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Food and Drink, Italy

On a holiday to Italy, it will come as no surprise that there is a world of delicious food just waiting to be tasted. Travellers can savour the finest pizza, the freshest pasta and mouth-wateringly good gelato in abundance (with a diverse range of flavours to choose from). That’s not forgetting the vibrant bar scene here; with Aperol Spritz and Campari on tap, what’s not to love?

1930 Speakeasy

Take a step back in time in Milan’s 1930 speakeasy: a bar and eatery inspired by the secret establishments formed in the 1920s and early 1930s to discreetly sell alcohol during America’s prohibition.

From the regal armchairs and high bar stools which make up the seating, to the traditional wooden tables and the vintage bar area, everything about the bar is designed to transport you back to the 30s.

Before entering and being serenaded by the bar’s pianist, you will have to find the bar itself, as the entrance to the bar is kept a secret. To get in, you have to locate the entrance yourself and gain the owner’s trust, just as you would have had to in the past.

Every last detail is thought of here; the staff even ask that you don’t use your phones or take pictures while in the bar, as a way of preserving its authenticity; the ambience of this bar is truly unique.

Da Vittorio

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a tasty meal in a serene setting, take a trip to Da Vittorio in Brusaporto. Located ten minutes away in the luscious green countryside, Da Vittorio allows you to take a break from the busy city of Bergamo and enjoy a meal in a peaceful and tranquil environment.

The menu features a number of extravagant meat and fish dishes, including a fillet of sea bass, grilled T-bone steak, deconstructed scorpion fish and for those who wish to sample a number of flavours, a plate of mixed fried fish.

The wide array of decadent dishes served here each use only the highest quality raw ingredients, and are prepared with expert technique, as well as undivided care and attention. This careful attention to detail is applied to every aspect of Da Vittorio, ensuring that every visitor feels like Italian royalty when dining at this elegant restaurant.

After your meal, enjoy a walk through some of Da Vittorio’s ten hectares of land and take the time to savour the scenic surroundings.

Enoteca Pinchiorri

Enoteca Pinchiorri is an elegant fine dining restaurant in Florence, which excels in creativity to provide visitors with unique dishes. The restaurant is run by a small but close-knit team who work tirelessly to deliver attentive service, striving to provide guests with an unparalleled dining experience.

The chefs here closely research the finest raw ingredients, before applying innovative cooking techniques to create completely inimitable meals, while sticking to the ideology of traditional Florence cuisine. You will be indulging in some of Florence’s finest pasta-based dishes, such as the seafood and shellfish spaghetti, as well as tagliatelle whipped with grilled sardines and crispy pork.

Pasta and seafood combinations are favourites here, too, and so feature heavily on the menu. However, delicious lobster and roast lamb are also available for those after something a little different. For dessert, why not try the soft milk pudding, the bubble of meringue, the hazelnut and passion fruit pastry, or the chocolate roundabout stuffed with raspberries?

II Palagio

Steeped in prestige and illustriousness, Il Palagio is a must-visit attraction for any wine connoisseurs visiting Italy.

Il Palagio is an estate which lies in the hills of the Tuscan countryside, just south of Florence. It’s home to a number of guesthouses, including a chalet and a villa, the latter which is now the living quarters for the famous British songwriter, Sting, who hosts private parties and concerts here. In fact, the iconic musician has restored the facility into a fully functioning organic farm and vineyard, with rows of stunning olive groves also thriving here.

Since being transformed, guests can now visit the estate and are free to explore the area, which boasts rolling green hills and traditional Italian architecture, making it visually stunning. However, the main attraction, beyond its beauty and prestige, is its vast collection of fresh wines, which you can sample and purchase while here. Olive oils produced from olive trees in the estate, as well as a selection of different honey, are also available.

Local Cuisine

Italy’s cuisine is adored around the world and is a major part of Italian culture. There is a wide variety of Italian dishes for you to try during your trip to Italy, many of which locals have built their livelihoods around, with local and independent eateries found on almost every street.

Whether you want to treat yourself to an old favourite at a traditional Italian pizzeria, or indulge in one of Italy’s many classic pasta dishes, you will be able to find what you desire at one of the local restaurants, markets or food outlets here.

As well as these internationally famous dishes, Italy’s cuisine also comprises of a number of meats such as Parma Ham, and fish dishes like breaded swordfish.

Different regions of Italy have different specialities, too, so make sure you try the local dish before you leave. For instance, Sicily is famed for its delicious cannolis: shells of shortcrust pastry rolled up and filled with a sweet cream filling. Alternatively, if you’re visiting Tuscany, meat lovers simply must take the opportunity to indulge in a grilled Florentine Steak.

