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Honeymooning in Italy

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Dee74 Jan 3, 2013 07:20 AM

My husband and I have decided to go to Italy for our Honeymoon. We are planning at the end of March/early April. I know this may not be the best time, but neither of us prefer it too hot or overly touristy. We know we will stay in Rome for a few days, but are now researching where else to go/do while we are there. We of course will be doing some touristy things, but again are not too into the tourist scene so instead of going to a town that has one of the most well known landmarks, we might prefer a town that has a signature dish or wine that is not to be missed. I am not well educated when it comes to Italy, so any suggestions are welcome. We are doing 7-9 days. Thanks!

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  1. d
    DavidT Jan 3, 2013 08:22 AM

    It would be well worth your while to spend 15-20 minutes scrolling thru the many posts that are already here regarding dining, wine-tasting, eating, etc. in Rome, Tuscany, Florence, the Amalfi Coast, etc. There are even posts regarding honeymoons in Italy. You can also go to the upper right-hand corner of this page and do a search. There is a ton of helpful information already here for you to review. Good luck and congratulations on your wedding!

    Here is a past thread on honeymooning in Italy:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776829

    5 Replies
    1. re: DavidT
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      barberinibee Jan 3, 2013 10:08 AM

      DavidT,

      I honestly can't recall a single previous post that has asked a question like this about Italy, and I consider the super-touristy Florence and Amalfi coast some of the very worst places to eat in Italy.

      I'm all for encouraging people to look at past threads, but in this case, I think it would be very unrewarding.

      1. re: barberinibee
        d
        DavidT Jan 3, 2013 10:30 AM

        I appreciate your comments. I did mention Florence & the Amalfi Coast as they are "romantic" destinations that might be honeymoon appropriate.

        As an aside, I would argue that the boiled beef sandwich at Nerbone is, in and of itself, worth a visit to Florence.

        In fact, there have been threads on what are the best eating regions in Italy, where to find local specialties, etc.

        As always (and has been mentioned on many past threads), Fred Plotkin's "Italy for the Gourmet Traveler" is an excellent guidebook for providing an overview (as well as specific recommendations) for the various regional & local cuisines of Italy.

        1. re: DavidT
          b
          barberinibee Jan 3, 2013 10:54 AM

          Never had the boiled beef sandwich at Nerbone so you could be right.

          I find the past threads on Chowhound often difficult to decipher -- or even locate. I generally end up going to google and typing up what I can remember were the key words in a thread. But I just can't recall one where somebody had the idea that, for a memorable honeymoon, instead of going to a conventional "don't miss" sightseeing town, they might enjoy a "signature dish" eating town -- and was asking for help in finding that.

          It's a fun, romantic idea -- and since so many of Italy's best eating towns are unjustly underappreciated in terms of their beauty and atmosphere, it's a real win-win and I hope they are interested in going beyond the the usual-suspect honeymoon places, some of which have now acquired a manufactured honeymoon atmosphere in addition to substandard food.

          1. re: barberinibee
            d
            DavidT Jan 3, 2013 11:04 AM

            Here is a past thread titled "foodies in Italy, where to go?"

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/804717

            1. re: DavidT
              d
              Dee74 Jan 3, 2013 11:38 AM

              Thanks DavidT...this thread is helpful!

    2. b
      barberinibee Jan 3, 2013 10:21 AM

      Hi dee,

      It is worth the cover price and shipping costs to go to Amazon and order Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler, which will tell you precisely what the historic signature dishes are from many towns within day-trip reach of Rome, all the rest of Italy and also the most marvelous dishes for Rome itself. It is a beautifully written book that will really help you make the most of your experience of Italy. So I highly encourage you to order it. It also has some restaurant recommendations, some of which are golden (like Armando al Pantheon in Rome) and others which might have closed, so check back here about any restaurants you are interested in.

      It may surprise you to learn that Naples -- only an hour by train from Rome -- is actually an off-the-beaten track destination in Italy when it comes to mass tourism, and it is the very birthplace of pizza, as well as many singular pastries and pasta dishes -- in general it's a fabulous place to eat and it has nice March weather.

      (By the way, even if Rome didn't invent pizza, I think its versions are every bit as good as those in Naples, but they are very different.)

      Once you are willing to relocate outside of Rome, rather than just day trip, the possibilities for unique, famous and wonderful dishes are almost infinite, and you needn't worry too much about the weather except in the highest mountains.

