Of course it would have been great to have had more time to explore each place. But each day was filled to the brim with amazing visual sites and more food & wine than my stomach could accommodate (literally I was stuffed to the brim)!!! I had a wonderful time and I look forward to the next time I can go back.
Next time in Rome, I would like to take a tour and see the Vatican and some sites not on the typical tourist trail. But there's so much more to see and eat and drink in Italy, next time I want to explore both further south and north!
Our first stop in Rome after checking into the B&B was to get some Roman pizza at Forno Campo de' Fiori (These blog photos show inside the bakery) both the margarita and the zucchini flower were delicious. The address is on a piazza but your hotel will be able to guide you there. Our second stop was to get Roman pizza at Roscioli Bakery they also have a restaurant, Salumeria Roscioli but we didn't have time to eat here. The artichoke pizza with sausage was great, as were all the other breads and sweets we ate!
The best food we had on this trip was on Ischia. A beautiful volcanic island filled with vineyards, lemon & orange trees, warm springs beautiful ocean views.
It's important to do your research when traveling. Sometimes you have to just learn on your own. When in Rome be prepared to walk a lot. Ask questions about the buses at your hotel and know which ones you can take as well as the trams. This is the best way to get around. Unlike in NY you can enter buses and trams through all the doors not just the front. It's not necessary to buy tickets in advance as you can purchase tickets right on the tram or bus. During rush hours the buses get very busy and you can be squished in like sardines so you might not even get a chance to buy or punch your tickets but don't worry. And just like when in a city like NY beware of pick pockets and watch your handbags and pockets. There are plenty of stories of mopeds going by grabbing wallets and pocketbooks of unsuspecting travelers.
From Rome we took the train to Chieti on our way to Miglianico. We stopped in Chieti because it was the only place we could get a rental car from Hertz. Considering it was Easter time, it's possible to get last minute hotels and cars even if you go a little out of the way. The Hertz rental in Chieti is very small, so the agent had to drive us to the local airport (a 15 minute drive) to get a car. It wasn't in the best of shape but it did the job. From there we took a round about drive to Miglianico, first driving up the mountain into the town of Chieti, where we stopped at a tourist agency to ask for directions to Miglianico. (Luckily the owner knew how to give good directions). Seems like everyone in Italy loves to draw maps. No one knows how to give really good directions and no one seems to know how to get anywhere except where they know. The road signs in Italy aren't always clear but sometimes taking the long way can give you incredible views of the countryside.
For two days we stayed at Campoletizia an agriturismo in Miglianico which is a province in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The train ride from Rome through the middle of the country to the Easter seaboard was magnificent. Snow capped mountain peaks all around, valleys and towns and castles nestled into the hillsides along with windmills dotted along the countryside, the train darts in and out of tunnels in the mountainside. The views are breathtaking and spectacular and worth the ride which is only 3 1/2 hours. It's great because it allows you to relax and view the countryside without worrying about the driving.
From Abruzzo, we drove to Avellino a town in Campania. It's about an hours drive from Naples. (From the map it appears to be south east but the map says it's north east ~ what do I know, my sense of direction is awful). While there we visited two winerys. In this area they grow Fiano, Greco, and Falanghina grapes.
Guido Marsella and Vadiaperti. Guido Marsella is a sweet man with a warm and soothing voice. He doesn't speak enough english to have a conversation so we were lucky enough that his wife was around to translate for us. In addition to running a winery he also owns a restaurant high on the hillside, where he arranged for us to taste his wines along with a 5 course lunch. Teeheehee, I was finished after the first course, I didn't realize there was more to come!!!!! After lunch Guido was kind enough to let us follow him to Vadiapert the vineyard of Raffaele Troisi. I don't think we would have been able to find it driving on the back roads by ourselves! Raffaele has a magnificent view of the surrounding area. Yes that's a
Excelsior Hotel an expensive luxury hotel overlooking the Bay of Naples. It's a great location! You can walk just about everywhere. One of the best things about walking around the center of Naples, is even though to get there you walk up the hill.... it's all downhill on the way back to the hotel! When in Naples it helps to know the local customs. I must say even staying in a luxury hotel we weren't given the best information. When the hotel calls a taxi for you, the meter has already been running. So depending on how long.... the meter can start at 2 euros or 10 euros. A 3 euro taxi costs us 9 euros because the taxi started at 6 euros. It's good to know what you're getting into before going. We wanted to get to the restaurant before it closed so we took the taxi. The hotel told us it would be a 20 minute taxi ride, it was 5 minutes (possibly they meant it was a 20 minute walk). Anyway it was a lovely walk back to the hotel. The point to going to Naples was for the pizza. And it was good and it was worth going.
After pizza at Di Matteo, we walked around and found Da Michele. The atmosphere is so different but the prices in both are insane. 4 euro for a pie that would cost $20 in the USA. I don't have a photo of the Da Michele pizza because the battery in my camera died but I preferred different things about each, they were both good.
The following afternoon we took the ferry to Ischia. The best way to travel on Ischia is by bus. There are taxis but it can cost you a small fortune to take a taxi half way around the island. The problem with that is first they don't take credit cards and not all the bank atms will give you money. So make sure you have enough cash before you land on the island. Aside from that it's just beautiful, not many American tourists but most everyone speaks a little English. The bus is only 1 eruo and they seem to run every 10 minutes or 30 minutes at night.
The best meal we had this trip was on Ischia at il Melograno. The food is simple, fresh, well prepared, thoughtfully put together and delicious. After opting for the chefs tasting menu we choose 2 bottles of wine. The chef's amuse was succulent raw ruby shrimp with melon served over delicate aromatic basmati rice with a passion blood orange sauce. And it went from there... Raw tuna with parsley & white fish with carrots and an aromatic lemon olive oil sauce. (The citrus grown on the island is the best I've ever eaten). Raw white shrimp salad with young fennel and a delicate vinaigrette. Artichoke lasagne with an amazing mozzarella. Incredibly fresh Pea & Asparagus ravioli in a fresh pea sauce. Baby Lamb with Spring Vegetables. Since it was Easter... They were serving Lamb and a traditional Easter Dessert.
The food is spectacular and the wine is perfectly selected to go with the food. Make sure you get here... and tell them Laurie & Owen, friends of Guisseppi Bonjorno sent you and you'll get the royal treatment.
The perfect meal to end a whirl wind vacation in Italy!
Have Fun & Enjoy