We're currently planning (well attempting to at least!) an escape to Europe this coming Summer & what better place to start the investigation of where to go, which route to take than a country local! So, we recently caught up with our Lunacita Elisa about her top picks from her home country, Italy.
Read on to get inspired and start planning your trip over there too, hey perhaps we can even hang out on the road (We're planning on buying a van....you?) x
Elisa: Selecting three Italian locations to describe was an arduous choice. I love traveling around the world but I also love discovering and visiting my land. Italy is full of fantastic places to discover: not only cities but also small countries, in fact I often prefer little towns For this reason I chose to talk about three famous locations in the world but not as the typical cities that tourists visit in Italy.
The first is Porto Venere which is a small country in Liguria to which I am very attached. The city is part of the Gulf of the Poets famous for its beauty: the castle, the churches overlooking the sea, the narrow and colorful streets, the cave of Byron and all its picturesque views that leave you breathless. Precisely for this reason Porto Venere has been included in the UNESCO heritage.
It's a seaside city but I don't recommend it to go to the beach but I recommend it to two kind of people: "the romantics" for the walk along the promenade, the medieval center, for the breathtaking view once you get to the top of the castle and to "lovers of good cuisine" for Ligurian focaccia, oil with bread, trofie with fresh basil and for the Ligurian wine specially the Vermentino.
Although in Italy the cuisine is excellent, in the tourist resorts it is easy to find restaurants that pretend to offer good traditional dishes counting on the lack of knowledge of foreign tourists about italian cuisine. So I can recommend the "Portivene Restaurant a sea of flavors", intimate and romantic location that offers delicious dishes. Being a small town Porto Venere can be easily visited in one day but I recommend you to stay at least one night to enjoy the place even with the lights of the evening.
What to visit absolutely:
The second location I want to talk about is Burano, one of the islands of Venice, famous for its lace and colorful houses and because of this Burano is one of the top 10 most colorful cities in the world. This small island can be reached from Venice by boat and to enjoy it you need to "get lost" in its narrow streets.
One of the most beautiful views of the colored houses that extend along the banks is the one from the "Tre Ponti", a wooden bridge that connects three banks. The colors of the houses, which today have become the main feature of the island, once served to delimit the properties. There is a legend linked to the colorful character of the island, which tells that it was the fishermen who painted their dwelling, in order to recognize it from afar during the long periods of absence due to fishing. I recommend taking a day to visit the town to discover it in all its streets and to be able to photograph it in all its colors.
The restaurant I recommend is called Riva Rosa where you should eat outdoors or upstairs which, besides being beautiful, also offers a wonderful view of the canal. Do not forget to have an aperitif with the famous Spritz in the land where this drink was born.
The third place to which I am attached is Ostuni, a small town in Puglia also called the White City because of its quaint old town that stands on the top of a hill of the Murge whose houses are painted with white lime. Ostuni is one of the most fascinating examples of Mediterranean architecture. The historical center is made up of houses that overlap and intertwine and for this reason give it an evocative and fascinating character. The apparent disorder of these houses is a real labyrinth made of narrow streets, stairways with palaces, portals and beautiful views and so you are walking through the narrow and bright streets that leave enchanted and give the idea of being in a place out of time.
Absolutely worth seeing are the Piazza Sant'Oronzo from which you then enter the white city where you will find the splendid Gothic cathedral and the blue door, one of the most instagramed areas of Ostuni. In the city center there are many small shops that sell typical food products - you absolutely have to buy oil, taralli, orecchiette and a good bottle of primitivo or negramaro - and hand-made home decor.
Typical are the beautiful ceramic pierced lamps and the pumo, a typical symbol of Puglia, whose shape is similar to that of the buds and in fact is a symbol of prosperity and fertility and in the southern popular culture also has auspicious propitiatory function in defense of evil. Another reason to visit Ostuni is the sea, the city has also received several awards for cleaning the waters of its coast and for the quality of services offered, becoming the city with the cleanest sea in Italy.
It is worth staying at least one night in this country to make the most of it, but it is also possible to visit during the day. A very nice restaurant that I want to recommend is called Osteria Monacelle and this, like the others, offers very good typical Apulian dishes in a typical location. If you are a couple, I suggest you book one of the tables outside on the local street.
These are three places in Italy that I have in my heart and that I never get tired of visiting. I hope that you will have the good fortune to be able to explore them one day too. I recommend, arm yourself with a camera because they are really suggestive!
Eli is one of our LunaCita's and you can often find her adventuring around Italy & other countries around Europe. Head over here to follow Eli on her adventures at @elisavir on instagram or click here to learn more about our Lunacita Ambassador programme! x
P.S. If you have ANY tips at all on must visit places in Europe or how to tackle it in a van I would love to hear from you! We are Europe virgins and can't WAIT to explore and eat our way through some of the continent.... hit us up on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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