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Romantic Italy

When I was not modeling, I had the opportunity to study regional Italian cooking at what are known as agriturismi. This is the Italian word for country farms that are also bed and breakfasts serving meals produced from the fresh foods grown and produced in many different regions of Italy.

Generally tourists tend to know about the popular and crowded places that can be very impersonal. Traveling by car and foot throughout Italy has provided me with windows to some of the most spectacular venues.

Norm: You mention that you have a great deal of experience of staying in bed and breakfasts on organic farms in Italy (agriturisimi). Could you tell our readers something about these B&Bs and why you consider them to be appropriate as romantic or honeymoon destinations?

Maria: The agriturismi, aside from being great places to learn about Italian foods, tend to be some of the most romantic vacation spots in Italy. They are usually located high up on a hill with breathtaking views of a town. If located in a city like Rome, they would be found away from the principal areas. Consequently, they are usually situated in peaceful, serene and picturesque settings. What could be more romantic than staying on a vineyard, and being able to take a peaceful walk picking a fresh piece of fruit to munch on while your walking?

Moreover, staying in an agriturismo you are guaranteed to always have an abundance of the best quality freshly prepared foods. No doubt, this is far superior to eating at restaurants that cater to tourists and which often are very pricey.

All- inclusive packages are generally available and in most instances will prove to be much more economical than a stay in a hotel.

Norm: Why would you consider Italy a good choice for a romantic getaway or wedding and honeymoon destination?

Maria: Italy is beyond doubt one of the best places for a romantic getaway or honeymoon- not only because of the variety of breathtaking beauty and romantic views surrounding you, but also the Italian lifestyle.

Italians love romance, their songs are all based on romance and about love. People love to see couples walking hand in hand or arm in arm. Even just the simple ritual of eating a meal has a romantic feel to it. When you sit down to eat dinner at a restaurant or even at a bed and breakfast it is meant to be a long, drawn out ritual. In other words, an activity that is shared and enjoyed between two people, and not something over with in 10 minutes.

Take for example picnics in Italy. If you opt to have spontaneous romantic picnics, you have access to some of the most romantic locations in the world. Moreover, at your disposal are a variety of fresh bread and pizza at the local forno (pronounced for-noh), as well as cheeses found in local cheese shops or supermarkets.

Even some of the major cities such as Rome, Milan or Florence, all have their quiet venues, where you can savor your food and enjoy the romantic ambiance.

The center of Rome has the Villa Borghese, and of course, if you don’t mind the noise and crowds, there are the Spanish Steps.

Not to omit the Coliseum and the Roman Forum that are popular areas for impromptu picnics.

If you are in a small town, it is certainly not difficult to find a beautiful view in a quiet place. One word of advice, please always remember to respect the property you are on and clean up after your picnic.

Norm: Why have cooking classes in Italy become so popular?

Maria: Actually it is a new trend and my own company has received many requests to put together these packages for couples. In fact, I am working with a journalist on an article that will shortly appear in February 2005 in Women and Fitness Magazine. Of course it is themed around St Valentine’s Day. Anyways, it is a trend for couples to take cooking classes not only in Italy but also in the USA. What better way to share a wonderful experience and create something together, and then enjoy the romantic experience of eating what both of you just created?

It is time that Americans catch on to what the Italians have known for years- that cooking is a wonderful romantic experience. It is non-threatening in that you can be creative at your own pace together- and then partake in a romantic meal together. It can be a prelude to watching a romantic movie. You can even go shopping together at a local fresh food market before you cook the meal. So it is a wonderful romantic trend and it is becoming more and more popular.