10 sweet wines to try before you leave Italy

Are you travelling to Italy and have in mind to be delighted by the amazing and affordable Italian wines and you are just thinking to Prosecco and Chianti? Be open minded and you’d be incredibly surprised. This is a very short list of wines I like to recommend to my foodie­friends travelling in Italy, surely not exhaustive of the great variety of Italian wines produced, but wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.
 

  • 1)Frascati Superiore (Lazio) –When in Rome you cannot miss to taste the edge of local wine. This wine is a DOCG. With an amazing straw­colour almost brilliant, with an amazing and persistent bouquet with floral scent and exotic fruit. Amazing pairing with: tonnarello cacao e pepe, fresh cheeses, shellfish. Try: Poggio Verde Principe Pallavicini (wine shop ave. price: € 12,00 bottle)

 
 

  • 2) Friuli Colli Orientali (Friuli Venezia Giulia) – the amazing elegance. Scent of hay and stones, very fresh taste rich in minerality, cedar, exotic fruit. Pairing with: soups and risotto. Try: Friuli Colli Orientali Illivio Felluga (wine shop: € 22,00 bottle)

 
 

  • 3) Chardonnay (Piemonte) – If looking for a completely different Chardonnay experience try a luxury Chardonnay produced in langhe region, in the Barbaresco area. Here every vineyard and wine producer will offer you a different wine due to the variety of soil which changes metre by metre. Be delighted by superb concentration of perfumes, mature fruit, a lively acidity and an amazing long­lasting persistency. If aged become more and more harmonic. Amazing pairing with: truffle, fish, white meat, soups and pasta. Try: Chardonnay 2013 Gaya & Rey (wine shop: € 145,00 bottle)

 
 

  • 4)Garganega (Veneto) – this lovely white wine produced with local grapes is a top expression of its land. Soil of volcanic origin, full of basalt, gives to grapes and exceptional minerality and aromatic flavour. Full in salinity. Typical straw­colour, scent of peach, apple, camomile and stone. Amazing sensations in the mouth very fresh. Perfect when paired with: pies, vegetarian meals, fried fish, chicken curry. Try: Soave Classico DOC Inama 2013 (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

 
 

  • 5)Vermentino (Ligura) ­ this variety, descendant of the Spanish vine present in Tuscany, Sardinia and Corsica, in Liguria produces and incredibly flavoured wine, full body and alcohol, fruity and aromatic herbs scent, lightly almond aftertaste. In Liguria more than fruity gives very delicate notes with prevalence of thymus, sage, Mediterranean scrub. Paring with: appetizers, fish, pasta. Try: Fosso di Corsano Vermentino Colli di Luni Terenzuola 2015 (wine shop: € 13,00)

 
 

  • 6)Verdicchio (Marche) – definitely one of the oldest Italian variety. Typical colour gold-green, with a typical intense almond aftertaste. Fresh and often really saline is balanced with a good alcohol quantity that makes it smooth. Perfumes of herbs, grass and fruit. Pairing with: appetizers, fried specialties, roasted fish and first courses, turkey and white meat. Try: Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classsico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013 (wine shop: €32,00)

 
 

  • 7)Ribolla Gialla (Friuli venezia Giulia) ­ Ancient variety that grows on hills typically flavoured as peach, pear, lavender and herbs. Complex and elegant nose. Could be your favourite wine. Very drinkable. Perfect pairing: Fish in any cooking style, appetizers, eggs, quiches, white meat with sauce. Try Ribolla Gialla Damijan Podversic 2011 (wine shop: € 30,00 bottle)

 
 

  • 8)Prosecco (Glera) Conegliano Valdobbiadene­ a status symbol and must to drink, perfect for the happy hour and more, the best Prosecco is produced on the hills in Cartizze with the Italian method Martinotti/Charmat. Dry wine with lively acidity. Inviting fragrance. Sweet acacia flowers and hazelnuts scent Perfect pairing: celebrating something. Try: Valdobbiadene Prosecco superiore di Cartizze dry 2014 Bortomiol (wine shop: € 18,00 bottle)

 
 

