers with a visual value proposal that matches the ristorante’s culinary excellence.

The complex’s new red façade is meant to signify Cavallin0’s historical bonds with Ferrari, and its decorations and furniture scream “traditional Italian trattoria”. As you enter the restaurant, you’re introduced to a series of arches that connect its different areas. The tiles are placed in a chequerboard pattern layout of dark and light terracotta. The furniture is also themed with Ferrari’s color code, while the walls display posters, photographs, memorabilia, and other maxi-print images that are both decorative and informative, providing guests with a “bite” of Ferrari’s sporting and industrial trajectory.

Ferrari’s _”Cavallino” _or Prancing Horse logo is also a prominent feature shown in most areas inside and outside the restaurant. It introduces itself visually to guests from the moment they enter the building, and it’s also imprinted on many of the surfaces, on the restaurant’s wallpaper, and stamped on the frosted film applied to windows and glass doors.

Marco Bay was in charge of reshaping the garden or patio area. It has the feeling of an open-air dining room with a pergola and various plants enclosing the entire space. On the rooftop, guests have access to two private lounges, as well as a privileged view of the main entrance of the Ferrari factory.

The Grill Room is an indoor area that graces guests with amazing views of the Mediterranean-styled outdoor patio and a system of grilles installed on the walls, allowing customers to supervise the preparation of dishes.

THE FOOD

Cavallino’s GASTRONOMIC PROPOSAL takes the more traditional Modenese cuisine and adds some modern touches and foreign twists, complementing the restaurant’s personal signature. In the words of Bottura (paraphrasing): Every dish has a story behind it, and it’s cooking that is impossible to say no to.

Among the menu’s main highlights, you can find the trademarked Tartare Cavallino, consisting of beef tartare seasoned with red fruit powder and dressed in Béarnaise sauce for a French finish. Another original in the Cavallino menu is the Cotechino Alla Rossini, a version of the more traditional Filetto Alla Rossini but topped with black truffle shards and sour cherries to sweeten the sausage. Their take on the classic tortellini carries a more SOCIAL MESSAGE, being handmade by the Tortellante training project (directed towards people with autism), in Modena’s redzore (housewives) tradition. Other delicacies include the Gnocco Fritto e Salumi, the_Baccalà _and the _Gelato Alla Crema_with traditional Villa Manodori balsamic vinegar.

Siena Is Still There For You After Covid, Here Something Not To Miss.

Last year, images of Siena could make us all weep. Normally, this old city is brimming with life and happiness, so empty streets seemed simply wrong.

Luckily, Italy is opening up, and Siena shines like a proper jewel of Tuscany again. If you’re a repeat visitor, you know what amazing sights and foods await you. If this is your first time, here are the places that you must not miss.

Piazza del Campo, perhaps the most beautiful piazza in Italy?

Where: Smack dab in the center of Siena, can’t miss it.

When: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as long as you don’t patronize any establishments.

Budget: Free, unless you start shopping around, get hungry, or decide to up the Torre del Mangia.

If you have only one day to spend in Siena, this is your must-go-to location. Pretty much, even if you don’t move more than a mile from that spot, you will get to experience the lifestyle, people watch, visit a few sightseeing hotspots, and have some delicious food.

Even without moving an inch, the piazza is a sight to behold. It’s frozen in time, all the way to the pre-Renaissance times. There have been a few additions over the centuries here and there, but it’s mostly left looking untouched. And fortunately for all of us, the people of Siena love their piazza and they have all preserved it for us over the centuries so we can admire its beauty.

Once you find yourself standing there, you would not get surprised if you were to see someone in a historical costume – what’s more, a sight like that could even fool you into thinking you have gone back through time.

This is also the place where everything happens. If the city is holding a public fair, celebration, or festival, it will happen there. So, if you plan your trip anywhere around those big dates on the calendar (both secular and religious), you are in for a treat.

Try La Prosciutteria in Siena.

Where: Via Pantaneto 89, near Piazza del Campo

When: Every day from 10 AM to midnight.

Budget: Price s range from 4 to 25 Euros per item.

Warning, this is not a restaurant! Okay, that was a bad April Fool’s joke since the Siena location is one of the few that offer in-house dining. Some other places? They just pry you with their delicious fare and send you on your mary way.

