March 2013

best spots in italy

The best spots in Italy — you wanna go there right?

But there isn’t a guidebook that exists that can cut the fat and give you the real deal.


Cause guidebooks suck at delivering you personal recommendations.

If you’re tired of the same-old advice you’ve already heard (fly to Rome then go to Venice) then you’re in the right place.

If you’ve visited Italian Fix before then you know I think formulaic advice sucks hard (and if you’re new here…then welcome and thanks for stopping by).

I’m all about delivering personal travel advice just like a friend — so check this out.

Hear where local Italians spend their time…and their money.

Wanna  know where the Italians escape to?

Wanna know where the locals spend their hard earned vacation cash?

Well, then consider yourself smarter than most.

Travel advice from Italians is hard to come by — cause it’s usually written in Italian. Actually, all this advice was written in Italian — but it was translated for you. Prego.

Drop-kick overwhelm while planning your trip to Italy.

The question that I get asked the most is: “Where should I go in Italy?”

My advice is this: try not to SEE everything — cause you know it’s impossible

Try SEEING less, and FEELING more.

What I mean is this: choose to see less sights but engage in more experiences.

What do you want to see, feel, eat, be, breathe and discover?

One thing is a fact: Italians on vacation capture the essence of  what we as foreigners try to get a piece of on our trip to Italy: relaxation, inspiration, passion, sense of place, history, stunning scenery and exceptional wine and food.

Read on to solve your “where should I go” question.

We asked the locals:

Where is your favourite place in Italy to spend your holiday and why?

This is what they shared (translated from Italian):



B1Valeria Gentile

Owner of L’Essenza – Oasi Sensoriale.

My favourite place to spend a holiday in Italy is Sardinia.

“This land is unlike any other place,” wrote David Herbert Lawrence and after travelling the world, I realized he was right. It’s a magical land, almost a continent, where you may find yourself in front of a lovely beach, an archaeological site from thousands of years ago, a natural spring in the forest, a snowy mountaintop, an ancient village or even a modern town – all within a few kilometres.

Sardinia is like a small universe surrounded by the Mediterranean. Above all, the atmosphere of this ancient place allows you to journey in a particular direction, whether it’s an outward one or an inward one.

Connect with Valeria on Twitter or Facebook



Chiara Maci

Co-owner of the food blog Sorelle in Pentola and host of the national TV show Cuochi e Fiamme.

The dearest place of my heart is Cilento near the Amalfi Coast, because, besides the fact that I’m originally from Campania [a province in the south], it represents to me the moment of detachment with the chaos of the city and the rediscovery of the smells and flavours that the coastal area always gives you.

The south of Italy has this characteristic of welcoming you, embracing you and making you heady from the genuine colours and feelings like no other place in the world can do.

Connect with Chiara via Twitter or Facebook.


Paola Noé

Owner of the kids design site unduetrestella.

My favourite place is Bonassola in the province of La Spezia [Italian Riviera], a tiny village on the sea.

I went there as a child with my parents and I went back after twenty years with a man who has since become my husband. We both loved it and we now take our daughters there.

It’s a strange place; there is nothing to do there really. But the sea is dreamlike and the sunset is unlike anything else. In the morning all you desire is for the ocean to be even bluer than the day before and each evening to see a sunset that is essential and unique to that place!

That just makes me feel so good.

Connect with Paola via Twitter or Facebook



B4Valentina Orsini and Paola Mazza

Owners of Deliglam

Where we would most recommend a holiday is in Bologna, where me and Valentina met! Bologna is known in Italy as “The Red One”, “the Educated One”, the “Fat One” and it’s where we recommend a foodie tour in Italy.

Bologna is a city of covered walkways where you can walk for hours in the rain without ever getting wet. It’s a city of the seven churches of Santo Stefano and the oldest university in the world – which fills the city with students and young people. You can enjoy twenty four seven nightlife, cocktails in the the sunset in Piazza Verdi and the festivals all summer in Margherita park.

