Travel

My Venice Food Guide (New Edition)

Venice October 2015

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Venice is one of those cities that will never cease to amaze. Its beauty – so elusive, always on the verge of fading away – moves crowds. Its charm never comes amiss, and yet so much of it is invisible to those who don’t dare to explore a little further. For them, Venice will always just be a just handful of gorgeous landmarks that are, alas, often too crowded to be truly enjoyable. But for those who take the time to adventure beyond the beaten track reward awaits, in the form of suggestive alleys, stunning palettes, picturesque canal views, and glimpses of daily life in this charming city.


In this sense, one could think of Venice as a city with many faces. It has a shiny facade made of glittering palazzi and luxury hotels, fancy cafés and chic restaurants. On the other side of the spectrum is a backdrop of crass vendors selling cheap merchandise. In the middle is its true soul – its most enjoyable side, made of residents, students, workers, normal people. This is the side of Venice I encourage people to go and find, far beyond the crowds. That’s the side of Venice I wished everybody would see.


Venice’s food scene reflects this multifaceted soul. On the one hand, you’ll find the finest dining catered to the global elite. On the other, dodgy eateries dispatching rubbery pizza by the slice or microwaved lasagna. But once again, the truth is in the middle, which means that Venice’s truest, most exciting cuisine is to be found in neither places, but rather in a handful of osterie, restaurants and wine bars (especially the wine bars! no one does wine bars better than Venice) where history and atmosphere meet an active engagement in preserving an aspect of the Venetian food culture (being this a ritual, a recipe, or some rare local ingredient) and a continuous commitment to serve good, honest food. This is where I like eating; where I like taking friends; and where I like showing visitors for a deeply Venetian experience.


With this in mind, I gathered a few of my favourite places to eat and drink in Venice and put them together into this Venice Food Guide. The premise is, I don’t believe there’s still such a thing as Venice’s best-kept secret. When it comes to good spots to eat in Venice, rest assured that every restaurant, every hole in the wall in the city has been written about, reviewed, critiqued, rated, found. You’ll find tourists, few or many, wise or clueless, pretty much wherever you go. And yet neither is this a bad sign nor does it lessen a place’s worth. I’m all for sharing the experience with whoever is interested in discovering part of Venice’s culture through its food. This, after all, is the ultimate scope of this guide, which I hope you’ll find useful, reliable and, most of all, enjoyable.

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A Tour of Sicily

Visiting Sicily has been in our plans for a while.

We wanted to go for many reasons. The food, of course, was the most important aspect that drew us to the island. But then there was the landscape, and the chance to enjoy warmth and seaside life. We wanted to see the trace that history, cultures and people had left behind. We wanted to see Sicily’s beauty and its difficulty, with our own bare eyes.

I wanted to share some highlights from these two weeks with you, mainly visual. I took a lot of photos along our journey that took us from Palermo to San Vito, Scopello, Erice and Marsala during the fist week; and then across the island, through Enna and the Iblei, to land in Modica, Vendicari, Noto and finally, Siracusa. Many times, though, I left my camera behind, capturing what I saw with my pupils only – sometimes with my phone, too. As a result, I have few images from each and every single place I visited, but many more sensations stored in my memories, and perhaps more things to tell and to put down in words.

Here we go. 

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72 Hours in Copenhagen



I so love this place, I said. I really think I could live here.

‘You can’t judge a place by how it shows itself in the summer. You must visit it in the midst of winter to really understand whether or not you would want to live there’.

I have been traveling with different eyes lately. The eyes of someone who doesn’t simply visit a place, but who is at the same time evaluating the elements of a life in that place. What does it feel to live here, I was thinking while walking through the neighborhoods of Copenhagen – along its lush parks and pedestrian streets. What does it feel to be able to bike everywhere, not having to take a crowded train to work, and living this lifestyle which seems so laid back, relaxed and human?

We left London on a rainy, misty day at the end of May and landed in a place where the sun didn’t seem to ever go away. Days were long and warm, and we were pushed to the edge of our energies, eager to suck it all in, to see it all, to breathe the fresh air of a city where bikes outnumber cars and buses, where the breeze from the harbour clears the sky and
allows the sun to shine bright, as high up as I had never seen before.

We have been lucky, they told us. It isn’t always like that in Copenhagen, they said. Winters are long, and dark and harsh and demand a great leap of faith – the certitude that daylight will abound once again, sometime soon– to get through them. We were oblivious of all that for a while – everything was too bright and beautiful and warm and so very colourful in comparison to what we had left behind to picture such times would ever come. Only after a couple of days were we brought back to reality during a lunch at The Nordic Food Lab. We were, funnily enough, talking about the weather, praising the glorious days we had been gifted with, when one of the visiting interns said something that, for simple that is was, stuck with me since. ‘This is just like any other day in LA’.

 These thoughts, see, these glimpses would never even occurred to me if I was simply visiting Copenhagen; if I wasn’t rather considering moving there. Would I be able to take it – the dark, the long winters, the cold, the expensive citrus? Would it be much different from London in that respect? Would I trade a life in a place that is warm and summery and where I would feel like a living human being for most of the year for a life somewhere beautiful, slow-paced, functioning, yet so expensive and just, simply put, so Nordic?

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Rome Postcards


This time – our second in Rome – we stayed in Testaccio. The courtyard of our tiny apartment seemed to belong to an old Italian movie: climbing roses, clothes hanging from the windows, old pensive(or rather nosy?) ladies at the balcony, and neighborhood cats. Emiko‘s little one really loved the cats – just as much as I did.

We spent our handful of days wandering aimlessly. It seems to be our favourite way to get to know a city – only second to plan visits around restaurant reservations. I got to peep through the keyhole at the top of the Aventino hill, the one where the edges make a perfect frame of St. Peter’s dome. We idled around the Orange Gardens, filling our lungs with the scent of orange blossoms, smiling at the sight of many inedible Seville oranges peeled, bitten and abandoned on the floor. Scenes from the stunning movie that is The Great BeautyLa Dolce Vita and Roman Holidays didn’t seem to apply any longer – came to mind along the way: nuns chasing pigeons, the deadly view from Gianicolo, the feeling of decadence, of langueur

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