How often do you daydream about Italy? About dipping your toes in the sparkly waters along the Amalfi coast, wine tasting in Tuscany, exploring ancient ruins in Rome, or indulging in one-too-many scoops of gelato? If you’re like us, the answer to that question is probably “often”. We sat down with Kathy McCabe, host of the hit PBS series Dream of Italy, and asked her to share her a few of her favorite ins and outs of Italy’s greatest cities… furthering our daydreams about this magnificent place (and yours, too, we’d bet). Check out what our favorite Italy expert had to say…
3 things I wish I knew before visiting Italy for the first time were…
- There are a lot of rules to Italian life, from what to eat to what to wear.
- Don’t try to do too much; stay longer in one place to see more rather than hop around.
- I really should have taken Italian my senior year in college as I had planned to… one of the biggest personal mistakes I’ve made! But it can be turned into a universal tip – try to learn some words and phrases before your trip!
The best Italian dish to try is… Ragù (basically meat sauce). It is made a bit differently in all parts of the country. You will find northern versions are more minced while whole cuts of meat are used in the south.
One thing people don’t know about Italian culture is… Italians are crazy – but in the best possible way!
The most important Italian word to know how to say is… Well grazie (thank you), of course.
When in Rome
One dish travelers must try in Rome is… Cacio e Pepe at Da Enzo – My favorite pasta dish.
The best thing to photograph in Rome is… I love the shot of St. Peter’s Basilica through the keyhole on Aventine Hill.
One monument not to miss in Rome is… Well that has to be the Trevi Fountain because you never want to tempt fate by not throwing in coins, ensuring your return to the Eternal City.
One thing people don’t know about Rome is… Rome actually has more than its famed seven hills.
The best time of day to explore Florence is… Sunset – my God, sunset. Walk along the Arno, watch from the Ponte Vecchio, walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo. The colors over Florence are amazing.
My favorite thing to do in Florence… Walk around the gardens – Boboli, Villa Bardini, Giardino delle Rose.
One dish travelers must try in Florence is… Ribollita (a bread and vegetable soup) at L’Osteria di Giovanni.
One thing people don’t know about Florence is… It was the first city in Europe to have paved streets (as of 1339).
My favorite thing to do in Venice is… Learn how to row the voga alla veneta with Row Venice.
The most romantic spot to visit in Venice is… Every place in Venice is romantic so it is hard to choose just one!
My favorite thing to eat in Venice is… You might not believe this but the fried eel at Antico Pizzo is buttery and delicious.
One thing people don’t know about Venice is… Scientists are working on innovative ways to stop Venice from sinking. You can learn more in this segment from the Venice episode of season 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dazOvhxAAl4&t
Want to learn more about Italy and the best way to see it? Visit Monograms.com to plan your vacation and catch Dream of Italy Season 2 on PBS! Monograms is a proud sponsor of this series.