It's a little corner of Cuba in Sardinia! I am a local and love Sardinian cooking, but also love trying new cuisines.
This little spot in the old Marina quarter serves authentic and hearty dishes (rice, meat, fish).
Don't miss a real mojito and the fried bananas!
Via Porcile 17 Cagliari, Phone +39-340-9243996. adjacent via Roma (main thoroughfare opposite Cagliari's harbour).
It's a luxury B&B on the Tuscan/Umbrian borders. Has great rooms with views and is only 40 minutes' drive from Perugia airport, near lots of medieval towns.
The hamlet of Lugnano between Citta di castello and Umbertide
A cheap alternative to paying Rome prices. Rent the entire three-bedroom two-bath bath villa in Umbria with whirlpool bath, fireplace and panoramic views for less than the price of one room in the city.
Great for families since the yard is completely gated and sleeps up to six. Very nice, clean and convenient located one hour from Rome's Termini station by car or train. Day trips can be taken to nearby cities such as Siena, Perugia, Assisi and Florence. No car is necessary since public transportation is nearby, as well as shopping.
Quiet hillside location. Outdoor swimming pool can be reached within minutes for a cost of 5 - 8 euros a day. Owners are very helpful and full of information about nearby sights such as Cascata della marmore or the ruins of Carsulae. During low travel season, they like to house artists looking for reasonable studio spaces to live/work. Pets are welcome!
Charming little bookshop filled to the ceiling with hard to find scores and music books. Don't be fooled by its size, they even host a grand piano. The back room is both a cafè serving gourmet coffee drinks and wine, and a miniature concert hall displaying the work of local artists. Also noticed for their one-of-a-kind recycled and handpainted furnitures and off-beat concerts with a cult following. Concerts draw the attraction of hundreds including famous personalities from the neighbourhood, despite the shop seating about 50 people. Located in Trastevere and not hard to find, just look for the crowd gathering on the doorsteps and listening to live music from street at night.
Via di San Francesco a Ripa, 60
A haven of a bar near the Rialto in Venice! Happy hour between 5 and 7.30pm makes the delicious cocktails very affordable.
This was actually recommended to me by another traveler and the fact that I'm passing on the tip says it all!
There may be tourists here but they are mostly backpackers and young people, giving the bar a fun international flavor.
The owners are super-friendly too and seem genuinely interested in their visitors, particularly those from elsewhere in Europe so be prepared to engage in some lively conversation!
San Marco 5546, Venice
Popping into this cheap little Venice restaurant near the train station on the way home bought an unusual surprise.
I've been told since that it's a chain but it's not like places in England. The dishes are simple but tasty and my pasta was cooked fresh to order while I watched.
The salad was also good quality and (another surprise!) we had a reasonably priced beer to accompany it too.
Lista di Spagna, Canneregio 124
I don't know what to say about this Venice hostel except that it's everything a good, cheap hostel should be.
The location is unbeatable, a five-minute stroll to Piazza San Marco and even closer to the Rialto Bridge. You really get the feeling that you're staying right in the heart of the city and on a typical Venetian street.
It's very reasonable for a private room – and a room that's nice and sunny, too!
They said they do special last minute deals that work out even cheaper, but, it's such a great place I can't imagine they've spare rooms all that often.
San Marco 3358, Salizada San Samuele, Venice, 30124
I would definitely recommend a look when you visit Venice. It's inside the Church of St Mark (Basilica di San Marco) and as well as the fantastic ceiling mosaics, offers has a great view of the piazza.
Go up the (steep!) staircase on the right as you go from the narthex into the main body of the church. It's worth the effort, though.
The real horses of San Marco are up here too – the other ones are only modern replicas.
San Marco, Piazza San Marco
A Venice restaurant with a proper city feel! This eatery is trendy and fun – and a welcome change from the tourist haunts that dominate the city.
The food was interesting - as well as the usual pasta there were dishes like beef with nuts and plum - and also quite reasonable. I think it was about 30 euros for three courses.
We ended up staying here all night (with another bottle of wine, of course) as there was live music and were surprised to find ourselves staggering back to our hostel at nearly 1am!
Fondamenta de la Misericordia, Cannaregio 2540
Testaccio is a lively and cool area situated in the neighbourhoods of the Piramide and the thousand-year Circo Massimo, just under the famous Aventino Hill and demarcated by the River Tevere. Testaccio district is characterised by several typical Trattorie and offers a slice of trendy Roman life with its multiple nightclubs.
