Experience Italy: Venice

where to stay:

Albergo Marin: This is a spacious 3 bedroom apartment in Venice that is just a few hundred meters away from Piazzale Roma and Santa Lucia train station. A very ideal accommodation especially for big families and those embarking on a cruise that will originate from the Port of Venice. The apartment is provided with all things one would need for self catering; a fully equipped functional kitchen with plates & cutleries. The living area and bedrooms are big and comfortable as well. The perfect place for those travelers who need a bit of independence and want to feel less like tourists, more like locals.  Apartment rents out for $148 USD/night.  http://www.albergomarin.it/en/apartments-in-venice/

 

Hotel L’Orologio: Sip on a glass of vino, while overlooking the Gran Canal during your stay at the chic Hotel L’Orologio.  Comfortable, modern, tastefully designed, and squeaky clean rooms.  Enjoy the charming and mysterious city of Venice from a room with a canal view, worth every penny and totally recommended by us at Live Worldly.  Room prices begin at $334 USD/night.  http://www.hotelorologiovenezia.com/

 

where to eat:

Alla’arco: There’s standing room only in this tiny, lunch-only bacaro just around the corner from the more famous Do Mori- except in the summer, when a few chairs and tables edge the narrow street.  The gruff market traders who pile in here are discerning gourmands, and owners Francesco and Matteo Pinto keep them happy with a spread of cicheti bar snacks, which range from ‘fusion’ creations such as asparagus and courgette-flower rolls stuffed with ricotta and ham, to the Venectian rumegal (veal gut) and fegato alla veneziana (calf’s liver with parsley and onion).

 

Osteria Alla Ciurma: Delectable “tapas-style” dishes at a price that won’t make you cringe when you see the bill.  A change from the overly-expensive restaurants that line the canals of venice, Osteria Ciurma’s atmosphere is quaint and charming.  Everything you order off the menu is certain to be fresh, farm to table.  We recommend ordering the calamari or fried cod with a cold glass of Pinot Grigio.   

 

Posted on August 23, 2015 .

Explore Italy: Siena

where to stay:

Palazzo Ravizza: The best mid-range hotel you will find within the cities walls, Palazzo Ravizza has been owned by the same family for more than two centuries and each room is decorated with frescos and Italian antiques.  Filled with old world charm and thoughtfully decorated rooms,  this hotel is certainly the choice during your stay in Siena.  We recommend asking for a room facing the south side for a classic view of terraced gardens and the Tuscan countryside. A/C equipped, to keep you nice and cool on those hot summer days in Italy.  Room pricing begins at $183 USD/night.  http://www.palazzoravizza.it/en/

 

Villa Scacciapensieri: This villa was built in the green belt, north of the city center, at the beginning of the 19th century.  Fronted by a formal garden and backed by olive groves descending to a swimming pool and tennis courts, it has charm in bagfuls; Attentive service from start to finish of your stay at the villa.  Enjoy the peace and serenity at Villa Scacciapensieri each morning while sitting on your private balcony that overlooks the gardens, while enjoying a classic Italian espresso.  This competitively priced villa is affordable for those who want an authentic experience in the Italian countryside with room pricing starting at $118 USD/night.  http://www.villascacciapensieri.it/

where to eat:

Osteria Di Castelvecchio: Creative cuisine, at quite an affordable price.  Good twists on local favorites.  The affable owner serves primi such as risotto with artichokes and herbs, or pici in a rabbit sauce.  There is is always a vegetarian main- course option as well.  With subdued lighting and a charming interior, this restaurant is the perfect place for a romantic meal.  We recommend trying the ribbolita.  

 

Tre Cristi: Seafood restaurants are thin on the ground in this meat-obsessed region, so the long existence of Tre Cristi (it's been around since 1830) should be heartily celebrated. The menu here is as elegant as the decor, and touches such as a complimentary glass of prosecco (dry sparkling wine) at the start of the meal add to the experience.  It may take some effort to find this hidden gem, tucked away from tourists.  The cuisine is creative, Mediterranean in influence and famed for fish specialities - although the pasta with duck ragu and the lamb cutlets baked in pecorino cheese rinds are both stunning dishes.


