“Nothing is more aggravating than having a bad meal in Italy.”
Such is the premise behind an informative and enjoyable restaurant guide compiled by Rick Zullo, author of the blog “Rick’s Rome,” who enlisted some of Italy’s top food bloggers to share their knowledge on the best places to eat in Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Florence/Tuscany, and Venice - sites where, besides the endless options, it’s easy to fall into tourist traps.
“You have so many options for dining out that it’s intimidating to the uninitiated expat or foreign visitor. But the authoritative restaurant guides can be just as overwhelming, and occasionally misleading,” says Rick.
That’s why he decided to put together a guide written by local people with insider’s knowledge: “They each have their own areas of expertise, but they all share a passion for authentic food and the ways that food traditions are integrated into Italian culture.”
Here are the writers, listed by location, with a brief intro by Rick explaining how he "discovered" them, namely through their apps, blogs, cooking schools and food tours:
ROME – Eleonora Baldwin - http://www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com/
“I knew Eleonora Baldwin through her blogs, which cover all food-related topics in Rome (in both English and Italian,) and through her YouTube videos, where she interviews well-known chefs of Rome. She’s on a very short list of respected English-speaking ‘foodies.’”
AMALFI COAST – Gillian McGuire - http://www.gillianslists.com/
“I discovered Gillian McGuire through her iPhone app—I used it myself the last time I was in the Amalfi Coast and found it extremely valuable.”
FLORENCE & TUSCANY – Judy Witts - http://www.divinacucina.com/
“I contacted Judy Witts after I kept reading rave reviews online about her cooking classes in Tuscany. She’s also involved with the Slow Food movement there.”
VENICE – Monica Cesarato - http://www.monicacesarato.com/blog/
“I connected with Monica Cesarato after a friend of mine told me about her food tours of Venice, which introduce travelers to the Venetian tradition of cicchetti bars. She also teaches Venetian cooking classes.”
We asked Rick if he has plans to publish more restaurant guides: “I don’t have any specific plans for other guides, however with the immediate popularity of this one, I’m already thinking about doing a second edition which would include a few more regions—Sicily for sure, and maybe Bologna or Naples. I don’t want to take this too far, though; the whole concept was to keep it concise and easy to use.”
Rick moved to Rome a few years ago, where he teaches English and writes regularly on his blog, which started as a reference point for new expats in Italy, and he’s now expanding to cover various topics of Italian culture.
Rick was born in Chicago and spent most of his life in Florida. His great-grandparents were born in Southern Italy. “I grew up feeling very proud of my Italian heritage,” he says. “But as I mentioned in a recent blog post, nothing “cures” an Italian-American of feeling Italian so much as living in Italy for a few years. I really love Italy, but I love it through the eyes of a foreigner—which is to say in a very different way than my great-grandparents did, I imagine. And despite some recent economic and political woes, I think Italy is still the most stimulating and inspiring place to live in the world. It’s not always easy, but it is always interesting!”
To download for free “Our Favorite Restaurants in Italy – As Chosen by Italy’s Top Food Bloggers”, click here: http://rickzullo.com/italy-restaurant-guide/