Postcards from Italy

Staff Inspiration: Cristina’s Dream Trip

Join us over the next few weeks as we share our dream trips through Italy and Switzerland, aimed at informing and inspiring future jaunts to Europe. We begin with Cristina Tili, Operations Manager for CIUTravel and local contact for clients while on the ground in Italy.

Crisitna and a plate of mussels
(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Maria and Brian met Cristina 16 years ago at the Mercato delle Gaite medieval festival in Bevagna. She had been working as a translator and group leader for local tour groups, and they were immediately taken with her excellent English (occasionally tinged with a British accent) and organizational skills. Today, in addition to her role as Operations Manager, she often translates for cooking classes in Umbria and is the friendly voice on the other end of the line if clients need to get in touch when they're on the road in Italy or Switzerland. Cristina is 100% Umbrian and proud of it. Any attempt to convince her that perhaps a dash of salt in the local bread wouldn't be the worst thing will be met in the best case with confusion and in the worst case scorn. We hope you enjoy her dream trip through her beloved Bel Paese!

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Five Italian Pantry Recipes for a Kitchen in Lockdown

Now that trips to the grocery store are being kept at a minimum, cooking with what you happen to have on hand to stretch your pantry power is very much in vogue. Luckily for lovers of Italian cuisine, Italy’s home cooks are experts in conjuring delicious meals with bare bones basics, so you can tuck into some of the country’s most classic dishes without the need for exotic (or even fresh) ingredients.

Anchovy Pasta(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Much of Italy’s traditional regional cooking has its roots in “cucina povera”, a type of rustic, rural cuisine based on simple ingredients and strongly tied to the seasons. In the past, during the long months of winter, Italian families relied on salted, canned, and otherwise preserved ingredients to make it through to spring, and still today some of the country’s most beloved crowdpleasers are made with canned tomatoes, salted anchovies, root vegetables, and other pantry staples. Also, many of these recipes are forgiving with proportions and substitutions, knowing that sometimes farm wives in February might have had to scrounge a bit.

If you find yourself standing in front of a bare cupboard and wondering what to make for dinner, here are five dishes that use just a handful of basic ingredients to create a deliciously satisfying meal.

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Visit Italy Without Leaving Home: How To Bring a Bit of the Bel Paese to You

Whether you had an Italy trip planned in the upcoming months or are just a dyed-in-the-wool Italophile, you may be feeling the need for a pinch of Italian flavor in your home-bound life right now. Just because you’re lying low at the moment doesn’t mean that you can’t travel virtually and savor a taste of Italy from your living room, be it an aperitivo or a full feast. Here are a few suggestions to satisfy your appetite for the Bel Paese for those who find themselves with a lot of time on their hands, as well as those working or schooling from home who need to make every moment count.

Venezia - Rialto(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

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