Ok, you’re probably thinking I’m going to talk about some old WWII movie starring Charlton Heston along with a bevy of fine looking women who spend the whole movie batting their eyelashes as bombs explode all around them—but I’m not. I’m talking tours. Private ones.
I’ve long advocated finding a local guide to lead you around Italy, preferably one who is passionate, at least about what you’re passionate about. You can find one on the web—or you can actually go to most tourist offices wherever you are and ask to see their list of guides. With a local to personally guide you or your family, you’ll see exactly what you want to see and will probably eat better than you would if you were on your own.
Jessica Spiegel has recently discovered A Passionate Naples Tour Guide: Marina de Martino. She sounds perfect. Be warned that your day will be packed if you find a passionate enough guide; that’s just the way it is—no rest for the inquisitive traveler. You can catch up on your sleep at work.
And the guts part? Well, if you know Italy, you know I’m talking about Rome’s Testaccio neighborhood. You’ll know it by its landmark hill of potsherds cracked and shattered from the rough commerce on the Tiber. Rome’s slaughterhouse used to be here, and the cucina povera that evolved did amazing things with the hindmost.
The person to take you around and show you the heart of this interesting corner of Rome is Katie Parla. She’ll soon be leading a tour called La Cucina Povera: Offal in Rome and Testaccio which will take you to the market, the old slaughterhouse, and then to a restaurant where you can put what you’ve learned into your mouth.
I wanna go. Then again, I’d follow anyone who’s working on a book detailing the cultural history of pork in Italy.