Naples/Napoli (and surrounding areas):
L'antica pizzeria da Michele: I had to put this one here because it is so famous and everyone should eat here at least once. Excellent pizza (the world's best!) and not expensive. It's a small, casual place and they offer only two kinds of pizza: marinara and margherita. This place is always busy and you can find yourself waiting for over an hour. The World's Best
Da Pellone: Anthony Bourdain ate here on his "No Reservations" in Naples episode. This pizza is just as good as Da Michele (without the long wait) and when we're in the mood for downtown Neapolitan Pizza we'll head over here.
Hostaria Angeli & Demoni (Pozzuoli): This is one of our favorite restaurants. A cave like atmosphere brings a romantic and trendy feel to the restaurant. Steak and seafood/fish are served. The food is excellent! The staff is very friendly and they really care about their service to you. On Friday nights they have karaoke which we've never tried, but we enjoy listening to the Italians sing! Seafood & Steakhouse
La Cucina Degli Amici (Pozzuoli): Great restaurant on Corso Umberto. The staff is very friendly and the food is great! The Kitchen of Friends
La Contrada Ristorante/Pizzeria (Pozzuoli): This is our weekly stop for pizza as it's right down the street from us. The pizza is excellent and the rest of the food is good too!
Batis (Baia): Excellent restaurant set in some ruins. Great fish, service, and ambiance. Yum!
La Taverna Viola (Pozzuoli): We frequent this restaurant about once a week! We love this place. Locals have said this restaurant has some of the best fish in the area and we agree!
Acqua & Farina (Pozzuoli): Great pizza and food. Right along the water. Acqua & Farina
Ristorante La Collina (Monteruscello): This was one of our first restaurants that we went to when we first moved here. We were trying to find a different place, but came across this instead. It's one of those places that brings out a million things to eat for an appetizer and you don't know what's coming out next! Very good food! La Collina
La Fattoria del Campiglione: We've only eaten here once, but we really enjoyed it. A great option if you're looking for meat in the area, which is hard to come by. Steak!
Kukai Nibu: If you're in the mood for sushi this is a very decent option! Kukai
Aragona Palace Hotel: Close to the port (we were able to walk with our luggage) and close to the main street in Ischia. Great shopping and restaurants nearby. Very friendly staff, nice room with a large balcony overlooking the port. Big breakfast in the morning consisting of a lot of desserts. There's a rooftop pool and sundeck as well as a natural springs pool inside with jets. About a 30 minute walk to the castle on the island. The Palace
Ristorante Zi Nannina a' Mare: Beautiful setting right on the water. Very friendly staff. The food was excellent!
Hotel Palumbo: Beautiful grounds with excellent views of the coast. Very friendly and helpful staff. We had a nice room with a balcony. Low season cost us around 140 Euros, but during high season it can be around 250 Euros a night.
Hotel Villa Fraulo: A beautiful hotel also boasting gorgeous views. First floor standard rooms are very noisy from the street traffic. Book a room on a higher level and this hotel will be great. Hotel Villa Fraulo
Cumpa' Cosimo: We ate here both times we stayed in Ravello. Great food, family run restaurant. We liked the dish that had a mix of pastas on it... a good way to try everything.
Residenza Cellini: Good hotel in great location. Close to the subway and an easy walk from the train station. Very friendly staff and decent sized room. Paid 200 Euros per night in September. Residenza Cellini
Hotel Artorius: Decent hotel in a great location. Our room was pretty big. Staff was not overly friendly, but not rude. Breakfast was included in our price. About a ten minute walk from Roma Termini and there's a subway stop within walking distance. About 160-200 Euros a night depending on the season.
Target: Excellent restaurant. One of the best pasta dishes I've had in Italy was at this restaurant... pasta with pears and truffles. The steak with honey and pepper sauce was also terrific. Near the hotel Residenza Cellini.
Angelina a Trevi: Though it's down the street from the Trevi Fountain this place wasn't crowded with tourists and was an excellent meal! Very friendly staff and great food. Angelina a Trevi
La Taverna dei Monti: Good food for a good price! Yum!
