OUR SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO DO IN ROME by Marco Secchi


Visit the Roman Forum

Make your way to the Imperial Forums, especially Trajan’s markets which is the first “multi-level shopping mall” in the world. You can also explore the Via Biberatica, which is the most intact ancient Roman street in the city.

Wander over the Roman Forum and take in the iconic views!


Climb up on Palantine Hill

After exploring the forum, and wandering the streets that Julius Caesar once did, climb up to see the ruins of the imperial palaces on the Palatine Hill. Enjoy the beautiful garden areas and fragments of ancient villas.

Visit the Colosseum

Take the southeast entrance from the Roman Forum, and walk right up to the Colosseum. It is such an amazing sight to see, and if you are really interested in exploring the inside, join a tour. The tours can be expensive and have quite a bit of a wait, so decide if it is something that is really important to you!

Next to the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine, one of the largest of Rome’s ancient triumphal arches. The arch celebrates Emperor Constantine the Great’s victory and the battle that made Christianity the religion of Rome.

Watch the Sunset from Piazza del Campidoglio

Make sure that before sunset you slip around the back side of the central building in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of Capitoline Hill. You’ll see a beautiful panorama of the Forum from above, with the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum in the background.

Have a Cappuccino at Caffé Sant’Eustachio

One of the oldest and most famous cappuccino and espresso shops in Rome, Caffé Sant’Eustachio is famous for its home-roast beans, blended with water from an ancient aqueduct. You will find authentic, Italian coffee and some colorful characters!

Visit the Pantheon

Definitely a sight you CANNOT miss in Rome, the Pantheon is the only ancient Roman temple to survive the millennia virtually intact. The architecture will blow your mind, and you will need a few minutes just to sit in the piazza and take in the stately sight before heading inside.

Go to Piazza del Popolo

Make your way north to Piazza del Popolo, and if it interests you, check out the fabulous church of Santa Maria del Popolo.

Explore Villa Borghese

Adjacent to the Piazza del Popolo, you’ll find the grounds of Villa Borghese. Stop at the east end for great views over the city and epic photo opportunities.

Sit on the Spanish Steps

You can sit and people watch from the lively and iconic Spanish Steps before grabbing some gelato and taking a walk down Via dei Condotti and the surrounding streets to do a little window shopping.

Toss a Coin in the Trevi Fountain

No trip to Rome would be complete without seeing the Trevi Fountain! The tradition is to toss a few coins in, to ensure that one day you’ll return to the Eternal City.


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Experience Vatican City

Wake up bright and early so that you beat the tour buses to the spectacular, St. Peter’s Basilica, which opens at 7 am. If you are interested, following the basilica, climb the “cupola” for a workout and breathtaking panoramic views of the city across the river.

Once you’re finished, spend some time in St. Peter’s Square out front, and visit the world-famous Vatican Museums, which open at 9 am, if you want to check out history at its finest. You can expect to spend most of the day at the Vatican if you’re a history lover!

Visit Piazza Navona

Back across the river, and home to Bernini fountains, cafés, colorful street performers, and large crowds, Rome’s famous Piazza Navona is a lively place to people watch and enjoy your daily gelato.

Get Lost

As with all first-time visits to a city, allow lots of free time to get lost and discover unsuspected treasures around Rome. Keep a map handy, but try walking around without a plan or destination. You never know what you’ll find!

The Bardini Gardens by Marco Secchi

The most famous park in Florence is undoubtedly the Boboli Gardens, but a true paradise hidden from the eyes of most, and often misunderstood even by the Florentines, is the Bardini Gardens. On the steep bank of the left bank of the Arno, as early as the 13th century, the Hubs, rich bankers, had behind their palace the hortus conclusus, and in the rear part and higher terraces for agricultural use. From the seventeenth, but definitely in the nineteenth century, the slope, which rises steeply up to the San Giorgio gate, acquires the character it has today becoming a garden pertinent to the Villa now Bardini. There are numerous changes of ownership and transformations, in an English garden, in Anglo-Chinese and then romantic.

However, the definitive destiny is decided by the volcanic antiquarian Stefano Bardini's purchase in 1913. He makes the garden a spectacular open-air showroom and places a loggia at the top from which an excellent panorama can be enjoyed. Bardini's customers, after visiting the halls of his antique house, remained captivated by the magic of the place and became more compliant to his proposals. Bardini garden roses The garden has many attractions throughout the year. In winter when nature hides its most evident beauties from our eyes, the Bardini Garden becomes a place where you can admire a forest of holm oaks, evergreen trees, the so-called English forest crossed by the Dragon canal.

The silence and the quiet will make you feel far from the city, which at the same time you will see near and beautiful in the views that open from the terrace of the villa and from several other panoramic points.

An exceptional panorama

The view from the Bardini Garden is without statues Bardinidubbio garden one of the most beautiful, to your view the modern part of Florence is precluded, and it seems to make a journey into the past admiring only that part of the city that was enclosed in the ancient walls. Walking through the garden you will find artistically arranged statues that will lead you into the world of Arcadia, and you will return to a world of gentle peasants and damsels similar to nymphs, and in which Bacchus and Ceres cheer up each other with reciprocal gifts. Caves, niches, sculptures are arranged along the avenues, on the terraces and decorate among other things the spectacular Baroque staircase.

And these views that make the visit of winter unforgettable, are enriched with the arrival of the spring of the beauty of the garden, the flowers. The Bardini Garden promises you a prolonged and varied calendar of flowers.

The blooms

Beginning in March, April blooms at the bardinicon with camellias, fruit trees and viburnum, which bloom until July. From April to May the Judas tree covers its cyclamen-red flowers and in the upper part of the garden in March they give us the beauty of their intense flowers and perfumed camellias. Immediately in April the azaleas begin to bloom, of which there is also a wide variety, with their pink, red and white flowers. Certainly spring is the time of greatest rejoicing, from March to April bulbous plants follow, then irises in May, which continue to give us their blooms in the different varieties between June and August and even in November. The flowering of the wisteria, which starts in mid-April and lasts until mid-May, is exceptional and theatrical. In the Bardini garden you pass under a pergola of wisteria hanging to form a roof of flowers on our head. Hydrangeas are waiting for us from May to July under the circle of wisteria, there are about sixty varieties. And how to forget the roses, the queens of all the gardens, of which there are some hanging, planted to form espaliers, or bushy, and which from June to September will accompany us with their perfume and their precious beauty.

