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Eat and drink in Rome

Eat and drink in Rome

In Rome you do not have to miss the famous ‘pizza al taglio’: basically in Rome you can live with it! And it will help you a lot to save monay expecially if you are a traveller on a budget.

Attention: the most fancy places are usually tourist traps. We suggest to get lost in the narrow streets away form the big crowded ones. You should not pay more then 2 euros for a delicious crusty walking pizza…

If saving is your travelling philosophy, you can also drink your water from the public fountains that are spread all over.

And after pizza?? You need to end with a fantastic ice cream!

For an excellent one try Giolitti’s (Via Uffici del Vicario, 40, ph: 06 6991243; www.giolitti.it) that since 1900 has been serving savoury ice creams behind all expectations. It’s not in every guide… only Romans know!! Basically till now you should have spent not more then 5 euros!!! Quite good news for backpackers, or also families with children travelling on a budget!! Right??

But the best tips are the following: dinner out in Rome!!

The San Lorenzo and Trastevere neighbourhoods are both renowned for reasonably priced Roman-Style cooking. If you have a lodging there it will also be easy to get around: otherwise there are plenty of guest houses or family B&& (bed and breakfast, in Italy are also called pensioni or family guest house) available in many websites, among the others you can try Flashbooking.com which allows to book directly online providing you with the BB maps and directions and contacts as well. Very useful! We suggest you chose your BandB according to the location and if you get your accommodation in Trastevere be sure you will be in the most traditional, buzzing and authentic area of Rome!

There are very few things Romans will line up for. One of these is “da Baffetto” near Piazza Navona, more exactly in Via del Governo Vecchio,14;ph. 066861617). After 9 pm prepare to wait quite a lot because they do not take reservations but pizza is fabulous!!

For tradition Roman dishes there is also “Trattoria da Francesco” in Piazza del Fico, 29 (ph: 06 6864009) hidden in a cosy square that serves as a private garden. If this is not enough and you are planning to stay in Rome for few nights, consider a visit to Alfredo alla Scrofa and try the specialty: ‘Fettuccine’ (Via della Scrofa, 104)

For a little more expensive but trendy place (which is pizzeria, restaurant, wine-bar, ‘cheeserie’ all together is ‘Gusto in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 9; ph: 06 32262 73; open every day from 10 in the morning until 2 in the night).

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My Journey to Rome

I decided to share my impressions about the trip to Rome as my emotions still linger…

The decision to go to Italy was made shortly before the journey, so we didn’t have much time to prepare for that. But we managed to organize the trip as quickly as possible. And, as it turned out, we planned everything very well.

Rome covered us in the suffocating heat as it’s extremely hot in Rome in August. We wanted to hire a taxi but didn’t like the faces of the drivers approaching us, so we decided to take a suburban train called “Leonardo Express”. I should say it’s rather comfortable and inexpensive.

We came to the Roman train station quite late but luckily our hotel was really close by. The heat didn’t lessen…we had a feeling of being in a steam room…So we were particularly glad to take a shower and to fall asleep after a long busy day.

Got up very early, we rushed to the canteen. But we were extremely disappointed with the breakfast…coffee and a stale croissant…Finishing the scant breakfast we took our cameras and went to the lobby to wait for our guide with who we have preliminarily exchanged emails.

I should say that we decided to entrust the organization of all the excursions to our guide so that we could completely devote ourselves to enjoying Rome. The guide sent us several variants and we chose two complete days – one in Rome and the other in the Rome suburbs.

Rome…we looked round the major churches and basilicas of the Italian capital. It’s useless to try to describe all the magnificence of the Rome masterpieces, it’s a kind of thing that one should see with his or her own eyes…but a person needs not only spiritual nourishment. So at 2 o’clock we got very hungry. Our guide phoned somewhere and quickly drove us at a tiny restaurant where we were waited for! We paid very little and ate very much. The Italian food we were treated was so nice that I still remember its flavour! We didn’t want to leave the place but the Vatican was ahead, so we rushed into the car and pretty soon reached the destination. Again I’m not going to describe you what we have seen. Come and take a look by yourselves!

After the Vatican we bid farewell with our guide and strolled along the streets by ourselves. Then we returned to the hotel and had a bath. A restaurant followed. We were disappointed as the dinner costed us 120 EUR what was MUCH more than we left at noon in a restaurant we went to with our guide. Besides the dinner was not that tasty.