      If you like risotto, you should go to one of several towns in the North (Vercelli or Mantova). If you like basil pesto -- which is actually wonderful in cold weather -- think about making your way to the Italian Riviera to taste it. There are duck specialties and polenta in the north, extraordinary seafoods on the Adriatic coast. Parmigiano Reggiano in Parma? Dishes with balsamic vinegar in Modena? Pumpkin-stuffed pastas in Ferrara? Exceptional chocolate in Perugia or Torino. Luckily, too, all these places I mentioned have world class art and historic, romantic atmosphere but are not touristy at all. Italy is rather amazing that way.

      What kind of food and flavors do you most like to eat?

      3 Replies
      1. re: barberinibee
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        barberinibee Jan 3, 2013 10:57 AM

        PS. Dee:

        Since you mentioned wine, do you have a preference for red or white?

        1. re: barberinibee
          d
          Dee74 Jan 5, 2013 08:58 PM

          I swore I wrote a long reply to your post yesterday but I am not seeing it. Did it not go through?

          1. re: Dee74
            b
            barberinibee Jan 6, 2013 08:13 AM

            might have dropped down below. I'm seeing it now.

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        robeetamell Jan 4, 2013 01:41 AM

        try emilia romagna

        1. steve h. Jan 4, 2013 06:42 PM

          Late March/early April is Easter time in Rome. It's actually a pretty exciting time to be in town. Nothing wrong with being a tourist since most restauants are on their best behavior.

          1. d
            Dee74 Jan 5, 2013 08:56 PM

            As far as Naples goes, is it a better day trip, or worth spending a night? I have heard it can be a slightly rougher area to stay, but sounds like the food does not disappoint!

            So far we are thinking of maybe flying into Venice and staying for 1 night- I have looked at various threads, but if there is a recent recommendation for 1 dinner there, please share. Taking a train to Bologna for probably 2 nights and either do the Italian Days food tour to get in Modena and Parma.-This concerns me slightly on some of the posts on here regarding some of their restaurants so I am rethinking this slightly, but still thinking it may be worth the visit. From there a train to Rome for 3-4 days. I haven't even begun to search the boards for the best places to eat in Rome so that will be in my near future. Naples would either be a day trip from Rome or an overnight.

            We are thinking if we dont have to rent a car and try to navigate through Italy, we would prefer not to. We of course are still thinking this over as I see from the boards that most foodie towns are not off of the train stops.

            Would Silicy be something we should look into?

            Thanks for the posts. Once I get a better idea of where we will be spending our time, I am sure I will be posting a new thread for restaurant recs.

            Thanks for all the advice so far. I am searching every thread I can find and keep changing my mind on locations!

            11 Replies
            1. re: Dee74
              mbfant Jan 6, 2013 01:01 AM

              You can have fabulous food and never drive a car or even ride in one. Venice, Padua, Modena, Bologna, Ferrara, Mantua -- all have major train stations and great food. If that area is your orientation, I would save Sicily for another trip. It's a whole different reality and benefits from having a car.
              Naples and Florence are both easy day trips from Rome by high-speed train. And the Campania region actually has a good public transport network, so you can do a lot by train or bus, but, again, it's a vast area worth a visit in its own right. If you are determined to hit the gastro high points of Italy, I might fly to Milano and take trains to one or two cities in Emilia-Romagna, then Rome, then Naples, and basta. There is good food in Venice, but it probably wouldn't make the cut of major gastro destinations for a first trip (though I never miss a chance to eat at Da Fiore and Al Covo). Torino probably would. Again, Sicily might still be too much, but you can fly directly to Catania or Palermo and stay there. However, I think most experienced Italian food hounds would say you will eat more and better by concentrating on one or two areas and going for depth rather than breadth.
              An example of the sort of place you asked for would be Amatrice, known for its signature pasta more than for its art. But, much as I love both the town and the dish, I wouldn't recommend bothering on a first trip (the surrounding scenery is spectacular, however). Modena, on the other hand, has a world-class duomo as well as great food. You have to do something between meals.

