Italian Culture Crash Course + Travel Itinerary

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Growing up, I dreamed of Paris and the Eiffel Tower - Italy didn’t spark much of an interest in me. Actually now that I think about it… my birthday meal request was stromboli and I loved going to Buca di Beppo as a kid so maybe Italy has always been written on my heart.

This past month I visited the little town of Acquapendente and stayed at a charming bed & breakfast, Il Tesoro, located in the heart of Italy. I couldn’t say better things about my overall experience and felt like I truly tasted Italian culture for a week. If you’re traveling to Italy any time soon (or want to after reading this post) I put together a 5-day itinerary based on my favorite locations we visited around Il Tesoro. You may also want to buy a one way ticket...

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5 Day Travel Itinerary

Day 1

Civita di Bagnoregio - 2500 year old city on a hill

Hike up bridge to the city, explore lookout points, enjoy a glass of wine at Alma Civita

Day 2

Montepulciano - Tuscan hilltown

Walk up to city square, get a birdseye view from vista points

Avignonesi Vineyard - Wine + cheese tasting

Ship a bottle home of your favorite organic wine!

Day 3

Bottega Conticelli - Tour of custom leather factory + shopping their samples

Pizza Lunch at rustic Trattoria da Ciccio a la Capannaccia

Day 4

Orvieto - Ancient hilltop town that dates back to 800 B.C.

See the Duomo, boutique shopping, try gelato

Day 5

Acquapendente - small town with amazing architecture + friendly feel

See beautiful cathedrals and enjoy boutique shopping at great prices

Pasta Lunch at Enoteca Gli OstiNati

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Italian Culture Crash Course
1. Never order a cappuccino after 10am. Those are exclusive to breakfast, and macchiato or espresso would be a common choice midday.

2. Everything shuts down around 1pm for Riposo - an Italian ‘siesta’. Stores reopen in the evening, so plan your grocery run for the morning or evening.

3. Dinner is typically around 8pm. If you’re used to an early dinner - grab some afternoon gelato to hold you over.

4. There’s no option for salad dressing. If you order a salad you’ll be given a bottle of olive oil and one of balsamic. I wish we did this in the U.S.!

5. Most restaurants have a cover charge (coverto) just for sitting down at a table. Typically you get a bread basket though - so no complaining here.

6. ‘Ciao’ works for hello + goodbye.

7. If you buy a ticket at the train station, make sure to validate it with the ticket machines.

8. The piled high gelato (although appealing to the eye) is full of stabilizers to keep it from melting. The smaller batches are actually much fresher and tastier.

9. Each region has a completely different feel, kitchen, and culture. Be curious and visit a few regions to get a wide variety of experiences!

10. Italians love to talk about food + cooking. Strike up a conversation about their favorite dish to make or invite a new friend out to dinner - they’ll talk for an hour about how to make the best raviolis and their secret ingredient for bolognese.

Have you been to Italy? My husband has still never been and we’re hoping to go back together next year. Let me know what new places we should visit!