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12.30.2016

The Best of 2016

#bestnine gmcguireinrome

It is the end of the year, a time for both reflection and looking forward. I think most of you would agree that 2016 was a pretty terrible year for the world. I am incredibly lucky to be able to say that it was not a terrible year for me personally. Before I dive into 2017, I want to look back at 2016 with some thoughtfulness and bring intention to the new year. Last year a blogger pal of mine had a post that I really loved. Heather from A Merry Feast had her family list the highlights of their year. We adopted it as our own tradition and spent the last day of  2015 thinking about the year that had passed with these questions. 

Here are my thoughts on the highlights of my 2016. I would love to hear yours. Please share in the comments section below. 

12.22.2016

Mercato Centrale Roma {Where to Eat in Termini Station}

Mercato Centrale Roma Where to Eat in Termini Station

Mercato Centrale Roma Where to Eat in Termini Station

A trip to Rome probably means a trip to Termini station. This is a place that I really used to work hard to avoid. Slowly over the past few years train travel in Italy has gotten more convenient and now I actually go to Termini on purpose. Sometime for a reason that has absolutely nothing to do with trains. 

The reason for the non train journey visits to Termini you ask? They are because of the Mercato Centrale.

12.15.2016

Five Hours in Venice

Five Hours in Venice

Five Hours in Venice

In the last twelve months I have spent a lot of time in Venice. It is one of those places that I fall in love with just a little bit more with each time I visit. In my dream life I would like to live there all winter long when the city is slightly less overwhelmed by the literally thousands of people who visit in the warmer months of the year. I would love to learn how to navigate all the tiny calle, memorize the vaporetto schedule and have a bar where they know how I like my morning cappuccino and my evening spritz. I want to learn the kind of things that you can only learn if you live somewhere  and go to the same places over and over again. 

The other day I did the exact opposite of what I am describing. I went to Venice for lunch. From Rome. It was impulsive and extravagant and something I am always discouraging people visiting Italy from doing. I loved every second of it.

12.08.2016

Exploring Garbatella

Where to Eat in Garbatella

Where to Eat in Garbatella

I hope you are in the mood for lots of pictures today because I went a little snap happy the other day in a part of Rome that you might not be familiar with that is just two metro stops from the Colosseum. 

Years ago when I was first learning Italian I watched a show called I Cesaroni. It was a light, funny, Brady Bunch kind of show about a blended family and their Roman life. They lived in a house (!) in Garbatella with a garden and met at the bar around the corner. The theme song was my ring tone for a long time. Who can resist such a Roman line that goes 


"Pizza e mortadella la strada é sempre quella 
guardo tramontare il sole sulla Garbatella"


Fast forward to now. I spend much less time working on my Italian, my ringtone is a Hamilton song and I still had not made it to Garbatella. My pal Saskia was in town working on a book and invited me along for a day with Rosalie who runs I Dolci Passi, a tour company that leads walks that mix history and food.

12.01.2016

Christmas Gift Guide 2016 {Gillian's Lists of Links}

Christmas in Rome

Christmas in Rome

This years Christmas list is full of things I love; Things that make traveling more entertaining and comfortable, beautiful things from Italian destinations I adore and experiences that taste delicious. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the post to find previous years posts of my suggestions for Italian themed Christmas gifts. Happy shopping! 

11.17.2016

Madre {Eating in Rome}

Cocktails in Monti Rome

Cocktails in Monti Rome

My neighborhood is changing. I am not saying anything new here, Monti sits in-between the Colosseum and the Forums of Trajan and Augustus so it is a place that has weathered the vagaries of time. Here in modern day Rome some of that change is not so great, like the shuttering of the only butcher shop and the sad market situation, but much of the change is welcome, like a fantastic take out pasta shop and an excellent place to meet for cocktails.

Madre is at the edge of the neighborhood in a space that used to be a Dominican convent and will be recognized by fans of the operatic film La Grande Bellezza. Now the once spartan space has been transformed into a lush colorful place that is perfect for early drinks, lunch and after diner drinks. 

I have done all three.

11.10.2016

Fiaschetteria Beltrame {Eating in Rome}

Where to Eat Near the Spanish Steps

Where to Eat Near the Spanish Steps

I have a really great job. I get to travel to some of Italy's most beautiful places. I eat in restaurants and visit vineyards and cheese makers and bakeries. It's really really great. What my job means is that when I am home in Rome is that I am more likely to be at my yoga studio and having green juice for lunch in an attempt at balance. 

But, living in Rome means lots of people come to visit. They don't want green juice for lunch. They want to eat Roman cuisine. Last week some of our oldest pals were in town for a quick visit. They used to live here so they had already gone to their old favorites and asked me to pick somewhere near-ish to Piazza del Popolo for a classic Roman meal. This is not my usual part of town but I had long been wanting to try Fiaschetteria Beltrame so we booked a table there.

11.03.2016

Thanksgiving in Capri


Thanksgiving in Capri

It is November. The days are getting shorter and evenings chillier. That means it is time to start thinking about Thanksgiving. This year I am going to do something different and I would love for you to join me.

