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Winter in Rome: 5 Things to Do

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If you have been to Rome in other seasons apart from Winter, you would know what I mean when I associate it with long queues, waiting time to eat, pushing and shoving and high airfares. I mean I love visiting Rome any season of the year but Winter in Rome was an entirely different experience!

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Winter in Rome is not only more relaxed with fewer crowds (see any picture from summer) but also more prettier and pleasant. The maximum and minimum temperature in mid January was around 15 degree C and 6 degree C respectively. My friends from The Beehive and Personalized Italy created an enriching Blogger Retreat to see the best of Rome in Winter. This was the 4th edition. Read here for more.

Based on my experience, I’ve collated a list of 5 Things for you to do when you visit Rome in Winter. Enjoy!

Winter in Rome: 5 Things to Do

1. Spend an Evening at the Pincio: Imagine the sunset, St. Peter’s Basilica right in front of you, negligible crowds and music in the background. There can be nothing more romantic than that, right?? The Pincio Terrace is my new favorite place in Rome that has mind blowing views of the city! Not only can you see the layers of Rome but also visit it’s top attractions in no time (Piazza del Popolo, Spanish Steps, Via del Corso etc.)

Pincio gets it’s name from the Pincii family that occupied the area in 4th century A.D. Spend an evening on the terrace at Pincio and thank me later!

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Winter in Rome: View from Pincio Terrace

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Winter in Rome: The Spanish Steps

2. Take the Romantic Poets Timeless Inspiration with Context Travel: Winter in Rome means making maximum use of tours and guides that are otherwise fully booked in summer. Context Travel graciously offered their “Romantic Poets Timeless Inspiration” showing us Literature and Italy – my two best friends. It was indescribable learning about Keats and Shelley’s time in the eternal city.

There was a long walk at the Non Catholic Cemetery at the graves of Keats, Shelley and Henry James’ heroine Daisy Miller followed by a visit to Pincio and Keats and Shelley’s Home at the Spanish Steps. Oh and it was also followed by a glass of champagne on the private terrace of Keats and Shelley! Not a bad way to celebrate Winter in Rome, right?? A special thanks to our guide Hillary for a great evening and who also informed us that Mick Jagger read Shelley’s poem Adonais in the memory of guitarist Brian Jones in 2014!

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Winter in Rome: Champagne at the Spanish Steps

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Winter in Rome: Tour with Context Travel

3. Book a tour with Foodies in Rome: Another great way to see Winter in Rome is taking a cooking class with Dominique from Foodies in Rome. An extremely warm and friendly person, Dominique knows the requirements of her clients well. By the end of the tour, I felt as if I was her friend. She arranged a superb pizza making class and took us to the legendary Forno in Campo de’ Fiori. We learnt how to make the best pizza al taglio with gurus Fabrizio Roscioli and Dino Bartocci. See the video below to get a taste of our pizza making class!

#WinterInRome An exclusive Pizza making class by the lovely Dominique of @foodiesinrome in collaboration with Forno, Campo de' Fiori. Thanks to @thebeehiverome & @personalitaly for curating the evening wonderfully and making it top notch! 😍🥂 @blogciaotutti @liviahengel @mycornerofitaly @dreameurotrip @italyalexandra055 @romewise @anastasiya_craze @alidifirenze @picnicman73 . . . #italophilia #italianfood #italygram  #iloveitalianfood #italiansdoitbetter #buongiornoroma #romanity #forno #whatitalyis #italianculture #italianlifestyle #margarita #cucinare #mangiare #verdure #italianfoodbloggers #framesofitaly #postcardsfromitaly #italianfood #ciboitaliano #igerslazio #pizzamaking #pizzatime #campodefiori #romeandyou #wheninrome #ig_rome

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Winter in Rome: At Forno with the Masterchefs

4. Hop on a Vespa with Scooteroma: Another interesting thing to do in Rome in Winter is to be your own versions of Audrey Hepburn (s) thanks to the Scooteroma. We zipped past the Colloseum to the Baths of Caracalla before making our way to see the historic Appian Way. Fewer crowds makes a better experience no??

Curated by Annie and Giovanni from Scooteroma and their super cool and funky team, the vespa tour is a great way to see the lesser known sides of Rome. It was like being with a local and chatting about Rome and everything in between while driving past ancient monuments and learning about the history. A special thanks to Michelle-my Roman vespista who helped me with my Italian during the ride. Grazie tanto!

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Winter in Rome: Vespa Tour with Scooteroma

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Winter in Rome: Us with the Scooteroma crew (Thanks for the pic Annie!)

5. Go for a Wine Tasting Session with Antiqua Tours: Sarah May Grunwald- the passionate wine sommelier and the face behind Antiqua Tours is another great way to see Rome in Winter. She gave us a fun wine tasting session and told us about the region of Lazio (where Rome is) and it’s underrated wines. I thoroughly enjoyed the session because though I like drinking wine, I don’t know much about them.

Sarah told us how Venetians spread the wines to the Black Sea, why there are bubbles in the wine, the history of the Etruscans and the different wines in the region. Loved the chat with Sarah and definitely want to meet her again for another tasting in Rome! Grazie Sarah!

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Winter in Rome: Wine Tasting

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Winter in Rome: Learning about wines from Lazio

Stay tuned for more on Winter in Rome. But in the meantime tell me, are you sold for a Winter in Rome??

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Vespa Ride in Rome

Lunch opposite the Colloseum

Rome: Food Tour in Trastevere

Books based in Rome and Italy:

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Winter in Rome with The Beehive

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“Winter in Rome” is an annual Blogger Retreat and an excellent project by Linda and Steve of The Beehive, Rome. Bloggers come together and visit Rome in Winter with The Beehive. There are different activities and experiences planned by several local operators throughout the 4 day event.

Winter in Rome

Winter in Rome

So when Linda offered me to visit Rome in Winter, I jumped to the opportunity! I mean how often do we really go to see Rome in Winter??! Not only is this a fun way of seeing the city sans the crowds (if you compare to the summer) but also a great chance to see the rest of Italy for cheap! This year The Beehive along with Personalized Italy have brought together a great list of Collaborators and Bloggers for the event.

If you are on any of the social media platforms – Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, follow along and enjoy my #WinterinRome with The Beehive from January 18 – January 22. Here are some shots from #WinterInRome. Stay tuned for more!

Winter in Rome

Winter in Rome

Winter in Rome

Winter in Rome

Winter in Rome

Winter in Rome

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Most Instagram-able Spots in Rome

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Every month, any blogger/vlogger who loves Italy or is Italian or simply wants to share their memories of Italy, writes on a particular topic as part of the linkup of #DolceVitaBloggers. This month’s topic is “Favorite Italian City” and needless to say mine is Rome. So here I am sharing about my favorite Instagram-able spots in the eternal city!

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GET YOUR GUIDE TO 3 DAYS IN ROME

Most Instagrammable Spots in Rome

People on Instagram will agree how we are almost always obsessed to click a picture with the sole intention of posting it on Instagram. We want it to be perfect- the look, the dimensions, the presentation. I too am obsessed with Instagram (not as much as I used to be before because of the darn algorithm!) so a post like this was bound to happen. Enjoy Rome from the eyes of an Instagrammer and do give a follow if you are on Instagram!

ANYWHERE IN TRASTEVERE: Just walk around in the neighborhood of Trastevere and every alley has to be photographed for the app. Take a turn anywhere, you will be gaping at the raw beauty of this side of Rome. Don’t confuse yourself to be on a movie set….It’s only Trastevere! Every corner is imperfectly perfect and ready to be Instagramm’d.

Aperitivo hour 🍹 #LetsGetSocial

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Buongiorno!! I haven't posted doors in a long time 😄 #DoorsofItaly

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ANY PLACE WITH THE COLOSSEUM IN VIEW: This will never ever go wrong. Even if the picture was upside down and you were wearing the weirdest outfit, even if the picture was blurred or wrongly placed….. But as long as you have the Colosseum as your background, I’d guarantee that you’d get double the likes than you usually do! 😉 It is the best backdrop in Rome for just about anything!

There's nothing quite like standing here..Is there??

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~All roads lead to Rome~

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STREETS FROM ALTARE DELLA PATRIA TO CAMPO DE’ FIORI: Get a city map of Rome and the next time you visit, reach Altare della Patria and take a hundred shots of the area + Roman Forum. Then move towards Campo de’ Fiori- a leisurely 20 minute walk filled with hidden backstreets that have never been discovered (on Instagram I mean). Sheer delight! You will find yourself surrounded by artists and music players and will end up photographing them and the most unusual store fronts.

Finding inspiration in incredible Rome 😍🇮🇹 #TravelerinItaly

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-I recently read an article on travel jealously/envy and how social media is responsible for it. -While I agree with it to some extent, I think most of it is self made and is born out of insecurities. Everyone came to the world for themselves and we are all trying to do our own thing. So why so much jealousy in the first place? Figure your calling. Did you ever think to notice jealousy and comparisons lead nowhere. Also, what's stopping you from doing it?? Probably you.. yourself. Social media for me is about telling my best moments to the world because that's what I choose to. And even though there are lot of things that happen on the road, everything doesn't make a part of what I want to share. Remember that travel isn't just sitting on the beach, drinking cocktails and clicking Instagrammable pics 😉 neither is any other part of social media. There is much more to it! Just widen your mind and focus on yourself🍫🍷 (Sorry for the super long caption) 🙈🙈

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"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication". 🚲

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VIA MARGUTTA: Remember Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck’s movie The Roman Holiday?? Of course you do! That made you want to ride in Rome on a vespa too, didn’t it?? Well parts of the movie are shot on the historic street called “Via Margutta”. Not only is it a photographer’s dream but it is not as crowded as the rest of the city!

There is a surprise at every corner of Rome🙃 #NGTIndia

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#StylingTheSeasons in Roma 🇮🇹🍃

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EVERY PLACE IN ROME IS INSTAGRAM-ABLE: In my opinion, the whole of Rome is “Instagram-able”. Visit the famous sites early morning when the city is asleep and you will find not one but plenty of great Instagram-able spots. My favorites include The Pantheon and Castel Sant’Angelo. Then of course there is Trevi fountain where you have to get a picture clicked with yourself throwing a coin!

Love the enchanting Castle Sant'Angelo 😍 #RomeAndYou

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Meraviglioso! Marvelous!

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Five Things to do in Turin (for free)

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I know I know, I have been raving about Turin. This city really has my heart. But wouldn’t you agree?? There is so much you can see and do here without the crazy crowds that I am almost okay to see that Turin is Italy’s underrated gem.

If you are on a budget and want to admire Turin without spending a Euro, here are some things to do in Turin for FREE:

  • Go back in Time

    : Visit Piazza Castello in the heart of Turin which is the living room of the city. Piazza Castello houses the two of the most important palaces of Reale and Madama. Visiting this piazza is like going back to the 15th century Turin. Get a gelato from La Romana and sit on any of the benches at the piazza. La Dolce Vita!

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Free Things to do in Turin: Piazza Castello

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Free Things to do in Turin: Piazza Castello

  • Admire the Valentino Park

    : Make a stop at Valentino Park (Parco del Valentino) and marvel at the architecture of the Borgo Medievale along with the Castle of Valentino (Castello del Valentino). The former is a “newly constructed medieval village” in the park while the latter is a French styled castle turned university that hosts events and exhibition for education. What a great thing to do in Turin for FREE!

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Free Things to do in Turin: Castello del Valentino

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Free Things to do in Turin: Valentino Park

  • Visit Grand Balôn

    : If you are a fan of all things vintage and antique, visit the Grand Balôn. This antique market has been around for years and takes place every second Saturday of the month. I timed my visit around a lot of events and Grand Balôn was one of them. It was so worth visiting although I suggest you to keep a few snacks handy to pass time.

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Free Things to do in Turin: Grand Balôn

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Free Things to do in Turin: Grand Balôn

  • See the city from Monte dei Cappuccini

    : If you are a sucker for views, you won’t regret this short walk from Turin’s Via Po to reach Monte dei Cappuccini. At this hill, visit Santa Maria del Monte – a church from the 16th century and then gawk at Turin’s ever stunning skyline. I hear it is unbelievable on a clear day because you can see the Alps! I love this part of seeing Turin for absolutely free!

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Free Things to do in Turin: Monte dei Cappuccini

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Free Things to do in Turin: Monte dei Cappuccini

  • Stop at a Historic Shop

    : It doesn’t cost a penny to go to a historic shop and look around. Learn more about Turin’s historic shops (and there are plenty) whether it is one of the oldest crystal maker – Prochet or Menietti- the oldest suppliers of brewing and wine making. It is fascinating to see these stores preserve the same method and process since decades.

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Free Things to do in Turin: Stop at a Historic Shop

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Free Things to do in Turin: Stop at a Historic Shop

Hope you enjoyed this post on free things to do in Turin.

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If you plan to visit Turin, I suggest you to read these books below:

Disclosure: There are “ affiliate links” on my blog. If you click on a picture, it will take you to Amazon.in. and if you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for supporting my blog as always. Keep Reading!

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Where to Eat and Drink in Turin

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Turin (Torino) is heaven for all the food enthusiasts and coffee lovers. There are several eating options available in the city right from quick cheap eats of pizza by the slice, focaccia or ciabatta to a more sophisticated dining experience of family run food joints, ornate coffee houses and high-end expensive restaurants. I ate my way through Turin and created this list of places to eat and drink that you would possibly need for your first few days. Buon Divertimento!

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Where to Eat and Drink in Turin: Food Guide

Where to Eat and Drink in Turin:

Osteria in Vino Veritas: If you are looking for a range of Piemontese wines, cozy atmosphere and fresh agnolotti (typical pasta from the Piemonte region), head to Osteria In Vino Veritas (which means in wine there is truth). It not only stays true to its name but also has the most homely atmosphere behind the busiest street of Mole Antonelliana.

Via Giulia di Barolo, 50/A.

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Where to Eat and Drink in Turin: In Vino Veritas

Caffeteria Reale: Thanks to Lucia’s blog I found out about this Caffeteria which seems to be popular among locals. It was in a small alley next to the Reale Palace and had a great selection of coffees not to forget the range of china all across the room and embellished linen. A great place for a quick drink in the heart of Turin.

Piazzetta Reale, 1

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Where to Eat and Drink in Turin: Caffeteria Reale

Baratti & Milano: Another great find thanks to Lisa from ItalianKiwi who not only recommended me some great places to visit but also sent an itinerary to see Turin. Baratti & Milano is one of those places that you should spend more time in. Their range of fancy wrapped chocolates and candies is amazing and is great to pick for gifts.

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Pastificio de Filippis: I went here just for a quick lunch but ended up staying longer. Filippis is bang in the middle of the busiest street and serves the yummiest Piemontese food. I tried their gnocchetti and paired it with a glass of Barolo and fresh salad.

Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, 39

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Where to Eat and Drink in Turin: Pastificio de Filippis

La Fermata: Another great place to try Italian food especially Ligurian Farinata is La Fermata (the stop) It is more modern compared to all other places in Turin, with WiFi and a relaxed service. Loved their Caprese salad too!

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Arsenico e Vecchi Merletti: Another great spot to eat in Turin is Arsenico e Vecchi Merletti-a place from the crowds. Arsenico’s service is quick and food delicious, especially their gnocchi and fresh breads. (Also, Arsenico e Vecchi Merletti is the name of a movie)

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Turin has by far some of the best food I've tasted in all of Italy! I ate the gnocchi with parmesan cream, mint and poppy seeds and on the other side was the Focaccia which was enjoyed by @turinepi 😍🍽️ The wine was Bonarda Piemontese. If you haven't read my love letter to Turin yet, do head to @turinepi 😎😊 #Italophilia . . . . . #gnocchi #foodiesofinstagram #italianfood #italygram #turinheart #torinodigitale #igerstorino #iloveitalianfood #italiansdoitbetter #cucina #cibobuono #cucinare #mangiare #onthetable #placesofturin #italyfood #dudeandthefood #pastalover #pastatime #iloveitaly #lovelettertoitaly #thekitchen #foodtalkindia #ilovepasta #piemonte #igerspiemonte #bonarda #focaccia #parmesan

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Pasticceria Gertosio: Another favorite place to eat in Turin is Gertosio. I went here thrice and tried a different pastry every time. The man behind the counter started recognizing me and every time I went he would say something like, “Dovrebbe provare qualcosa di nuova!” (You should try something new!) Pick anything!

Via Giuseppe Luigi Lagrange, 34

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Where to Eat and Drink in Turin: Pasticceria Gertosio

Bar Abrate: Looking for a cool place to hang out?? Possibly with a street view of old trams and hustle of the city?? Consider going to Bar Abrate on Via Po for a fabulous aperitivo experience. You will love their elegant vibe and pastry selections!

Via Po, 10

Caffè Fiorio: One of those “must try” family run places that is 3 centuries old. Visit Fiorio for its marble top tables and impeccably dressed waiters! Try their selection of ice creams and bicerin. Fiorio is a common name in the region as I saw one in the town of Alba as well!

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Delper: Looking for fresh bread, pastries, focaccia, pizza, grissini?? Visit Delper, just around the corner at Via Garibaldi. It is packed with locals and why wouldn’t it be…. !Delper has been serving since over 75 years. A great place for a quick bite in Turin.

Via Tolmino, 50

Apart from the places above, I recommend visiting any of the Gelaterie in the city. My favorites are La Romana and Gelateria Pepino.

Bistrot Turin: Quite simply known by it’s name Bistrot Turin isn’t anything related to the Bistrot that I imagine a.k.a modern. This is a no frills kinda place on Turin’s most happpening street “Via Po”. With authentic Piemontese food up its sleeve, Bistrot is a place where you would love to take a local along for suggestions. Thankfully I had my friend Adriana and she helped me choose the starters and the pasta.

