Monferrato - things to do

Markets:

Casale Monferrato
each Tuesday and Friday
In Piazza Castello


Ristoranti:

Osteria del Melograno
http://www.osteriailmelograno.com/
Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, 9 - 15030 Terruggia (Alessandria)
Tel. 0142 401531 - Cell. 338 8098126

Locanda Rossignoli
http://www.locandarossignoli1913.com/
Via Giovanni Lanza, 10
Casale Monferrato

Cicinbarlichin
https://www.facebook.com/Cicinbarlichin-102737046478873/
Via Goffredo Mameli 34
Casale Monferrato
0142 590669

Varocara
http://www.cascinavarocara.it/index.html
Via Bocca 1
Cella Monte
0142 488416

Universo
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ristorante-universo-Vignale-Monferrato/177547622330987
Via Aldo Bergamaschino, 19
Vignale Monferrato
0142 933052


Nice and good things to eat / buy:

La Cucina di Anna Lisa
http://www.lacucinadiannalisa.it/
Tel. 0142 670075
La Cucina di Annalisa, via Roma 7 – 15030 Terruggia (AL)

Krumiri Rossi (bisquits)
http://www.krumirirossi.it/
Casale Monferrato
via Giovanni Lanza, 17
0142 453030

Antica Drogheria Corino
http://www.drogheriacorino.altervista.org/
Via Roma 197
Casale Monferrato

0142 435144


Cantine / Vini:

Cantina del Monferrato
Via Regione Isola, 2/A,15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL,Italien
Tel. 0142 488 138

Il Castello di Uviglie
http://www.castellodiuviglie.com/
Località Castello D'Uviglie, 15030 Rosignano Monferrato AL
Tel. 0142 488132

Zanello Vini
http://www.zanello-vini.it/
Cascina Genevrina,
Strada Rosignano, 9
15039 Ozzano Monferrato AL
Tel. 0142 487195

Cantina di Casorzo
http://www.casorzodoc.it/
Via San Lodovico 1
14032 Casorzo
Tel. 0141 929229

Vicara
http://www.vicara.it/
15030 Cascina Madonna
Rosignano Monferrato - AL - ITALY
Tel. 0142 488054

 

 

Amalfi coast

The Amalfi Coast conjures up images of colourful houses hanging off a cliff, such as the picturesque town of Positano, and of a jet set holiday. However, this area of Italy is also very rich in culture and history.

Amalfi was once a thriving maritime city-state and its spectacular cathedral is well worth a visit. The emblem of the town is a white cross that used to be the symbol of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

Ravello, located high above the sea, offers jaw-dropping views of blue infinity and the gardens of the villas opened to the public are a delight to the senses. Each summer, the town holds a festival that grew from music only to include other arts such as dance or photography.

Sorrento does not technically belong to the Amalfi Coast but is a good starting point to discover the region. Located on the Gulf of Naples, there are countless places from where one can admire the sceneries, perhaps while tasting a Limoncello, the most famous local beverage.

A last recommendation would be to embark on the Path of the Gods... This stunning hike will take you from Bomerano to high above Positano in about two and a half hours.

Are you ready to find your perfect holiday home on the Amalfi Coast?

positano

 

 

Puglia

The first thing that comes to mind when Apulia is mentioned is of course the trullo, an unusual limestone house topped with a conical roof. Many go as far back as the 15th century and used to be the homes of peasant families.

Fifty million olive trees grow on Puglian land and the region produces over 60% of the olive oil in Italy. It also makes the most wine and is therefore called the "cellar of Italy".

It is one of the only places in the world where you will find an octagonal castle, Castel del Monte, in Andria.

Lecce has been dubbed the "Florence of the South". Wandering the streets of this lovely baroque town, it is easy to understand why.

And did you know that the notorious Via Appia could take you on a journey starting in Rome and ending up in Puglia?

Its capital, Bari, offers stunning architecture, including the Basilica of San Nicola, the saint who inspired Santa Claus. It is the oldest remaining building in the city.

As for Alberobello, it is the home of an astounding thousand trulli, which put the town on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Have we piqued your curiosity? Casa in Italia has a selection of trulli for you to choose from.

 

 

Lucca

This charming fortified town is one of Tuscany's best-kept secrets. The thick walls dating back to the 16th century, which used to protect the city, are still in good condition and are now a popular spot for a stroll shaded by old chestnut trees. A tip would be to rent a bike for the day and explore the Roman amphitheatre, antique markets and numerous piazze of this merchant city at a leisurely pace.

And why not pay the Casa di Puccini a visit? The house where the composer was born has now been turned into a museum.

There are also three luxuriant gardens: the Palazzo Pfanner, the gardens of Villa Bottini and the Giardino Botanico.

Florence is an hour a way on the train, making it an easy destination for a day trip.

Last but not least, it is impossible not to mention one of the highlights of the city:  the Torre Guinigi. Where else will you climb a tower, only to find out that a magnificent oak tree presides at its top?

lucca

 

 

Piedmont

This Northern region of Italy is a neighbour of France and Switzerland.

One of its main attractions is the beauty of its mountainous landscape, with astonishing views from the Alps. Nature lovers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to hiking, skiing or mountain biking.

The fourth largest city in Italy after Rome, Milan and Naples, capital and university town Turin is well-known for its car manufacturing industry and the Juventus, the most successful Italian football team ever. But were you aware that when Hannibal crossed the Alps with his elephants, his army destroyed the place which would become Turin?

The House of Savoy also boasts many beautiful royal residences in and around the city.

Ivrea, its medieval castle, Carnival and Battle of the Oranges, re-enacting the civil war between the habitants of the city and the Napoleonic troops, definitely deserves a mention.

The Lago Maggiore and its Borromean Islands invite you on a romantic journey. As for Stresa, its most famous guest might well be the writer Ernest Hemingway.

In need of relaxation? Acqui Terme and Vinadio, two spa resorts, will welcome you with open arms. But if it is contemplation you are looking for, then head to the Sacri Monti (Sacred Mountains) to admire the many churches and frescoes.

piedmont piemonte vino

 

 

Le Marche - The secret Italy

Our special tip when considering a holiday rental in Italy is the Marches. The region enjoys a prime position on the map of Italy: it has an alluring coastline on the Adriatic Sea, mountains and shares borders with Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Abruzzo, and Lazio, as well as the independent republic of San Marino.

Ancona, the capital, has plenty to offer to architecture lovers as well as a busy harbour. And if you walk up to Corso Mazzini, the Calamo Fountain will be waiting for you. Drink a bit of water from each of its 13 streams and your wish will come true.

The numerous hilltop towns all provide breathtaking views. One of them, Cingoli, has even been nicknamed the "Balcony of Le Marche". As for the Gradara Castle, built between the 11th and 14th century, legend has it that the fate of tragic lovers Paolo and Francesca was sealed between its walls. Their story took the form of a poem in Dante's Divine Comedy.

The pretty town of Urbino, with its historical centre, is also the birthplace of Renaissance painter Raphael and architect Bramante.

Overlooked by the Palazzo Ducale, recently restored, Pesaro hosts every August the Rossini Opera Festival. You can visit the home of the famous composer too.

Le Marche, The secret Italy, are also well-known for their black or white truffles. Hunting trips are regularly organised for food and nature enthusiasts.

 

le marche

 

 

Tuscany

The birthplace of the Italian language, Tuscany has been a popular holiday destination for many decades.
The region played a big role in the start of the Renaissance and many illustrious people were born on its land: Dante, Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, Puccini... and even Pinocchio! Or, more precisely, its creator Carlo Collodi.
Home of the Etruscan civilization together with Umbria and Lazio, Tuscany offers incredibly picturesque countryside, the gorgeous Apennine mountains and about twenty Blue Flag beaches.
The romantic Florence, Tuscany's capital, is recognized for its monumental Duomo, Galeria degli Uffizi or dell' Academia and the stunning Ponte Vecchio. Siena has the Piazza del Campo, towers and palaces. Lucca is a lovely fortified city, its Torre Guinigi proudly crowned by a magnificent oak tree. And who does not know about Pisa and its leaning tower?
As for the Carrara marble extracted from Tuscan quarries, it has been turned into some of the most amazing buildings or art pieces, such as Michelangelo's David.
In between discovering all of its cultural sites, Tuscany invites you to take the time to rest and appreciate a slower pace of life, perhaps while sampling local delicacies or enjoying a glass of Chianti.
About a hundred holiday homes in Tuscany are part of our portfolio. The perfect one is no doubt waiting for you.


Lucca...
Are you tempted to discover one of Tuscany's most charming cities? Then a holiday in the utterly beautiful Lucca is for you. Its century-old fortified walls and examples of Gothic architecture will cast their spell on you.
Pisa...
Impossible not to mention its famous leaning tower, but Pisa also offers many more architectural delights in the form of beautiful churches and impressive palaces. Its position on the bank of the River Arno gives the city a romantic atmosphere
Chianti...
Located in the centre of Tuscany between Florence and Siena, the Chianti region is of course famous for its wines. You will marvel at the landscape of vineyards, cypresses and smooth hills scattered with gorgeous villas
Montalcino...
Set on an ancient Etruscan hill, Montalcino takes its name after a variety of oak. Offering magnificent views over the Tuscan valleys, the town is famous for its Brunello di Montalcino wine.

 

 

Why rent a holiday villa in Sicily?

Here are some good reasons.

Surrounded by three different seas, Sicily is the largest of all Mediterranean islands with almost a thousand kilometres of coastline. It is renowned for its magical sandy beaches, contrasting sharply with its more rugged landscape featuring the Etna and Stromboli volcanoes.

It is said that the beauty of its Greek ruins may surpass the ones found in Greece itself. In fact, stunning Syracuse was once one of the most important Greek cities. And did you know that Sicily is also the birthplace of famous mathematician Archimedes?

Palermo, Sicily's capital, is home to Teatro Massimo, the largest opera house in the country, and can be described as a melting pot of styles.

Amazing Taormina, built on the side of a mountain, is a popular destination. It is an interesting combination of designer shops and busy restaurants mixed with a spectacular ancient theatre and medieval churches.

For fans of water-based activities, Sicily is the place to be. Snorkelling, catamaran excursions, stand up paddling, wake-boarding,... Everything is on offer. Perhaps you will even be brave enough to give cliff diving a go with the locals?

 

 

Umbria

Situated in the heart of Italy and quieter than the neighbouring Tuscany, Umbria is all lush countryside with rolling hills, green valleys and thick forests. Its numerous lakes and rivers make up for the fact that Umbria has no seacoast.

Umbria also possesses prosperous vineyards and its production is divided between red wines (like Rosso di Montefalco) and white wines (like Orvieto Classico). They compliment the local delicacies such as tasty pork dishes, the fragrant Pecorino cheese, special breads and fish and eels.

The capital of this lovely province is Perugia. The cathedral San Lorenzo, the Palazzo dei Priori and the Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria are only a few sights the city has to offer. The famous Baci chocolates were also created in Perugia.

Umbria has a long list of wonderful towns. Orvieto is spectacularly set on a huge piece of volcanic rock with plunging vertical cliffs. Spoleto has both a Roman theater and amphitheater, as well as a restored Roman house with mosaic floors. Its Festival dei Due Mondi is a lively three weeks of music, theatre and dance. Gubbio is Umbria's answer to Siena, Italians will tell you. As for Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis, it is often described as the city of peace. The Giotto frescoes of the Basilica di San Francesco, his impressive burial place, are a must see.

Our Umbrian selection includes a couple of holiday castles.

 

 

A week in Sicily

Dear David,

Today we left the Casa Natoli villa, and I just wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed our stay there! The villa was exactly as advertised but also better! It was charming, attractively and well furnished and the setting was even more spectacular than the photos showed! The views and the beach were magnificent. The owner who met us, though she did not speak English, was patient and kind, and the food pre-stocking was perfect. And the restaurant they recommended was a very friendly, interesting, elegant and special place for my husbands birthday meal.

Finally, you could not have been more helpful as you communicated with me over the past year as I worked toward planning this trip. We would definitely book with you again in the future, and if you ever need a reference I would be happy to recommend your firm.

Thank you for a wonderful Sicily experience.

Best,
P.

 

 

Pizza Party

Gianna, our cooking mama, invited us for a fantastic pizza party a casa. She can make as many variety of pizza as there are cheese and vegetable! Which one is your favorite? Margherita or maybe one with more fantasy?