The Fat City is a place to eat with pleasure and happiness (try Osteria 15 for the fried dumplings, cheese with balsamic vinegar and crispy potatoes – you’ll love them). And if you feel like shopping, Bologna is a great city for vintage shops. The Montagnola Market (every Friday and Saturday) is a thriving and unpredictable cascade of second hand. Think coloured coats from the fifties and sixties, kimonos, American clothes, jeans and handbags. All topped off with a good-natured and jovial atmosphere. Bologna is like that; it’s unsual.

She’s an eccentric, lusty and very entertaining lady. Bologna is red like her brick buildings, her roofs and the Asinelli towers that hover above the city like two old friends.

Connect with Valentina and Paola on Twitter or Facebook



Flavia La Rocca

Fashion designer and owner of Flavia La Rocca

I always enjoy discovering new places; Italy is full of different realities that are all beautiful, from the art cities to the business centers to the places where nature predominates.

I find it amazing to discover the diversity of the customs, the history and the “know how” of each place, city and state, especially when you realize how ancient they are. It’s hard for me to choose one place but if I think of vacations then I think of the summer — therefore the seaside.

Polignano a Mare [Apulia/Bari Puglia] is my first choice. It’s the birthplace of my grandmother and where I spent holidays as a child. I went there last summer after many years had passed and I felt such intense emotions with crystal clear sea and fantastic food.

The second place in my heart is Sicily: Catania and Taormina. I was captivated by the beauty of these incredible towns and the almost surreal atmosphere that surrounds them. Here, too, you find crystal clear sea and great food. I ate the best breakfast of my life here: granita in a brioche, a local specialty.

Connect with Flavia on Twitter or Facebook



Chiara Formenti

Co-owners of the kids design blog Le Funky Mamas

The place where I love to spend my Italian holidays is certainly not as famous as the award winning Tuscany. But it’s a place of my heart, deeply connected to the history of my family: Friuli Venezia Giulia. It’s a strip of land between Italy, Slovenia and Austria protected by the imposing beauty of the Dolomite Mountains and bathed by the waters of the Adriatic.

Friuli is a constant discovery and is a region with diverse influences full of history; a history that is noticeable in the traditions of architecture and the different local dialects. From the beaches of Lignano you can drive for a sampling of “prosciutto di San Daniele”, or if you prefer the mountains visit Tarvisio to relax in a farmhouse in the beautiful countryside that extends all the way to the Veneto border. Friuli has many ways to spend a relaxing holiday whether you want to get lost in the countryside, the sea or the mountains. It’s a place to roam between good food and most of all — good wine!

Connect with Chiara on Twitter or Facebook



Francesca Gonzales

Owner of the food blog Spadelliamo Insieme

For me, the ideal holiday destination is Sicily because of its wonderful sea, unadulterated natural landscape and the scents; of earth, licorice and the ocean. These elements together enter your veins and make it impossible for you to forget.

Also, if you’re passionate about food like me Sicily offers an immense amount of excitement for your taste buds.

And if you want to do something different than the traditional beach holiday, it’s a land full of culture and places to explore with both historical and gastronomic highlights.

I’ll be honest – I’m already planning to go there this summer!

Connect with Francesca on Twitter or Facebook.



Alessandra Caprini

Owner of the design blog Design Your Life

The places where I love to spend a few days of vacation are near my house — I don’t say this from boring patriotism, but because they’re the places where I feel the need to escape to.

I’m talking about Norcia, Castelluccio di Norcia and the Sibillini Mountains that surround them.

There is no particular reason why I love these places but I love the feeling of being close to everything and at the same time far away from everything. The thing I adore is to drive through the Sibillini mountains, go to a rifugio [a country shelter], arm myself with a camera and walk to the green fields above and then just sit and watch the breathtaking landscape and the wonderful sky.

Up there the wild horses roam free, you can stumble on a flock of sheep, or watch the hang gliders catch the wind; it’s where you can actually touch peace with your own hand.

Alessandra is on Facebook.



