EAT MOVE REST IN ITALY
A 5-PART TOUR
Greetings, and welcome to our five-part blog series on our recent travels to Italy! Below you will find a handful of helpful information on delicious dining, fabulous fashion, and stunning sights of the 5 places that Dusty and I visited during our summer vacation abroad!
VENICE // FLORENCE // TUSCANY // ROME // Positano
Italy At A Glance
Leading up to our trip, Dusty and I were fairly nervous about eating plant-based abroad. The language barrier, we thought, would be a challenge in and of itself. On top of that, cheese and bolognese is the name of the game! On the flight overseas, we brushed up on our "hellos and goodbyes, pleases and thank you's, and, of course, our vegan-friendly, food-ordering skills!
Here's a quick primer in Italiano for the plant-based, vegan tourist:
- Hello // Buongiorno or Ciao
- Goodbye // Arrivederci
- Please // Per favore
- Thank you // Grazie
- How much? // Quanto?
- Fruit // Frutta
- Vegatables // Verdure
- Organic // Biologico or Bio
- Vegan // Vegano
- Without meat // Senza carne
- Without cheese // Senza formaggio
- Without eggs // Senza uovo
- Without milk // Senza latte
- Vegan? // Vegano?
- Delicious // Delizioso
- Perfect // Perfetto
With a few basics, we successfully communicated with almost everyone, (most of whom also spoke English, fluently). We were thrilled and amazed at the prevalence of fresh fruit stands, open-air markets, and authentic, vegan Italian cuisine we stumbled upon, almost without going out of our way to do so!
We eat a high-raw diet at home, or as some like to call it, "Raw 'til 4," and we were able to do so in Italy, with ease. Each morning, we ate an all-fruit breakfast and grazed throughout the day on more fresh fruit and healthy salads while we wandered and explored. For dinner, we either cooked at our Airbnb, or found a restaurant with plenty of options--either way, we ate pasta and/or pizza almost every single night!
We had no problems avoiding animal products, but it proved quite difficult to avoid oil--especially olive oil! We do not consume any fats in the form of oil at home, but being that it's a staple ingredient in nearly every menu item, from salads to pasta sauces, we decided to ease up and enjoy. We went by two rules of thumb:
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do," and "Do your best, and forget the rest!"
According my iPhone fitness app, we were walking nearly 20,000 steps per day, on top of our sight-seeing runs that we did about every other day; we were definitely working up an appetite! This was the first trip we went on that we didn't feel sluggish or sick from food or drink once, and we didn't gain a pound coming home! Yay, plant-power! We have learned to look at travel less as a time to overdo and splurge, and more as a time to improve ourselves and grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Part 1: Vegans In Venice
A CITY ON WATER
One word: picturesque.
The canals, the bridges, and the buildings--everything about this city on water was the most unreal, dream-like place we've ever been!
We flew through the night, and as timing would have it, Dusty and I woke up in Italy on our 4th anniversary, June 8th. Venice, or Venezia, to the locals, was our first stop. We took a water taxi (think James Bond), weaving between gondolas through winding canals, until we arrived at our hotel's water entrance. To my delight, Dusty had arranged for an anniversary fruit platter that was awaiting us...he truly knows the way to my heart!
Get Lost + Find Yourself
Our first word of advice from a local was that if we didn't get lost in the city on water, we weren't doing something right. We soon realized what she meant, as we walked through the tiny, maze-like corridors, exploring locals shops. Two of our must-see locations in Venice are: St. Mark's Square and the Venice Fish Market. St. Mark's Square is home to the breathtaking, Basilica San Marco, and is a central hang-out for locals and tourists.
Eat More Plants
The Fish Market was such an incredible, open-air, seafood and produce market with an abundance of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. We were in heaven--to say the least! We stocked up on tons of juicy peaches, nectarines, apricots, berries, grapes, cherries, tomatoes, and greens to have on hand for breakfast and lunch. As our first experience with being 100% vegan overseas, we were delighted to find that it was not only going to be a breeze, but that it was going to be a real treat!
Travel Is Connection
On our second visit to the market, we actually ran into one of our YouTube favorites, Guy Turland, of Bondi Harvest, from Australia. We flagged him down and had a quick chat, and he said to let him know if we were ever in LA, (where he now lives), and we'd shoot an episode together--we're holding him to it! ;) Unfortunately, we forgot to snag a photo with Guy, but be sure to check out his incredible YouTube channel!
Classic Italian, Vegano-Style
One of the nights in Venice, we used the Happy Cow app, which I highly recommend for finding fabulous vegan dining when traveling. We found ourselves a delicious vegan pizzeria, Pizzeria L'Angelo, and ordered a veggie pizza to eat in the town square. On another night, we ate at a gorgeous, authentic Italian restaurant, and enjoyed bruschetta and pasta marinara--simple and delizioso!
We were also able to find a vegan gelateria, (that we of course, revisited), right by our hotel! Many gelaterias will have vegan options--your best bet is just to ask. You can say "vegano?" or "soya?" because many times soy milk is used as a dairy-alternative. Common dairy-free flavors appeared to be the fruity and dark chocolate ones--fragola (strawberry), limone (lemon), mango (mango), and cioccolato (chocolate).
Sunshine + Style
The weather was perfect--not a drop of rain, nothing but sunny skies, and temperatures ranging from 80-90 degrees! Dusty and I agreed that we both overpacked. I brought pants and a few long-sleeve options with me that i never even came close to needing, in fact, I didn't wear my shorts or tanks, either! I'm glad I brought a handful of sundresses and sandals, because that's all I needed to stay cool and comfortable!
I also brought a couple of scarves for evenings, which came in handy, because most churches require you to cover your shoulders to enter. My other lifesaver was my sunhat, which pressed flat into my suitcase, and was perfect for beach and pool days. Dusty bought his first pair of Toms right before the trip, and he swears by them! I don't know how my feet never got sore in sandals, but I also made sure to have my Toms with me, just in case.
Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.
The Bare Essentials
Our advice is to pack light especially if you're visiting Italy in the summer months. This way you'll also have room to bring things home--which, trust me, you will want to! Ladies, stick to flowy dresses, scarves, comfortable sandals and flats, and a sunhat. One other tip--my curling iron burned out a few days into the trip, so I recommend finding one when you get there. Guys, lightweight linens are the way to go--if you don't have any, buy them there! Every stop along the way, we found amazing, local, hand-crafted linen shops.
Travel, Wander, Explore
Our biggest takeaway from Venice, or Venezia, was to "Get Lost & Find Yourself." Leave behind old thoughts and habits that aren't serving you, ditch the drama, loosen the reins, give up the control, and let things come to you! Be free!
Stay tuned for EatMoveRest In Italy, Part 2: Flourish In Florence, coming up next! We will be bringing you more helpful insight on being plant-based abroad, as well as more food, fashion, and fun! Also be sure to check the EatMoveRest YouTube channel for the latest recap there! Until next time, explore more!