What We're Drinking, Part 3: Outstanding Italian Beers On Our Table

It's that time of year again when festive menus are planned, hostess gifts purchased, and holiday wish lists compiled...which is why it's the perfect moment to update our annual roundup of what we've been drinking and collecting during the last 12 months of our Italian travels.

forst-beer-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Our past editions have focused on the quintessential Italian beverage: wine. Though domestic - or, more accurately, regional - reds and whites are still by far the most popular choice in Italy, the explosion of Italian craft beers over the past few years has drawn our attention and we have been impressed with the excellent brews that are on the market.

So the next time you are visiting the Bel Paese, or are looking for a unique gift or pairing during the holidays in the US, consider trying one of Italy's creative artisanal beers and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised!

Italy's 2015-2016 Opera Season

Each winter in Italy, the new opera season kicks off in some of the world's most sumptuous historic theaters in cities from north to south. As professional singers and opera fans, we are always curious to see what trends and news come with each year's season. This year Brian has noticed a few that stand out:

  • Verismo - the style of opera produced in Italy at the end of the 19th century through the 1920’s and one of our favorite genres - is back!
  • Rarities are showing up on a number of theater programs this year
  • La Fenice remains a good venue to see the classics; La Traviata seems to be getting the most play this year

Opera Glasses(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

If you are interesting in seeing an opera while traveling in Italy this winter, here are some notes regarding the most important theaters:

So, You Want to Visit a Spa in Italy...

Italy, with its healthy work/life balance and cultural propensity for careful grooming, is an excellent place to indulge in a bit of luxurious pampering. You'll find a variety of spas and spa-like facilities from north to south - with high standards of professionalism and hygiene, and relatively accessible rates - offering anything from the purely relaxing soak in a hot spring to a more pragmatic mani/pedi to counter the wear and tear of an overseas trip.

Grand Hotel Tremezzo(Photo by GHT via Flickr)

Here are a few basics to help you navigate Italy's spas:

Visiting Italy in Winter: Do and Don't Destinations

So, you're thinking about taking a winter trip to Italy but aren't sure if it will be worth the effort to visit in the off-season?

dolomites-winter-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

Though our favorite times of the year to explore Italy are spring and fall when the weather is mild but the tourist crowds are still manageable, there are certainly destinations in Italy which will delight and captivate even during the winter months. If you are contemplating visiting any time from December to March, here are some spots to avoid and others to consider.

A Halloween Homage to Italy's Tasty Bones

Sure, we could celebrate Halloween by mentioning the spooky or downright horrific sights there are to see in Italy. But given that the holiday calls for the rattling of bones, we decided to bring up two of the tastiest “bony” dishes that you can sample on traditional Italian menus during the chilly autumn season.