Category Archives: Uncategorized

3 Traditional Culinary Techniques Championed at Ristorante Gualdo

With the flood of tourists coming to Italy every year, there is a certain expectation that is placed on how Italian food should be prepared. People come to this country to be wowed by a culinary experience that should, if done right, changes the way the look at Italian food all together. Italians took-up this challenge with honor. Or, at least, once upon a time.  The Italian economy has limited cashflow, limited expendable income, and it has forced restaurants to be lean in their inventory practices. The traditional way of Italian cooking is in a dramatic decline.  In all my years of traveling around the country, I have found one place that still does everything with all the poise of Italian culinary tradition. Ristorante Gualdo.

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Secrets of Rome: 5 Lesser-Known Attractions of the Eternal City

Non-Catholic cemetery in Rome, Italy

This post is a guest post written by Hanna Johnson, who lives in Rome and loves Italian culture. Previously, Hanna lived in London for two years where she completed her degree in Business Management. Now she is mom of two and loves exploring new places and special events in Italy. If you want to connect with Hanna, you can follow her on Facebook.

I’ve lived in Rome for two years now, and this city never ceases to surprise me. But there is so much more than the traditional sites like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, The Vatican, The Sistine Chapel. Why yes, Piazza Navona is gorgeous and Fontana di Trevi is romantic, but you are sure to share these locations with 5,000 other tourists in the same hour. Rome is a huge tourist destination all year round, so make sure to book your flight beforehand. For example, if you are in Milan you can easily take a train to Rome or access the city from other destinations. It is really nice travelling by train in Italy instead of booking a direct flight.

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5 Reasons Why Sorrento Will Turn You into a Food Lover

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This is a guest post written by Mary Johnson. She started her expat experience in Germany where she completed her bachelor’s degree in language. She spent time living in Spain before landing in Italy, where she is currently exploring the expat life. If you want to connect with Mary, you can follow her on Twitter.

Sorrento is the jewel of the Italian coast. It’s an idyllic coastal retreat, clinging to the Amalfi cliffs – surrounded by inviting waters, full of warm-hearted locals and brimming with food that will take your taste buds on a heavenly gastronomic journey.

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4 Italian Travel Question to Ask Me on Twitter

Tweet me
There is no doubt that there are many questions and unknowns when traveling to another country. With an abundance of content available often time the little things keep people from branching out. The gap between following your gut and a successful trip is often a risk that destroys peace of mindIf there ever was a time to need a direct line to someone who has been there done that, it’s now.

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3 Places in Rome to Ring-in the New Year

Rome New Years Map
As this year comes to an end, there are endless parties, people to see, and mile stones to reflect on. Celebrations all around the world are about to take place. For those of my friends who are celebrating new year’s in Rome, there are three spots I recommend you see before it hits midnight.

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Three Guidelines for Perfect Pasta

Italians have long criticized Americans for the way we cook our pasta. Traditionally, the pasta in the states has been pastamushy and not cooked to a perfect al dente. If you frequent any restaurant (and, in most homes) in Italy, for the most part, their pasta is cooked perfectly. Never too soggy or tasteless.

My Italian friends have insure me that there are three things all people must do to get pasta right.

  1. Salt in the water. By adding salt to the water you do two things: increase the point at which the water boils (giving you hotter water), and helps the pasta not to stick together while cooking.
  2. 100g per person. Most people don’t know the right amount of pasta to serve each person, or, how much they want themselves. The perfect amount (no matter how hungry you are, or how much you can eat) is 100g per person. The average pasta box is about 500g. Distribute the pasta accordingly.
  3. Time on the box. This is critical. Almost all Italian pasta companies put a suggested cook-time on the box. Follow the suggested time. Set a timer. Don’t over cook.

All things considered. Every time, when I cook pasta, I never color outside the guidelines above.

Question of the day. How does your mom/grandma cook their pasta? (Please leave your answers in the comments section below.)

PS – please subscribe to this blog!

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Las Vegas and Rome: Two Cities With Too Much To Do

Kendra Thornton is a 40 year old mother of three. Before being promoted to the full time position of mom, she was the former Orbitz Director of Communications where she was able to travel a great deal. She now lives in Chicago with her family, where they are her number one priority everyday. If you want to learn more from Kendra, you can follow her on Twitter.

A few weeks ago, Kendra approach me with a brilliant idea for a blog post. She proposed ss-090408-las-vegas-01.grid-8x2that we each choose a city to write about, then write about our favorite things to do while visiting that city. Kendra chose Las Vegas. I chose Rome.

The post below list Kendra’s favorite things to do in Las Vegas, and my favorite things to do in Rome.

Looking for things to do in Rome? Here are just a few.

The eternal city is known for its old world charisma and historical allure. for those staying over just to rocket through the sights, they might not realize the city has a lot of offer outside of just the famous monuments.  There are actual many great things to do in the eternal city.

