Five quintessential Italian eating experiences

Five of our favourites from the country that virtually invented sensory indulgence. We take a ride through some of our favourite eating moments in the home of eating indugence.  How many have you done?


Ice cream in Florence

The perfect combination: high renaissance art, glorious architecture and a gelato firmly planted in hand as you take it all in. Florence excels at many things, and ice cream is one of them. Sure, the works of Michelangelo may attract more plaudits, but it takes a special artistry of a different kind to come up with creations that taste this devilishly good. Florence is the home of ice cream - a local 16th century creation, locals will tell you - so if ever you're going to indulge your sweet tooth, this is surely the place. Lemon and melon are both evergreen options, while fruits of the forest is similarly moreish. Look out for the 'homemade' signs outside ice creameries - and when you see one, dive in.

Take a look at our 10-day Magical Tuscany and the Portofino Peninsula tour.


Napoli Pizza

Naples is the place for pizza, the care and attention that goes into the preparation is a world away from the fast food staple that the dish has become in some other countries. Amid the bustle of the Piazza Luigi Miraglia, restaurants vie for customers on quality, each offering some of the best pizzas you're ever likely to taste: hand-tossed soft base, carefully selected mozzarella and purest olive oil all mingled together by an expert hand. And once you've tried the work of the specialists, give it a go yourself - our Colours of Amalfi family holiday includes a pizza-making class, so that the kids will be tossing their dough like Italian chefs in no time.


Eat on Etna

A big brute of a mountain, Etna rewards slow, comprehensive exploration, taking in different slopes to experience its many faces. Petrified lava flows only a few years old, fertile lower slopes and rushing rivers, then arid cones and craters further up - exploring Etna's variation is a surefire way of working up a healthy appetite. There's nowhere better to stay than at Sicily's highest hotel to feel like you're really getting to grips with the volcano, and sitting outside watching the sunset and the mountain take on darkening, sombre colours is an atmospheric moment. Mountain fare can accompany the view - bowls of pasta, good bread and soups - while the wines of the southern Italy also complement your elevated surrounds perfectly.

Check out our Spirit of Sicily.


Espresso in Milan

There's a lot to see in Milan, so this is a a quick and easy one that won't take up much of your time. To help fortify you before the walk up the steps to the roof of Milan's Duomo, join the locals at an espresso bar near the duomo's piazza. It's a classic experience of urban Italy, and the capital of the north has a more frenetic version than most: joining the crush filing up to the counter to place your order, then shuffling along to receive your espresso. Don't sit down - there's no time. Add a little sugar to take that acrid edge off the drink, then knock it back in one. Done. And even if you think you're quick, dozens of locals will have been and gone by the time you're finished. 

We visit Milan as part of our Italian Lakes Discovery trip.


Seafront in Portofino

Join the uber-rich among the colourful tumbledown houses, supercharged jet boats and floating pleasure palaces of Portofino. The Italian millionaire's row is simply a fabulous place - sometimes it feels more like an exclusive club than a town -  and the promenade is ground zero for rubbernecking, ogling at the conspicuous consumption, and for tucking into some great food as well. From straightforward pizzerias to elegantly prepared seafood, there's not really any point in recommending any one individual establishment - just pick a joint that's busy and looks good and elbow your way to a patio table for some prime people-watching over your tiramisu.

Go there on our Magical Tuscany and the Portofino Peninsula tour.

View all our Italy tours.


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