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If in the spring the walks in the Bardini gardens will fill our eyes with the variety of the colors of the flowers, during the summer you will find in the Garden not only the possibility of escaping the mass of tourists, who crowd the streets of the center, but also the coolness in the shade of the trees and under the panoramic loggia, where a cafeteria is placed.

Anyone wishing to enter the Bardini Garden can do so after visiting the Boboli Gardens by showing the same ticket. The visit is also possible separately and access is either from the Villa Bardini on the Costa San Giorgio or from the Via dei Bardi.

The Best Pizza in Rome by Marco Secchi


From pizza al taglio (by the slice) to the classic roman style to the latest installments of the gourmet type, Rome certainly isn’t short of options if you’re looking to feast on pizza.


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What you should also know is that there are a few ‘rules’ you should stick to when seated at a pizzeria in the eternal city. If you’re more of a ‘do as the Romans do‘ follow these tips:

1) Romans have dinner (not lunch) at a pizzeria. There are a few (authentic) places that serve pizza during the day, but for the most part and culturally, sit-down pizza is an evening affair.

2) Beer is the preferred beverage accompaniment.

3) Start the meal off with fritti. Fried snacks are the way to kick of a pizza dinner.

4) Don’t ask for your pizza to be cut. At some of the gourmet joints it’s common for a pizza to land at the table cut but otherwise, pizza in Italy is a cut-it-yourself kind of affair.

Our favourite places for the best slice about town:

Giulietta (Testaccio)

The best thing about Giulietta is that you can take your pick from the paper-thin roman style to the thicker lip classic Neapolitan. Prized ingredients come from Cristina Bowerman’s kitchen and the combinations delight with things like mortadella and pistacchio and even clams and mussels. The fritti are fantastic especially the zeppola (fried donut) with honey and lardo. (Piazza dell’Emporio 28)

Seu Illuminati (Trastevere)

My new favourite in Rome is the young and exciting Seu Illuminati in my very own Trastevere. Pier Daniele is the name on everyone’s lips and has been for at least the last year. Gourmet pizza at its very best with a thick lip and anything from tuna tartare to porchetta to a deconstructed capricciosa. The fried starters also impress with seasonal changes to keep it interesting. (Via Angelo Bargoni 10-18)

Da Remo (Testaccio)

If all the staff weren’t Laziali (fans of Roma’s arch rival team, Lazio!), I would say this is my favourite neighbourhood pizzeria in all of Rome. Many Romans agree! The pizza is perfectly roman: thin, charred and not a perfect round and I come here for the Margherita. Located in the foodie hub of Testaccio, the clientele at Da Remo is mainly local. (Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice 44?)

Emma (Campo de’ Fiori)

The great thing about Emma (aside from the food!) is that you can make a booking. This may sound strange to you, but until recently you couldn’t book at a pizzeria – in fact you still can’t at all the old-school ones. They make it roman style and you can sit indoors or outdoors and they are one of the rare places open for pizza at lunch. Their patanegra topped one is nothing short of amazing. (Via del Monte Della Farina 28)

Ai Marmi (Trastevere)

A Trastevere (and Roman) institution, the real name of this bustling pizzeria is Pannatoni but locals know it a L’Orbitorio (the morgue) or AI Marmi (marble table tops) in reference to the long marble tables. I love the old school lit-up menu sign and while I believe the pizza quality has slightly (just!) gone down, I maintain they make some of the best fritti in town! Especially baccalà. There is always a line (which moves fairly quickly) and be prepared to sit elbow-to-elbow. (Viale di Trastevere 53)

Sbanco (Appio Latino / Zama)

I’m a big fan of Stefano Callegari. There I said it! How can you not admire someone who stuffs burrata into pizza bianca? I’m addicted to his Trapizzino but his Pizzeria in Piazza Zama area is on my very-much-approved list too! And here you can combine your love for pizza and carbonara and try all the other perfectly matched and baked pizzas and fritti. (Via Siria 1)

Da Ivo (Trastevere)

This place often lands on the where not to eat lists of Rome but it’s in my ‘hood and I can assure you that the pizza is good. I didn’t say it’s the best in Rome but the staff are typically pizzeria-boisterous and the fritti and pizza is very good quality. My fave is the Pizza del Vecchio (tomato, eggplant, parmigiano and guanciale). Also, they take bookings – like I said earlier, a plus! (Via di San Francesco a Ripa 158?)

I Supplì (Trastevere)

My local hole-in-the-wall takeaway joint makes the best marinara pizza by the slice in Rome. Big call. I challenge you to find a better one and let me know! Here at any time to day you’re bound to find anywhere between 3-6 different types of pizza that you can buy by weight. Another favourite of mine is the zucchini one with chilli and smoked mozzarella. As their name suggests, they’re also famous for supplì! (Via di San Francesco a Ripa 137)

Pizzarium (Cipro)

A list of Rome’s best pizza wouldn’t be complete without Bonci. The man behind Pizzarium, a number of bakeries around town and a stand at Mercato Centrale was hailed as the Michelangelo of Pizza years ago by the New York Times. His pizza by the slice is as famous for being flirtatious with ingredients and the slabs sit pretty on the bench looking like works of art. (Via della Meloria 43)

TOP 10 Things to do in Florence by Marco Secchi


Duomo/Baptistry/Bell Tower

Commonly known as, “The Duomo”, Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore is impossible to miss.

It is the skyline of Florence. Building began on the huge Gothic duomo in 1296 and it was consecrated in 1436.

- The Duomo

Inside Brunelleschi’s Dome you will find one of the most breathtaking pieces of art you will ever see.

