Good eats in Italy (plus a fabulous garden)

Get thee to these delectable spots in Rome and Tuscany:

  • Rome: Bonci Pizza – Anthony Bourdain raved about this place, so we had to check it out. And oh my goodness, it totally lived up to his assessment.  I loved the cherry tomato pizza and the pizza with mortadella.  The Geno loved everything, even the artichoke pizza.  What’s notable is that the crust is not the thin, crispy kind you normally get in Italian pizzerias.  Instead, it’s a little fluffy and crispy at the same time, somewhat like eating a pastry crust (but without the sweetness). And the ingredients taste like someone picked them from a backyard garden. And to add to all this yumminess, the people who worked there the night of our visit were absolutely gorgeous.  They must’ve hired models to work on Thursday nights!  This place is a little bit away from central Rome, so you should take a taxi or public transportation.  Although I heard they’re opening up more branches due to its overwhelming popularity…


Here’s a clip of Bourdain’s visit to Bonci:

  • Rome – Giolitti – Get ready for an ice cream lover’s dream. This is gelato at its finest, with a mind-boggling array of flavors. And it’s so charming inside. It’s an old-fashioned gelateria that transports you to another era — you can totally imagine well-dressed ladies walking in from their horse-driven carriage. I also wrote a post for kids about gelato.
  • Cortona (Tuscany) – Cantanapoli – Oh wow, this place is delicious. Once we discovered it, we went back each night of our remaining time in Tuscany. The pizzas are amazing (on par or better than any pizza I’ve ever had in Rome, NYC, New Haven, etc.) and their seafood is incredibly fresh. My niece had spaghetti vongole twice here, and was talking about it throughout the next day because she wanted the same dish again. Their lemon cake and other lemon-infused desserts are so delicious – not too sweet, and super fresh.  The prices are astoundingly reasonable, and the service is good. I think I was so distracted by my crazy hunger here, I forgot to take photos!
  • Florence – La Carraia – Such a lovely little gelateria. It reminds me of walking into a stylish Parisian shop like Ladurée. Everything is just so perfectly pretty. And the gelato is smooth and creamy.  Not too sweet, which is just right in my book.
  • Florence – Boboli Gardens – I didn’t get to visit the Boboli Gardens the first time I visited Florence about twenty years ago, so I absolutely wanted to see them this time around. They did not disappoint.  Italians really know how to create beautiful, lush gardens with a very majestic sense of space. And the classic sculptures sprinkled throughout add to the spectacular drama. I felt like I should be wearing a velvet gown while reading Dante on one of the benches, rather than playing tag on the grass. But running around is so much more fun than laboring through “The Inferno”… don’t you agree?