              1. re: mbfant
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                robeetamell Jan 6, 2013 02:09 AM

                these are good suggestions, but still a lot for 7 days

              2. re: Dee74
                PBSF Jan 6, 2013 08:05 AM

                The previous post by mbfant has some of the best advice. If you spend just one day in Venice, you will be stuck with the throng of tourists pushing each other trying to get from one sight to another, nothing but just a passing glimpse of the Rialto Bridge, San Marco, etc. A day here and a day there might be fine if one is taking a tour or a cruise because the logistics and planning are taken care of for you. Otherwise, it is packing, unpacking, finding your way from the airport/train station to the hotel and then getting orientated each day in a different city.
                Like others, besides your planned stay in Rome, I would use the remaining few days to concentrate on one other area. Take into account what you want to see/do between meals as well as your food preference. I have found good food in just about every region of Italy. I love seafood so I am more drawn toward the coastal areas (Veneto/Friuli, Liquria, Marche, Sicily). Less so, the richer food areas such as Piedmont or Emilia-Romagna, though I enjoyed visiting both, especially the cities and towns in ER.
                Four days in Rome barely scratch the surface, therefore, unless one has a short attention span, I would just stay put rather than trying to make a day trip to Naples which I love but not for a day trip.
                4 or 5 days in Sicily is an option; fly to either Catania or Palermo and use them as a base to explore the surrounding areas. Having a car is big plus but we have spent a few days around Catania-Siracusa-Nota by buses (requires a little planning but not difficult). We have done the same for Palermo-Trapani.
                My suggestion is start by reading a good general guidebook on Italy (you might already have done that); map out a few itinerary that interests you, then ask this board for their feedback. If it is your first trip to Italy, your interest might be different than those of a repeat visitor.
                Below is another earlier thread on your topic:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/853782

                1. re: Dee74
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                  barberinibee Jan 6, 2013 08:31 AM

                  Hi dee, seeing your post now.

                  For me it is really hard to give advice without knowing what it is you look forward to eating, and also what you are looking at in terms of a budget. But we could start even more simply: When it comes to wine, red or white?

                  Despite having dissed the Amalfi above, I realize there is a case to be made for heading south to the Amalfi area in March/early April and eating lemony pasta and lemon-y fish and lemon-y desserts -- I've eaten mozzerella grilled in lemon leaves on Capri -- but if you don't like lemons, why should you go?

                  If you do want to go, some of the best restaurants serving an all-lemon extravaganza will mean dropping lots of euros, and if you are on a budget in the Amalfi, it is pretty hard to avoid the fate of bad food.

                  In March there is also a case to be made for some of the rib-sticking unique pastas and rich meat dishes of Ferrara that you really can't get anywhere else -- but if you roll your eyes at the thought of heavy dinners, no good either. And if you were hoping for great wine, not likely. Or if you were suddenly thinking vegetarian basil pesto on the Italian Riviera sounds sublime, it's just as easy to get to from Milan.

                  If you are not heading south after Rome you certainly can visit Naples as a day trip. It's just an hour away by train.

                  It's funny, but like mbfant, I had mentioned Amatrice to you in my original post but went back and edited it out because it is so hard to get there by train. I suggested it because your original post seemed to focus on wanting not so much a food "region" but to seek out particular dishes that are unique to a place.

                  If you would still like to conduct such a treasure hunt as a way of organizing your itinerary to go to beautiful unexpected places -- literally following your nose -- then if you gave some indication of whether you would be thrilled more by rice dishes, or pasta dishes, blue-veined cheeses or mild cheeses or fish or veg or pork or beef or lemons and pizza, it might help others pinpoint towns and restaurants for you that are close enough together you won't be running yourself ragged.

                  1. re: barberinibee
                    d
                    Dee74 Jan 6, 2013 10:07 AM

                    I will definitely look into the cities that mbfont has suggested.
                    As for Venice, we weren't really going there for food, just thought maybe we shouldn't miss the experience if we were that close.
                    Barberinibee...I thought I did post on my likes, that must have been the post that didn't end up saving. I thought about basing us in Bologna so we could take advantage of Parma and Modena for what they have to offer.

                    Things that we like/love in no particular order:
                    Cheeses: we do not discriminate, we pretty much love them all from a mild to a strong stinky cheese. I make a cheese plate for us before dinner several times a week.

                    Charcuterie: Prosciutto, Coppa, Bresaola, and any other salumi we can get our hands on. Just recently had a great duck sausage and a wonderful wild boar.

                    Pasta! My husband's love for Pasta is 2nd to his love for me. And he loves me a lot. So, we plan on going heavy on the pasta. It doesn't mean we want all heavy dishes, but we want to try many. We love meaty sauces as well as lighter oil or brown butter sauces and everything in between. Filled and unfilled pasta.

                    Rice dishes- we do like a really good risotto, but overall would go for pasta over rice.

                    Anything with fresh mushrooms is always a winner as well.