It is well worth the stairs you will climb to walk around the inner walls to see the paintings up close and to see an amazing view of the city from the outside.


- The Campanile, bell tower, is in Piazza del Duomo.

You can climb the 414 stairs to get an incredible view, but if you are choosing between climbing the duomo and the tower, go with the dome.

- The Baptistery is from the 11th century and one of the oldest buildings in Florence.

Here you will find Ghiberti’s famous bronze doors, the “Gates of Paradise” (they are reproductions, the originals are in the Duomo Museum).

- Uffizi Gallery

The Galleria degli Uffizi holds the world’s most important collection of Renaissance art.

It is essential to buy reservation tickets before going to avoid the long line. Trust us, the line can be hours, as they only allow so many people in the museum at one time.

Your reservation is not a ticket, just a pass to get in the much shorter line to enter.

In the museum you will see works from Michelangelo, Giotto, Botticelli, da Vinci, and Raphael.


- Accademia Gallery

Florence’s Galleria dell’ Academia, holds Michelangelo’s David, easily the most famous sculpture in the world.

One of the best parts of this museum is the collection of musical instruments. It is also quite advisable to get reservations for this museum.

- Boboli Garden

On the other side of the Arno River, you will find Giardino di Boboli, a beautiful and sprawling English style garden on a hillside behind the Pitti Palace.

It is a lovely place to slow down and enjoy the greener side of Florence.

- Palazzo Pitti

Palazzo Pitti, Pitti Palace, is Florence’s largest palazzo, once owned by the Medici family. You can visit 8 different galleries in the palace.

Be prepared, it is massive and can wear you out quickly.

- Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria, the historic and political center of the city, is just off of the River Arno and next to the Uffizi Gallery.

Here, you will find statues including the Fountain of Neptune and a replica of the Statue of David.

- La Basilica di Santa Croce

Protected by an imposing statue of Dante, it sits with its beautiful facade in front of a modest piazza.

The Santa Croce was built for the common citizens of Florence, just a 15-minute walk from the Duomo.

The church houses tombs of the likes of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, Foscolo, Gentile, Rossini and the empty tomb of Dante.

For this reason, the Santa Croce is also known as the Temple of the Italian Glories (Tempio dell’Itale Glorie).

Florence keeps the empty tomb of Dante in hopes that one day it shall be filled with his decayed remains. They are currently housed in the city of Ravenna, his final resting place, after being exiled from Florence.

- Piazzale Michelangelo

It is a must to see the sun setting over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo!

This is, by far, the most famous view overlooking the city and has been reproduced on countless postcards and photographs. You will also find a bronze replica of David that is thought to be safeguarding the city.

You can either take the hike up to the top, take the bus, or hire a cab.

If you choose to walk to the Piazzale, make sure you wander through the Oltrarno, the neighborhood on the other side of the Arno river from the duomo, which is all too often overlooked.

At the very least, try to walk down after the sun sets.

- The Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio was Florence’s first bridge to cross the Arno River and is the only surviving bridge from Florence’s medieval days.

Lined with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, you’ll have a great view of the city along the Arno River.

This bridge is a true landmark of the city of Florence.

At night, it can be quite romantic to take in a local musician busking at the center of the bridge, while gazing upon the city lighting up the river.


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- The Bargello

The Bargello is the national sculpture museum, located in Florence.

The castle-like building was built in 1255–1350 as the original seat of government. It contains the greatest collection of Renaissance sculpture in Florence and is one of the best collections in Italy.

What you must see here is the huge room filled with Donatello’s masterpieces.

Where to eat in Rome by Marco Secchi

Eating in the Eternal City needn’t mean tourist menus and pricey pizza. These handy trattorias and wine bars will still leave some change for the Trevi fountain. No matter which restaurants you choose from this list, you’ll be eating some of the city’s finest food in an unpretentious setting. Buon appetito!


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Armando al Pantheon

Armando is a no-frills trattoria of the kind that once was common in Rome but now is like gold dust, especially when its location is taken into account—just a few yards from an A-league attraction. A recent renovation has spruced up the interior but all the hallmarks of authenticity remain, including indifferent artworks and wonderfully friendly service from the family that has run it since 1961. The menu sticks with tried-and-tested Roman pasta and meat classics executed with love by smiley chef Claudio Gargioli. Unusually attentive to special dietary requirements, they will gladly substitute in gluten-free pasta.

La Pergola

Heinz Beck is, without a doubt, the most talented chef in Rome, with three—merited—Michelin stars. His technical dexterity and unerring instinct for taste and texture combinations never fail to impress. The setting for La Pergola, on the top floor of the Cavalieri hotel with its panoramic view over the city, is simply breathtaking. But what emerges from Beck’s kitchen (every dish dictated by seasonal availability) is equally so: amberjack tartare with tomato mousse and olives, potato gnocchi with caviar and chives or sea bass with olive oil-marinated vegetables are infinitely more sophisticated than they sound. The remarkable cellars are said to hold 53,000 bottles;

Da Enzo al 29

Don’t expect a long, leisurely experience at this diminutive family-run trattoria. Space is limited, the noise level is high and the service is fast and furious, but for typical cucina romana it is a reliable and atmospheric option. Prices are a little above the average, but the quality of ingredients is assured and there is a nice selection of lesser-known Lazio wines. Bookings are taken, but only for the early evening seating so to catch one of the outside tables get there for an early lunch or be prepared to join a very long queue.

Bonci Pizzarium

Rome’s revolutionary pizza maker Gabriele Bonci started his astronomic rise to stardom at this unassuming pizza shop and it has consistently remained top of the list of Rome’s best pizza al taglio. The focus on the perfect dough and only the best, seasonal ingredients, along with a creative eye for toppings, have deservedly seen the Bonci brand expand across the city. Despite a recent renovation to double the size of the shop, the place is usually heaving, so join the throng and eat on the pavement outside. The location near the entrance to the Vatican Museums is ideal for a post-Sistine Chapel carb fix.

