Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Where to Stay on the Amalfi Coast: A Town Guide

Italophiles and avid travelers in general should tune into "Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy", a new food-centric series that delves into the local cuisines in six top destinations in Italy. The series begins with a foray into the region of Campania to sample some of the iconic dishes from Naples and the Amalfi Coast, including pizza and pizza fritta (fried pizza), buffalo mozzarella, spaghetti alla Nerano, delizie al limone - a lemon-infused sponge cake. Based on the enthusiastic feedback from our clients, the first episode was a hit and has stoked renewed interest in the Amalfi Coast, a perennial favorite for first-time and seasoned Italy travelers.

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If this episode has inspired you to add Italy’s most famous coastline to your future travel plans, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is where to book accommodations along the Amalfi Coast. It takes more than an hour to drive from one end of the coastline to the other, so it’s important to choose a base that fits your itinerary and travel pace, group, and budget. Read on for an overview of the most popular towns and villages along the coast to give you an idea of which may be right for your trip. And keep following Stanley Tucci’s jaunt across the Bel Paese over the next few weeks as he takes on the culture, history, and cuisine of Rome, Bologna, Milan, Tuscany, and Sicily.

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A Look Back: Our Top Blog Posts from 2020

Let’s be honest: no one wants to take a trip down memory lane and look back at 2020. It was a year best forgotten - and, in many ways, could be considered a year that time forgot - spent by many of us at home, in (ahem) leisure wear, dreaming about the day that we could once again travel across the world or even down the block with peace of mind.

That said, upon closer examination we should recognize that 2020 wasn’t a total wash and some positive things did happen, both for us here at CIUTravel and for the world in general. And in the spirit of closing chapters, as well as out of pure curiosity, we thought we would look back and trace our top blog post each month (based on traffic, some of the winners are from the pre-2020 archives) to see what our readers were interested in during the twists and turns of the past year. The results didn’t disappoint!

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“I think there's something here with what people were searching,” mused Brian, once we saw the top posts listed. “Before the pandemic, ‘how to’ traveling guides were popular, then people started cooking at home and taking virtual dream trips once their real trips were postponed. By the summer, we had all turned to cocktail hour, astronomy, and food to get by. Then, a little more travel dreaming with Italy tour guides, the novelty of our Cantina Direct launch, and finally ‘I've got to make fish for Christmas!’ searches.”

Join us now in this virtual stroll back in time through our top monthly posts from 2020:

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Show Your Love Some Sweetness with Italian Chocolates

Like so many of our modern holidays, Valentine’s Day is rooted in Roman history and named for an early Italian saint (San Valentino), so it seems fitting to mark this celebration of love in all its forms with a sweet treat from Italy. Family, friends, and sweethearts alike will be delighted to unwrap our chocoholic’s dream Collezione San Valentino stuffed with artisanal Tuscan chocolate!

Collezione San Valentino
The Collezione San Valentino Box is available in the USA via CantinaDirect.com

La Molina Tuscan Chocolate


Based in the small Tuscan town of Quarrata just outside Pistoia, La Molina has been producing hand-crafted chocolate for the past two decades - a blink of the eye in Italy’s millennia-long timeline but enough time to establish the brand as one of the premier names in Italian luxury chocolate.

This young yet prestigious company was founded by two brothers, master chocolatiers Massimiliano and Riccardo Lunardi, along with artist and designer Riccardo Fattori and entrepreneur Elisabetta Cafissi. Together, they embody La Molina’s motto “Con gli occhi e la bocca” (“With eyes and mouth”) that expresses the equal importance of flavor and aesthetics in the uniquely sensorial world of chocolate.

Collezione San Valentino

The Lunardi brothers create exquisite limited edition pralines, bars, dragées, spreads, and other delicacies from cocoa imported from Madagascar, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Ghana. They are so choosy about their ingredients that when, for example, the specific farm in Piemonte where they source their hazelnuts has depleted its stores, the brothers halt production on hazelnut bars until the next season.

Riccardo Fattori designs the striking packaging, inspired by the personal chocolatier to Marie-Thérèse of Austria, queen consort of King Louis XIV of France. Little is known of this Spanish servant beyond her nickname of “la Molina”, derived from the whisk-like utensil (“molinillo”) she used to prepare hot chocolate. With the company name and cameo logo, La Molina sought to honor the centuries of humble chocolatiers who have come before.

Elisabetta Cafissi, instead, spearheaded the renovation of La Molina’s unique praline-inspired headquarters that houses both the offices and open-plan chocolate workshop. Located just up the street from the 14th-century Medici Villa La Magia, this unusual domed building was restored to its original 1970s design and today is open to visitors for tours. Read More…