  • 9)Grillo (Sicilia) – Variety cultivated all over Sicily, important for production of Marsala, alone is very elegant and generous, amazing if refined in wood. Typical intense nose of candy citrus fruit. Amazing opportunity to be aged. If vinified in purity and stainless steel,become amazingly perfumed and tasty. Scent of delicate fruit and herbs. Perfect pairing:shellfishes, mussels, risotto with fish. Try : Il Grillo ’14 Feudo Disisa (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle)

 
 

  • 10)Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Toscana) ­ No Italian wine can boast a history that dates back centuries like this wine. Pale straw yellow coloured wine with golden highlights that become more evident with age. The perfume is fine and delicate, with fruity and floral scents when the wine is young. As it matures and ages, it develops the characteristic mineral scent of flint. It is a dry, harmonious and savoury flavoured wine. Amazing capacity for ageing. Pairing with: “Ribollita” soup and all variants of this found throughout Tuscany. Fish dishes any style. Fried food and eggs. White meats and medium mature cheeses. Try: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Sanice Riserva 2012. (wine shop: € 12,00 bottle)

 
 
Daniela Cassoni, Foodie & Founder @ www.gourmetaly.com, wine & travel expert.

10 Italian white wines to try before you leave Italy

Are you coming to Italy? Are you looking forward to tasting Prosecco and Chianti? Be open mind and you will be incredibly surprised!

In this shortlist I want to recommend the best 10 Italian white wines to my foodie friends traveling all over the country. Surely, it does not include the great variety of Italian wines, but it consists of wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.

  1. Frascati Superiore (Lazio)

    When in Rome you cannot miss tasting the edge of local white wines.Color: straw color, almost brilliant.
    Taste: Persistent bouquet with a floral scent and exotic fruit.
    To pair with: tonnarello cacio e pepe, fresh cheeses, shellfish.
    Category: DOCG.
    Try: Poggio Verde Principe Pallavicini (wine shop ave. price: € 12,00 bottle).

  2. Chardonnay (Piemonte)

    If you are looking for a completely different Chardonnay experience, try a luxury Chardonnay made in the Langhe region (in the Barbaresco area).
    Here, every vineyard and wine producer will offer you a different kind of wines, due to the variety of soil that changes meter by meter.
    Taste: superb concentration of perfumes, mature fruits, a lively acidity, and amazing long-lasting persistence. If aged, it becomes more and more harmonic.
    To pair with: truffle, fish, white meat, soups, and pasta.
    Try: Chardonnay 2013 Gaya & Rey (wine shop: € 145,00 bottle).

  3. Friuli Colli Orientali (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

    Taste: Scent of hay and stones, very fresh, rich in minerals, with the flavor of cedar and exotic fruit.
    To pair with: soups and risotto.
    Try: Friuli Colli Orientali Illivio Felluga (wine shop: € 22,00 bottle).

  4. Garganega (Veneto)

    This lovely Italian white wine, produced with local grapes, is a top expression of its land. The soil of volcanic origin, full of basalt, makes the grapes rich in minerals, and it gives an aromatic flavour to them.
    Color: typical straw-color.
    Taste: Full in salinity, the scent of peach, apple, chamomile, and stone. Very fresh.
    To pair with: pies, vegetarian meals, fried fish, chicken curry.
    Try: Soave Classico DOC Inama 2013 (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

  5. Vermentino (Liguria)

    This variety descends from the Spanish vines that you can find in Tuscany, Sardinia, Corsica, and Liguria, and it produces incredibly flavored wines.
    Taste: full body and alcohol, fruity and aromatic herbs scent, lightly almond aftertaste. Delicate notes with the prevalence of thymus, sage, Mediterranean scrub.
    To pair with: appetizers, fish, pasta.
    Try: Fosso di Corsano Vermentino Colli di Luni Terenzuola 2015 (wine shop: € 13,00).

  6. Verdicchio (Marche)

    This white wine is definitely one of the oldest Italian ones.
    Color: gold-green.
    Taste: typical intense almond aftertaste. Fresh and often very saline, it is balanced with good alcohol quantity that makes it smooth. Perfumes of herbs, grass, and fruit.
    To pair with: appetizers, fried specialties, roasted fish and first courses, turkey and white meat.
    Try: Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classsico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013 (wine shop: € 32,00).

  7. Ribolla Gialla (Friuli Venezia Giulia)

    This is an ancient variety of white wines that grow on hills.
    Taste: peach, pear, lavender, and herbs. Complex and elegant nose.
    To pair with: fish in any cooking style, appetizers, eggs, quiches, white meat with sauce.
    Try: Ribolla Gialla Damijan Podversic 2011 (wine shop: € 30,00 bottle).

  8. Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene (Veneto)

    Prosecco is a status symbol and a must to drink, perfect for the happy hour. When in Italy, you should try the one produced in Cartizze with the Italian method Martinotti/Charmat.
    Taste: dry wine with lively acidity. Inviting fragrance. Sweet acacia flowers and hazelnuts scent.
    To pair with: celebrating something.
    Try: Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze Dry 2014 Bortomiol (wine shop: € 18,00 bottle).

  9. Grillo (Sicilia)

    This variety of Italian white wines is cultivated all over the Sicily, and it is important for the production of Marsala. Alone, Grillo is very elegant and generous, amazing if it is refined in wood.
    Taste: intense nose of candy citrus fruit. If vinified in purity and stainless steel, it becomes amazingly perfumed and tasty. The scent of delicate fruit and herbs. Amazing capacity for aging.
    To pair with: shellfishes, mussels, risotto with fish.
    Try: Il Grillo ‘14 Feudo Disisa (wine shop: € 10,00 bottle).

  10. Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Toscana)

    No Italian wine can boast a history that dates back centuries like Vernaccia di San Gimignano.Color: pale straw yellow with golden highlights that become more evident with age.
    Taste: perfume fine and delicate. Fruity and floral scents (when the wine is young); the mineral scent of flint (when it matures). It is a dry, harmonious and savory flavored wine. Amazing capacity for aging.
    To pair with: “ribollita” soup and all variants of this found throughout Tuscany; fish dishes; fried food and eggs; white meats and medium mature cheeses.
    Try: Vernaccia di San Gimignano Sanice Riserva 2012 (wine shop: € 12,00 bottle).

10 Italian red wines to try before you leave Italy

If you are coming to Italy, and you are looking forward to tasting the amazing and affordable Italian red wines, this list is for you.

It is a shortlist of Italian red wines I like to recommend to my foodie friends who are traveling all over the country. Surely, it does not include the great variety of Italian wines, but it consists of those kinds of wines in which you can find the soul of Italian regions and traditions.
Here you are the top 10 Italian red wines you should try before you leave.

  1. Amarone della Valpolicella (Veneto)

    With its intense spicy taste, this wine is like a serenade to a lover.
    It is produced with a particular process starting from grapes partially dried, then fermented until all sugars turn into alcohol. The result is a full-bodied wine with a high level of alcohol (often over 15°) and elegant tannins, suitable for long aging.
    To pair with: herb cheeses, gorgonzola, smoked cheeses, risotto Milanese style.
    Category: DOCG.
    Try: classic Campolongo di Torbe 2009 Masi (wine shop ave. price: € 98,00 bottle).

  2. Barolo (Piemonte, Langhe e Roero)

    This wine is produced with grapes of high hills, and it is very different according to the year of harvest, the location of the vineyard and the age of the plants.
    Taste: amazing nose with complex and intense sensations of red flowers, black cherries, licorice, tobacco, spices, and balsamic herbs. It is smooth and strong at the same time, with powerful and rounded tannins.
    To pair with: Brasato al Barolo (meat marinated in wine), roasted lamb, Grana Padano cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, grilled beef.
    TryBarolo Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe Riserva 2009 (wine shop ave. price: € 85,00 bottle).

  3. Barbera (Piemonte)

    Taste: strong acidity able to balance a high content of alcohol. Its flavor is powerful and elegant at the same time, with typical cherry and red fruits flavor turning with age to spicy and cinnamon, sometimes licorice and mushrooms.
    To pair with: sheep cheeses, pig’s trotters, carpaccio, tortellini, boiled meat, taleggio cheese, fontina.
    TryBarbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza 2012 Olim Bauda (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).

