Archive for December, 2013

December 13, 2013

Villa Rental in Italy!!

San Gimignano

Italy continues to be a favorite destination for Europe bound Americans. And why not? You will eat well, drink well (cafe & vino), enjoy beautiful panoramic views and scenery, inspirational architecture, historic sights, incredible museums, fashion, diverse culture, and welcoming locals. Living in a rental villa gives one the opportunity to live like a local, shop where the locals shop, and truly immerse yourself in the culture. Unpack once, cook when you like or enjoy the vast variety of local restaurants, have a chef come into your ‘home’ for a cooking lesson, and dine on the results. Day trip to surrounding towns, wineries, shops, and galleries on your own schedule or not.

read more »

December 11, 2013

Italy’s Christmas Markets

Christmas in Milan- Duomo


Piazza Navona Christmas Market

Piazza Navona Christmas Market

As many Americans are already planning their holiday shopping strategy, I am wishing I could be working on my ‘gift list’ in the Mercatino di Natale in Italy. Milan hosts a Wonderland Village in the historic center from early December through January 6 with a market, ice-skating rink, and entertainment. Rome’s Piazza Navona hosts a big Christmas Market. Babbo Natale, Father Christmas, makes appearances for picture taking opportunities and there is a life-size nativity scene set up in the piazza later in the month. Lucca, in Tuscany, holds a Christmas market in Piazza San Michele, usually through December 26. Siena holds several Christmas markets during December as does Arezzo, Montepulciano, and Pisa.

Florence Noel starts at the end of November. Children can visit the house of Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), there’s a Christmas market with colorful lights displays. Also in Florence, Piazza Santa Croce holds a popular German-style Christmas market consisting of many booths from the end of November through mid-December. Naples holds a December Christmas market near Via San Gregorio Armeno, known for its many nativity workshops. Some of the vendors dress in traditional shepherd costumes. Nearby Sorrento, on the beautiful Amalfi peninsula in the Bay of Naples holds it’s market in Tassi Square through January 6. Wherever you are doing your holiday shopping, I wish you a a Buone Feste !

December 3, 2013

Mario Batali Eataly Opens in Chicago

La MacelleriaBuon Natale! (Merry Christmas!)
Eataly, that Colosseum-sized arena of cibo italiano from super chef Mario Batali, has arrived in the River North area of Chicago.
Half food hall, half marketplace, it’s got everything from a Nutella bar to a white tablecloth restaurant called Baffo. And that’s just the ground level. Upstairs: a central piazza-style wine bar surrounded by specialty stalls and eateries hawking meats, fish and cheese. The motto here: taste it before you buy it.


La Biera – Gents may stop at the Birreria brewpub first. Eataly’s in-house brewing system means year-round small-batch experimentation. On tap now: FL!P Ale, a warm beer concoction brewed with saba grape syrup, cardamom and candy ginger, then mixed with rum and egg whites and a pale ale with thyme named Gina.
La Macelleria – Get to know these butchers well. They’re the gatekeepers to super lean and tender cattle breeds like Razza Piemontese, as well as a dry-aged prime beef program like none other in the city.
Il Salumi – What’s an Italian specialty store without cured meats? In addition to imported delicacies like Prosciutto Toscano, Eataly also stocks hometown heroes West Loop Salumi. Stop by the cheese counter for some primo Grana Padano to pair.
Buon appetito.

%d bloggers like this: