Tag Archives: Rome

Food and Drink in Italy

Basically every meal we had in Italy was fantastic.  Tripadvisor and other review sites really make it quite simple to find quality.  Given that, there were of course some standouts.  Here are the top dining experiences we had across Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice and the Cinque Terre.  Admittedly not my best photography, but it is hard to care about taking photos when presented with food like this.

1.  Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori – Florence

No Pizza, no Bistecca, no ice.  This sign is posted right out front, this is not a pizza joint, not a Florentine steak house, and they do not have soft drinks.  There are about five tables and the place is run by a small family.  Reservations are required or you basically have no hope.  The location is also very convenient as it is right next to the Medici palace.  Simple, very reasonably priced and fantastic.

Vini e Vecchi Sapori, Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

Vini e Vecchi Sapori, Zucchine Blossom Pasta

Zucchine Blossom Pasta

Vini e Vecchi Sapori, Cinghiale (Wild Boar) Pappardelle

Cinghiale (Wild Boar) Pappardelle

2.  Antica Ristorro di Cambi – Florence

Bistecca Florentine.  This steak alone pushed me from normally ordering steaks prepared Medium to now exclusively ordering Medium Rare.  This was conveniently located for us, there may be better Bistecca to be found, but cheap wine and a delicious steak is still a great experience.  House wine comes by the jug.

Antica Ristorro di Cambi, Steak, Bistecca Florentine

Bistecca Florentine

3. Pizzeria da Michele – Naples

Made famous in the novel and movie Eat, Pray, Love (at least according to my wife) this place is on the map.  Deservedly so.  Gigantic pizza but so good you can easily eat a whole one yourself.  Sauce, Mozzarella and a little basil is all any real pizza needs.

Pizzeria da Michele

Real Pizza

4. Il Gabriello – Rome

Pasta cooked to perfection.  More al dente than I’d ever had before.  I don’t think I’ve had pasta prepared this well since.

Il Gabriello, Spaghetti Pomodoro

Spaghetti Pomodoro

Il Gabriello, Cozze (Mussels)

Cozze (Mussels)

5. Ristorante Da Gigino – Sorrento

Wasn’t sure what to expect here, suspected it might be a bit of a tourist trap however the quality of the food was excellent.  Stopped here for lunch while strolling the streets of Sorrento.  The pasta was prepared perfectly and the seafood was fresh.  More simply prepared dishes executed perfectly.


Caprese Salad


Gamberi (prawns) e Vongole (clams)


Cozze (Mussels) e Vongole (Clams)

6. Vulnetia – Vernazza

The Cinque Terre region is famous for Pesto and seafood, specifically anchovies.  While the two dishes pictured below can be found just about at any restaurant in the area, Vulnetia does them well.


Gnocchi with Pesto


Acciughe (anchovy) and Patata

Next post:  Madrid


Rome, Italy

Destination 5:  Rome

Rome tends to be the focal point of Italy.  The iconic landmarks are here.  The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps and others.  While Rome offers these magnificent architectural triumphs, it also offers hordes of tourists.  Want your picture taken with a fake gladiator for an absurd price?  This is the place.  See the main sites, but take the time to find a restaurant or a bar off the beaten track.  You will be rewarded.  Take some comfortable shoes too, as my wife and I learned, walking in Rome and most Italian cities for that matter, is a walk on HARD ground.  I swear there wasn’t soft spot to take a step in this entire city.

I found myself shooting wide in Rome.  I stuck to the Panasonic 20mm prime and 7-14mm on my EPL-1.  There’s alot to squeeze into each shot.  The 20mm was nice due to its small size.  I felt bad for some of the poor souls lugging their 30lbs of camera gear through the streets and landmarks.  No thanks.

The good… If you’re short on time, hit the Colosseum and the Pantheon.  Walk by the Trevi Fountain and stroll through some of the nearby churches.  Have a seat on the Spanish Steps and watch the crowds go by.  Eat gelato (Giolitti).  Eat al dente pasta.  Drink the wine and munch on free appetizers at Campo dei Fiori.  Don’t feel like you have to see it all, you can’t and you won’t.

Now for the bad…. This is opinion, but it is a strong one of mine, skip the Vatican museum.  Religious and art preferences aside I hated the Vatican museum.  Granted, the interior of the basilica was gorgeous and the art work phenomenal, but they herd you like cattle.  Ropes and doors are constantly blocking your path.  They literally rearrange the available paths by the minute to herd you through and out the doors.  IF you survive the gauntlet you are rewarded by the amazing “map room”, “Raphael rooms” and finally the Sistine Chapel ceiling itself.  The Sistine Chapel experience was ruined for me by pushing, shoving, and yelling.  They allow far too many visitors inside at once which makes for a horrible environment for taking in one of the greatest works of art of all time.  For art in Rome visit the Borghese Gallery.  The finest sculptures you will ever see without the hassle.  Photography is prohibited, but you will remember what you see.

Visit Rome but see it on your own terms.

The ColosseumOlympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@12mm, f/5.6, 1/40s, ISO:1600

The Colosseum
Olympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@12mm, f/5.6, 1/1600s, ISO:200

Inside the ColosseumOlympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens @7mm, f/4.0, Multi, ISO:200

Inside the Colosseum
Olympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens @7mm, f/4.0, Multi, ISO:200

The PantheonOlympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@12mm, f/4.0, 1/6s, ISO:200

The Pantheon
Olympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@12mm, f/4.0, 1/6s, ISO:200

Light Streams into St. Peter's

Light Streams into St. Peter’s
Olympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@13mm, f/4.5, 1/40s, ISO:200

Trevi Fountain, Rome ItalyOlympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@14mm, f/4.5, 1/1000s, ISO:200

Trevi Fountain
Olympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@14mm, f/4.5, 1/1000s, ISO:200

Santa Maria Sopra MinervaOlympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@7mm, f/4.0, 1/40s, ISO:640

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Olympus EPL-1, 7-14mm lens@7mm, f/4.0, 1/40s, ISO:640

Street Vendor, Spanish StepsOlympus EPL-1, 20mm lens, f/4.5, 1/1250s, ISO:200

Street Vendor, Spanish Steps
Olympus EPL-1, 20mm lens, f/4.5, 1/1250s, ISO:200

Next posts:  Tour of Italy Continues in Florence