Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Go to the Beach in Italy Part 2

  For our second beach experience we went to a cliff rock beach in Recco. Recco is most famous for one major beautiful contribution to the world in the form of Focaccia. We went to a free public seaside area where it can't really be called a beach because there is no sand. This beach was formed with large black rocks jetting out just long enough to hold a few extra large towels and a picnic with 3 different kinds of warm handmade focaccia.
There was a little bit of rock climbing to get there but it is worth it. It's a unique place and not over-crowded because you have to be in-the-know to find this beach and in my observation, Italians will sunbath just about anywhere.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Go to the Beach in Italy

  This weekend we had 2 different Italian beach experiences. One we had to pay for and the other one was free, both great but very different. Sadly, in Italy most beaches must be paid for to enjoy. Prime sandy real estate is privately owned and fenced in and you must pay a fee to enter and soak up the salt and sun.
On Saturday we went to a beach in Rapallo that included 1 small rocky beach area, 1 cafe, and several wooden decks built to jetty out onto the sea. Rapallo is located in the Tigillo Bay and not only has beautiful sea views but is surrounded by mountainous terrain. This makes the beaches rare and rocky. A rare and desired commodity is always expensive.
The Fees:
Entrance only (bringing your own towel): 5 euros
Entrance with chair rental: 15 euros
Entrance with chair and sun umbrella: 20 euros
Entrance with 2 chair rentals and 1 umbrella: 25 euros

The Rules:
You can stay all day at this price, the beach we attended was open from 9am to 6pm. There are no dogs or other pets allowed. You may not bring in any of your own food. Drinks and food may be purchased at the cafe. I had a lovely pesto pasta for 13 euros. There is no other shop inside so if you forgot your sun block or busted a flip flop, you are out of luck. Naked children run wild and a few topless women as well. The upside of a fee beach is that is is clean and maintained well and the bathrooms are are attended to. There is no re-entry if you want to leave and come back, you must pay again.
Tomorrow, our other weekend beach experience......

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Time to Get Mad

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Travel Style: Take My Advice Please

  It's almost summer and that means the travel season is upon us. For those of you planning on traveling to Italy, I can't express enough the importance of traveling in style. Why is that so important you ask? Because Italians take style seriously and if you don't have it you will be spotted from a mile away. Stylishly blending in will help you to avoid pickpockets. It will help you to be treated better and it's always good to represent your country in a smart and stylish way.
                                             Avoid and Switch
1. Avoid: White sneakers and flip flops. Leave them at home. Italians wear sneakers but usually hip colored Converse or Adidas. Italians (and most Europeans) do not wear flip flops. Too casual. You will stand out wearing them.

Switch to: Any of the stylish and comfortable following, ballet flats, Born sandals, driving moccasins or loafers.

2. Avoid: Backpacks. I know, I know backpacks leave your hands free to take pictures and read guidebooks but unless you are hiking Vesuvius, don't walk around Naples with a giant unattractive sack on your back. Even Italian children carry bookbags, not backpacks. 

Switch to: The other hands free idea, a cross body or messenger bag. You can still watch and protect your items but at the same time, it's easily accessible for you to grab you camera or guidebooks.

3. Avoid: Shorts. Unless you are at the beach in which case you might even be overdressed because at Italian beaches men wear speedos and the women are often topless.

Switch to: A jersey wrap dress. A dress can take you from a museum to a nice restaurant without ever having to change. A wrap dress looks good on all body types, thank you Diane Von Furstenberg, and a jersey fabric doesn't wrinkle in your suitcase. It is also good for keeping cool and comfortable.

4. Avoid: Being seen with Rick Steves. When I was last in Florence, I couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a dozen people walking while reading Europe Through the Backdoor. Don't get me wrong, I love Rick. I have been to his lectures, subscribe to his YouTube channel and I even had my picture taken with him, but everyone walking around with the same exact book is like carrying a big bright arrow pointing right at you.

Switch to: The Rick Steves App! Less to carry, easy to use, same Rick. Find the app here.

