A postcard from Italy

I’m back from a truly memorable family holiday with husband and children to Italy, visiting the relatively undisturbed, food-filled region of Emiglia Romagna, offering an abundance of local produce, stunning panoramic mountain landscapes, quaint local villages and nearby striking Adriatic coastline.  We were also able to take in some of Veneto, flying into Venice for an overnight visit, before driving down towards Bologna and Bagno di Romagna. We were utterly captivated by the charm of Venice with its Grand Canal, the Rialto Bridge and famous Rialto Market, along with tranquil gondola rides and the views of the Palazzo Ducale from the balcony of St Mark’s Basilica.


After Venice, we spent the majority of the week in the pretty spa town of Bagno di Romagna, about three kilometers from where my gorgeous sister and her family live. After making ourselves at home in a 17th century apartment called ‘Casa Biozzi’ we continued to explore the region. This was a wonderful base from which to strike out across the border into Tuscany and to re-visit Florence. We also spent the day exploring the capital of Emilia Romagna, Bologna, where I was simply enthralled by the backstreets, shops and food markets beyond any comparable measure – lots more on Bologna to come. We also managed to track down the sleepy town of Forlimpopoli, the birthplace of Pellegrino Artusi, author of famous Italian cookbook “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene” where we found Casa Artusi housing a delectable restaurant, a library with 4,500 cookery books as well as a renowned cookery school. And of course, we were blown away by the array of local delicacies, such as spring ‘prugnoli‘ mushrooms, porcini fritti, red wine from the region and lots of unbeatable home cooked, Italian food and hospitality. The children were very happy too and in their element eating spaghetti pomodoro, tagliatelli al ragu, pizza and gelato every day!

Bagno Food

It’s hard to pick a highlight; the whole week was full of fun; famiglia and laughter.

As you can imagine, I have enough memories now for at least a thousand blog posts and I’m very sad to be back at home. I’ve no doubt that my Italian adventures will inspire my writing and cooking for many months to come.

I’ve hit the ground running with a post over on Jamie Oliver.com on Vegetarian Pizza Ideas. You can read some of my other featured pieces, currently to a vegetarian theme here.

The @JamieOliverCom team are also new to Twitter, so pop over and say ‘hi’ with a tweet.


In the meantime, thank you so much to everyone who entered Simple and in Season this month for its second birthday! I was blown away by the number of entries and promise to round up very soon. The June blog event will be open shortly, too.

Hope you enjoyed your half term or late spring break, if you had one. Let me know what you did.

Note: This was a family holiday, all expenses and experiences were our own.

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  60. Congratulations on your latest features on food channel blog and Jamie Oliver one. It all sounds quite exciting! And your trip sounds fabulous and sensibly before it gets too hot 😉 And your photos are stunning, plus that pretty one of you!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thanks Kellie, have missed you! Popped over to your blog and was stunned by the hummous and spring vegetable tart. Will be making that this week. Yes, it was just the right temperature and hardly any tourists to speak of 🙂

  61. Liz Thomas says:

    Wow! That sounds like a fantastic holiday. So glad you enjoyed yourselves so much. I would just love to go there, we have a place in France but we never seem to find the time to get over to Italy. I’m really looking forward to reading more of your food adventures.

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Yes I used to always like going to France, although recently it’s been North Wales, this was our first trip abroad in five years and a long overdue visit to my sister who has lived in Italy close to ten years! Our last visit was to the South – Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi and Capri – that was wonderful, too.

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thank you Denise, hope you are well

  62. What a lovely post – your holiday sounds so wonderful. I visited Venice about 7 years ago and was stunned at quite how amazing it is, so beautiful but with a surprising number of areas that aren’t too touristy, with gorgeous little piazzas to sip coffees and watch Venetian families go about their everyday lives. Would love to visit Emilia Romagna and am having more than a little food envy about all those fabulous Italian meals!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Thanks Andrea. Venice is wonderful, such a magical place, I’d go back in a heartbeat. Emilia Romagna is a lovely region, too, hope you get there one day!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Ooh you’ll love it. Read the post by Emiko Davies on the Art of Chicchetti-ing! Also, I had a couple of recommendations on Twitter – one from Nigella Lawson I’ll send you. x

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