La Dolce Vita

When I tell people I moved to Paris by accident, it’s not like I tripped and fell. But unlike many expats in this city, I’d never dreamed of living here, and didn’t come with any great intention to stay. I came for 6 months–to learn French, to get away, and now it’s been just over 6 years.

Before I made it to France, I’d spent the second of two summers in Italy. Italy was the first country I’d visited outside of the US, it was the first country I travelled to solo, and the first country I ever imagined myself living in. This is partly because of family in Lombardia, partly for obvious opera related reasons, and mostly because Italy is, well, Italy. Apart visiting my family, I hadn’t been since that summer 6 years ago, and I thought it was time that André see a bit more of the country I fell in love with when I was a kid.

So off we went to Rome, Florence & Lombardia. We ate, we drank, we walked, we suntanned, we got terribly, terribly lost, and we daydreamed about what life could be like away from the Parisian doom & gloom. And while we’re back for now, don’t be surprised if we pop up again in the Lazian sun. I’ve been singing a lot of Verdi these days, and with the discovery that Italy has quite a bit of street art & craft beer, André seems to have found a new crush as well.

Caroline’s *current* Italy address book

A Roma:

Pizzeria Ivo is serving some of the better pizza in Trastevere. Thin crusted, and slightly burned on the edges, my sausage pie hit the spot very late on our first night in town. Via San Francesco a Ripa 158

00100 is a hip little hole-in-the-wall serving slices, suppli’ (fried balls of goodness), and sandwiches to go. They are famous for inventing a sandwich made from sliced open pizza dough. I can’t say enough good things about the oxtail. They also have a good beer selection. Via Giovanni Branca

Hostaria La Boticella isn’t in any of the foodie blogs, but it should be. Our dinner here was perfection. From the fried artichoke appetizer, to truffle ravioli, to two different varieties of tiramisu, this was possibly our favorite meal in Rome. Vicolo del Leopardo, 39

Ruscioli has started a mini-empire in the center of the city, and while we didn’t visit the restaurant, the bakery is an awesome lunch spot. We took slices of several different pizzas & suppli to go, and ate in a park nearby. Via dei Giubbonari, 21

Alle Carrette A nice neighborhood place near the Forum. Just tucked behind a bunch of tourist traps, this place is reasonably priced, warm, and delicious. Via della Madonna dei Monti, 95

Roma Sparita made famous by Anthony Bourdain’s episode on Rome, you go here for the Cacio et Pepe. Having tested both their specialty, and other plates, I repeat again, you go here for the Cacio et Pepe. Piazza di Santa Cecilia, 24

Gelateria del Teatro my favorite gelato from our trip–flavors change daily, and aren’t always the simple lemon & chocolate fare. I tried honey/lemon/rosemary & chocolate/sicilian wine cream. Via di S. Simone, 70.

Bir & Fud our favorite evening stop-in, mostly for the craft beers on tap. A couple are brewed exclusively for the pub–André’s favorite being La Duchessa. Via Benedetta, 23.

Pizzeria Leoncino if you are looking for excellent pizza near the Piazza di Spagna, this is it. The waitress was, well, a character, but the pizza was very, very tasty. I’m still thinking about it. Via del Leoncino 28

Firenze:

‘Ino awesome, awesome, awesome lunch time gourmet sandwiches. I recommend anything with truffle cream. via dei Georgofili 3r/7r

All’Antico Ristoro di Cambi the steak destination in Florence. We split a bistecca Fiorentina for two, and I’m still full a month later. Via S. Onofrio 1r  50123

Il Bovaro beers are brewed on the premises, and the terrace is lovely. There’s a free happy hour snack buffet, too ! Via Pisana, 3

La Cité we stumbled on this funky bookstore/bar/café/music venue on the way home from dinner one evening. The DJ started off his set with a remix of Les Triplettes de Belleville. Borgo San Frediano 20R

La Bussola a little pricey for what it is, but the location is ideal, and the food still quite good. I had a salad and foccaccia. Also, delicious olive oil. Via Porta Rossa, 58  50123

Trattoria Sostanza our favorite meal of the trip. André had another Bistecca Fiorentina, but I tried the famous butter chicken. I’d been warned that this would be the best chicken of my life–and boy did it deliver. If you can, try and snag a table by the open kitchen. Via della Porcellana 25r

Elsewhere:

Al Portico after all of these years, the half-meter pizzas are still my favorite. If you happen through Cremona, make sure you order the house specialty–sausage and red onion. mmm. Via Bixio 12 Cremona.

Luini I tasted my first panzerotti from Luini when I was 10, and have been back every single time I was in Milan since. The line moves quickly, and the reward is oh-so-salty. Via Santa Radegonda, 16 Milano

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