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Aug 24, 2010 06:00 AM

Where to go in Italy in June? Seeking: delcious food, culture, seaside

We're planning a trip to Italy in June -- where should we go? We want to avoid crowds and the cliches (Como, Venice, Tuscany, Amalfi...) We've recently traveled to Sicily and the Aeolian Islands as well as Sardinia and Puglia, so those are out (loved them all). Can anyone recommend a region or a particularly wonderful spot with delicious food and beautiful landscape? We're thinking maybe Liguria, Le Marche, Maremma, Pantelleria...or somewhere else...?

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  1. I would be grateful if you would give me an idea of where you ate in Puglia..I am headed there next long were you there, whre did you base, where did you eat? thanks!

    4 Replies
    1. re: erica

      I have family in Puglia. Erica, what do you plan on doing there? Lecce, Otranto, Gallipoli (all in the southern end of Puglia) all have wonderful beaches and local food. Northern Puglia (Bari, Molfetta, Foggia) is also beautiful, but a tad more urban. While in Puglia, sample the ricci (sea urchin), orecchiete, any sort of bruschetta, and try the calzoni fritti (fried calzones) which are a local delight. The burratta in the region also cannot be beat. I know of some agri-turismo places near Lecce, where you can stay at a farmhouse and have a wonderful three course meal filled with a huge variety of antipasti for cheap.

      1. re: Rich D.

        Rich: I will be based in Otranto, near Cisternino, and near Fasano and would love to hear any recommendations for those areas...I also have one night in Lecce but I think I am all set in that city..

      2. re: erica

        Stayed at Masseria Il Frantoio near Ostuni part of the time - both food and setting were really wonderful. Trani was beautiful with a Romanesque cathedral that's very simple, set right on
        the water. Tasty seafood restaurant there in what looks like an old wine cellar, called Torrente Antico. We found it in this excellent article:

        PS way to hijack my thread again, Erica!

        1. re: johannabanana

          Thanks, Johana. I will now let the hostages leave. Sorry for the hijack!

      3. You mention Liguria, and so I'll just say that there is plenty of good food there. I'm sorry that I can't name specific places, as it's been many years since I've been. But I'm sure others will make their opinions known, and so hopefully they'll concur. I will say that the Cinque Terre was really a joy. I recall hiking from town to town (5 of them, per "cinque") through olive groves overlooking the sea, then stopping for a bite and some wine again and again. Enjoy the trip.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mister Meatball

          I wrote a report about a few places that I visited in Camogli, near Rapallo, and in Santa Margherita Ligure that you can dig up with a search

        2. I can heartily recommend the Cilento coast area of Campania, especially the southern Cilento. We stayed in Scario, but out favorite towns were Marina di Camerota and Maratea (not part of the Cilento, but only a short drive south). In the north, the area just around Agropoli has a lot to offer, as well. Both areas should satisfy your criteria. Warning though: they are off the beaten track. Particularly in the southern part of the Cilento, you will not easily find four-star accommodations.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cmm2

            thanks cmm2. sounds great. curious: what would you compare the landscape to and what is the food like there?

            1. re: johannabanana

              Landscape reminds me of the Zingaro reserve in Western Sicily--mountains that go right down to the sea. Much of the area is in the Cilento National Park, but there are towns scattered all over, none of them very big. There are fantastic beaches, especially at Marina di Camerota and Maratea. Food can't be easily summed up. Obviously, great seafood, but also good pizza (it is Campania, after all) and traditional vegetable dishes from inland. If you are thinking of going, you should pick up Carla Capalbo's book on Campania.

            2. re: cmm2

              But there are many delightful small hotels and agriturismi in Castelabbate, Pisciotta, and other points. Try searching and, in addition to Capalbo's book and the Cilento Chow thread. Plus Luciano Pignataro's detailed site for Campanian food, wine, and lodging.

            3. I live in Rome and recently spent 4 days in the Basilicata - loved it. Great wines, food (the bread from Matera, it is DOP now, peperoni cruschi, the fior di latte, yum!)....

              2 Replies
                1. re: vinoroma

                  love the bread from matera. we dipped into basilicata a few years ago and it was amazing.

                2. Just in case you see this, we will be in Sardinia in June - any recommendations, places you particularly liked? Very excited to see a new area of Italy!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TCinLA

                    We stuck to the less glitzy parts of Sardinia: the Costa Verde, the countryside around Nuoro, the East coast just below Siniscola, finishing up in Cabras. The best food was at an agriturismo on the Costa Verde, primarily of beautiful long-haired goats, called l'Oasi del Cervo; and at the fish restaurant "Il Caminetto" in Cabras.

                    Angela at l'Oasi del Cervo is a wonderful cook, a very hospitable person, who makes a real effort. We stayed with her and her husband for three nights and the food was a revelation, at least for two of the dinners: memorable dishes included delicate fried goat's livers, fregola sarda with courgette and sausage, a tremendous lasagne, and braised goat. Dinners often seemed to run to about 5 courses. (The rooms were quite basic, however.) At breakfast the coffee was served with fresh goat's milk.

                    We had what we thought was a fairly mediocre dinner at the Costiolu agriturismo near Nuoro. Puntalizzu agriturismo near Siniscola had the best lodging (and the most beautiful coastline nearby) and the food was really good one night (excellent peppers and fried eggplant antipasti, ricotta ravioli, and lamb cooked with an unidentifiable but special herb), less so the other.

                    "Il Caminetto" was astounding: incredible seafood antipasti (skate in tomato sauce, baked squid, octopus, marinated fresh sardines with pine nuts, etc...) and very well prepared scorpionfish in a tomato sauce also. Modest, traditional place well worth a detour.

                    Overall we ate well although we got a little bored of ricotta ravioli (served everywhere) and even with suckling pig (not necessarily at its best the way the Sardinians prepare it). In this regard, "Il Caminetto" was a great escape into seafood -- at the agriturismi it's much more meaty fare. Meals were generally good value, especially when paying half-board.