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Thursday, October 06, 2016

Italian Beaches and Italian Food

I thought I would separate out 2 special topics from our Italian vacation – food and beaches.  They are not related; yet, they stand out from the rest of the trip.  I can’t really explain it …

Italian food … I guess I had little expectations but obviously we all know about the pasta, pizza, lasagna, tiramisu, etc.  We ate out a lot during this trip because we mostly stayed at hotels and because we moved around so much.  Many hotels we stayed at had breakfast included or at least offered for a very reasonable price.  90% of the time it was croissants, breads with fruit spreads, some cheeses including mozzarella, and maybe some meats.  Not bad but a little too much of the same after 14 days on the road, and don’t get me wrong – it’s not like we have 25 different breakfasts at home but having the choice of cereal and eggs was very welcome when we got home.  

Lunch and dinner both seem to be fairly large meals in Italy; but here is the thing – for us, Italian food lacked diversity.  Putting it more bluntly – it was boring!  The same pizzas were the same everywhere we went and they weren’t that amazing – mostly mushroom, salami, Margarita, and maybe a few others but I started missing my good American pizza with chicken, artichokes, feta … Interesting side note - every single pizza we bought had thin crust and it was more appropriate to eat it with fork and knife because the crust kind of disintegrates as you eat it.    It’s more or less the same story with pastas – there are maybe 10 or so pastas in most restaurant menus and they include variations of red sauce and carbonara sauce.  Honestly, the food was great for kids – they had more pizza and pasta that I can ever imagine.  Some days it was for both lunch and dinner!  Chris and I, however, got a bit tired of the same food.  Funny enough, we got gnocchi a couple of times which were really good but they came with the same sauces as the pasta. Risotto was good but given that it was also over 90F every single day risotto is a bit too heavy. We had tiramisu on 3 different occasions and it was very different every single time but overall, we realized that the German version of it is pretty good.  Conclusion – American and German versions of Italian food are not so bad.  

Moving on to the BEACHES!  We visited 3 different beaches in Italy and each was different from the other and very different from the American beach that we were used to in Outer Banks.  First of all, we did not bring our own umbrella or chairs so we knew that we had to rent them.  The average price for an umbrella and 2 chairs is 20 euros a day.  The first beach we went to was right outside of Venice; it had beautiful sand and water.  What we didn’t expect was the number of people – the beach was super wide but the available chairs were so far away that we couldn’t even see the water.  It didn’t help to have a restaurant between us and the water either.  Boys didn’t care, they had a blast! 




Our second beach was where we stayed for 3 days between Florence and Rome.  The place was not touristy and we were the only non-Italian speaking people that we saw.  This time the chairs were a bit closer but still extremely far away, but no building in front of us.  There are no waves and you can walk extremely far and the water is still shallow.  A lovely experience but we also learned that in order to get the good chairs you have to reserve them way in advance.  Enjoyed some pool time too
Our last beach was on Amalfi coast and it was the hardest to get to, hardest to find parking at and definitely is very different.  The beach was black and rocky; walking on it without shoes was not even an option as it burned your feet within 30 seconds of stepping on it.  At first, Andrei was flat out mad with the idea of having no sand; however, slowly all the boys warmed up to the idea of collecting interesting rocks.  We sat right in front of the water, and the water was beautiful – super clear and warm.  In fact, many kids had swimming goggles on.  Chris and I got drinks from the bar and tried to enjoy our semi-peaceful afternoon.   

Every single beach we went to, boys had a blast which was the most important to us but if I were to want a beach vacation, Italy would not be it.

P.S.  Public beaches where you bring your own chairs and stuff are very limited, and we didn’t want to drag our stuff anyway.
P.P.S.  Note for the future me - take more pictures of food and beaches 

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