Locanda dell’Isola Comacina

Locanda dell’Isola Comacina is a beautiful restaurant which is perfectly perched on the beautiful island of Isola Comacina, in Lake Como, boasting some of the most stunning restaurant views in the world.

Image source: Flickr. Copyright Lee Coursey

Bag yourself a table at the front of the patio and you’ll get unspoilt views of the perfect Lake Como and the landscape which surrounds you; comprised of staggering natural peaks combined with still blue waters and clear skies.

The menu is as divine and simple as the views, with a number of vegetable dishes to choose from for starters, and fresh fish and meat dishes for mains. You can also choose from a selection of sumptuous desserts to taste here.

Locanda dell’Isola Comacina is only accessible via a boat ride, which is spectacular in itself, making the restaurant remote and tranquil. The peaceful ambience, divine food and unforgettable views have attracted a number of famous faces, with Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Elton John all on the list of celebrities who have visited this restaurant, so you can rest assured that you’re in good company when dining here.

Nu Lounge Bar

The rustic, yet elegant tasteful furnishings and decoration of Nu Lounge Bar allow you to enjoy a unique TIKI bar experience right in the centre of Bologna.

The team at Nu Lounge Bar pride themselves on offering visitors to Bologna something entirely different; they opened the bar in 2000, mixing their international backgrounds and experiences to create somewhere inimitable. Having fully embraced the increasingly popular TIKI culture, Nu Lounge Bar is the perfect place to go for a tasty cocktail and a bite to eat in on an evening.

The bar serves a full range of TIKI cocktails, each served in eye-catching, TIKI-inspired containers; the incredible presentation of these drinks ensures that they look as good as they taste.

The ever-evolving menu here also draws from the owners’ international backgrounds, melding Italian cuisine with influences from around the world, with dishes ranging from tacos and nachos to curries and salads, so you will certainly never go hungry visiting here.

Pizzerias

Although pizza is loved internationally, it is truly synonymous with Italy, so it’s essential that you try some authentic Italian pizza while you are holidaying here. There is no shortage of specialist pizzerias throughout the country, where chefs work tirelessly to perfect their technique and master the art of cooking pizzas in the traditional Italian style.

Expect to taste soft, fluffy discs of stone-baked white dough, topped with rich tomato sauce and bubbling cheese, with an array of your favourite tasty toppings sprinkled on top.

Amazing pizzerias can be found in every city in the country, meaning you will have the chance to enjoy some delicious Italian pizza no matter where you go in Italy. So, when in Rome, make sure you stop by Da Remo pizzeria, the Pizzarium or consider visiting Nicola’s Pizzeria in Bologna or Santarpia in Florence.

If you’re in Naples, call at Di Matteo, where you can grab a slice of what locals claim to be the world’s best pizza. When the locals say it’s good, you know you’re at the right place.

Ristorante La Sponda

If you’re looking for a restaurant which offers Michelin-starred cuisine and spectacular views of the area, look no further than Ristorante La Sponda in the quaint cliffside village of Portisano.

Ristorante La Spodna provides a truly unforgettable dining experience, with every last detail thought of to ensure your meal is as enjoyable as possible. The restaurant juts out from the cliff edge, giving you unspoilt views of both the sea and the impressive cliffside, which is almost completely covered with quaint, charming buildings.

The menu here is just as spectacular as the location, serving dishes inspired by the area’s culinary traditions, each of which uses locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

As well as a restaurant, La Sponda is also home to a champagne bar, a pool bar and another separate alfresco bar on the terrace, offering panoramic views of the area. So, if you’re not hungry, you can still come here to enjoy a flavoursome cocktail while taking in the scenic views of the Amalfi Coast.

Rooftop bars

Italy is famous for its blissful climate and beautiful cityscapes, where there are either architectural masterpieces, remarkable natural phenomena or sometimes even both of these to take in as part of the view. So, sitting in one of Italy’s classic rooftop bars with a refreshing drink in hand, while enjoying the views, is a must when holidaying here.

If you’re visiting Rome, consider calling at Roof Garden Les Etoiles; this modern, elegant bar features stylish furniture and is surrounded by beautiful flower arrangements, creating a chic ambience. Better yet, the bar offers panoramic views of the city, with the famous domed roof of St. Peter’s Basilica in clear sight.

An excellent rooftop bar to visit in Milan is Ceresio7. This bar is owned by the famous fashion house Dsquared2 and is considered to be one of the most fashionable spots in the city. It features designer furniture and even a swimming pool, making it a great spot to watch the sunset at the end of a busy day.