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5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is among Rome’s oldest and most interesting sites, and among the top attractions when visiting the city. Built on a piece of low-lying wetland in what was to become the center of the Roman capital, the Forum was actually developed over many centuries, and it was only made possible by that most uniquely Roman of technologies—an almost 3000-year old sewer.

It features additions from numerous kings and emperors; including Caesar, Augustus, and Marc Antony, and it was also the site of many important temples and governmental buildings. Today, much of the Forum lies in ruins, although the work to preserve this ancient site is ongoing. Unsurprisingly then, the Forum retains an arcane character and there are many mysteries that have yet to be uncovered. The best way to discover them for yourself is to take a guided tour of the site, however, here’s a few of the most intriguing secrets to get you started.

The mythical founder of Rome has his tomb there

Everyone knows the story of Romulus and Remus—the brothers raised by a she-wolf. The brothers who would eventually go to war over the ideal location to found a city. That city was Rome after Romulus of course, the brother who killed Remus to settle the argument. Rome’s foundation myth is pretty violent stuff, and while many academics now believe the story developed long after the first stones of the Roman Forum were laid, the Romans actively sought to make it their own. According to historical texts, the Lapis Niger shrine was either the grave of Romulus or the site where he was murdered by the senate.

It was the Roman Republic’s gold reserve

The iconic Ionic columns of the Temple of Saturn belonged to one of the most significant buildings in the forum more than 2500 years ago. Originally built to honor Jupiter, but then changed to Saturn at some point in history, the function of the building was somewhat surprising. Basically, it was the very first Roman bank, and huge quantities of gold, silver and other precious materials were stored there.

It could be a pretty gory place

Despite its marble facades and palatial grandeur, the Roman Forum could be a pretty gory place. Sacrifices were often made to honor the many Roman gods, but perhaps most disturbingly, the central Rostra was used to publicly display the severed head and hands of Cicero. After Caesar’s death, a power struggle ensued between Marc Anthony and Cicero, with the latter being captured while attempting to flee the Italian peninsula, only to meet a particularly bloody end.

It was nothing more than a cow field for around 1000 years

After the Roman Empire collapsed, the temples of the Forum were used as Christian churches, however, over time, new churches were built around the site which would eventually take the place of the crumbling temples. Around the 8th-century, the Roman Forum was pretty much abandoned, with much of the marble being removed and used in other structures. It quickly became a dumping ground and this once sacred piece of land became known as the Campo Vaccino (cattle field). It stayed this way for almost 1000 years until excavations began in the 18th and 19th century.

Recent excavations have dated the Forum at more than a century older than first thought

Excavations at the site continue today, and relatively recently, archeologists made a rather startling discovery. Close to the Lapis Niger, a wall that was part of a channel used to bring water from local aquifers was uncovered. Surrounding the wall were pottery remains and food scraps that dated the construction back a full century earlier than previously thought.

The post 5 Surprising Facts about the Roman Forum appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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The best beach restaurants in Ostia, Fiumicino and Fregene

From April to October, it’s tradition to head to the Roman seaside and indulge in delicious seafood lunches. The beautiful weather, the sound of the waves, the fresh breeze, yummy food, and chilled bottles of wine are more than worth the 45-minute drive from Rome! The Roman coast is characterized by different areas: Fiumicino, Ostia and Fregene. To get to these areas it takes between a 30 to 45-minute drive from Rome, depending from where you are. Here are three of my favorite beach restaurants in Fiumicino, Ostia and Fregene.

The best beach restaurants in Fiumicino

Fiumicino is the perfect place for a seafood lunch. It’s just a 15-minute drive from the Roma-Fiumicino airport, so perfect for a farewell lunch. Of course, if I’m going to the Roman seaside for lunch it’s because I expect to have a view of the sea. And where better to admire the sea than from a splendid patio overlooking the Mediterranean? Lucky for you, Gina a Porto Romano in Fiumicino offers just that! It’s located on a quiet street right next to the Porto Romano Yacht Club. The food is phenomenal and they have a quality wine selection. If you dine here make sure to reserve a spot in the outdoor patio and order either the tuna tartare or the octopus salad as an appetizer, TRUST ME!

Via Costalunga, 31, Fiumicino
+39 06 658 3143
40+ EUR
Visa, American Express and MasterCard

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The best beach restaurants in Ostia

Ostia is located in the south of Rome and is packed with delicious restaurants and beach clubs. My ultimate favorite place for lunch or dinner in Ostia is La Vecchia Pineta. Apart from the beautiful indoor area decorated with portholes, the strong point of La Vecchia Pineta is its stunning outdoor veranda overlooking the Mediterranean. For a delightful lunch on a sunny day or for a romantic outing with your partner this place is simply perfect. Definitely order the crunchy baby squids with balsamic vinegar reduction and leek straw as an appetizer, the black fettuccine with veracious clams and pumpkin flowers as a first course and the juicy turbot with roasted potatoes as a second course. You’ll thank me later!

Piazzale dell’Aquilone, 4, Lido di Ostia
+39 06 5647 0255
50+ EUR
Visa, American Express and MasterCard

The best beach restaurants in Fregene

Fregene is to the north of Fiumicino and Ostia and it’s known as a famous Roman summer retreat. Although the sea water is not exactly what I like, the food in this area is really good and it’s the perfect place for happy hour sunsets. My favorite restaurant in Fregene is Il Sogno del Mare.  While in comparison to the previous two Il Sogno del Mare is less fancy, its restaurant has nothing to envy! Must-orders are the salmon tartare, the shrimp tartare with stracciatella cheese and the fried squids and calamari. For a first course, the paccheri tricolore are the way to go! They also have a great wine selection and the staff is friendly. Just a heads up, when you reserve make sure to ask for a table either under the sun (during spring/autumn) and on the shade but on the sand during the hot summer months.

Lungomare di Ponente, 25, Fregene
+39 06 6656 2812
40+ EUR
Visa and MasterCard

Check out my guide to the best seafood restaurants in Rome

The post Lunch at the beach: restaurants on the seaside of Rome appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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Where to go in Italy and when

You can’t disagree with me when I say that Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. A vast array of landscapes, seaside escapes, culture and ancient cities, plus unparalleled views and divine cuisine. Each and every part of the Italian peninsula deserves to be explored. But here are just a few that you should absolutely put on your to-see list.

Rome

best time to visit Rome: September – June

No matter how many times you visit it, the Eternal City will always leave a mark on your emotions. Its outstanding beauty, its monumental gigantism, its cult of the aesthetics, its sensual atmosphere, its warm and hospitable inhabitants, and its great weather by far outnumber the cons a city born 27 centuries ago may have. You will walk through an open living museum with the largest historic district on Earth. As you stroll around, the Roman Empire’s legacy is everywhere and the more you indulge yourself with it, the more you become part of it, with a rising awareness of the privilege you are living by visiting it.  Vatican City, a totally independent country in the heart of Italy’s capital, is a must-visit marvel, from Saint Peter’s basilica to the Vatican Museums. Don’t miss out on the views from Gianicolo Hill or Trinità dei Monti… Rome’s roof is a show of beauty and a lesson of architecture altogether. The Eternal City is beautiful year-round but the best times to visit it is in springtime, September and October.

