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Italy (thanks Ruth Reichl)

Bill Oct 22, 1998 12:53 PM

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.

  1. j
    jonathan sibley Nov 18, 1999 08:34 AM

    Once you are there, if you can read (or muddle through) Italian, there are several excellent restaurant guides that cover not just fancy, but interesting, small, regional restaurants. If you go to you can see a compilation of restaurants selected from a number of guides (with searchable database). At www.class.it/cl/guidar.html there is an article about the key restaurant guides with hyperlinks. I always like the guide from Espresso, but now there is a good one from Gambero Rosso (they also have a good guide to Italian wines), as well as Veronelli.

    As a true Chowhound, you can search for neighboring restaurants to decide where you want to rent your house!

    1. m
      Margaret Nov 17, 1999 10:28 PM

      "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
        Jim Leff Nov 17, 1999 11:21 PM

        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!

      2. j
        Jim Dixon Oct 27, 1998 01:27 PM

        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 year...it 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. s
          stephen kaye Oct 23, 1998 12:24 AM

          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 LeMiccine@compuserve.com 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. d
            Dave Feldman Oct 22, 1998 09:58 PM

            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. j
              Josh Mittleman Oct 22, 1998 02:09 PM

              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
                jen kalb Oct 22, 1998 02:35 PM

                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
                  Lisa R. Oct 23, 1998 10:21 PM

                  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.

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