If you love your prosciutto (and other Italian deli goodies), you must come to La Prosciutteria. You’ll be welcomed with a perfect combination of fine and casual dining – fine in terms of some of the finest food that will ever grace your mouth, and casual in terms of atmosphere.

On the menu are cutting boards, cold cuts, and different types of Tuscan wines. Sometimes they host special events and tasting parties. However, you may need a reservation to enjoy all of this these days (reservations at +39 577 42026 and siena@laprosciutteria.com). They also offer delivery through UberEats or if you give them a call (if you are not able to secure a table during your visit).

And if you loved what you had for your lunch/dinner/special tasting, you can buy and bring most of those delicious morsels back home with you.

Well Try Pretto in Siena too.

https://www.prettoprosciutteria.it/

Where: Via dei Termini4, between Piazza del Campo and Piazza Tolomei

When: Every day, from noon to 9 PM

Budget: The cheapest item is about 3 and the most expensive one is about 25 Euros.

Okay, definitely another not-vegan-friendly recommendation, but what’s there else to say? Siena has quite a few awesome prosciuterrias.

However, that is very much not advised. The entire place is bathed in amazing aromas – even the most disciplined would break their diet and/or their budget if they stay for too long. Pick up your food and sit as far away if you want to stay safe!

If you still want to risk it, call them at +39 0577 289089 or send them an e-mail at prettosiena@gmail.com for a booking.

All joking aside, come at least for their prized Lampredotto sandwich or Tuscan focaccia. They are also very well known for their Pinsa Romana: a delightful taste of Italy that will change your view of pizza forever.

Then Visit Palazzo Pubblico and Torre Del Mangia

Where: Right across Piazza del Campo

When: Palazzo Publico is opened from 10 AM to 7 PM. Torre del Mangia is closed between 1:45 to and 2:30 PM for sanitation.

Budget: Individual ticket is 10 Euros, the family ticket is 22 and 25 respectively. Free access for children under 11 and reduced tickets are available. Note that you need to get separate tickets for each location, or get a combined ticket for 15 Euros (valid 2 days).

Palazzo Pubblico serves as mucipal offices of Siena. However, if you are not interested in getting a building permit or conquering the city from within, you may be interested in the Civic Museum.

The museum is located on the first floor of the palazzo and it’s a must-see for any history buff. Even if you take a moment just to take a peek at the 13th and 14th-century frescoes, it will be more than worth it. But if you want to get your money’s worth, use this visit as your time-travel portal through Siena’s history.

Then climb up the Torre del Mangia. This tower is the highest secular structure, and only the 3rd tallest in Italy (from this time period). If you are willing to make a climb of 280+ feet, you will be rewarded with the most beautiful view of the whole of Siena.

Keep in mind that, due to the current restrictions, only groups of 12 can go up the Torre del Mangia every 45 minutes. You can call ahead (+39 0577 292342) to make sure you can grab a spot. Also, both the Palazzo and the Torre are closed down or close early during public holidays, so check your travel dates and plan accordingly.

Important Information

Before you leave for Italy, check out http://www.italia.it/en/useful-info/covid-19-updates-information-for-tourists.html for all up to date information for tourists. Please, also be respectful of each establishment’s guidelines and restrictions.

Travel safe, and have fun.

Florence Reopens after Covid, Here 6 Evegreen Recommendations.

Aren’t the words “Italy is open again” some of the most beautiful words an avid traveler can hear? Finally, your wish to visit Florence can come true.

There’s a lot of prep before the trip, so let’s make this part of your travel plans as painless as possible. These 5 evergreen spots are perfect for both first-time and return visitors. Let’s check out what to see and, of course, what to eat first.

Have a Fat Panini at Antico Vinaio.

Where: Via dei Neri 65, 74, 76, and 78, close to Piazza San Remigio and Piazza della Signoria

When: Every day from 10 AM to 10:30 PM

Budget: The most expensive item is 13 Euros, but you can still enjoy a great sandwich at half that price.

If you were lucky enough to check them out in LA, just imagine what’s waiting for you in Florence. We are talking amazing Hulk-sized sandwiches loaded with local salami, prosciutto, cheeses, and other goodies on fresh artisanal bread. Plus, you can follow them up with a glass or two of good Tuscan wine.

Make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes. Even without restrictions, the place is known for its long waiting lines. Or give them a ring at +39 055 23 82 723 for a reservation.

Antico Vinaio Florence

Get into Science at the Galileo Museum.

https://www.museogalileo.it/en/

Where: Piazza dei Guidici, near Pallazo Vecchio

When: 9:30 AM to 6 PM all days but Tuesday. On Tuesdays, the museum closes at 1 PM

Budget: Tickets for adults are 10 Euros, for minors 6 Euros. Or you can get a 13 Euro ticket that allows you to skip the lines.

Formerly known as Museo di Storia della Scienza, it’s housed in an 11th-century building. It’s home to artifacts from the Medici collections, Galileo’s belongings, and other numerous pieces of evidence of Tuscany and Italy’s contributions to science.

It’s not all about old objects, but old books as well! A lot of historical scientific papers are housed in the museum’s library, right next to one of the most extensive collections of contemporary materials.

The museum also puts on temporary exhibitions. Numerous events are on schedule often, including anything between debates and lectures, to fun historical reenactments. Check out their website to see what will be available during your visit.

Galileo Museum in Florence
Galileo Museum in Florence

Have Lunch Like a Local – Trattoria Mario Florence.

http://www.trattoriamario.com/index-en.html

Where: Via Rosina 2r, right next to Mercato Centrale.

When: Takeaway and table service from noon to 3 PM.

Budget: No item on the menu goes over 20 Euros.

Every city in Italy has numerous restaurants that are decked out in Michellin stars, but still many can’t compare to Trattoria Mario. In 1953, Rome and Amelia opened this restaurant and named it after their son. Since then, the place has been a favorite for both the locals and visitors alike.

The menu changes every day. You can either check their page to check for hints of what’s cooking. That being said, no matter the time of the year, you’ll always be able to get a Florentine-style steak, Ribolita, or their signature slow-cooked Ragu.

Keep in mind that, due to restrictions, reservations are mandatory. Feel free to reach out to the workers and the family via email and social media, or call them once you’re in Italy (the number is +39 055 218550).

In Florence you must have a t bone steak fiorentina.
Cantucci and Vin santo it’s a typical dessert in Florence

When: The food court on the 1st floor is open from Monday to Sunday, 10 AM to midnight. The fresh market is open from Monday to Saturday, from 7 AM to 2 PM.

Budget: The food court can get very pricey, but the items at the fresh market are reasonably priced.

You can’t call yourself a proper foodie unless you make a stop here. The market halls are open since 1874 and have since been the best place to have a taste of Italy.

You can enjoy different produce, pasta, oils, truffles, and numerous artisanal products on the ground floor. Outside you’ll encounter numerous stalls that sell souvenirs, clothes, and other miscellaneous knick-knacks. However, be a smart shopper and watch for high prices: if they seem to be higher than what you’ve encountered at other parts of Florence, some is looking to scan some tourists.

The food court features numerous small restaurants, tasting rooms, and wine bars. Here you can enjoy both traditional Italian dishes as well as other amazing food made by master chefs. Make sure to visit the website and see if they are planning something special for the days you’ll be visiting.

Another pro tip: if you’re on a tight budget, make a trip to the second floor. You’ll still get to enjoy some amazing pizzas and snacks while causing less pain to your wallet.

Mercato Centrale in Florence is the ideal destination for foodies.

Get Lost in Giardino Boboli.

https://www.uffizi.it/en/boboli-garden

Where: Piazza de Pitti

When: From Monday to Sunday, from 8:15 AM to sunset (closing times change by season, so check the website for the exact time)

Budget: Single ticket is 10 Euros, but you may qualify for a free or a reduced price ticket as well.

https://www.uffizi.it/en/notices/covid-19-rules-for-visitors

Designed for the Medicis and inspired numerous court gardens all across Europe, these beautiful gardens are open to the public since 1766. A perfect place to get lost, wander, and feel like you’ve traveled through time. Enjoy a stroll through Cerchiate Piccole or take a peek at the statues of mythical creatures near the Fountain of Neptune.