Via Po, 21/B

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Hope you enjoyed this post. If you plan to visit Turin and the region, consider staying at B&B Vibrisse Torino. Also, suggest you to read these great books:

Disclosure: There are “ affiliate links” on my blog. If you click on a pictureand make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for supporting Italophilia!:)

Day Trips from Turin

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Do you love day trips where you can see major sights of a town/city and cross things off your bucket list??? I love them!

From Turin I made three such day trips that I recommend for a great respite from city life.

DAY TRIPS FROM TURIN

  • LAGO DI ORTA (Lake Orta): This was my favorite and most comfortable day trip from Turin. I drove with a friend to Orta- a lesser known lake of Italy. With exceptional restaurants and views, Orta is simply magical! Imagine yourself in idyllic medieval lane ways among baroque churches and ancient shops that make you stop for a picture every 5 seconds. If you are looking for a unique day trip in and around Turin, Orta should be on the top.
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#Vespalover

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Bronze statue of an artist in love with Orta

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The island of Orta San Giulio

Orta can be reached by car or public transport. Although the train station is a little far from the lake, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to get to the lake. There is another option of walking for about 25 minutes to reach to the lake too. Orta is also very close to Lake Maggiore- another great lake of Piemonte which also forms part of the region of Lombardy and parts of Switzerland.

  • ALBA: Another great day trip from Turin is to visit the town of Alba. Globally known for truffles, Alba is also famous for wine, cheese and it’s medieval historic centre. Every year the town hosts the White Truffle Fair in October- November which is the biggest global fair of it’s kind. There are markets of local products such as cheese, wine, chocolate, porcini, hazelnuts etc which makes it high on my list of events to visit.
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Energy fix!

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No tourists at 1 p.m.

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Everyone’s gone for lunch

Reach Alba in the morning when the Bars were filled with locals and take a short walk in the centre. You will basically have it covered it in about 30 minutes flat. Finish off your day with a hearty lunch of local tajarin and be back in Turin for dinner. Trains run every hour.

  • BARBARESCO: Do you know the King of Wines comes from the region of Piemonte?? (Turin is the capital of Piemonte) Wouldn’t you love to see it?? Piemonte’s area of langhe is a great wine making commune. I was in Barbaresco for a short day trip, another great choice of day trip from Turin.
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Not a soul in sight

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A drive through Piemonte

🍷🍷I was shown around Piemonte by the lovely @valeriekq who, along with her husband, takes wine and food tours in the region. We went to the winery of @cadelbaio -a family run business that is situated on a beautiful slope overlooking small hilltop towns. After trying 5 different types of wines this is the best picture I could manage 🤣🤣 @foodieandwinelover @constantwining @yogawinetravel @casamiaitalyfoodandwine @winefolly @vinotravels21 @italian_wines @italianwinelover . . – . . #italophilia #winestagram #wineoclock #winerytour #vineyardlife #whatiate #whatidrink #whatitalyis #ilovewine #italianwine #vinorosso #redredwine #amarone #barolo #langhe #suitcasetravels #ig_piemonte #ig_turin #turinheart #volgopiemonte #prettylittletrips #prettylittleitaly #italygram #framesofitaly #girlsgottadrink #girlsborntotravel #travellingthroughtheworld #trottermag

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Valerie Quintanilla, along with her husband, takes wine and food tours in the region and kindly showed me around the winery of Ca’ del BaioThe winery is a family run business situated on a beautiful slope overlooking the hills of Piemonte. After tasting 5 different types of wines I can safely say I am glad Valerie dropped me back to Alba!

For further reading on day trips, check out these Piemonte based blogs:

Villa della Regina by TexasMominTorino

5 Day trips from Turin by Turinepi

How to do a Barolo day trip from Turin by Valerie Quintanilla

Hope you enjoyed this post.

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If you plan to visit Turin and the region, I suggest you to read these great books:

Disclosure: There are “ affiliate links” on my blog. If you click on a picture, it will take you to Amazon.in. and if you make a purchase through these links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for supporting my blog as always. Keep Reading!

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Caffè al Bicerin dal 1763

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Want a little slice of heaven in Turin?? Consider having “Bicerin” from Caffè al Bicerin.

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Caffè al Bicerin

What is Bicerin??

Bicerin is quite simply a drink of espresso, chocolate and cream. This sinful drink topped with a secret ingredient from Caffè al Bicerin is what makes it so special! This drink was invented by Caffè al Bicerin centuries ago and has since then retained it’s recipe, style and production. The legacy is astounding!

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Caffè al Bicerin

On my visit, I was transported to the old times inside an old cafe filled with wood panels, dimly lit candles and white marble table tops. I found myself on the same seat that years ago Italy’s first Prime Minister sat in. It was such a treat! This place is run ONLY by WOMEN since centuries.. I feel that that is probably the secret of it being the best place for Bicerin in the world. What do you think?? 😉

Don’t miss visiting Caffè al Bicerin when you are in Turin and also check their specialty store next door where everything is filled with chocolate!

Bicerin comes at the price of a whooping €6 but it is really is worth every penny at least once in your life (okay more than once!).

Piazza della Consolata, 5

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Related Reading:

Five Things to do in Turin for Free

Day trips from Turin

10 Reasons to Add Turin to Your Italy List

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There’s more to Italy than just the big cities. Don’t me wrong, I love the modern side of Milan and the bohemian quarters of Rome but a traveler visiting just these cities in Italy is missing a lot. One needs to re-consider and explore the unconventional choices as well and maybe add a few days to make it to Turin (an hour from Milan)

While searching for new places to visit in Italy I found Turin (Torino in Italian) many years ago. However, I couldn’t visit it until this year when I found really cheap deals from Delhi to Rome and Milan via Kuwait Airways. I think that was what pushed me to book my tickets and start my love affair with Italy’s first capital Turin.

