All of Italy
Luxury DMC Your Private Italy makes us hungry with a little tease of Campania’s iconic indigenous cuisine.
Gastronomic Story: Everyone knows that Italians love food, and Italians are always right, right? So, it’s no surprise to learn that the best food in Italy comes from the Campania region. It doesn’t get much better than this: the region is the home of pizza, the land of buffalo mozzarella, the birthplace of limoncello, and the terrain of San Marzano cherry tomatoes.
The abundance of prime ingredients isn’t taken for granted by the locals. Don’t know the proper soil temperature to maximize the sweetness of your tomatoes? Ask a neighbor! Wondering how to store your mozzarella to get the most out of its use? Ask a neighbor! Can’t quite get the perfect angle of your fingers to knead pizza dough? Ask a neighbor and rest assured, you’ll never forget. From the city slicker to the mountain sheep herder to the soccer mom to the banker, everyone in Campania knows how to cook. This makes it impossible to choose “the best” restaurant, because they are truly a dime a dozen here. A bad plate of pasta? Almost impossible. Flavorless gelato? Never. A soggy pizza? Blasphemous!
In Campania, you’ll learn that food is a way of life, and the strict rules of food serve to make life all the sweeter. Fresh mozzarella must be eaten the day it’s made. The only thing needed to make a Neapolitan pizza is a wood-burning oven. Pasta with clams only works if the vongole are verace! The rules are many and are acquired over time, but all you need to begin to learn is a seat at the table and your appetite. We promise you’ll learn the rest as you go.
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Gastronomic Tale: It’s Quite a Silly Story
“Bistecca Fiorentina, lampredotto, gelato – all iconic foods of Florentine folklore. But ask a local what their favorite food is and you just may hear an unexpected response: Bread.
Huge, crusty loaves of bread, fresh from a wood-fired oven – attractive versions made in batches which look like giant turtle shells is an image you’ll find all over Florence. You’ll hear Florentines call it pane sciocco – meaning ‘silly’ or ‘foolish’ in the literal translation – but that’s not an offense! In the local vernacular it simply means ‘bread without salt’. It has been a staple in Florence, and throughout Tuscany, for well over 800 years. So entrenched in local tradition that even Dante Alighieri wrote about it in his Divine Comedy.This saltless carb has become an essential ingredient in many Florentine favorites: ribollita, panzanella, pappa al pomodoro, and the list goes on.
But why make bread without salt? Apparently the locals know how to hold a grudge. Their 12th-Century rivalry with neighbouring Pisa led the Pisans to tax the salt entering the mouth of the river Arno and sailing up to Florence. So the cool Florentines simply stopped using salt in their bread and the rest, as they say, is saltless history.”
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DMC Your Private Italy takes us to the Roman countryside to discover the heavenly gardens of Villa Barberini.
What outdoor treasure is worth discovering in Lazio? Twelve miles from Rome on the blue waters of Lake Albani lies Castel Gandolfo, the papal palace, and gardens where the splendor of art and the glory of nature co-exist in admirable balance. The gardens are an unparalleled space of immeasurable beauty – from the magnolias to the Path of Roses, from aromatic herbs to lilies and holly oaks. Pause among the ruins of the imperial theater and discover what is left of the crypto-portico, a grand and romantic structure with panoramic views extending out to the blue lines of the lake.
The gardens also house an antiquarium, built upon the structure of the villa belonging to the Roman emperor Domitian in 80 AD. It hosts a remarkable collection of artifacts in seven separate rooms, including original floors and historical fragments from the Domitian Villa, a beautiful collection of statues, and remains of sculptures dating back almost 2000 years.
How can visitors best visit this structure? The gardens are open to the general public and are the perfect discovery for a half-day trip out and away from the bustling city. If you want to visit in style, rent some golf carts to cruise the grounds.