six weeks & 1 hungry Canadian
I've been to Italy twice before. The first time I was 15 and we stayed in Verona and took day trips to Florence and Venice. Our day trips were a bit doomed (my sister vomited all over a market in Florence, and I couldn't find a bathroom at an important moment in Venice.) I just ate where my parents wanted to go - but I do remember a very good looking waiter making salad tableside in Padova.
The second time I was a nanny and my charge brought me along to Italy for a month. We ate our way through Rome (including the Jewish quarter - and the food there was incredible - can anyone recommend a not to be missed place here as I forget the names of the places we went??) and then we went to Calabria for the better part of a month.
Now I am going back to Italy. I feel so very lucky. I am in a wedding in Chuisi in June. After the wedding I would like to spend 6 weeks driving around Italy and eating. This will be from June 25th to July 29th.
I'd love some recommendations for not-to-be-missed rural and off-the-map eating experiences including both agritourism and food festivals.
I have no direction in mind, no desitinations - I'd basically just like to eat. Please make all recommendations (irregardless of safety & cost concerns.)
Thank you for your time.
As someone on this board pointed out, there any many posts and answers to questions about urban eating, but I would love some recommendations for rural, or small town eating.
You really should spend 20-30 minutes (or more) scrolling thru the many, many posts that have been made here over the past 6-12 months. The questions you are asking are and have been asked and answered often.
Other than that, I would suggest getting a copy of the Slow Food "Guide to the Osterias of Italy" and the updated version of Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler."
Le Marche & Puglia are two regions that might be worth looking into. They are less heavily touristed (at least by Americans) and have plenty of coastline if it gets too hot inland during the summer. There have been posts here on both regions over the past couple of years that would be worth searching for.
The best regions for eating in Italy are generally considered to be Emilia Romagna and Piedmont. Fred Plotkin, if I recall correctly, favors Liguria. All three regions are full of rural and small-town eating possibilities.
All three regions are also safer than houses. Piedmont is noted for the number of places that offer excellent full-course meals for considerably less than the cost in major Italian cities.
We loved Emilia Romagna in late June-early July in 2008 but the Po Plain is HOT and HUMID in July and the wonderful traditional food is heavy for that kind of weather. I dont think you should stay away, but I think you might want to consider concentrating on hilly and coastal areas, maybe even the lakes and alpine regions, for a summer visit.
We have loved our visits to Campania - the eating is just terrific there, and lighter - more of a focus on vegetables, seafood and cheese - and prices are lower than some other regions. - We are eager to go back to see more of that region, and other southern provinces, including the islands and inland parts (we visited Naples, Paestum and the Amalfi coast) but again, the south away from the coast will be very warm. I think last year it was terribly warm.
Unfortunately the Osterie e Locanda guide seems to be out of print in english right now, but the Osterie guide is still avalable and will give you some good eating ideas. Like David said about searching for posts and info about agriturismos.