Maurizia Triggiani

Owner of the food blog Il Rifugio di Zia Topolinda

My holidays in Italy are spent in Viareggio [northern Tuscany].

I’m Milanese through and through so I love the sea — but I need to be in a town with shops, restaurants, movie theatres and gelato shops close by. In Viareggio I enjoy the civilized comforts of the beaches with showers, loungers and umbrellas as well as swimming pools right on the beach and the chance to watch the sun set over the sea.

Then there’s the joy of walking in the pine woods and the access to the beautiful Tuscan towns and their specialty foods just a day trip away. Viareggio is rich but never snobby; even in winter it’s never sad because it has the magic of “Il Carnevale” [a parade in February] to excite even the non-party goers with its explosion of satire, colours and an amazing display of craftsmanship.

Connect with Maurizia on Twitter.



Arianna Vivenzio

Industrial designer; founder of Ochobags.

My ideal holiday can only be in my beloved Puglia, specifically in the area of Brindisi between Ostuni and Cisternino where you’ll find splendid white villages perched on the promontory that divides the Itria Valley.

These villages are scattered with the legendary trulli [ancient homes] and occupies the beautiful coastline dotted with white dunes, centuries old olive groves and old style farms retrofitted with modern interiors.

I love to listen to good music in a beach bar during the day or eat orecchiette [pasta] at a sagra [local food fair] in the evening. I’m very tied to these places and I hope to one day find myself living there in a farmhouse far away from the hustle and bustle of the city so I can finally dedicate myself to my car production.

Connect with Arianna on Twitter



Valentina Rizzo

Co-owner of Manena Hostel

My favourite place to spend a vacation is called Montaretto.

It’s a tiny hamlet overlooking the sea where you can really enjoy all the wonders of the earth, the sun, the mountain air, the breathtaking view and exceptional wine and food – especially at the “Critical Wine” Festival. This important event takes place every spring in the heart of the village at La Casa del Popolo [The House of the People], an important community center.

If you’re a hiker or you just want to walk the footpaths then you’ll discover you can easily get to Montaretto strolling through the hills from the neighbouring villages of Framura or Bonassola [just north of the Cinque Terre].

Connect with Valentina on Twitter or Facebook



Alessandra Sorrentino

Owner of the fashion blog Rosaspina Vintage

My ideal Italian vacation would undoubtedly be in Sicily.

In particular I love the coastal area that goes from the Zingaro Nature Reserve near San Vito lo Capo all the way to Cefalù, including the Egadi and Aeolian islands. I would go back to those places in the blink of an eye, not just for the incredible beauty of the area but also for my roots and the memories of my summers spent there as a child.

The feeling of finding the same scent every time — of the sea, the taste of mulberry granita, the quiet at four in the afternoon, the prickly pears that line the streets and the feeling of time passing more slowly; it makes me feel immediately at home and makes me forget all the reasons why we stress out in the city!

Connect with Alessandra on Twitter or Facebook



Elisa Bersani

Owner of the fashion blog The Gummy Sweet

My ideal place to spend a holiday in Italy is Ogliastra [Eastern Sardinia].

In particular, the area of Baunei, with its coves which are only accessible by boat (Mariolu, Biriola Cala, Cala dei Gabbiani) and are pure paradise. The surrounding area is full of colours, flavours and fragrances where you can day trip to beautiful places like the gola di Gorropu [a canyon] and the spectacular nuragic [ancient Sardinian civilization] in the village of Tiscali.

Ogliastra is an area where sea and mountains converge to reward you with a relaxing holiday and countless interesting places to discover and admire.

Connect with Elisa on Twitter or Facebook


Hey, do you know someone who loves to travel?  Could you forward this list to them or share it on Facebook. That would be groovy.

Please comment.

Have the women above inspired you to go anywhere new?

Can you add your personal recommendation to this list of the best spot in Italy?


xx Bianca


Happy Anniversary

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

Post image for Happy Anniversary

Eight years ago today I married my Italian sweetheart in Italy.

We ran off to city hall. The wind was blowing.

