Italy & the Italians

We created these pages to help you really Discover Italy. Journalists Donald Strachan, Steve Keenan, Jasmine Boni-Ball, Sara Sherwood, Sabrin Hasbun, Alicia Peacock, Chloë Sibley— who visit several times every year — have gathered a rich crop of local stories and written destination guides to help you make the most of your vacation. As they say in Italy, “Buon viaggio!”

7 Sustainable Italian Fashion Brands You Need to Know

As consumer habits are erring more towards environmentally responsible, ethical and sustainable fashion brands, it isn’t surprising that the Italians already have countless independent labels ready to meet demand. From greater transparency along the production chain to slow-fashion dedicated to limited-edition capsule collections, and made-to-measure brands, the Italian fashion industry is already making great leaps towards a more sustainable future.

The Tiramisu Handbook

Tiramisu’s origins may well be the most debated of Italian dolci, but one thing everyone can agree on is that it is certainly Italy’s most uplifting dessert. Beloved by many across the globe, it’s name literally translates as ‘pick/pull me up’, owing to its rich cocoa and coffee-infused flavours.

Olive Oil Harvest in Tuscany

You’ll often hear Tuscans refer to extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) as oro verde (“green gold”). Unlike regular olive oil, extra-virgin is pressed without heat and chemicals, making it the most expensive and desirable oil in the world. From the culture and tradition rooted in the extra-virgin olive oil harvest to the experience of pressing olives at the mill, discover the art and skill behind the production of Tuscany's green gold.

Hidden Gems of Florence

It is no secret that Florence is a city that will steal your heart. From the beloved Piazza della Signoria to Santa Croce, the historic centre is hardly short of romance and wonder. However, it is in Oltrarno, south of the River Arno, where authentic Florence truly comes into its own. Treasured by Florentines, this is the district of artisans, antique dealers, Piazza Santo Spirito and historic palaces like the Palazzo Pitti.

Tasting Tuscany's Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Everyone has cooked with extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) at some point in their lives. It’s useful, reliable and flavoursome — whether you’re a professional chef or amateur cook, it’s in your cupboard. Despite how frequently it’s used, many people don’t know the process of how it’s obtained or where it comes from. Here is a list of the best olive oil mills to visit in Tuscany, so you too can learn the secrets of this culinary staple.

The Coffee Lover’s Guide to Pisa

If you’re a coffee connoisseur eager for new experiences, then Pisa has a lot to offer you. Italy has a rich history with this aromatic drink dating back to the 16th century, and coffee remains a significant part of Italian culture. These 3 best coffee places in Pisa will give you great coffee and stunning areas to get your caffeine fix in.

Dario Cecchini

Dario Cecchini is a genius who could only be Italian. He may be a Netflix star (a whole episode of Chef’s Table is devoted just to him) but he could just as easily have lived during the Renaissance, for this eighth generation butcher’s approach to food is as classic as the art that comes from the hills around his native village. Read about his story and how he came to be the world's most famous butcher.

Tuscany Essentials: Recommended Books & Movies

The cradle of Italian art and literature has inspired, and continues to inspire dozens of writers and directors. To help you fire up your own Italian dream, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite Tuscany books and movies. These lesser known authors and titles will reveal hidden treasures and make you see and experience Tuscany as never before.

Galateo: The Do's and Don'ts of Italian Food Etiquette

During your holiday in Italy, you're likely to end up in many historic and renowned gourmet osterias and restaurants. While certain rules and etiquette such "fare la scarpetta" (using a piece of bread to mop up the remaining sauce on your plate) are embraced fully, actions like mixing salad with pasta or ordering a cappuccino with your meal, is frowned upon. Brush-up on Galateo (manners), and discover the do's and don'ts of Italian dining etiquette.

Singing like an Italian

What better way to learn about Italy, the Italians and the language if not by singing your heart out in the shower? Soak up the drama and romance of 4 famous Italian hits by famed Italian singers Lucio Battisti, Mina, Lucio Dalla and Rino Gaetano.

Driving like an Italian: From Choosing the Right Car Hire for your Trip to the Road Rules

Renting a car and driving around Italy is one of the best ways to explore the country. Driving in a foreign country can be overwhelming, but our short guide will help you learn the tips and tricks for driving in Italy. Discover road rules, speed limits, parking rules and emergency contacts, and make your holiday in Italy stress-free.