Hotel Benivieni: Extremely close to the Duomo and everything you would want to see in Florence, but still remains quiet from the hustle and bustle. Rooms were big compared to others in Europe, they had a very friendly staff, and breakfast was included in our booking. We paid about 180 - 190 Euros a night.
Hotel Ester: Located very close to the train station, this budget friendly hotel (100 Euros a night - a steal in Florence in the high season!) had very friendly staff and was close to all of the major sights. Looks a little dinghy, but it was a nice stay for when I had a friend in town and didn't want to spend a lot of money. They do not have breakfast. Hotel Ester
Il Guelfo Bianco: Good location, 15 minute walk or 5 minute cab ride to the train station. Large rooms if you're getting a triple (don't know about the standard rooms). Nice organic breakfast. Il Guelfo Bianco
La Farina Apartments: About a 15 minute walk to the city center, these apartments were big, clean, and quiet at only about 105 EUR per night (for us). Free parking!!! A great option if you're spending a long time in the area or have been to Florence many times and don't need to stay right in the center. La Farina Apartments
Ristorante & Wine Bar dei Frescobaldi. Small wine bar restaurant. The food was great! Dei Frescobaldi
Trattoria Nella: Small restaurant with excellent food! The owner played the French Horn for everyone there. Trattoria Nella
Acqua al due: Fantastic restaurant. Get the pasta sampler and the steak with balsamic sauce. Yum!
Le Antiche Carrozze: Great meal! Le Antiche Carrozze
Brincello: Excellent restaurant! The ribollita and wild boar are great!
La Brasserie: Great French/Italian restaurant! Very decadent dishes... everything was delicious! La Brasserie
In the Region of Tuscany:
Hotel Sovestro: Very close (about 2km) to San Gimignano. Nice room and bathroom, quiet setting, big pool area. There's a restaurant that's part of the hotel. We paid around 130 Euros per night.
Tenuta Torciano: An estate on the grounds of a winery, it has only a few rooms to to stay in. It's in a peaceful setting where you can sit on the grounds and drink a bottle of wine, or play a game of bocci ball. We took a fabulous cooking class here as well. The rooms and grounds do not have a view of the countryside whereas others do. Homemade breakfast each day was delicious! And the wine tasting part wasn't too bad either :) Torciano
Guardastelle: Fantastic agriturismo about 2 km from the town of San Gimignano. They were so friendly, welcoming, and made us feel right at home. The rooms were comfortable and breakfast was great. Amazing views of the Tuscan countryside and San Gimignano. Their winery is excellent as well. Highly recommend. They also have apartments to rent. About 105 euros a night during low season/120 during high season. Amazing!!!
Cum Quibus: Amazing food, great atmosphere, and cute outdoor seating area. Make a reservation as they are very popular. Cum Quibus
Dulcisinfundo: It's tucked away off the touristy streets, has great food, and is a lovely place to have dinner. Dulcisinfundo
Ristorante Da Pode: This is the restaurant at Hotel Sovestro. It is a good option if you are staying at the hotel. The food was decent, but not memorable. Ristorante Da Pode
Dondoli Gelateria di Piazza: This gelateria totes itself on being the best in the world and has won some awards for their gelato. We have to agree that it was mighty tasty! mmm... gelato!
Castellina in Chianti:
Fattoria Tregole: Lovely B&B located in a quiet location. Has a pool and great views of the countryside. We had a two bedroom apartment that was very big. Comes with breakfast. They also offer wine tasting and cooking classes. It's about a 5 minute drive to the town of Castellina. Tregole
Sotto Le Volte: Great restaurant located in a cave like setting. Not the cheapest place around, but the food is very creative Tuscan cuisine. Every dish we had was delicious! Sotto Le Volte
Pastececi: Delicious! The chickpea pesto sauce was excellent.
