Curious Appetite

Italy

Where to eat & drink near Piazzale in San Niccolò (Florence, Italy)

San Niccolò is a sort of micro-neighborhood on the way to the trek to Piazzale Michelangelo, a popular square where you can get a stellar view of the city. Unfortunately, pop tourism has influenced Piazzale Michelangelo to be a sort of Disneyland attraction with bad food carts, painful cover music belting buskers and plastic souvenir vendors. But the view makes up for nearly all of it. But the area offers much more than just this concrete plaza, albeit scenic.

I would implore you to make the extra hike up to San Miniato al Monte and explore the monumental cemetery in the back. Or hang out with a picnic blanket in the rose garden or stroll through the Giardino dell’Iris. Just promise to do more than just Piazzale Michelangelo if you’re in the hood. (And while I have your attention for promises, let’s connect on Instagram for daily updates/tips and subscribe to my newsletter for intel/guides that doesn’t make it on the blog) Continue Reading

Where to to eat & drink in Venice, Italy (mostly for cicchetti)

This is a highly subjective mini-guide to where to eat in Venice along with tips for spritz, wine, restaurants and local resources. Before I get into that, allow me to share a few thoughts on this majestic city. (Follow my Instagram page for more food & drink finds & restaurant suggestions in cities like Florence, as well as travel tips around Italy)

Prior to moving to Florence, I boycotted visiting Venice believe it or not. This was in the beginning of my Italian path (which started in 2005 and included trips and study abroad semesters) but the boycott ended when I moved to Florence in 2012. I boycotted visiting because even between 2005-2012, I saw Venice as an unsustainable city overrun by mass tourism and little left for locals. I didn’t want to contribute to the problem.

In hindsight, that was perhaps egocentric, as I’m just one person when we should be getting involved with tackling the bigger monsters such as climate change and global warming fueled by profits over people that pose the truest existential threats to a sinking Venice.  Continue Reading

Thoughts on covid-19 in Italy, experiencing it in Florence plus ways to help

Taken 2 days after I arrived, happy as a clam in my home, before the covid-19 mess hit Italy.

Hello readers, it’s been a whirlwind of a month (rather, 2020 in general) and I feel like in a matter of days, my life has been flipped upside down- along with many others who work in the travel industry or anything to do with Italy. I feel like we have all gone through the stages of a breakup trying to understand what the hell just happened, and now I’m at the stage of acceptance and hope.

I started composing this post from the airport in Florence last week before the nationwide lockdown occurred, awaiting my return flight with a heavy heart and confusion over Italy’s long path ahead to recovery. I am fine/healthy, and am definitely practicing social distancing while laying low.

This post is intended to share my impressions/thoughts as someone who works in the travel industry, including resources from locals on the ground.

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Where to drink Italian wine in San Francisco and back to Italy

you’d be a monster to not want to be here

In a few posts back, I detailed navigating into a new chapter in San Francisco. It’s been a decision steadfast in the making. I spent last year a couple months at a time in this complicated California dreamy city on the Bay to see if I really wanted to make the leap.

The last 7 years in Florence have been extremely transformational, and in certain ways it is where I’ve become an adult and put down professional roots- you remember this is where my Florence food and drink tour baby was born then with Bologna tours to follow (and is still growing and still running- possible to an awesome team on the ground who leads and manages the tours so not to fret!) Hence, leaving Florence was not the easiest decision to make.

It’s now been since March I’ve happily landed in San Francisco and I’ve rarely missed Florence if I can be honest, for a litany of reasons. I genuinely love it here and am so glad I followed by gut instead of staying behind in Florence out of fear or resignation.

that me, showing off my tour company’s shout-out in the August edition of Lonely Planet Mag! In front of Seattle’s famous gum wall during a weekend trip now I’m so close to my hometown

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A love letter to Modica and ode to 2018- meat cookies and all

I traveled to Modica for chocolate and all I got was this meat cookie 😉 Taken from the balcony of where I stayed: Anime a Sud

I’m painfully slow when it comes to jotting my travels back to you. I blame the ease of Instagram for my lack of consistency in travelogue’ing. Snippets and soundbites are all too easy to upload! But a blog post requires me behind a screen after work…which is again usually behind a screen….you see the dilemma?

As the sun spills in my little study nook in San Francisco I’m currently dwelling in, crunching away at a bowl of fresh pomegranate fruit, I reminisce over my visit to Modica this past May and of this year coming to a close. It’s been a fruitful year in many ways: I became a certified sommelier after nearly a year of studying, this blog was selected as a Finalist for Saveur Annual Blog Awards, loads of great meals and time with dear ones had and I was lucky enough to travel between San Francisco and Italy for a good chunk of the year, including 2 jaunts to Sicily. Continue Reading

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