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Italy Travel

Luxurious Villas in Tuscany & Italian Hamper Giveaway

March 7, 2018

Tuscany is a region in central Italy it’s capital Florence is home to some of the world’s most recognizable Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s “David” statue and the Duomo basilica. Most people are attracted to Tuscany for the diverse natural landscape, with gently rolling hills and vineyards. Tuscany as an idyll of olive groves, beautiful hill-towns and frescoed churches.

Luxurious villas to stay at

Villa Le Capanne

The villa is located near to the historical centre of Volterra, it’s also very close to San Gimignano. Florence, Siena, Pisa and Livorno are all about an hour away by car. 

6 bedroom villa Tuscany

This fantastic 6 bedroom villa comes with its own private swimming pool and views over the rising towers of San Gimignano. Situated in a beautiful part of Tuscany, reached by driving through olive groves and vineyards. It’s located a short drive from San Gimignano.

Seasonal Slow Food

Tuscany is a gourmet destination where residents spend a huge amount of time thinking about, discussing and consuming food and wine. The food is all local and seasonal and Tuscans have an enormous amount of pride in the quality of their food. I love how Italians spend a long time preparing and eating food and that meals are normally celebrated with family.  

I was lucky enough to attend an Italian cooking class run by the Giovannini family who are from Tuscany, you can read more about this here. At this event we received an Italian hamper which Jo at Bookings For You is also kindly giving away to one of my readers. 

Giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents – ends 22nd of March, winner will be notified by email.

Win an Italian Hamper

Consisting of:

  • Chocolate wafers
  • Passata
  • Alablast butterfly ornament
  • Tortiglioni pasta
  • Fusilli pasta
  • Almond biscotti in storage container
  • Chocolate biscotti
  • Peach juice
  • Cork stop
  • Olive oil
  • Traditional Italian cake
  • Honey

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Food Italy

Italian Cooking Class with Bookings For You & The Giovannini Family

February 19, 2018
I was invited by Jo at Bookings For You to spend a day in her home to meet the Giovannini family, they had flown all the way from Tuscany to show myself and some other bloggers how to cook some traditional Italian dishes.
 
The Giovannini family live in the beautiful region of Tuscany and own the oldest pastry shop in Volterra – Dolceria del Corso. They also have an amazing 9 bed villa to rent called Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne.
 
The husband and wife team, Giancarlo and Fabiola, along with their son Dario and his wife Vera spent the afternoon teaching us how to make Italian food, focusing on specialties in Tuscany.
 

The Dishes

First up was one of my favourite classic Italian starters Bruschetta, we got to try out two different versions. Bruschetta Toscana which was topped with olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Bruschetta al Pomodoro had the same toppings but with fresh tomatoes and basil. We also had Crostini con Fegatini, which was bread topped with chicken liver pate. These looked very easy to make and were very tasty, I’m sure I’ll be making the Bruschetta al Pomodoro at home soon.
 
The Wild Boar dish was then prepped as this needed to be in the oven for a few hours. The boar was stuffed with fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary, salt and garlic. Olives where then added to the oven near the end, I’d never tried wild boar before and was so surprised at how tasty it was. The seasonings and herbs made this dish taste fantastic!
 
For the vegetarians the Giovannini’s made Melanzane all Parmigiana, aubergine and cheese in a tomato sauce.
 
We then moved onto making homemade pasta, something I’ve never tried before and the Giovannini family made it look very easy. We made Pici all Estrusca homemade pasta topped with a lovely herby sauce filled with mint, basil, parsley, pecorino cheese and olive oil. We also made ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese.
 
No Italian meal is complete without some wine, throughout the day we got to sample some delicious red and white wines. White wine was also added to the chicken liver pate which helped bring out the flavours of the chicken and herbs.

 The Puddings

My favourite dish of the day was the traditional pastry cake with cream and berries called Millefoglie Creama Chantilly e Frutti di Bosco. It’s one of the bestsellers at their shop in Italy and it’s easy to see why, it was absolutely delicious! Light, creamy and flaky and topped with fresh fruit.
 
