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Help me plan an Italy itinerary

I'm looking for some can't-miss chow for a week in Italy. I am perfectly willing to plan my trip around food! (Art, architecture, history take a back seat.)

I'm arriving in Milan on Dec. 15, and I have seven nights before I need to leave from either Turin or Milan. (Later that trip, my friend and I are doing Venice-->Florence-->Rome, so leave those cities out of the mix.) I was thinking of going to Bologna, Lucca, Pisa, Genoa, and Turin.

What should I seek out? I want to eat local favorites, not fine dining. I don't want stuffiness. It can be local outdoor markets (I have fond memories of outdoor markets in Dresden and Prague from my last trip), or anything.

Thanks!

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  1. The first thing you should do upon arriving in Italy is go to a good bookstore and pick up the Slow Food Guide to the Osterias of Italy. Even though it is written it Italian, you will find it very useful and informative. It is very much geared to where the locals eat.

    You should also take a look at Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler." Even though it was written 10 years ago, it contains a ton of useful info regarding bakeries, cafes, markets, shops and the various regional cuisines of Italy.

    Otherwise, I would highly recommend spending 20-30 minutes scrolling thru all the prior posts on this board. You will find many, many helpful suggestions already here for you.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DavidT

      if you want to take a look ahead of time, the Slowfood website is up and running again. if you go to slowfood.it, you can view their recommendations without registering. Just pick your region and go.

      http://associazione.slowfood.it/assoc...

      1. re: DavidT

        Absolutely get a Slow Food guide! Our last trip was our 4th to Italy, and first time using Slow Food Guide. Every meal was amazing and we wished we had it on previous trips. It is pretty easy to find your way through it too. You will need to leard things like hours of operation, days of the week, and specialties of the house, but other than that, very easy to use and SO worth it.

      2. I will raccomend to spend not a lot of time travelling in a week, because also if the distance are close, travelling in Italy sometime can be tiring and stressful. I personally raccomend to spend time in Torino's area, Piemonte, where you find some of the best italian cheese and one of the best italians grape: Nebbiolo. there is an italian site to find typical restaurant
        www.trattorieitalia.com/ If you really want to travel a bet than go to Bologna to appreciate the culinary capital of Italy.
        Travel less...experience and feel more.
        ciao ciao e buon viaggio

        1 Reply
        1. re: massimino

          Frank Bruni wrote a good article in the 10/25/06 issue of the New York Times (titled "Just How Good Can Italy Get") about food & wine in the Piemonte and Emilia-Romagna regions. It is well worth reading.

        2. I spent a week in Lucca recently and would definitely recommend Trattoria Gigi. A little spot right in the heart of the walled city. Super casual, indoor and outdoor seating and probably some of the best pasta of the entire trip. Rigatoni with speck and saffron cream, orrchietta with sausage and gorgonzola, macaroni (pasta ribbons) with porcini and even a zuchini custard to die for.

          1. "Turin or Milan... Venice-->Florence-->Rome ... Bologna, Lucca, Pisa, Genoa ..."

            My Boy: each of those cities well deserve an entire year, and that won't even be enough. By all means, please please please calm down, just stay in -at most- a couple of those cities. Sit al fresco, relax, have a nice vermouth (a "meditation moment", as my friends an I call it), enjoy doing just nothing. Only THEN can you really get to appreciate italian cooking and joie de vivre.

            1. I absolutely agree with RicRicos and will add .....Florence, Florence, Florence.