It hadn’t occurred to me to hire a wedding photographer, buy a dress or don some new shoes. We wore what we had, planned nothing and spent nothing; the sprig of baby’s breath behind my ear was my biggest splurge.

We borrowed the wedding rings from his mom; inscribed with her name and the name of her husband long passed. I felt honoured to become a part of that family circle.

We didn’t invite anyone really: it seemed frivolous to ask my family to travel from Canada and so we decided not to invite his family either even if they lived in the same town — but the Italians didn’t listen. Family, friends and relatives showed up at the wedding they weren’t invited to bearing flowers and hugs. We were overjoyed to see them. All together we made city hall feel lively and happy on that cold March day.


Alessandro and I have filled the last eight years with many plane tickets over the Atlantic, immigration papers, our very first home (built from Youtube reno tutorials), our gorgeous shiny daughter Flora, lots and lots of work, a good amount of tears, a mom’s passing, juice fasts, cozy rainy nights, weekend walks on the beach, some hella big blowups, dreams, goals, hopes and satisfaction. It’s been a messy ball of yarn. And it’s been a damn good ride. And a damn great partnership.


Marriage is something I went into knowing nothing. Less than nothing. I was carefree with the arrogance of youth backing me up saying; no big deal. But it IS a big deal. It’s an investment into the rhythm of showing up every day in someone else’s life. Sometimes the going is great. Sometimes the going sucks.  But it’s not a practice run and it’s not a play for keeps. It’s your path and someone else’s path becoming a wider path for as long as the choice presents itself to travel it. In eight years of marriage I’ve learned that and so much more.

Buon anniversario. xx Bianca



Drawing by Julie Morstad.



photo workshop florence

I am very excited to introduce someone special to you today.

Her name is Giulia and she has invited us to her home in the Tuscan hills outside of San Gimignano for a Tuscan cooking lesson.

I can’t wait.

This experience will be included in the upcoming photography workshop in Florence this May. See more juicy details here.

An Italian cooking lesson with a cookbook author and blogger.

Giulia’s country home will host our group as we spend the afternoon stirring pots, chopping herbs and creating our Tuscan feast. The cooking lessons will introduce each dish with family stories and local traditions; you’ll learn to cook as Tuscan grandmas and moms do every day in their kitchens for their families.

Giulia has been living in the Tuscan countryside her entire life in the same house where her father was born and her grandmother was also born.

Her strong connection of place and her passion for the best locally sourced ingredients will allow you the share in the intense spirit of cooking, eating and celebrating — Tuscan style.

The experience.

Of course the evening will also be a wonderful opportunity to put your new food shooting skills to the test that you learned earlier in the week. It will also be interesting to hear how Giulia turned her love of food into becoming a full time food blogger. She is celebrating her fourth year writing the incredible Tuscan food heaven in pixels: Juls’ Kitchen.

No cooking class at Juls’ kitchen would be complete without a wander through her Tuscan hill town and an aperitivo in the garden. It’s the calm before the eating storm.

I’m so honoured to be able to set the table this spring with Giulia, photo workshop leader Leela Cyd, and the wonderful group of women who have joined this trip so far. As of today there is still space available if you would like us to set a place at the table for you too.

If you want a dose of Tuscany, creativity, incredible food, fresh air and the sparkly vibe of Florence then on behalf of myself, Giulia and Leela we invite you to join us for this incredible week. See the full itinerary.

It’s an Italian vacation masterfully orchestrated to rock your socks learning new skills in a friendly and fun environment so you can be even more amazing than you already are.

I’ll eat to that.

julskitchen_2 julskitchen_florence_workshop julskitchen_1 julskitchen_country julskitchen_coffeecake julskitchen_chicken julskitchen_chicken_2 julskitchen_gnocchi_1 julskitchen_gnocchi_1a

julskitchen_pasta julskitchen_tirarmisu julskitchen_tiramisu


All photos by Giulia Scarpaleggia of Juls’ Kitchen.

Please comment.

Would you like to learn Italian cooking in Italy? What’s the best Italian meal you’ve ever eaten?