                    Meats: we are a big fan of most meats but I cannot see us wanting a steak in Italy as we can get that here. Wild Boar, Duck, Lamb, Goat, Saugage, Veal, Pork...Yes. I also have seen posts that the roasted meats can sometimes be dry, so we would probably stay away from roasts. Plus I make a lot of roasted meat at home anyway.

                    Pizza: Yes!

                    Seafood: we are big seafood fans, but less fish and more shellfish. We love- Shrimp, Crab, Lobster, Octopus, Calamari, Escargot, Mussels, Clam, Scallops...

                    Olives, Olive Oil, Vinegar

                    After looking back on this list, I realize it may have been quicker for me to mention what we dislike. We really do like to eat and drink wine. :)

                    As far as budget for eating, we don't really have one although we are not looking to dine at the most expensive place in town. I do not wish to spend a $1000.00 on a meal.

                    I know that we are thinking now at least 10 days, but of course we will be able to plan better once we get cities nailed down. I have heard Easter week can be a busy one, so I think we are now thinking the week after may be best, so begining of April.
                    As far as other activities, I am not too worried because it looks lke any city we go to will be filled with great sites to see and things to do.

                    1. re: Dee74
                      b
                      barberinibee Jan 6, 2013 10:43 AM

                      I'm sure others will want to chime in, but you did elaborate your likes and they do say to me that Emilia-Romagna would be a wonderful place for you to enjoy eating in Italy, and it is rich with marvelously beautiful, atmospheric towns that will be lovely in the beginnings of spring.

                      Given your love of charcuterie there is an argument to be made that you'd be thrilled to base yourselves in Parma rather than Bologna, which also is a uniquely beautiful town with excellent train connections that would give you a taste of Bologna as well. But if you end up basing in Bologna, you might want to make special note of having one of your dinners at All'Osteria Bottega, and let them pick your wine for you as well as helping you with their menu of cured meats. It won't be cheap but you won't be anywhere in the vicinity of $1000 per meal, that's for sure.

                      There are many fine places for memorable pasta in so many forms in the Emilia-Romagna region, for lunch and for dinner. Based in Bologna, it is not hard to include the unique pastas of Ferrara on a luncheon day trip. Based in Parma, it can be worth the train trip to the sweet Tuscan town of Pontremoli, along an antique pilgrim's route, to eat testatoli, a kind of ur-pasta of Italy, somewhat like a cut-up crepe, dressed in pesto sauces.

                      It is worth reading up on the many different classic pastas of the central Emilia-Romagna, because so often people only hear about tagliatelle al ragu or tortellini in brodo, but there are actually at least half a dozen luscious common pastas -- in brodo, or with mushrooms, or baked in lasagne, or stuffed with cheese, herbs, dressed with butter and sage -- that are so worth sampling while you are there.

                      It's easy to track down seafood dishes in Rome and also there is more than one great cheese shop there that Chowhound's Rome contingent can guide you to and virtually through. There are also world-class cheeses in Emilia-Romagna worth sampling on their home ground (and taking back home, vacuum packed, from Salumeria Garibaldi in Parma).

                      Vinegar in Emilia-Romagna, but I suggest doing your olive and oil shopping in Rome.

                      We are not allowed on Chowhound to give hotel recommendations, but if you ask on Frommer's message board, you can get honeymoon-worthy suggestions for both Bologna and Parma that don't break the bank.

                      have a great time!

                      1. re: barberinibee
                        r
                        robeetamell Jan 6, 2013 11:06 AM

                        that's testaroli...and is really a street food
                        ... no need to buy oil and especially balsamico or cheese in rome, especially if you go to Parma or Bologna

                        1. re: robeetamell
                          b
                          barberinibee Jan 7, 2013 06:45 AM

                          Yes -- thanks for catching my typo. Testaroli is served in trattorie mainly now in the Lunigiana and southern Liguria. I can't recall ever finding it served on the street, but I've not been everywhere. The Osterie d'Italia guide I have closest at hand gives both Antica Trattoria Pellicia and Da Busse in Pontremoli as exemplary places for sampling i testaroli a pesto. It's a simple train ride from Parma, 75 minutes, for a lovely bite of Tuscany and Liguria rolled into one, a distinctly different taste from the primi of Emilia-Romagna and Rome.

                      2. re: Dee74
                        jen kalb Jan 7, 2013 08:51 AM

                        Personally, if i were honeymooning in Italy, I would want to spend some time where I could experience spring. Tuscany will be relatively cold in April, for example.