 

Posted on August 17, 2015 .

Frolick through Italy: Florence

where to stay:

Torre di Bellosguardo: Transport yourselves back in time to the Renaissance when you book a stay at this gorgeous property, built by the Medici’s.  Bellosguardo provides a charming and elegant interlude and is a stark and infinitely better contrast to almost all other hotels which are modeled in the uniform and impersonal style of American hotels.The walls are covered in authentic frescos and the rooms are decorated in unique, hand carved wooden furniture.  The perfect escape from a day exploring the city, only a 10 euro taxi to the Duomo.  Soak up the romance of Florence, sleep in, and experience Italy in a unique manner when you stay at the Bellosguardo.  Room prices begin at $209 USD/night.  http://www.torrebellosguardo.com/

 

Il Guelfo Bianco: Opened in 1989 in a sixteenth-century ancient residence, Il GUelfo Bianco is a hotel full of charm, where age-old tradition is elaborated with loving restoration work, which brought to life the ancient fifteenth century structures and widespread use of contemporary paintings.  A unique hotel, just steps from main attractions with large rooms, carved ceilings, great WiFi and fabulous staff.  While you will be located close to the main attractions in Florence, this is a quite place to stay and you will not be disturbed from getting a good night’s rest at Il Guelfo.  Room prices begin at $103 USD/night.

 

where to eat:

Osteria de' Benci: A great place to stop in for lunch after viewing some of the artwork Florence has to offer, the prices will make your wallet happy as well.  Seriously some of  the BEST pasta ever. Known for their drunken spaghetti but we recommend being a bit adventurous and trying the strawberry risotto, quite flavorful, savory, and filling The warm atmosphere created by the owner Marco Meneghini and the others who work there will consistently bring you back again to eat at Osteria de’ Benci.  


I Due Fratellini - Although this sandwich shop in Florence may just appear to be a little window on the side of the street, it is much more than that. It’s a simple concept, order your sandwich at the window and eat right there on the street.  You’ll blend in like a local in no time if you eat here enough.  They even have a small wine rack to set your wine on while enjoying your sandwich.  Top lunch spot.

Posted on August 9, 2015 .

Wander through Italy: Rome

where to stay:

Hotel Medici: If you’re looking for a place to lay your head, near many tourist attractions, and at an affordable price- Hotel Medici is just for you!  This wonderful boutique hotel has great customer service and is located in the heart of Rome. Clean, recently remodeled rooms and a suitable continental breakfast will keep you well-rested and ready to explore the sights and streets of Rome.  Convenient location to get to the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and the Trevi Fountain. Room prices begin at $112 USD/night.  http://www.hotelmedici.com/

 

Appartamento Palazzo dei Fabbi Rome: This charming unique loft/apartment is situated in the Jewish Ghetto, the location is deep in the heart of historical Rome just beside the imposing Theatre of Marcello.  This unique, fully-furnished apartment is decorated with antique brick archways and hand-painted frescos with all the modern amenities- large screen TVs, air conditioning, WiFi, and jacuzzi.  A truly cozy and inviting apartment that will make your stay in Rome a total dream.  $150 to $175 USD/night.  http://www.specialromeapartment.com/en/

 

where to eat:

Pastasciutta: Simple very rustic options of pasta, you don't need fancy advertising or seating and this place proves it! Located steps away from the Vatican,  Pastasciutta is the perfect place to stop in on a sweltering day for lunch- plenty of options for fairly inexpensive.  The service is super speedy, your order will be ready for consuming in a matter of minutes.  We recommend ordering the ricotta ravioli or trying the spaghetti alla carbonara.  

 

Waraku:  If you’ve spent much time in Italy, then you’ve probably eaten more than your share of pasta, pizza, and gelato.  And if that’s the case, you may be looking to try a cuisine that is not native to Italy.  Waraku offers up traditional Japanese cuisine for foodies in Rome with quality food including gyoza, ramen, and okonomiyaki.  The owners of Waraku are sure to welcome you in, fill your bellies, and make you feel as if you’re apart of the family.  

 

Posted on August 2, 2015 .