Gianna loves cooking and is extremely good at it. Everybody who has had the pleasure oftrying one of her dishes is raving about her cooking skills: Her pizze, for example, are a mouth-watering combination of a perfect base, genuine mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce and fresh toppings, and reveal their wonderful flavour after their passage in a wood fired oven.
Her signature dishes include the very simple but heavenly combination of melon and prosciutto (cured ham), pork or beef stews served with grilled vegetables or scrumptious fruit tarts to give the meal a final sweet note and the very famous Lasagna Vincisgrassi.
Full Menu with Antipasti, primo piatto, secondo piatto and dessert around €50 per person, €25 for kids under 12 years old, including final cleaning of the kitchen. Wine and beverage not included.
 

pizza party

 

 

 

 

City Tour in Treia

Treia, in Le Marche, offers more than you can immagine:
the theater, several churches, some are very old, the Academia and the house and the convent of Dolores Prato, considered as one of the most brilliant italian writer of the 20th century even she has been discovered very late.

 

 

Markets and Restaurants in Le Marche

Concerning food market we have a fish shop everyday in Treia, Sasha can explain where it is.

Different food markets around Casa Olivi:
Monday in Loro Piceno
Tueday in Treia and Tolentino
Wednesday in Macerata
Saturday in Civitanova Marche and San Severino
But we usually buy the food in the supermarket in Passo di Treia, very good quality, fresh pasta, fresh gnocchi, fish and vongole (except on monday), very good meat, Ciabatta bread etc...
There is also a small truck in the entrance of Treia who sells delicious fish. Sasha can tell which day they are in Treia, I do not remember. I usually buy big fresh fish and scampi to him.

For the wine, we can sell wines from our wine cellar, selection made by our two sommeliers Amy and Mirco.

Concerning our favorite restaurants around Treia

- very good and simple grilled meat and pasta in Il Villino, 5 minutes from Casa Olivi. Very traditional country house, nothing waou in term of decoration but one of the owners is Argentinian and cooks very well grilled meat. The pasta and gnocchi, all home made, are also delicious. Very good price. Nice for a friday evening!
- our pizzeria in Treia Antiche Mura. Good pizza, traditional place, Via Don Mizoni n.11, Treia

- restaurant and gourmet Pizza in Macerata, 20 minutes from the house
very nice country house. Chef Michele Biagiola has 1 Michelin star but is proposing a more casual cuisine next to his gourmet restaurant with delicious pasta and pizza

- interesting and creative traditional restaurant
Trattoria Gallo Rosso, Piazza XI Febrrario in Filottrano (15 minutes from casa olivi)
Chef Andrea is a friend of Casa Olivi
- a new creative restaurant in Tolentino (15 minutes from the house)
We haven't tried yet but sounds delicious
- Il Casolare dei Segreti, gourmet agriturismo 5 minutes from Casa Olivi. Excellent option during the week but fully booked during week end.
We have some more great places, Andreina Restaurant in Loreto, Enoteca Le Case in Macerata, Sushi bar Il clandestino in Numana but they are a little bit further from Casa Olivi.

 

 

DISCOVER LE MARCHE

The Secret Italy, with Casa Olivi...

What's known in English as The Marches is one of Italy's little-known treasures, often skipped in the tight itineraries and overlooked in the “must see” lists. Meanwhile, this region of historical treasures, meandering mountain roads and charming hilltop towns is becoming “the new Tuscany” and Casa Olivi answers the growing demand for a beautiful luxury accommodation.
Here are some of our best suggestions to discover our little paradise.
Food
Much of the region remains relatively tourist-free and unknown, including its deeply traditional food – blessed with bounty from the mountains, farmland and sea, Le Marche produces a varied, seasonal cuisine and truly distinctive wines. To fully appreciate the charms of this undiscovered region, combine an off-the-beaten-track tour of the region's coastal scenery, breathtaking mountain views and evocative history with an exploration of some local culinary highlights such Olive Ascolane, stuffed olives, painstakingly and lovingly hand-made by local women, Lasagna Vincisgrassi, 12 layers of soft, slippery pasta sheets are interspersed with veal ragu, chicken liver or lamb sweetbreads, truffles or wild mushrooms, and béchamel sauce, cream fritta, cooked cream set in the fridge overnight, then gently coated in egg and breadcrumbs and deep-fried on skewers, or Ciauscolo, soft smoked-pork sausage flavoured with fennel, garlic and vino cotto, and served spread on toast as an appetiser or a snack...

casa olivi
Lasagna Vincisgrassi home made by our Chef Gianna


1. Private Chefs in Casa Olivi
There is nothing like a typical Marchigiano dinner to turn an evening into a special memory. With our Private Chefs who come directly into Casa Olivi, you have the personal touch and someone who can advise you to choose a menu that suits you. Often the chef can also suggest a wine from our personal wine cellar that combines well with the dishes that you have chosen. He or she will prepare for you a professionally cooked meal in the comfort of your
Typical italian dinner with Gianna
home.

Gianna is an Italian Mamma who loves cooking and is extremely good at it. Everybody who has had the pleasure of trying one of her dishes is raving about her cooking skills: Her pizze, for example, are a mouth-watering combination of a perfect base, genuine mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce and fresh toppings, and reveal their wonderful flavour after their passage in a wood fired oven.
Her signature dishes include the very simple but heavenly combination of melon and prosciutto (cured ham), pork or beef stews served with grilled vegetables or scrumptious fruit tarts to give the meal a final sweet note and the very famous Lasagna Vincisgrassi.
Full Menu with Antipasti, primo piatto, secondo piatto and dessert around €50 per person, €25 for kids under 12 years- old, including final cleaning of the kitchen. Wine and beverage not included.
Mozzarella cooking class and Dinner with Chef Samuele
Samuele is a Chef in an agriturismo near Casa Olivi. He loves baking his own bread and preparing his own cheese and prosciutto . A dinner with him starts always with a cheese making demonstration of mozzarella or pecorino, followed by a cheese tasting with home made piadine and grilled vegetable. Then samuele will continue the evening and prepare a whole Marchigiano menu for your guests such as ricotta ravioli with roasted cherry tomatoes and basil, piglet in pork with seasonal vegetables and tiramisu with cow’s milk ricotta...
Full Menu with demonstration around €50 per person, €25 for kids under 12 years-old, including final cleaning of the kitchen.


Dinner with a Michelin Star Chef in Casa Olivi:

Errico Recanati


Chef Errico is the creative force behind the celebrated restaurant Andreina, in Loreto. Inspired by the traditional flavors of Marche, Chef Errico brings regional Italian cuisine into the 21st century through personal expression and mastery of contemporary techniques to create unforgettable dishes that transport diners into the realm of fantasy.

casa olivi errico Spaghetti Alici


“My kitchen is the renewal of a rich tradition where the raw materials, carefully selected by me, must be enhanced but not altered. It is a continuous search of authentic dishes that can be updated through the use of new techniques,” says the passionate Michelin star chef.
Gourmet Menu around €130 per person, wine not included.

Michele Biagiola
Chef at Le Case since 2000, Michele builts a very personal style. «After the alberghiero school I ran into several stages in France with Marc Veyrat in Megève; in Italy by Leemann and Cammerucci. Leemann’concepts in particular fascinated me. Here we are lucky to experiment our products as we watch spontaneous herbs growing, picked up every time we like. Our cuisine always starts from the kitchen garden and always goes back there».

Michele Biagiola

His menu jumps from wild herbs’ lyricism of postmodern spaghetti and popcorn up to the obscurity of dandelion omelet with penne all’arrabbiata ice cream, a confusing parody of a typical Italian recipe contracted by a speedy semantics scheme.
Gourmet Menu around €120 per person, wine not included.


2. Our suggestion of restaurants
Very close to Casa Olivi:


Il Casolare dei Segreti
Gourmet agriturismo 5 minutes from the house, creative and elegant cuisine http://www.casolaredeisegreti.it C.da san Lorenzo, 28 62010 Treia
Tel. +39 0733 216441 On reservation

Antique Mura
Pizzeria in the historic center of Treia
via Don Mizoni n.11, Treia

Il Villino
typical agriturismo with delicious pasta, gnocchi and argentinian grill http://www.ilvillinoristorante.it C.da San Carlo, 29, 62010 Treia 0733.215414

 

Close to Casa Olivi

Le Case
Gourmet restaurant L’enoteca 1 Michelin star creative Pizzeria http://www.ristorantelecase.it Contrada Mozzavinci, 16/17, Macerata
+39 0733 231897


Trattoria da Ezio
simple, family pasta restaurant http://www.trattoriadaezio.eu Via Giovanni Mario Crescimbeni, 65, 62100 Macerata +39 0733 232366

Andreina
Gourmet, 1 Michelin star http://www.ristoranteandreina.it Via Buffolareccia, 14, 60025 Loreto +39 071 970124

La Gattabuia
young and creative italian cuisine http://www.lagattabuiaristorante.it Piazza Martiri di Montalto - 62029 Tolentino + 39 0733 471632

Trattoria Gallo Rosso
creative local cuisine http://www.trattoriagallorosso.it Piazza XI Febbraio 4/bis Filottrano + 39 0717223406

 

By the sea:


Emilia
fantastic location on the beach http://www.ristoranteemilia.it Via Poggio 149, 60020 Portonovo +39 071 801 109

Il Clandestino Susci Bar
Incredible view, very creative cuisine from famous Chef Moreno Cedroni
http://www.morenocedroni.it
Via Porto Novo, 60020 Ancona +39 071 801422 On reservation

 

Not so close but incredible:


La Madonnina del Pescatore
Gourmet, 2 Michelin stars http://www.morenocedroni.it Via Lungomare, 11, 60017 Marzocca di Senigallia +39 071 698267 On reservation


Uliassi
Gourmet, 2 Michelin stars http://www.uliassi.it Banchina Di Levante 6, 60019 Senigallia +39 071 65463 On reservation
 


Wine
Le Marche is a beautiful wine region, with miles of untamed coastline, picturesque fishing villages like Portonovo, Renaissance gems like Urbino (where the painter Raphael was born), medieval hamlets such as Urbania, rustic mountain villages like Carpegna and wild expanses of nature that culminate in the splendorous peaks of Monti Sibillini. The most important wine towns include the capital, Ancona, and lovely Ascoli Piceno, Cupramontana, Matelica, Cingoli, Fabriano (and its curious Paper and Watermark Museum), Conero, the fortified beautiful village of Jesi, Recanati (also famous for being the birthplace of one of Italy ́s most famous poets- Giacomo Leopardi) and Numana.
The Best of the Reds The best red wines coming from the region are Sangiovese and Montepulciano, the indigenous black grape varietal that reaches its optimum point in the area's dry maritime climate and limestone-rich soils. The Montepulciano grape is not related to the Tuscan wine region of Montepulciano where Vino Nobile is made, rather is a separate noble varietal. Both Sangiovese and Montepulciano are used by the two most prolific appellations for red wine- Rosso Conero and Rosso Piceno- to make firm, tannic and easily recognizable wines. Moroder is an excellent producer of Rosso Conero.


Star White, Verdiccho Grape Beyond these two up-and-coming regions, most of the wine made in Le Marche is white, with the crisp and fresh Verdicchio varietal being the star. Although Verdicchio had long been seen as a lesser variety, the work being done by producers like Sartarelli and Pievalta are bringing a newfound depth and personality to the region's most popular white wine. There are different types of Verdicchio- Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica, Castelli di Jesi being more prevalent. The Pecorino grape is gaining popularity in Marche and many producers are making stellar white wines with this trendy varietal.
our favorite producers
Sartarelli http://www.sartarelli.it Moroder http://www.moroder-vini.it Bonci http://www.vallerosa-bonci.com Bucci http://www.villabucci.com La Distesa http://www.ladistesa.it Le Terrazze http://www.fattorialeterrazze.it

Wine tasting and wine tour with Casa Olivi
Discover the delicious wines from Le Marche with our friends and passionate sommeliers Amy Wadman and Mirco Lucamarini.
Amy is the creator and owner of diVino and has been running the business since 2003. As a result of her many years living, working and traveling in Italy Amy is both bilingual and bicultural, which makes her uniquely qualified to share her experience with people who are seeking a deeper understanding of the Italian lifestyle.
« I was born in Colorado and have been living in Italy for over 20 years. When I was 14 I moved from Boulder with my family to the tiny Tuscan hilltop village of
Montebenichi in central Tuscany. I think it took me about 1 week to decide that I would be staying forever!
After attending Italian public schools and working in the hospitality industry, I discovered a passion for Italy's wines and foods and for sharing this love with people visiting the area. I went on to study with the Italian Association of Sommeliers and received my Sommelier degree in May, 2005. Since then I've been traveling pretty much full time throughout Italy, spending extended periods of time in Rome, Liguria, Umbria, Trentino, Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta, working, visiting wineries, researching trip itineraries and sampling (feasting on) local foods and wines while gaining an understanding of the history and culinary traditions that make each of Italy’s 20 regions unique. I now live in the quiet region of Le Marche, which I believe is one of Italy's most beautiful undiscovered gems. »
Amy’s trips are custom tailored private tour packages and she works one on one with each individual traveler, creating one of a kind itineraries catering to each clients interests and needs. Though her trips are gourmet in nature and cater to wine lovers, she also likes to weive unique art and history experiences into her itineraries and arrange exclusive and one of a kind events for her travelers.
Prices, tasting and itineraries on demand, starting from €79 per person http://www.divinotours.com

Other activities around
Lunch on the Adriatic Sea
Enjoy italian "aperitivi", lunches, romantic dinners with a take away ready prepared by Le Torre Restaurant. The magnificent view of the Riviera del Conero and the Gulf of Numana is included in the program and it is absolutely a stunning way to enjoy the food and a good company. The formula take away includes:
    •    4 different and tasty appetizers
    •    a "primo piatto" the classic italian first course (pasta, risotto)
    •    the main course, an important mixed fish grill or mixed fried fish
    •    dessert
    •    Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine; generally a Dry or Extra Dry that is conquering the The dining excursion starts from the Numana's Marina and ends in Portonovo and comes with a couple of stops to swim in the exclusive waters of one of the most beautiful environments in Europe. The meal (for lunch or dinner) is served the beautiful boat of Le Torre . The tour lasts 3:30 / 4 hours and the departures time is at 10/10: 30 or 17/17: 30. The boat leaves with a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 12 people. The cost is €60 per person. On reservation for private excursion Gianluca +39.335.5619520
world with its bubbles • wine and beverages.

Macerata Opera Festival
Macerata is certainly one of the most beautiful open air opera location. The Opera Festival is hosted entirely in the magnificent theatre-shaped Sferisterio, unique in its architectural genre. Designed in 1823 by architect Ireneo Aleandri, it derives its name and its half- circumference shaped plan from the name of the game played inside: the “armband ball” or Pallone col bracciale. Performances take place in July and August.
The programme of 51′ edition of Macerata Opera Festival, from 17 July to 9 August 2015, will propose this summer, Rigoletto 17, 25, 31 July – 9 August 2015
Cavalliera Pagliacci
18, 24 July – 2, 8 August 2014
La Bohème
26 July – 1, 7 August 2015
http://www.sferisterio.it Piazza Giuseppe Mazzini, 10, 62100 Macerata +39 0733 230735


Shopping
If you've got a thing about shoes and, in particular, about Italian shoes, you won't want to miss a trip to the outlets in Marche.
Shoe shopping heaven is located between the provinces of Macerata and Ascoli Piceno, an area which represents the heart of the Italian footwear industry. Shoe making in Marche is concentrated around the towns of Montegranaro, where there are several companies producing footwear for men; Monte Urano, which specializes in children's shoes; and Civitanova Marche, Porto Sant 'Elpidio and Sant'Elpidio a Mare, where the largest number of manufacturers of women's shoes is concentrated.
Our favorite outlet
Tod’s and Prada’s Outlet via Filippo della Valle 1 - Casette D'Ete - Sant'Elpidio a Mare Tel. +39 0734-871671 Opening hours: from Monday to Saturday 10-19.30

Truffle hunting with Alessandro
Enjoy some hours walking through woods, picking truffles along with our special guide Alessandro Benvenuti, the expert, but mostly a friend who will teach how to find truffles with his wonderful and inseparable dogs. After this wonderful experience you'll have a special truffle lunch at his place to enjoy this special natural product.

casa olivi truffle hunting


Truffle Menu will consist in bruschette with fresh truffles , tagliatelle butter and cheese with fresh truffles, eggs and truffles, cakes and wine. Price around €50 per person for black truffles Tour, Around €100 for white truffles. Prices include walk in the wood with our professional truffle hunter with his dogs, and lunch with fresh truffles.
75mins drive from Casa Olivi. Rates do not include transportation. In case you prefer not to drive we can book you a car/ minivan with personal chauffeur.


Slow drive
Triumph Spitfire MKIII 1968 For rental in Casa Olivi.
2 seats convertible car in excellent conditions Totally renovated in 2013, black leather seats
Rental price: €250 per day
Car insured for driving in Europe with valid driving license, covering damages caused to third party car or property. Being more than 30 years old, the car cannot be insured for its own value and damages.
Deposit (to be paid before the rental, reimbursed immediately after, upon return without damage to the car): €5000
and much more...


Golf Course Conero Golf Club Via Betelico 6 Fraz. Coppo 60020 Sirolo (AN) Italy Tel. +39 071 7360613 http://www.conerogolfclub.it
Yoga and Massages in Casa Olivi Anandi, Inspired wellness http://www.anandi.co.uk On reservation


Grotte di Frasassi http://www.frasassi.com A walk of about 1 hour and 15 minutes accessibile to everybody at a temperature of 14 degrees constant all the year round.


Monte Sibillini National Park Italian national park located across the regions of Marche and Umbria, encompassing the provinces of Macerata, Fermo, Ascoli Piceno and Perugia. It was established in 1993, and now contains more than 70,000 hectares http://www.sibillini.net
our favorite cities Dignified town of Macerata, the provincial capital Ancona, charming old town of Ascoli Piceno, Urbino, jewel of renaissance, seaside resort town of Pesaro, the alluring hilltown of Fermo and many other smaller inland towns like Loreto, Cagli, Cingoli, Jesi, Offida, Recanati...

 

Feedback from Sicily

 

We stayed in Casa Scimone with 11 men in June 2014. Once in every five year we go on holiday together since we met as students 25 years ago.

We had a wonderful time in Sicily and Taormina, but the best of this reunion was without any doubt our stay in this unique villa, or actually two villa’s.

The location is perfect, it is just above the main square of Taormina, so you can easily stroll into town to go out or pick up fresh bread in the morning.

The villas lay in the privacy of their own terraces against the hill overlooking the old center of Taormina, the bay of Giardini Naxos and the Etna. On these terraces there are beautiful romantic gardens with tables and chairs all giving this amazing view. The villas are beautiful as well and perfectly maintained.

The most unexpected surprise (which is not in the advertisement) was the owner. As Taormina gentry she knows everything about and everyone in this part of Sicily.

A guide and an introduction into the best restaurants, pizzerias, bars and sightseeing of the region, but most of all a great host. We had a perfect time and certainly will return. W. R.

 

 

 

Casa Olivi - the movie

 

A wonderful movie of a wonderful family holiday in a villa in the Marches, the new Italy

 

 

 

 

Dinner with a Michelin Star in Casa Olivi

 

We're pround to have a Chef selected by Michelin that could cook for you in

Casa Olivi

 

errico recanati

 

Errico Recanati could prepare for example his Fish Menu:


Crispy mackerel with black ink mayonnaise
Adriatic anchovies, Pecorino di Fossa and wild herbs juice
Red shrimps carpaccio, Robiola and lemon
Two ways to prepare ricciola (fish)
Cod croquette, sherry tomatoes and marjoram
Scampi risotto
Spaghettone from Portonovo to Loreto and mussels flour
Catch of the day, vegetable and sea urchin sorbet

Small pastries
Dessert
Home made chocolates

casa olivi errico recanati casa olivi errico recanati

 

 

 

Sunrise in Piedmont

 

When you wake up and you're in the master bedroom of Bellavista, then you could be lucky and see an breathtaking sunrise.

Sunrise in Piedmont

Click here to see it

 

 

 

Casa Olivi

 

The dutch magazine DE SMAAK VAN ITALIE published our Casa Olivi in the cover of the 50 most beautiful villas in Italy:

italie 1531760 552916464804241 954712957 n

 

Some days in Puglia

 

The Trulli, these strange stone constructions topped with conical roofs, found exclusively in the Puglia region in Italy and concentrated mainly in the Itria Valley, had always intrigued us. They used to be the home of peasants, with the family occupying a couple of cones and the livestock some others. Many of the Trulli have now been renovated while keeping their original features. When the opportunity to spend a few days in one of these unusual houses we did not hesitate.

Our stay was not in the height of summer but in late September. We were wondering if the temperatures would have cooled down significantly already but we found that the days were hot and the evenings still balmy enough to sit outside. The salt-water pool on our property was a welcome way of cooling off after relaxing in the sun and we appreciated our meals near the ancient olive tree. Our family is keen on cooking and the opportunity to prepare our homemade pizza and cook it in the stone oven was without a doubt one of the highlights of our holiday. No pizza ever tasted better.

 

 

Eingebetteter Bild-Link

We still managed to tear ourselves away from this idyllic place to do a bit of sightseeing. We headed to Torre Vado and its impressive 16th century tower, a vestige of the times when the Saracens and the Turks were conducting regular raids on the coast. We tasted ricci di mare (sea urchins) that day, a local delicacy best eaten during the months ending with an "r" for freshness. The animals were opened for us as this can be a tricky operation if you do not know what you are doing. We opted for eating them raw and were surprised at the consistency but enjoyed the taste. The sea urchins can also be cooked of course, all you have to do is ask and you will be given many possible recipes!

On the shores of the beautiful Ionian Sea the most magnificent beaches can be found. Some areas have been nicknamed "The Italian Maldives" and it is easy to understand why: That famous crystalline waters and fine, golden sand combination. We were very happy to still be able to dip in the sea and doze on the much less crowded beaches given the time of the year.

Our trip was unfortunately a short one, but we will definitely be back. There is still much to discover in the wonderful Apulia

 

 

 

Sicily


I wake up in the morning and the only sound I can hear is the waves gently lapping on the shore... It is so soothing that I take the time to fully stretch on the bed and then lie there a few minutes more. The idea of a fresh cup of coffee finally convinces me to get up. Careful not to wake up my family I go into the kitchen and make myself an espresso. Black, to enjoy its aroma and taste to the full. Walking onto the terrace, I marvel once again at the beauty of the sea spreading in front of the house with its different shades of blue, from navy to turquoise.

We are staying in Sicily, the largest Mediterranean island, near the picturesque seaside resort of Sciacca. Part of its attraction is its unspoilt atmosphere:    It feels authentic as opposed to touristic. We decide to drive into town to buy some fresh fish that we will cook for dinner. We first make a stop at a tiny café, where the nonchalant owner welcomes us with a smile.

The typical Italian pastries are fresh and delicious, and we enjoy them sitting at one of the round tables outside. This makes our breakfast more expensive than eating standing up, a tradition still alive in Italy. When we arrive at the port it is early enough to be presented with a lot of choice and we take the time to look around and admire the more shiny boats or wonder about the adventures of the slightly rusty ones. After a long discussion punctuated by large hand gestures we settle on gamberoni (large prawns) and mussels.

sciacca sicily

 

Most of the rest of the day is spent on the beach, except for the warmest hours. With a young child especially, lunchtime is best spent in the shade. Our wonderful beach gives us the feeling to be at the end of the world: Not a soul as far as we can see in either direction. It is the beginning of June after all, before the start of the Italian school holidays mid-June. In the summer it will of course be a different story.

By the time everybody is showered and ready for the evening we are starting to feel rather hungry. The gamberoni and mussels will have to be part of a dish that does not require too long a preparation. We decide on a fish couscous. Adding leftover carrots and fresh basil leaves is all more than enough, as the semolina cooked in water perfumed with the juices from the seafood is already fragrant enough. We light a few candles and sit down on the patio to enjoy our meal with a local wine. Apart from our chatter, the only other sound still comes from the waves.

 

 

 

La Sorgente in Lucca

 


As always, we were hoping for good weather for our traditional Easter break. The idea of going on long walks through the gorgeous sceneries of the Umbrian and Tuscan countryside was very appealing; a few day trips were on the cards too.

The walks were definitely not meant to be. For most of our stay it poured down with rain and the temperatures were certainly not encouraging outdoor activities. The first time that the sun shone we headed for the closest locality, San Martino in Freddana, and to two subsequent times to Pescaglia and Lucca.

San Martino in Freddana and Pescaglia are very pretty little towns, perfect for an afternoon stroll and a drink. Lucca is one of the gems of Tuscany, hidden behind fortified walls. Amazing villas can be seen and the streets and piazze are full of charm. The Torre Guinigi and its majestic oaks proudly standing at the top are well worth climbing the countless stairs: Your reward will be an incredible view. We spent an entire day in this incredible city and enjoyed every minute of it.