As if one pudding wasn’t enough we also got to try a Tiramisu which was delicious, normally I don’t really the taste as I don’t like coffee but this one wasn’t too strong. They also recommended dipping the lady fingers in milk instead of coffee for anyone who doesn’t like coffee or for kids.
I had the best day learning about Italian cooking and sampling all the amazing dishes with the Giovannini family. After experiencing their hospitality and food first hand, I can only imagine how amazing it is for guests who have the pleasure of staying at their Country Relais & Spa Le Capanne villa in beautiful Tuscany.
 
To finish off an amazing day we were all given hampers with delicious Italian treats! Stay tuned as in the next week or so I’ll be running a giveaway, so one of you lucky lot can win your own hamper!
Europe Italy Travel

A Guide To Ischia, Italy

October 10, 2017

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Bay of Naples filled with mineral rich thermal waters, sandy beaches and stunning scenery. I explored Ischia with the help of Imperatore Travel, here is a list of great things to do on the island.

Boat Trip

We went on a 3 hour private boat tour around the island, giving us an insight to Ischia’s history and culture. Whilst taking in views of the castle and pretty pastel buildings.Boat trip Ischia - Enjoy the Adventure travel blogGiardini La Mortella

These botanical gardens are a great place to relax, admire the beautiful flowers and get a drink in the lovely tea room.Botanical Gardens - Enjoy the Adventure travel blogThermal Baths

We went to Poiseden the largest thermal park on the island, here you can relax in over 20 pools with varying temperatures.

Tip: bring towels, robes, swimming hat and flip flops with you or you’ll have to purchase them there, also bring a Euro for the lockers

Thermal Baths Ischia - Enjoy the Adventure travel blogThermal Baths Ischia Italy Enjoy the Adventure travel blogHike up Mount Epomeo

There are several routes you can take the shortest being half on hour to the longest of 5 hours. Ours lasted about 2.5 hours, it wasn’t very difficult but some areas are quite steep. When we started the hike it was quite cold and cloudy but once we reached the top luckily the sun had come out again. At the top there’s a lovely restaurant serving lunch and drinks.

Tip: Bring a jacket as it can be chilly at the top

Hike Mount Epomeo - Enjoy the Adventure travel blogViewpoint Mount Epomeo - Enjoy the Adventure travel blogCastello Aragonese

Visit this medieval castle to learn more about the history of Ischia and for spectacular views over the island.Ischia Castle - Enjoy the AdventureThe Food

La Bussola – located in front of Forio harbour and close to the town centre, this place has a variety of local Ischian dishes and fresh fish.

 Montecorvo – My favourite dish from the trip was “the Rabbit in the style of Ischia” which we had at this restaurant. All the courses we had here were incredible and I’d highly recommend going! This place is quite hard to find so I’d recommend getting a taxi there.

Casa Celestino Restaurant – this is a great place to enjoy fresh seafood whilst overlooking the Sant’Angel coast.

La Bussola Restaurant Ischia, Italy - Enjoy the Adventure travel blog

Starter from La Bussola Restaurant

When to go

I went in October and it was still sunny and warm, around 21-25 degrees and since most of the tourists are gone you can enjoy cheaper hotels and emptier beaches. Peak season is June to August which will be nice and hot but a lot busier.

Getting Here

In order to get to the island you need to fly to Naples then get a ferry to Ischia. We flew from London Gatwick around 2pm and arrived at the hotel at 9.30 so it is quite time consuming. When choosing how long to stay in Ischia bear in mind the commuting time. We spent 4 days in Ischia and had a packed itinerary so you could easily spread this over 5-7 days.

Where to stay

We stayed at Garden & Villas which was absolutely stunning, 3 acres of gardens with flowers, 2 swimming pools a gym and restaurant. Check out the availability here.

If you want to treat yourself to a 5 star hotel check out Terme Manzi, check out prices and availability here. We visited the hotel for a delicious lunch and the spa here looks incredible!

Terme Manzi pool - Enjoy the Adventure travel blog

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*Thanks to Imperatore Travel for inviting me on this press trip, all opinions remain my own*

Italy Travel

Where to go on a weekend in Florence, Italy

July 25, 2017

Florence is a romantic, charming city which is full of incredible architecture, history and art. The Tuscan cuisine is incredible spend your time here feasting on Florentine steak, pizza and gelato.

Florence Attractions

Piazza del Duomo

Duomo Florence - Enjoy the AdventureOne of Florence’s most beautiful and famous site. You can enter free of charge and once inside check out the array of marble work and be sure to look up to see the decorative ceiling.

