Destin-Nation Italy: Looking Beyond Pizza and Pasta

by Rebecca Ballhaus Subscribe to Rebecca Ballhaus's posts Posted Jun 17th 2011 09:40 AM



Italian food is no mystery: Pizza and pasta are staples of everyday eating in many parts of the globe. But real Italian food varies greatly different from the ol' Sunday gravy Grandma used to make.

One caveat when traveling to Italy is that meal times there are strict, and are often far later than they are in the U.S. Lunch does not generally begin until 1 p.m., and dinner is not until 8 or 9. Restaurants also close between mealtimes.

"The one thing that Americans have a difficult time with is that the restaurants don't open till after 8," says Nicola Marzovilla, owner of the Apulian restaurant I Trulli in downtown Manhattan who offered gourmet guidance for this tour.

Attitudes towards food rules are no less stringent: nobody drinks cappuccino after about 1 p.m., never put cheese on seafood dishes, and nobody's food is as good as mama's.

Getting to Italy should be a piece of cake. There are dozens of nonstop flights to a broad range of cities, all for under $1000.

Buon Appetito!

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I can't wait to visit Rome! I'm planning a trip there soon and have been learning Italian with an Eton Institute phrasebook which is great (I'm planning on taking it with me on my iPhone to communicate with the locals haha). The food!!!

July 17 2011 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd like to see an article on some of the sagre specialties of smaller villages like the Cinghale (with pappardelle) in Capalbio between Florence and Rome!

June 19 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


June 19 2011 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

to be ignorant is not a defect...ciaooooo from italy

June 19 2011 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Everything that comes out of the sea is edible except for parts of the puffer fish, head of the sea snake, and the leapard fish. I usually keep the exotic stuff a secret . Some of it is unbelievably tasty...Alfred-

June 19 2011 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My 16 year old daughter is going on a class trip to Milan, Venice, Florence, the French Riviera and Paris. I want her to experience it to it's culinary fullest along with the educational aspects. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go, any websites we could visit or any where to get brochures of these places so she can be well prepared before she gets there?

June 19 2011 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ah ChooChoo, I will advise you to go... it is wonderful to experience italy- both in the cities and the countryside. As far as veggies- there are marvelous outdoor markets with tons of fresh vegetables and even fresh seafood.. I found everything so much more delicious than our produce, as it is grown in healthier ground and less toxic than what we get in the states. I was also able to drive a tiny Fiat all over without difficulty- except in Florence where it took me nearly an hour to find my way out of the city- the GPS kept sending me down streets that were blocked with flower pots... otherwise it was fun to see the country in a more leisurely manner.

June 19 2011 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Italy is not now or ever has been known for just great food, it has other things of interest also, the countryside, the close knit family units, the invention of plumbinb, roads etc, arts, clothing dsign etc.

June 19 2011 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

some of the absolutely best food we had was on the Adriatic Coast- experiencing a variety of fresh seafood prepared in diverse ways. With four in our group we each ordered something different, then shared around so we were able to taste test a much larger variety.

June 19 2011 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Sadly, most Americans only think of pasta and pizza when they think of Italian cuisine. It is far more sophisticated. If they only order pasta, they are missing most of the meal - and appear ignorant by Italian standards. Pasta is only the second course. Meals, especially in a restaurant, also last quite a while, and there are wines and liquors to accompany each course.

June 19 2011 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to flowermommsms's comment
Hello Millie

I think that's true of any country's cuisine. However, most Americans are most aware of Italian Proscuitto, cheese, anchovies, olives, olive oil, and sooooo many meat dishes as another course in the meal. Viva, Italia!

June 19 2011 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply