Italy Bucket List {mostly food}

Buon anno! Happy New Year!

I have some pretty big news for you, amici. You might want to sit down for this. Actually you might want to sit down and pour yourself a glass of wine.

Ready? I hope you’ve got good wine. And maybe a few snacks. Yes? Okay, good.

I am moving. The time has come for me to leave Italy. Say whaaaaaat? Yup. It’s happening. Are you still conscious? Do you need more wine?

Believe me I’m just as shocked as you probably are. Here’s the deal. I’m about to share with you a pretty deep secret of mine: I’m growing. Little ol’ me is changing and quite honestly, I need more growing room. Growing room that Italy is no longer able to offer me.

Professionally speaking, I’m looking to follow my passion. I’ve been teaching English for the past 4 ½ years. It’s a great profession and it has given me the opportunity to live here and the flexibility to do many other things that I enjoy doing. But teaching is not what I love doing. What I love is food: talking about food, writing about food, taking pictures of food, eating food, playing with food, heck I even love talking TO my food. While there are some job opportunities in Italy, there are many more opportunities back in the United States that will help me grow in my career.

From a personal point of view, I really miss my family and friends in the United States. It’s important for me to be closer to them and to be there when the important stuff happens. That stuff is real y’all.

Are you still with me? Have you fallen into your wine glass? Please don’t drown.

It hasn’t been an easy decision. I have lived and loved Italy for all of my life and my dream had always been to move here. And I did it! I moved here, I worked here, I learned the language pretty darn well. I’ve experienced so many things that I never imagined I would have done. It’s been amazing. 

But now it’s time to move on. Keep growing. So what’s next?

Well I’m most likely moving to New York City. But more on that later.

I know what you’re thinking: but what will happen to the BLOG??????? Don’t worry. Italy Food Project will continue to be just that: a project about food in Italy. When I first started this blog, I was living in the U.S. and had no idea I would come to Italy. I was writing to stay connected to Italy in someway. Italy Food Project will still be my way of staying connected with Italy, and sharing all the cool recipes and food knowledge I’ve learned over the years with you. My goal with Italy Food Project has always been to bring Italy to the everyday life – bringing Italy to YOU, inside your kitchen. Inside your hungry little mind! You can expect good things to come.

tortellini bolognesi

Such as learning how to master these delicious tortellini babies and then sharing all my secrets with you

Before I leave Italy however, there are some things I want to do. A sort of Italy Bucket List” if you will. These are things that I’ve always wanted to do but have been too busy working to actually do them. Or maybe I’ve just taken for granted the fact that I’m surrounded by immense beauty and the most delicious food in the world and have gotten lazy. Isn’t it funny how that happens? You live in a place and you forget everything you’ve got. But the minute it turns into a vacation, everything becomes magical again. That’s another reason why I’m excited to leave: I get to come back to Italy and just be a tourist. Awesome sauce.

So what’s on the list?

ITALY BUCKET LIST: THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I LEAVE

Bologna, Italy

Well since my main motivation for traveling is eating (okay so maybe it’s not ALL of it, but it is a pretty big part of it), my bucket list is comprised mostly of things related to food. This bucket list will be completed (I say will because I’m determiend to make it happen. It’s a promise.) over the next two months.

  1. Travel. And I’d love it if you would travel with me! I have an itinerary set out for the month of February. While it’s not completely set in stone yet, these are the dates and places I hope I’ll be:
    1. Bari/Puglia region – February 1st – 5th
    2. Rome – February 5th-11th
    3. Siena – February 11th – 12th
    4. Bologna/Emilia-Romagna region – February 12th – 19th
    5. Piedmont – February 19th – 21st

If you’re in any of these areas around this time, or if you’d simply like to come along, let me know! The only requisite I have is that you love eating.

  1. Eat at a Michelin star restaurant. My list includes La Pergola in Rome or maybe Osteria Francescana in Modena. Have you heard of any of these? Do you have any Michelin star recommendations? Better yet, wanna come dine with me?
  2. Master the art of making pasta. If not complete mastery, at least get to the point where I’m comfortable enough to make fresh pasta if I’m having company over for dinner. How will I do this, you ask? There are several cooking courses I’m hoping to try. One is through Otto in Cucina in Bologna which is offering a tortellini lesson on February 18th. Another place is Cucina Masseria in Bari – a sort of B&B with add-on cooking classes. I most definitely want to get a taste of orecchiette, an ear-shaped pasta typical of Puglia. Another cooking school that is located right here in Genoa is Zen and Cook. I recently took their pesto course and absolutely loved the school. They offer many other cooking classes and I’d like to sign up for one related to pasta or focaccia. Do you have any recommendations for a good teacher/cooking school in either Bari, Rome, Siena, or Bologna?

Italy Bucket List: Pasta Carbonara

  1. Hold a focaccia tasting contest in my home. My idea would be to go around and buy a single piece of focaccia from all the top focaccerias in the city, then bring them home and taste test them to determine the best. Am I crazy or what? Oh for the love of food.
  2. Find the best pasta carbonara in Rome. Impossible? Maybe. Fun to do? YES. There are so many great recommendations out there and I’m super psyched to try them out. Do you have any favorites in Rome?
  3. Enjoy an Italian farmhouse experience (agriturismo– There are a lot of farmhouses in Italy that offer accomodation, cooking classes, and farm fresh dining experiences. I’m particularly interested in Cucina Masseria near Bari, as well as finding an agriturismo in the Bolognesi hills. Suggestions?
  4. Finish writing my book. Did you know I’m writing a book? It’s essentially a foodie’s guide to Bologna. Actually that’s probably going to be the title: A Foodie’s Guide to Bologna. It’s something I had been working on when I lived in Bologna, but since moving to Genoa it’s been put on the back burner and I’ve felt slightly less inspired to do anything with it. Still I’ve got the framework down and I’m hoping that after spending a week in Bologna I’ll have more resources and inspiration to finish it.