Open – Weekdays 10-5pm, Saturdays 10-4.45pm Sundays 1.30 – 4.45

Ceiling Duomo Florence - Enjoy the Adventure

Ceiling in Duomo

Ponte Vecchio

Bridge Florence - Enjoy the AdventureThe Ponte Vecchio, translated as old bridge, is a medieval stone arch bridge over the Arno river, it’s lined with plenty of jewellery shops so is a great place to treat your other half to a gift. Go in the evening to watch the sunset whilst listening to the street musicians.

Piazza Della Signoria

Piazza Della Signoria - Enjoy the AdventureMake sure you visit this square to admire the many sculptures, at night the area is lively with musicians and restaurants.

Garden of Cascine

Garden of Cascine - Enjoy the AdventureWe stumbled upon this beautiful garden whilst on our way to the viewpoint of Piazzale Michelangelo. Entry is free and you can spend the afternoon strolling around the beautiful flower gardens.

Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo - Enjoy the AdventureThis is the best place to come to take in panoramic views of the city, make sure to visit at sunset to see the city transformed. There is a restaurant where you can enjoy a few glasses of wine whilst taking in the amazing view.

Piazzale Michelangelo statue - Enjoy the adventureSan Miniato al Monte

San Miniato al Monte - Enjoy the AdventureThis 11th century church is a short walk from the viewpoint at Piazzale Michelangelo.

Open Weekdays 9.30-1pm & 3-7pm, Sundays 8.15-7pm

Piazza della Repubblica

Piazza della Republica - Enjoy the AdventureThis square always has something going on such as musicians, children chasing bubbles and the carousel spinning round. Sit down and relax with a coffee as you soak up the atmosphere.

Leonardo da Vinci Museum

Museum - Enjoy the AdventureThis is a small interactive museum where you can see and try out some of Leonardo’s inventions.

Open Daily 10-7pm Entrance – €7

Food

Gelateria dei neri – The best ice cream parlour we went to in Florence, from salted caramel, pistachio to fresh and fruity flavours, it can be hard to choose from the vast selection. This place can get quite busy but it’s well worth the wait!

Gusta Pizza – This restaurant has a small selection of amazing pizzas! It gets super busy so can be hard to get a table and you may have to share your table with others, if it’s too busy you can get a takeaway. Prices here are very reasonable, once you order you get a token with a number on and wait for it to be called out to collect your pizza. A lovely gimmick here is that people have written on the tokens and placed them under the glass tables to celebrate their time at this fantastic pizzeria.

Gusta Pizza Florence - Enjoy the Adventure

Weekend Guide to Florence - Enjoy the Adventure

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Food Italy

Italian Food Adventure & Competition

January 23, 2017

I was super excited to take part in the #ItalianFoodAdventure campaign with Inntravel. Inntravel have just launched a new holiday to Italy which covers walking, cycling and journeys in slow motion. One of the new holidays is called The Italian food adventure which is a self guided tour through the Emilia Romagna region. Visiting the beautiful cities of Parma, Modena and Bologna with an optional finale in Venice. This region is the birth place to some foodie faves such as Parmesan cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, & balsamic vinegar. For the new launch I received an Italian food hamper so I could have my very own Italian Food adventure at home. You guys also have the opportunity to win a hamper too and embark on your own Italian Food Adventure!

Italian food adventure with Inntravel

The hamper consists of regionally sourced produce from Emilia Romagna. Including Balsamic vinegar,  Piadina Romagnola, Prosciutto Riserva (Parma ham), Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan Cheese), Tortelloni Ricotta & Spinach, Marrons Glaces, Mutti Tomato Puree and a Cocoa Cake Mix and Lambrusco Rosso.

Italian food adventure with Inntravel

I absolutely loved being able to have a taste of Italy at home. Italian food is my favourite you can’t go wrong with pasta or pizza.

Italian food adventure with Inntravel

Everything was super easy to make I just had to cook the tortellini for a few minutes in boiling water. I then sprinkled this with olive oil and black pepper. For the pizzas I added the tomato puree on the tortillas added grated parmesan cheese and parma ham. I also made a side salad with cucumber, peppers and red onion. I added the balsamic vinegar to the salad which really enhanced the flavour!