Check out my guide to 7 days in Rome

Assisi & Umbria

best time to visit Umbria: March – December

Known as the green heart of Italy, Umbria is a stunning region packed with medieval towns perched up hilly landscapes and mountains. From the beautiful city of Perugia (very well known for its chocolate), to the stunning town of Assisi and  Montefalco, you’ll sure have a lot of exploring to do! The home of St. Francis, Assisi is a hilltop town you can’t not visit on your trip to Italy. Characteristic homes, beautiful churches and basilicas, stunning views of the Umbrian countryside and sunsets that take your breath away are in store for you. Indulge in regional cuisine with dishes such as truffle tagliatelle and cured meats and cheeses with glasses of hearty red wines. Go on walks exploring the countryside and Mount Subasio. If you’re a wine lover, indulge in wine tastings and immerse yourself in the wine cellars of Lungarotti, Arnaldo Caprai, Perticaia, Antonelli, Ruggeri and so many more. While if you’re into nature, go on walking trails or horseback riding in the mountains to escape from every day life. If you’re into adrenaline-pumping activities, parachuting and rafting may also be an option! Assisi is also the perfect base to explore Umbria, with beautiful towns such as Montefalco, Perugia and Spoleto just a short drive away. Don’t miss out Assisi in May with the famous Calendimaggio, in autumn for wine tasting and winter to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

Read more about Umbria

Bologna & Emilia Romagna

best time to visit Bologna & Emilia Romagna: September – June

Bologna is a city of contrasts. Located in central Italy in the rich Po valley, it’s a city that will capture you with its Medieval architecture, porticoes, views and amazing food. Its known for having the most ancient university in the western world – L’Alma Mater Sudiorum – founded in 1088, from which Bologna’s nickname La Dotta (“the learned one”) comes from. It’s also famous for being the birthplace of tagliatelle alla bolognese, tortellini and mortadella! If you’re a lover of cold cuts and cheeses, Bologna is paradise: Mortadella, Culatello di Parma, Salame, Squacquerone cheese. Not to mention that it’s the city of towers, considered a skyscraper city in Medieval times for having over 100 towers. If you’re a motorcycle or race car fan, chances are you’ve heard about the Motor Valley – the industrial district situated in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region specialized in the automotive industry. This area, mainly concentrated in Bologna, Modena, Cento and Argenta,  is renowned worldwide for being the birthplace of some of the world’s leading automotive brands: Ducati, Ferrari and Lamborghini.  The Motor Valley is also characterized by museums, racetracks, factories and sports competitions, making it an authentic “land of engines”. Which means you can visit the Lamborghini, Ducati and Ferrari museums, racetracks and factories during your stay in Bologna.

Check out my guide to Bologna

Venice

best time to visit Venice: September – May

A trip to Venezia will fill you with joy, mystery and fascination. Rising up the Venetian Lagoon, stretching along the mouth of the Po and Piave Rivers, is this astonishing city that just so happens to be the ultimate romantic retreat. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and known to be one of the most beautiful cities on Earth, Venice is simply one of those earthly corners that must be explored. Its unusual yet fascinating life on the lagoon, the gondolas cruising up and down the canals, the Renaissance architecture all throughout, and the mysteries hidden in each of its narrow streets make your heart race just by thinking you will visit it.  From exploring the marble-dressed palazzos, to enjoying the stunning vistas, and breathing the romantic and unique vibe, your stay in Venice will be like no other. And of course, visiting Burano and Murano, and breathing in the spirit of the Venetian Carnival are simply musts.  The best time to visit Venezia is from September to May, avoid the summer season packed with tourist crowds and unbearably hot weather.

Check out where to eat in Venice

Florence & Tuscany

best time to visit Florence & Tuscany: September – June

Tuscany offers everything one can wish for: breathtaking landscapes, medieval towns, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, outstanding castles and beautiful seaside locations. And let’s not forget about the exceptional food and array of fresh local products such as cured meats, olive oil, cheese and bread. If you’re a wine lover, exploring the Tuscan region will be like entering heaven: the Chianti wine region, the Brunello di Montalcino in Val d’Orcia, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the delicious Vernaccia in San Gimignano are just a few of the local wine productions. And definitely don’t miss out on Florence, the stunning city soaked in ochre and earth tones. The city of Galileo Galilei, the residence of the powerful Medici family, the home of Michelangelo’s David, a place where art and history blend to create the perfect balance. Stroll down the cobblestone streets and discover historic aristocratic residences and jaw-dropping architecture. Sit on the banks of the Arno River and overlook the iconic Ponte Vecchio with its small jewellery stalls. Admire the magical sunset and indulge in “la bella vita”.

Read more about Tuscany

Portovenere & Cinque Terre

best time to visit Portovenere & Cinque Terre: May – September

Dotted along the Liguarian coastline overlooking the Bay of Poets is this small fisherman village. If you’ve never heard of Portovenere, you’re not the only one. While hoards of tourists flock to the famous Cinque Terre on the Ligurian Riviera, the picturesque Portovenere remains less crowded and definitely Liguria’s best-kept secret. Crystalline waters, a small yet bustling port, divine local cuisine and a town that is so colorful it seems like a splash of colors.  But the best part about Portovenere are its views. Anyone who is into views cannot leave Portovenere out of their itinerary. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this pearl of the Ligurian coastline has marvellous panoramas that can be admired from its scenic viewpoints. It comes as no surprise that famous poets sought inspiration for their works in Portovenere’s beauty. Portovenere has it all: history, culture, views, food and beautiful waters perfect for a swim! Plus, the wild Palmaria island is right in front of Portovenere if you want to head to the beach, and boats to Cinque Terre leave every hour.

Check out my guide to Portovenere

Amalfi Coast

best time to visit the Amalfi Coast: May – October

The Amalfi Coast is a rush of emotions. It brings you joy and happiness, and makes you feel on top of the world. Driving one curve after the other is already a sight in itself. The cliff tunnels, the stunning views and the picturesque towns are too good to be true. From Positano and Praiano to Amalfi and Ravello, the colourful towns of the Amalfi Coast are like no other in the world. And the hospitality, well, we’re in the south of Italy, and it doesn’t get any more hospitable than this! If relaxation is what you’re looking for, the Amalfi Coast offers incredible spas in luxury five-star hotels, and for those that are searching for a simple dip in the crystalline waters, the pebbly beaches or a private boat ride are the perfect way to start your holiday. During the day, excursions to UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Pompeii or Villa Oplitis are a must, and afterwords, a delicious lunch in one of the local restaurants is mandatory. But don’t forget to stroll down the streets of Positano, buying handmade leather shoes or spectacular Vietri ceramics. And by all means, don’t miss out on a fabulous cocktail before the sun sets. Summer is packed with tourists, so reserve your accommodation well in advance and try to avoid visiting in August.