The next day we went out of town. The sky was cloudy so, tired of heat, we welcomed the coolness. The rout led us through the ancient settlements up into the mountains. It is a very unusual feeling to look at the city from such a height. Rome was at our feet…

And again from the lofty to the earthy. We were hungry. This time we had a very hearty dinner. We were treated to the dishes made of boar meat. Besides we were lucky that our chef was in good spirits, so with a smile on his lips he betrayed us many secrets of the Italian cuisine…now I know the recipes to surprise the guests!

On the way back we saw a Bridge of Suicides, the Pontifical Residence, drank water from the spring, looked at the functioning aqueduct which is more than 2000 years old…after a long and busy day we didn’t feel a bit tired.

At night we took a plane home…we’ll certainly come back!!!

I Love Italian Wine and Food – The Abruzzi RegionI Love Italian Wine and Food – The Abruzzi Region

If you are looking for fine Italian wine and food, consider the Abruzzi region of central Italy. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour.

Abruzzi is located on the central eastern part of Italy on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The area is 2/3 mountains and 1/3 hills. Over time Abruzzi has belonged to the Romans, the Lombards, and the kingdom of Naples. While this area was once very poor, its income is now growing. Abruzzi and Molise were a single region from 1948 to 1965. Its population is 1.275 million.

Agricultural products include grapes, olives, wheat, sugar beets, tobacco, saffron, pigs, and sheep. The Adriatic Sea and inland lakes and streams provide a wide variety of fish and shellfish. If I remember correctly, the first time that I heard of this region was decades ago, when I learned that according to Craig Claiborne, at the time Food Editor of the New York Times, Italy’s best food was found in Abruzzi.

Abruzzi has no large cities. Its administrative center l’Aquila has a population of about 70 thousand. But big cities are hardly a requirement for good wine. Few would ever claim that Italy’s best wines come from Rome, or the surrounding area.

Abruzzi devotes about eighty two thousand acres to grapevines, it ranks 10th among the 20 Italian regions. Its total annual wine production is about 110 million gallons, giving it a 5th place. About 90% of the wine production is red or rosé (not very much rosé), leaving 10% for white. The region produces 3 DOC wines. DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin, presumably a high-quality wine and 1 DOCG red wine, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane. The G in DOCG stands for Garantita, but there is in fact no guarantee that such wines are truly superior. About 17% of Abruzzi wine carries the DOC or DOCG designation. Abruzzi is home to about two dozen major and secondary grape varieties, a few more white and than red.

Widely grown international white grape varieties include Trebbiano and Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc. The best known strictly Italian white variety is Trebbiano d’Abbruzzi, felt by some to be Bombino Bianco.
The best known Italian red variety is Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC is the most widely exported Italian DOC wine.

Before we reviewing the Abruzzi wine and cheese that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with local wines when touring this beautiful region.
Start with a Pizza Rustica, Cinnamon-Scented Pie Stuffed with Proscuitto, Cheese, and Eggs.
Then move on to Polenta sulla Spianatora, Polenta (Cornbread) Topped with Sausage in Spicy Tomato Sauce.
For desert enjoy a Crostata di Ricotta, a Ricotta Tart.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY While we have communicated with well over a thousand Italian wine producers and merchants to help prepare these articles, our policy is clear. All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Abruzzo Illuminati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Riparosso” 2004 DOC 13% alcohol about $11.50

The marketing materials state that this wine has hints of an Amarone (a much more expensive wine) or a Ripasso ( a more expensive wine). There are raisings, currants, and tar on the nose whilst the taste profile is ripe, mellow fruit flavors of raspberry jam and ocha. It doesn’t contain a lot of acidity so drink it within a year. Pair it with pizza, burgers, or any meat dish that you tend to eat during the week.

This wine is said to complement pasta, red meats, and savory cheeses.

I found the Riparosso to be somewhat robust, with cherry and plum flavors. I didn’t have the feeling that I was drinking a regular Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, but instead almost a Ripasso, a wine that I prefer. This wine managed to feel full-bodied even with its light tannins. It balanced nicely the tanginess of barbecued eggplant loaded with garlic, and demonstrated notable spiciness when paired with a meat ball and vegetable stew. Its acidity was pleasant. I did not discern all the flavors listed above. For me the dominant flavor was black cherry. The final meat dish that accompanied this wine was a barbecued boneless rib steak with a spicy curry and cumin sauce. The wine seemed to pick up strength to accompany this meat, which by the way, we don’t eat on a regular basis during the week.