10.27.2016

Eating in Rome {Hosteria del Mercato 1870}

Where to Eat Near the Spanish Steps

Where to Eat Near the Spanish Steps

It's kind of impossible to find somewhere good to eat near the Spanish Steps/via del Corso/Piazza del Popolo. Last week I discovered a solution in Hosteria Del Mercato 1870

10.20.2016

Coffee in Rome {5 best Addresses}

Coffee in Rome 5 best Addresses
Coffee in Rome 5 best Addresses

Coffee is so intertwined with everyday life in Rome it is impossible for me to imagine the city without it. I love to start my morning squeezed in, standing at the bar, with a quick cappuccino. I love to meet friends for a leisurely late afternoon cafe macchiato and everything in-between. 

There is still no Starbucks here in Italy. Yet. What there is a very ritualized system that is part of of every Roman's day. You have two ways of going about it. The first option is the most economical. You pay first at the cashier, get a receipt and then stand at the bar where you order your coffee from the barista and drink it on the spot. Your second choice is to sit down, where the price will increase (sometime double the bar price) but you are welcome to savor your coffee and linger as long as you like. 

Here are a few of my favorite places for coffee in Rome. 


10.13.2016

Siena's 11 Best Addresses to Eat, Drink and Stay

Siena's 11 Best Addresses to Eat, Drink and Stay

Siena's 11 Best Addresses to Eat, Drink and Stay

At the height of Italian summer I did something most out of character and headed away from the coast and spent a few days in Siena. It was for a very good reason that I abandoned my lettino for the Tuscan hills. I had been invited to the Palio, the fabled “horse race” (which is such a simplified explanation of what the Palio is I won’t begin to explain it in this post, but you can start with this video, this film, and this article) In between the complicated and ornate rituals that surround this event I ate some excellent meals. Here are my 11 best addresses to eat drink and stay in Siena.

10.06.2016

A Day in Rome

I recently was asked to take over the Conde Nast Traveler Instagram stories account and share some of my favorite places in Rome. Unfortunately these stories only stay on the account for 24 hours so I thought I would put the entire day here on the blog in case anyone missed it.

As the famous quote by Silvio Negro wisely advises "Roma, non basta una vita - Rome, a lifetime is not enough,” but let's see how much of Rome we can see in a day. I promise lots of coffee, some must see sights and a Caravaggio or two.

For a daily dose of Rome stories make sure you are following me on Instagram.



A Day in Rome

9.29.2016

Culinaria {Eating in Rome}

Where to eat near Termini Station in Rome

Where to eat near Termini Station in Rome

I am almost always the decider when it come to what and where we are going to eat. During the week it is me that does the menu planning and shopping for dinners at home and when friends come to visit I usually pick an old favorite. As much as I love telling people what to do, I am always happy for someone else to take the reins. Earlier this summer we had an inventive and delicious dinner at Culinaria, with new friends in a place I never would have discovered on my own. 

9.22.2016

Four Things to do on the Island of Salina

Four Things to do on the Island of Salina

Four Things to do on the Island of Salina

One of my best pals is planning a trip to Salina and I realized I had never written about the all too brief time I spent on the island during my trip to the Aeolian Islands last autumn. 

If you love Ponza, you will love Salina. Both places share a relaxed vibe, gorgeous, but not perfect, beauty and just enough glamour to sparkle without making you feel like you don't belong. 

Here four things that I recommend on the island of Salina.

9.15.2016

Torre Saracena - Capri {Best Beach Clubs in Italy}

Torre Saracena // Capri // Best Beach Clubs in Italy

Torre Saracena // Capri // Best Beach Clubs in Italy

When we first started going to Capri six summers ago it was for a day trip from Positano or a quick overnight. We did the things that the magazines told us to do. We walked the via Krupp. (It has been closed for at least three summers now) We went to schmancy beach clubs. (We stopped doing that. Now the service is terrible unless you come off a mega yacht and tip like a hedge fund manager) and got dressed up and had expensive drinks in the Piazzetta. (Ok, we still do that.)

Now we have good friends who live most of the year on the island, we go much more often and in the off season and we stay for longer than 36 hours. I have learned a few things along the way. You are much more likely to find me still in my beach coverup at sunset having a negroni at Bar Alberto and getting takeaway ravioli Caprese to eat on the terrace for dinner than at Aurora hoping to get a glimpse of whatever celebrity has come off their yacht for a night on the town.

9.05.2016

Cala Fonte da U'Russulill - Ponza {Best Beach Clubs in Italy}


Cala Fonte da U'Russulill {Best Beach Clubs in Italy} Ponza

Cala Fonte da U'Russulill {Best Beach Clubs in Italy} Ponza

I have been to a lot of beach clubs in Italy. Some are fancy, some are famous, but most are pretty chill and laid back. We really like the whole rent a chair and umbrella, eat a long lunch and spend the entire day swimming, reading and napping thing. I consider myself something of an expert on the stabilimento scene. My visit to Cala Fonte da U'Russulill was full of surprises.

