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The Best Wines of Northern Italy

Italy is the world’s biggest wine producer and grows in particular the trebbiano grape which tends to return high yields. Although it produces the most bottles of wine per year than any other country, Italian wine producing does not concentrate on large corporate wineries.

Italy turns its attention to making quality wines that come from small regional vineyards and wineries. And that is one of the great beauties of taking a wine tour in Italy as there is so much choice. There are six main wine growing areas of Italy and some of the very best Italian wines are produced in the north of the country where the climate is a little cooler. Perhaps the two best northern wine producing areas are Veneto and Piedmont, although there are some other great areas producing top quality wine. Among the best wines of northern Italy are:

Soave Borgoletto

Soave is a white wine made from the Garganega grape and is decidedly a light, crisp and refreshing wine that is excellent with fish and white meats. This particular soave is a classic dry white wine that is un-oaked, it is also full of aromatic flavors that are quite gentle, almost flowery.  

Valpolicella Classico La Corte del Pozzo

Valpolicella is one of northern Italy’s classic wines, it is famous all over the world for its subtle fruit flavors and robust finish. It is made in the Verona region which is mostly hilly and agricultural and mostly contains three grape varieties, Molinara, Rondinella, and Corvina Veronese. This particular Valpolicella is a mature wine, that has distinct cherry flavors with plenty of red fruit and berry overtones.

Amarone La Corte del Pozzo

Amarone literally translated means great bitter, and this is greatly misleading as most Amarone’s are far from bitter. They are rounded well developed wines that are really one step up on the taste scale to Valpolicella.  This particular Amarone is a powerfully tasting wine with strong overtones of blackcurrent, liquorice and spices. Really a delightful strong wine that is great for drinking with red meats and strong cheeses.

Fontanafredda Barolo

Barolo is a king among the red wines of the world, produced in Piedmont the wine is produced from the Nebbiolo grape which is high in tannins and acids and perfect for making strong red wines. There are no blends in Barolo, only 100% Nebbiolo grapes are used.

Barolo is Italy’s version of the great Pinot Noirs of France due to its bright acidity and color. The common aromas of Barolo feature dried herbs and rose flowers, with a distinct hint of tar. Top Barolos such as Fontanafredda have to be aged for a minimum of three years, one in the bottle and two in the oak barrel. Every true Barolo has to be a minimum of thirteen percent alcohol content. 

Chianti

No summary of the great wines of northern Italy would be complete without mentioning Chianti, and the original squat bottle wrapped in straw is one of the most famous in the world. Good Chianti’s are superb and can match any robust red wine made on the planet.

Lakes to Visit in Italy

Taking a trip to Italy on vacation? The country has spectacular and romantic lakes that you can’t afford not to visit. In this article, you will find information about these lakes, which make great destinations for vacation.

1. Lake Como

This is the most famous lake in all of Italy. It is an amazing destination to go with that person special to you. You can visit this lake any time of the year you choose, as its weather is moderately temperate.  The surroundings of Lake Como contain great hiking paths, picturesque villas as well as resort villages. It is a very common location for boat trips, photography and water activities. The lake is sited within the northern Italian Lakes District, which lies between the city of Milan and Switzerland.

2. Lake Garda

Lake Garda

Not only is this destination the biggest and the most frequently visited lake in Italy, but it is also famous with families. Dotting the shoreline are beautiful villages, lake-side promenades as well as medieval castles. Lake Garda’s landscape contains a rich diversity of beaches that are along the rocky cliffs, on top of the northern shoreline, and along southern shores. The lake is located in northeastern Italy, between the cities of Venice as well as Milan.

3. Lake Maggiore

This lake is also famous and big, sited in the northern part of Italy. It is west of Lake Como and north of Milan. Lake Maggiore’s northern area stretches into Switzerland. Produced from a glacier, Lake Maggiore is enclosed within mountains that are in the north and within hills to the south. This makes its climate mild all year long.

