In Vino Veritas – Enoteca Al Duomo (Orvieto, Italy)

The Enoteca Al Duomo: My husband and I loved this place so much that we came here twice in one day during our honeymoon back in October.  Aptly named, this enoteca is literally next to the famous Duomo in Orvieto, Italy. Looking at the front of the amazing façade, it’s on the left-hand side, on the side of the building (facing the beautiful striped sides of the duomo). Can’t miss it.

It was truffle season so we opted for a full-on truffle lunch: bruschetta assortment including truffle bruschetta, tagliolini with fresh truffles, and then a prosciutto and truffle sandwich on fresh ciabatta.

Enoteca al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Bruschetta

 

Enoteca Al Duomo in Orvieto, Italy
Cheese plate…including truffled cheese

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Get Your Sleep On – Hotel Santa Margherita Palace (Santa Margherita di Ligure, Italy)

My husband and I stayed here at the Hotel Santa Margherita Palace for 3 nights during our honeymoon in October 2014 and were very pleased with our decision.

I half-jokingly submit that one of the best things about this hotel is its proximity to the train station. After a long day of travel, taking trains from Florence, switching in Pisa and praying that we got off at the right stop, we found ourselves bleary-eyed and travel-tired on the platform of Santa Margherita di Ligure station as we watched the double-decker train chug away into the dusk.  We argued about taking a cab or not, and I checked my iPhone map and realized that the hotel was literally down the street. Downhill. Double points for convenience!

Lobby lounge, as seen from the front desk/reception

The hotel staff were fantastic – especially Paola, who gave us so much information and really took care of us throughout our stay. There was another really helpful guy at the front desk – his name started with an R, and he also helped us plan our day trip to Portofino. Santa Margherita di Ligure was the perfect home base for us as we explored the Italian Riviera and Cinque Terre. It had just enough going on to feel like a vibrant little town, without being so far away from the picturesque areas that you spent half the day traveling. The ferry is walking distance and you can take it to Portofino, San Fruttuoso and other coastal towns.

My husband surprised me and upgraded us to a honeymoon package which included Continue reading

In Vino Veritas – Winterose Portofino (Portofino, Italy)

A day in Portofino should never be complete without a visit to Winterose Portofino, a wine store and wine bar right on the edge of the marina, to sip champagne and fine Italian wines lazily at a little table or even sitting on the edge of the water, while you enjoy the Italian Riviera sunshine and rest your weary legs after a long day of shopping and being fabulous.
One of my absolute favorite things about Italy, and its wine bars and cafés in particular, is that when you order wine, it comes with a very nice plate of antipasti, gratis. In a world where nothing comes for free, it’s nice that this is still what I would say the “norm”.  So, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve sat and ordered your drinks until you order a small bite – a snack might already be on the way.

We found Winterose after I connected to some local WiFi and was looking for a wine bar with good ratings on TripAdvisor. Winterose had the highest rating of any, and was right on the water. We headed over faster than I could close the browser on my iPhone, and lucked out, finding two seats at a cafe table right in front.

After a brief panic attack wondering if I had just accidentally spent all of our wedding gift money by sitting at a wine bar in the Italian Riviera without looking at a menu, Continue reading

Get Your Sleep On – Villa Tolomei Hotel & Resort (Florence, Italy)

Let me preface this by saying that I don’t really like Florence. It’s not my favorite Italian city, by far. I didn’t like it before my husband and I stayed at Villa Tolomei and I still don’t really like it after. But I can’t wait to go back to Villa Tolomei Hotel & Resort… so that probably says more about this hotel than I ever could articulate in a detailed review.
Villa Tolomei - Driveway
The driveway of the villa, looking out from the front door.

All dramatics aside, this hotel is the real deal. We’ve spent nights in various “luxury properties” on several continents and this place just has that “it” factor that some properties try to achieve, but never really do. It’s fancy enough, but the design is so subtly brilliant in mixing the classic, restored villa with the modern world in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s trying too hard or going to be outdated in a decade. It’s just effortlessly cool, but Continue reading

A Night in Rome – Wandering Trastevere

One of my favorite things to do when in Rome is wander the ancient neighborhood of Trastevere.
My husband and I went to Rome back in September 2010 and tried to eat at a particular restaurant in the neighborhood of Trastevere (Le Mani in Pasta – see my post about it here) after I’d done some research online and figured out that some of the best pasta places in the city were concentrated in that ‘hood. We’d already eaten at one of the best pizza places (Dar Poeta – amazing… but also super cramped and loud – see my post about it here) in the neighborhood, and fell in love with the awkwardly narrow, cobbled streets, piazzas filled with locals drinking beer and wine, dining al fresco, countless scooters whizzing by thisclose to where we were walking. It was magical. It feels exactly the way you would expect Rome to feel.
We had arrived at said restaurant and the harried waiter asked us how many, and assured us that we’d have a table in 20 minutes. Twenty minutes later, it was another 20 minutes. This continued for about an hour (we were patient!) until another waiter dropped an entire tray of food on his way to a table, and we finally realized: We are not going to sit anytime soon. Luckily, another couple had just been walking by and suggested that we check out the restaurant around the corner. We set off in search of our consolation dinner immediately, stomachs rumbling and hanger building with each step.
After navigating a small maze of streets we found ourselves in Piazza dei Mercanti, standing in front of Continue reading

Dar Poeta Pizza and Gelato in Trastevere, Rome

The Trastevere neighborhood of Rome, Italy is jam-packed with cool cafes and restaurants, as well as locals and tourists roaming the street in search of food, drink and reverie.

IN SEARCH OF THE PERFECT PIZZA

Back in 2010, I had my first encounter with this Roman neighborhood, as my boyfriend (at the time – now husband) and I had done some research on the best pizza places in Rome. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Rome isn’t known for pizza; that’s Naples. And yes, I know that. But it was his first trip to Italy and I had a hankering for some crispy dough piled with tomato sauce and cheese. So, I did my research and found Dar Poeta. We took our chances and headed over to this popular spot located at Vicolo del Bologna, 45. There are two locations now, apparently, according to Dar Poeta’s website.

After waiting a bit for a table (surprisingly not THAT long, given how famous this place is), we were practically wedged in to the corner of the place next to a French couple. And by wedged I mean they had to get up, move their table, and basically play Tetris (yeah, I went there) in order to have us sit down.

But, the pizza? Continue reading