Read everything about the Amalfi Coast

Ponza

best time to visit Ponza: June – September

Ponza is a magical island. You’ve probably heard that about most islands, but this one will have a special place in your heart. As you arrive with your ferryboat from Monte Circeo, your eyes will be glued to the the green landscape, the fascinating rock incisions on the coastline, and the charming colors of the island’s characteristic port. From the houses in the port and Santa Maria, to the turquoise, transparent and blue sea water, everything is a splash of color. Hire a boat for the day and explore one beach cove to the next. From the scenery of Chiaia di Luna and the Arco Naturale, to the splendid Cala Lucia Rosa and the island of Palmarola, you’ll have lots of beach coves to visit. And it’s not just the water that’s amazing, the whole panorama is jaw-dropping. For foodies, the island is a true treat to the palate. A simple yet inventive Mediterranean cuisine awaits you, in stunning restaurants with unparalleled views. The sunsets? To die for. You know the best part? It’s only a one hour ferry-ride from San Felice Circeo and super close to Rome!

Read more about Ponza Island

Capri

best time to visit Capri: May – October

Few destinations need so many words to describe them, yet when you try to describe them you find yourself with a loss of words. That’s when you truly realise that a place is magical. From emperor Tiberius, to famous poets and writers, Capri has always drawn people from all around the world. And who can blame them? If you haven’t had a taste of this island, you can’t fully understand what makes people come back to it over and over again. The natural beauty of Capri makes it marvellous. The sloping mountains, the crystalline waters, the hidden sea caves – it’s simply romantic. Capri is so far from our every day lives, yet so close to it: once you land at Marina Grande you feel like you’ve crossed an ocean, yet you’ve only crossed a few kilometers of the Gulf of Naples. Capri is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Swimming in its crystalline waters, walking along its trails, going on boat tours to discover its hidden caverns, sipping coffee on the Piazzetta or tasting first-class seafood in one of its restaurants is what Capri is all about. And yes, it also has a fun and cosmopolitan nightlife. It’s no wonder Capri has been nicknamed “the living room of the world”.

The post Italy: beautiful places to visit and when appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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Amalfi Coast restaurants: where to eat in Positano

Positano’s magical setting makes it the perfect place to dine out with your friends or partner. The charming setting, the views of the sea and the delicious local food make it a must-try when it comes to lunch or dinner. So if you’re stopping by this stunning Amalfi Coast town on your trip to the costiera, here’s a list of my favorite restaurants in Positano.

Buca di Bacco  Via Rampa Teglia, 4
€50+
bucadibaccopositano

A stone’s throw away from Spiaggia Grande, Buca di Bacco holds a special place is my heart.  It’s the first restaurant I’ve dined at in the Amalfi Coast, and it’s also where we celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday years ago.  To have the amazing dining experience that you deserve, let me in you on a little secret. Buca di Bacco is set on three floors: the ground floor hosts the cafe and bar, and the second and third floors are dedicated to the restaurant. But while the second floor restaurant has beautiful views of the sea, the third floor is the real deal, and it’s a must that you get yourself a table there. As you arrive to the third floor, a rooftop with only eight tables awaits you. Here, you will have the ultimate romantic experience, dining under the starry sky and with the sea right in front of you. The lights are dimmed, the tables candle-lit, and a few string lights give it an extra glow. Now, if this atmosphere isn’t the perfect way to being your Amalfi Coast trip, I don’t know what will do! I can only tell you that the food is just as exceptional. What’s great about Amalfi Coast cuisine is that the food isn’t very elaborated, it’s simple, the ingredients are what make the dishes unforgettable. To start off, the salmon tartare is so delicious I can’t even describe. And if you like courgette flowers, you must try their fried ones! To continue, outstanding seafood and fish awaits you, but as an Italian, I went for the good-old pasta dish, the scialiatielli (a typical Neapolitan thick pasta) with seafood, and they were definitely the right choice to make. And to accompany your meal, the wine selection is superb.

Chez Black Via del Brigantino, 19
€60+
ristorantechezblack

Immersed in the magic of Positano, just off the beautiful Spiaggia Grande, Chez Black is one of the Amalfi Coast’s most delicious restaurants. As you walk along Positano’s beautiful seafront, something will definitely catch your eye, it’s Chez Black’s ship, and no, it’s not on the water! Established in 1949, Chez Black faces the wonderful Spiaggia Grande and features a characteristic design. Its decor, inspired by a traditional wooden ship, features sleek wooden panelling all throughout, and beautiful wooden columns and chairs in an open space. Warm, lively and fun are the adjectives that best describe the atmosphere at this restaurant. And rest assured that the staff is friendly and fun, and will definitely contribute to a fabulous dining experience. But wait until you open the menu to be fully surprised. Local produce, fresh ingredients and simplicity reign in this restaurant. As a starter, the octopus carpaccio is divine and melts in your mouth, but to get a taste of the ultimate fresh ingredients, the buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes and basil is just heaven on a plate.  And this is just to start off your meal. Wait until you order the spaghetti with sea urchin, Chez Black’s signature dish, served in a giant sea urchin-shaped plate! Yum! But if soups are your thing, the local fish soup, prepared using Positano’s original fisherman’s recipe, is literally to die for and rich with flavour! And of course, your meal is not perfect until you order a dessert from the dessert trolley, and I definitely suggest the delizia al limone: fluffy, creamy, lemony and just perfect.

Il Capitano  Viale Pasitea, 119
€40+

Il Capitano has front-row seats to Positano’s beautiful cliffside village, boasting stunning panoramic views of the Amalfi Coast while being immersed in a magical setting. Situated on top of the cliffside village, Il Capitano is the restaurant to go if you want to admire the colors of Positano change as the sun sets, and the lights of the small village and the Amalfi Coast turn on. Just a bit of breezy wind makes the evening perfect, and the candle-lit tables create a magical atmosphere. At times, they also have live music playing, but this is usually early in the evening. If you’re a late diner like I am, you’ll probably go to dinner around 10pm, so that will make it way easier for you to get a front-terrace table. If you’re an early diner, make sure to call in advance and to specifically ask for the front-terrace table, it will definitely make the difference. So Il Capitano has a fabulous atmosphere and a stunning view, but it doesn’t stop there. This panoramic restaurant also serves delicious food! As a starter, my personal favorite is the fish soup or the octopus salad, followed by the paccheri alla pescatrice (pasta with seafood), or the delicious spaghetti alla chitarra al nero di seppia, yummy. The wine selection is also excellent, ask the kind service for suggestions. And to finish off your meal, the desserts are delicious, but the limoncello here is even better.

