ZAP Bites: The Best of Italy

ZB_11.26.14 My husband and I recently took a trip to Italy for our anniversary. We’ve both been numerous times before so this time our goal was solely to relax, eat, drink and eat some more. Our first stop was Rome, the historic and mind-blowing city filled with ruins, piazzas and art. We spent days walking around exploring neighborhoods, drinking aperol spritzers at cafes  and visiting some of our favorite spots like the Colosseum, Roman Ruins, Pantheon, Vatican and the beautiful Piazza del Popolo. We also walked through Villa Borghese, the perfect garden where you can rent bikes, have picnics and take naps in the shade. It has a gorgeous view of the city and is a definite must see if you’re visiting.

Our second stop was Bologna, about two hours north of Rome and 30 minutes from Florence. It’s a great town that features Italy’s largest university, many historical sites and is one of the culinary capitals of the country. Bolognese sauce, tagliatelle, tortellini and beautiful pastries are among the local specialties. It’s also smack dab in the middle of an amazing food region that produces products like balsamic vinegar, prosciutti di parma and parmesan cheese. We had a private tour of one of the oldest producers of authentic balsamic vinegar and visited the beautiful towns of Modena and Parma.

A major reason we went to Italy was to eat, and boy did we eat! Rome and Bologna did not disappoint. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, here are a few of my dining recommendations:


Enoteca Ferrara – Hidden among the streets and crowds of Trastevere, this hidden gem is part wine bar and part restaurant. The space is decorated in all whites and warm neutrals and every room is more charming then the next. The menu changes weekly and focuses on traditional Italian cuisine with an incredibly expansive wine list. In fact, wines bottles are all around you and the wine cellar is visible from the restaurant through an ancient forged grating.

Taverna Trillusa – Hands down one of the best meals I’ve ever had. I would fly there just to eat here again. Try the Ravioli Mimosa, a house specialty, Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, and if you’re there during white truffle season (as we were), then you have to order the tenderloin with fresh shaved white truffle. I have literally been dreaming about that dish since we got home.


All’Osteria Bottega – A true local spot, this tiny osteria is delicious and perfect for a cozy lunch or dinner spot. Get the Tortillini en brodo (in broth) and the classic Bolognese lasagna.

Trattoria Baraldi – This unassuming  spot had some of the best pizza we tasted in Italy. Located on the same street as our apartment rental in Bologna, we stumbled upon this gem one night looking for a late dinner….and then went back the next night to try more. Get any of the pizzas and don’t skip the tortellini in a creamy tomato sauce.

- Annie Block, Vice President