Welcome to Gillian Knows Best

I lived in Rome for a long time and I just moved to Venice. I am a writer, information curator, traveler, coffee and cocktail drinker. My friends call me “the Source” and I am your go-to girl for the best information on just about anything in the eternal city, Venice, Capri, and the island of Ponza.

I am so glad that you are here. You might be wondering what exactly is this Substack thing? It is part newsletter, which until I started this newsletter I had never done before, part blog, which I used to do a lot, and part social media, which I do almost every day.

I used to write regularly on my blog Gillian’s Lists. When the world stopped in March 2020, I moved my focus over to Instagram. The blog still has all kinds of useful information for your trip to Italy like the details on how to get to Ponza and a guide to the 7 pictures you need to take in Rome. All of that content will stay there.

I write guides for The Infatuation too; The best restaurants in Rome, The best pasta in Rome, and Where to eat in Venice. There are guides to Capri and Ischia too!

A lot of you are probably here because of Instagram. We will still see each other there with my daily stories and posts.

And here on Substack?

Gillian Knows Best is a monthly collection of my favorite (mostly) Italian things sent directly to your inbox. There will likely be a list. Things like these popular posts; 10 places in Venice for when you need a break, my favorite Italian gardens, and my favorite cold things to eat and drink on a boiling hot day. It will be a mix of Rome and Venice with the occasional Florence or Naples or Veneto countryside destination thrown in there too.

I will also tell you about the best things I see and read and watch and listen to. Some months that might be a list of TV shows and podcasts and other months it could be movies and books. If there is an amazing exhibit or festival somewhere, I’ll let you know.

I am about to start renovating a little house on a street that you can find on Jacopo de' Barbari’s map from the 1500s. Are you curious about why it took more than a year to buy this house from a gondoliers wife? Or how we will get the sofa that has lived in Washington, DC, Harare, and Rome recovered on the mainland and delivered by boat? Or what color we will choose to cover these walls? There will be monthly updates here.

Why subscribe?

My intention is that what I create for you here in my newsletter will only be found here and not on Instagram or my blog.

Paid subscribers get fully detailed lists and private Google maps of my favorite things to do and eat and see. I will also have a monthly Q & A. Do you have a general question about Italy travel or something really specific like how to get to an obscure Italian island, I will answer it (Or do my very best ☺️)

If you have a free subscription you will not see the entire list, get the Google map, or join the monthly Q&A.

I would love to know what you would like to read about here. Click the button below to leave a comment.

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Are you planning a trip to Italy?

I want to make your trip to Italy better. I spend my days reading and walking and eating and exploring so that I can tell you about the places I discover.

Are you overwhelmed by all the googling trying to plan your trip to Italy? Are you wondering how to travel in a way that benefits a place? Are you wondering how to avoid the crowds and still see the big sights? I can help. Send me an email and we can talk about my Rome and Italy travel consulting services

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Finding terrific places to eat, stay & shop in Italy’s best known destinations.


I live in Venice. My superpower is finding terrific places to eat, stay & shop in Italy’s best known destinations. Sometimes I write about them
Creator of Everyday Drinking. Author of Godforsaken Grapes, Boozehound, & The Cider Revival. Editor of The Best American Travel Writing. Published in Washington Post, NY Times, New Yorker, Travel + Leisure, and others.