Rachael Ray's Italian Vacation

Italy holds a special place in Rachael's heart, which is why every year John and her take a trip back to Tuscany. On this trip, you're invited to come along and learn all about her favorite cities and foods!
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Italy holds a special place in Rachael's heart, which is why every year John and her take a trip back to Tuscany. On this trip, you're invited to come along and learn all about her favorite cities and foods!

La Dolce Vita

Italy is the place where I feel most at home when I'm not at home. John and I were married in Tuscany, and every year we go back for a long weekend with our family and close friends. Then we take a week for just the two of us to celebrate our anniversary.

La Dolce Vita

Food Focused

One of my biggest heartaches when I travel is that when I'm staying at a hotel, I can't cook. That's why John and I decided to rent a villa for this trip to Tuscany: You can really live as if you're lucky enough to be native to the region.

Experience the Culture

Rustic Home

We stayed in one of the villas at Monteverdi in the village of Castiglioncello del Trinoro.

Rustic Home

Chef's Delight

We found a gorgeous ancient stone home with a great kitchen where we could cook our hearts out! I think this is going to be our routine now, forever and ever.

Cooking her Heart Out

Dear Friends

We fell in love with Scott and Gina, the young couple that manages the villa.

Making Friends

Local Pleasures

I love to go to markets when I travel. That's how you get to know the people, the food and the personality of the region. It's also the most fun and affordable way to eat during the day.

Cheap Eats

Cheap Eats

You can have four times the amount of food for way less money! I would buy some fruit or cheese and a hunk of bread, and we'd have an amazing alfresco picnic.

The Pleasure of a Market

Fresh Produce

You get the bits and pieces of a meal at different places -- we bought the artichokes at a village market.

Happy as Can Be

Artichokes Vinaigrette

The artichokes were so flavorful, I just boiled and served them with a quick dressing. They didn't need anything else!

Artichokes Vinaigrette

Artichokes Vinaigrette

Snack Time

John couldn't make it through the market without getting a porchetta (slow-roasted pork) sandwich, even though he'd eaten 20 minutes earlier!

Snack Time

Roasted Potatoes & Peppers

One night, I roasted baby potatoes with lots of rosemary from the garden and served them with a classic, super simple veal saltimbocca.

Veal Saltimbocca

Veal Saltimbocca

Perfect Timing

John and I usually have a cocktail around 9 p.m. and eat around 9:30. For this meal, you can put the potatoes in the oven before drinks and cook the veal just before you sit down.

Veal Saltimbocca

Veal Saltimbocca

Living the Life

I love that in Italy, they fit two days into every one. They get up early and work until the middle of the day, when everything closes for three or four hours. Then they go home, have their main meal and rest. After that, everyone does a passeggiata, or walk-and-talk, around town and the shops reopen.

A Day in the Life

Peaceful Afternoon

After that, everyone does a passeggiata, or walk-and-talk, around town and the shops reopen. Some might work for a few more hours and have a late supper.

Peaceful Afternoon

Flexible Days

You're outside all the time in Italy. You want to be -- it's like the air is sweeter there. When we're in Tuscany, John and I just wander around. We aren't the type of people who put a schedule on things.

Flexible Days

Wandering Ways

We make no plans whatsoever. Mostly, you're walking around all day, trying to get in enough activity to keep up with how much delicious food you're eating! (A lot.)

Wandering Ways

Squash Soup

For this soup, I got a big hunk of a giant, deeply orange squash at the market. They just hack off a hunk and sell it to you by the kilo.

Squash Soup

Squash Soup

Time to Eat

I ended up trying to feed all my new Tuscan friends so I could cook at the villa as much as possible.

Time to Eat!

The Wine

Gina brought a few gems up from our villa's cantina (wine cellar).

The Wine

Never Forget

My Italian grandfather was never wealthy, but to hear my mother talk about her childhood, you'd think he was, because their life was so rich. They had fabulous food and they were always celebrating!

Never Forget

The Joy of Living

That's what I love so much about Italians: They have a real appreciation for life and beauty and each other. Being in Italy brings me closer to my grandfather Emmanuel, who I miss very, very much.

The Joy of Living

Live Like a Local

The most delicious way to experience Tuscany -- or anywhere! -- is to dive right into the culture. Read on to find out how!

Travel locally

Dream Digs

Staying in an Italian villa is easier and cheaper than you'd imagine.

Find Your Own Dream Digs

For villas try airbnb.com

For a smaller selection of villas in Tuscany, Umbria and other regions, check out villaeurope.com

Stock the Kitchen

The best reason to rent a villa is the built-in freedom to cook with the local specialties. The kitchens in most Tuscan villas will have all the equipment you need, but you can add to your own collection by buying some of the region's famed copper pots or ceramic bowls as souvenirs.

Stock the Kitchen

White Ragu Sauce with Pici

This tasty dinner is a hearty and earthy pasta dish.

White Ragu Sauce with Pici

White Ragu Sauce with Pici

Meet Some Experts

If you'd like a bit more hand-holding on both the lodging and shopping front -- especially if you're visiting for the first time -- consider one the new G Adventures Local Living tours, which guide you through the local markets and restaurant kitchens. To dine on authentic home-cooked meals with locals in their homes, try Stasera Non Esco.

Meet Some Experts

gadventures.com

staseranonesco.net

A Trip Around Italy

My family and I have been to Italy many times, and each place we've visited holds a special place in my heart.

A Trip Around Italy

The Wedding

Want to see more of Italy? Explore John and my Tuscan wedding pictures!

Wedding Big Day

Check it out