Friday, October 14, 2011

My Top Ten Places in Italy

People ask me this all the time and you know what, it’s not an easy answer!  There are so many places that I love in this country, the list really could be a few pages long.  But last night, I decided to take the first ten that came to mind (in no given order):

1. Portovenere, Liguria

My bias is big here as it’s where I met my husband, but the place is just magical.  An 1000-year old + seaside village characteristic of Liguria and its “pirate-like mentality”  Anyone who visits the region should spend a day here.

2. Mendolia Beach, Sicily

A simply beautiful cove just down the hill from Taormina where you can swim in crystal clear waters, soak up a little sun, enjoy a good meal ( the beach clubs makes some of the best canoli I’ve ever had!) and even visit the villa of Isola Bella.

3. Mercato Centrale, Florence

Built in the 1860‘s, this is a considerably new addition to Florence.  It was my “life line” when I first moved to Italy as a student.  I would get up early to do a little shopping before school, when it was full of little old ladies fighting over the produce!  You can find just about everything here, food and drink wise.  It’s an attraction all on its own.
With over 800 km (500 miles) of coastline, one is bound to find that perfect little beach spot. Be it on a white sand beach or craggily rock formations, the Adriatic sea will command you to enter her sublime waters for a swim or two.
5. Rooftop at Rinascente, Milan

Whenever I’m in Milano, this is one of the first things I do...head to the top of this department store for a caffè or glass of wine overlooking the Duomo.  The view stuns me as it feels like you could actually touch it!

6. Da’Adolfo, Positano

This private, little beach can only be reach by boat (look for the one with a red fish on it in the Positano harbor).  Here you can take a lounge chair for the day and enjoy a fantastic lunch right on the beach at it’s little shack restaurant (try the pasta with clams and pumpkin or spaghetti with calamari and tomatoes). Make a day of it - you will really feel as if you are on vacation!
7. Ortisei, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol

Charm does not even begin to describe this mountain resort village with its cupcake like building set in a dramatic valley surrounded by steep peaks and ski slopes. Additionally, you do not want to miss their fabulous breads and desserts such as “Le Fanziëutes da mëiles” (fried pastry with apples inside) and “Crafons da pavè” (krapfen with poppy seeds).
8. Salina, Sicily

Basically anywhere on this island could be summed up as paradise for me.  In my dream world, we would have a second home there.  Lush, rustic, lively, relaxing, beautiful beyond words and home to my favorite hotel in italy, Hotel Signum.  And there is nothing quite like the granite with gin you can get on this island!
9. Piazza di San Marco, Venice

I know, I know, it’s so popular and it can be a zoo, but is there anywhere like it (or Venice on the whole)???  In my opinion, no.  I love to sit down outside in one of the bars with a “spritz con aperol” and enjoy the music and atmosphere.  Despite its hefty price (at least €10 per drink), it’s a priceless scene.

10. Solaro di Lerici, Liguria

Where you might ask?!  That would be my borgo on the hill above Lerici.  To be specific, our terrace.  In the summer, it becomes my office, my refuge from the heat, my inspiration for meals, and our hand holding sanctuary after a long work day.  There is something hypnotic about it.
What about you?  What are your top 10 favorite places in Italy?  
Would love to see some other bloggers out there come up with their list!


Lakeland art said...

Lovely seeing your top ten I think your terrace looks amazing and can see why this would be your favourite. Thanks for sharing some lovely photo's

Rosa said...

Wonderful list! And I share a lot of those favourites, especially the sublime waters of Puglia and the amazingly genuine food at Sergio's Da Adolfo.

Jess Luckett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jessica said...

Came across your blog while researching Lerici - amazing! I always try to find out bit more local information than the usual :)
Hoping you might be able to suggest somewhere in Lerici for a special birthday lunch? Its for a group of about 10 ppl 20-30y.o. We were hoping for a winery for tastings and lunch but struggling to find something close to Lerici - any suggestions? I thught a local might know best!
Thanks for your info on blog - ill be keeping an eye out for your posts.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

You've listed a couple of my favorites and have shown me many new places to explore. Thank you. Here are my first ten to come to mind (in no particular order):
1) Tellaro, Liguria
2) Montemarcello, Liguria
3) Santuario della Verna, Arezzo
4) Corniglia, Liguria
5) Salina, Sicilia
6) Gianicolo, Roma
7) Navigli, Milano
8) Porto Venere, Liguria
9) Panarea, Sicilia
10)Filicudi, Sicilia

Tuscany Villas said...

That is really great information sharing. Good list. This will surely help me on my next tour to Italy.

Jerry Garrett said...

There's a wonderful symmetry to this post, especially as read by another Californian who will one day fly to Italy and throw away my return ticket. You show it is possible to live the dream.
Your list is quite wonderful; to it, may I add ten more:
1. Capri
2. Erice, Sicily
3. Murano
4. Passo dello Stelvio/Bormio
5. Bellagio
6. Eataly in Torino
7. Montepulciano
8. Porto Cervo, Sardinia
9. Isole Borromee, Lago Maggiore
10. Lampedusa

Unknown said...

My top ten places in Italy are Naples, Italian Lake District, Sicily, Cinque Terre, Milan, Amalfi Coast, Pompeii, Venice, Tuscany, and Rome. You must take Italy Road Map with you if you really don't want to waste time in finding the correct route to your destination.

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