I tasted this wine with two related cheeses. Pecorino Toscano is a soft, nutty cheese. Interestingly enough, I found that the wine was no longer robust, it seemed to soften to accompany this mild cheese. In the presence of a Pecorino Fiore Sardo, a balsamic sheep’s milk cheese with a stronger flavor and coarser consistency than its Tuscan cousin, the wine almost magically picked up flavor to meet the challenge.

Final verdict, as you can tell this wine is a definite keeper.

Extra note. Several months ago on a whim I bought a $6 bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Given the realities of the marketplace, I really doubt that any producer can come up with a decent bottle at that price. At first the wine was terribly acidic. I held out, finished the bottle and the last glass was almost OK. Yes, there are bargains, such as this Riparosso, but few in the $6 range.

Cruise Ship Reviews – Part 1

Cruise Ship Reviews on the New 2006 Cruise Line OfferingsIf you think this is a kind cruise ship reviews, then think again! We are only giving you the benefit of advanced knowledge for your plans of cruise travel for the year.
Well, what are you waiting for? Here are the six largest cruise lines with their new cruise ships.However, it is the first to be designed for the said cruise lines Signature of Excellence program.The Noordam can accommodate 1,848 passengers. For this new cruise ship, there are design enhancements made for more pleasure and enjoyment of cruise passenger travelers. The design enhancements were focused mainly on the public areas and staterooms, the meeting point of many of the cruise travelers.There are also additions, like the very popular Explorations Caf. As cruise passengers are well aware of, it is a coffee bar/Internet caf, game room, and library. The New York Times powers all the Explorations Caf.2. Norwegian Cruise Lines Americas Pride of Hawaii
This new cruise ship for 2006 by NCL America is the sister vessel of the Norwegian Jewel.Its launching is to be on June. This passenger ship is expected to accommodate 2,224 passengers. It will be the next step in Norwegian Cruise Lines Americas Freestyle Cruising concept.NEWS UPDATES3. The Royal Caribbeans Freedom of the Seas
This new 2006 cruise ship will be launched on May.The Freedom of the Seas both will have new and enhanced amenities for the passengers pleasure. There is already an ongoing hype among the cruise travelers about its surf park feature.Bonuses
* Extensive WiFi capabilities and connectivity for cell phones. Because when you’re on vacation it’s great fun to let the folks at home know what they’re missing.
* Staterooms and balconies that are among the largest in the industry. Plenty of room to relax and plan your adventures.
* A full-size, flat-screen TV in every stateroom. But then again, with all the incredible vacation activities to explore, try not to be too disappointed if you have trouble finding time to turn it on.4. The Crown Princess of New Princess Cruises
For the satisfaction of 2006 cruise travelers, the Crown Princess is expected to accommodate 3,110 cruise travel passengers.New pastries and snacks will adorn the International Caf. Crown Princess will then have the first ever wine and seafood bar of the cruise line.Crown Princess will sail roundtrip from the Red Hook terminal in New York. It will make stops at the Eastern Caribbean and the Bermuda and Turks and Caicos.5. MSC Musica
MSC will launch their new cruise ship for the year 2006 quite late in the year, on July 01. Musica is an Italian ship that will bring MSC into the ranks of big cruise ships. It is expected to accommodate 2,550 passengers.It will also feature a large spa area. The Musicas cruise travel passengers will also have several dining options. They will also enjoy a three deck high waterfall and many different entertainment venues.6. The Costa Cruises Costa Concordia
This new 2006 cruise ship is owned by Carnival Corporation, which is based in Italy.For the inspiration of its travel passengers, the Costa Concordia will have European architecture theme for its interior dcor. All the rooms names will be European inspired or oriented. They will have the Grand Bar Berlin, Cafeteria Helsinki, and the Milan and Rome dining rooms.Are you jumping with excitement as to when it will start sailing? This new cruise ship will sail year round in the Western Mediterranean. It will head for Romes Civitavecchia port.

Cant decide? Well, check out our other cruise ship reviews of these new cruise ships to find out where you will spend your 2006 cruise travel.

How You Can Save Money If You Book Hotels In Central Rome

This article has the purpose to explain what we intend for central Rome and the benefits to reserve an hotel in this area.

For central Rome we mean specifical districts like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and Trastevere.

