This page is dedicated to all of the places in Italy that I have visited over the course of 3 trips and would highly recommend! It will be updated with new recommendations as I continue to visit and explore the country, so be sure to check back. For a summary of blog posts I have written on the area, scroll to the bottom for the complete list!
Note: the Italy travel recommendations below will not be for the typical "tourist" suggestions of what to see and do in Italy, mainly because those exist ALL over the internet! My recommendations are for places I literally "stumbled upon" that made my trip extra special or suggestions from trusted local guides and acquaintances that you likely won't find anywhere else.
Dining - most of my dining recommendations in Rome are in the Trastevere neighborhood because this is my favorite place to stay and wander in the city. It's really artsy, eclectic, and has a quaint, boutique feel.
- Hostaria La Boticella - Try the house wine, stuffed zucchini flowers, Pasta all' Amatriciana, and house-made desserts! Best to get there right when they open, otherwise, a reservation is a must.
- Fiordiluna - I love to get gelato here when I'm in Trastevere!
- Da Enzo al 29 - this restaurant was highly recommended by a really knowledgeable Airbnb host for having the best carbonara in Rome and so much more! Be aware they will likely have a line, so go at an off-hour - sometime between 2 pm - 6 pm if you can!
- Osteria da Fortunata - If you want to have an authentic, Italian family-style meal with loads of fresh pasta, this is your place! Try any of the 3 "pillar pastas" of Rome here - Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe, and Pasta all' Amatriciana. Be aware that there is a copycat place right across the street - look for the ladies making fresh pasta in the restaurant entrance to know you are in the right place!
- I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza - A Sicilian-style bakery that I love to come to for afternoon espresso and a sweet treat! Delicious cannoli.
- Antico Forno Roscioli - an AMAZING bakery with savory and sweet options. Even if you aren't hungry, step inside to take a peek!
- Walkabout Tours - The BEST tour company in Italy - all of the options are outstanding and SO much fun.
- Tuscany Bike Tours - Really fun biking and Vespa tour company that will take you through the regions of Chianti!
- Pitti Palace + Boboli Gardens - This is by far my favorite place to spend a day exploring in Florence - bring a picnic and have a snack in the Boboli Gardens!
- Mercato Centrale - Shop for aged balsamic vinegar (recommend Leonardi brand), truffle products, limoncello.
- Enoteca Alessi - Shop here for Leonardi balsamic products, Venchi and Perugina chocolates, Illy coffees, wines, and MORE!
- VyTA Fine Food Store - The store is located on the underground floor of Santa Maria Novella train station. Shop for Fabbri pasta here!
- Mercato di San Lorenzo - Silk and cashmere scarves and leather accessories can all be found at good prices here!
- Massimo Leather - My FAVORITE place for buying leather jackets and handbags.
- Sapori & Dintorni Conad - I buy my rose tonic water and almond oil here.
- KIKO Milano - Fun Italian makeup store with amazing prices!
- Uashmama Store Firenze - Very Euro-chic store with bags and household goods made from recycled paper. Amazing olive oil soaps and table linens as well!
- Bartolini - The Sur La Table of Florence! Get cut pasta wheels, cookie cutters, and Italian kitchen supplies.
- I'Pizzacchiere - A small, quaint, and utterly delicious pizzeria run by a husband and wife team. Say hello to Natasha and Peter for me! Eat here after a hike up to the Piazzale Michelangelo.
- Gusta Pizza - This is my favorite pizza in Florence! Cash only, sometimes a wait, ALWAYS worth it.
- Osteria dell'Enoteca - An outstanding place in Florence to get Florentine steak - beautiful restaurant and wonderful prices. 45 euro includes steak for two with three sides. The desserts are a MUST - especially the tiramisu!
- Gelateria Artigianale La Strega Nocciola - This is my FAVORITE gelato in Florence - try the Cocco, Buontalenti, or Stracciatella!
- Venchi Gelato - Another amazing gelato shop - all of the chocolate flavors here are outstanding. Try a cone with melted chocolate inside!
- All'Antico Vinaio - This is THE place to get a panini in Florence, and you will know by the constant line out the door! Only 5 euro for an amazing sandwich the size of your face!
- La Ménagère - This is my favorite place in Florence to enjoy a coffee and snack, or to have a magical dining experience!
- Mercato Centrale - I love to eat at this massive food hall when I need a quick bite and want a couple of different options. Get my favorites below:
- Il Girrarosto - get the Tuscan pork plate here. I dream about this meal all year long
- La Pasta Fresca - any of the pasta of the day options are wonderful!
- Sud La Pizzeria - very good pizza if you need a quick bite.
- Sicilian cannoli and granita cart - try the authentic almond granita here for a sweet finish to your meal!
Bologna + Parma + Modena
- Visit a producer of Parmesan, Balsamic Vinegar, or Prosciutto
- Take a tortellini making class at Tamburini in Bologna
Montalcino + Pienza + Montepulciano
- Take a tour of a winery, I love Poggio Rubino because it is small, quaint, and you feel like you get a personal experience!
- Bagni San Filippo - Great free place to experience the baths of natural Italian hot springs. Be warned though - the sulfur smell is REALLY strong!
- Buon Gusto Gelateria | Pienza - This tiny gelateria has some of the most unique and delicious flavors that I've tried in Italy, and the owner is nice as can be!
- Gattavecchi Winery | Montepulciano - I love the quaint little Cucina that's part of this winery, and the owner is SO nice!
Orvieto + Civita di Bagnoregio
- Civita di Bagnoregio - The hike up to this hilltop town is one of the most breathtaking sights I've seen in Italy - a truly unforgettable experience!
- Trattoria del Moro Aronne | Orvieto - This little restaurant is home to the BEST meal I've ever had in Italy! The handmade pasta dishes here are TO DIE for - I tried 3 different ones and can't pick a favorite!
Positano + Capri
- Salumeria da Aldo | Capri - Delicious, HUGE sandwiches to get on Capri for a picnic - just 6 euro each!
- Il Ritrovo | Montepertuso - Gorgeous, charming restaurant with beautiful views and delicious seafood. Provides free shuttle transfer from Positano marina.
- La Tagliata - Unforgettable, delicious and homey restaurant with stunning views featuring 6+ course Italian feast for 45 euro pp. Free shuttle to the restaurant from Positano marina.
Italy Blog Posts
- Guide to Rome
- Guide to Florence
- Apartment Tour in Florence
- Best Day Trips from Florence
- My Favorite Restaurant in Florence
- A Foodie's Guide to Emilia Romagna
- The Best Souvenirs to Buy in Italy
- The Best Way to Have Fun in Italy
- Gelato 101
- Budget-Friendly Travel Guide to Positano, Italy