Written by: Margcata There are uncountable fanstastic Italian towns and it would take a lifetime to visit them all. My many years of exploring, discovering, sìpping, taste testing, sharing and delighting in is presented in this shortened series of enchanting villages. Monterosso Al Mare, Ligurian Coast and its Pesto, Gubbio, Umbria and its Ceramics, Montepulciano, Tuscany and its Wines, Asolo, Veneto and its Literature and Alberobello and its Trulli Architecture which was covered in an earlier posting ( thread ) on Cheftalk are re.edited for your enjoyment. The Cinque Terre is the name that was bestowed upon 5 quaint hamlets, Monterosso Al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manrola and Riomaggiore that line the dramatic Ligurian coastline for over 20 miles. They are linked by ferry service or via train. Monterosso, the largest of these 5 villages, has a permanent population of approximately 2.100 people. The beguiling historic district called Borgo Antico di Monterosso is chockful of old world enchantment and worth a stop over. The 3 best restaurants not over run by Italian tourists are: L´Alta Marea Ristorante Trattoria Ciak Ristorante Mo9retto The specialties in this village focus on Pesto and pastas include short styles and lasagna. There is a local Cinque Terre white wine and Schiacchetra, a white dessert wine from grapes grown on the terraced slopes behind the village. As the road to the ancient town of Gubbio curves its way through uncountable pasture lands, you shall encounter the 1st century A.D. Roman Amphitheatre. The venues not to miss for their culinary specialties here are: Ristorante Alla Fornace di Mastro Giorgio Taverna del Lupo 18th Century Villa Montegranelli All of these three venues have splendid cuisine. The specialties of this zone are: Pasta with truffles Polenta with grilled meats Risotto with truffles All served on gorgeous hand painted ceramic plates. Stroll over the Camignano Bridge, take in the Palazzo Dei Consoli and the Pottery galore. One of the highest villages in Tuscany and one of the best preserved historic ones is Montepulciano. The local people describe their wine as " D´Ogni Vino IL Rei " which translates as " Of all the wines, King " ... The full bodied reds are made from the Prugnolo Gentile Clone grapes stemming from the sensational Sangiovese Grape. Possessing a violet rim on a twirl for bouquet, this is a Government DOCG, Designation of Origin, Appellation or Denomination of Origin. This town is filled with cantine = wine cellars, tasting cellars, wine shops with taste testing sections, bars and are run by people who love nothing more than a passionate conversation about wine ... The ones I enjoyed were: Oinochóe on Vía Voltaia Nel Corso Cantina Grattavecchi - Located next to the village Maria dei Servi Church Of course, Chianti Colli Senesi called Chianto is also a popular red wine in the zone. For white wine, try the Valdichiana ... Ristorante La Grotta, serves local specialties for which travellers rave about. We shared the following: Crostini Boar and Fresh Game Pates Pinci: hand rolled pastas ( laborious ) filled and painted with egg and baked Roasted meats Braised white beans in brodo Charcuterie ( smoked Boar ) Ragú Biscotti Asolo, Veneto and its Literature ... In 1838, at the age of 26, the English poet Robert Browning made his first trip to Italy. His first visit to Asolo, an enchanting Renaissance town, tucked into the green hills of Veneto in particular played a quintessential role throughout his life. Here you shall find: 1) Gastronomia Sgarbossa - The NYC Zabars 2) Osteria al Bacaro 3) Enoteca Asolo Wine Shop Ristorante Ai Due Archi ... The extraordinaire, prized and unique in this trattoria is the thick, large fresh grilled White Asparagus stalks ... and the Crespelle which is a crepe filled with the white asparagus stalks. Another dish stemming from Renaissance times is the Pasta e Fagioli, a bean and shell pasta chowder and pesce in saor, a well known recipe throughout Veneto, each family making its own version: fresh catch of day with pinenuts and raisins, baked in the oven ... Lovely with seabass. Lets hear from aficionados who have travelled throughout Italia.