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Oct 22, 1998 12:53 PM

Italy (thanks Ruth Reichl)

  • b

I hope no one gets upsent at posting a message that
only vaguely related to food, but I feel inspired by
Ruth Reichl's great article yesterday in the NY Times
about her trip to Italy.

The question is, does anyone know anywhere to get
information about renting a house for a couple of
months next summer in Italy?

Also, does anyone have any suggestions about great mid-
size (100,000 - 200,000 pop.) cities in which to try
to find a house to rent? Proximity to water is
preferable but not required.

Thanks for any information.

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  1. j
    Josh Mittleman

    It was a fun article, wasn't it? Typical Reichl
    gushing, of course: There _is_ bad food in Italy.

    I was delighted that the one restaurant she singled out
    in Florence was one of our favorites.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Josh Mittleman

      Her reference to Il Latini brought back fond memories to me too - of a long ago pig-out there (at that time and probably still they had a multicourse fixed price tuscan dinner of mammoth proportions, with food and wine that just kept coming, down to the final biscotti and vin santo) and of my extremely moderate husband moaning about the fate of prophets of moderation as we stumbled back to our hotel. As I recall it, the place looked and felt like it had been there forever, with hams hanging from the ceiling, etc. the food was typical of the region, but in no way outstandingly good, and since it was a Frommer fave, full of all sorts of patrons out for a big feed.

      1. re: Josh Mittleman

        Hi Josh, I will be in Italy for a few weeks with my
        husband and 2 kids next summer--I have started my
        collection of posting and suggestions and would really
        appreciate any from you. We will be in the Emilio-
        Reggiano area,staying with freinds, and probably
        Venice and Florence, also maybe Liguria as well.

      2. Reichl's articles brought back fond memories to me, too.

        Although I ended up not renting my house through them (I worked out a deal with a friend), I was very impressed with Suzanne Cohen, who is a villa specialist. I dealt with Richard Cohen, who, amazingly, is not related or married to Suzanne, but works with her. They tend to have mid-ranged to expensive properties, but they will refer you to other sources if they don't have something fit for you.

        94 W. Winthrop St.
        Augusta ME 04430-5508

        Phone: (207) 622-0743
        Fax (207) 622-1902

        Note that they charge approximately $3.00 for their catalog.

        1. sure do, we 're renting a place in tuscanny, for
          which is highly recommended, great people to deal with,
          excellent tuscanny location)Gaiole. on a vineyard etc.
          contact tell donna, or linda I
          you, they're wonderful folks. they'll send you pictures
          do it fast, summer is a busy season for them.

          1. I loved the story, too, especially
            since we leave Wed for 3 weeks in
            Tuscany...the accompanying story
            about Sicilian cooking was also
            interesting, especially since I'm
            Siciliano by marriage...

            I have a great villa connection in
            western Tuscany (near San
            Gimignano). The area is off the
            tourist track but close to SG and
            Volterra, and a short train ride
            into Florence (so you can avoid
            parking and driving hassles). Best
            of all, they cost about 20-40 less
            than most comparable properties.
            The villas are managed by a Swiss
            national who lives in the tiny
            village of Chianni (no, not
            Chianti), and you can read about
            them on my web site at:


            My favorite Italian chowhound
            spots are the tiny trattorie
            scattered around the back roads
            near Chianni...a bowl of
            papperdelle con funghi and a
            mezzolitro of vino (the stuff the
            owner made last costs
            about a buck)...this trip we're
            headed to Venice for the first time
            and plan to eat lots of cicheti, the
            Venetian version of tapas. There's
            also going to be some kind of
            cinghiale (wild boar) festival in
            Chianni, so I'm hoping for salami,
            sausage, and who knows what else
            made from cinghiale.

            I'll post a report in the
            international section when we get
            back in November.

            Jim Dixon

            1. "Also, does anyone have any suggestions about great mid-size (100,000 - 200,000 pop.) cities in which to try to find a house to rent? Proximity to water is
              preferable but not required."

              Late follow up ;-) We just got back from Italy and we stayed near Lucca, only a 1/2 hr. from the coast. Great town, population around 100K. There are tons of villas on the web, if you can do your searching that way, I recommend it.

              Unfortunately, I'd say my "chow" experience in Italy was spotty. A few gems scattered amongst the mediocre. But that's part of the discovery phase, eh? We went to a few Frommer's recommends, and only one was outstanding, IMO. What I loved was the 'rosticerria' -had some fabulous things from these places, not expensive either. I'd go into a rosticerria and come out with a feast for ~$20 U.S. Great wine is affordable too.

              Great web site btw. I am a 'chowhound' as I hate 'wasting' a meal, and will drive clear across town for that special thing, makes trips to multiple stores to find just what I want, and have all kinds of obsessive behavior about food. ;-)

              1 Reply
              1. re: Margaret

                I am a 'chowhound' as I hate 'wasting' a meal, and will drive clear across town for that special thing, makes trips to multiple stores to find just what I want"

                yep...that's the 'profile'!

                "and have all kinds of obsessive behavior about food"

                Aestheticism is not obsession!