Plant lovers must also stop by the Botanica Superiore, aka the Pineapple garden, and enjoy its hundreds of species of tropical, subtropical, and aquatic plants. And if that was not enough for you, Museo della Moda e del Costume and Museo delle porcellane are right next door. The same goes for the Forte di Belvedere and Porta Romana (the city gate from the 13th century).

No worries if you choose to visit in the spur of the moment. The entire complex is accessible to people with disabilities and family-friendly for a hassle-free experience

Boboli Garden in Florence

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?

Best Aperitivo in Bologna.

Bologna is a wonderful city in Northern Italy. It is not your “classic” Italian destination, but it is a good place if you’re looking for some traditional Italian food and experiences. A very nice custom Italians have is the “aperitivo”, which is particularly common in a lively and young city like Bologna. To gather with your friends after work, with a drink and some finger food, is one of the preferred activities and ways to socialize that Italians adopt. With so many options around Bologna, it can be a bit hard to find the best spot for an aperitivo, especially if you’re new in the city. This is why we made a list of 3 of the best places to take an iconic aperitivo in Bologna. Try them all or choose one that appeals more to you, you’ll have a fantastic opportunity!

Tamburini

Via Caprarie 1 between the 2 towers and piazza Maggiore, 40124 Bologna Italy
Tamburini has a food shop, a restaurant, and a wine bar. The wine bar is perfect for an aperitivo and it is open from 12 to 11.30 PM Monday to Thursday and from 12 to 00.30 AM on Friday and Saturdays. The atmosphere is familiar and very traditional, with 3 internal rooms for bigger parties or celebrations surrounded by the famous old wine bottles that contribute to the iconic ambiance of the restaurant. The menu includes a wide selection of more than 2o0 national wines, champagnes, and artisanal beers as well as liquors, rums and whiskey. In terms of food, the specialties are the cheese and meat sharing plates, but the offer includes salads, cold dishes and a selection of home-made desserts.

Bar Senza Nome

Via Belvedere 11/B, 40121 Bologna, Italia
This bar is particularly popular among the younger ones, not only because of the great vibe but also for the value for the price paid. Aperitivo at this bar is one of the cheapest in the city and it includes some finger food, couscous or pasta salads. Calling “Bar Senza Nome” is a bit restrictive as it can be considered more of a winery and a small restaurant. The bar is special because it is entirely run by people with disabilities, the majority of them being deaf. You can try to challenge yourself and order using sign language! Everyone is put at the same level at this bar, and the atmosphere is fantastic. The environment is lively and cozy and it is suited well those wanting to spend a couple of hours chatting with friends or loved ones. The place organizes a variety of alternative and cultural activities including concerts, courses and art exhibitions among others. The place is often full, but if you manage to find a spot, you’ll for sure have a good time, with good music and a great aperitif.

Marsalino

Via Marsala 13D, 40126 Bologna Italy
Marsalino is a bar enjoyed by locals to get their aperitivo. It has become very popular, both for after-work meetings or for “pre-parties”. The popularity mainly comes from the high-quality food offered in combination with a spritz and excellent local wines. The menu includes only a few dishes but always with excellent quality and with the best ingredients. “Taglieri” with cheese, ham, and salami or the traditional “bruschetta” are the best side to accompany your aperitivo. Finger food is available from 6 PM to 9 PM with your aperitivo. However, if you want to order a meal from the menu, the kitchen is open until late at night, so don’t worry! The ambiance of the place is great and every Thursday night some cabaret events are organized, making the evening even more fun. Because of the informal atmosphere, Marsalino is a great place to socialize and have a good time. For locals, Marsalino has converted into a “must” for the aperitivo in Bologna. Because the bar has become so common and the place is pretty small, finding a spot can be quite hard. During the summer it might get better since the area in front of the local is used, but during the winter, the bar does get quite crowded. If you’re planning to spend an evening there and want to have a seat, booking a table is a good idea. Here was a shortlist of the three best spots to have an aperitivo in Bologna, enjoy!

Day Tours From Palermo Ideas With Video Vlog

A great spot in Sicily, Palermo is one of the areas that tourists would love to visit. It’s not only located on the largest island in the Mediterranean but also one of the areas that define the region’s history and its current affairs.