4. Lake Bolsena

Lake Bolsena

Located in the Northern Lazio region between Tuscany and Rome, this lake is the 5th biggest in Italy. Lake Bolsena is situated in the crater of a volcano that has gone extinct. The primary town on this lake is Bolsena, which has a medieval center containing a fortress above it.

5. Torre del Lago Puccini on Lake Massaciuccoli

One of the small-sized and most peaceful lakes in Italian is Lake Massaciuccoli. On one of its sides, which is near the sea, there is Torre del Lago Puccini, a small town, along with the villa on this lake in which Giacomo Puccini resided and composed a large part of his operas; on the other side, there is a wild-life preserve. This villa of the very famous opera composer now serves as a museum. A great destination for vacation is Lake Massaciuccoli, which is near the coast of Tuscany.

6. Lake Trasimeno

Lake Trasimeno

The lake was the location of a popular battle that took place between Rome and Hannibal. It is the biggest non-Alpine lake in Italy. This lake, which is moderately shallow, is sited in the center of Italy close to Tuscany. A lot of fascinating as well as historical towns are situated in the surroundings of Lake Trasimeno, in addition to Isola Maggiore, which is a large island popular for its design of lace.

Unknown Towns to Explore in Italy

Are you planning a holiday to Italy? Obviously, Rome, Venice and Florence are amazing travel destinations, but their costs are a bit on the high side. If you desire to enjoy the sweet life in Italy without tourists, go through this guide to learn about 7 secret Italian towns that are worth giving a try.

1. Alberobello in Puglia

Alberobello in Puglia

Situated close to Bari, Alberobello village is a labyrinth containing amazing piazzas as well as narrow streets. This great destination houses white buildings, referred to as the Trulli, which have the appearance of those homes mentioned in fairy tales. As a result of its beauty, the town has been designated as a UNESCO International Heritage Site.

2. Bergamo in Lombardy

This town is normally ignored by tourists because they are drawn to Milan, Italy’s capital. Bergamo is a romantic walled destination, which is among Italy’s most charming places. It is full of old palaces as well as cobblestone streets.

3. Treviso in Veneto

This town can be likened to a small Venice, which has less crowds as well as tourists. The historical walled center of Trevisto is filled with cobblestone streets, medieval churches as well as redbrick palaces. It also has tiny old canals that link gardens, buildings and marketplaces.

4. Bologna in Emilia-Romagna

Bologna in Emilia-Romagna

Containing Europe’s oldest university, this is among Italy’s most pleasant towns. Most of the times, Bologna receives students as well as gastronomy enthusiasts as tourists due to the fact that it’s the food capital of the country. Immediately you get to this lovely town, make sure you enjoy its great delicacies like tortellini and lasagne.

5. Bolzano in Alto Adige

Bolzano is referred to as a bilingual town because some of its inhabitants speak German as well as Italian. Such a sight can be a wonderful surprise to someone traveling to the destination for the first time. This town is situated in South Tyrol or Alto Adige, close to the Dolomite Mountains. Its surroundings contain vineyards and medieval castles.

6. Verona in Veneto

Verona in Veneto

Looking for a perfect romantic destination to have a superb time with your partner, Verona should be your top pick. This is because it is the most romantic destination in the whole of Italy. It was in the town that the sad Romeo-Juliet love story, written by Williams Shakespeare, took place. You can also visit the fourteenth (14th) century palace that contains the popular balcony. If you’ve enough time on your hands, you can check the breath-taking Roman amphitheater, in which opera performances are held in the summer.

7. Castelluccio in Umbria

This is the village with the highest altitude (5,000 feet) in the Apennine Mountains. Castelluccio is an attractive hamlet that has amazing squares, offering beautiful views over the Apennine Mountains. It has colored fields, which blossom with red poppies as well as violets. You can schedule a trip to this destination from late May to early June; this is the best period (spring) to go there.

These small towns in Italy are perfect for those who love to explore little parts of the world!

