This Tiny, $25 Souvenir Is the Best Thing I Brought Home from Italy—Here’s Why

One of the things I like best about traveling, besides surviving the plane ride (I’m terrified of flying), is figuring out what souvenirs I’m going to take home. Every year, I purchase a super-cheap ticket from New York to Italy, choose a different city or town as my base, and spend my vacation sightseeing and seeking out special keepsakes.

That’s how, while wandering the streets of Verona, I truly found my Juliet: a Bialetti Fiammetta espresso pot.

I wasn’t planning to fall in love or buy a coffee maker that day. But, call me shallow, I couldn’t resist its looks as I passed by the store window. Its side handle and lid knob were more shapely than those on the traditional espresso pots surrounding it, and the mint green color matched my kitchen decor, so I knew we’d blend well. Smitten, I bought one to take back to the States, and we’ve lived happily ever after. Here’s why:

For starters, the Fiammetta makes strong, piping-hot espresso in minutes, and the method couldn’t be simpler: Fill the base with water, then add the filter and fill with espresso grounds (I use Italian brands like Lavazza or Illy to keep it real). Screw on the top, then heat the pot on the stove. Once I hear that “whoosh” sound, I know it’s ready to give me a delicious jolt.

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But here’s the main reason I love my Fiammetta: It always transports me back to Italy.

Bialetti is a classic Italian brand that’s been making Moka pots since 1933, so I know my brew is authentic. Plus, the pot itself, which comes in a variety of colors, instantly stirs up great memories of that trip to Verona and its nearby towns of Padua and Vicenza.

But it’s bigger than that: With each sip, I’m reminded of the Italian culture and way of life I’ve experienced traveling throughout the country: I picture the old coffee bars, where friends spend entire afternoons catching up; the historic piazzas that bustle with locals and tourists during the day and remain lively at night with the sound of students singing and laughing; and the many restaurants where families enjoy not only their food but also each other’s company.

Ultimately, my Fiammetta espresso pot keeps me constantly connected to my favorite travel destination, and, if only for a few minutes, provides a nice mental escape from the busy day-to-day of New York City life.

And seriously, though, it’s really quite a looker, no?

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it here: This $25 Espresso Pot Is the Best Souvenir I Brought Home from Italy—Here’s Why

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