  4. Brunello di Montalcino (Toscana)

    Taste: soft rounded tannins, salinity, moderate alcohol, splendid nose sensation of roses and red fruit followed by mineral notes and licorice.
    To pair with: pork, roasted meat (duck, chicken), hare, pecorino Romano.
    Try: Brunello di Montalcino Montosoli 2010 Fattoria Altesino (wine shop: € 35,00 bottle).

  5. Sangiovese (Emilia Romagna)

    Taste: fruity nose with the sensation of black raspberry, spices, and wood. Nice salinity, full-body, elegant tannins, and spicy aftertaste.
    To pair with: pasta al ragu, meat, aged cheeses, game meat.
    Try: Sangiovese AVI riserva 2010 San Patrignano (wine shop ave. price: € 16,00 bottle).

  6. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane (Abruzzo)

    To pair with: smoked beef, Alto Adige speck, smoked prosciutto, spaghetti al ragu, roasted lamb, pasta amatriciana, sausages.
    Try: Colline Teramane Pieluni Riserva 2010 Illuminati (wine shop ave. price: €22,00 bottle).

  7. Aglianico del Taburno (Campania)

    Taste: delicate nose fresh grass and wild flowers.
    To pair with: fish and meat.
    Try: Vigna Cataratte Riserva 2008 Fontanavecchia (wine shop: € 25,00 bottle).

  8. Frappato (Sicilia)

    Taste: fresh and delicate wine lively and persistent with fruity sensations.
    To pair with: roasted chicken, pasta with meat sauce.
    Try: Il Frappato 2013 Occhipinti (wine shop ave. price: € 25,00).

  9. Etna Rosso (Sicilia)

    This wine comes from the vineyards that grow on volcanic soil, and it is full of minerals. Taste: red fruits, aromatic herbs, and salt.
    To pair with: pecorino romano, pecorino sardo, escalopes with marsala, tripe.
    Try: Etna Rosso San Lorenzo 2013 Girolamo Russo (wine shop ave. price: € 38,00).

  10. Sagrantino (Umbria)

    Taste: powerful and intense nose very complex. Fruity and aromatic herbs, cherry, mint, and oregano. Full body, persistent taste. It needs a long refinement in the bottle.
    To pair with: roasted meat, red meat, braised, hare and aged cheeses.
    Try: Montefalco Sagrantino Chiusa di Pannone 2008 Antonelli (wine shop ave. price: € 30,00).

 

What to do and where to eat in Rome: Colosseo

Are you in Rome? Would you like to know what to and which are the best restaurants near the Colosseum? If so, keep reading this article.

