Bella Italia!

Italy is a very dangerous country. Yes, it is! The food is so great and amazingly delicious that gaining 5 kilos after a two-week stay is more than guaranteed. Hence dangerous as it might cause serious damage to the freshly trained six pack 😛 Although a visit to Italy is worth every gained kilogram. For that reason, I can’ wait for my skiing trip to Italy in December!

If you think about a country that has it all – good food, amazing wine, great sightseeing, interesting things to do and kind people, Italy is the place. Although my first visit to Italy wasn’t great, the next ones made up for it big time. Not sure why but my two favourite places are Rome and Sicily. 

Rome

Style before comfort 😀
I was freezing here… whatever, it looks good 😛
YES!!! Gelato!!! The more the better!!!

Geez how excited I was before going to Rome. The only thing I could think of before going was which clothes to take. I wanted to look stunning and choose elegance before comfort. Hence took out some of the designer clothes. Didn’t matter that the ballerinas weren’t ideal for long city walks or the blouse was a bit too thin and made me shiver in the morning. There was this thought in my head that I couldn’t possibly walk past Valentino or Gucci shops dressed in trainers and a hoodie. I know how shallow that sounds but I wanted to feel amazing. I had this image in my mind of Rome being one big fashion show and I wanted to fit in… as in Rome do as the Romans do 😉 Actually I wasn’t disappointed. Remember one guy on the metro who was sitting opposite me. Perfect hair, nice jeans, fancy shoes and a very elegant shirt. Man, he looked like taken out of a fotoshoot. That’s actually my impression of Rome, elegant with a touch of mystery. The city itself has a lot to offer when it comes to sights. Colosseum, Forum Romanum, Castel Sant’angelo and millions of piazzas and fountains. And ofcoz the Spanish Steps. This is where I’ve regretted putting on my designer skirt. I sat down on the steps as I was tired after the whole day of walking and… when I got up noticed that something was wrong. Touched the back of my skirt and there it was… damn chewing gum got stuck to my skirt.

Exactly in the middle between the legs right at the ass. Fantastic, just great. Luckily the skirt didn’t get destroyed as I managed to get the chewing gum out but since then I always look before sitting down. 

What about the food? Come on, it’s Italy!!! Which means it didn’t come as a surprise that the food was great. Very nice ravioli in butter sauce, excellent gelato and amazing coffee. Ahhh actually a weekend in Rome would be nice again. Haven’t been there for a while now and really miss the city. Especially as history and memories of the ancient can be found at every corner in the city.

Sicily

As odd as it may sound, the reason I went to Sicily was to see Corleone. As a huge Godfather fan I needed to see that town. I knew that it’s a small place and the Internet is full of opinions that there is nothing to see in the town. However, I just needed to go there. Didn’t regret it as a pic with the town name meant more than hundreds of cool sights. Sicily is not only the picture that was painted by the Godfather where everyone wants to shoot everyone. The landscapes are idyllic.

Driving through vineyards and mountains was breath-taking. The food was incredibly delicious… Hmmm, I still remember the stuffed squid I had in one of Taormina’s restaurants. When we are at the town of Taormina. Quite an interesting story associated with it, involving the police. After landing in Trapani airport with my now ex-partner we rented a car to drive around the island. The road took us to Taormina where we booked a lovely hotel at a mountain top. That’s the point, Taormina is a hilltop town and the satnav went mental. One time it was showing that we are 5 min from our hotel and after one minute the road to the hotel looked like a giant twisted snake. At some point looking at the map I told my ex-partner to turn left. But there was a no drive through sign. Dude turn left, it’s Italy the police here doesn’t care. Well, the left turn led us to a pedestrian only area in the middle of the city. On top of everything we stumbled upon a police car parked right under a large tree. Told my ex-partner that I’ll take care of it. I got out of the car approached the two very handsome police men – come on its Italy all policemen are handsome there 😀 I said to the officers that, I’m sorry but I got lost and looking for my hotel for nearly an hour already. The two officers said that this is not a problem and all tourists get lost here and that my hotel is just 500 meters from here.

At Mount Etna
Beautiful isn’t it 😉
Yes, I got there… pic with town name done 😀

They said not to worry, drive through the pedestrian area and turn right to get to the hotel. They were correct! Geez, I wish the policemen in Poland were also so nice and understanding… not to mention handsome. I would be jaywalking every day for them to put me in handcuffs. Anyhow, fantasies aside… sadly. 

Sicily has a lot to offer when it comes to sightseeing. Palermo, Erice, Siracusa, Catania but my most memorable place was Mount Etna. A volcano that is still active but can be visited by tourists. Super landscapes, incredible views and ofcoz the thought that you are on an active volcano. Surprisingly in April there was still snow on the upper levels of the mountain 🙂

A piece of Italy in Kraków

It’s difficult to find good Italian food outside of Italy but not impossible. I found two good Italian restaurants in Krakow, a decent bakery plus some shops with genuine Italian products.

1.       Nolio Restaurant

They are registered under the number 584 in the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.  It’s a certification that proves a restaurant provides excellent products that stick to Neapolitan tradition. Well, I need to admit the Margarita is very much genuine. Apart from the pizza I’ve tried a couple of other things from the menu. The beef and tuna tartare rock. The pasta is fresh and handmade, plus the cappelletti filling is full of flavour. Best thing is that all the wine is imported from Italy. Man, a foodie dream come true. On top of everything the interior is modern but warm. Only be careful if you don’t have a reservation. You might end up waiting in front of the restaurant for a free table.

Classic Pizza Margherita 🙂
Tuna tartare

2.       Pomodorino

A friend of mine who knew the chef took me to the restaurant a couple of times. The place is run by an Italian and the food was really good. The pizza is not Napoli style but still delicious. The dish I remembered most was baby octopus in rosemary butter sauce. Not sure if that Italian chef still works there. I know that he was passing his cooking knowledge over to his pupils so I hope the dishes are still as amazing as I remember. The cool thing however was that Pomodorino was importing prosecco from Italy in kegs. If you brought your own glass bottle you could get it filled up with delicious sparkling wine 🙂

3.       Katane

I walked past this place hundreds of times but never noticed it until one day when I was desperate for coffee. Man the cannoli were big, creamy, just delicious and the savoury pastries filled with juicy tomatoes and ham. The gelato… hmmm give me more of that. Now I pass by Katane every week on the way to my pole dance training… sometimes I do stop by to get cannolis. How did the Godfather quote go? Leave the gun, take the cannoli 😉

Yummy Cannoli
More delicious things at Katane

4.       Fettine Deli and Ante Smaki Sycylii

Two really good grocery stores where you can buy original Italian products. Cheese, ham, olives, wine, olive oil, you name it and you can get it there. You could argue that you can get Italian cheese or at Carrefour as well. You can, only Fettine drives especially to Italy to bring some of the products to Kraków. As snobistic as it might sound, sometimes I like to buy some nice goat cheese and a bottle of wine to enjoy it while sitting at Vistula river watching the sunset. 

Not sure why but every time I go to Italy I feel more than excited. That country has something in it. Maybe it’s about the food or the wine or the nice and kind people. Italy is always a pleasure to visit. Hence I’m going there again in December only this time for something different than the beach and sun. I’m going skiing. As I learned how to ski this year, I am very curious how does Italy in winter look 😉

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