The district of Trastevere was once inhabited by the medieval working class and since the 1970 has been filled up with new hotels, tour buses and sidewalk vendors. The original people of this district belong to a mixed ancestry, mainly Jewish, Roman and Greek and for decades they were known for speaking their on dialect in a language rougher than that spoken in central Rome.

Trastevere remains one of Rome’s most colorful quarters, even if it is a bit overrun and it is know as a ” city within a city”.

The hotels in central Rome allow visitors to save money when sightseeing because people can cover all the major monuments in few hours with a pleasant promenade.

In fact if you have booked an hotel near the spanish steps you can see how Rome is entered by Porta del Popolo built in the Renaissance period by the architect Vignola from the designs of Michelangelo.

As you can imagine, you can’t walk anywhere in Rome without stepping on several layers of Roman archaological remains. it’s often frustrating for the people who actually live there: they can not do anything above or below ground without having to stop and carefully consider what is being lost and found.

A trick you have to know after you make your reservation is to ask for a corner room. Corner rooms are usually larger, quieter and have more windows and light than standard rooms, and they do not cost necessarily more. Always ask if the hotel is renovating: if it is, request a room away from the renovation work. You can also inquire about the location of the elevators, restaurants and bars in the hotel, all sources of annoying noise.

Rome center offers also some splendid opportunities for lovers of the performing arts. All major performers pass through Rome and the city has traditionally been the hot spot for theater production in Italy. The scene positively burgeons in summer when a mind-boggling range of performances is staged throughout the city in various indoor and outdoor venues.

Rome is also a sort of culinary melting pot for distinctive regional styles.

Pesto and marinara sauce, ravioli and risotto, cannoli and tiramisu are often all found together on the same menu. Another advantage of Rome’s size and cosmopolitan charachter is that you can find very good restaurants downtown with food from around the globe: Rome is really your best opportunity to hunt out different types of cuisine.

The Eternal city wasn’t built in a day and,to accommodate its tourists, it continues to expand with more hotels, opening hours for museums and other attractions, especially during holidays and the summer months.

Rome’s Best Restaurants

Rome caters to a variety of tastes and preferences, each of them distinctly Roman! From the casual Roman tavern (also known as a trattoria or osteria) to the trendy upscale restaurants, each offers a different perspective of Roman wine and cuisine.

MET, which is found near Ponte Milvio, is one of Rome’s trendiest hotspots. The minimalist table decor alternates between white, black, and chocolate brown. The menu is suitably varied to cater to different tastes.

Maccheroni, the most popular Italian dish in the world, is the name of one of the best trattorias in Italy. Located in an ancient neighbourhood in the Piazza delle Coppelle, it maintains a warm, rustic atmosphere. The menu is an offering of traditional (and homemade) Roman cuisine. It also includes regional specialties.

Roscioli is considered by locals to be the city’s best enoteca (or wine bar). Here you’ll be served fresh bread and specialty wines each day according to Roman tradition.

You can’t come to Rome and not try the pizza. For authentic Roman pizza and local wine, visit the Montecarlo. It is located close to the Piazza Navona, and its noisy, fun atmosphere is loved by both locals and tourists.

Quinzi & Gabrieli is arguably the best seafood restaurant in Rome. Having been established in a 16th century building, the restaurant features three rooms with vaulted ceilings, an open front kitchen, and a terrace that overlooks a typical Roman square. The food is cooked in full view of the patrons, and the seafood comes directly from the fish tanks into the pots. A few choice ingredients are used to bring out the flavour of the fish.

La Pergola in the Rome Cavalieri Hilton Roof Garden is one of Rome’s best gourmet restaurants. It has been awarded a three Michelin stars and was founded by executive chef Heinz Beck. The cocktail bar with its views of the Eternal City and St. Peter’s dome is widely acclaimed. The restaurant has a frescoed ceiling and cherry wood interiors to add to the gourmet experience. In the summertime, you could also enjoy alfresco dining on the adjacent terrace.

For something off the beaten track (as far as Italy goes), try something completely different. SOMO, a Japanese/fusion restaurant, is one of the best non-Italian restaurants in Rome. The special lighting and intricate Japanese interior design give this restaurant in historic Trastevere a special touch. The restaurant is open everyday except Monday for evening meals between 7.30 pm and 12.30 am.