                        Of the places I have been that I would like to return to in spring Campania is at the top of the list. We were in Ravello at end of Mar and the lemon blossoms on the hillsides smelled beautiful. April is still offseason for that area so the beach and resort scene is not happening but walking through the hills, viewing the stupendous scenery and visiting the little villages in the area is extremely pleasant. Spending a couple of days on the Amalfi Coast, the Sorrentine Peninsula or Capri, with a visit to Naples and Pompeii/Herculaneum could be a very nice complement to a Rome stay.

                        The food in Campania is very different from that in the north, lighter, with wonderful vegetables and fresh local cheeses, and they have a great touch with seafood. I think it would be a good contrast to Rome foodwise as well as ambiance-wise.

                        As far as charcuterie, while a trip to Parma, etc would be wonderful, there is plenty of charcuterie and cheese in Rome - one advantage of Rome as capital is that it has products from all over. You dont need to go to Modena or E-R generally to buy balsamic (its no bargain anywhere!) when Volpetti in Rome will give you a tasting. I think you could have eye-opening experiences without ever leaving Rome. In E-R, assuming you are taking the train and not driving, Parma is the most attractive of the cities i have visited so far, prosperous, pleasant for strolling and cultural touring, with a passionate food culture.

                        PS - the plan of flying into Venice and taking the train down to Rome is not bad. Venice is plenty romantic and unique - you dont need to spend your time there in crowds in San Marco, and if you follow the recommendations here you will eat well. I think for such a short visit, two or 3 destinations is enough - you will find out if you like Italy and want to return.

                        1. re: jen kalb
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                          lisaonthecape Jan 10, 2013 02:58 PM

                          I would agree with Jen that further south is safer in April, although even then, no guarantees. We were in Ravello mid-to-late April 2012 and had lots of cold, rainy weather, but that is less typical at that time of year in that location. Despite the weather, it was still stunningly gorgeous, and you would certainly get your seafood fix. (By contrast, I spent my 40th birthday--March 1st, quite a few years ago-- in Rome, and it was so much warmer than here in New England that it was a lovely choice.Bottom line: for weather, it's a tough call.) I would really just pick a region, or a city or two, with both something you would like to see as well as something you would like to eat. Much more enjoyable to delve a bit into one place.

                    2. re: Dee74
                      gmcguireinrome Feb 8, 2013 01:18 AM

                      I am an Amalfi Coast girl. If you enjoy the off season feel of resort towns a drive down to Positano/Ravello/Amalfi is beautiful.

                      We went last year on an unexpectedly warm March weekend and it was simply amazing. It is easy to maneuver the windy road and explore towns that are usually packed in the summer season.

                      We went here for Sunday lunch.
                      Ristorante Da Armandino di Praiano
                      Via Marina di Praia 1
                      089 874087

                      www.gillianslists.com

                    3. a
                      alepenazzi Jan 10, 2013 10:00 AM

                      I highly recommend to put Verona in your itinerary.
                      As far as romance, good food, great countryside, views and off the beaten path tourism goes, it's hard to beat.

                      It's one hour by car or train from Venice.

                      You can spend a day walking around the Roman ruins of the city and then one day driving in the wine region of Valpolicella, right outside the city, ending with a dinner at Punta San Vigilio, probably the most beautiful restaurant on the Garda Lake which is only 20 minutes driving from the center of the city. (google punta san vigilio, it really is amazing).

                      A part from all the more "rustic" food from the area (risotto with amarone, bollito with pearà, etc etc) if you want to enjoy some fine dining there are two michelin starred restaurant as well (villa del quar and perbellini).

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: alepenazzi
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                        barberinibee Jan 10, 2013 11:07 AM

                        alepenazzi,

                        Good to see you over here in Italy! Hope you will contribute more about the Veneto and Lombardy (and all the rest of Italy that you know).

                        Punta San Vigilio actually was where I booked my own honeymoon, but I was diagnosed with pneumonia en route, heading there from Rome, and was sent to the nearest hospital, where I ended up eating 2 weeks worth of hospital food (even in Italy it is terrible, except for Sunday roast chicken.)

                        I ended up moving to Italy with the spouse but still have yet to make all the way to Punta San Vigilio, only as far as Bardolino (also a memorable wine locale). I think maybe I stopped short of going the few extra miles to see Punta San Vigilio for fear I'd feel too wistful. It does indeed look beautiful in pictures (but I would think somewhat chilly in early April).

