Antipasto, Primo, Secondo

Dining in Italy can be a drawn out affair, especially during dinners. Staring with the Antipasto (appetizer), followed by Primo (first course), Secondo (main course), and a Dolce (dessert). Be it in a Ristorante, a Trattoria, an Osteria, a Tavola Calda or a Pizza Rustica (selling pizza by the slice), there are tons of eating choices.

Rome is famous for its thin-crust pizzas and Emma is both an excellent pizzeria and restaurant that serves classic dishes like carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe.

When I was in Rome three years ago, a friend from back home recommended Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina. It was an unforgettable meal and definitely wanted to go back. Glad I made an online reservation three weeks prior as I noticed several guests without reservations being turned away.

Salvatore Di Matteo is a Pizzaolo Napoletano that is famous for its pizzas and calzones.

Close to Piazza del Popolo is Edy Ristorante serving good Roman dishes.

Trastevere is a fun area to eat and drink in. I had a wonderful Roman meal at Cajo & Gajo.

Breakfast of cappuccino and cornetto at Caffe Rosati in a beautiful 1922 Art Nouveau surrounding.

Of course, there is no escaping having a gelato. Fatamorgana in Rome is an organic, no additives, gluten-free gelato mini-chain that offers classic flavours with twists.

In Venice, Enoteca Al Volto has been a favourite by locals and travellers alike since 1936 for hearty Venetian cuisine.

Ristorante Antica Sacrestia has also been serving good Venetian food for more than 30 years.

Il Refolo occupies a campo in front of San Giacomo dell’Orio and serves a relaxed and unfussy menu of pizzas, pastas and light seafood dishes. Owned by the Martin family of the Michelin-starred Da Fiore.

Excellent gelato in Venice can be found at Suso. All locally made and free of artificial colours, they serve seasonal flavours.

Finding accommodations was tougher than I thought for Rome, only later figuring out that there was a major international conference taking place at the time of my visit. I came across Casa de’Coronari located in a medieval building converted into a modern six-suite hotel close to Piazza Navona. It is well located to many of the sights on a cobblestoned street. Service was very friendly and helpful and the rooms are simple and modern.

Bellevue and Canaletto Suites in Venice is a small hotel opened in 2007 in a restored 12th century building. Overlooking Piazza San Marco, it is adjacent to the Clock Tower. Furnished in classical style – service is friendly. The best asset is its unbeatable convenient location.