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Top Cafes in Florence, Italy

Coffee shops and cafes are not considered the norm when it comes to Italian culture, however, they are increasingly becoming more popular in Florence’s diverse community. The coffee culture in Italy differs from those in America and other places, however, Florence does have some nice, cozy spots for tourists and locals to go and enjoy coffee and feel welcoming. Most cafes and coffee spots offer free wi-fi, which is very accomodating. There’s nothing I enjoy more than cozying up in a quiet little cafe while checking emails, reading my favorite books, playing spinning games or solving quizzes on my laptop. Whether you’re working, studying, relaxing over an espresso, or meeting up with someone, these are the best cafes to visit in Florence.

Arnold Coffee

This isn’t your normal Italian coffee bar. Arnold Coffee offers seating on both floors, a strong wifi connection, and is located right in the center of town. It’s a popular spot for those looking for a little piece of home. It’s cozy and very reminiscent of Starbucks, so people love to meet up for meetings and work quietly in the corner. This coffee bar offers all flavors and sizes of coffee drinks, smoothies, and they even offer bite size snacks. This is one of not many places in Italy, that has brought American coffee culture to Italy. It’s surely a must-visit.

Ditta Artigianale

Ditta Artigianale is one of Florence’s new most frequented coffee cafes, and they’ve already expanded within the last two years by adding two new locations around the city. This coffee shop has its own unique brand of coffee that’s very popular, and they source and roast their own coffee. This busy, cozy cafe offers everything from brunch to dinner, and always has muffins, cookies, and small pastries readily available for order. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making anyone want to spend their afternoon just relaxing over a cup of hot coffee. The owners definitely know what they are doing with their coffee shops. This place is highly recommended.

Cake
Italy is known for its muffins, cakes, and pastries always readily available

La Cité

La Cité is a very unique place, as it’s a bookstore cafe by day and a music venue and wine bar by night. When visiting Florence, this spot is always a good idea. It boasts an open loft that overlooks the first floor and large front, floor to ceiling windows. It’s inside a historical building that’s super inviting and charming. If you visit during the day, there are eclectic chairs that are big enough for you to sink into. Day favorites at this spot include coffee and cappuccinos, while at night time, most people opt for wine or a smart cocktail. The space is small, so it sometimes gets crowded, especially when there’s a band performing, so if you’re looking to make a night of it, get there early.

Caffe Piansa

This cafe is a staple for craft coffee that has been around for years in Florence. They distribute their beans, which are very carefully sourced and roasted, to locals across the city. Caffe Piansa has a cook there that serves up some of the best lunch on the boulevard. Some of their menu items include pasta, salads, and sandwiches, and the portions are of nice size. If you’re looking for a place that’s charming, in a great location, and serves up some of the best coffee in Florence, this is where you want to visit.

Dolci Pensieri

This cafe is very unique in its own way and makes the perfect start for your day or peaceful break in the afternoon for lunch. They offer a great selection of coffee, delicious tea, heartwarming hot chocolate and some of the best patisserie to be found in Florence. This cafe is also looked at as a bakery, serving up cakes, cupcakes, and pastries. Everything is freshly homemade everyday, made with only quality ingredients and presented beautifully. This is a great place to frequent if you need a quick escape from the day to day grind.

Coffee and cookies
Coffee + cookies = life

Caffe Sabatino

This cafe has been in business for over 50 years in Florence. It’s the perfect stop for a morning cappuccino, light lunch in the afternoon, and drink in the evening. It has it all. This coffee spot is still using historical local coffee brand, Mokamag, which has been around since 1875. Caffe Sabatino is known for their delicious coffee and decadent pastries. The cafe is friendly, warm, and inviting, making you want to hang around all day. Some of their menu items include eggs, fresh sandwiches, pasta, and delicious cakes that are said to be the best in Florence. The energy and vibe are like no other at this location and locals have nothing but great things to speak about the owners. This wonderful cafe should definitely be on your list to stop in at!