La Sponda  Via San Sebastiano, 2
€90+
lesirenuse Press picture from sirenuse.it

As one of the most romantic restaurants in the Amalfi Coast – if not the world – La Sponda is dedicated to those that want to live an unforgettable dining experience. Walking inside La Sponda restaurant inside the stunning Le Sirenuse Hotel, you will feel like you’ve been cast under a spell. Enchanting is the word that comes to mind. The setting is as romantic as it gets,  lit up by 400 candles that create the most intimate atmosphere and the most magical scenario for a meal to remember. In what occasion should you come dine at La Sponda? A special one, of course. The restaurant has an indoor and outdoor area that seem like they just came out of a Disney movie. The terrace is sensational: dining in a candlelit setting while overlooking the Mediterranean and Positano is incomparable. And I’m not the only one to think so, the Michelin guide has awarded La Sponda a Michelin star.

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Next2 Via Pasitea, 242
€60+
next2positano

Away from the crowds of Spiaggia Grande, immersed in a chic setting, Next2 is an outstanding restaurant that serves  a mix of tradition and innovation. Its outdoor veranda is the perfect place to soak up on a summer evening. The menu is a tribute to fresh local ingredients, from the starters all the way to the main courses, fresh products are used to create the most delicious dishes. I highly recommend the deep fried small pizza with fresh buffalo mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil  or the zucchini blossom filled with ricotta cheese and zucchini parmigiana. Followed by the homemade gnocchi with pumpkins, clams and cuttlefish or the delicious mixed seafood grill or catch of the day. And to accompany your meal, a fabulous wine selection awaits you. And of course, desserts have their part in the meal! if you have a sweet tooth, you’re in the right place, or maybe you’d like to finish off with a yummy limoncello? But don’t leave just yet, Next2 with its cool jazz background music is also a great location to stop by for cocktails before heading to the famous Music on the Rocks. Don’t forget to make a reservation.

The post The best restaurants in Positano appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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Where the locals eat in Assisi: the best restaurants

Assisi isn’t just known for its jaw-dropping Basilica of St. Francis, or its ancient fortress. This beautiful hilly town is also home to some delicious Umbrian restaurants that are sure to get your taste buds tingling. Whether you’re on the hunt for some traditional or gourmet food, here are the best restaurants in Assisi to taste those Umbrian flavours.

Trattoria Pallotta Vicolo della Volta Pinta
Wednesday – Monday from 12.15pm – 2.30pm / 7.15pm – 11pm
€35
hoteltrattoriapallotta

If you’re searching for local, traditional and delicious cuisine in Assisi, this family-run restaurant in front of Piazza del Comune is a must.  The setting is simple yet elegant and the food is extraordinary, as is the wine selection. Even though I always glance at the menu, it’s inevitable that I end up ordering the same two dishes over and over again. You know that feeling when you’re having dinner in one of those familiar places and you’re craving THAT dish? That’s how I feel every time I set foot in Trattoria Pallotta. So what are these delicious dishes? My all-time favorite first course is the cappellacci al pecorino di fossa e miele di acacia (cappellacci with cheese and honey). As a second course, I always go for the rosemary beef tagliata that my mom also orders. But I’ve also tried other dishes, I actually  always end up having a bite of everyone’s dish (you don’t want to be sitting next to me at this restaurant). The strangozzi al tartufo (pasta with truffles), is a classic Umbrian dish that seriously deserves a try. Another outstanding one for those that like duck is the pappardelle al ragout di anatra e mirtilli (pasta with duck ragout and cranberry sauce). And the best for last, the piccione alla ghiotta con crostone (pigeon).  Everything at Trattoria Pallotta is delicious, truly. And the cozy and familiar atmosphere is just the cherry on top of the cake after a long day walking around Assisi and the Umbrian countryside. If you have a sweet tooth, the chocolate soufflé with oranges is delightful, and of course, a glass of sweet wine is a must to finish off your meal! Don’t forget to make a reservation.

Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba  Via S Gabriele dell Addolorata, 15/b
 Tuesday – Sunday from 12.30pm – 2.30pm / 7.30pm – 10.30pm
€30
piazzettadellerba

Over the years, it seems like  yummy restaurants are popping out like grasshoppers in Assisi! Of course everyone wants to try a local traditional trattoria or taste the famous pizza al testo, but who isn’t up for some gourmet cuisine? I know I am! Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba is charming with a lovely outdoor dining area that sits on a small piazza just 100 meters from Piazza del Comune. Tables covered in printed patterns, colourful tableware and green plants set the tone. And for those that prefer dining indoor, a cozy dining room with vaulted ceilings awaits you.  But it’s not just the shabby-chic setting that will catch your eye, that will just lure you into reading the menu. The food is definitely something to look forward to. We started out our dining experience with a shared plate of zucchini flowers filled with anchovies and mozzarella in a zucchini sauce, amazing.  They were a special of the day. I  continued with a spectacular red shrimp tartare, stracciatella, passion fruit and carasau bread which was phenomenal. And to finish off,  a cockerel filled with lard and truffles with a potato cream)which just left me craving for more! Also the wine selection is great, with Italian wines from different regions on the list. If you’re unsure, the sommelier will surely help you make the best pairing with your meal.

EAT OUT Osteria Gourmet Via Eremo delle Carceri, 1A
Monday – Sunday from 7.30pm – 10.30pm
€40+
eatoutassisi

In the five-star Nun Relais and Spa Museum, there aren’t just luxurious rooms and a relaxing spa to take advantage of. There’s also the famous EAT OUT Osteria Gourmet restaurant, a place where all your senses will be pleasantly awakened.  If you’re a wine enthusiast, nothing will stop you from admiring the restaurant’s amazing wine collection on display at the entrance. Nothing except for the view of Assisi’s fortress illuminated by the colors of the sunset!  For me, dining in the terrace was simply a must. ! If you arrive at 8pm during summer, you’ll have the luxury of sipping a glass of wine while witnessing the sky turn into shades of yellow, orange, pink and blue.  For those that want to dine indoors, the atmosphere is cozy and elegant, and the jaw-dropping view of Assisi is right there for you to admire from the restaurant’s large windows.  But it’s not just the incredible views that will take you back to this restaurant, EAT OUT Osteria Gourmet serves excellent Italian and regional dishes with a contemporary twist.  We started out with the zucchini tempura and its flowers with yogurt flavoured with wild herbs and Francesco Rossi’s selection of goat cheese. To continue, we ordered a seafood special of the day, and I had the sublime tortello stuffed with ricotta cheese and fiordilatte, zucchini cream and herring roe (a must)! To accompany it all, a great Chardonnay of Castello della Sala. And if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be excited to read the desserts menu!Don’t forget to make a reservation.

