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Gelato. It’s amazing. I know that for a fact because every time I’ve been in Italy I ate gelato like three times a day. For real. And just so we’re clear – American gelato does not even come close to the real thing.

Gelato may be the Italian word for ice cream, but it is nothing like American ice cream. Gelato has significantly less air in it, as well as significantly more sugar. It is light and creamy and the flavors are to die for (and sometimes really weird).

However, even in Italy there is good gelato and bad gelato. If you want good, authentic gelato make sure you buy from somewhere advertised as “artigianale” and “produzione propria” – this way you now the gelato is made on site in the traditional manner. Avoid any gelato that is an unnatural color – real gelato will never be a shocking orange, pink, or blue. Finally, look for gelato in metal tubs – you will increase the likelihood that you are getting fresh, homemade gelato.

I like my gelato in a cone (un cono) but you can also get it in a cup (una coppa). Most shops will display the size of the cup or cone along with the price (in euros, of course). Make sure you are very clear about how many flavors (gusti) you want – the number of flavors determines the number of scoops. So, to order two scoops in a cone you would ask for “due gusti en un cono.”

The flavors are what really make gelato amazing. You can get almost every fruit flavor, chocolate flavors, cream based flavors, and nut flavors. Some of my favorites include nocciola (hazelnut), albicocca (apricot), and cannella (cinnamon), while my sister always swears by cocco (coconut) and pistacchio (pistachio). In some places you will find really unique flavors like rose, violet, chestnut, and pine nut. Try flavors in different combinations for a real Italian gelato experience.

What’s the most important thing to remember about gelato? To eat it, of course! Preferably, a-lot-o it!

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November 6, 2015 0 comment
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Vatican city is a pretty cool place. The smallest country in the world, with barely 100 acres of land, Vatican City is a must-visit on any trip to Rome.

But, every visitor should know that a trip to the Vatican means a strict set of rules to follow. And I mean strict – Vatican officials take these rules seriously and so should you.

Most importantly, when visiting the Vatican all bare shoulders must be covered up and legs must be clothed to the knee. No shorts. No tank tops. Period. It doesn’t matter if it 50 degrees or 100 – cover up! And this goes for ALL of Vatican City, not just St. Peter’s. As this rule apples (though less strictly) to most religious sites in Rome, a good work around is to carry a scarf or two with you in your bag. You can then just drape it over your shoulder or tie it around your waist to meet the dress code.

The Vatican is a top tourist site, so there will be lines. Long lines. Do everyone a favor and be a gracious visitor. Not cutting, complaining loudly, pushing, shoving…you get the idea.

Another rules that should be obvious, but surprisingly isn’t – don’t touch the items in the museum! I have seen tourists just cavalierly reach out and touch art and sculptures – it’s a museum people, not show and tell. Plus, you don’t want the Swiss Guards on your bad side – trust me!

Finally, be careful to follow rules about photography and videography. For example, you absolutely cannot take photos inside the Sistine Chapel. Just don’t even try it. And if at any time an official says to you “no photo!” just follow their instructions. There’s no need to get thrown out of Vatican City – although I imagine that would be a pretty cool story!

October 26, 2015 1 comment
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