In this series, we wanted to do something different: we wanted to find out what drove global citizens to move to Italy or what keeps them always going back. (we shall call them #italyboholover.
The second up is Elyse Pasquale of Foodie International.
Where are you from and what made you fall in love with Italy?
I’ve been based in New York City for the past 20 years, but I’m originally from the Philadelphia area. My father’s side of the family has Italian heritage, so we began traveling to Italy when I was quite young, around 8 years old. Italy became our favorite family destination, and I spend many summers there as a child, but it wasn’t until my Junior Year Abroad with Sarah Lawrence College in Florence that Italy truly became part of my life.
How much time do you spend in Italy each year? What keeps you going back?
I spend between three and four months each year in Italy. About 10 years ago, my father and I purchased and restored a farmhouse in rural southern Tuscany. We grow olives on the property, and harvest our own olive oil by hand each autumn. I spend summers based in Italy, where I write and eat my way around all the hill town festivals.
Would you share with us your 3 favourite places in Italy to visit?
I love where I live in southern Tuscany. First, I’d tell people to visit Pienza. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a Renaissance village, famous for its picturesque streets and pecorino (sheep’s milk) cheese. Another must-see is Castiglione della Pescaia, a sleepy Tuscan beach town located near Grosetto, in Maremma – check out the Italian cowboys, or butteri, on the drive to the coast. Lastly, I can’t help but love Rome, the Eternal City. There’s something incredible about the modern buildings juxtaposed with ancient architecture in this vibrant, buzzing cityscape. Rome is all about letting go and getting lost in cobblestoned back alleys and hidden piazzas. It’s all very romantic.
We are looking to develop the world’s first crowdsourced hotel in Italy – our community chose the country. Where do you think we should do it?
I would love to see an Amberlair hotel in Rome, perhaps in the city’s trendy Ostiense quarter. In Rome, there are so many resources to work with and an overall willingness to explore new ideas and concepts in travel.
What do you think about the Amberlair concept?
I love the Amberlair concept. As a travel professional, I often wonder why it’s so difficult for hotels to get it right.
If you had your own hotel, what 3 things would you make sure it would have?
Cleanliness, comfort and top-notch service are qualities that keep me coming back to the same hotels over and over. My top three amenities are free wifi, free breakfast and wood floors in the rooms. Only three? I can keep going! For example: more outlets by the bed, soft bath towels, a pod espresso machine, a freshly cleaned duvet, and complimentary water bottles!
Elyse Pasquale of Foodie International is the freelance food and travel journalist, web TV host, culinary adventurer. I’ve dedicated my life to exploring the world with my taste buds, connecting to people and cultures through the language of local food. I like to say “I speak food,” because it really is our universal connector, and the best tool for deeper, more meaningful travel.