Check out the best foodie experiences in Umbria

The post The best restaurants in Assisi appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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Where to go for Milanese happy hour

Everyone knows that Milan is famous for its aperitivo, namely happy hour. Around 6.30pm – 7pm bars get flooded with locals who are ready to indulge in yummy food paired with cocktails, wine and beer. And if you’re visiting Milan, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t dive into this culinary treat! Keep reading, I’ve listed some of the best bars for aperitivo in Milan.

Rebelot del Pont Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 55 (Navigli)
Wednesday – Saturday from 6pm – 2am / Sunday from 12pm – 12am / Monday from 6pm – 2am
  Tasting menu (3, 5, 7 plates): €18 / €35 / €48

You know what happens when you go to a happy hour buffet? People hoard over the food. And guess who never gets the food she wants. Yes, you guessed right: me. So it’s not really my fault if over the years I haven’t become a huge happy hour buffet fan. I’m not saying that all happy hour buffets are a terrible idea, but lots of them are. That’s why I’d rather spend a bit more, but get exactly what I want. And if you’re in the Navigli district, and you’re not a fan of happy hour buffets, head to Rebelot del Pont. At Rebelot del Pont things are done the old-fashion way. Meaning you sit down, you order a drink, and then you can also choose from a variety of different happy hour formulas. Gourmet formulas! Apart from yummy cold-cuts, cheeses, homemade grissini and olives, there are three different tasting menus made up of 3, 5 or 7 small tasting portions that you can choose from or have created by the chef.  So while you sip your yummy cocktail, glass of wine or prosecco, you get to taste delicious dishes that’ll get your taste buds tingling! All this while being immersed in a relaxed atmosphere, covered in wood and bricks that creates a cozy setting, and with a kitchen bar where you can sit down and see the chefs in action!

N’Ombra de Vin Via S. Marco, 2(Brera)
Monday – Sunday from 10am – 2am
 €10-30

Sipping great wine surrounded by countless wine bottles is every wine lovers’ dream. While there are lots of wineries where you can sip wine surrounded by wine bottles, most of them aren’t like this one. While during the day N’ombra de Vin is a relaxing place to taste yummy food paired with exceptional wines, from happy hour till the after hours  it transforms itself into one of those super cool wine bars where music, wine, and food are the protagonists. The atmosphere is dynamic, frequented by people of all ages, from university students to older adults. On the weekend N’Ombra de Vin is the place to be, especially on Thursday night, with great drinks and live music that will make you dance on tables. It’s set on two floors, but the best part is the underground area: a big space with a magnificent collection of almost 3000 wine bottles! The underground looks like an antique wine cellar and its vaulted ceilings, beautiful columns and wine bottles coming from all around the world create a fantastic atmosphere. The highlight at N’Ombra de Vin are its delicious happy-hours, with excellent wine glasses or bottles accompanied by pizza, cheeses, olives, cold cuts and much more. Apart from extraordinary wine bottles, you can also order from a selection of dishes that accompany your wine to perfection.

Mag Cafè Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 43 (Navigli)
Monday – Sunday from 8am – 2am
 €8-10

Milan has many different shades. For those that want to relax and enjoy a cocktail in a retro-style bar in the lively Navigli district, MAG Cafe is the place to go. Breakfast, lunch, happy hour or after dinner cocktails, it’s always the perfect time to stop by MAG. The cocktails are seriously good, created by two bartenders who really love their jobs. At MAG Cafe you will find a sophisticated selection of cocktails that will blow you away, each served in unique glasses bought from different places around the world. Let’s just say that if you’re into mixology, you’ve stepped in the master’s door.  But it’s not only the cocktails that are wooing in the customers, the whole vibe at MAG Cafe is super cool, with jazzy sounds floating around. It has this mix of Parisian 1930s style with a somewhat unusual mix of objects and furniture. The result? Bohemian and just perfect. From the frames hanging off the walls, to the dimmed lights and books, to the SUPER COOL wooden bar counter showcasing the countless liquor bottles, everything mixes together to create that cozy yet cool atmosphere.

Dry Via Solferino, 33 (Brera)
Monday – Sunday from 7pm – 1.30am
 €8-20

Dry has become one of those trendy meeting points in Milan’s Brera district for a delicious aperitivo, an after-dinner drink or to simply taste some yummy Neapolitan-style pizza. Apart from the cool background music floating in the air, Dry’s whole design gives it an edge. The unrefined stucco, the stripped walls and the simple and rough colors give it a retro style that instantly creates a cool mood. One side of Dry is dedicated to the bar area with a beautiful bar counter where the bartender puts on a show with his cocktail-making skills. The other side is dedicated to the pizzeria, where a more simple yet modern style comes to life. The cocktails are absolutely delicious, the selection is vast with a lot of creative drinks and with a section dedicated to  the “vintage” and “forgotten” cocktails that will blow you away. Forget about your typical Aperol Spritz or Mojito, dive into the unknown and have the bartender lure you with some new recipes! Wine lovers, Dry hasn’t forgotten about you, there is a good wine selection as well, but I definitely recommend you try the cocktails! For happy hour, you will be served some finger-food along with your cocktail, or you can order from the menu some fresh bruschette or focacce to accompany your drink. If you want to prolong your stay, order those yummy pizzas with additional seasonings such as raw cured ham aged 24 months, oven baked prosciutto.

Radio Rooftop Bar  Piazza della Repubblica, 13 (Repubblica)
Monday – Sunday from 7pm – 1am
Cocktails €15-18

Radio Rooftop Milan is one of the coolest places to have aperitivo.  Located on the 10th floor of the five-star hotel ME Milan Il Duca , you know you’re in for a great experience from the moment you step inside the elevator. When you arrive to the hotel lobby, go down the hall and to the left and you will find an elevator labeled “D” that will take you to the hotel’s 10th floor. As the elevator doors open, the dimmed lights, hip background music and cool contemporary setting immediately grab you and set the tone. No reservations are taken, so I suggest you don’t arrive after 7pm (especially if you’re a large group).  As you are taken to your seat, the beautiful Milanese skyline unfolds, and during the good season, the beautiful rooftop terrace is open and offers the perfect spot to enjoy the skyline. The cocktails at Radio Rooftop Milan are creative and delicious. I ordered the Passion Me and a French 75, while my sister had an Aperol Spritz and a Mojito. Our friends had prosecco. The aperitivo comes with some yummy finger food, but you can also order from a selection of delicious snacks. The fried sage and the pumpkin cream with pop corn are wonderful.