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Here are my top 10 reasons to add Turin to your Italian Bucket List:

NOT AS CROWDED AS THE BIG 3: Would you like a holiday away from the crowds and for a change not be pushed and shoved at?? Turin is your choice then! It is less crowded and quieter compared to the big 3 (Rome, Venice and Florence) and also more pleasant. I was in Turin in the peak season and could eat, drink and walk around without being shoved at. Exactly how a vacation should be! So visit Turin before the city gets run down by mass tourism and consider this post as one of the many posts on what to do in Turin.

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10 Reasons to Add Turin to Your Italy List

BICERIN BICERIN BICERIN: I cannot stress this fact enough….Turin=Bicerin and Bicerin=Turin. I refuse to have it anywhere else even if I am offered money! Until you haven’t had this heavenly drink, you won’t know what I’m saying… So go to Turin! And FYI Bicerin is a sinful combination of chocolate, espresso and milk with a touch of Turin magic! This should be added to your things to do in Turin.

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10 Reasons to Add Turin to Your Italy List

CINEMA MUSEUM, EYGPTIAN MUSEUM AND …A FIAT MUSEUM: Museum and history lovers rejoice! Turin is a haven for all of you. There is so much to see and do in Turin, that you might find time to be short. Apart from the amazing Cinema and Fiat museums, there are also stunning palaces of the Savoy Kings and Queens to be visited.

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10 Reasons to Add Turin to Your Italy List

EATALY: If you ever curious about an Italian food museum, don’t be now. There is one! And in my humble opinion, it’s called Eataly! You will find everything “Italian” under one roof. So imagine those tasty holiday treats that your Italian friends share or those vintage looking candy bars that you always wanted… Hunt no more… Consider going here with an empty stomach and a full credit limit! Don’t say I didn’t tell you.

Excuse me while I sit errr…. have a hot cup of Illy 😉☕

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RIVER PO: Before visiting Turin, I thought the only thing missing in the city was the water…. I was wrong. The river Po flows through the city and makes everything look scenic and romantic as it divides Turin in two. In the evening when the city lights are up, the river gives a misty element and almost make a lovely painting. Wouldn’t you add Turin to your Italy list??

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10 Reasons to Add Turin to Your Italy List

“Senza l’Italia, Torino sarebbe più o meno la stessa. Ma senza Torino, l’Italia sarebbe molto diversa”- Umberto Eco

“Without Italy, Torino would be more or less the same, but without Torino, Italy would be very different”- Umberto Eco

HISTORIC SHOPS AND APERITIVO: Vienna and Rome have been my top choices for cities with historic coffee shops. But now there’s one more to the list! Turin not only has excellent historic shops but also has the old fashioned vibe. Imagine furniture from the retro era and waiters serving in old bow ties….. In Turin time really stands still. The city is also the birthplace of Aperitivo. I’m not complaining. Are you??! Travel to Turin!

GETAWAY TO THE COUNTRYSIDE: In about 30 minutes you can cross Turin’s elegant city life and head to the nearest vineyard or the prettiest side of the country! In about an hour’s drive you can reach the lakes of Maggiore and Orta that make for two stunning day trips. There’s a long list of historic towns such as Alba and Bra famous for truffles, wine and cheese. Mamma mia! Traveling to Turin is such an advantage.

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10 Reasons to Add Turin to Your Italy List

PIAZZE AND PORTICOES: The piazze (public squares) in Turin don’t call for attention…They are elegant, chic and effortless. Add a little drama of art nouveau and baroque and that’s Turin for you. Since the city happens to be very spacious, you can possibly be the only one at a piazza even at 8-9 in the morning.

Oh Turin, you are so royal!😍

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LITERARY LOVE: There is literature surrounding the whole city as writers such as Umberto Eco, Mark Twain, Primo Levi, Italo Calvino, Friedrich Nietzsche have visited and admired the city. It is a celebration of Italian literature to walk the same streets as the writers of the bygone eras. Additionally, Turin has some amazing bookshops. Being an avid reader and bookish traveler, I could not “not” visit Turin’s bookshops. There are plenty on Via Po. And oh did I mention the book fair Salone del Libro?? It happens in May every year! Definitely visit Turin.

OLD WORLD TRAMS: If historic stores and old world cafés aren’t enough for you, the city is also filled with vintage trams. There is a healthy mix of old and modern as a metro line connects the newer parts of the city. I, born an old soul, avoided the metro and loved hopping in different trams….Sometimes even without a reason.

Related Reading:

Day trips from Turin

Five Things to do in Turin (for free)

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If you plan to visit Turin and the region, I suggest you to read these great books:

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From Murano to India with Ikroop

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Do you believe we are meant to meet people for a reason?? So far, many people have come and gone in my life, but there have been some that I can vouch came for a very solid reason. Today I share about how I met one. Ikroop Dhillon, owner and curator of the Glass Art Jewellery brand Ikroop, was on my Instagram feed one day.

The article read – how travels to Murano in Italy was a “life changing” event. This captured my attention and I opened it to find an interview where Ikroop was talking about her glassware business for the Verve magazine. I was immediately enticed and soon contacted her!

Ikroop warmly asked to meet up for a cup of coffee and we chatted about her glass art jewellery and my love for all things Italian. Her story was dreamy as most of her business inspiration comes from the island of Murano-renowed globally for its glassware.

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Ikroop: I picked this for myself.

The best part is that her inspiration got the better of her when she decided to turn her love for glassware to a business! Most of her collection is inspired from her Murano travel where she saw beautiful art created from blown glass. She started the brand “Ikroop” after working with the famous glass artist Atul Bakshi. Once she gained knowledge of the process, she realized her forte and started making minimalist glass art jewellery. Her collection is versatile and classy, making it every woman’s dream!

There are various colours fused together to create every type of pendants, rings, earrings and neck pieces. I felt that there is something for everyone on her website and I myself picked up a beautiful pendant that can be worn for both any kind of event whether a party or a business meeting.

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Image Credits: Ikroop Dhillon

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Image Credits: Ikroop Dhillon

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The lovely Ikroop

Owning a glass jewellery isn’t common in India (as opposed to Italy).However, I hope that with brands such as Ikroop it becomes part of every woman’s wardrobe. I would have never have imagined I’d meet a fellow Italophilie living only 7 kms from my house and inspired from travels to Italy as much I am!