What we did most of the time though, is prepare wonderful dishes and savour them... We were lucky enough to be able to hire Morena, the resident cook, to teach us how to prepare some local delicacies. Her warmth and enthusiasm made the experience even more special.

We started with gnocchi, these small dumplings made of potatoes, egg, flour and a pinch of salt. We took great pleasure in crushing the still slightly warm potatoes with a fork and mixing them with the other ingredients. You can eat them for example with a tomato or bolognaise sauce, or with bit of sage leaves warmed in melted butter.

Another night we prepared a saucepan full of penne and simply added various green leafy vegetables to them. A sprinkle of Parmesan on top and you end up with a simple but tasty dish.


ravioli la sorgente 1   

ravioli la sorgente 2

ravioli la sorgente 3

ravioli la sorgente 4

Our personal cooking highlight was handmade ravioli. The dough was put through the pasta machine several times until it was deemed thin enough. The filling of spinach and ricotta was prepared at the same time and little balls of the mixture were placed at regular intervals on the pasta sheet waiting on the table dusted with flour. A second sheet was laid on top and then we cut the ravioli. We pressed the borders together with a fork as a finishing touch. That night we eagerly put them in salty water and opened a nice bottle of local red wine while waiting for them to be ready. We ended up with a completely empty serving dish.

 

 

 

 

Zabaione

 

Let's try to make Zabaione today:

Just take some eggs, sugar and Marsala ...

zabaione  

 

new airport in Sicily


Sicily is the largest island of the Mediterranean and has been a favourite holiday destination for years. It is easy to understand why: Stunning sand beaches, a mild climate, varied culinary delights, impressive volcanoes, lively cities full of amazing architecture and a rich history.

Until recently Sicily had three international and two national airports. Catania, Palermo and Trapani were representing the international side, with Lampedusa and Pantelleria as their national sidekicks.

A fourth international airport has now joined its counterparts: Comiso opened in late May this year. It took almost ten years to turn the former old NATO airbase into this new civil airport, offering an alternative to the nearby Catania.

Ryanair immediately showed an interest at the beginning of the project and now offers routes from and to Brussels Charleroi, London Stansted and Rome Ciampino. Malta has confirmed that charter flights will also fly into Comiso. Additional airlines have followed suit.

The picturesque cities closest to Comiso airport include Ragusa and Siracusa, both listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ragusa is in fact only 15 km away. A deep ravine separates the two parts of the town, Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa Superiore. Many of the baroque palaces and churches that still stand today were built after 1693, the year a massive earthquake largely destroyed the city.

As for Siracusa, the traces left by its successive eras are fascinating: Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Medieval buildings can still be seen around the city. And have you heard about the Ear of Dionysus? As you have probably guessed, the name of this limestone cave in the Temenites hill comes from its shape resembling the human ear. There are several legends linked to this spot and you will have to decide if you want to believe in them or not...

Comiso's location, in the southeast part of the island, is also ideal for a relaxing beach holiday. Here are a few examples:
- Marina di Ragusa and its lively nightlife
- Marina di Modica, a paradise for surfers
- Pozzallo, overlooked by the impressive Torre Cabrera, which was used as a defence against pirates in ancient times
- Sampieri and its unusual view over the remains of a brick factory that burned down many years ago

The choice is yours!

marina di modica

 

 

The Truffle hunters

 

Enjoy a day hunting truffles in Le Marche

 

The Truffle Hunters from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

 

Truffle hunting

Spend a weekend truffle hunting in Le Marche, the italian name of The Marches inItaly, eating truffles and learning how to prepare Italian truffle dishes.

Stay in Casa Olivi in Treia and in less than one hour you can reach Acqualagna where not only you sample the precious Italian truffles but you will also take part in a truffle hunt and learn how to prepare truffle dishes. You can join a local truffle hunter and his dogs on his daily truffle hunt, enjoy a truffle lunch with truffles found by the truffle hunter. Later at home you will learn to prepare truffle dishes with a great italian chef. What kind of truffles can be found in Le Marche? The main kind of truffle is the black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) in Italy known as the Tartufo di Spoleto or Tartufo di Norcia. The famous precious white truffle (Tuber magnatum) can also be found in Le Marche as well as a considerably less expensive type of white truffle called bianchetto (Tuber borchii)

The traditional white truffle market is usually around october 28th but you can go earlier for truffle hunting.

 

casa olivi  

 

 

Pizza

 

Making pizza today in Trulli Angelo  in Apulia

pizza trulli angelo pizza trulli angelo

 

 

Casa Olivi

 
It is always a great pleasure to return to Casa Olivi. This gorgeous house, nestled in Treia, in the heart of The Marches, welcomes you every time with the same feeling of relaxation and well-being.
 
A perfect example of tradition mixed with design, Casa Olivi was given a new life under the careful guidance of two Swiss architects, Markus Wespi and Jérôme de Meuron. The renovation work took four years and it turned the crumbling construction into the most jaw-dropping property. While the outside of the house remained practically untouched, as it is a listed building, inside it is an entirely different story...
 
The uncluttered, minimalistic style means that the interior is peaceful and luminous. Someone with an eye for design will spot the famous names hiding behind the beautiful furniture: Philippe Starck, Vitra, Cassina to name but a few. For entertainment you can choose from the Loewe home theatre cinema, the fitness room or the dream kitchen if cooking is one of your passions.
 
The outside is equally amazing... Fancy a barbecue? A teppanyaki (Japanese grill) is at your disposal. A siesta in the shade is requested? Just move a sun chair into the shadows created by one of the olive trees. You love swimming? An incredible 5 x 12 meter infinity pool is waiting for you.
 
Casa Olivi is located five minutes from pretty Treia and close to Macerata, where an open-air opera festival is being held every summer in the magnificent Arena Sferisterio.
 
Various activities can be organised for you during your stay:
 
- Gianna would be happy to cook her famous Lasagna Vincisgrassi, a traditional Le Marche dish, for you. She can also prepare other pasta recipes, pizze, stews, antipasti or fruit tarts. All with natural ingredients and handmade: The true meaning of slow food.
 
- A wine tasting evening in the company of Amy and Mirco, two enthusiastic sommeliers, is also an option. Alternatively wineries can be recommended.
 
- You love cheese and wonder about its making process? Samuele can teach you the secrets of making fresh mozzarella.
 
- Last but not least, how about getting married in Casa Olivi? All you have to do is prepare a list of wishes for your special day...
 

casa olivi  

 

 

 

 

Ten things to do in Sicily

 

 

 

 

Gennaro makes pasta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Most Beautiful Beaches In Italy

 
 
After a non-existent spring in most parts of Europe the majority of people is now very much looking forward to a sunny and long-awaited summer. How about celebrating the warm season on a gorgeous Italian beach?
 
Let's start with the Puglia region, the heel of the Italian boot. A little corner of paradise is nestled in Brindisi, almost at the lowest point of the heel. Its name is Torre Guaceto, a protected nature reserve that has escaped over-development, the fate of so many other beautiful places. Torre Guaceto gives you the opportunity to discover the extensive fauna and flora as well as relax on the beach. This area being wilder means that you should be prepared to walk a little to get to a perfect spot, but it really is worthwhile. You can also take the advantage of guided walks, cycle tours, kite surfing and snorkelling trips. The visitor centre also organises special events: Open-air plays or star-gazing anyone?
 
Shall we next move to Sardinia? Porto Pino is waiting there for you. Taking its name from a nearby pine forest, Porto Pino is an unspoilt small town. Its beach is divided into two parts: One with gray sand and the most popular given its location near local parking facilities, and one with white sand extending over three kilometres. Both of course benefit from the same crystalline, shallow waters. Porto Pino offers a vast array of nautical and other sportive activities such diving, wind-surfing, boat rental or horse riding.
 
Hoping onto our next island, we are now arriving on Ponza. Rumour has it that it was named after Pontius Pilate and the gorgeous sceneries make it a sought-after film location. White cliffs and mysterious caverns mingle with white sandy beaches and the turquoise sea. Located off the coast south of Rome and north of Naples, Ponza is easily accessible by ferry or hydrofoils. The boat journey will give you time to take in the amazing sights as you approach the island.
 
There are an impressive 246 Blue Flag beaches spread all over Italy. To be awarded this desirable status the beach must comply with 32 criteria in the fields of environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety and services. The Blue Flag is only awarded for one season at the time and, in a case of not keeping the required standards, may even be removed during the season.
 
A welcome guarantee of quality for us tourists and fans of this wonderful country.

 

Porto Pino  

Article Source: Articlesbase/Travel/Destinations
Author: K J S

 

 

 

 

A Selection Of May Festivals In Italy

 
One of the numerous charms of Italy is its culture of festivals and traditions. Spread over the whole year and with regional variations, the celebrations often involve processions, historical costumes and a profusion of good food and wines. With the return of spring, May is a popular month for sagre (fairs) of all sizes. These festivals can be spectacular, amusing, lively and sometimes bizarre.
Take Cocullo's Serpari Festival (Snake Festival) as an example. This quiet town in the Abruzzo region comes to life the first Thursday in May. On that day, a statue of Saint Domenico di Sora is carried through the city draped with live snakes. It is believed that the disappearance of snakes in the fields is the work of the city's patron saint and the inhabitants have been carrying this tradition as a gesture of thanks every year since 1392.
 
The Sposalizio dell'Albero (Wedding of the Trees) is held on May 8th in the Lazio town of Vetralla. Beautiful garlands ornate two oak trees, bunches of spring flowers are being distributed and new trees are being planted. All spectators also enjoy a free picnic meal. This day marks the town's rights over the forests and renews the firewood allowance of each citizen.

Calendimaggio also takes place in the early days of May in the town of Assisi in Umbria. The two ancient districts, the Parte di Sopra and the Parte di Sotto, confront each other in many disciplines such as theatre, dance, archery, songs and flag-waving. The contestants are clad in historical costumes and joust in a fabulous setting of floral decorations and torches.

On May 15th the Corsa dei Ceri (Race of the Candles) happens in Gubbio, also in Umbria. Of ancient and religious origin, the race sees three impressive wooden candles, each with a statue of one the city's saints on top, being carried all through the streets. At the end of the day they will be making their way back up the hill to be placed in the Basilica of Saint Ubaldo again.

The Festa delle Cantine aperte consists of 44 wine producers in Umbria simultaneously opening their domains to the many visitors and organising wine tastings.

The Sagra del Risotto is organised in the Piemontese town of Sessame the first Sunday in May and dates back to the 13th century. You certainly will not go hungry.

Saint Fortunato, patron saint of the fishermen, is commemorated in the picturesque village of Camogli, close to Genoa. The festival is held on the second Sunday of May, but on the Saturday there is also a beautiful fireworks display and a bonfire competition.

And let's close this selection with... Pinocchio's birthday! It is celebrated on May 25th in Pescia, Tuscany. There is also a Pinocchio Park in Collodi, not far from Pescia.

umbria assisi casa in italia  

 

 

Piedmont

Very nice film about Piedmont, Slow Food and more...

 
 
 
 

Egadi Islands – Favignana

 
It is situated between Trapani and Marsala, and its proximity to Trapani international airport makes it easily accessible, while remaining unspoilt. It has a land area of about twenty square kilometres and the two plains on either side of a chain of hills have given Favignana its "butterfly" nickname. A tunnel running through the hills connects the two parts. The island is composed mostly of calcareous boulders, and visitors are also usually fascinated by the "cave di tufo", huge cavities which are the result of years of quarrying. These gaping holes can surprisingly conceal a precious area of greenery, or be filled with pretty pools of sea water. The most wondrous can be found around Scalo Cavallo, Bue Marino and Cala Rossa. The rugged coastline means that the beaches are often small and sometimes hard to access, but Favignana is a sought-after spot for all types of diving activities. Its turquoise waters have been protected by a marine reserve and there is no shortage of diving centres.
 
The main town, also called Favignana, is where the ferry stops. Built around a pretty port, it is dominated by Santa Caterina Fort, once a Saracen observatory post, nowadays in military hands. Facing the sea, the heritage of the rich Florio family, which used to be active in the production and export of Marsala wine as well as tuna fishing, can be found. It takes the shape of the Palazzo Florio and the tonnara (tuna fishery). Tuna fishing is still going strong, Favignana being one of the few places in Italy where the bloody mattanza method is still alive. It is however a historic ritual performed every year in May or June, and one of the principal tourist attractions.
 

