Postcards from Italy

Visit Italy Without Leaving Home: How To Bring a Bit of the Bel Paese to You

Whether you had an Italy trip planned in the upcoming months or are just a dyed-in-the-wool Italophile, you may be feeling the need for a pinch of Italian flavor in your home-bound life right now. Just because you’re lying low at the moment doesn’t mean that you can’t travel virtually and savor a taste of Italy from your living room, be it an aperitivo or a full feast. Here are a few suggestions to satisfy your appetite for the Bel Paese for those who find themselves with a lot of time on their hands, as well as those working or schooling from home who need to make every moment count.

Venezia - Rialto

(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Armchair Travel

If you want to take a virtual trip to Italy, there are countless ways to travel to Italy without leaving home. Begin your flight of fancy with a visit to one of Italy’s magnificent museums. Wander the halls of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to take in masterpieces by Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Botticelli. The Vatican Museums also offers 360° virtual tours, featuring the rare sight of galleries and halls empty of tourists. For virtual tours of other Italian museums (and a smattering of monuments like the Trevi Fountain), take a look at these great lists from Where MilanAn American in Rome, and Fathom. You can also see what other of the world’s greatest collections of art can be admired online at this Google Arts & Culture museum index.

Forum at night.

(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Museums aren’t the only institutions of the fine arts making it easy to visit from home. A number of opera houses and classical music conservatories are also posting and streaming everything from opera performances to classical music concerts. For a list of performances spaces opening online, take a look at this roundup on Italy Magazine. You can also check out the digital artist in residence series hosted at Monteverdi.

You can also connect with the expat crowd in Italy through this series of online talks and presentations organized by The Florentine, the city’s English-language magazine. Most events happen in the afternoon in Florence, so you have to be an early riser to participate.

Finally, now is a great time to pick up some basic phrases or polish your Italian so when you move your travel from armchair to airplane, you’ll be able to communicate in one of the most studied languages in the world. Here’s a list of great apps to learn and practice Italian (


(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Movies, Books, and Podcasts

Take a deep dive into Italian culture from afar by watching some Italian-produced entertainment for the large and small screens. For an exhaustive list of mid-century Italian movies available for free on YouTube, check out this fantastic cinephile-friendly playlist. For more contemporary movies and tv shows, this post on Girl in Florence offers some ideas that can be found on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Italy also has a strong literary game, with authors from Dante to Elena Ferrante to suit any taste. To begin your journey into Italian literature, you can start with this pared-down list of the top books written by Italian authors over the ages by Italian Notebook. GoodReads has a much more extensive, crowd-sourced list of best Italian novels; otherwise, work your way backwards by beginning with this list of five contemporary novels.

Podcasts are another way to experience Italian culture from across the globe, and subjects range from Italian cooking and cuisine, travel and culture, and expat life to learning Italian. Favorites include Ciao Bella (travel and culture), The Bittersweet Life (expat life in Italy), Podcast from Italy (expat life and country living in Italy), Gola (Italian cuisine), and Cooking with an Italian Accent (Tuscan cuisine), and the Italian Wine Podcast.


<(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Italy in the Kitchen

Everyone seems to be in the kitchen cooking and baking to pass the time these days, and there is no room of the house more Italian than “la cucina”. Page through the best Italian cookbooks of all time to learn how to make classic Italian and regional dishes, washed down with one of these 100 wines for quarantine.


<(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

If you want to cook with the stars, join celebrity chef Massimo Bottura for free cooking lessons via IGTV on his Instagram page or you can book an online cooking classonline food tour, or online pasta making class (with an authentic 84-year-old Italian nonna) coming to you directly from Italy.

Italy in Your Feed

If all you can find the energy to do right now is scroll through your Instagram feed, then now is the perfect time to liven it up with some accounts straight from ItalyLaurenissima has been reproducing iconic artworks with costumes pulled together with flotsam and jetsam from around the house and Monica Cesarato has been hosting live interviews with guides, chefs, and other cultural experts from across Italy. Other great accounts to follow right now are Italy Segreta, who launched the #italyfromawindow campaign; Scooteroma, who posted video of her opera-singing neighbor in Rome; and Elizabeth Minchilli, who posts meal plans and pasta diaries from her outpost in Umbria.

Portofino in winter

(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Quick Flights of Fancy

Need a quick Italy fix? Here are some beautiful and lighthearted escapes from just a few seconds to just a few minutes:

Travel Specialists

Maria Landers

Brian Dore