A little bit of history: the Colosseum

The site chosen was a flat area on the floor of a low valley between the Caelian, Esquiline and Palatine Hills, through which a canalized stream ran. Gladiatorial schools and other support buildings were constructed nearby within the former grounds of the Domus Aurea. In contrast to many other amphitheaters, which were located on the outskirts of a city, the Colosseum was constructed in the city center; in effect, placing it both symbolically and precisely at the heart of Rome.
Construction of the Colosseum began under the rule of Vespasian in around 70–72 AD (73-75 AD according to some sources)The Colosseum had been completed up to the third story by the time of Vespasian’s death in 79. The top-level was finished by his son, Titus, in 80, and the inaugural games were held in A.D. 80 or 81. Dio Cassius recounts that over 9,000 wild animals were killed during the inaugural games of the amphitheater. Commemorative coinage was issued celebrating the inauguration. The building was remodeled further under Vespasian’s younger son, the newly designated Emperor Domitian, who constructed the hypogeum, a series of underground tunnels used to house animals and slaves. He also added a gallery to the top of the Colosseum to increase its seating capacity.
In 217, the Colosseum was badly damaged by a major fire (caused by lightning, according to Dio Cassius) which destroyed the wooden upper levels of the amphitheater’s interior. It was not fully repaired until about 240 and underwent further repairs in 250 or 252 and again in 320. Gladiatorial fights are last mentioned around 435. An inscription records the restoration of various parts of the Colosseum under Theodosius II and Valentinian III (reigned 425–455), possibly to repair damage caused by a major earthquake in 443; more work followed in 484 and 508. The arena continued to be used for contests well into the 6th century. Animal hunts continued until at least 523, when Anicius Maximus celebrated his consulship with some venationes, criticized by King Theodoric the Great for their high cost.
The Colosseum underwent several radical changes of use during the medieval period. By the late 6th century a small chapel had been built into the structure of the amphitheater, though this apparently did not confer any particular religious significance on the building as a whole. The arena was converted into a cemetery. The numerous vaulted spaces in the arcades under the seating were converted into housing and workshops, and are recorded as still being rented out as late as the 12th century. Around 1200 the Frangipani family took over the Colosseum and fortified it, apparently using it as a castle.
During the 16th and 17th century, Church officials sought a productive role for the Colosseum. Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590) planned to turn the building into a wool factory to provide employment for Rome’s prostitutes, though this proposal fell through with his premature death. In 1671 Cardinal Altieri authorized its use for bullfights; a public outcry caused the idea to be hastily abandoned.
In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV endorsed the view that the Colosseum was a sacred site where early Christians had been martyred. He forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry and consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Cross, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who perished there. However, there is no historical evidence to support Benedict’s claim, nor is there even any evidence that anyone prior to the 16th century suggested this might be the case; the Catholic Encyclopedia concludes that there are no historical grounds for the supposition, other than the reasonably plausible conjecture that some of the many martyrs may well have been.
The Colosseum is today one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions, receiving millions of visitors annually.  In recent years the Colosseum has become a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment, which was abolished in Italy in 1948. Several anti-death penalty demonstrations took place in front of the Colosseum in 2000. Since that time, as a gesture against the death penalty, the local authorities of Rome change the color of the Colosseum’s night time illumination from white to gold whenever a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence commuted or is released, or if a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty. Most recently, the Colosseum was illuminated in gold in November 2012 following the abolishment of capital punishment in the American state of Connecticut on April 2012.
Because of the ruined state of the interior, it is impractical to use the Colosseum to host large events; only a few hundred spectators can be accommodated in temporary seating. However, much larger concerts have been held just outside, using the Colosseum as a backdrop. Performers who have played at the Colosseum in recent years have included Ray Charles (May 2002), Paul McCartney (May 2003), Elton John (September 2005), and Billy Joel (July 2006).

When to go

The best period to visit the Colosseum is, in my opinion, spring (from April to the end of May), the reason is that in summer is way too crowded and busy and since you can visit the inside of the amphitheater, it’s better to do it without thousands of people around, even though for security reason they don’t let more than 3000 people in at the same time. Spring is the best period even because the Colosseum is one of the highlights in Rome that you should see both with the daylight than at night, so if you come in winter maybe it’s too cold to go for a walk at midnight, but spring has the perfect temperature to do it.
The Colosseum is opened every day from 8.30 am till 4:30 pm in winter and from 8:30 am till 7 pm in summer.

What and where to eat: restaurants near Colosseum

This is one of the most suggestive and romantic areas of Rome, so my advice is, at least once, to have dinner here, even if probably it will cost a little bit more than other areas. There are three amazing restaurants (and not too expensive), just few steps from the Colosseum: Le Terme del Colosseo (Via del Cardello 13), where you can have a lovely dinner with entertainment, because sometimes they have singers or bands playing music at dinner time; Hostaria Isidoro al Colosseo (Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 59/A), one of the most famous restaurant in Rome where you can taste the real roman culinary  tradition in all the recipes; Naumachia (Via Celimontana 7), a very nice place famous for their pizza and their antipasti (you should try the supplì or the eggplants!).
As always, since you’re going to be in the most famous country in the world for gelato and caffè, I have advice even for some bars and gelaterie.
Oppio Caffè (Via delle Terme di Tito 72) is one of the best places around the Colosseum for aperitif, and they have some tables outside just in front of the Colosseum itself, so you even have an amazing view; please always remember that when you sit outside, especially in front of monuments or big squares, you may pay an extra; the two best gelaterie of the district are: La Dolce Vita (Via Cavour 306), try their wild fruits and yogurt and Cremeria Don Pepe (Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 40).

How to reach it

Getting to the Colosseum is very easy, you can arrive here with the subway (the B line, the blue line), or by bus: 75, 81, 673, 175, 204.

Contact us

Any inquiry about this article? Write to Federica at love@www.gourmetaly.com. Federica is a local foodie and insider, she was born in Rome and studied foreign languages. Meet Federica and join one of our events.

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