A Center of Culture and Religion

There are palaces, universities, and basilicas. Modern Rome also hosts the Cine Studios, which is a film and television studio complex second only to Hollywood. When it comes to music, Rome boasts the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia which is an internationally acclaimed conservatory of music. Visitors who enjoy museums should examine the National Museum of Rome at all of its four locations. In addition to the museum, no visitor to Rome should miss visiting the Vatican.

The National Museum of Rome.

The National Museum of Rome is divided into four main sites. The sites are: Crypta Balbi, Palazzo Altemps, Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, and Baths of Diocletian. The Crypta Balbi site has three floors. The basement consists of archeological remains, and can only be viewed with a guide. The ground floor shows ‘archaeology and history of an urban landscape.’ The first floor shows the development of Rome from the fifth century to the tenth century (AD).

The Palazzo Altemps houses many statues and works of art, including sculptures of eastern deities. There is also a private theater which currently houses special exhibitions. The Palazzo Massimo alle Terme houses a sarcophagus and mummy, including amber and jewelry artifacts that were found with the mummy. There are also sculptures and ancient coins at the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme. The Baths of Diocletian includes sculptures from bathhouses, a former chapel, and a sixteenth century garden.

Vatican City ‘A Nation in Rome, Italy

Vatican City is the world’s smallest nation, occupying just under half a square kilometer of Rome’s real estate. In addition to housing the Pope, the Vatican contains perhaps the most famous house of prayer of all time. The Sistine Chapel, located in the Apostolic Palace, is the site of the art of Michelangelo. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel shows scenes from the Bible, beginning with nine stories from the book of Genesis in the highest part of the chapel. Perhaps the best known scene of the chapel is the picture of God creating Adam. On the walls, Botticelli painted three scenes; Scenes from the Life of Moses, The Temptation of Christ, and The Punishment of Korah.

Visitors to the Sistine Chapel can enjoy the breathtaking artwork from 9am to 6pm in the winter, and 9am to 7pm in the summer. Visitors should be aware that the place is considered a holy place and therefore, there is a dress code. Visitors should wear long pants or skirts, not short skirts or shorts. Additionally, those wearing sleeveless shirts are not welcome in the Chapel.

Another popular tourist attraction is the Vatican Museum. There is a cafeteria at the Vatican Museum, but dining options are limited within Vatican City. Likewise, there are no overnight accommodations for visitors, so you’ll need to go back into the city of Rome for sleeping arrangements.

An Evening In Rome: How To Enjoy Rome As A Tourist After Dark!

You might envision Rome as ancient-historic city of marble walls and roman ruins, but the Italian Capital really turns Romantic, Outlandish, Marvelous, Enamoring, after dark. Rome may not offer you the craziest twilight funs, yet the city has enough to entertain you after dark. Rome certainly has bars, pubs, and clubs, but they come into action late night.

The best and traditional twilight recreations are evening strolls or sightseeing jaunts. Rome is awesome, and its beauty is tempting during dusky hours. The sites, just to name a few, such as Colosseum (Colosseo), Roman Forum (Foro Romano), Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi), Castel Sant’ Angelo, and the Vittorio Emanuel II Monument in Piazza Venezia are awe-inspiring and worth seeing in the city lights. However, if you are looking to explore something new other than the prime attractions of Rome after dark, you may find lots of unexplored treasures. The city’s piazzas become extremely lively in the twilights.

You may start your twilight treasure hunt with a visit to Piazza Campo Dei Fiori, a rectangular piazza (square) near Piazza Navona; across the street from Piazza Navona, actually between Piazza Navona and Piazza Farnese. The Piazza Campo Dei Fiori, surrounded by great bars, restaurants, eateries, ice cream stands, boutiques and shops, is a popular destination at night for locals and foreigners, and gets overfilled during evenings. The piazza is a good place to watch new people, Romans, Roman culture, and to have a glass of wine, if you are lucky enough to get a seat in any of bars, or else do as Romans do; get your drink and enjoy it outside.

Piazza Navona, a city square in Rome becomes a magical place after dark. It’s really a nice place to hang out in the evenings. The piazza is pride of Rome with the sculptural and architectural master creations, such as Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers in the center of the piazza by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone by Francesco Borromini and Girolamo Rainaldi. Additionally, the fountains – the Fontana di Nettuno, located at the northern area of the Piazza, and the Fontana del Moro, located at the southern end of the piazza. The Piazza Navona is a wonderful place to spend an evening out. The bars and cafés between Campo de’ Fiori and Piazza Navona are the worth visiting points during nights.

