More Than Pizza!

Originally from Pune, Nivedita Poonekar now lives and works for Bacardi India Pvt. Ltd in Hyderabad. She manages key accounts for the south and enjoys reading, yoga, and travelling. “Since I work in the alcohol and beverages industry, travelling helps me broaden my horizon in terms of the various cocktail cultures that are trending in different countries. The pairing of various wines and drinks with different foods helps me gain experience and knowledge, keeping Indian consumers in mind,” Nivedita mentions. She recently visited Italy on an interesting 15-day trip, and checked out the most scenic and historic places in the country. This week, she takes us along on her fun-filled trip!

Along with her parents and a friend, Nivedita travelled first to Rome where they visited all the most popular sightseeing spots, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. During their stay in Rome, they also covered Naples, the ruins of Pompeii, Mt. Vesuvius, and Capri, where they visited the breathtaking Blue Grotto. 

They then went on to Florence and Pisa. “The architecture, vibe and the pace of Florence absolutely stole my heart,” says Nivedita. After admiring the wonder that is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Nivedita travelled to Milan where, among other things, she tasted Risotto, a popular Italian dish that originated in the province. “Being a paradise for all the fashion and brand-crazy individuals, Milan remains one of the most prominent fashion cities of the world,” Nivedita tells us.

Apart from hitting all the best shopping malls in Milan, the group also made day trips to Cinque Terre and Lake Como. “Although Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy, Lake Como is more dramatic and was a sight for our sore eyes with its luxurious summer resorts and scenic views,” Nivedita goes on. The group’s last stop in Italy was Venice, where words failed to express the beauty of the experiences they had. They drove to the Dolomite Mountains and Limestone Alps, where she was surprised to see that some of the mountains were still snow-capped. 

“Everything about the trip was memorable. Nature never fails to amaze me, whether it is being sun-soaked in Capri at 260 or freezing in the Dolomite Mountains where it was just 70.The varying topography of the country at such close proximity was simply mind boggling,” Nivedita reminisces, “Also the food! The pizza we ate at Naples was vastly different from the Roman pizza, while the Risotto in Milan had a different flavour than the risotto served in other regions. As for the Tiramisu, it had a subtle difference of flavours in every single city that I visited. It’s surprising and really intriguing to a foodie how the same dishes vary so much in taste.” 

“Italy is lovely. The country is divided into various regions which have very different cuisines that are distinct in flavour, having been prepared with local ingredients specific to the region,” Nivedita concludes. “Rich in its art and architectural history, a lot of Europe’s art stems from Italy, thus making it a creatively or artistically inclined person’s delight. Fifteen days still felt like too short a time to spend in the beautiful country. I would certainly go back and visit all the places I missed on this trip, like Sicily, Genoa, Bologna, and parts of Tuscany.”       ---as told to Tanya