Thank You Italy for another fabulous connection!

Follow Ikroop’s stunning collection on her Instagram or Facebook page. Also check these great books on Italy and Venice.

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Wine Tasting Inside Piscine Romane

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The Piscine Romane or the Roman cisterns are located in the city of Fermo in Le Marche and form a huge underground archaeological complex. They are close to the main piazza and are built with mind blowing engineering details that makes it possible to use them even today. Thanks to the Mayor of Fermo, DiscoverMarche and the lovely hosts from Vigneti Santa Liberata, I was able not only to see the historic site but also have a specially curated wine tasting inside it.

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

With our wines in hind inside the cisterns, we walked inside the dimly lit area which is believed to be built around 1 century A.D. It is a commendable feat that these cisterns made thousands of years ago work even today! Can you imagine that even now they are in working condition and almost perfectly preserved??! I am unable to fathom the time, resources and brains gone into making them and having an underground method to provide water to the city till today.

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

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Piscine Romane, Fermo

What an experience!

Important Info:

-The entry to the Piscine Romane costs a mere € 6,50 which includes a guided tour along with entries to parts of Palazzo dei Priori, Teatro dell’Aquila and Scientific Museums of Villa Vitali.

-A jacket is highly recommended when visiting the complex as the underground is extremely cold.

-The Piscine Romane are one of the most intriguing places in Le Marche and one that should not be missed if you are crossing by or in Marche.

-For more information visit the town’s official page.

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Related Reading:

The Holy Town of Loreto

Medieval Fermo and it’s historic Sites

Numana: A Jewel of the Adriatic

The Literary Town of Recanati

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Recanati in Le Marche is a literary town of/for/by the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi. I say that not only because Leopardi was born here but also because he spent a majority part of his life writing poems inspired by the town. Even though Leopardi had a conflicting relationship with Recanati, one of his most famous poems L’Infinito” (The Infinite) was written from a solitary hill of this town. Now, a famous vantage point, the hill is called “Hill of the Infinite” and has views that go as far as the Sibillini Mountains.

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Recanati, Le Marche: Hill of the Infinte

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Recanati, Le Marche: Piazza Leopardi

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Recanati, Le Marche: Palazzo Communale

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Recanati, Le Marche: Leopardi’s statue in the piazza

Giacomo Leopardi wrote many poems in his short lifetime of 38 years but there are a few that stand out. “A Silvia”, published in 1828, shows his sad and tumultuous life state as he describes a girl he is in love with. The girl lives opposite the piazza where Leopardi’s house is but he cannot win her as she is below his stature. Another popular poem “Il Sabato del Villaggio” (Saturday in the Village) describes the same piazza opposite his house and tells the tales of people who come and go.

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Recanati, Le Marche: Silvia’s house (Was her name really Silvia?)

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Recanati, Le Marche: Leopardi’s House a.k.a Palazzo Leopardi

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Recanati, Le Marche: The piazza dividing the two places

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Recanati, Le Marche: Streets of Recanati

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Recanati, Le Marche: The town evokes sadness on a grey day

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Recanati, Le Marche: If this corner could talk….

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Recanati, Le Marche: and this one too..

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Recanati, Le Marche: Chiesa di San Vito

Recanati is a fascinating town that evoked a sense of sadness in me. Even as I write I remember the feeling of walking through the streets and thinking of the story of Leopardi.

In 2014, the popular film “Il Giovane Favoloso” (Leopardi) captured the essence of the poet. Ever since then, the town has been revamped and the streets are decorated with the poems of Leopardi at every bend. It gives Recanati a real picture of being called a Literary city.

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Recanati, Le Marche: I found the Italian of that era extremely difficult.

Giacomo Leopardi: 1798-1837

Related Reading:

Medieval Fermo and it’s historic Sites

Numana: A Jewel of the Adriatic

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The Sleepy Little Town of Castelfidardo

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You know the Italian town that makes the best hand made Accordions?? It is Castelfidardo in Le Marche. I never knew about it until I went there this summer! However, Castelfidardo wasn’t really for me. It does not come in my “must see” sights of Le Marche and can easily be skipped. I found the town to be boring and this might be the first time I am saying this for any Italian town.

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Probably the rare time when I saw someone in the centre

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There is an International Accordion Museum in Castelfidardo

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The view from the main piazza

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From my apartment

Accordions available for young and old on Amazon

If you are visiting Ancona and the surrounding areas, stop anywhere else but here! But the only reason you might want to visit Castelfidardo is because of it’s proximity to the sea and historic towns of Marche. Otherwise everything in this town is slow and practically closed. Until May 2016, there was one good Bar (usually not crowded), a few odd shops selling the Accordion and a bookstore and few quick service food joints.

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I don’t remember reading the name of this Torre (Tower)

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Vicolo

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The quaintest corner

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They were equally happy to get a picture clicked!

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Nothing is open and it was 7 p.m.

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There was a bookstore at the corner

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On a clear day, you can see the sea

There is one place not to be missed in case you end up visiting Castelfidardo and that is one of the oldest bread shops in Le Marche! Just at the entrance of the town, this Panetteria Pizzeria is owned by an old lady (picture below) who has been making fresh bread for the town since decades. Even after her husband passing away recently, she made sure to continue the business. She starts work at 4 a.m in the morning and there is fresh bread and pizza rossa for everyone everyday!

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The owner of one of the oldest bread shops

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Be sure to visit and say hello to the lady!

Related Reading:

The Holy Town of Loreto

Medieval Fermo and it’s historic Sites

Numana: A Jewel of the Adriatic

Cooking at Fabrica del Gusto in Fabriano

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It was a usual day in medieval Fabriano for everyone but me because I was going for my first ever Italian cooking class! I wanted to learn something local and found the cooking school – Fabrica del Gusto to be perfect for my needs. 