Apart from scuba diving, snorkelling and swimming, other options include boat tours and cycling. You can hire your own craft, or participate in an excursion. Boatmen will also come to you spontaneously in the harbour, with ideas of a trip to secluded beaches or around the island. You can book a fishing trip too. With its flat landscape, exploring the island on a bike is popular. If you did not bring your own, you can hire one at a low cost without problem, and either set off alone or join a guided tour.

For sustenance, you have a choice between shops selling everything from tuna steaks to take-away pizze, or a wide range of restaurants. The prices are fair for a touristic place, and if you like fish and seafood you will be in heaven.

Are you after authenticity and unpretentious beauty? Then Favagna is for you.
 
 
 

Door To Door In Tuscany

 
It is no secret that the world economy is in a bad shape. Every single day brings new headlines of companies or countries in deep financial trouble and talks of the time frame needed to recover are enough to concern the most optimistic amongst us. In such a pessimistic environment you have the choice to either wait for the storm to pass or to try and take your fate into your own hands. The second option is exactly what some young Italian citizens have elected to do.
 
Take the agricultural sector in Tuscany, for example. Not easy to make a living out of tending your own fields nowadays but it does offer a number of opportunities ready to be explored. If you are prepared to work hard and to be inventive it could very well pay off in the end. This reasoning has now started an interesting trend: If the customers do not or cannot come to you then go to the customers. Packing their vans to the hilt with top quality goods, these visionary men and women travel the Tuscan roads up and down the picturesque hills, bringing their products to their expanding clientele. Who do they visit? Mostly families too busy to complement their weekly shopping with fresh produce in between or inhabitants of small, remote villages, many of them older and without the necessary car that would take them to the nearest town. The majority of village shops have disappeared over the years and this new breed of entrepreneurs make up for the gap in the market.
 
Another idea is to bring a specific product to an area where it would be difficult to find it. Fish is the perfect illustration of that concept. If you live by the sea you will of course be spoiled for choice in the form of local fishermen or fish markets. But when you have made your home inland the sight of a refrigerated truck pulling up on the main square on market days will be very welcome.
 
Perfectly ripe, sun-kissed fruit and extra fresh vegetables that have just been pulled out of the soil are also proving a hit. One entrepreneur selling baskets of home-grown produce saw his customer base triple simply through word of mouth. Regional delicacies are popular too: olive oil, sausages, pasta, biscuits or jams, to name but a few.
 
These initiatives have turned struggling and often unemployed women and men into business people. They may not have invented anything new; they have however re-invented themselves and found pleasure and enthusiasm in their working days again.
 
Author: K J S
 
 
 
 
 

Italian Body Language


Article first published as Italian Body Language on Technorati.
 
 
Every European nation has been attributed its own clichés: The French complain a lot but are romantic, the Germans have no sense of humor but work very hard, The Spanish are loud but welcoming, etc. You will agree I think that an entire nation cannot be cataloged into such narrow boxes. I happen to live in Germany and most people I have encountered do have a sense of humor. They are also in the vast majority very helpful, warm and welcoming towards my family and myself.

One cliché I do find to be true, though, is how important body language is to Italians. Perhaps I especially notice it as it has been pointed out to me that I am prone to "speaking with my hands". No doubt this is the Italian blood in me coming to the surface!

During a visit to the lesser known perhaps but absolutely gorgeous region of the Marches, we encountered many local people and enjoyed watching them interacting. Our house was close to the lovely walled city of Urbino, to which we cycled on a magnificent sunny day. Comfortably sitting down at a café terrace and having ordered much needed refreshments, I began to discreetly look at our neighbors. Now my Italian is rather basic, and I did not try, nor did I want, to pry. I just observed people instead.

Two women in their mid-thirties, I would say, we engrossed in a passionate and obviously very amusing discussion. They both kept throwing their heads back, laughing heartily, hands alternatively flying to their mouths and to their hearts. Their eyes were twinkling, and they were having trouble keeping the loudness of their voices under control. Behind them I spotted a woman with two young boys. The look of love in her eyes, her head half tilted, the way she kept patting their heads and pinching their round cheeks, all this told me that she was their mother. She had a game of blowing them kisses, pulling a funny face at the same time, which kept the little ones highly entertained. On the other side, a middle age couple look as though they were going through a stormy patch in their relationship. Hands were pointing accusingly at each other, and it seemed that reproaches were being uttered through clenched teeth. After a while, they both sat back and fell silent, looking away from each other, arms firmly crossed on their chests. Finally, I rested my gaze on a group of teenagers, the girls pretending not to be flirting while the boys clearly were competing for their attention. They kept getting up, throwing their arms on the side, and looking deeply into the eyes of the girl they were desperate to impress. In return the said girl usually gave a small smile and intense look, only to quickly resume her demure position.
As they walked away, I noticed hands being held and heads resting on shoulders. I could not help but smile: the courting had clearly been successful!
 
body language

 
 

Pasta, Pasta

 
Pasta, Pasta One of the many aspects of Italian culture that is famous worldwide is its impressive food offering. Who has never tried a fragrant pizza coming out of a wood-fired oven, or a steaming pasta dish featuring a delicious, flavoursome sauce? Exactly, so here are a few pasta facts for you.
It is said that Marco Polo was the person who introduced pasta in Italy when he came back from his adventures in China. The Venetian explorer may well have brought back pasta with him, but the fact is that it was present already in his home country. There are tales of the ancestor of the pasta, called "lagane", also made out of wheat and reminiscent of lasagne, as early as the Etruscans. Noodle certainly showed up again during the invasion of Italy by the Arabs, a few centuries later. Since then, the production of fresh and dried pasta has been thriving, becoming more and more popular.
Dried pasta is ideal to store due to its keeping for a long time, and it is simple and quick to prepare. The next big step in the history of the pasta happened in the nineteenth century, when it found its ideal match, the tomato. Today, at least three hundred and fifty different shapes have been accounted for in Italy. And if you add to this count the various regional versions, who knows how big the number is going to be? Conchiglie, linguine, farfalle, orecchiette, to name but a few, their exotic-sounding names add to the enjoyment of eating them. There is also a reason why pasta is shaped differently: it is to marvelously marry with the sauce accompanying it. The long sort, spaghetti for instance, is best eaten with light and airy sauces, using a tomato or olive oil base. The flat sort, think tagliatelle, is perfect for thick, creamy sauces. As for the tubular version such as penne, they will go best with a chunky topping. And finally, there is also a wide variety of stuffed pasta – spinach and ricotta filled ravioli, anyone? – and soup pasta, beloved by children when alphabet- or star-shaped! If you are feeling adventurous, why not try some unusual recipes? For vegetarian options, go for sun-dried tomatoes and tofu, pesto with a twist as you add avocado to that classic dish, or pumpkin, sage and walnuts. With fish, try scallops in an orange sauce or tuna, artichokes and peppers. And for meat lovers, hot chicken and tomato sauce or, as a winter dish, cabbage and spare ribs!
So, are you hungry yet? Then you might want to go and hunt in your cupboards, it would be surprising if they do not hold at least one packet of pasta…
 
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How To Celebrate Easter In Italy

 
Article first published as How to Celebrate Easter in Italy on Technorati.
 
The first signs of spring are starting to emerge, pushing away the winter greyness and bleakness. Soon there will be an explosion of colours, flowers in the fields and in gardens, the nakedness of the trees will be a distant memory and the sun will provide warmth as well as a more vibrant light.

In a few weeks, it will be time also for the Easter celebrations to take place. In Italy, this period is almost as important as Christmas. After a forty days period of prayers and abstinence known as Lent, everybody is looking forward to the long weekend culminating in the Easter feast.

Religious traditions are very much alive. In Florence, the "Scoppio del Carro" (explosion of the cart) still happens on Easter Sunday. A massive adorned wagon makes its way slowly around the city, its course ending in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. After the mass, a rocket resembling a dove is hurled at the cart by the Archbishop, starting the fireworks hidden under the decorations. This three hundred year old custom has pagan roots, and was meant to secure a bountiful harvest. It is still considered to be bringing luck to Florence. Well-known Good Friday processions take place for example in Chieti (Abruzzo), where the procession is thought to be the oldest one in the country, or in Enna (Sicily), with over two thousands people parading through the city in costumes. As for the most impressive and sought after mass, it is of course the one celebrated by the Pope in Rome. Tens of thousands of people congregate in Saint Peter's Square every year.

Easter dishes differ from region to region, but have a common base. Eggs will definitely be part of the meal as they epitomise fertility, renewal and life, and it seems that every part of Italy possesses its own recipe of the Easter pie! Lamb being the symbol of birth and the Shepherd, its roasted meat finds its place on the table too.

As far as "dolce" (sweets and desserts) are concerned, chocolate rabbits are rarely seen in Italy, but gorgeous chocolate eggs are. You can easily find handmade ones and will marvel at how beautifully decorated they are. No wonder they are so popular and commonly given as gifts. Panettone, a cake-like bread flavoured with raisins and candied fruit, is usually eaten at Christmas, but can be enjoyed at Easter too, in Tuscany for example. However, at this time of the year it is usually replaced by its lovely dove-shaped version, the "Colomba Pasquale". Its dough is very similar but without raisins, and pearl sugar and almonds are added on top.

Easter Monday, or "Pasquetta" (Little Easter), is also a favourite. It is a more quiet day spent with family and friends too, usually eating leftovers in a relaxed atmosphere, in the form of a picnic weather permitting!
 
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Fresh Mozzarella

In the midst of the current food scandals, it is not easy, to say the least, to trust what ends up on our plates. Horsemeat used instead of the advertised beef? Fish incorrectly labelled? Eggs produced by battery hens but sold as organic? We have all read these numerous articles in the newspapers, with a sinking feeling in our stomachs and our hearts.
 
It is however still possible to find people for whom food is a real passion. Simple, wholesome, fresh food. Take Samuele Frascarelli for example. Samuele lives and works in a refuge in the Sibillini Mountains, close to Ascoli Piceno in the heart of the Marches. A stunning region located in the middle of Italy, Le Marche is known as the new Tuscany and is famous for its many succulent dishes. The cook not only prepares his share of delicious recipes in the welcoming Capanna di Bolognola, he also makes his own cheese, bread and cured meat. On request Samuele will prepare mozzarella or ricotta in front of guests, a riveting experience. Let's concentrate on the process of producing mozzarella.
 
mozzarella casainitalia   mozzarella casa in italia
 
Both pasteurized and non-pasteurized buffalo or cow's milk can be used to make this soft, versatile cheese. When produced out of unpasteurized milk the mozzarella has to be eaten on the same day, whereas the pasteurized version will keep for a few days. A good three hours of fermentation turns the milk into the unrefined version of the cheese. This paste is then chopped into small bits that need to be plunged into boiling water. The temperature shock turns the paste into a stringy lump that needs to be worked on, the water being removed little by little, until the mass acquires the right texture. The mozzarella can then be shaped into whatever form, although it is normally sold as a big ball or a bag of little ones. To watch Samuele shape the cheese he has created from scratch is quite fascinating. The last step is a short immersion into salted water, which will give the mozzarella its taste. Try a bite before and after and you will easily notice the difference this final part of the process makes.
 
It is then time to savour the fresh cheese. The obvious way would be to mix it with ripe, dark red tomatoes, a bunch of fresh basil leaves, good quality olive oil and aceto di Balsamico and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. But a slice of mozzarella arranged on top of crusty bread and dipped into olive oil works just as well.
 
 
Article Source: Articlesbase/Travel/Destinations 
Author: K J S
 
 

Paradise on Earth - The Amalfi Coast

Article first published as Paradise On Earth - The Amalfi Coast on Technorati.
  
Chances are that even if you have never actually visited some of the gorgeous places populating the Italian Amalfi Coast, you are aware of what they look like. Why? Because they are regularly featured in magazines and used as shooting locations in movies. "The talented Mr. Ripley", "Under the Tuscan Sun", "Only you" or the older "Beat the Devil" are a few examples.

The Amalfi Coast is located in the southern part of the Italian "boot" just around the corner from Naples. It is about 70 m long and ends at Positano, a stunning cliff-hanging town with breathtaking views over the sea and natural caves to discover. Its mix of white and colourful buildings as well as the luxuriant gardens sporting green Mediterranean plants, lemon trees and beautiful flowers make it an enchanting place to visit.

Amalfi is the biggest city. This does not mean that you will find it intimidating. On the contrary, its numerous alleys and steps give Amalfi a romantic and intimate feel. 57 steps will take you to Saint Andrew, the impressive cathedral overlooking the main Piazza. The town is also a good base for a visit to Capri.