Cul de Sac

Rome’s first ever wine bar, the Cul de Sac was founded in 1977. Looking very traditional nowadays, it’s cramped inside and out, with long pine benches and tables, and is decidedly simple. But the location—just off piazza Navona, with a ringside view of the ‘talking’ statue of Pasquino—coupled with fairly reasonable prices and an encyclopaedic wine list, ensures full occupancy all the time. The food is standard wine-bar fare including a selection of home-made pa^te´s as well as generous sharing plates of cured meats and cheeses.

Antico Arco

The minimalist yet warm interior of Patrizia Mattei’s Gianicolo restaurant provides the perfect backdrop for sampling the carefully creative menu, which changes according to the season. Although prices have risen somewhat in recent years, Antico Arco remains steadfast in its popularity and reputation. The seven-course degustazione menu is good value and the wine list offers up some sensibly priced gems. Until 6pm there is also a fixed finger food menu of miniature versions of the main dishes. Book well in advance.

Fatamorgana

Organic, no additives, gluten-free and superb: the wonderful gelato whipped up by Maria Agnese Spagnuolo for her Fatamorgana mini-chain (and previously only available in the ’burbs) can now be found in several new easily accessible centro storico locations, including this one in the hip Monti district’s pretty piazza degli Zingari. There are all the classic flavours (with twists), plus specialities such as black cherries and beer, pears and gorgonzola, and baklava.

Li Rioni

A hit with locals and tourists alike, Li Rioni churns out wafer-thin pizza romana from its wood-fired oven at an impressive rate, and at more-than-reasonable prices given its location just a short stroll from the Colosseum. The (slightly kitsch) interior is decked out like a Roman street with shuttered windows and terracotta hues, and in summer extra tables are set up outside on the pavement. Expect it to be packed and very noisy; exactly as a Roman pizzeria should be.

Trattoria Monti

This upmarket trattoria is more difficult to get into than many top restaurants—so book well in advance. The reasons for its popularity are simple: friendly service and ambience, excellent food and a huge wine list with reasonable markups. The cuisine, like the family that runs the place, is from the region of Le Marche, so meat, fish and game all feature on the menu. Vegetarians are well served by a range of tortini (pastry-less pies); pasta-hounds can enjoy such treats as tagliolini with anchovies, pine nuts and pecorino cheese.

Pastificio Guerra

This tiny purveyor of fresh pasta has gained fame as a cheap and cheerful lunch destination in one of the priciest parts of the city. There are no frills here, just a choice of two pasta dishes (which change daily) served on plastic plates to eat at the counter or take away. But at €4 a portion, which includes water and a cup of house wine, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal in the area.

One day in the Cinque Terre by Marco Secchi

If you are wondering if one day is enough for Cinque Terre, the answer of course depends on what you are looking for. If you want to quickly see all the five villages and hike the Cinque Terre trail, then yes, one day is enough. Of course, you can stay longer and explore deeper, but if you are short on time you can definitely see the best of Cinque Terre in one full day.


In the 5 Terre area are located five villages, from West to East they are: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, Monterosso.

There are other two villages in the Cinque Terre area named Volastra and San Bernardino. They are never listed in the 5 original towns but are included in the Cinque Terre National Park territory.

Cinque Terre are reachable by train, by car, by bus, by boat:

Go the the 5 Terre by train is the best because stops in every village.

If you want to get to Cinque Terre by car, consider that the road is narrow and winding and runs up high from the villages. Cars are not allowed to drive into the villages and parking for visitors are located outside the villages.

Getting to 5 Terre by public bus now is possibile there are small buses depsrting from La Spezia and arriving to Vernazza only.

Going to 5 Terre by boat is certainly very scenic but takes too much time to get there. The boat stops in Portovenere, Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza, Monterosso (Corniglia has no pier). From La Spezia to Monterosso, including the stops takes approx 2 hrs.

For the calculation of the distances and duration of the transfers we keep La Spezia as reference, this is the biggest town inland of Cinque Terre.

Best Restaurants for Dinner

One of the nicest things about Cinque Terre’s restaurants is that they have both great ambience and great food! Lots of restaurants have outdoor seating, with popular dinner spots situated near the waterfront.

While all the food we had in Cinque Terre was great, my one criticism of some places were that the portions were tiny. I suppose that is the Italian mentality that you should eat multiple courses for dinner so each is a little smaller than you might anticipate. Below I’ve listed recommendations for great Cinque Terre restaurants that I really enjoyed:

Osteria: despite the rather bland name, we loved this spot for fresh pasta and seafood. We tried the seafood pasta, pasta with clams and walnut ravioli pansotti as well as the huge plates of garlicky mussels (Monterosso)

Ristorante al Pozzo: great pastas here as well, but portions are a bit small. (Monterosso)

Belvedere: the fish stew here is incredible. (Monterosso)

La Cantina di Miky: homemade pastas with an emphasis on seafood, beach views and fresh pesto bruschetta (Monterosso)

Al Castello: for a fancy sunset dinner with a view, located inside the castle. (Vernazza)

Visit the spectacular coastline of the Cinque Terre, a beautiful stretch of ocean coast

Enjoy the pastel-colored villages as you walk through the village's stone paths

Savor a delicious local lunch in a quaint restaurant with a stunning view of the sea

Explore the Parco Nizionale delle Cinque Terre

Covering only about 4,300 acres of land, the Parco Nazionale Cinque Terre is the smallest national park in Italy. The park, also called Park of Man is unique as the people cultivated the steep and sloping land, erected authentic traditional settlements and sketched hiking trails which provides the visitors with breath-taking scenery. In 1997, the wonder of man was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area inhabited by around 4000 people boasts of whopping 2.4 million visitors every year! Visitors to this Eco tourist national park are vowed by the atmosphere, the perfect harmony created between the humankind and nature, food, and the welcoming people.

Tease the taste buds at Liguria

The best thing about the seaside destinations is the freshness and deliciousness of the food available. A trip’s purpose is wasted if one has not gorged on the tasty seafood of the Cinque Terre. Perhaps it is the result of the rich algae that blooms in the Ligurian Sea that the food is especially delectable. Anchovies, the local staple are found in antipasti, as an appetizer, and even as pizza toppings.

