There’s no better companion on a bright, sunny day than a sweet scoop of ice cream or perhaps gelato depending on where you live. Our recent Italian adventures got us thinking about these two great treats. They’re so similar, yet so different. Is there really a difference between gelato and ice cream? Or did we just fall hard for gelato because we were so romanced by Italy as a whole?
On our first full day in Italy, we were set to tour the Amalfi coast. Our guide picked us up from the hotel early that morning and off we went to explore Priano, Amalfi, Ravello, Marmorata, Minori, Salerno and everything in between. On our way through Positano we passed a linen shop on the top of the hill and asked the van to stop for us to run in. The linens hanging on the porch of the store were gorgeous and we wanted a closer look. The shop had everything type of linen garment you could imagine!
We walked in and were greeted by a lovely woman. She helped us navigate the store and mentioned it was a family business. Jet lag was tough and it was an early morning for everyone… As I wandered through the store, I couldn’t stop yawning. A stout man with thick rimmed glasses caught me mid-yawn and asked, “Caffè?”. Embarrassed, I politely declined. He asked again and assured me that his brew would wake me up. He introduced himself as Vito, “the owner of this store!” and insisted that I needed a caffè. How could I say no to this? I agreed to coffee and followed him to the back room of his shop.
We landed in Naples, stopped for pizza at Ciro a Santa Lucia, toured the National Archaeological Museum, hopped in the van and took off to Positano. It was a whirlwind day, but then again that’s how most Tea trips go… we always seem to hit the ground running (and in this case, quite literally, as we ran from customs in Rome to our flight to Naples!). Planning a trip to the Amalfi coast can be a bit daunting because there’s just so much to see and do. Here, we share a bit of our coastal itinerary for a few tips to help your family travel the Tea way!
Ceramic pottery, one of the oldest crafts in Italy, dates back to the XV century. From Ravello to Positano and most famously, Vietri Sul Mare, the towns along the Amalfi Coast are known for their intricately designed ceramics. Ceramic pottery is a handicraft tradition, passed down through many generations and perfected along the way. In little alleys, on main streets and even along the water, you’ll find ceramic shops everywhere you go. We had a fabulous time popping into all of the shops, meeting their spirited owners, many of whom are third, fourth or fifth generation ceramic shop owners, and hearing their stories. We’re sharing our favorite ceramic shops, so make sure to take note in case you find yourself on the Amalfi Coast.
I once read that the main ingredient in an Italian dish is enjoying it with family and friends. In Italy, la famiglia is everything. And family gatherings are at the center of it all. You may have visions of what an Italian family dinner looks like from friendly stories or perhaps something you’ve seen in a movie, but you cannot truly grasp the bond between family members until you join them for a meal.
While in Italy, we were able to spend some quality time with Alexis’ Italian family at Ranise, their family’s olive orchard in Liguria, Italy. The 400-year-old olive trees are tended to by members of their extended family and have been passed down through generations. It was amazing to walk through the historical orchard and learn about the process of harvesting olives (and taste the finished product!). We learned that it takes many steps to get an olive from the tree to your table. Follow along as we share what we’ve learned…
Venice is an otherworldly place. From the gilded gondolas and palaces that fill the Grand Canal to the architectural details of the buildings and footbridges connecting the city to its floating neighborhood islands. Venice thrives on mystery and awe. As you wander through the streets, it’s hard to miss the Venetian masks. These famous masks are a part the Carnival of Venice, an annual festival held in Venice typically held in February that marks the beginning of Lent. Similar events are held around the world, like Mardi Gras and Carnaval in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.