Sorrento is located on its own peninsula with a panoramic view on Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Its lovely harbour is ideal for an evening stroll enjoying one of the many ice-cream flavours available. The petrified city remains of Pompeii are also close by, as well as the site of Herculaneum.

Ravello is another village on the "to visit" list. Situated at a great height above Amalfi, most of the visitors come during the day, so if you are after tranquillity at night, this might just be the place for you. Villa Rufolo and its amazing gardens, which so impressed Wagner, are well worth some of your time. A music festival is also organized there, starting early in April.

Travelling along the Amalfi Coast is relatively easy as means of transportations are plentiful. Visiting by car is of course one of them, and you will no doubt enjoy the stunning scenery as you drive along the coastal road. If you arrive by plane, you will most likely land in Naples. If you do not fancy renting a car, then trains, ferries and buses will be on offer to take you to your chosen destinations.

As it is understandably very popular during the summer season, you may prefer to visit it in spring or autumn, or even in winter when the temperatures remain pleasant. You will then avoid the crowds and inflated prices, and enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere. Whatever season you choose, you can be sure that you will not be disappointed.
 
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Cooking Frascarelli


A typical dish of Le Marche in Italy:
 
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The Trabucchi - A Fishing Experience

Article first published as The Trabucchi - A Fishing Experience on Technorati.
 
Imagine that you are on holiday in Italy. It is a gorgeous summer day, the sun is shining brightly in a perfect, cloudless sky. You have rented a convertible, the roof is of course open, and you are driving along let's say the Gargano, a magnificent coastal area in northern Puglia. Suddenly, a funny wooden structure attracts your attention. You decide to stop the car and investigate.
It turns out to be a rather basic pier, built with wooden planks and poles, and held together with ropes and galvanised wire. The uneven footbridge takes you to a platform, where a lonely shack stands. All around the hut, masts reach out over the sea. A more thorough inspection reveals a quite complex structure, orchestrated by an impressive number of wires and pulleys. The nets folded on the timber faded by the sun and the rain solve the mystery: this is a fishing device.

Turning around, you notice a small building very close to the fishing pier. It does not look like a house, rather like a very simple restaurant. As you want to find out more about your discovery, you decide to go in and enquire. The owner and his wife are very welcoming. You order some rosé wine and as the restaurant is empty except for you, the couple joins you at the table. They speak some English and are happy to answer your questions. First of all, you learn the name of this peculiar machine: a trabucco. It is said that this fishing technique was invented by the Phoenicians. Back in the 18th century, it was a popular way of catching the fish as it was not dependent on unpredictable weather. It was built out of pine, a hard wood also resistant to salt. It took several men to operate a trabucco as some had the duty to watch when the fish banks were approaching and others to manoeuvre the structure. Nowadays, the function of the trabucchi is no longer economic, but cultural, and a popular tourist attraction. Not too many of them have their own eating facility and most catches are destined to local, typical restaurants just like the ones you have already enjoyed during your stay.
The afternoon goes by quickly, and soon it is time to think about dinner. You simply do not want to leave this lovely place, and therefore ask the owners if it is possible to eat. You are lucky, fresh fish was indeed caught today, and it is quickly grilled for you and served with fragrant bread and a crisp salad, while the vibrant evening colours slowly turned to dark ink. After a last espresso, you leave the couple that now feels like your new friends, and you promise to come and visit them again.
 
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Eating with the Stars

 
Article first published as Eating With The Stars on Technorati.
 
Nowadays, a conversation about food generally means sharing the latest diet miracle trick or focusing on what is deemed healthy and what is not. This is of course important in a world where obesity and its related health problems are dramatically rising. However, there is a certain sadness to realise that often the notion of pleasure associated with eating has disappeared. There is one country that remains faithful to its culinary culture tough, and that is Italy. This explains why food plays such a big part in movies set in this country or featuring Italian characters.

Going back to the fifties and sixties, a prime example is "La Dolce Vita," directed by Federico Fellini and starring Anita Eckberg and Marcello Mastroianni. You can literally smell the aroma of the pasta dishes served in the Roman trattorie and it is a struggle not to get ravenously hungry. You would love to try these recipes yourself? You can still find them on the Internet today.

A bit closer to us, can you recall the famous quotes from Enzo, played by Jean Reno, one of the main characters in "The Big Blue", released in 1988 and a fantastic box-office success for director Luc Besson? Enzo is adamant that "pasta has to be eaten al dente" or is genuinely scared about his mother's wrath: "She will kill me if she catches me eating pasta in a restaurant!".

And how about the ragù sauce, prepared and served to her family on Sunday nights by Sophia Loren in the 1990 film "Sabato, domenica e lunedi"? The famous actress is actually a skilled cook in real life and has published a few recipe books. And one of the sayings attributed to her tells us: "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti".

"The Big Night" is a 1996 movie with Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci. It recounts the story of two Italian immigrant brothers in the fifties struggling to keep their New Jersey restaurant afloat. The older one is the masterful cook who cannot bring himself to offer the mediocre meals that make a neighbouring place so successful. The younger one is the restaurant manager desperately trying to save their business. Without giving too much of the plot away, the key moment is the preparation of a mouth-watering feast, the central piece being a form of timballo, an elaborate baked pasta dish.

Last but not least, "Eat Pray Love" is recent enough for the story and pivotal scenes to still be clearly present in our minds. Julia Roberts, playing author Elizabeth Gilbert, spends time in Italy, India and Bali. How not to love the scene where she is so enjoying her pizza in Napoli that her line is: "I am in love. I am having a relationship with my pizza."

That bit of movie dialogue sums it all up, does it not?
 
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Trulli - The Typical Stone Houses of Apulia

Article first published as Trulli - The Typical Stone Houses of Apulia on Technorati.
 
As you arrive in the Itria Valley, a part of the Apulia region in Italy, it is impossible to miss the Trulli, the typical stone houses specific to this area.

Their cone-shaped roofs are covered with layered flat stones, their spire soaring against the mostly blue skies. The walls are normally whitewashed, but can also show the dry stones used to create these unusual houses. The buildings can often been found in groups of two to five or more. And finally, you cannot help but notice the various, mostly Christian, symbols sometimes painted on the roofs: for example, a heart pierced with an arrow has nothing to do with love, but is the representation of Our Lady of Sorrow, or a dove calls to mind the Holy Spirit.

The architecture of these homes is pretty basic. The material used is limestone, which can be found in plentiful quantity in that region. The stones are set to create two rows in a circular shape, to which the conical roof is then added. This structure does not allow for multiple floors, and means that the house will remain comfortably cool in the summer and will be relatively easy to heat during the cold season. Corbelled blocks on the inside, topped with a finishing stone, and slats on the outside render the roof watertight.

Various conjectures have been uttered over the years as explanations for such a simple way to build a house. The fact that the construction could be dismantled quickly and without hard work, therefore stopping inspectors from spotting it and asking for high property tax to be paid, is the most probable.
There are several towns or villages famous for Trulli houses, which are protected under the UNESCO World Heritage law. You should be aware of that fact if it is in your plans to buy and renovate such a house, as you will have to comply with many regulations.

And should you want to avoid the main, bustling tourist places such as Alberobello, you can still find plenty of hidden gems. Beautifully restored houses are available and will offer you a truly relaxing, magical holiday. They offer all the modern commodities while retaining original characteristics. You can therefore enjoy cooking meals in a state of the art kitchen while going to sleep in a cosy, stone alcove. Open fires are the norm, and often an outside swimming pool has been added, perfect for either a summer or a winter stay. You will have the feeling of having been forgotten by the entire world, but gorgeous beaches and restaurants offering superb food and wines will never be far away.

Pretty heavenly region and accommodation, is it not?
 
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Un Caffe Italiano

How to use a Moka
 
What's the best part of waking up? A proper Italian caffè! This short film shows you how to use and clean for a Moka to make Italian coffee at home. The Moka is the most widely used home coffee maker in Italy. It makes a great caffè!
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

Arena Sferisterio - A Summery Suggestion

Article first published as Arena Sferisterio - A Summery Suggestion on Technorati.
 
 
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With spring in full bloom, longer days, warmth and sun, a subject comes up regularly in conversations. You can hear people sitting at a café terrace on a balmy evening asking their friends:
So, what are your plans for the summer? Yes, it is that time of the year again, the time to plan your holidays.
 
How about you? Have you already made your choice? Are you an active person who is going to spend two weeks climbing mountains, eager for the exhilaration to kick in once you get to the top? Or do you feel that you deserve a real break and will be enjoying the sun on a white sandy beach somewhere, breaking the day with the occasional swim in a crystal clear sea? Or then again you are into music and culture. If that is the case, then the Macerata Opera Festival could be the perfect event for you.
Macerata is a lovely historical town in the Marche region. Situated between the Chienti and Potenza rivers, it has been built on two levels. The old part sits at the top of a hill and the recent buildings occupy the plain, with a lift connecting the two. There is plenty to see, but you should definitely not miss the Loggia dei Mercanti and the Church of Santa Maria delle Vergini, where you can admire a Tintoretto painting.
Every year, Macerata hosts an opera festival, which takes place in the Arena Sferisterio. This monumental neoclassical arena, which can sit up to 4'500 spectators, was originally in the 1820s a stadium where handball games would be played. When football took over as the nation's favourite sport, Arena Sferisterio was then turned into an opera venue. Its place as one of the favourite locations for this type of musical performances remains unchallenged still today.
 
The programme is being held this summer between July 20th and August 12th. It features four representations each of Verdi's La Traviata, Puccini's La Bohème and Bizet's Carmen. No need to present these pieces, as they have their place in the pantheon of the beloved and well-known operas. Even if you have enjoyed one or all of them before, perhaps it was not in an open-air setting? Then you should consider attending the festival, as you will without a doubt find it a magical experience.
The Marche has been given the name of new Tuscany, and it is not difficult to understand why. Its landscape is utterly beautiful, and there is no shortage of gorgeous properties like Casa Olivi to rent or hotels full of charm. Apart from Macerata, towns such as Treia and its collection of Renaissance and classical paintings displayed in the Town Hall, or Urbino and its magnificent Palazzo Ducale, are well worth a visit too.
Tempted yet?
 
 
 

Casa Olivi captures the style and design magazines

 

The most important life style and decoration magazines in Europe are happy to show our
 
 
Elle Decoration Deutschland
Elle Decor Italia
Elle Decoration Netherlands
Case & Country
Cote Sud
Food & Wine
Maison Francaise
Madame Figaro
 
casa olivi elle casa olivi case&country casa olivi cote sud
 
casa olivi food and wine casa olivi maison francaise casa olivi madame figaro
 
casa olivi elle italia casa olivi elle netherlands
 
 
 
 

In The Kitchen With Gianna

Gianna is not a Michelin Star cook. She is not the proud chef of her own restaurant. Gianna is simply an "ordinary" Italian Mamma, who loves cooking and is extremely good at it. Everybody who has had the pleasure of trying one of her dishes is raving about her cooking skills: Her pizze, for example, are a mouth-watering combination of a perfect base, genuine mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce and fresh toppings, and reveal their wonderful flavour after their passage in a wood fired oven.

This shy woman lives in Le Marche, a beautiful and central region of Italy perhaps less known as her Tuscany or Umbria neighbours but with a strong food culture. Gianna prefers to prepare dishes for guests in the comfort of her own home, surrounded by her beloved utensils, but will on occasions cook in the kitchen of another house should the menu require perfect timing. Other signature dishes of hers include the very simple but heavenly combination of melon and prosciutto (cured ham), pork or beef stews served with grilled vegetables or scrumptious fruit tarts to give the meal a final sweet note.
 
She of course excels at preparing many pasta variations. Her ravioli di ricotta are a must, but even more so is a specialty of the Marches: Lasagna Vincisgrassi. Instead of being prepared with a Bolognese and therefore beef mincemeat, veal is used for the fragrant, non-tomato based sauce. Other ingredients include fresh vegetables in the form of porcini mushrooms, celery, onions and carrots, as well as cream, Marsala wine and a sprinkling of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The recipe originated from the pretty town of Macerata and the story surrounding its name is interesting:  Lasagna Vincesgrassi was allegedly invented by a local chef for an Austrian general, Prince Windischgratz, who was leading a branch of the Austrian army stationed in Le Marche at the end of the eighteenth century. His name was given an Italian twist and has remained ever since.

