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Mar 20, 2007 11:13 PM

Slow Food Guide

I apologize if it has been mentioned before, but I have not seen this. I just returned from Italy and the Slow Food guide is now published in English. It is extremely useful and was consulted repeatedly to find incredible food. I do mean “find” since it took over an hour of driving around and asking directions to discover some of our choices. The English version is called “Osteria & Locanda d’Italia” because it is a combination of the two separate Italian language books. We used one of the hotel recommendations in Asti, which was great. We used one of Rick Steves’ suggestions in Montalchino that was very nice, except he forgot to mention the part about no toilet seats or potable water. This Slow Food guide is going to be a bible for tourists looking for outstanding food and good accommodations. It includes a small but useful food dictionary. The “Marling Menu-Master for Italy” I carried didn’t have a single word from the menus I saw.

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  1. thats terrific news - I will look for a copy in Napoli - tho I cant imagine how huge it is - the italian osteria guide is already tremendous
    the (italian) restaurant guide is available online as decribed in another thread.

    1. Can one order it online anywhere? Or do you have to go to Italy to get it?
      (I am going to Italy (yeah!) but it would be cool to get hold of it ahead of time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: tristan

        My guess is the book will be available in the U.S. at bookstores like Rizzoli (in NYC) and Borders within the next month or two. I am pretty sure Amazon will soon be selling it as well. In the meantime, you can buy it online thru the SlowFood USA website:

        I would not count on finding the English language version of this book widely available in Italy!

        1. re: DavidT

          I just ordered it from Amazon earlier this week, although they don't have it yet to ship. SlowFood's website doesn't indicate whether it is in stock or not.

          1. re: markabauman

            What did you order from Amazon? I don't see anything coming up under "Osteria & Locanda d’Italia"


            [edit:] nevermind. I figured out it is spelled "Osterie" Amazon says it is in stock today.

          2. re: DavidT

            I looked for it last week in Naples (Feltrinelli?) and they had it tho I decided not to buy on this trip since I had all the relevant info already. In fact, I wouldnt expect to find it OUTSIDE of italy or at least in the US - its surprisingly hard to find foreign published books here.

        2. Can you buy this in the Milan airport or the Milan train station? Thanks.

          2 Replies
          1. re: glbtrtr

            I got my copy at the Tourist Information Office in Barbaresco, which had a good selection of English language books. I also got the English version of the Gambero Rosso wine guide for 2006 at a 15% discount, since the new 2007 version was in. There is a large tourist office in Milan next to the Duomo and many bookstores in that area. In my Italian travels thus far, I have found the tourist offices to be outstanding in the Piemonte compared to the other northern regions with lots of literature and very knowledgeable, helpful staffs.

            1. re: BN1

              I got mine ( in 2005 ) at a Coop supermarket in Rivoli, and they were free.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. I had a minor freakout when I didn't see it on the Slow Food USA website, and had trouble finding it on Amazon searching for "Slow Food Osterie & Locanda d’Italia" and variations thereof. Note that though the publisher is Slow Food, it is not in the title. The title is "Osterie & Locande d'Italia: A Guide to Traditional Places to Eat and Stay in Italy" (Paperback). Here is a tiny URL to the guide at Amazon: . I believe it is the correct guide, and the reviews seem to indicate that it is extremely useful.

              3 Replies
              1. re: desylicious

                Honestly, dont fret if you cant find one either before you go, or in English. We bought our Italian version at a bookstore in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan when we arrived. We used it in Milan, Verona, Valpolicella, Bologna, and Venice. We were never let down. We were a little apprehensive at first not knowing what was written about each place. However, if you are a fairly seasoned and a little adventurous traveler, the fact that it is in Italian is no big deal. Learn a few things like how to tell the days and times they are open and closed, and you will be just fine. I am not saying the English version wouldn't provide more info if you didn't speak Italian, but I am saying it is better than not having one at all and will still provide plenty of excellent choices.

                There aren't that many selections in each city anyway (ie. Montalcino has one listing) so its not like you have a lot to choose from. At the risk of starting a debate, they mostly serve the same types of foods (Italian), and as long as you know how to tell the hours and days of operation, you should be just fine. Using the Italian version was actually kind of fun and educational at the same time.

                I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but I will say that the Slow Food Guide is not for everyone.

                We loved using it and will use it every time we go (sixth time next month).Using my ultra accurate hindsight, I will say that I would not have wanted to use this on my first trip to Italy. Most of the places we went to in the guide were not tourist destinatations and for that, and to a first timer, the results could vary wildly. We often found ourseleves eating lunch next to locals who spoke no English, were served without menus by a waitress who probably also owned the establishment or related to (and spoke no English), and most of the time, the places were not easy to get to and required a long walk or alternate transportation. But that's also exactly the experience we were looking for. Again, not for everyone. So if you are the type to dine only within walking distance (or short cab rides) from your room "vicino al centro", or require a menu and English speaking waitstaff, then you might find the Slow Food Guide a little frustrating. I also just realized I am preaching to the wrong group...a bunch of food snobs who are probably also well seasoned travelers:).

                Have fun


                1. re: desylicious

                  Yes, you have the name exactly right, I didn't notice the plurals. I bought the English version in Italy at the tourist information office, therefore I think it's widely available. The guide is so much better in English, as it often actually names the people who will be serving and cooking. It is pretty detailed about just what is served and the specialities, so it is very useful in picking places more to your tastes. We had memorable meals at the choices we made with this guide.

                  1. re: desylicious

                    I was able to find it at Powell's books in Portland:
                    We've been using it to help plan our trip to Italy next month, so I'll have more data about how useful it was after we get back.