8.30.2016

How to Visit Venetian Islands

How to Visit Venetian Islands

How to Visit Venetian Islands

I have said it before. I love an island. Now that the crush of the summer season is winding down I am planning my autumn adventures. On my next trip to Venice I am going to explore the outlying islands. There are more than thirty islands that dot the Venetian lagoon, some like the Guidecca, and Murano are well known but there are so many more to discover. 

8.22.2016

Chiuso per Ferie

August in Rome

My boy is home for the first time in 219 days. I am going to take a little break from the blog this week and enjoy these last lazy days of August.

I will be back in September with lots to tell you about some great beach clubs in Ponza and Capri and I have all kinds of new adventures planned in Tuscany and Torino

I won't be completely unplugged. Follow me over on Instagram and Snapchat for your daily dose of Italy.


8.18.2016

The Best Pizza in Capri {Buca di Bacco}

The Best Pizza in Capri {Buca di Bacco}

The Best Pizza in Capri {Buca di Bacco}

My friend Holly and I have had a long running disagreement about the best pizza in Capri. We both swear on a particular place and we are both sure we are 100% right. On my last trip I decided to listen to my friend, who by the way lives on the island and has a Caprese husband, and see for myself is there another great pizza to be had in Capri?

8.11.2016

Best Pools in Rome {Rome Cavalieri – Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts}

Best Pools in Rome {Rome Cavalieri – Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts}

Best Pools in Rome {Rome Cavalieri – Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts}

I am happiest by the sea. The smell of salt and sunscreen are like vitamins to me. I try to spend as much time at the beach as is humanly possible, even in winter. Even though it is quite easy to get to the beach from Rome, sometimes it is not always practical.

Last week on one of the hottest days of the summer I was invited to spend the day by the pool at the Rome Cavalieri Resort and while I am most definitely still a beach girl, I have to say I am happy to add this respite to my sunny repertoire.

8.04.2016

Venice City Breaks - 8 Insider Tips to make the Most of Your Trip to Venice


Venice City Breaks

Venice City Breaks

If you have been here on my blog before you know how much I love Venice. I have been so lucky in the past twelve months to spend a lot of time there. In my many trips up north to the beautiful watery city I have learned a few things. Do you have a trip to Venice planned? Follow my lead and you can make the most of your time in Venice.

8.02.2016

August in Rome - 2016 Edition

Rome in August


It's that time of year again. Rome in August, love it or hate it there are a few things you need to know.


Click on over to my updated post to see what is open here in Rome this August.

7.28.2016

Orèstorante + Oresteria by Ponza Fish {Where to Eat in Ponza}

Orèstorante + Oresteria by Ponza Fish {Where to Eat in Ponza}

Orèstorante + Oresteria by Ponza Fish {Where to Eat in Ponza}

This year we decided to spend more than a weekend on the island of Ponza. We had ten luxurious days to explore, nap, swim and eat. One of the places I was most looking forward to revisiting was Orestorante, an elegant and refined restaurant and their casual spinoff, Oresteria.

7.21.2016

Octopus {Eating in Rome} CLOSED 2017


Octopus Eating in Rome's Monti Neighborhood

Octopus Eating in Rome's Monti Neighborhood

UPADATE - JULY 2017

Octopus has closed but there is now a Tuscan wine bar in it's place. MT Enogallery

I have a general rule. If I can not see the sea, I don't eat fish. Luckily for me Rome is very close to the sea and we spend just about any free moment we have at the beach, I have plenty of opportunity to dine on fresh seafood.

But, rules are meant to be broken and the other day I broke one of mine and had lunch at Octopus, a new spot in my Monti neighborhood.

7.14.2016

How to Summer in Ponza {A Brief Report}

What to do in Ponza


What to do in Ponza

It is hot hot hot in Italy right now. Mark and I have done what Romans have been doing for centuries and escaped to the seaside.

We are staying on an island called Ponza that sits in the Tyrrenhian sea in between Rome and Naples. The internet it spotty, so this will be brief, but here is a little of how I have been spending my days. If you want to see more of Ponza come on over to my Snapchat and Instagram. 

7.07.2016

The Best Cooking Classes in Italy


The Best Cooking Classes in Italy


The Best Cooking Classes in Italy


One of the questions I get asked a lot is where can I take a cooking class while I am visiting Italy? There are so many choices, you can spend a week in one location and dive deep into a particular regional cuisine or you can set aside a few hours and learn one or two classic dishes and techniques. One of the best parts of taking a cooking class in Italy? You get to eat all of your hard work.

Here are some of favorite cooking classes in Italy.

6.30.2016

Gunther Rohegger Gelato {Gelato in Rome}

Gunther Rohegger I Gelato in Rome

Gunther Rohegger I Gelato in Rome

I have a confession to make. I don't love gelato. Don't get me wrong, I like it just fine, I just don't, like some pals of mine, eat it twice a day love it. All I can say is it is a good thing there is not a frozen custard shop in Rome.

I have kind of a goldilocks thing going on when it comes to gelato. The weather can't be too hot or too cold. I prefer super creamy, clean flavors (have you had gelato made from buffalo milk?) over icier fruitier ones. On one of the first real warm summer days I spent the afternoon at Gunther Rohegger's gelato shop just behind the Pantheon tasting twenty five (yes, you read that correctly 25) different gelato flavors.