Ceresio 7 Via Ceresio, 7
Monday – Sunday from 12pm – 1am
Cocktails €15-18

Rooftop bars have been the IT places for a long time now. You’d expect the trend to go away but honestly, what beats a great cocktail paired with a panoramic view? And Milan has a few rooftop terraces that are definitely worth the try. One of the trendiest ones is located in the historical Enel building and overlooks the Milanese Financial District. Oh, and it has been designed with the touch of Dean and Dan! This rooftop terrace is Ceresio 7, and for those that like to dine in a cool atmosphere, Ceresio 7 also has an Italian restaurant serving delicious seafood, meat and pasta dishes with a contemporary twist.e.  But to be honest, happy hour or after-dinner drinks are the real deal at Ceresio 7. First off, the setting is wonderful, there are two swimming pools and you get to enjoy your drinks by the pool in a refined ambiance. During winter, the outdoor area is heated, but there is also a nice indoor lounge where you can enjoy your drinks.  There are background vibes floating in the air and the whole atmosphere is just perfect. For happy hour, along with your drinks you will be served some homemade chips, small seafood tartares, olives and other finger food. But you may also order something from the happy hour menu.

The post The best aperitivo spots in Milan appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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The best place to stay in Assisi

So many people ask me where they should stay in Umbria. “Is Assisi a good option or is it too touristic?” is the most common question I get asked. My answer? Assisi is definitely not too touristic, trust me! To tell you the truth, I find Assisi a breath of fresh air. Sure, there are lots of pilgrims coming to see the Basilica of Saint Francis, but Assisi has that authentic Umbrian town vibe, and everything – from the shops to the restaurants – is pretty local. You’ll stumble upon a few tourist traps or two, if you’re not too careful, but that happens pretty much anywhere in the globe. I’m here to help you make your Umbrian experience an unforgettable one, and if you ask me, the first thing that matters when planning my trip somewhere is the accommodation. Am I right?

Now, please oh please don’t be one of those people who comes to Umbria searching for an ultra modern hotel room, with the same tiles and colors you’d find in a hotel in NYC. One of the best things about traveling is immersing yourself in different cultures, styles and homes. And coming to Umbria means staying in homes, B&B or hotels with wood-beamed ceilings, terracotta flooring and beautiful views. Whether you’ve chosen Assisi as your Umbrian base because it’s a charm, or because of its proximity to beautiful Umbrian towns, all I can say is that you’ve made the perfect decision.

Staying in Assisi’s Centro Storico: Casa Vacanze Vista Bella

So back to the original question: where to stay in Assisi? First of all, the centro storico, or historic center, is without a doubt the place you should stay in. Not only you’ll be able to say goodbye to your car and parking nightmares, you’ll be footsteps away from anything. And if strolling around town, taking in the sweeping views and reaching restaurants and attractions within a few minutes sounds like perfection, my home could definitely be the place for your perfect Umbrian trip. I have a family home in Assisi and now we’ve turned it into a holiday home. It’s a three-storey house with a beautiful terrace overlooking the Umbrian countryside and the bell-tower of the Basilica of Santa Chiara. It’s in the centro storico, on Via Borgo Aretino, just 100m from Santa Chiara and 300m from Piazza del Comune.

Panoramic terrace on the last floor First room First room Second room Bathroom Bathroom Second living room on top floor Second living room on top floor Second living room on top floor First living room on first floor First living room on first floor View of the countryside from panoramic terrace

My favorite part is the terrace on the last floor where you can sip a glass of local red wine while admiring the sunset. It’s truly a vision. Super romantic for dinners with your loved one, of fun dinners wit your friends. The house is truly beautiful, it was redecorated by my mom, who’s an interior designer. The rooms definitely have that Umbrian charm I was talking about, and wood-beamed ceilings can be found on the last floor. It’s the perfect house for 4 friends or two couples.

Information on the house

Floors: 3

First floor:  kitchen, dining room, powder room

Second floor: 2 bedrooms with queen beds, 2 bathrooms, one with shower one with bath tub

Third floor: living room, wood-beamed ceilings, panoramic terrace with table for 6 people

Guests: 4

Minimum stay: 2 nights

Price: €120/night with Airbnb, €114/night through the blog

Amenities

Essentials:  Towels, bed sheets, soap, and toilet paper

Basic: Wi-Fi, heating, fans, hot water, washer, iron

Dining: kitchen, table in living room, table on terrace

Family Features: pack’n play/travel crib

Attractions near the house

Basilica di Santa Chiara: 100m 
Piazza del Comune: 400m
Basilica di San Francesco: 1km
Grocery store on the same street

Book the house on Airbnb or by filling the form below

You can book the house on airbnb

or book/inquire directly by filling the form below and receiving a 5% discount:

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We’ll think about pointing you to the right direction, helping you with restaurants and making your trip unforgettable.

The post Exploring Umbria: where to stay in Assisi appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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The best Amalfi Coast town to stay in as a base

Everyone has to visit the Amalfi Coast at least once in their life. It’s this long stretch of coast filled with fishermen villages along the Campania region, and it’s truly breathtaking. While Positano and Amalfi are the most famous towns on the Amalfi Coast, there are many other towns for you to stay in and use as a base. Certainly none beat the charming town of Positano in terms of uniqueness. But if you want to visit the Amalfi Coast in July – August, I recommend you stay somewhere else. The reason? The prices … and the crowds. Prices in Positano have plummeted, and for good reason. But the Amalfi Coast is filled with amazing coastal towns for you to stay in.  Instead of Positano, stay in the beautiful and under the radar town of Praiano, a lovely fisherman village halfway between Positano and Amalfi. Praiano is THE place to stay in to enjoy stunning views extending from the Bay of Positano to the island of Capri, wow sunsets, great beaches and full sunlight from sunrise to sunset. You get to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the Amalfi Coast while being just a 20-minute drive from Positano and Amalfi. And if you’re into hiking, the Sentiero degli Dei trail will surely not disappoint.

Where to stay in Praiano

Whether you’re searching for a luxury hotel or a budget accommodation, here are the best places to stay in Praiano.

Hotel Onda Verde: 4* luxury hotel in Praiano

Hotel Onda Verde is a luxurious retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Step inside this hotel to have all the comforts you’re searching for. From 25 refined bedrooms and stunning views of the sea to a delicious and vast breakfast buffet prepared by the chef and a great infinity pool, this four star hotel meets every criteria for a perfect Italian holiday.  The beach,  beach clubs and restaurants are located just 50 meters from the hotel. To top it all off, the staff is extremely professional and ready to meet your every need.

Hotel Torre Saracena: 3* oasis of tranquility in Praiano

Enchanting position, boasting beautiful views of the Amalfi Coast. The rooms are simple but cozy, and the breakfast buffet served in the outdoor terrace is delightful. Hotel Torre Saracena is situated just above Hotel Onda Verde and is the perfect alternative for those who don’t want to give up on the views and location, but want to pay a lower price. The staff is super kind and available to help you with anything you may need.