Shopping in Florence

Florence is one of the best cities in the world to shop. From Italian haute couture to crafted leather and jewellery pieces, the city offers the modern traveller all the tools needed to “shop till you drop”. Whether you’re after leather shoes or a silk robe, take a step away from the high-street and discover 5 shops of the beaten path in Florence.

4 Luxury Outlets Around Florence and Tuscany

To find a bargain on haute couture fashions, you should visit one of Tuscany's luxury outlets near Florence. Many of the city's (and Italy's) top design houses sell end-of-line garments at big discounts. Our short guide tells you where to go, how to get there, and what to buy when you arrive.

4 Famous Italian Fashion Designers from Florence

Think Italian designer brands and you might think "Milan". But among the most famous Italian fashion designers are the "Florentine Four": Gucci and Pucci, Cavalli and Ferragamo. Our short guide to these 4 icons of Italian haute couture covers their history and influences, and how to find their clothing stores in Florence. Jasmine Boni-Ball has joined the document.

Italian Coffee

Italians hold a love of coffee close to the national heart. They introduced the drink to the rest of Europe from Egypt, and Venice opened its first café around 1683. There are many ways to enjoy a coffee in Italy, and almost as many methods to brew it Italian style when you’re back home. This short guide covers four of our favourites.

A Guide to Buying Leather in Florence

As early as the 14th century, around 1,600 shoemakers were working in the city of Florence — around a third of them based close to the tanneries of the Oltrarno district. Leather was also in demand for book covers, saddles and other horse tack, and it is still closely associated with Florence. We speak to a traditional Oltrarno shoemaker and offer advice on how and where to bag the best leather in the city.

8 Ways to Know You’re Embracing Italian Culture

Everyone loves the taste of Italian culture they get from renting our villas. But what if you stayed longer, and even set down new roots? Those who do, often find life starts to change in unexpected ways. We speak to four expatriates who embraced their new lifestyles, to see what they consider the telltale signs you’re living life like an Italian.

Italian cityscapes: how art is so much better than photographs

A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. But in Italy, sometimes an artist's-eye view tells us more than just a photograph. According to New York-born painter Steven Assael, “there are dramatic differences between how the camera looks at and experiences the world and how we see it.” We examine some landscape photos and paintings side-by-side.

An Introduction to Italian Neorealism

This hugely influential film genre emerged towards the end of World War II, and largely focused on the lives of ordinary people in the aftermath of war. Neorealism offered an uncompromising take on the struggles of the working classes at a time of economic collapse, and the desperation and moral ambiguity that resulted. Its impact has not lessened with time, as our brief article and audio from a talk we hosted in Leeds, England, explains.

The Spirit of Tuscan Wine

Sangiovese, the most widely planted and renowned of the Italian red grapes, is the heartbeat of Tuscany and the key to unlocking the secrets of this unrivaled wine region. The name of this indigo coloured grape originates from the Latin, Sanguis Jovis, meaning the “Blood of Jupiter”, king of the gods. The main component of some of our favourite Italian wines, from Chianti to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, discover the expressive aromas, flavours and qualities of the noble Sangiovese grape.

The Art of Homemade Pasta Making

Pasta making is more than a centuries old tradition and beloved Italian staple, it is an art form and source of national pride. Just a few simple ingredients sifted, kneaded and rolled out together transform into luxurious dishes that will stay in your heart as well as your mind. From the origins of pasta making, to the familial traditions and memories which make the experience so precious, discover the magic that comes with ‘kneading the dough’ by hand.

Truffle Hunting in San Miniato

Nestled between the great cities of Pisa and Florence, is San Miniato. Often in the shadow of its neighbouring cities, this underrated town is home to an abundance of Italy’s white and black truffles and is a place of prominence for its respective produce. Truffles are one of the world's most expensive foods, but what lies behind this culinary treasure goes beyond that which meets the eye, nose and mouth. Discover Italy’s funkiest of Fungi and what makes them hunting them a Tuscan tradition.

Cooking in Tuscany

Tuscany is often celebrated as the cooking capital of Italy and the birthplace of Italian gastronomy. The traditional cuisine of this Italian region originates from Cucina Povera, the food of peasants that exemplifies the frugal genius of the Tuscans. This form of cooking relishes in simplicity; allowing the quality of the food and seasonality of ingredients to flourish in every bite. From Pappa al Pomodoro to Peposo alla Fornacina, discover the tales and traditions intrinsically woven in Tuscan gastronomy.
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