The origin of Palermo dates back to nearly 3000 years when the Phoenicians first established the first city. The place is rich in both ancient and recent history such as the origin of the Mafia, which is part of life in the city to-date. For outdoor lovers and beach enthusiasts, Palermo provides an unrivaled beautiful coastline in the spectacular island of Sicily. Besides, you can go hiking in the mountains, spread yourself on the sands, and just enjoy the non-stop warm weather that is synonymous with the island.

Here are great places to discover from Palermo day tours:

Scopello

Scopelllo and Zingaro natural park

Scopello is a small, attractive seaside village, located to the south of Zingaro Nature Reserve. It’s approximately 40 kilometers from the city of Trapani. The city built around Piazza Netunno, a popular farmhouse that dates back to the 18th century.

The ancient Scopello was destroyed by Tsunami in 1981, leaving the remains submerged by waters as great testimonies to the past. Today, Scopello is one of the busiest tourist destinations in Sicily. Scopello is home to scenic beaches with the remains of the tunary sticking out of the crystal-clear waters.

In the immediate surroundings, you can see several dive sites such as Cala Rosa, Cala Bianca, and Punta Pispisa. The southern part of Scopello is great for excursions and trekking within the Zingaro Natural Reserve, where you come face to face with unspoiled landscapes.

To crown it, Scopello nightlife is vibrant and nonstop. Tourists can enjoy the walks and fine cuisine; sample the delicacies such as fresh fish in the local restaurants, as well as multiple couscous dishes made from local genuine products of Trapani hinterland. Overall, Scopello is a popular spot for both local and foreign tourists.

Guidaloca Beach

Guidaloca Pebble beach

Located a few kilometers from Castellammare Del Golfo, the Guidaloca beach is simply close to everything that a tourist could admire. There are a lot of parking places around the Spiaggia, and probably one of the places where you can get free packing. Visitors have the options to enjoy the free beach or just relax under a rented chair and umbrella at the Bar, where you can also get free fruits.

Guidaloca is a pebble beach, without sand. The waters are clean and clear, great for fabulous swims when you visit as a couple or family. If you intend to spend the night, you can find solace at the Villa Guidaloca, tucked in the leafy suburbs of the Zingaro. The place is calm and relaxing, delivering sweet scents of the Sicilian orange and lemon trees, which are part of its garden. From here, you can have a wonderful view of the sea. Overall, Guidaloca pebble beach offers great waves similar to the ones on the beaches south of Sicily, making it a perfect spot for snorkeling.

Marsala and Salt Pans

Marsala is globally popular for its wine, made from the town’s amber nectar. However, you cannot neglect the long, memorable history at the mention of Marsala.

Currently, Marsala is a popular destination for tranquility lovers who just want a relaxed environment. The Baroque old town is a nice place to stroll. Most people visit the place for wine tasting. However, the place offers many other interesting things such as the Baglio Anselmi or Cathedral, Archeological Museum, and more.

Importantly, Marsala provides great ingredients for salt making, as discovered by the Phoenicians eons ago. The conditions such as sun-drenched and longer summer days, hot winds, and shallow coastal waters favored the emergence of the salt pans between Marsala and Trapani. The people who lived in Europe and around the Mediterranean used salt to preserve food and so the establishment of salt pans in the west coast of Sicily played an important role in their lives.

Today, the salt pans provide a great tourist destination with windmills and heaps of harvested salt that are synonymous with the landscape. Besides, there is a salt museum located between Trapani and Marsala. Here visitors can have a glimpse of how the ancient inhabitants made the salt pans as well as their functions over the years. From Marsala, you can proceed to Mothya, another archeological site built by the Phoenicians on the Pantaleo Island.

Segesta Archeological Park

Segesta

Segesta archeological site is one of Sicily’s most valuable tourist destinations. The site is located on the island’s western side, surrounded with lush green and quiet countryside. The park has the beautiful Doric temple, preserved and harmonious in nature. It’s also home to the 400-meter high theater, located on Mount Barbaro. These two monuments have withstood the test of time to our day. The theater is accessible by walking or by bus.