The locally invented Fresh basil pesto is another local specialty which should not be left out. A light brown pasta, trofie is also a must-have.

7 things you can do during your Christmas holiday in Rome by Marco Secchi



Are you spending your Christmas holiday in Rome, and wondering what to do?

Here you can find a short list of things you can do in these last days of the year in the eternal city!



1. Discover the christmas trees

There’s no christmas without christmas tree. And in Rome there are two main places where you

can find the traditional christmas tree. The first one is in Piazza Venezia. The tree is sponsored by

Netflix, is 23 mt high, decorated with 60000 led lights and 500 baubles. The other one is in Piazza

San Pietro, and it’s more that 20 mt tall.

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2. Shopping in the center above the christmas lights

You can take a walk in the main shopping streets in the area that goes from Piazza del Popolo to

Piazza Venezia. The main street is Via del Corso, a long street full of stores. If you are looking for

luxury brands you have to visit Via Condotti.



3. iscover the nativity scenes

This year in Piazza San Pietro you can find a spectacular nativity scene: the Jesolo Sand Nativity.

Four international artists created this artwork using the sand.

Every year in Rome you can also find a big art exhibition: the “100 presepi”. If you want to

discover different nativities, coming from every region of Italy and different countries, you have to

visit this exhibition. https://www.100presepi.it/it/



4. Go skating, Ice skating!

If you want have some fun on a ice skating rink, you can find different solutions.

At the Auditorium Parco della Musica there’s the Ice Park rink, open every day from 10 to 23.

There are also other solutions, connected to big shopping malls that are located out of the center:

the Ice skating rink of Euroma 2 (Viale dell’Oceano Pacifico 83), and Porta di Roma on Ice (Via

Alberto Lionello 201)



5. Take a break and taste an home made panettone

Christmas means traditions, and panettone is one of the things you can’t miss!

Even if its real origins are in Milan, you can find some very good home made panettone just here

in Rome! You can choose between the classical recipe, and the creative ones, every bakery has

its own specialties.

  • Roscioli, via dei Chiavari 34

  • Bonci, via Trionfale 36

  • Le Levain, via Luigi Santini 22-23

  • Severance, via Eurialo 1

  • Lievito, Viale Europa 339



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6.Explore the Christmas markets

The Christmas market in Piazza Navona is a classic tradition of Rome.

There you can find local products, toys and street artists, walking under Bernini’s Fountain of the

Four Rivers and facing the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone.


7. Enjoy some good music: Rome Gospel Festival

From 21 to 31 of december this international festival will take place at Auditorium Parco della

Musica. It’s the most important gospel festival in Europe and this year is at the 12th edition.

https://en.auditorium.com/rassegna/roma_gospel_festival_2018-18992.html

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Where to eat and drink in Florence by Marco Secchi

My favourite places where to eat in Florence by Michela Goretti

 

I' Girone De' Ghiotti €

Crush delicious, stuffed with typical Tuscan ingredients; despite being small, the restaurant offers seats, not many, but there are! Unbeatable prices for quality:

2 crushed (that are enough and advance) 1 bottled beer, 1/2 water € 14.50 ... less than in a very bad fast-food, and we are

in the historical center!

Via dei Cimatori 23/Rosso, 50122, Firenze, Italia   +39 055 532 6053


Senz’altro Bistrot  € 

Young and smart guys! They take care of every dish in the smallest details; curious combinations and refined taste.

Small, intimate and welcoming place. Located in a long street full of life and passage, easy to reach both by public transport and private transport (there is a nice parking at the beginning of the pedestrian zone).

Highly recommended.

-Borgo la Croce 21/r, 50121, Firenze, Italia      +39 055 24382


Ditta Artigianale €

Ditta Artigianale selects individual origins from all over the world,

traveling to the constant search for the best products

and ethical to bring to the customer,

enhancing every single passage of the grain journey,

from the plantation to the cup.

Via dei Neri 32r Firenze Italia  +30 055 274 1541


Mercato Centrale €€

For those who love street food will find an oasis gurmet in the heart of the city.

12 shops of some of the best Italian artisans, Tuscan restaurant, Chianti wine shop, pizza osai, street food

Primo piano Piazza del Mercato Centrale Firenze Italia   055 2399798


Gurdulu  €€€

A bit like a Londoner and a Parisian, Gurdulù is all Florentine: in the neighborhood of Santo Spirito comes a unique but common place, familiar but unusual, real and at the same time fantastic. Pure State, Tradition and Territory, Today at the Market, Classic Snacks, Desserts and Seasons: this is the menu that offers the restaurant and that periodically changes respecting the seasons.

Via delle Caldaie 12 R Firenze Italia   +39 055 282223


Ora D’Aria  €€€

The environment is essential and elegant, with attention to details that express a delicate and never ostentatious luxury Ora d'Aria perfectly reflects the philosophy of the chef who promotes a kitchen made of quality and transparency, the same that are found in every place of the restaurant, starting from the kitchen, overlooking the street and the hall, that of the local and who he deals with it defines the essence.

Via dei Georgofili 11R - 50122 Firenze Italia    +39 055 200 16 99


Winter Garden by Caino €€€

In an elegant setting of a sophisticated winter garden nested in The St. Regis Florence, the collaboration in the kitchen between epicurean masters Chef Gentian Shehi and 2 Michelin Star Chef Valeria Piccini sets new heights of a refined restaurant experience in Florence, bringing together the culinary tradition of Tuscany and bespoke service in the heart of Florence

Piazza Ognissanti, 1 Florence  Italia  +3905527163770


La bottega del buon Caffè €€€

Authenticity and honesty are at the heart of each dish we create at La Bottega del Buon Caffè .

Respecting our Florentine Location the seasonal menus are designed to reflect the region's unique gastronomic heritage and vibrant culinary culture. Artisan butchers supply the kitchen with exceptional cuts of locally-reared meats whilst the very freshest fish are delivered from the Mediterranean.

