Italy is one of my favorite countries. It’s one of the few countries I’ve been to more than once, and I just can’t get enough. Two sets of my great grandparents moved to the US from Italy, making me half Italian, so maybe that’s part of why I’m so drawn to the country. But I’m now more interested in exploring hidden neighborhoods and soaking up the real Italy. It’s just not always so easy to find good information on where to find those places.
Fortunately, my friend Gigi Griffis has just written a guidebook that does a wonderful job of providing the inside scoop on Italy.
The book is called Italy: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In, and it’s filled with interviews with 100 locals, both natives and long-time expats, who want you to enjoy their little slice of Italy. From north to south, she has interviews with people in major cities, smaller cities, and some towns you’ve probably never heard of before.
I could really tell that these people each love their particular city. They provide advice on what to see and where to go, but they also tell you about their favorite restaurants and bars, and what kind of food to try while traveling there. Italy is very regional, and the food changes from one place to the next, so I found it helpful to know which dishes are from which areas. Some of this restaurant advice would’ve been really helpful to me last year when Andy and I were in Naples!
The locals in Gigi’s book also give tips on how to fit in better. Every country has different customs and cultural norms, so sometimes it’s easy to do something that locals think is rude or just strange. Things like wearing flip-flops to a monument or ordering cappuccino at the wrong time of day.
In addition to this wonderful book, Gigi is doing fantastic giveaways every month for the rest of 2014. The prize for June is a free night at a B&B in Florence. If you buy the book through her site, you’ll be automatically entered. And if you don’t win the free night in Florence, your entry will be rolled over to next month. So buying the book gets you a chance each month to win something amazing and, of course, Italy-related.
Italy: 100 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In is not a traditional guidebook. It’s like having an Italian best friend show you how to dig a little deeper into one of the best countries in the world, and it will enhance your trip whether it’s your first visit or you’ve been there a dozen times.
Gigi provided me with a free copy of her book, but all opinions are my own.