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

Fabrica del Gusto was a 5 minute drive from the city centre and I was welcomed by Silvia (one of the owners) at the door. To tell you all a little about the cooking school, it was started by Silvia and her business partner Donatella out of their passion for local products and their land.

The two ladies provide several creative workshops and cooking events for both individuals and groups alike. They even have workshops for kids! Fabrica del Gusto is an adorable corner in the heart of Fabriano and is filled with passion for all things local. It really is a very well thought space where I learnt to make “Ciambelline al Vino e Anice” which in simple words means cookies with wine and fennel.

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

We made the Ciambelline quite slowly as we spoke about Le Marche and Silvia’s love for traveling and her curiosity about India. It was an afternoon of eating and relaxation with some cookies packed for my trip back home!

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

Cookies dipped in red wine!! Isn’t that the ultimate foodgasm ever?? Do give it a try and if you are ever in Le Marche, take a cooking class with Fabrica del Gusto and say hello to Silvia for me! Donatella- I hope to meet you next time.

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Fabrica del Gusto, Fabriano

I am linking my friend Rosemarie’s recipe for your benefit!!

To book a class with Fabrica del Gusto email them at info@fabricadelgusto.it or call at +39 3282234499.

Disclaimer: Silvia and Donatella were kind to offer me the cooking class for free but as always the opinions here are my own. Thank you for this connection, DiscoverMarche.

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Medieval Fermo and it’s Historic Sites

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Fermo is a medieval town in the southern part of Le Marche. Situated on top of a hill with a view of the surrounding villages, Fermo is possibly the richest of all Le Marche towns I have seen. Culturally speaking.

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Medieval Fermo and Piazza del Popolo

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Medieval Fermo and Regional flags

Medieval Fermo in Le Marche

Practically devoid of tourists, Fermo has the most beautiful and linear piazza in all of Marche. The town is dotted with lovely boutiques and cafes, a gigantic town hall and a rich historic library. Unfortunately I was able to see only one of the things above because Fermo was hit by an earthquake in August 2016 that left most of its treasures in ruins. The thought of it is heartbreaking and it was even sadder to see the state of things myself.

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A line of shops and coffee shops

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Medieval Fermo and its men

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Medieval Fermo and cappuccino with Ginseng

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Medieval Fermo from a part of Biblioteca Civica

Fermo has a very rich line of cultural sites.

The Biblioteca Civica Romolo Spezioli (closed due to the earthquake) is a popular public library with a Globe Room and manuscripts, documents and designs from the 17th century. There is also a modern library just next to it with computerized catalogues. The Biblioteca is known to be a treasure of the town that many mentioned to me. I have it on my list for next time.

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Biblioteca Civica Romolo Spezioli (Image Credits: ledonneincorriera.it)

Another important cultural site is the Palazzo dei Priori from the 13th century. The Palazzo was also closed to the earthquake as was the Civic Art gallery. Kept for next time!

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Medieval Fermo: Palazzo dei Priori

The other cultural site is the historic Teatro dell’Aquila. Thankfully a local helped us to get inside even though there was an International Violin Competition going on. The theatre, which was made in the 18th century, is known to be most important for many cultural activities of Le Marche.

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Medieval Fermo: Inside Teatro dell’Aquila

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Medieval Fermo: Ongoing Violin competition

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Medieval Fermo: Chandelier from 1830

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Medieval Fermo: I want to listen to the Opera

Hope you enjoyed a walk in the town with me. I once again thank DiscoverMarche and the Mayor of Fermo for making my short stay in the town so rich and inspiring. The Mayor was kind enough to gift me a frame of the Biblioteca Comunale that I will soon get framed! Grazie mille!

How to Reach Fermo:

Fermo can be reached from the Ancona airport with a car or from the Porto San Giorgio railway station. There are buses from the train station every 30 minutes to the centre of Fermo.

Vineyard Walk at Vigneti Santa Liberata

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If you ask me what is the most important part of travel in Italy for me, I would first and foremost mention its the people. I have been fortunate to have met and befriended many lovely souls people over the past few years that strengthen my belief when I say this. There have been so many people who have supported me for my love for all things Italian and I am incredibly grateful!

Vigneti Santa Liberata

In Le Marche, I met Giorgio Savini with his niece Martina Savini- two lovely souls who went an extra mile to show the best of their region. The Savinis run the Vigneti Santa Liberata near Fermo and make their wines with great passion and care.

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

Filled with great vigor and passion, it was a treat to listen to their story and walk in their vineyard on a clear May day. Wine making has been (not surprisingly) in their family since 1934 and they aim to make wine using high quality organic farming. Their passion and love for Le Marche was heartwarming and I could really understand they had poured their heart into the business! Martina, with whom I could instantly connected, was a joy to speak to!

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

We had a long walk in their vineyards followed by a wine tasting where I tried their Rosso Piceno DOC Le ReneRosso Piceno DOC Vigna Cacià and Marche Rosso IGT Dàidalos. My favorite was the DOC Vigna Cacia, it absolutely was to my taste!

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Image credits: Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

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Vigneti Santa Liberata

If you are looking to taste some wines of Le Marche, plan a visit to their vineyard near Fermo. They organize wine tastings and tours and are the best way to see something offbeat in and around the area. Even from Ancona it is well worth a day’s trip. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

Email: info@vinisantaliberata.it

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Related Reading:

Wine Tasting in Tuscany

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum

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A windy morning in Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark museum with DiscoverMarche had me smitten. Not many know that the town of Fabriano in the region of Le Marche, Italy has been making paper since the 12th century. Can you imagine how it felt to walk through the doors where this UNESCO creative city has been inspiring companies and individuals alike since centuries?!

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: From the middle ages

Fabriano’s old techniques to refine and process paper is famous across the world. The paper made in the town goes everywhere you can possibly imagine and my own country gets paper for its currency from here- a fact that I got to know only then.

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Benvenuti! Welcome!

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Since 1264 stayed with me

That is why Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum is a hidden gem. There are guided tours available in Italian and English, a little souvenir shop with inexpensive handmade paper and a demonstration of the finest watermarks in relation to the modern currencies.