Le Traverse: Fantastic agriturismo just outside of Pienza and about 25 minutes to Montelpulciano. The woman who runs it, Pinuccia, is so friendly - she really welcomed us into her estate and was sincerely glad to have us there. Beautiful scenery, complimentary bottle of wine in room, homemade breakfast (including eggs right from her chicken coop). I would definitely stay here again. Le Traverse
Hotel Becher: Great hotel close to St. Mark's Square and everything you would want to see, but located down a quiet street. We had a nice big room (but don't know if they're all big). The service was great and the people at reception were very friendly. It even has a water entrance should you choose to use it. Breakfast was included in our price. It ran us about 250 Euros per night, but that was over New Year's Eve and every hotel raises their prices during that time.
Ca' Dei Polo: Within walking distance to the train station and Piazzale Roma this hotel had very friendly staff and was a cheaper alternative for Venice in the busy season. Breakfast was included. It was about 180 euros a night. CaDeiPolo
Alloggi Marinella: Within walking distance to the train station and Piazzale Roma. Good location if leaving on a cruise from Venice. A triple room got us two separate bedrooms. Friendly staff and comfortable rooms. A small breakfast was included. In November it was 125 euros a night. Alloggi Marinella
Leon Bianco Osteria: We had our New Years dinner here and it was was excellent. It was a prix fixed meal, and everything that they had prepared was great. I'm sure the rest of their menu is just as good. The service was impeccable and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Leon Bianco
Enoteca San Marco: We ate here our first night in Venice. Great wine list and great food! San Marco
Trattoria ai Corazzieri: Good food specializing in Venetian meats and fish. Trattoria
Trattoria Ai Leoncini: Don't remember too much about this one, but we didn't have a bad meal in Venice so I'd have to say it was good! Trattoria
La Venexiana: Good option if you're staying near Piazzale Roma. Very nice staff. La Venexiana
Le Dodici Lune: A cozy, chic, and comfortable cave with all of the comforts you would want in a hotel room. Great location and excellent views. Great prices! Rooms can go for under 100 euros a night. We were able to get a large suite for 110 euros a night in June.
Ristorante Francesca: Set in a cave, this restaurant had excellent food and great service.
Le Zie (Trattoria Cucina Casareccia): Small family run trattoria that looks like you are eating in someone's living room. Excellent family recipes. Reservations recommended for lunch. Their website is still under construction.
Grand Hotel Sitea: Fantastic hotel in an excellent location. The room was so comfortable and the beds were cozy and fluffy (not like a "typical" Italian bed). Very friendly staff and great breakfast. Would stay here again in a heartbeat. Ran us around 175 euro per night.
- Bed and Breakfast:
Giuseppe & Cortese: Family run, very small b&b (only 3 rooms). Overlooks beautiful scenery and has a pool. Very serene setting. Breakfast was included and it was great. Was about 110 euros per night. Bed and Breakfast
Vecchio Tre Stelle: Yum! Such a good meal serving the typical cuisine of the area. Tre Stelle
Trattoria Antica Torre: Delicious meal right in Barbaresco. It was nice enough to sit outside.
Castello di Monterone: A chance to stay in a real castle! The grounds are beautiful and have amazing views of the countryside. The rooms are small, but you're staying in a castle! They have chairs and tables set up in the garden area so you can relax with a book or drink a glass of wine. They also have a pool for the warmer months. Fantastic! About 175 euros a night with breakfast. Castle!
Il Postale: The restaurant inside the castle. Excellent meal.
Hotel Paradise: The staff was some of the friendliest I've ever encountered. Breakfast was just okay, and I wouldn't stay in the apartments again since it was too noisy. I don't know how the regular rooms are, but they look nice on the website. Within walking distance to the train station and in a nice location. About 85 euros per night. Hotel Paradise
Casa Ilaria: A bed and breakfast located about 10-15 minutes from the train station. The owner is very friendly.. I felt like I was staying in someone's house! The room we stayed in had a private external bathroom and very comfortable rooms. It was about 85 euros a night. Casa Ilaria
Clavature: Excellent ravioli!!! I think some of the best we've had. Try the pumpkin filled one or the one with truffle sauce. Located in the center of Bologna. YUM!