The site gives a panoramic view of the church that dates back to the 15th century, the castle, the mosque, as well as the amazing theater, perfectly preserved to-date.

The opening hours for the park are as flexible as follows:

• March 27 – September 30: From 9 am – 7 pm

• October 1 – October 31: From 9 am – 6 pm

• November 1 – February 28: 9 am – 5 pm

• March 1 – March 26: 9 am – 6 pm


Ticket prices are affordable, usually, six Euros for full ticket and three Euros for the reduced ticket. This rate applies to visitors between 18 and 25 years old. Visitors under 18 years visit the site free.

The archeological site is accessible both by bus and by car. If you opt for the bus, you can connect through the major cities from Trapani through Calatafimi to the site or from Palermo to Segesta. Check the bus timetable for prior booking.

By car, you can go through the motorway A29. This takes you from Palermo through Trapani with an exit at Segesta junction. You can then follow street signs and drive to the site.

Final Words

Palermo with its rich history, outstanding landmarks, dazzling churches, and mouthwatering dishes, provides a perfect tourist destination. There are a lot more to do in the city. On day tours from Palermo, you can discover these great places and more.

How I Ate at Bottura’s for 10 Euros…Well Not Quite.

Chef Massimo Bottura opens canteen in Modena.

Duomo di Modena

At Self Service Ghirlandina for sure you cannot eat the sophisticated dishes of Osteria Francescana, however you can tell your friend that you ate at Bottura’s “Restaurant” in Modena. Moreover you can sample dishes from the Modenese tradition like passatelli, tagliatelle, tortelloni, tortellini, prosciutto di Modena, ragu’, and zampone. The average meal is 10 euros or less, what are you waiting for?

Chef Massimo Bottura opens a canteen in Modena, being part of the food for soul initiative to reduce food wastage and help social inclusion. Self Service Ghirlandina, the name of the canteen is situated at a historic and very popular place, near the cathedral in Modena.

What is the food for soul initiative

This is what I had: Pappardelle con sugo d’oca only 4.5 euros.

If you have never heard about communities to fight food waste through social inclusion, then here are some interesting facts about food for soul. Food for Soul is a non-profit organisation founded by chef Massimo Bottura & Lara Gilmore.

Do you know that food waste is a huge problem and that there are food sources that can be used more effectively with the right knowledge and education? So, what are the main features of this initiative aiming to combat food waste?

Food for soul key features

Many partners collaborate with the main aim to raise both the awareness on issues related to food waste and social isolation. This happens not locally but around the world. Of course, not all local communities are the same, therefore the local needs are being considered and these needs can lead to the creation of brand-new possibilities to be examined, never considered before.

Special attention is given in the renovation of neglected spaces and their creative transformation into inspiring community kitchens, where people that feel socially vulnerable can feel the welcome atmosphere and experience the meals created with food surplus. These special meals are prepared by renowned chefs, with emphasis given on making them both delicious and healthy. Social issues such as hospitality and dignity are given a lot of importance.

Social awareness in practice

Social Tables or “ Refettorios” are another service highlighting the need to create both an active and a conscious as well community. Social Tables Ghirlandina were launched 3 years ago, in 2016 and once per week, each Monday this community kitchen serves about 70 persons in need from the local community.

The concept of theme meals is to be inexpensive. But their low cost does not mean that they are not delicious or healthy. On the contrary besides these features there is a special atmosphere as local artists, designers and even actors are being involved to create a community being well-conscious.

Bread is Gold

In financial world gold is a precious metal with many desired features such as a hedge for inflation. But bread can be gold too.” Bread is Gold” is a book written with many recipes and the combined effort of over 50 chefs who got the idea to write how to transform in many cases neglected ingredients and turn them into a meal both delicious and most importantly healthy.

This book has been written is many languages, some of them being English, Italian and Spanish. Buying the book is another way to increase the social impact of the food for soul initiative. Doing so helps the food for soul initiative to open even more Refettorios and Social Tables around the world.

Self Service Ghirlandina in Modena is a canteen with a special social purpose. Being part of the food for soul initiative it is also a part of a community which wants to decrease drastically food waste and at the same time decrease the impact of social isolation. The location near the cathedral in Modena has the potential make it popular.