Borgo Santo Pietro in the CityLa Bottega del Buon CaffèIl LoungeL'Enoteca
Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 69/r - Firenze, Italy • Tel. +39 055 55 35 677

Relais Borgo Santo Pietro Srl • P.IVA/CF: 0144 0680 526



Il Palagio  €€€

In an original and authentic atmosphere, elegant but not strictly formal, Il Palagio offers a culinary experience and one of the most unforgettable settings in Florence.

Loved by both tourists and locals alike, Il Palagio is one of the most popular restaurants in Florence for its traditional Italian and regional cuisine enriched by a touch of modernity.

Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121 Firenze  +39 (055) 2626 450


Enoteca Pinchiorri  €€€€

The kitchen is a laboratory where ideas take shape, the best ingredients are combined in the search for innovation but always in the name of local and territorial tradition.

Via Ghibellina, 87,Firenze FI  055 242757

What to do in Bologna by Marco Secchi

Things to Do in Bologna: Walk Off Lunch

Bologna is also known as La Rossa or the red, for its terracotta rooftops, it’s a medieval city so you will find beautiful cathedrals and historic buildings but it’s also a left-leaning progressive city with modern art exhibits. There’s no shortage of culture in Bologna.

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Asinelli Tower is the city’s largest tower and you can climb to the top to get a great view. It slightly leans and is actually taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the 498 steps to the top will surely work off the extra pasta calories.

Piazza Maggiore is the main plaza in the city with lots going on from movies in the square to art fairs. To get here travel up Bologna’s main street – Via dell’Indipendenza and you’ll arrive at the famous Neptune Fountain in Piazza Nettuno which is just around the corner. Piazza Maggiore is also home to the Basilica of San Petronio which is an odd looking church as the bottom is pink marble but the top is brick. While it may not be the most beautiful, it is one of the more interesting as it was once supposed to be the largest church in the world until the Vatican discovered the plans and suddenly funds disappeared and were given to the university. Perhaps a better investment anyway.

Stroll the 666 portici in Bologna, or covered terracotta arcades. With an influx of university students, it needed to expand rapidly. No one wanted to expand outside the city so they build on top of the streets, student houses were created in front of existing storefronts with the portices below. They needed to be high enough to allow horse carts through and today over 45km remain, which are fantastic for the hot Italian sun or rainy days.

3 Three things to do in Bologna

1. Climb Italy's tallest leaning tower
Move over Pisa, Bologna has a great leaning tower of its own.When you visit Asinelli Tower in the heart of the city, you won't feel like you have stepped into a tourist trap.This tower is old, it's leaning and while walking up it's teetering stairs, you'll definitely feel like you're on an adventure. The wooden stairs are narrow and all that separates you from a tumble below is a thin wooden railing.But the climb is worth it because you'll come out to an extraordinary view of the ancient city's rooftops.

Cost: €3

2. Try Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
Traditional balsamic vinegar can sell for €50-€100 a bottle and after learning about how it's made and I can understand why.It takes a minimum 7-years to age traditional balsamic with most batches sitting in barrels up to 15 years.Some is even aged for 45 years. This isn't the balsamic vinegar that we buy at the grocery store at home and put on salads, traditional balsamic is thick and delicious.You only need a few drops to drizzle over anything you want including pasta, strawberries and cheese.

Cost: Eat balsamic vinegar it at a restaurant or during Aperitvo, then you won't feel the sting of €100 per bottle

3. Eat Parmigiano Regianno

Speaking of Cheese, Parma is just a short train ride away from Bologna and you must eat Parmesan cheese when visiting. Italians will tell you it is very good for you and you must eat it every day.  After a run,  before dinner, after dinner with prosecco...you name the time of day, we ate the incredible Parmesan Reggiano.Like traditional balsamic, tender loving care goes into making parmesan cheese. It is aged for two years and hand rotated on a daily basis to evenly distribute the flavour. 

What to Eat in Bologna
If you are heartbroken that spaghetti bolognese does not exist in Bologna, have no fear and order the tagliatelle with ragu or order one of many traditional food in Bologna.

Mortadella
Everywhere else in the world we know it as bologna, but here it’s called mortadella and it’s fantastic. Mortadella is an Italian sausage made from ground pork and pork fat. It’s decadent and amazing with a glass of prosecco.

Salame Rosa
Once you’ve had your fill of mortadella, try its lesser known cousin – salame rosa, which means pink salami. If a cooked ham and mortadella had a child it would be salame rosa as it is a cooked sausage made from pork shoulder.

Pizza
In Bologna you will find Neapolitan pizza, so think thicker, softer crust. It’s not my favourite but if you’re on the go it’s a perfect snack.

Tortellini in brodo
Delicate parcels of pasta filled with minced pork in broth.

Piadinas
Italian flatbreads stuffed with cheese and meat.

Torta di Riso
A sweet rice cake.

Gelato
There are some fantastic gelato shops in Bologna; however, I learned early on how to distinguish the difference from those that tourists eat at and gelato shops for locals – real gelato isn’t piled high to draw people in, it’s hidden in canisters beneath a counter so gelato needs to be cold. Makes you wonder how those piles of tempting gelato-like shops keep it cold. When in doubt go to Cremeria Santo Stefano.

Also, don’t miss out on Lambrusco, gorgeous sparkling red wine, that pairs fantastically with cured meat.

Where to Eat and Drink in Bologna by Marco Secchi

This is the home of fresh pasta, the famous mortadella sausage, and nearby there are the finest producers of Parma ham, Parmigiano cheese, balsamic vinegar. There is no better place in Italy for eating out, and it really is almost impossible here to pay a lot of money for a meal.