Piazza Venezia is another worth visiting lovely piazza in central the Rome. Taking its name from the adjacent Palazzo Venezia, the large is by the imposing Victor Emmanuel II monument. It’s really awful awing! Next, you can visit Piazza Barberini featuring Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s Triton Fountain. Of course, not to be missed Piazza San Pietro or Saint Peter’s Square that is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican City.

Testaccio is little far-out tourist point, but developing popular with young "evening outers". The 20th rione of Rome, Testaccio is has been a center of activity for butchers and has many nightclubs. The rione is fast growing popular because of the area in & around Monte Testaccio with a great variety of night clubs and discos. Trastevere, the 13th rione of Rome, is another great place for evening hour fun. Famous for its pubs and restaurant, the region is extremely popular with both Italians and foreigners.

The Spanish Steps are the nice to end up your after dark jaunt. Climbing between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, the Spanish Steps serve as rendezvous point for late-nighters, particularly romanticists and lovers. You can often find the steps full of activity; people sitting, eating gelatos, drinking, chattering, and laughing, and passionate lovers snuggling.

I Love Italian Wine and Food – Launching a Series

I Love Italian Wine and Food – Launching a Series

Let’s start with a few statistics. Italy constantly fights with France for the title of the world’s biggest wine producer. Italy ranks number 3 in per capita wine consumption. As in many other European countries, Italians are drinking less wine, but better wine. Italy exports about 10% of its wine production to the United States. It is home to almost one million registered vineyards, and more than one thousand grape varieties, the majority of which are found nowhere else on earth.

Italy is the king of microclimates: 40% of its territory is mountainous and another 40% is hilly. Such territory can often be ideal for vineyards, even if of little value for other agricultural products. The country is surrounded by five bodies of water; the Ligurian Sea in the northwest, the Tyrrhenian Seas in the southwest, the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in the south, and the Adriatic Sea in the east. All these geographical factors mean that vineyards a few kilometers apart may yield vastly different wines.

Did you know that Italy is divided into twenty regions? Each and every one produces wine, its own distinctive style or usually styles of wine that accompany its regional food specialties. Almost all regions produce wine for export to North America. Of course some regions are doing better than others, but in many cases regions that were once known for their bland, and perhaps baked wines, have turned the corner and are now making some excellent wines. Because the public is not yet generally aware of these wine-making regions, there are still bargains to be had. Keep posted, I’ll be making specific recommendations.

Italy can be divided into three major sections: Northern Italy, sharing a border with four European countries (France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia), Central Italy, and the South, traditionally the poorest part of Italy.

Northern Italy is composed of eight regions: The Aosta Valley, Piedmont (whose capital is Turin), Lombardy (whose capital is Milan), Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, The Veneto (whose capital is Venice), Emilia-Romagna, and Liguria (whose capital is Genoa). Because wines from the first and last of these regions are quite difficult to find in North America, we are planning articles on only six of these regions.

Central Italy is composed of six regions: Tuscany (whose capital is Florence), Umbria, The Marches, Abruzzi, Molise, and Latium (whose capital is Rome). We are planning at least one article on each of these regions.

Southern Italy is composed of six regions: Apulia, Campania (whose capital is Naples), Basilicata, Calabria, and the islands of Sicily (whose capital is Palermo) and Sardinia. We are planning at least one article on each of these regions.

Each article will discuss the region and its distinctiveness. We’ll talk about the wines and the foods that characterize the region. We’ll taste at least one wine as we are preparing the articles, and sometimes refer to memorable wines that we have tasted months or years previously. When possible, we’ll taste the wine with an imported Italian cheese that typifies the region.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY While we have communicated with well over a thousand Italian wine producers and merchants to help prepare these articles, our policy is clear. All wines that we taste and review have been purchased at the full retail price.

Now back to the subject of Italian wines.

Wine Classification.
Italy has legally defined four wine classifications that presumably help the consumer make a selection when faced dozens of unfamiliar choices. In 1963 Italy devised the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wine legislation largely modeled on the French legislation. The goal of the DOC system was to classify and regulate wine production in given geographical areas and help these areas develop their own specific identity. Don’t get confused, in addition to designating the Italian wine classification system, DOC also designates the third classification level within this system.