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Have a seat!

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Ancient and modern

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and told us about the story of Fabriano as an ancient city. She was working in the museum since over 2 decades and was very fierce about her work. A fun conversationalist, she was also interested in the Indian culture and hoped to visit Delhi soon.

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: First floor display

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Does this mean a binder??

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: The second floor

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: An art and paper exhibit

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Old equipment from the 18th century

We were shown a live demonstration of the process of paper making with working machinery from the 18th century. She also told us about the hydraulic hammer which was invented in Europe. It fascinated me immensely and I wished I had more time to spend in the museum.

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Showing the process of paper making

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Paper is left to dry

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: More equipment

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: Watermarks are fascinating!

During my visit there was also an ongoing International Festival of Watercolor Paintings with hundreds of paintings to see. There was a children’s group from one of the neighbouring schools that came to see the legacy left behind. All in all, it was a captivating visit that left me intrigued. If given a chance, would you visit this museum??

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Fabriano’s Paper and Watermark Museum: A school tour

Important Info:

-Booking your tickets in advance is recommended since English guides are not available every day.

-Fabriano’s train station is a short walk from the centre. If you are traveling from Rome, it takes about 3 hours to reach. From Ancona it is only an hour’s journey.

-A little research online made me realize how easily the paper from Fabriano is available. Check this link below to buy Fabriano paper.

Disclaimer: There are “ affiliate links” on my blog. This means that if you happen to purchase something through these links, I will receive a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks for supporting Italophilia! 🙂

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Ispirazione: Of Dreams, Miracles and Sketching Tours

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Drumrolls!! Let’s welcome Kelly Medfort of Sketching Rome Tours! Kelly is an artist who takes Sketching Tours in Rome. The concept of these tours is exactly how it sounds. It is a unique way of slowing down and enjoying travels with watercolors. No prior experience is required, you can simply book a tour and paint your way to the Eternal City!

SKETCHING ROME TOURS

Kelly’s story of living in Italy as an artist is very inspiring and am so glad to have met her this summer in Rome. Let’s know more about her and her Sketching Tours in Rome…!

How did Italy happen?? What made you think of choosing it??

Even though I am an artist I never thought or dreamt of moving to Italy to paint. I was studying in the U.S. and apprenticing to a painter and his wife who ever summer traveled to Italy to paint landscapes and stay with their friends in a castle on a hill in Tuscany, just outside the town of Anghiari. Since I was the apprentice they offered for me to join in for a month of landscape painting, of which I had little to no experience, I always painted still lives and such in the studio. Of course I said yes, what a magical opportunity it was and what I did not know is that it would change the entire course of my life!

Now, I did not speak one single word of Italian and that did not deter me, so off I went.

I stayed in a cheap hostel in Piazza Vittorio. At the end of our course and time painting together my painting teacher suggested that I apply to a small private atelier in Florence called the Florence Academy of Art. He personally knew the director and said he would give me a recommendation. When I got back to the US, I applied to the school only to hear back that there was a 1 ½ year waiting list. Time passed and one day just a week or so before Christmas I got a phone call, it was The Florence Academy. Apparently they had an opening, but I had to be there for class to start on January 2nd.

I said I would be there, having in reality no idea how I would get there. As a student I had no money to speak of, much less to fly, live and study in Florence, Italy. The next day I went to the study abroad office at my university and asked about any possible grants or scholarships. They told me that almost no one had applied to study abroad, so if I filled out the paperwork I could have a full year’s grant to study anywhere in the world. This included my airfare, tuition, living expenses, everything.

Nothing short of a miracle.

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Did you know any Italian beforehand?? How was your experience learning in the first few months??

January 1st 2005 I moved to Italy and never looked back. I had started to take some Italian lessons, but still could by no means communicate with anyone about anything really, it was slightly disheartening, but I was not worried. After a year I still spoke very little Italian. I had to decide what to do, so I decided to stay in Italy and to paint. I wanted to see Italy, to meet real Italians, to learn more about the people, language, food, culture, everything I had missed out on during my intense year of study with people from everywhere but Italy. So I invented a (sort of) plan. My plan was to work as an artist’s model and to spend every other free moment painting. But this time I was going to take my easel outside and paint so that I could see Italy, interact with Italians. I realized that in Italy all of life and everything that happens is outdoors in the streets, the shops, markets and piazzas.

I moved to the countryside where absolutely no one spoke English and studied my conjugation book of Italian verbs like it was my new bible. I made a complete fool of myself more times than I could possibly count. Luckily Italians are kind and compassionate, each individual that I interacted with helped me to learn a little bit more each day by gently correcting and encouraging me to keep speaking with them in Italian.

When I moved back to the city of Florence I decided to take an actual Italian class and private lessons weekly. My Italian began to improve and I could have actual conversations about menial but important things like how I would like my coffee (a highly individualized affair in Italy). 

What tips would you give to readers who are learning Italian??

Over the years I have had many Italian roommates, a couple of Italian boyfriends, worked with and made mostly Italian friends. The best way I found to learn Italian is:

->By doing activities which give you a whole new set of vocabulary. For instance I took swimming lessons, joined the Rome urban sketchers group and went on guided tours in Italian or took any kind of classes if at all possible in Italian.

->I helped Italian friends translate documents into English so that I can learn more Italian.

->I went to networking mixers with Italians. Not only is it a great way to make new Italian friends, but also the way to keep expanding your vocabulary.

->Another amazing way to learn Italian is if you have a dog! Everyone else with a dog will talk to you and ask you first about your dog and then about you, that’s how I made a few friends who even invited me out for pizza.

What people don’t tell you, or what I never understood until I was here in Italy learning Italian, is that learning a language is not just learning how to string words together in the right order along with the correct verb conjugation, but in learning a language you have to learn so much more in order to know what people are talking about.

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What an inspiring story, Kelly! After hearing it, all I can say is that miracles do happen, never give up and keep following your dreams!!

Follow Kelly on Instagram, Facebook and do check her Sketching Tours when in Rome!!

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