Italy nominates Pizza for UNESCO cultural heritage list

Italy’s UNESCO commission have put forward Neapolitan pizza making for UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in order to distinguish it from American “New York” style pizza.

According to the True Neapolitan Pizza Association there are only two official types of Neapolitan Pizza. “Margherita” made from tomato, oil, mozzarella and basil and “Marinara” with tomato, oil, oregano and basil. All pizza ingredients and cooking elements are carefully detailed by the Association and to be a true Pizzaiolo you must adhere to all the rules.

The UNESCO committee meet annually to make decisions on new submissions for consideration. Other things being considered this year will be Belgian beer culture, flatbread making and sharing in Azerbaijan and a traditional Egyptian stick game called Tahtib. We won’t find out if it makes the cut until 2017 when the committee meet in Paris.

All this talk of Pizza is making me hungry. Here’s some Italian pizza I’m sure doesn’t conform to True Neapolitan standards but it still looks pretty tasty to me.

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Pizza in Le Marche, not Naples.

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Montone – Umbria’s finest hill town

Spectacular Montone is, in my opinion, one of Umbria’s finest hill top towns. Set in romantic rolling hills the scenery comes alive in the evenings, when shadows are long and darkness is falling. Set away from the main roads, Montone escapes many of the opportunistic day trippers and remains a hidden gem for those of us who have been fortunate enough to discover it. I am sure I will be writing many more posts about Montone, but for now here’s a twilight photograph I took back in 2009.

Montone in Umbria sunset

As evening falls

Experience Fermo Night Market

Every Thursday during July and August the beautiful city of Fermo in Le Marche plays host to a huge night market. The marked is packed with all sorts of stalls selling antiques, crafts, art and locally produced food, including delicacies like fresh truffles. People travel from all around to visit and it really starts to come alive after 10pm. The main hub of the night market is in the square, Piazza di Popolo, and spills out onto the streets leading off it.

Fermo night market

There are plenty of eateries around the piazza to sit and people watch (my favourite pastime), grab a drink or some dinner. We stopped at a tiny bar (no seats inside) which served pizza. I thought I’d ordered a slice….clearly not…..but it was exceptionally good!

Pizza

There are very few details of this market online, in fact we almost didn’t go because I was unsure if it was actually being held. Much to my relief the market was on and parking was easy. As you drive up towards the city there are large car park signs leading to car parks below the city walls and there is a lift which takes you up to just off the main square.

The hustle and bustle of the market is a tremendous experience not to be missed!

3 Italian Cities make the Rough Guides Most Beautiful City List

The lovely folk at Rough Guides asked their Twitter and Facebook followers to vote for their most beautiful city in the world and 3 Italian cities made the cut! The full list as shown on their website is:

  1. Rome, Italy
  2. Florence, Italy
  3. Paris, France
  4. Edinburgh, Scotland
  5. London, England
  6. Prague, Czech Republic
  7. Venice, Italy
  8. Brisbane, Australia
  9. Kyoto, Japan
  10. Rio de Janeriro, Brazil
  11. San Sebastian, Spain
  12. Seville, Spain
  13. Sydney, Austraila
  14. Vancouver, Canada
Ponte Sant'Angelo

Ponte Sant’Angelo in Rome – Voted Most Beautiful City in the World by followers of Rough Guides

Day Trip – Civita di Bagnoregio

Photos do not do justice to this place. Perched on top of an island of volcanic rock this ancient town is steeped in history. Once connected to the neighbouring village of Bagnoregio, the land has long since crumbled away and this unique site, founded by Etruscans over 2,500 years ago, can now only be accessed by footbridge.

Civita di Bagnoregio

Civita di Bagnoregio

The town has become known as “il paese che muore” or “the dying town” due to its dwindling population and the ever present threat of further erosion. It does however remain a popular tourist attraction and the residents pride themselves in keeping the town spotlessly clean and tidy and readily welcome visitors.

Eat – Hostaria la Cantina – Set in the heart of the old Etruscan town to the right of the church. This little restaurant serves traditional home cooked food at a reasonable price.

For a meal with a view try Hostaria del Ponte. Courteous service and excellent food that will only outdone by the view, particularly at sunset.

Stay – Alma Civita is a recently restored restaurant with rooms and in the centre of the ancient town, it does super food too, but for a true taste of local living stay at Civita B&B. A tiny 3 bedroom bed and breakfast, with all bedrooms facing onto the picturesque main square and double rooms from just €70.

Church of St. Donato.

Church of St. Donato.

Top 3 wineries to visit in Tuscany

Tuscany has many superb wine producers throughout the region. Touring one is an interesting and informative way to spend a morning and sampling their produce is a truly excellent way to spend an afternoon. Here’s my top 3.

  1. Biondi Santi – Birthplace of the famous Brunello di Montalcino, this prestigious winery sits in the most stunning surroundings. Situated 3km south of Montalcino, tours of their vast wine cellars are free and wine tasting tours start from a very reasonable €15.
  2. Volpaia – Magnificent cellars are carved into the churches and palaces of the surrounding village. A visit to Volpaia is a truly unique experience. Situated about 40km south of Florence, the drive through Chianti country is breathtaking. Cellar tours start from just €11 but stay for lunch if you can for €25 per person.
  3. Castiglion del Bosco – Located on the pilgrim route to Rome near Montalcino this vineyard has a rich history. Now part of a very luxurious resort, Castiglione del Bosco offers a “from grape to vine” wine experience from €70 per person. For an extra €20 try the barrel tasting, an opportunity to sample not yet released Brunello straight from the French oak barriques.

Bunch of grapes

Welcome to my Italy travel blog!

The very first post! Exciting stuff! First things first, I am not Italian. Nor do I have any family, genealogical or historical connections with Italy. My passion for Italy started with a family villa holiday many years ago and that was it, I was hooked. The people, the places, the outstanding scenery and of course the food. This blog will be about all aspects of Italian travel from Rome’s best nightlife to hidden coves in Puglia. I hope you enjoy it!

Our first family villa holiday to Italy

Our first family villa holiday to Italy.