Da Alfonso a Mare: 3* budget beach hotel in Praiano

While the rooms aren’t thought out to the last detail, this hotel offers something spectacular: the location. Located right on the famous La Praia beach, Alfonso a Mare has a magical atmosphere. With its delicious breakfast and yummy restaurant serving local delicacies for lunch and dinner, all foodies will go wild here! They also have their own beach where you can rent beach loungers and umbrellas on request.

Where to eat in Praiano

The Amalfi Coast is known for its amazing food. Fresh local produce, freshly caught fish, amazing seafood cruditè, delightful bufalo mozzarella, yummy lemony desserts and the one and only: limonecello. And Praiano’s restaurants serve some of the best food you’ll eat on the Amalfi Coast. One of my favorite places is Il Pirata. Think a romantic candlelit dinner, just a few meters above the sea, where you can hear the sound of the wave crashing on the rocks right under your feet. This is what you get at Il Pirata. From pasta to seafood and meat dishes, they offer fresh seasonal dishes that you won’t forget (from €40). It’s also perfect for a delicious lunch. Make a reservation one to two days in advance, just in case! Trust me, you don’t want to skip this one!

Another delicious restaurant with a great view of the sea is Franchino. Think a terrace overlooking Praiano, candlelit tables, a magical atmosphere and fresh seafood. A great wine selection and a wonderful staff. It’s a beautiful spot with moonlit sea views. The best time to come here is right before sunset (from €40).

For a dinner on the beach, there just one place you need to put on your list: Alfonso a Mare. The scenery is almost too good to be true and will leave you breathless. Dine right on the beach and hear the sound of the waves lapping on the shore. It’s truly a magical experience.

Where to go to the beach in Praiano

I have to say Praiano is one of the best places to go to the beach in all of the Amalfi Coast. For starters, you get to enjoy sunlight from sunrise to sunset, which means more time at the beach! Praiano offers a few beaches, my favorite ones being one on each end of Praiano (about 30 minutes walking distance from one another): Marina di Praia beach and Gavitella beach. Marina di Praia offers  views of the Saracen watchtower and two places where you can get beach umbrellas and sunbeds: da Alfonso a Mare and Il Pirata. Da Alfonso a Mare sits right on a pebbly beach and has crystal clear waters. In addition to renting beach loungers and umbrellas, you can also rent small wooden boats for the day. The restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a seafood lunch.

If you’re not up to the beach and prefer diving into deeper waters, head to Il Pirata beach club. They offer beach loungers and umbrellas on rocky platforms just a couple of meters above the sea. There are ladders located in different points of the beach club to climb back up on the platforms. The restaurant and bar are the perfect places to enjoy delicious food and aperitivi (umbrella €5, sunbed €10).

If you’re on the other part of Praiano, closer to la Gavitella beach, head to Cala Gavitella beach club. Overlooking Positano from a distance and offering crystal clear waters, it’s definitely one of the most beautiful beaches out there. Call in advance to reserve your beach lounger and umbrella and don’t forget to indulge in seafood lunches at their restaurant. They also have wooden boats that you can rent for the day! For info (in Italian) on how to get to the various beaches click here.

What to do

Apart from the fact that you should be spending your time relaxing and soaking under the sun in one of the many beach clubs, there’s plenty of other things you can do in Praiano. If you’re into hiking, you’re in the right place! Praiano is connected to the famous Sentiero degli Dei, a sensational walking trail that takes you from Agerola to Positano with scenic views that you will never forget. If you’re up for the hike, just keep in mind that to reach the walking trail from Praiano you have to walk up 580 meters!

Up for a day trip visiting the Amalfi Coast? Who wouldn’t be? Being halfway between Positano and Amalfi definitely has its advantages: you can reach the two most famous towns of the Costiera Amalfitana in just a 20-minute drive! Don’t miss out on the beautiful town of Amalfi with its Cathedral and stunning streets. If you’re in Amalfi for the day, stop by for lunch or dinner in the delicious Trattoria Da Gemma, a yummy restaurant away from the crowds. If you’re into seafood cruditè, you’re going to be swept off your feet by Gemma’s! And of course, a day in Positano, exploring its famous boutiques, unique town and beautiful beachfront is a must. A romantic dinner at Buca di Bacco or il Capitano can’t be missing either!

And to dance the night way, you can’t go wrong with Praiano’s famous Africana club. You can get to this amazing club by sea or by foot. Enjoy its characteristic structure carved inside the rock and its beautiful terrace overlooking the sea as you dance to the latest hits.

The post Forget Postiano, stay in this hidden gem in the Amalfi Coast appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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How to survive Rome in the summer

Everyone I talk to tends to visit Rome in the summer. Sure, I get that that’s when you have holidays, but it’s also when Rome is SUPER HOT! Romans tend to escape abroad or in nearby summer retreats to escape the heat, but for all you coming to visit my favorite city on Earth, here’s how you can make the most of it. Because Rome is beautiful year-round, and summer is no exception.

Lungo il Tevere: summer nightlife in Rome

Just like all cities with rivers, Rome’s river banks get flooded with summer bars, restaurants and shops during the summer. And you definitely don’t want to miss it! Along the banks of the Tiber River, from Piazza Trilussa to Porta Portese you’ll find lots of fun activities till September 3rd. The festival is called Lungo il Tevere, and is filled with temporary exhibitions, bars, restaurants and stores to make your Roman summer as fun as possible. My recommendation is that you head to Lungo Il Tevere around8pm and grab drinks and dinner in one of the many bars and restaurants and then check out all of the different stands. One that you can’t miss is Alembic Garden with its beautiful garden on the Tiber. String lights, cool ambiance music that mixes with live music, white chairs, plants, trees and a trendy atmosphere await you. Go for the cocktails or stick with a regular chilled wine glass or beer. For aperitivo, go for one of their focaccias or happy hour boards, and definitely dig into their burgers for dinner!

From Ponte Sisto to Ponte Sublicio, various entrances.
Daily 7pm – 2 am
lungoiltevereroma.it

Lunch at the beach near Rome or the lake

While Rome is packed with amazing restaurants, during the hot summer months, I urge you to head to one of the beaches near Rome to indulge in a yummy seafood lunch or dinner. The food is amazing and the setting is just perfect. Plus, a bit of a breeze is a great idea! This of course can be done if you’ve rented a car, otherwise just let go of the idea! If you have a car,  definitely head to either Ostia, Fregene or Fiumicino for a lunch by the beach. Or hey, Rome is also super close to Lake Bracciano, filled with lovely lakeside towns and restaurants, perfect for a day trip! I recommend this restaurant in Anguillara, which also has its own beach club and is great for sunset aperitivos!