Trattoria di Via Serra: Fantastic restaurant! Recommended to us by a local. Not right in the center, but worth the walk! www.trattoriadiviaserra.it
San Mattia: Very cute agriturismo about 3km from Verona. Has a panoramic view of Verona and countryside. You can do a wine tasting there and taste their own wines. They have their own restaurant that is closed during the low season. Very friendly and nice staff. We paid 95 EUR a night. San Mattia
Airporthotel Verona: We had a super early flight so we stayed here for one night. They have a free van that can pick you up from and take you to the airport (tell them beforehand which time). Comfortable rooms. We paid 64EUR a night.
Antica Torretta: Fantastic restaurant for a nice romantic dinner. Great service, excellent food, and lovely atmosphere. Yum!
Villa Quaranta (Borgo Antico): Not exactly in Verona, but in the "wine country" area not too far away. It's part of a spa and wellness center, as well as a hotel. Tommasi wines own the restaurant. Good food. Villa 40
Vintora: Delicious restaurant set in a cave. Very good food. Vintora
Du Schei: Decent restaurant near the center. It was good for what we wanted: a basic not long meal.
Osteria al Duca: Another great restaurant in Verona. Can't go wrong here.
Hotel Berna: Our room was so comfortable! The staff was friendly and we received coupons for free drinks at the bar! It was located near the train station and subway, and was very quiet. Hotel Berna
Mamma Rosa: Very good restaurant. Nice staff. Mamma Rosa
Varenna (Lake Como):
Casa Stacy: Nice one bedroom apartment right in the center of Varenna. It was comfortable and the fridge had breakfast items for us. It's near the church, which starts ringing it's bells at 7am! It's also above a bar so if you're a light sleeper you may hear people until around 12am. Casa Stacy
Osteria Quatro Pass: Specializes in the typical cuisine of the region. Excellent meal! Quatro Pass
San Marcello (In the region of Le Marche):
Tenuta San Marcello: Very comfortable agriturismo located in a quiet location among the hills and countryside of Le Marche. They make their own wine and offer a wine tasting with snacks (20 EUR pp). San Marcello
Trattoria Dal Mago (Morro d'Alba): We ate here twice during our time in the area. Excellent restaurant! The family that owns it is very friendly.
Monterosso Al Mare (Cinque Terre):
Le Serra Sul Mare: Very friendly staff and the best breakfast we've had in an Italian hotel. They welcomed us with wine and snacks. A little far from the center of town, but they offer a free taxi service that runs about once an hour... otherwise it's a long walk uphill!
Hotel El Jebel: Fantastic luxury hotel with amazing views of the sea and town. Nice room with jacuzzi tub. Rooftop terrace with restaurant/bar open in nice weather. A decent breakfast (with eggs made to order) was included in our price as well as a welcome drink to be had whenever we wanted (and our choice of drink). In the very off season (Dec) it was about 190 euros a night. During high season it can be from 250 - 400 euros a night. Hotel El Jebel
Ciampoli: This is the restaurant at Hotel El Jebel. Excellent, romantic meal. Ciampoli
The Bangkok: Excellent thai food in a chic setting.
Oxidiana: We've been here twice. Great sushi! Pretty expensive, but I guess when there's not many sushi places competing than you can do that. Sushi!
Polpetteria: Unique place in which the main specialty is polpettas (literally: meatballs). They have page after page of different polpettas including many vegetarian options. I especially enjoyed a potato eggplant polpetta. Definitely worth a stop. Polpettas!
La Bottega: A sandwich shop with a lot of variety. The sandwiches were delicious, but be prepared to wait a while for them. The owners have another shop in New York. Panini
Santa Caterina: Excellent seafood, great service, and nice setting. It's also a hotel.
- Lipari (Aeolian Islands):
Hotel Mea: Great hotel with an outdoor pool and lounge chairs. We had a big room with a nice sized balcony overlooking the sea. It's only about a 5 minute walk into the central area so it's close to everything, but was quiet at night. We paid 120-150 Euros a night in May.
Pasticceria d'Ambra: The best cannolis ever! They were so fresh and big! In addition to the regular ricotta cannoli try the pistachio. Simply the best!