 

 Pizzeria Ristorante La Brace,
It can come as a surprise but when the Bolognesi want to go out to eat fish they will invariably choose a pizzeria, first because they are run by supposed seafood experts from Napoli or Sicily, and secondly because they are invariably less expensive than a formal restaurant or trattoria. The Brace is a classic example, cheap and cheerful, with a fun decoration of famous footballers' shirts hanging from the ceiling, and a menu that ranges from Pizza Positano, with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella, to grilled squid and prawns, sea bass and tuna. A set menu is priced at €12, and pizzas cost from €4-€8.
• 15 Via San Vitale, +39 51 235656, ristorantelabrace.eu

Osteria Dell'Orsa
 
Whether you turn up at lunchtime or for dinner, the atmosphere is always buzzing at "The Bear", a Bologna locale that has transformed over the years from an alternative punk hangout into a traditional osteria that also has a shop next door selling their handmade pasta to take away. Great place to meet the locals as everyone sits down at communal tables, and at night you might find yourself listening to a live band, a poetry reading or heated philosophical discussions. Pasta of the day could be artichoke lasagna or gnocchi with courgettes, priced at €6.
• 1 Via Mentana, +39 51 231576, osteriadellorsa.com

 

Da Me
Externally, this is certainly not the most prepossessing, but do not let this put you off
Assuredly you will also have had to book, probably several days in advance, for it is well known and respected by the locals
The rather dog-eared menu is short, and I'ld guess only seasonally changed. Similarly, the decor is pretty functional as is often the case throughout Europe with family-owned/run restaurants (this one since 1937), concentration being paid to the main event = the quality of the food
Via San Felice 50/A, 40122 Bologna, Italy
+39 051 555486

Trattoria Anna Maria
The genial Signora Anna Maria looks and acts like the archetypal Italian mamma and has been serving the finest tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth, €14) in Bologna for 26 years now in her marvellous trattoria. Although prices may be a bit above average – €28 for two hearty courses – you are assured of an unforgettable meal, not just for the delicious food, but the lovingly kitsch interiors, the walls decorated with black and white photos of Mastroianni and Sophia Loren, the ancient waiters in their trademark red waistcoats weaving between the tables, precariously balancing plates piled high with pasta.
• 17 Via delle Belle Arte, +39 51 266894, trattoriannamaria.com

Le Stanze
Le Stanze is right in the heart of the student quarter of the city, and is the one spot that stands out among the dozens of lively bars and cafes that line the surrounding streets. You walk into a stunning lounge that was originally the 16th-century private chapel of the Palazzo Bentivoglio, and the high ceiling is painted with beautiful pastel frescoes. While Le Stanze is a restaurant too (mains around €15), the best deal is to turn up between 6pm and 9pm for the evening aperitivo. The long bar is lined with appetising plates of pasta, grilled vegetables, bite-sized pizzette, cheeses and prosciutto, and all you pay is an extra €1 added on to the price of drinks, which range from €6 for a glass of wine to €9 for a cocktail.
• 1 Via Borgo di San Pietro, +39 51 228767

Osteria Marsalino
Italians are finally waking up to the effect of carbon footprints on what they eat, and every Saturday morning there is an organic market here organised by local farmers. In the food business the term kilometro zero has been coined, and several restaurants highlight regional products on their menu. One of the leaders is this cool, modern osteria, where you can also find lighter, more creative dishes on the menu such as risotto alle fragole (strawberry risotto), a "kmzero" caprese salad or a bowl of farro – spelt with courgettes, baby shrimps and soy sauce.
• €6 for a pasta or salad, €7 for a main course, 13 Via Marsalino, +39 51 238675, marsalino.it

 

La Baita Formaggi
A tour of Bologna's ancient market that crisscrosses the backstreets behind the landmark Piazza Maggiore is a must for anyone interested in food, from the bustling fruit and vegetable stalls to salumerie where the seductive aroma of prosciutto and mortadella wafts out on to the street. La Baita is the most renowned cheese shop, and at lunchtime shoppers can stop off for a proper meal of affettati (cold cuts), not just fabulous cheeses like a unique black Parmigiano or succulent fresh ricotta, but also frittata di verdura, a light omelette, smoked ham and tasty salami, priced from €10-€15 depending how carried away you get when ordering.
• 3 Via Pescherie Vecchie, +39 51 223940

Caffè Zamboni

This is one of Italy's most important university cities, and with more than 80,000 students living here there is a huge choice for budget eating and drinking. The evening aperitivo is a ritual rendezvous, replacing dinner, as each bar vies to offer more to eat in the complimentary buffet. Caffè Zamboni is the hottest spot right now and with the panoply of dishes displayed as you walk by it is no surprise. For €7 the preferred drink is an Aperol Spritz, and while vegetarians will be pleased to see grilled aubergines and zucchini, most people head straight for the huge chunks of mortadella.
• 6 Via Zamboni, +39 51 273102, caffezamboni.it

E' Cucina Bologna
Cesare Marretti is one of the hottest young chefs in Italy, a regular on the Italian version of Ready Steady Cook and a disciple of Jamie Oliver.
His restaurant on Via Senzanome is a funky, design bistro where the light, creative cuisine revolves around fresh, seasonal produce. The three course set menus at lunch range from €10-€20 and include mineral water, a glass of wine and coffee, while main courses at night are priced at €8. A great place to come for healthy salads or grilled fish after too much tortellini and tagliatelle.
• 42 Via Senzanome, +39 51 2750069, cesaremarretti.com

Biagi
The sign outside Biagi says "osteria" but this is actually an elegant restaurant which is definitely the place to reserve for a romantic gourmet dinner that still won't break the bank. While the menu features classic casalinga dishes, lovingly prepared in the kitchen by Signora Dina, mother of the friendly owner and maître d', Fabio, there are also surprising recipes like a galantina di cappone (stuffed chicken) or a warm panzanella salad of beans and plump tomatoes. Excellent choice of local wines, and this is the place to be surprised by the quality of a sparkling red lambrusco. Dinner with wine costs €30-€35.
• 9 Via Savenella, +39 51 4070049, ristorantebiagi.it

 

 

RESTAURANTS
Trattoria Anna Maria, Via delle Belle Arti, 17/A
A few doors down from this warm trattoria, you’ll find women rolling out thin sheets of dough, preparing pasta for Anna Maria’s evening meal. While surrounded by framed photos and autographs of celebrities that cover the walls, tuck into Bolognese classics like tortelloni burro e salvia (butter and sage) and translucent strands of tagliatelle al ragù. The eponymous proprietress buzzes from table to table, checking in on the regulars and welcoming new faces.