Follow this guide, travel safe, and if you are in Italy this summer, CHECK OUT TORINO (Turin)! You will love it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Italian Hamburgers and Olive Oil French Fries

  Hamburgers are becoming quite popular in Italy. I have blogged before about how the Italian McDonald's adds mozzarella, prosciutto, and ciabatta bread to put their own take on it. Now the famous all natural grocers Eataly has opened a hamburger restaurant in the center of the city and last week, I tried it out.

The menu is short and sweet, hamburger, cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, hot dog. What makes these hamburgers unique is that every ingredient on it from the bun to the tomatoes to the meat, even the ketchup is organic, natural, free range, and local.

I ordered the prosciutto burger meal which came with fries and a beer. The french fries are cooked in olive oil which makes them a bit heavy for my taste but still good. The burger was plain so I could taste all of the simple flavors, especially the prosciutto. The beer was an amber ale and really delicious. I didn't sample any of the desserts they had on offer, which were many, next time perhaps.Click here to check it out for yourself and see the menu.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What's Out My Window: Torino Pride

  What was out my window this weekend was one of my favorite days in Torino, the Gay Pride Parade. The pride parade is always so much fun and colorful. There is always music, dancing, and glitter.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Men In Uniform

 This weekend Torino was bustling. Besides the gay pride parade and the weekend markets, there was also the horse and military celebration in Piazza Castello. Representatives from each branch of the Piedmonte military were mingling with the citizens in full uniform. What's better than a man in uniform? Noth'in.
Yes, that is a Ferrari in the middle...with a tank behind it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's Art

  Last night my Torino Etsy friends (Mireloom and Ixela) took me to a contemporary art gallery opening. They told me that this gallery show would be fun because there will be great food, an open bar, and lot's of art. They were right. We had loads of delicious finger foods with champagne while looking at the newest pieces from a few local artists. I enjoyed the people watching more then the art show because there is nothing like a gallery opening night to bring out the more interesting characters.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Discover Something New About Your City: Part 5

Palazzo Lascaris
  Most of the palazzos in Torino, and probably elsewhere in Italy, are owned by the region and have been converted into banks or city offices. At certain times of the year they are opened to the public.The bones of these aristocratic estates usually remain in tact, the art, grand chandeliers, some furniture, and fountains, etc. This one is not in the guidebooks so you kinda have to be in-the-know, luckily you have me. Palazzo Lascaris was build in 1665 during Torino's Baroque period. This palazzo is huge and this palazzo is gorgeous. It is in the heart of the city so easily walked to but down a street you probably wouldn't walk down unless you were going to the main post office.

The highlight of this palazzo, for me, is the inside courtyard. It's mix of fountains, columns, arches, statues, and sparkling glass windows (very similar to the windows in Palazzo Madama) make for a dazzling entrance. Inside, the second floor was the family living quarters and it's parquet wooden floors, damask draped walls, and frescoed ceilings are preserved well for their age. As always when I tour a grand estate, I try to imagine living everyday life there. As always, it's hard to imagine... but fun.

You can virtualy visit every room in the palazzo on their great website here

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Highlights from Eurovision 2011

 This year at the Eurovision Song Contest, Italy placed a very respectable 2nd place. I really liked the song they submitted. It had a jazzy vintage feel.

*Side note, it's not just how good the singer is, but how good the song is, hence the name eurovision SONG contest.*
The winner was Ell and Nikki from Azerbaijan (Ya, I didn't know either. It's in Eastern Europe), singing "Running Scared". The rain of fireworks at the end is pretty awesome.

My honorable mention, Serbia! Somehow this song gets stuck in your head even though you might not understand one word.

The REALLY? mention goes to Ireland. Jedward was the best they could send?

And my personal favorite for oh sooo many reasons of which I will list here, Denmark.
1. Hottest singer in the whole contest, and that includes Blue. Sorry UK.
2. I love any song when the music stops in the middle for clapping.
3. I am Danish/American
4. Leather pants.

Door Series #42

 One day, I might just run out of doors to take pictures of having seen every door in Torino but for now here is door number 42.