Part of what keeps me coming back to Italy is the cuisine, which is globally recognized as one of the world’s best. It’s nearly impossible to get a bad meal in Italy, whether it’s a quick street “suppli” (snack) in Rome or a tasting menu at one of the country’s many fine-dining establishments. And by paying with my Sapphire Reserve card, I earn 3 points per dollar on all these delicious meals.

My favorite culinary destination (not only in Italy but in the world) is Modena, a small city in the Emilia-Romagna region which is known for tortellini. I’ve been several times and have eaten tortellini in all its forms during my visits.

I particularly enjoy the traditional tortellini en brodo at Trattoria Pomposa. At Franceschetta58, a restaurant in the Francescana Family, the tortellini (swimming in a decadent Parmigiano Reggiano crema) was so good that it made me cry. The dish is made in collaboration with Tortellante, a tortellini school where children and adults with autism learn how to make the traditional pasta, run by husband-wife duo Lara Gillmore and Massimo Bottura.

Speaking of Massimo Bottura and tortellini, after trying for eight years I finally got a reservation at his Osteria Francescana this past spring and was able to try the innovative “Tortellini or Dumplings?” dish. It’s a Korean twist on tortellini en brodo. Safe to say, tortellini consumption has earned me a lot of Ultimate Rewards points from my seemingly bottomless appetite for the circular pasta, whether at an old-school trattoria or one of the best restaurants in the world.

No visit to Italy is complete without visiting at least one winery. Recently, I visited Filodivino Wine Resort & Spa, an organic wine resort located in the Marche region. I used my Sapphire Reserve to purchase some bottles of sparkling rosé to take home, knowing that whether the purchase counted as travel or dining I’d earn triple points for my boozy souvenirs. And I can use my card with abandon thanks to one of the most underrated perks the Sapphire Reserve offers: no foreign transaction fees.

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Last Update: June 19, 2024