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Aug 4, 2010 08:27 PM

2 - 3 days in Italy: Torino or Napoli? Bologna??

Hello Italy CHers!

I wanted to ask you to help me decide where to go on my 2 - 3 day trip to Italy later this month. I will be spending time in Berlin before and in Paris afterwards and wanted to get down to Italy to get my Italian food fix.

I've previously been to Rome, Siena, Florence, Montalcino, Spoleto, and the Cinque Terre. I am in search of great food, primarily, before being a tourist. However, it wouldn't hurt if the surroundings were beautiful and there were fun things to do. I will NOT be driving as I am a little worried about driving in Italy alone, so places easily accessible by public transport would be the best. As you can infer from the previous sentence, I will be traveling alone. I would love to find some great pasta and pizza, great gelato (I went to Crispino in Rome and SO wish I'd known about Giolitti then....), and great Italian pastries on top of everything else Italy's food has to offer. The two cities I was really considering were Torino and Napoli, but I was also thinking of Bologna. Any other suggestions you all have would be most welcome. And if you could give me a sense of what kinds of food each city does fantastically, that would also be greatly appreciated and very helpful.

Thank you so much!! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me plan this special trip!

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  1. Napoli, senz'altro. Pizza, of course, but also pastry, gelato, coffee, mozzarella, pasta (asciutta)., street food in markets like Pignasecca and Forcella. Check these boards for much specific help, and the web site of Luciano Pignataro. Car is actively to be avoided, public transit is good, and an easy day trip to the island of Procida for much bay of Naples color.

    1. >> if you could give me a sense of what kinds of food each city does fantastically, that would also be greatly appreciated and very helpful<<

      Instead of attempting a list, I'd like to recommend that you do some simple google searches for the cuisine and specialties of each city. Also, for someone as interested in sampling the best Italian food as you are, investing in Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler will repay you many times over. His book accurately describes each regional cuisine and identifies the myriad food specialties of hundreds of towns and cities, plus provides excellent restaurant and food store recommendations throughout the country. It's really a core book and a pleasure to read.

      Given the foods you specifically mention on your wish list, it does seem to me that Napoli ticks most of your boxes -- provided you also like seafood and have read up on Napoli to know what kind of urban experience it is. I highly recommend visiting the city for food and culture and the natural beauty close by, but it turns so many people off I feel obliged to give you that heads up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: barberinibee

        Napoli is wonderful for its spirit, its ancient center and its wonderful food, perfect for summer. Strong on vegetables, seafood, cheese and pasta. I always thought of southern itialian food as heavy tomato sauces, but we were quickly disabused - the sauces are more light glazes of flavor, delicious. As Bob suggests, you could balance your visit with a boat trip out to Procida, Ischia or Capri to catch a breeze and enjoy the country.

      2. Another vote for Naples. Lighter cooking better suited for an August trip than the heavier cooking of Turin or Bologna. And restaurants in Bologna, to judge by a recent thread, are mostly closed in August.