                        1. re: barberinibee
                          jen kalb Jan 10, 2013 11:28 AM

                          Ive ridden a boat around Punta di San Vigilio on a couple of visits to the lake and it is indeed very pretty, though Ive never heard anything about the food, and the lake towns along that shore are pretty full of tourists during the summer when I have visited. April would definitely be more relaxing! Lago di Garda is a sun trap so it could be surprisingly warm - or cool - check the historic weather forecasts.

                          I do agree that if the OP chose for two areas to visit Rome and Venice and then took a little trip out to see Verona and the adjoining wine region w of the town, it would be very nice. Verona is certainly one of the most beautiful towns in Italy with its pink stone and wonderful romanesque churches and the river running through. Its not an outstanding food destination but we have had some very good meals there over the course of years. There are quite a number or recommendations on the site if your search. Definitely worth considering, and manageable for a short trip.

                          1. re: barberinibee
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                            alepenazzi Feb 21, 2013 05:53 AM

                            I just saw your reply... That is so bad, Punta San Vigilia would have been perfect for an honeymoon...

                            By any chance let me know if you are going to travel around Veneto!

                            Bardolino was just 10 minutes from Punta San Vigilio! And the northern you go on the lake the better it get, in my opinion... Bardolino is nice but Torri del Benaco is even better and Malcesine as well.. And the good things is that for some reason the northern you go the less touristy it get.

                            By the way from Malcesine you can jump on a cablecar (big windows, it turns 360° while it climbs, really nice) that goes up the Baldo mountain were you can see the whole lake, from north to south. In 10 minutes it climbs 5400 feet giving you a totally different perspective. Really beautiful...

                            1. re: alepenazzi
                              jen kalb Feb 22, 2013 02:53 PM

                              I like malcesine and Monte Baldo - that mountain and the cablecar ride are mindblowing (and the ride feels very safe) , but no one would ever claim they are untouristy - the town is full of german tourists, sports enthusiasts and day trippers of every stripe. Id be interested to have your food recommendations in that area, since weve never had a chance to eat more than a gelato in our visits there.

                          2. re: alepenazzi
                            d
                            Dee74 Jan 22, 2013 03:55 PM

                            The pictures of punta san vigilio really are amazing!

                          3. d
                            Dee74 Feb 2, 2013 06:10 AM

                            I wanted to thank everyone that has posted here. You all have given me a lot of insight as to different places in Italy and I now know that I will definitely want to make a return trip to follow up on some of the other suggestions.

                            For this trip we have decided we will start in Bologna for 3 nights. Take the train to Parma for 2, then off to Rome for 5 nights. I think we will definitely try to fit a day trip to Naples in since my husband can't stop talking about pizza since I mentioned it!

                            We have finalized hotels in Bologna and Parma so I am excited to start scrubbing the boards for restaurant recs. we are working on Rome location now and then can't wait to start researching restaurants there as well!

                            Do you all recommend the food tours in Bologna or Parma or suggest we just get out there and eat and sample on our own?

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: Dee74
                              r
                              robeetamell Feb 2, 2013 08:52 AM

                              Pepe in Grani is THE best place for pizza in vicino Napoli.
                              you can google him for information. i think you can also stay there. Be careful with some of the boards on this site, I live in parma and many restaurant recommendations
                              are out of date, or people seem to keep "relisting" like sheep!

                              1. re: robeetamell
                                jen kalb Feb 2, 2013 02:13 PM

                                dear robeet,
                                we'd love to hear what places in parma etc that folks recommend are no longer worth recommending, and what places folks should consider instead, especially in Parma Centro. For example, are Trattoria del Tribunale and, Cocchi - a couple of places that several have liked - still worth visiting?
                                Pepe in Grani, in Caiazzano looks very good from what I have found http://www.lucianopignataro.it/a/ecco-quanto-e-bella-la-nuova-casa-della-pizza-di-franco-pepe-a-caiazzo/50063/ have you been there? Would be good recommendation for a traveler with a car, or more time or another reason to visit the Caserta area - not appropriatge though for someone making a daytrip to Naples from Rome on the train. It also looks like it serves evenings only.

                                Do you have any faves in Naples proper?
                                this piece comparing Pepe in Grani with La Notizia in Napoli and linking at the bottom accounts of the other brackets indicates just how much great pizza is available, both in Napoli and Rome.
                                http://www.dissapore.com/media-notizi...

                                1. re: jen kalb
                                  r
                                  robeetamell Feb 3, 2013 01:25 AM

                                  i have been to Pepe in Grani recently..was in Napoli about 3 years ago. I think Pepe is the best pizza I have ever had in italy....but if you don't have a car i'm sure the pizza in napoli will do just fine for an american.
                                  I would not go to either Tribunale or Cocchi.
                                  will you have a car?