So who’s up to join in the adventure? I’m dead serious. All you have to do is leave a comment below or send me a message through my Facebook page and we can make it happen.


I’m curious to know what’s on your Italy Bucket List? I would love to know. Really. Tell me pleeeeease. Pretty please with an olive on top?

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017 full of good food, good company and good cheer. May all your wishes (food fantasies including) come true!

32 comments on “Italy Bucket List {mostly food}

  1. I’m in the process of trying to do so many last-minute things before I leave Utrecht and the Netherlands in nine days! It felt like I had plenty of time, but now there’s not enough to see and do all the things I still wanted.

    But I’m headed to Bologna! My boyfriend is from Bologna, but it’s been decades almost since he’s lived there full time, so we’ll both be learning about the city in some ways. I’d love to meet up while you’re in the city, if possible.

    • Hey Alison! We can definitely meet up. I’ll be there for about a week. I’ll message you when I know the exacts dates. Good luck on your move. Cheers xx

  2. Sounds like fun! Too bad I will not be in Italy until May. I am however, spending 6 nights in Puglia, so please pass on any recommendations after your visit!

  3. We highly recommend Locanda Rosati an agriturismo in Orvieto. An amazing 5 course meal prepared by Paolo. My husband and I have visited there 3 times and have never been disappointed. Also, have Giampiero give you directions to Civita.
    Another must in our estimation is a visit to Montalcino and eat Pinci. This pasta is only called Pinci in Montalcino and Pici everywhere else. See if you can learn how to make it. I have made it here but wish I had taken a class while there. Tasting the Brunello wines and visiting some of the wineries is an experience we will never forget. We had a guide who took us to some great wineries that where not the usual tourist places. Taste Poggio Antico’s super tuscan Madre. We still order it from them. You have my email if you would like more details.

  4. Sarah, you are awesome! You have such a passion for Italy and for it’s unique food vibe….you will bring that where ever you live. We are so happy to welcome you back to the States! Keep doing you!! <3

  5. So, Sara, I am living quite near the sea, in Monopoli, if you are already planning a trip to Puglia, contact me personally by email and we can chat. Have a few things you may be interested in checking out, concerning Bologn and I may be interested in looking into some sort of class here too.

  6. You need a base for your Puglia visit in February, let Vicki and me know? Our villa is in Monopoli and we have plenty of extra room. We offered to connect with you awhile back when we lived in Bologna but we are now in Monopoli for the next four months. Vicki is a Chef so she certainly knows food and can compare her notes on Italian foods, etc. just e-mail us and we can go from there.

    • That would be great, I’m going to email you this week. I would LOVE to meet you both. I remember when we connected awhile back but I wasn’t in Bologna at that time. :) Thanks!

  7. I just returned from a two-week house-hunting visit in northern Tuscany. I stayed at an agriturismo in the Lunigiana that I can highly recommend. Their restaurant is great and you must try their pasta made of chestnut flour–a local specialty. http://montagnaverde.it While I didn’t have time for cooking lessons or to explore the other agriturismo in the area, you might look into La Luna di Quarazzana http://www.bed-and-breakfast-lunigiana.it where they offer cooking classes. Check out the article in Lonely Planet Traveler, September 2016 issue. Good luck with your bucket list! Look forward to following your adventure.

  8. Hi! I would highly recommend the Culinary Institute of Bologna for your cooking class. I learned a lot there and they do market trips in the morning so that you can pick what produce and proteins you want to work with. Also, I would recommend Italian Days Food Experience Tour. We went to a Parmigiano-Reggiano factory, a Aceto- Balsamico villa, and a Proscuitto factory. We finished the day at Corte d’Aibo an organic winery for lunch and an extensive wine tasting. I wish I was back in Italy right now… hopefully I will be there again soon.

    • Hi Rochelle, that all sounds LOVELY! Especially the organic winery. I’ve never don’t anything like that before. Thank you so much for the suggestions!

  9. Hostaria Antica Roma is our favorite place to eat in Rome. Our friend Paolo owns the restaurant and it’s the best food we have ever tried in Europe. Www. Anticaroma.it
    You will not be disappointed, just meeting him makes the trip there worthwhile. He is the owner and chef. He has lived throughout the United States which makes great stories!

  10. I took a great cooking class in Bologna at Uova e Farina, Forte Isolani 5/a. It was a private class and I made lasagna Alla Bolognese and taglietelle. They were great. I stayed in Bologna 2 weeks. Awesome! Wish I was traveling with you.

  11. The very best to you, Sarah! We are headed back to Italy for another 90-days….still waiting for our Italian passports to be issued. Yup, a year was 11/2/15. The LA consulate is a little behind. Anyway we already did the north (Parma and area) in Aug-Nov and now we are headed to investigate the south, have chosen half our time in BARI and other half in LUCCA. If you have any suggestions for us (no car, just travel by bus and train) we would love to know.

    • Hi Ilene! Oh no, that sounds horrific! Italian *bureacrazy*! I will be traveling only by train/bus so I’m sure I’ll be able to give you some easy-to-access recommendations for Bari. Best of luck to you!

  12. Hi Sarah,
    first of all Happy New Year to you too!!!
    I’ve been living in Italy for last three years and I am glad I have found your blog.
    I like your style and want to thank you for sharing with us.

  13. Happy New Year! I’d be happy to show you around Turin when you visit Piedmont! No expert (I’l learning myself) but if you like, we can make agnolotti or some other type of regional pasta together too. A presto!

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