Testaccio district is situated at a comfortable distance from the archaeological area; enjoy the charming Colosseo by night and admire the nearby church of San Pietro in Vincoli with the Statue of Moses sculpted by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Find out what Rome is capable of offering beyond history and culture.
Stresa, like many of the other towns which reside on the lakes, is a typical tourist trap, but is good if you are short of time and fancy some mountain biking or walking (skiing in the winter). You can hire bikes from the cable car at Stresa for €10, put the bike in the cable car to Mottarone and bike down. The routes are clearly signposted and there are free route maps. If you take route L1, one third of the route is on road (not so fun!) but there are other routes you can take.
Stresa has it's own train station. You take the train from Milan Centrale towards Domodossola, the journey takes 1 hour 10 minutes.
Finally, a gay bar in Florence that doesn't hide behind closed doors. Located just around the corner from the famous and lively Piazza Santa Croce, this is a nice, open and straight-friendly place for having a drink with your friend(s) after sightseeing or after dinner.
For a gay guide and map of Florence see: www.patroc.com/florence/
Borgo Santa Croce 23/r
I had my best ice cream ever in Gelateria San Crispino. After discovering it, I had to stop there each single day. Sometimes, a great ice cream replaced my whole meal.
Close to the Pantheon I tried once Giolitti, was also great. But I'm in love with San Crispino! Ice cream is cheap too in Rome compared to Paris and London - with a couple of euros you get a big cone with three flavours with whipped cream. I was amazed by the number of available flavours! I found this blog post which is useful for deciphering them.
Ostello Gallo D'Oro is a central, pleasant and extremely clean hostel in Florence, owned by the most remarkable couple: Massimo and Silvia.
They drive every aspect of this lovely Florence hostel, and are constantly on hand to make sure that their guests (and you really do feel like a guest rather than a customer!) have everything they could possibly need.
I didn't stay long enough to take advantage of the offer, but long-term guests are invited out to their Tuscan farmhouse for the night.
It was a real wrench to tear myself away.
No. 104 Via Cavour, Florence
While more people tend to make the slog up the hill to Piazzale Michelangelo for great views of Florence, the Forte di Belvedere is its match in every way.
On a summer evening, sitting high above the almost unbelievably beautiful city, quivering in the haze below, is a genuine Florence must-do.
Forte di Belvedere, Oltrarno
More of a farmers'/artesans' market than your average fruit n veg affair. Nonetheless, it's a great place to shop for upmarket souvenirs like honey, wine, jewellery and trinkets.
If you get tired of the market stalls, there's also the fantastic - on the inside at least - church of Santa Maria del Carmine to explore, and a host of bars and cafes (the area's also a hub of Florence nightlife) to sit in and watch the hustle and bustle unfold around you.
Sundays, Piazza del Carmine, Oltrarno
Newsagent and internet point whose multilingual owner Giorgio Prosperi speaks fluent English. Located on the walk between the Duomo car park and the sights it's perfect for a guide, a map, a newspaper or to check your web mail.
Via San Marco 38a - 53100 Siena, Italy - Tel. +39-0577-286019
It's an incredible medieval event, with the best choreography ever. Watch it from a private balcony or window (you won't see very much otherwise). Unforgettable!
Arezzo, June 21st and September 7
I spent my last holiday in a wonderful place: I went with my husband and my son to Tuscany, at Nibbiaia, a peaceful village among the Tuscan hills and, at the same time, extraordinarily near to the sea.
I went to a beautiful residence that I recommend: it is a typical Tuscan construction but inside apartments are entirely restructured. My apartment was lovely and finely furnished, very clean and properly equipped.
Nearby the residence there's a very good and cheap pizzeria (few minutes' walk) and the comforts of the village. I had the opportunity to taste the real spirit of this wonderful region so much loved in the world.
Address: Via Buontalenti 24, 57010 Nibbiaia (Livorno)
Pizzas are a speciality but the menu is great. Rossopomodoro is a chain (Maybe think Pizza Express?) around Italy. This one is in Largo di Torre Argentina, west of Piazza Venezia and three blocks south of the Pantheon. Go upstairs after entering the Tardis-like front door to a large, frantically busy local gem.
Google Map: tinyurl.com/6lwk38
Largo di Torre Argentina
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