                                  1. re: robeetamell
                                    b
                                    barberinibee Feb 3, 2013 05:12 AM

                                    robeetamell,

                                    In another thread you wrote:

                                    "Beware of people giving recommendations who have not been here within the last six months"

                                    Okay. I'll beware of your recommendations now too.

                                    and in still another thread you wrote:

                                    "I would go to any place in Parma and have a mix of zucca,patate and erbe homemade and tossed with butter and freshly grated parmigiano."

                                    Really? "Any place in Parma:? But suddenly you'll never go to Tribunale or Cocchi? Of course it is always helpful to hear updates from locals who have dined at a restaurant in the past six months. Many restaurants do not remain good or were overrated to begin with. When did you last dine at these restaurants and where would you go instead IN Parma centro?

                                    I understand it is easy to be free-wheeling on the internet and lash out at things you see posted that you think are stupid, but you come across as criticizing others for things you are doing yourself.

                                    The question being asked is about visitors who do NOT have a car. If you read some old Chowhound threads about Emilia-Romagna, you will see that there is nothing new is saying over and over and over again (ancora, ancora, ancora!) that there is no good food to eat in the cities of the Emilia-Romagna like Parma or Bologna. It is posted ad nauseum to either get a car and drive to restaurants out of town, or starve or be regarded as an object of pity for settling for eating garbage, unlike posters with superior taste, cars and unlimited funds.

                                    So join that club if you choose. But try to see, however, that this kind of answer has become very puzzling to most people who travel a lot. For instance, I live in Italy but I am about to go to San Francisco. I know that if I drive outside of San Francisco, I can get better food than inside San Francisco. However, I don't need a car in SF and I won't have time to drive in and out of town for all my meals. My friends who live in San Francisco can tell me which restaurants in San Francisco are better than others, even if they are not the best restaurants in the region.

                                    Only on Chowhound Italy's board do we have people insisting to the point of absurdity that NO restaurants inside an Italian city are cooking better food than others.

                                    I no longer believe people who post on Chowhound that they live in Italy and they never choose one restaurant over another when they dine locally. I believe they know which restaurants in cities serve better food. They don't always drive out to the countryside to get a restaurant meal. Like I said, I live in Italy (Liguria), and my town does not have the best restaurants in the region. But when my friends come to visit without a car -- and I always tell them not to bring one because there is no place to park -- I can tell them which restaurants are better than others.

                                    It is possible to be honest about food and restaurants in response to a specific request. I feel certain of it.

                                    1. re: barberinibee
                                      r
                                      robeetamell Feb 3, 2013 07:44 AM

                                      i said that if you want to eat tortelli, i would go anywhere in parma for about 10 euro instead of spending about 25 to 30 euro at dal pescatore......and i recommended a specific restaurant famous for tortelli( and the varieties), which you also edited out.
                                      there is certainly a lot more to eat here than that
                                      i have never said you need a car...was merely asking, however, the better restaurants in Parma are outside of the city..so sorry if that makes you angry.

                                      1. re: robeetamell
                                        a
                                        allende Feb 3, 2013 08:26 AM

                                        The specific trattoria you mentioned was Osteria delle Vigne.
                                        If this is the best you can do in Parma, it might be famous for its tortelli, but it doesn't make them great tortelli. If it's about price, that is one thing; if it's about quality, that's another.

                                        In part, here is what I said about your specific trattoria, Osteria delle Vigne. Am still looking for you to tell us your favorite places in all the other areas you've recently travelled to.

                                        Osterie delle Vigne

                                        A typical Parmense trattoria, perhaps a bit better than most, but nothing special. Small, a little claustrophobic when full. Lovely owners and excellent service (except for one thing). Fills you up with torta fritta and salumi, like so many places in ER. Why lardo di Colonnata at a trattoria right outside Parma? Makes no sense; prosciutto and culatello were excellent.

                                        The one problem with service. Why couldn't they understand that some people only want one kind of tortelli on their plate, not two or three or more different kinds. It was like pulling teeth to get them to serve us only one kind for each of us, but eventually they did. Excellent filling, very strong and robust... just perfect. Pasta itself left a lot to be desired. A little better than most trattorie in ER, but way too thick. Tortelli were served lukewarm

                                        Stracotto di cavallo, a specialty, was very good. Punto di vitello was tasteless. Nothing decent to drink, big disappointment. Passed on dessert; nothing look appealing. Decent, wouldn't go back.

