The Grand Tour has come to an end. We just returned from an amazing two week trip to Italy: 4 nights in Rome, 5 nights in Tuscany (just outnights in Venice). I’m going to try to do a post for each stop, but I wanted to jot some quick thoughts down while the trip is still fresh in my mind…
- All of the people we met along the way could not have been nicer or more welcoming. From our guides to various places in Rome, to the waiters in all of the restaurants, to the people who worked in our hotels. It made navigating a foreign country where neither of us spoke the language so much easier.
- I was concerned before we left that I would get burnt out on Italian food given how long the trip was. Definitely not the case. The cuisines of Rome, Tuscany, and Venice were different enough to keep things interesting for all two weeks.
- That being said, I was seriously craving seafood by the end of our time in Tuscany.
- All of the pasta we ate was so much better than what I’ve had in the US and it wasn’t even close.
- I think what makes it hard to transfer the food in Italy to the US is the quality of the ingredients. This is especially true of what we ate in Tuscany. The food there is extremely straightforward, but it’s also EXTREMELY local. Like, if it doesn’t come from within about 30-60 minutes away you’re not eating it.
- Venice has roughly 1 billion tourist restaurants, but they are mostly easy to avoid given a bit of research. We also tried to stick to the guideline of not eating at any restaurants named for the attraction they were near (e.g., Ristorante San Marco, Trattoria Rialto, etc.). I think we did pretty well in Venice, especially after being warned by multiple people about the food there.
- Breakfasts in Tuscany generally lasted between 60 and 90 minutes and always involved 2 cappuccinos. It’s very easy to get used to that lifestyle.
- The best pizza we had was in Venice.
- We ate surprisingly little gelato, but the best we had was in Pienza.
- The hardest thing to do in Italy is leave a restaurant.
- Stopping for cicchetti is such a wonderful thing. Stopping for cicchetti and a Aperol spritz is an even better thing.
Again, just some quick thoughts. I’ll try to get individual posts on each stop up over the coming days.