With the importance of the Slow Food movement, which incidentally was started in Italy by Carlo Petrini in the mid-eighties, authentic dishes prepared with local, often organic ingredients and traditional farming and cooking methods are getting more popular every day. People's concern for what appears on their plates is growing, and easily found information is helping them with their food choices.

Given this prominent trend, Gianna's cooking style and the succulent lasagna Vincisgrassi are here to stay for many, many more years.
 
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Article Source: Articlesbase/Travel/Destinations 
Author: K J S
 
 
 
 

A Dinner on the boat

The use of the boat at restaurant La Torre is free behind booking. The guests can enjoy italian "aperitivi", lunches, romantic dinners, which take away, ready prepared by the restaurant.
The magnificent view of the Riviera del Conero and the Gulf of Numana is included in the program and it is absolutely a stunning way to enjoy the food and a good company.
The formula take away includes:
  • four different and tasty appetizers
  • a "primo piatto" the classic italian first course (pasta, risotto)
  • the main course, an important mixed fish grill or mixed fried fish
  • dessert
  • Prosecco
  • wine and beverages.
The dining excursion that starts from the Numana's Marina and ends in Portonovo comes with a couple of stops to swim in the exclusive waters of one of the most beautiful enviroments in europe.  After, the meal (for lunch or dinner) is served in the boat.  
The tour lasts 3:30 / 4 hours and the departures time is at 10/10: 30 or 17/17: 30. 
The boat leaves with a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 12 people.  The cost is 60 € per person.
 
You can call Gianluca at +393355619520 to book your place on the boat.
 
 
 
 
 

Piedmont - The Dream, The House, The Life

The Bjørn family did what many non-Italians dream about but very few dare undertake. They bought an old ruin in Piedmont and completely restored it.
 
 
 
 This book tells their story and offers good advice and tips for how to make that dream come true.
Together with his good friend Jesper Remo, who helped them with precisely that, photographer Erik Bjørn went exploring to discover what it is that makes
Piedmont such a wonderful part of the world. The book talks about life, towns, food and wine - and particularly
about the people of Piedmont.
 
 
If you love Italy – and perhaps even daydream about it – you will love this book.
 
You can buy it here:
http://www.fast-print.net/bookshop/1251/piedmont-the-dream-the-house-the-life
 
 

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Article first published as Bistecca alla Fiorentina on Technorati.
 
Tuscany is famous for its many wonderful aspects. Stunning landscapes of rolling hills, cypress trees, fields of poppies and sunflowers and glorious sunsets. Old barns and farms converted to magnificent properties while retaining their original features. Glimpses of life in the Middle Ages and even the Romanesque and Etruscan eras through its impressive and well-preserved cities. Nature in most of its forms with a gorgeous coastline and sandy beaches, majestic mountains, parks and reserves. Art everywhere and well-being for the body and the mind through luxurious spas.

Then of course there is the Tuscan cuisine and one of the trademark dishes of this fantastic area in Italy is the simple but delight for the senses "bistecca alla fiorentina" (beefsteak Florentine style). It is so famous that it even has its own Facebook page. What is so special about it? Well, first this is a T-bone or porterhouse steak that obligatorily comes from either the Chianina or Maremmana breeds of cattle if you want to stay true to the tradition.

The Chianina breed is the most common one. It was in earlier times raised as draught cattle but is now principally used for meat. It is the largest and a very old cattle breed, having been raised in the regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for over 2'000 years. The Maremmana breed gets its name from the region where it is reared in western central Italy, and has an unusual skeletal build that gives the animal its distinctive appearance.

The preparation of this huge and thickly cut piece of meat – usually meant to feed two people – is very simple, but for the desired result it is crucial that one uses the best ingredients and pays attention to all the details. You will be able to find slightly different versions calling an extra ingredient or two such as a hint of honey or a drizzle of first class olive oil. However, for the base recipe you will need only sea salt, crushed black pepper corns and garlic. The salt and pepper are sprinkled on both sides prior to cooking, but for the garlic, it depends on the chosen way. You may rub it before the steak is seared or added afterwards on the side that has just been cooked. The same goes for that drizzle of olive oil.

The seasoned steak should be put on a wood- or charcoal-fired grill for the best outcome, but should you not have one available searing in a hot frying pan can also be done. The meat has to remain quite rare, and you will be surprised at the mind-blowing burst of flavours once you start enjoying it. As a side dish, Tuscan beans or a crispy green salad are best, and a nice glass of red wine will be the finishing touch.

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Macerata Open Air Opera festival 2013

 
and Nabucco on the 19th of July!
 

 

and
 
Casa Olivi is still free!
 
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The Fortified City Of Lucca


Article first published as The Fortified City of Lucca on Technorati.
 
One of the most lovely cities of Tuscany, Lucca is located under the impressive Apennines mountains, with Florence and Pisa close by. The main feature of Lucca, which makes it so special and charming, is that it is hidden behind an amazing wall system. Built in thousands of red bricks produced for this purpose only, these walls were meant to protect the city during the Renaissance era. Four kilometres long, they are still intact today and have gained the love of inhabitants and tourists alike.

You should be aware of the fact that car traffic is prohibited in Lucca in practically all streets except for residents. Why not then enter the city through the Porta Santa Maria, the northern gate, which will take you to a typical piazza with charming cafés and… bike shops! You can then rent a bicycle to move around the city at a faster but still leisurely pace. You can access the top of the walls by steps or ramps in several spots, and you will discover that the old road has been turned into both a bike lane and a promenade. An ideal way of discovering the views over the ancient city rooftops, amphitheatre, towers and many churches, or the hills covered in olive trees and vineyards in the background. You may also want to stop and sit on one of the many benches available to immerse yourself even more in the beautiful scenery in front of you. You also have the possibility to enter or leave the old town by following the damp passages underneath the walls.

After shopping on the Via Fillungo, a visit to the Caffè Di Simo, the oldest café in Lucca might appeal to music lovers. It is said that Puccini not only was a regular visitor but that he also composed parts of his famous operas there while sipping expressos. Caffetteria San Colombano, an airy place with glass walls situated close to the train station, is also recommended. The Piazza Napoleone hosts the Summer Festival every July, a popular musical event. You will also be in prime position to look at the Palazzo Ducale and the Theatro del Giglio. The first building now hosts city offices, and the latter is still in operation today.

As you make your way around Lucca, it will be difficult not to be drawn to the magnificent villas and their courtyards. Palazzo Pfanner, which belonged to a family of silk merchants, and its gorgeous gardens are well worth a visit. Last but not least, the Torre Guinigi, adorned by oaks growing at its top, is a must see. You will most likely not be able to the see the trees from the streets below, but climbing the tower will offer you another great vantage point to admire Lucca.
 
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A trip to Italy with Jamie

Article first published as A Trip To Italy With Jamie on Technorati.
  
 
Is it still necessary to present Jamie Oliver? The talented chef, who started his career at Neal’s Yard and The River Café before setting up on his own, has become a star. Restaurants, TV shows, a foundation, campaigns to promote healthy eating, kitchen accessories and food range, the list is endless. Of course, there are the cookbooks. Almost twenty of them.

One of my favourites is “Jamie’s Italy”. It starts with the book cover. Jamie may be English, but it looks like his heart belongs to Italy. The chef is obviously very relaxed, sitting outside on a red stool against a wall whose paint has seen better days, his foot propped up against an old Fiat Cinquecento. He is eating spaghetti coated in a tomato sauce, and the expression on his face says it all. It gives you the urge to open the book and start cooking straight away.


To gather the recipes, Jamie embarked on a tour of the country in a VW bus with a kitchen built in a trailer, allowing him to easily cook wherever he stopped. Tuscany, the Marches, Sicily, etc, Jamie clearly had a genuine and deep connection to the people he met during his peregrinations, as the photos attest. A lot of smiles and hand gestures going on, and touching moments such as Jamie observing an old man repairing his fishnet, pouring a glass of wine for a shepherd or making pasta with four generations of women. When I browse through this publication and take the time to look at the pictures, it makes me want to visit the night markets of Palermo to taste these chickpea fritters or to enter a pasta competition in Le Marche!

The book delivers more than 120 of classic and new recipes, classified under:

Antipasti (Starters)
Street Food and Pizze
First Dishes (featuring soups, pasta and risotto)
Salads
Second Dishes (featuring fish and meat)
Side Dishes
Desserts

“Jamie’s Italy” focuses on authentic, mouthwatering food, best eaten with family and friends. Italians “Mamas” revealed their pasta making secrets to Jamie and owners of “agroturismo” inns welcomed him into their way of life. The warmth of the exchanges Jamie had with locals also transpires in the writing and the way the recipes are introduced. Yes, this love of food and sharing makes its way into your home too. I have yet to try all the recipes, but the ones my family and I already prepared received high praise, from us as well as from our guests. Needless to say, only empty plates and dishes were returned to the kitchen.
 
ATripToItalyWithJamie-Technorati
 
 
 
 

The Marches - a wonderful region for your next holidays

We invite you to watch this video about Le Marche with wonderful pictures of this rich region of culture and nature
 
 

An Italian Wine To Discover: Brunello Di Montalcino

Article first published as An Italian Wine To Discover: Brunello Di Montalcino on Technorati.
 
When asked to name Italian wines, people might come up with the full-bodied Tuscan Chianti, the light and fruity Pinot Grigio originating from the Tre Venezie or the sparkling Asti from the Piedmont region. But would they know about the Tuscan Brunello Di Montalcino?
The Brunello is a wine produced solely from the Sangiovese Grosso, a larger-berried variety of the Sangiovese grape. These round and juicy bunches grow exclusively around Montalcino, a beautiful hilltop town in the Siena area, which boasts a fortress that was never conquered. Thanks to being exposed to one of the warmest and driest climates in Tuscany, the Sangiovese grapes often matures up to a week earlier than their fruit counterparts used in the production of Chianti and Montepulciano.
 
Although the first mentions of the Brunello can be traced back to the 14th century, the wine became well known much later, largely because of the Biondi-Santi family. In the 1870s, Clemente Sianti was already producing the beverage we know today. His grandson Ferruccio Biondi-Santi then took up the challenge of managing the family estate after coming home from the Garibaldi campaigns. He is the one responsible for developing new winemaking methods, and for taking the Brunello to its more accomplished form. The Biondi-Santi family was still the sole Brunello producer when World War II ended. Today, however, there are over 200 wine producers, mainly small farms and estates, who proudly have their names attached to one of the first-class wine names in Italy.
The Brunello has been traditionally matured over a long period in large oaks barrels, thus creating a very intricate flavour. More modern methods now call for smaller recipients and a reduced aging time, resulting in a less tannic and more velvety body. Aromas such as blackberry, chocolate, black cherry and violet are often associated with the Brunello. A French “equivalent” would be found in the Burgundy region, namely the Pinot noir varieties. The strong character of the Brunello makes it the perfect accompaniment for meat and game.
 
The Brunello wine even recently made the news in a spotlight fashion when freshly re-elected President Obama offered a bottle of this fine Tuscan beverage to House Speaker John Boehner as a birthday gift. Much has been said about whether or not this present, which can be found and bought for around $125 in Washington DC shops, breaks the White House ban on gifts over $50 to members of Congress. As an exception for gifts from friends exists, the 1997 Altero Brunello di Montalcino bottle may however well belong to this category.
 
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Festa Del Ceppo – The Italian Yule Log Tradition

Article first published as Festa Del Ceppo - The Italian Yule Log Tradition on Technorati.
 
It is now less than a month to Christmas and you can feel excitement in the air. Children are counting the days until they can open the first door of their Advent calendar, which will make it easier for them to realise how close this important day is. You cannot turn the radio on without hearing a familiar tune and Christmas markets are now open, offering mulled wine, warming food and gift ideas. Streets come alive at night with thousands of fairy lights and decorations are glittering in the shop windows.

In Italy, particularly in Tuscany and Piemont, it will soon be time for the "festa del ceppo", the "Festival of the Log". The Italians have two different ways of interpreting this yule log tradition. In the first instance, the Ceppo is a wooden structure mounted in the shape of a pyramide. Its size varies, but it is commonly decorated with shiny paper or frills and greenery. Its shelves contain nuts, fruit and little presents. At the base of the Ceppo, the family will place the crib, and a star can most of the time be found at the top. It is also common to add candles on the sides and light them, which explains why the Ceppo is sometimes called the "Tree of Light".


The other tradition is more elaborate and has both pagan and Christian origins. In the Christian version, the log symbolizes the place where Mary warmed her newborn baby Jesus. On the Pagan side, it represents the circle of life with the sun being reborn on the winter solstice and purification through fire.


