Cookbook Author Katie Parla May Never Leave Italy

The Rome-based culinary writer and guide is planning her travels around good food and her family’s history in Italy.

Food writer and cookbook author Katie Parla drives a speedboat in Italy

“I love the water, but I get antsy on a beach,” said Parla.

Photo by Ed Anderson

Revenge travel is out (in fact, it never really felt “in” to us). Instead, this year we’re all about reconnection travel, which is proving to be the top reason for travel postpandemic. After a tough few years, people are going out into the world again with real excitement—and purpose. So we interviewed 11 globe-trotting celebrities to find out what “reconnection” means to them, whether that’s hitting the road solo, feasting through Italy, gallivanting with old friends, paying tribute to loved ones who’ve passed, or making an all-important visit to mom.

When Katie Parla isn’t writing cookbooks, leading culinary tours, or appearing on TV shows like CNN’s Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci, she’s traveling around her adopted country. Here are some of the Italian spots that she’s reconnecting to this year.

What place is calling you back?

Ponza, an island off the coast of Lazio (the region of which Rome is the capital), constantly calls me back. I love the water, but I get antsy on a beach. Ponza is perfect since there are almost no beaches, mostly just gorgeous rocky coastline and coves that you reach with a dinghy that they will rent to just about anyone with €120 for a whole day.

What place feels like home, even if it’s not where you’re from?

Rural Sardinia feels like home. I suspect I was a shepherd in a past life because the sights and sounds of flocks of sheep make me want to stay forever.

Are you planning trips to reconnect? If so, how?

I’m going to Palermo for a deep dive into my great-grandfather Niccolò Cipollina’s roots. He’s from La Cala, the horseshoe-shaped natural harbor, and I’d like to piece together if possible where exactly he lived. I’ll be eating panelle at Pani Cà Meusa Porta Carbone in Via Cala to fuel my mission.

Katie Parla, Rome-based culinary guide and cookbook author. Her latest book is Food of the Italian Islands (Parla Publishing, 2023).

Read more from our Reconnection Travel series.

Kaitlin Menza is a Taipei-based writer who covers lifestyle, politics, pop culture, and social issues. You can find her work at
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