A Taste of Italy in 2024: Explore Three Unique Culinary Offerings


Known for its mouthwatering pizza, pasta, and more, no trip to Italy is complete without savoring the local cuisine. With the country set to be the top international travel destination for US travelers in 2024, here are three hidden gems with fresh culinary offerings visitors won’t want to miss:

Savor the Dolomites at FORESTIS: The only city in South Tyrol with a Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certification, the lesser-known city of Bressanone is raising the bar with innovative businesses and properties alike. FORESTIS, a five-star conceptual retreat near Bressanone, places sustainability at the forefront with a forward-thinking forest cuisine concept. Brought to life by Executive Chef Roland Lamprehct, the culinary concept at FORESTIS emphasizes locality, seasonality, and tradition through enjoyable, healthy dishes inspired by the surrounding nature. 

Chef Roland prioritizes locally sourced vegetables, fruits, and herbs from the surrounding forests and local farmers who employ the zero-waste principle, allowing FORESTIS to carry on the South Tyrolean locality tradition. Working alongside sustainable partners like the Bruggerhof farm and herbalists Lorenzo and Leander, Chef Roland creates farm-to-table dishes that bring guests through the flavors of the Dolomites with tomatoes, salad leaves, strawberry mint, and white balm from the farms for seasonal, refreshing faire and juices. Fish, meat, sausages, oils, and dairy products are also sourced from select farmers and suppliers in the surrounding area and throughout Italy while fresh breads and jams are created in-house. The ever-changing seven-course dinner menu at FORESTIS reflects the seasons in the Dolomites, as the cooler months welcome hearty dishes inspired by the change of autumn and peace of winter, offering warm soups and meat-heavy dishes on the menu, as the warmer months invite lighter, refreshing cuisine embracing the purity of spring and summer.

Go on a Culinary Journey Around Lake Garda at Cape of Senses: Just as poets and authors have found inspiration in the beauty of Lake Garda's shores for centuries, the region's culinary landscape draws from its natural surroundings. Lake Garda's unique gastronomy celebrates local fish dishes infused with the vibrant flavors of nearby herbs and greens, including the indigenous plants of Baldassia and the surrounding rice fields.

Situated in the heart of Lake Garda, Cape of Senses, a recently-opened five-star hotel hideaway, embodies the region's essence, offering an authentic taste of locally sourced ingredients at their two restaurants. Restaurant Al Tramonto presents elegantly crafted regional delicacies, such as fresh bigoli (egg pasta), risotto, and gnocchi, prepared by Chef Francesco Pavan, while Osteria La Pergola helps guests rediscover forgotten flavor combinations, such as veal rump with tuna sauce. Also on the shores of the lake is the renowned Locanda Perbellini al Lago, located just steps from Cape of Senses, where Chef Giancarlo Perbellini pays tribute to the region's heritage with a unique vegan menu, and Vecchia Malcesine, helmed by Chef Leandro Luppi and boasting three creative and personal tasting menus highlighting dishes such as “Lake Carbonara.”

Experience One-of-a-Kind Local Dining in Venice at Violino d’Oro: Violino d’OroCollezione Em’s newest property to join the Italian hotel collection, recently opened in Venice at a time when safeguarding locality, tradition, and sustainability is a priority. Translating to “the small” in English, Il Piccolo is the property’s intimate, nine-table restaurant, carving out a forward-thinking style of cuisine with a focus on plant-based meals, seasonality, and locally sourced ingredients. Through Executive Chef Stefano Santo’s curiosity and understanding of ingredients offered by nature, the lagoon and land have been incorporated into Il Piccolo’s fresh, light cuisine. Chef Santo ventures throughout the region to places like Sant’Erasmo Island, known for the wild and spontaneous growth of vegetables like Botoi (tiny artichokes) and Bruscandoli from Carletti (ruffled asparagus); Treviso for rosa (a rose-shaped radicchio, indigenous to Venetian soil); and the Rialto Market for fresh Pesci della Laguna. Through each hand-picked ingredient, Chef Santo promises a culinary journey known as “Piccolo Emozioni” or “Little Emotions”, bringing guests on a culinary journey firmly rooted in the history of Venice.

Beyond Il Piccolo, the city is brimming with flavor at every corner. Owner Sara Maestrelli’s favorite hidden gems for the most authentic Venetian cuisine in the city include Sara’s personal favorite Bacari, Shiaviwhich is a typical tavern to enjoy an ombra and cicchetti over the canal, Bar Mio, which is a secret finding for the iconic Venetian sandwich il Tramezzino, and Il Bemba, a convivial place featuring traditional Venetian dishes with a sustainable, contemporary twist and one 28-seater table.

Cape of Senses
Violino D'oro

Ela Walz

Having grown up in a multi-cultural surrounding, I have developed my love for international travel at a young age. I have traveled to over 50 countries, enjoy good food, meeting people, and experiencing other cultures. ...(Read More)

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