Italian food adventure with Inntravel

The cake was really simple to make I added the mixture to 3 eggs, butter and some milk, whisked this together into a batter then placed in a greased baking dish. Once cooked I sprinkled with icing sugar. You could add all sorts of toppings such as cherries or a chocolate sauce. The cake and Marrons glaces where the perfect sweet treat after the main course. The Marrons glaces are chesnuts candied in sugar syrup coated with a thin layer of chocolate. All the dishes were very tasty and I would make them again.

Italian food adventure with Inntravel

Creating these dishes reminded me how lovely Italy and made me want to book another trip there. The holiday with Inntravel appeals to me as I love the idea of slow travel. In the past I have tended to skip from one place to another trying to go to as many places as possible. I really like the idea of taking my time in an area and exploring. Going on a food adventure and trying loads of local cuisine. I love trying out foods in each country I visit and trying to recreate them when I go home. Make sure you enter the competition below so you have a chance to create your own Italian feast!

Here is a link to the holiday with Inntravel

https://www.inntravel.co.uk/holidays/Journeys/Italy/Emilia-Romagna/Italian-Food-Adventure

Enter the competition to win an Italian food hamper including:

  • Piadina Romagnola
  • Prosciutto Riserva
  • Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Tortelloni Ricotta & Spinach
  • Marrons glaces
  • Mutti Tomato Puree
  • Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
  • Cocoa Cake Mix
  • Lambrusco Rosso

Competition is open to UK residents aged 18+

All you need to do is enter your name and email and complete one of the options. One option is to visit the Inntravel Facebook page then come back to this page and click visited and your done. If you complete more entries you have a higher chance of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you been to the Emilia Romagna region or do you want to go there?

*This post is in collaboration with Inntravel*

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Europe Italy Travel Weekend Away

Visiting Venice, Italy on a Budget

October 1, 2016

How to visit Venice without spending a fortune

visiting-venice-on-a-budget

Venice isn’t always top of the list for backpackers or people on a budget as it is pretty expensive. This post will give you some tips on how to save money and what there is to see in Venice.

How to visit Venice on a budgetAccommodation 

The best way to save money is to stay in Mestre the mainland town connected by bus or train. Trains run regularly every 10-15 minutes and it takes about 10 minutes to get there on the train. A single ticket costs €1.25.

Nuova Loconda Belvedere

This is the hotel/hostel I stayed in prices start from £20 a night.

Pros

  • Cheaper than staying in the centre of Venice
  • Great for solo travellers met lots of new people
  • Free car parking
  • 10 minute walk to station
  • Close to supermarket

Cons

  • Not very modern
  • No lockers in room
  • Not many showers/toilet so had to wait a while in the morning
  • Didn’t feel very safe walking back from train station at night

Another option would be the Generator Hostel, this one is slightly more expensive starting around £30. This hostel looks beautiful inside and I would recommend booking in advance as it sells out fast.

Jessica Munday - Enjoy the Adventure - Venice

Pack a picnic

There are lots of supermarkets and bakeries to buy fresh produce making it much cheaper than eating at a restaurant.

Chiesa di San Pantalon Church

I was taken here on the walking tour, I hadn’t heard about this church before and was so impressed. It has the most breathtaking painting on the ceiling which took the artist 20 years to create. Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photos inside but you can see a few here on Tripadvisor.

Boat or Gondola ride

A quintessential tourist attraction in Venice is the gondola ride. This was my second visit to Venice I went a few years ago with my mum and we went on a gondola ride. I’m so glad I did this as it had been on my bucket list for ages. It is very expensive so I would recommend saving up for this. If your budget doesn’t allow for this then the lady on the walking tour recommended getting a water bus as its so much cheaper than having a gondola ride.

How to visit Venice on a budget - canalFree Walking Tour

It’s so easy to get lost in Venice with the maze of canals and small streets so doing a walking tour will help you get your bearings. It is also a great way to lean about Venice’s past and culture. If you are a fan of Indiana Jones there are a few spots in Venice where it was filmed which the tour guide pointed out. I did the free walk in Venice tour and my tour guide was called Lucia, she was really friendly and knowledgeable.

How to visit Venice on a budget - Free Walking Tour

See the Bridge of Sighs

The Bridge of Sighs was built to connect the old prison to the interrogation rooms the view from its stone barred windows was the last that prisoners saw as they were led to their cells.

Saint Mark’s Basilica

Free to get in but the queues can be very long.

How to visit Venice on a budget

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