It goes like this. On Christmas Eve, an enormous log is positioned in the fireplace and set alight. Family and friends gather around the fire to rejoice. In some regions, children come and hit the log with sticks, creating sparks. They sing the "Ave Maria del Ceppo" and receive sweets and gifts. They may be blindfolded and find the presents after removing the makeshift masks.


Another tradition is to give offerings. Coins nestled in close proximity to the chimney or some wine sprinkled on the fire. The "Ave Maria del Ceppo" can also be sung then. The log is supposed to burn without interruption until New Year, as this is going to bring good luck to the household. Once the wood has turned into ashes, these will often be used to protect the house from possible weather damages or scattered in fields in the hope it will help bring in bountiful crops.


In an addition to the reference to grain harvesting, it is also recognized that bread and cakes are symbols of physical and spiritual nourishment. It is therefore appropriate on such a day to eat the traditional panettone and pandoro.
 
villa lucca buonvisi
 
 
 
 
 

A week in Casa Bramasole

 

More and more articles are being published about the way social media now affects our lives. Twitter and Facebook are still the leaders, but new possibilities are emerging every day. We tend to spend more and more time interacting with our virtual "friends" online. But how about our real life friends? Do we still have time for them? How would you say an experience such as described below compares with how popular one can be on social networks?

Our group of four friends were driving through the dark oak forest. We finally came to a clearing and there it was, the house! We got out of the car and took the time to admire the myriad of lights around Lake Trasimeno below us. We then looked for the key that would open the beautiful Umbrian property in front of us and quickly found it. We had of course seen lots of photos of Casa Bramasole but the reality surpassed what we had been expecting. We immediately felt welcome as we entered the old converted farmhouse, while retaining its original features of old beams, terracotta tiles and brickwork. The colourful flowers and fresh fruit waiting for us in the dining room were a nice and thoughtful addition.
As we entered the spacious kitchen, we realised that this was where we would spend most of our stay. On top of the two dishwashers, massive fridge and freezer, a surprise was waiting for us: a Pavoni coffee machine! This completed the feeling of belonging that we had experienced as we had first walked into Casa Bramasole. Once the bedrooms, all different, were attributed, we set out on a complete tour of our home for the week. All the rooms were absolutely gorgeous and fireplaces could be found in the kitchen, bedrooms and living room. We were ravenous by then and the oak logs were quickly thrown into the barbecue on the terrace. We did not even wait for the fire to completely turn to embers to cook the impressive steaks we had bought on the way in Tuoro. The result was heavenly: Tender and juicy meat, eaten with tomato and garlic bruschette.
The following morning we fully discovered the unbelievable view on the lake below and the nearby hills. We were very lucky with the weather and were able to enjoy the outdoor swimming pool and to eat outside, except for one evening when we gathered around the big wooden table and ate by candlelight. The whole week was a culinary festival: mushroom risotto, steaks alla Fiorentina, homemade pasta filled with ricotta and basil, zabaione, berry tiramisu and apple tart, accompanied by local white and red wines. That last dessert we savoured in the TV room, just so we could say we had used all of these stunning rooms at least once. This part of the house was once a pigsty and the original arrow slits gives it a special atmosphere.
 
As we were about to leave we all stated how much we would love to come back. Perhaps this time in the winter? If only for the opportunity to snuggle up on one of the big leather sofas in the living room, with logs blazing in that enormous fireplace.
 
casa bramasole italian food
 
 
cooking in italy casa bramasole
 
 
 

Obama to get reelection gift weighing more than a kilo from the Marche

 
 
A small Italian village of Le Marche renowned for its white truffles announced Saturday it would give US President Barack Obama a record specimen weighing in at more than a kilo as a reelection present.
"A 1.012-kg truffle from Acqualagna will be gifted to the President of the United States Barack Obama to celebrate his reelection," the local authorities said in a statement.
The truffle, a rare subterranean mushroom prized in haute cuisine, is to be delivered to the United States on November 18 and Acqualagna officials said they hoped Obama would show up in person to pick up his gift.
"The first American president to receive an Acqualagna truffle was Harry Truman in 1956. The latest dignitary to have received it was Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh," the town's mayor, Andrea Pierotti, said.
The price per kilo of white truffles has recently shot up to around 3,000 euros (3,800 dollars).
In 2010, a South Korean wine critic bought a 900-gramme truffle for 105,000 euros at a charity event.
Macau billionaire and casino baron Stanley Ho in 2010 paid more than $300,000 for two pieces of the precious tuber at another charity auction.
Local legend has it that the largest-ever find came in 1668 when a man by the name of Filippo Cortesi unearthed a pair of truffles weighing 13 and 18 kilos respectively.
 
 
 
 
 

Travelling in Apulia

 
First lunch: Ricci - Sea Urchins at Il Principe del Mare in Fasano in Apulia.
 
 
 
 
Visit of the wonderful Trulli Angelo in Ceglie Messapica
 
trulli apulia
 
 
First night in a very charming and cosy B&B in Ceglie Messapica:
 
 
 
Then we had the chance to visit the new Trulli Madrac in Fasano, maybe one of the best trulli you can rent in Apulia, that you can rent now...
 
trulli apulia fasano
 
 
1 week in a villa between Morciano di Leuca and Torre Vado in the Salento:
 
 
 
with a wonderful barbeque and a terrific steak:
 
 
 
 
 
 

Back To The Middle Ages In Italy

Article first published as Back To The Middle Ages In Italy on Technorati.
 
The first Sunday of September in the afternoon, thousands of people gather in the town of Arezzo, Tuscany. The reason? The Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen), an incredibly popular medieval tournament held in this lovely old city twice a year, in July as well as September. It is said that the origins of the joust go back to the Crusades, and its popularity varied during time, before being firmly reinstated during the 1930s.
 
As you arrive, you really have the feeling that you have stepped back in time… A great deal of detail goes into the historical costums, and the explosion of colours is a pure delight. Not only are the protagonists of the tournament dressed that way, but residents too. On the day of the event, a procession takes place from the dome to the Piazza Grande, starting with a blessing of the Bishop in front of the cathedral. Once everyone is gathered in the main square, the flag wavers, known as the sbandieratori, demonstrate their skills, launching their flags high into the sky before catching them at the last second. It is then time for the representatives of the four districts to defy each other. They joust in pairs, mounted on a horse, but nowadays do not throw lances at each other anymore. Instead, the aim of the game is to hit the Saracen king, a target carved in wood, trying to score a maximum of points in order to win the golden lance.
 
There are also several other traditional events to choose from, not only in Tuscany but also in regions such as Umbria or Le Marche.
 
The Quintana of Foligno (Umbria) is one of them. It was named after the 5th road of the Roman military camp, dedicated to the training of lance fighting, and was later turned into a knight jousting tournament. In 1613 it was officially instated as part of the Carnival celebrations. The first part of the event is held in June on a Saturday night, and the counter challenge the second or third Sunday of September. Ten knights, representing the town quarters, are competing. Their duty is to catch with their lance three rings of decreasing sizes, which are dangling from a gyrating statue of Mars, the Roman God of war. All this while sitting on a horse going at full speed.
 
Other possibilities include the Palio del Serafino in Sarnano or the Disfia del Bracciale in Treia, both located in the Marche region. The Palio del Serafino is a reminiscence of the 13th and 14th centuries that happens in August and consists of a week of processions, banquets and tournaments opposing the four different part of the town. The Disfia del Bracciale sees teams of two players dressed in medieval costumes and sporting big spiky bracelets made of wood confront each other. The purpose of the game, played against the fortified walls, is to propel a leather ball over a high net. The match and the party that follow are the culminating point of ten days of celebrations.
 
Are you ready to join in?
 
casa olivi treia  
 
 
 
 
 

Vini....

If you have the chance to be near Bolgheri in Tuscany, don't miss to visit the Winery:

Le Macchiole

Le Macchiole is a story of men and human endeavor. And of one man in particular.

Eugenio was strongly convinced of his passion for wine that, when it entered his life, took it over and proceeded to profoundly transform it. Always one for experimenting, he decided to become a winegrower; following his instinct and wholeheartedly committing himself to hard work, he became a very successful one. Cinzia, his partner for years, was his accomplice in this new and challenging adventure.
 
bolgheri rosso
 
 
 
 
 

Eating Sea Urchins in Apulia

Article first published as Eating Sea Urchins in Apulia on Technorati.
 
"Buy the sea urchins!" This exclamation can be heard every morning at more or less the same time. When the fishermen are back with their booty. Have you ever tried these spiny sea animals? If not, Apulia, the "heel of the Italian boot", might be the perfect place for an introduction. Sea urchins can be found along the whole of the stunning Puglian coast, and you will hear that cry everywhere you go.
 
It is commonly said that fruti di mare (seafood) are best savoured during the months containing an "r", therefore mainly in the winter, for freshness. You will however have no trouble finding sea urchins while on holiday in the summer. It might even be fun to go and collect some yourself, but be careful not to walk on them! The spikes breaking into your flesh will be very painful, and it takes a long time for them to come out. Use thick gloves or tongs to haul the ricci di mare out of the water, and put them straight into the large bag you will have taken with you.
 
If you purchase them, the fishmonger will show you how to open the sea urchins or do it for you. It might be a good idea to learn the proper way if you are having a go on your own. As the edible part is nesting on one side only, it would be a shame to destroy it by tackling the wrong part. Special pliers dedicated to that job exist and you will get the best results that way, but a pair of sturdy scissors or simply a sharp knife can also be used for that purpose.
 
Once open, you will marvel at the delicate orange colour. The edible part, called the roe, can be rinsed with fresh or salt water first. You can also skip that part: Just tip the shell to drain it and start eating with a knife or a spoon. Its foamy consistency is surprising at first, and then the salty, subtle taste hits your taste buds. Add a piece of fresh bread to the equation and you will get one perfect combination of food heaven.
 
Eating it raw is not to your taste? Not a problem. Try one of the several existing pasta or risotto recipes in the comfort of your own kitchen for a special lunch or dinner.
 
Sadly, a new report than ocean acidification is affecting shell growing in sea creatures, therefore rendering them more exposed to predator attacks, has now been published. Which impact will this consequence of climate change have on the marine food chain, and also on human seafood supply? Will the simple pleasure described in this article disappear one day?
 
 
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Sicily – A Land Of Contradictions

Article first published as Sicily - A Land of Contradictions on Technorati.
 
The picturesque miniature villages, forgotten by modern life and going about at a slower, somehow more genuine pace. The gorgeous sand beaches leading to waters so clear you can spot the details of the tiny fish swimming near the bottom of the sea. A culinary tradition of such richness that every visit to this Italian island unveils new delights and entices you to come back again and again. Vibrant cities such as Palermo and Taormina, with their cultural heritage and many architectural wonders. Dramatic volcanoes, the Etna winning the prize of the most famous one, the green plain of Catania spreading under its looming shape. An abundance of citrus fruit, almonds and vegetables. A bountiful production of wine and oil, as well a thriving fishing trade. Add natural resources such as sulphur, gas and salt. Yes, Sicily has it all.
 
But this blessed part of our planet is also steeped in contradictions. Let's concentrate on a few in particular.
 
The majority of the population has of course elected to live in the coastal areas, the massive exodus resulting in the inner, rural territories being seriously under populated. This is unlikely to change and is creating an imbalance in the financial circumstances of the population. Did Dolce & Gabbana's three months casting in Sicily to discover non-professional models for their latest men summer collection included the whole territory? It would be interesting to know.
 
A little bundle of joy will soon be joining your family. As your pregnancy progresses, you will no doubt appreciate to find out that parking spaces are reserved especially for you. But will this delicate attention make you forget about the lack of pavement and how dangerous this makes walking in the streets? Not so sure.
 
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Sicilian beaches are out of this world, and you will find that they are often not crowded at all, which definitely has its importance in making the experience an enjoyable one. You leave the seaside after soaking up the sun the whole day, feeling contented and relaxed. The last thing you fancy coming across are various heaps of garbage strewn around. Sadly, this might well be the case, casting an unpleasant shadow over your stay in heaven.
 
You will also almost certainly step into a beautiful grocery store that has retained the flair of an era long vanished. You find yourself unable to resist filling your basket with artisanal goodies, wrapped in colourful paper or moving gently inside an old-fashioned jar or bottle. The shock of the bill at the till will certainly make you leave your reverie at once.
 
Sicily, a land of many contradictions. But so worth discovering.
 
 
parcheggio mamma klein