While most wine producing countries have instituted official wine classifications, arguably the Italian system is the most controversial, some would say the most abused, and the most ignored by the wine producers themselves. Look for these classifications on the wine label. But be warned, a higher classification does not always mean a better wine.

VdT stands for Vino da Tavola, translated as table wine. These wines may be made from any grape, or mixture of grapes, anywhere within Italy. Usually table wines are pretty ordinary, and in Italy they are often served directly from the barrel. And yet on occasion VdT wines are excellent and priced accordingly. Why should these lowest-rated wines be better than their supposedly fancier competitors? Some innovative producers didn’t want to be told by government officials how to make wine (see DOC below). In essence they said, “We’ll do it our way and let the market decide.” The classic examples of outstanding VdT wines are Super-Tuscans, often going for $50 or more a bottle.

IGT stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica, which may be translated as Typical Geographic Indication, in other words a wine that typifies its specific location. This classification was created in 1992 to provide a level of wine above table wine, and below DOC, described next. The IGT classification defines the wine’s geography but not its composition or production method. Once again, don’t jump to conclusions about the wine’s quality. I clearly remember drinking an exceptional IGT served at a public Italian wine dinner. It was a Rosso di Toscana IGT Croce di Bibbiano “Santo Chiodo” Super Tuscan that unfortunately is unavailable in my area. It costs more than most DOC and DOCG wines (see below) and in my opinion, this wine is worth it.

DOC stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled Origin. Each and every region has at least one DOC wine, for example, the Apulia region has 25 DOCs while its neighbor Bascilicata has only one. A given DOC defines the permissible grape or grape varieties as well as numerous details about the grape growing and wine making process. The first DOC wine dates back to 1966. About one fifth of Italian wine is classified DOC or better. Perhaps you can guess from this statistic that a DOC on the label is no guarantee of quality.

DOCG stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Guarantita, which may be translated as Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin. Please realize that this letter G on the label is no guarantee of quality. For example, the first red wine to achieve DOCG status (in 1980), the Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino is quite highly regarded. In contrast, the first white wine to achieve DOCG status (in 1987 after considerable debate) the Albana di Romagna from the neighboring region of Emilia-Romagna is not highly regarded at all. I have never tasted this particular wine, but the best comment I have ever read it is that this wine is pleasantly fruity. In my opinion, such weak praise hardly justifies its top-of-the-line official status. Perhaps what is required is a DOCGG classification (I’ll let you do the translation.)

Feeding the poor today and everyone on the planet tomorrow: What are the issues, and what can be done to avert a global food crisis? – Part 1

A hungry man is an angry man there goes the old adage.This saying was recently proved correct in Haiti when people took to the streets in protest of food price hikes.Food price hikes are caused by lack of adequate food supplies. As I write this article now the world’s food reserves are dwindling. When food banks dwindle the poor would be hardest hit.The poor can not afford the exorbitant prices charged on the scarce food.

The governments of various countries of this proud planet earth must crack their heads in finding solutions to feed the poor today.It doesn’t need spectacles to see that the poor are the majority than the rich in this world.The individual countries should map the strategies to feed the poor today and everyone else on the planet tomorrow.Teach him to fish rather than giving him the fish everyday should be the way forward. The governments of the world should teach the poor proper farming methods.

The means of production which is the land should be equitably distributed.Funds or loans should be available to small scale farmers without strings attached.Food for work schemes proved a success in Zimbabwe. This is a scheme whereby those who could not afford to buy food could work in community identified projects for a fee or in exchange for food . This really worked and the poor were assured of food on their tables by the end of the working week.Governments can also feed the poor by empowering them with farming skills and irrigation equipment.They can even put in place feeding schemes for the poor.

In order to feed everyone on the planet tomorrow and to avert a global food crisis, the world leaders should come up with viable solutions to have influx of food supply in the world.The enterprising solutions can be the one implemented in China of developing high yielding hybrid rice varieties.This method worked in feeding the Chinese in the hunger of the 1960.It can still work in this modern era.To date China is the hybrid world leader and India is following suit.Scientists should work round the clock to develop new fertilizers, chemicals and agricultural equipments which are environmental friendly so as to control climate change.

Scientists likewise should look to the deserts for more farming land. By this I beg to say they should try to pursue the Israel experience of farming in the desert.All the countries must be bound by the Rome declaration of 1996 which affirms the need for world food security and to promote a fair world trade