Osteria Broccaindosso, Via Broccaindosso, 7/A
This rustic, candlelit spot is best enjoyed on an empty stomach; skip the aperitivo before an evening here. Share plates of antipasti, sample several pastas, and do not miss dessert, an unending, family-style array of sweets, including piles of naked profiteroles ready to be dipped in warm chocolate, and bowls of fresh fruit and fluffy mascarpone to spoon on dense chocolate cake.

Da Maro, Via Broccaindosso, 71
For a brief respite from Bologna’s meat-centric dishes, head to seafood restaurant Da Maro. Run by a Sicilian family, specialties include bright crudo and pasta con le sarde (with sardines) topped with a liberal sprinkling of bottarga, but they also make a variety of other handmade pastas with fish fresh from the local market.

Nicola’s Pizzeria, Piazza San Martino, 9
A wood-fired oven churns out popular, lightly charred pies here, from the usual suspects to more interesting but no less delicious combos like tonno e cipolla (tuna and onion) or the zucchini and egg. Incredibly thin crusts make it easy to polish off one alone.

Ristorante Alice, Via Massimo D'Azeglio, 65/b
Outfitted with plain white tablecloths and simple decor, Alice serves up quintessential Bolognese fare to a mostly local crowd. Let your waiter guide you, but be sure to start with the excellent antipasti, including cured meats, jagged crumbles of Pecorino with balsamic, ceci (chickpeas), and thinly sliced marinated eggplant.

Trattoria Meloncello, Via Saragozza, 240/A
Burn off some newly acquired calories with a brisk walk up to the Sanctuary of the Madonna of San Luca, perched on a hill overlooking Bologna, and stop into this nearly 100-year-old eatery for a well-deserved lunch afterward. The tortellini in brodo is especially satisfying, with tender dumplings in a simple, perfectly seasoned broth.


SWEETS
La Sorbetteria Castiglione, Via Castiglione, 44 d/e
There are plenty of gelato shops closer to the center of town, but La Sorbetteria Castiglione is worth the wander down a quiet, portico-lined street. Try Michelangelo, an almond gelato peppered with almond praline bits, or Dolce Emma, a ricotta base with honey-caramelized figs.

Il Gelatauro, Via San Vitale, 98
When this tiny shop opened in 1998, it was among the first in Bologna to make gelato with organic ingredients. It offers samples and a host of seasonal and classic flavors (the stracciatella and chocolate-orange are popular scoops) as well as fresh fruit sorbetti; it’s easy to find something to love here.

Majani, Via Dè Carbonesi, 5
Stop into this 200-year-old chocolate-maker’s shop for beautifully wrapped packages of chocolates to take home. It first created the renowned Cremino Fiat in 1911 to celebrate the car company’s Tipo 4 model, and more than a century later the squares of smooth chocolate with hazelnut and almond cream are still a best-seller. A box of cream-filled chocolate tortellini is another perfectly apropos souvenir.

WORTH to try "Cremeria Funivia" in Piazza Cavour


DRINKS
Le Stanze, Via del Borgo di San Pietro, 1
Once the private realms of a wealthy family, Le Stanze is now a lively bar and restaurant with one of the best aperitivo spreads in town. Order an Aperol Spritz and snack on roasted vegetables, pizzette, and savory salads under lofty vaulted ceilings and walls showcasing original frescoes painted in the early 18th century. Be warned, though: It may be tough to return to your hometown bar after a visit here.

Baladin Bologna, Via Clavature, 12
While Italy is historically a country of wine drinkers, its craft beer movement has gained ground of late with a host of breweries making inventive, world-class beers. In the basement of the recently reopened Mercato di Mezzo in the Quadrilatero, you’ll find an outpost of the original Italian craft brewer Teo Musso’s beloved beer bar. Sample from offerings, both on tap and in bottles, including Nora, the unique, Egyptian-inspired spiced brew made with myrrh and ginger.


MARKETS
Mercato delle Erbe, Via Ugo Bassi, 25
In this historic indoor market, shop from stalls of fresh produce, meat, fish, cheese, and other Italian provisions next to locals stocking up on ingredients for tonight’s evening meal. If your surroundings inspire hunger, there are plenty of places to pick up a panino stuffed with prosciutto and arugula or pizza al taglio (by the slice) from trays of vegetable and meat-topped square pies, as well as cozy spots to sit and enjoy them.

Quadrilatero
This small, rectangular grid of streets and cobblestone walkways off the Piazza Maggiore is home to a host of markets, many that spill out onto the street and offer a bounty of meats, cheese, fish, fruits, and vegetables that represent the staples of Bolognese cuisine. Paolo Atti & Figli, Tamburini, and La Baita are among the best.

Paolo Atti & Figli, Via Caprarie, 7
Founded in 1880 and still run by the same family, this celebrated shop sells both freshly made and dried pastas—the latter packaged in lovely boxes perfect for gifting—as well as a bounty of breads, pastries, and cakes. They include a traditional panettone, and perfectly crisp, powdered sugar–dusted sfrappole that permeate the handsome wood-paneled space.

Tamburini, Via Caprarie, 1
In this family-run shop dating back to the 1930s, prosciutto hangs heavily from the ceiling, while tire-size wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano are displayed beside myriad other cured meats, cheeses, and handmade pastas. There are also prepared foods and a small restaurant and wine bar. On a sunny day, opt for a table outside and snack on an epic cheese and meat plate paired with a glass of red.

La Baita Formaggi, Via Pescherie Vecchie, 3/A
A cheese lover’s mecca, find freshly made ricotta and mozzarella, burrata, and practically every other divine Italian cheese that comes to mind, as well as cured meats, marinated vegetables, olives, and salads to take away or enjoy at a table right in the shop.

Worth to try Casa Minghetti in Piazza Minghetti