Italy for the Holidays

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December 2016. The question is whether to go to Italy for Christmas? With plenty of good reasons, there’s nothing holding us back. We decided to swap countries this holiday. Here’s a recap.

Our first stop was Padova (or Padua) in north eastern Italy. Located in the Veneto wine region 30 minutes south of Venice by train, we hooked up with our friend Tobia for an afternoon of touring.

Basilica de Sant'Antonio, Padova

Basilica de Sant’Antonio

Padova was experiencing an extremely cold day so we headed inside to warm up. You know it’s cold outside when the guys are complaining!

Tobia took us to his three favorite places for an apéro, we dove into Prosecco at each. His work at the Prosecco Consortium warranted educating us on the finer points of this fresh and feisty bubbly. Not only was it perfect with tapa style bites, it’s nice with anything really. Our dinner bottle of wine was from Colli Euganei, not far from Padova, a region worth exploring.

Next up, Florence. Through Val and Steph, the gals at the Wine-Two-Five podcast, with follow up on Twitter, Lynn met Katarina. If you’re into wine, this podcast is a must. Not only is it educational, these women are funny and on top of everything pertaining to wine.

Katarina is from Sweden, now living in Florence. She’s a translator and sommelier. We hooked up at La Divinia Enoteca where sommelier Livio del Chiaro works with his wife. He was the 2014 sommelier of the year with FISAR (Federation of Sommelier, Hoteliers, Restaurateurs).

A chit-chat round of Prosecco later, we headed to Coquinarius for a bite.  An Italian exchange between Katarina and one of the owners resulted in six bottles of wine arriving at our table. We chose, drank and compared notes while Katarina told us about a favorite wine area, the Carmignano DOGC in Tuscany.

A discussion of “orange wine” ensued; the next thing we knew the owner was pouring us each a class.

That epic evening ended with Moscato Grappa and Limoncello on the house.

We hit the Mercado Centrale the next morning before heading out.

In our married years thus far, Lynn goes to food markets alone; although Mark loves to eat great food, wandering markets is not his thing.

Double take! Wait! Who is that taking pictures of food at the Mercado Centrale???

I’ll be darned!

 

Our destination for Christmas- Rome. We walked 25 to 30 glorious miles in five days. We saw sights, we drank more Prosecco. We ate Straccetti con Rucola, pizza, risotto. We drank some of the best Espresso Macchiato and Cappuccino for just $1.5 euros, while people watching.

And of course, we drank lots of red Italian wine.

Six days into the new year, we’re still drinking Italian red wine, savoring our time in Italy.  Cheers to you all, it’s going to be a fabulous 2017!

 

 

 

 

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