Check out where to have lunch at the beach near Rome

Check out where to have lunch at the lake near Rome

Stroll under the shade to get the best views of Rome

You can walk and walk in Rome, and it’ll never feel like time is passing by. That’s because your eyes will probably be glued to all the beauty this city has to offer. But in the hot summer months, things are a bit different. Try to stroll under the shaded areas of the city and catch a glimpse of the best views of Rome. I love walking up the Spanish Steps to Trinità dei Monti and strolling along the shaded path filled with pine trees while admiring the views of Rome.

Check out where to get the best views of Rome

Cool off in one of the parks in Rome

Rome is filled with beautiful parks to escape the summer heat. And the best part is that they’re so vast and centrally located, that you can easily reach them from many locations. If you’re up for a nice walk under the shade, renting a bike, going on a segway or simply having a picnic with your friends or partner, parks are the place you need to get yourself to. All of Rome’s parks are named after a Villa … Villa Borghese, Villa Ada, Villa Doria Pamphilj. These parks take the name from the villas where these powerful aristocratic families used to reside. And not till too long ago, they were still private. The biggest park in Rome is Villa Doria Pamphilj, which can be accessed from many points including Via di San Pancrazio (Trastevere). But the most famous is Villa Borghese, which can be accessed from Piazza del Popolo among many other locations.

Day trip or weekend getaway to beaches near Rome

Visiting Rome is everyone’s priority, but if you’re coming here during the summer, I definitely urge you to spend a couple of days in a nearby seaside town as well! Trust me, it’ll make the difference. If you’re staying a long time in Rome, I recommend you to spend 3 – 4 days in beautiful island of Ponza, just a 2.30 hours from Rome (including the ferry ride). In Ponza, explore the crystal clear beach coves by boat, fall in love with the sunsets and dive into that Italian summer vacation vibe. If instead you can only dedicate two days to the beach, head to one of the seaside towns along the Lazio coast to relax in sandy beaches and enjoy the slower pace of Italian summer life. My favorite places are Sabaudia and San Felice Circeo.

Check out my ultimate guide to Ponza Island

How to spend the perfect weekend on the beach near Rome

Visit churches and underground sites

Visiting churches is probably already on your to-do list on your trip to Rome. But visiting them during summer should be one of your priorities! Why? Apart from being extremely unique and filled with different architectural styles and art, churches stay cool year-round, and they’re your best bet to beat the hear in Rome. Which is exactly why you should visit them during the hottest hours of the day! Among the churches you shouldn’t miss is the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, which as just been renovated; the church of San Luigi dei Francesi near the Pantheon, where you’ll find three prominent paintings by Caravaggio; the Pantheon – of course; and the Basilica of San Clemente near the Colosseum. You should also not miss out on visiting the stunning villas filled with artworks such as Villa Farnesina in Trastevere; Galleria Doria Pamphilj; the Borghese Gallery and Palazzo Spada. And some underground fun can’t be missing either, my personal favorite being the Domus Romane of Palazzo Valentini, where you’ll be taken back to the Patrician homes.

Check out my 7-day itinerary of Rome

Buy tickets to major tourist sites in advance

The last thing you want to do this summer is stand hours in line waiting to get your ticket to whatever site you’re visiting. That’s why you should plan in advance and purchase your tickets beforehand! Skip the link tickets are music to my ears during the summer! Which ones should you plan in advance? The Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, Borghese Gallery (mandatory) and the Terme di Caracalla.

The post The best things to do in Rome this summer appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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A traditional Umbrian home cooking class in Assisi with lunch or dinner

We’re all so caught up in seeing places and finding the most interesting itineraries that we forget to slow down and really understand what it means to live in the place we’re visiting. We need to experience more. We should all embrace being travellers instead of just mere tourists.

I took the train to Assisi this past weekend and met a lovely couple of Americans from Kansas. They asked me about the must-see places in Assisi and I started listing all of them: Eremo delle Carceri, Basilica of St. Francis and so on and so forth. Then it suddenly dawned on me, Assisi is so much more than this. It’s a Medieval town with amazing traditions. How can someone really get under Assisi’s skin and experience it like a local?

Which got me thinking: one of the best things about Umbria is the food. From homemade tagliatelle and stringozzi pasta to truffles and delicious cured-meats, Umbria is a food lover’s paradise. Every time I visit Assisi I love sitting in my aunt’s large kitchen, warmed up by the fireplace, opening a bottle of red and eating bruschette with hand-cut prosciutto, tagliatelle with truffles and cookin’ up some salsicce. Eating is really a way to immerse yourself in the local scene. And hey, who doesn’t like to taste delicious food?

If you’re like me, you really need to book a cooking class. But not just any cooking class, a cooking class in a traditional Umbrian home in Assisi. With Unforgettable Umbria, that’s what you get. Enter inside a characteristic Umbrian home  in Assisi boasting wood-beamed ceilings, a chimney, terracotta floors and a cozy atmosphere. Learn how to cook up Umbria’s tastiest recipes and afterwards, have lunch or dinner in the great company of the hosts. And if you’re a wine lover, there’s plenty of wine to go around. All this in the heart of Assisi!

My experience with Unforgettable Umbria’s cooking class in Assisi

First I was welcomed into the home which literally made my jaw drop. Such a cozy and charming atmosphere! Then we had a welcome prosecco to get to know each other before we received our aprons and started to cook! My favorite part was making pasta. As an Italian, I’m supposed to know this, but I’ve never actually done it … until now! It was so much fun! I also loved all the tips they gave us while we were making it! Of course, cured meats couldn’t be missing, we had hand-cut prosciutto from Norcia which was sublime! But if you’re a vegetarian, don’t worry, they also make customised menus for vegetarians, and there’s plenty to learn! The wine was also great, and if you really want to dive deep into Umbria’s wine scene, you can also have a wine pairing along with your lunch or dinner, one of the hosts is also a sommelier!

After cooking, we were seated at the table and I fell in love with the fancy table set! Wine corks all around, beautiful wine glasses, rustic china, it was really something! We sat down and ate and had such a blast talking and meeting the locals of Assisi. I truly recommend this experience! But hey, if you don’t want to cook, you can also book a dinner with the menus they offer, for each dish there is a wine pairing! Send them an email for more information and bookings!

Umbrian Cooking Class with Lunch or Dinner

Duration: 5 hours

Includes: Unforgettable Umbria apron, recipe pamphlet, starter, first course, main course, dessert, water, wine, coffee, hands-on cooking lesson, choose your menu (vegetarian options available)

Price: €99 per person

Participants: Minimum 4 people, maximum 6 people

Umbrian Lunch or Dinner in a traditional home 

Duration: 2 hours

Includes: Starter, first course, main course, dessert, wine pairing for each dish, water, coffee

Price: €60 per person

N. of people: Minimum 4 people, maximum 6 people

Send them an email at unforgettableumbria@gmail.com or directly fill in this form for booking and more information!

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The post Cooking and dining in a charming home in Assisi appeared first on Where To Go In | La Dolce Vita around the World.

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