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The Top 6 Navigate Italy Approved Hotels Featured on Jetsetter

Jetsetter is probably one of the most well known travel companies to come out of the last five years. Its IMG_0817website offers members exclusive deals on vacation packages. Most deals feature luxurious vacation destinations around the world. I love it, because it gives a distilled list of the world best hotels, and exclusive locations. For those who have the money to spend, or who travel a lot, it’s an amazing resource.  If you’re a travel nut like me, I’m always looking at what’s out there, and what the hottest destination are.  Jetsetter is a perfect fit.  Click here to view the Jetsetter website.

But, before I go any further, I have to disclose something. These hotels written about below were featured on Jetsetter in 2012. The recommendations and critiques do not reflect the options of Jetsetter, or does Jetsetter agree, or disagree, with my thoughts or options.  It’s completely a third party, non-biased, perspective.

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How to Get to Capri By Ferry

One of the most famous islands in the world, Capri, needs to make your bucket list! If you have the time, put this island in your itinerary.  For those who have yet to make it to the island, navigating Naples will be your biggest obstacle.  There are several groups, guides, and agencies eagerly pushing their services toward this island. The truth is, you can get to the island on your own, with out their help.

Here are things I have observed at the ports, and train stations, in Naples.

  • Many tourist groups.
  • Many “helpful” Italians dragging travelers to their destination.
  • Travelers waiting.
  • Angry travelers.
  • Impatience travelers.
  • Pick pockets hunting travelers.
  • Tour guides frantically trying to find their patrons.

However, here are four steps to get you from Naples to Capri.

Arrive at Napoli Centrale.  Wherever you are coming from you must, or it’s recommend, you end up at Napoli Centrale – the central station.  From there, purchase a train/bus ticket from a tabaccheria in station, and walk directly out the front doors to Piazza Garibaldi. Take the metro (bus and metro tickets are interchangeable) and get off at Mergellina.  Head toward the water, and the port will be to the left.

Find Molo Beverello.  When taking the hydrofoil to Capri, you must embark from porto Molo Beverello.  It is not located outside the central train station. There are several ports in Napoli, but I recommend using porto Molo Beverello to get to Capri fast.

Buy your Ticket.  There are two types of ferries that service Capri – and therefore, two prices. There is a regular ferry and there is a hydrofoil (or fast ferry).  Both types of ferries leave from porto Molo Beverello.

Suggetion:  The ticket lines for the ferries are deceiving.  There are around 30 + ticket windows all with different companies and offers. It’s overwhelming.  To put you at ease, most all the ticket counters sell every ticket for every company.

Observation:  Often, two of the ticket windows’ will have extremely long lines, because the travelers believe their ticket can only be purchased from a specific window. Not always the case. Don’t hesitate to walk in front of the crowds, a few windows down.

Manage your recourses.

  • Cost: The average cost per ticket on a hydrofoil is €20.
  • Timetables: There are several ferries that leave throughout the morning, and evening, but only a few in the afternoon.
  • Money:  The food on the island is expensive. If you are going for the day, or weekend, buy wine, and a picnic lunch a head of time.

Suggestion: bring a great pair of walking/running shoes, and your trunks!

Arrive in Capri.  When the ferry docks in Capri, you have several avenues in which to see the island. All avenues are accessible from the information centers right next to the harbor.

Capri is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I strongly recommend everyone visit at least once.

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Tips for traveling with your kids in Italy

I have been asked twice about bring kids to Italy in the last month.  Once by a coworker; once by an old friend – who is looking to join me on a trip next year. My first response, off the top of my head, is almost always no.  There are always exceptions, and every kid is different. But generally, I don’t recommend it – I’ll get off my soap box now.  For those brave few who tackle this daunting task I can lend some insight.

Here are the top 3 things to help your kids have a great time in Italy.

    • Snacks.  Let’s face it when we are tired, hungry, overheated, and missing the comforts of home, it always helps to have a comfort item to help deal with life.  A heart snack for those kids, or adults, who either can wait to the next meal, or are having trouble adapting to a new diet, is a life saver.
    • Water. More tourist die in Italy of heat stroke than anything else.  The Mediterranean sun is deceiving and hits you hard – especially when you least expect it.  Bring, or buy a bottle of water, and have it available when you’re out and about.
    • Kid Zone.  In all honesty, unless your kids love history and trying a new food, Italy doesn’t have much to offer in the way of kid friendly activates. Italy’s greatest strength is its ability to build memories.  I find that parents who are great a building memories thrive in Italy regardless of who is along for the ride. I encourage parents to turn a park into a playground. Have a picnic. Throw a Frisbee. Pass a soccer ball. There is nothing like a relaxing day in a park in the middle of
    • Food.  Italy has an amazing kid centric dish that is a combination of American and Italian food.  French fries and hotdog pizza is a staple among Italian kids.  You can get them at just about any pizzeria.
    • Cruise.  The best way to see parts of Italy while having a great place for kids to play is on a cruise.  There are many cruise lines that stop at major ports in Italy.   You don’t get to see much of the country side, but if you want to hit a few major spots, and be able to keep an eye on the kids then a cruise is a great way to go.

I’m always curious about what other parents recommend when traveling with their kids internationally.  Please don’t hesitate to leave your suggestions on traveling with kids.

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