                                      2. re: barberinibee
                                        l
                                        lisaonthecape Feb 4, 2013 03:32 PM

                                        Touche. I hope you post on the SF board after your trip, as I am heading there in April. I seem to be following you around lately.

                                        Sorry--my post seemed to jump from original intended location. Was meant to be a reply to barberinibee.

                                      3. re: robeetamell
                                        jen kalb Feb 3, 2013 05:38 AM

                                        I appreciate there may be fragments of useful info in your posts, but overall you are not being helpful to the participants here., specifically to people who are visiting Napoli or Parma. Surely, if you are living in Parma, you can recommend restaurants that are worth a visit in that city. Put an alternative up against the places that have been suggested for discussion and trial. Have already said, many visitors to the area do not have a car.

                                        Your response on Naples is laughable. However good Pepe in Grani is, it is not necessary to go to one restaurant in a remote location to have good pizza in that region. To say that the places in Naples (unnamed) are "fine for an American" is just plain ridiculous,

                                        1. re: robeetamell
                                          d
                                          Dee74 Feb 3, 2013 05:56 AM

                                          I will not have a car during my stay. I'm hoping your post is stating that there are no good Italian pizzas here in America and not that I as an American wouldn't know any better?

                                          Also, which restaurant recommendations do you feel should no longer be recommended and are there any specific restaurants that you feel are doing something right in Parma central?

                                          1. re: Dee74
                                            b
                                            barberinibee Feb 3, 2013 06:34 AM

                                            Dee74,

                                            Just as an aside, you and your husband might not want to pass up a chance to sample Roman pizza in its multiple forms while in Rome. You can find lots of recommendations for the city's unique pizza bianca, pizza al taglio and evening-time sit-down pizzerie in recent threads.

                                            1. re: Dee74
                                              c
                                              cleopatra999 Feb 12, 2013 08:41 AM

                                              This is a very similar trip to what we did last year. If I can make one rec, it would be to get a car in Bologna for your trip to Parma, that way you can do the food tours yourself. ie. a Parm Reg tour (free), the Proscuitto museum, a culatello (along with lunch), balsamico tour (free). In Bologna, we loved doing a pasta making class. There are many to choose from, we loved Il Salotta di Penelope. http://www.ilsalottodipenelope.it/

                                              If you don't want to rent the car, then many people recommend the http://www.italiandays.it/ as a tour company, you will see everything we did for about 120E each.

                                              If you are looking for a b&b in Bologna, check out: http://www.anticaresidenzadazeglio.it/

                                              RE. pizza, I too thought that I wanted to go to Naples for the day, but as North Americans (and I search out great thin crust, wood fired pizza everywhere) I can say that we found really great pizza in many, many places (it is just so much better than here). I don't feel it is worth the trip when you are already so short on time. We tended to stick to pizza for lunch and focus on eating what were regional specialties for dinner.

                                              check out my other posts on these areas, in my profile as I asked many of the same questions.

                                    2. m
                                      mrsyumyum Feb 3, 2013 06:47 AM

                                      I'm not an expert...but a couple of the highlights from my husband and my honeymoon to italy are:

                                      1. Da il Latini in Florence - This restaurant was recommended by a coworker. It's not a romantic restaurant, but if you're looking for great food this is the place to go. I would try to make reservations but if you do not have time keep in mind that there's two sitting times. If i remember it was around 7 and 9...so aim for those time to save yourself from waiting. It's a family style restaurant where you are seated on communal tables. There really isn't a menu but the server tells you what your options are. Everything we tried was great...they cure their own meat, the ravioli was amazing, and the steak was one of the best I've ever had. And go hungry, the servings are huge.

                                      2. Winery in Chianti - My husband rented a scooter for a day and we drove to the Chianti area. It was such a beautiful scenic drive, especially coming back overlooking Florence. Breathtaking is the only way to describe it. We went to Castello di Verrazzano and the wine was delicious, but what was surprisinly even better was the olive oil they made. We bought 3 bottles. It was so delicious with the bread.

                                      3. Manarola, Cinque Terre - Since it was our first time in Italy our schedule was full of touristy things, so we really wanted to have a few days that was away from that. We chose Manarola for 3 nights and it was one of our favourite memories of Italy. Every meal we sat my the water with views you only see on postcards. And the fresh seafood was perfect after days of meat, pastas, and pizzas.

                                      Congratulations and have a great honeymoon!!

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