To add spice to a tour of Italy, considering some sites off the beaten path can present some highly satisfying visual and gastronomic rewards.
Wine connoisseurs will especially enjoy the Piemonte, located just an hour south of Milan, which offers an abundant variety of Barolo and Barbaresco wines and is known as the “slow food” capital of the world. The hilltop towns remind one of Tuscany, but without the tourist crowds. A stop in Alba, the home of the white truffle (and the festivals that celebrate this delicacy), is not to be missed.
En route south towards Florence, food enthusiasts should sojourn in Emilia-Romagna, home of Parmigiano-Reggiano, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto di Parma, tortellini and much more. Bologna, a high-energy university city with Michelin-starred restaurants as well as a variety of local food markets, makes an ideal base from which to taste your way across the city sampling the local meats and cheeses. A proper balsamic vinegar tasting in Modena will forever change the way you eat ice cream or strawberries in the future.
Puglia, the region forming the heel of Italy’s boot, is the birthplace of burrata, the mozzarella and cream concoction which has become such a culinary rage.