♦ San Ysidro Ranch: 5 Stars in My Backyard! ♦

When I was approached by Forbes Travel Guide to visit and write a review of the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, I didn’t hesitate! Even though I only live a few miles away, I hadn’t been to the property since its major renovation and the opportunity to enjoy a private tour was irresistible. After all, who could resist a behind-the-scenes peek at one of Santa Barbara’s most legendary and acclaimed getaways? Not I!  San Ysidro Ranch

Discreetly tucked away in an exclusive residential neighborhood of Montecito, from the moment you arrive at San Ysidro Ranch and enter the olive-tree lined drive awash in aromatic lavender, you know that you’re someplace special

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Posted in Home on the Road, Local Travel, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“Make Room for Daddy”

Father, Daddy, Dad, Papa, Pop…Sunday is HIS Day!

Photo - Victoria De Maio

Daddy’s Little Girl

“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.”

– Unknown

The dominant role and influence of the “father figure” throughout human history is undeniable.  But it’s the influence of our own father, as with our own mother, that is indelibly and forever impressed in our heart, isn’t it?

Since celebrating Mother’s Day became so successful, it seemed logical that having a national Father’s Day would be a natural and perfect complement, but getting it to be a permanent national holiday was no slam dunk!

Sonora Louise Smart Dodd is credited as being the “Mother of Father’s Day”.  Hearing of  Anna Jarvis’ success with Mother’s Day, in 1910 she initiated her campaign to celebrate Father’s Day in honor of her widower father, a Civil War vet, who raised six children single handed. She encouraged the local pastor to give a sermon honoring fathers and her efforts resulted in Washington State celebrating the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and hoped to make it official as he had with Mother’s Day in 1914, but was unsuccessful. Congress continued to resist and there were even efforts to eliminate both Mother’s and Father’s Day in favor of a Parents’ Day. The celebration sputtered until Dodd renewed her efforts and resumed promoting the celebration. She cleverly enlisted the support of trade groups that would benefit from a national holiday (e.g., companies that would make presents for fathers). There was some criticism that the efforts were for purely commercial purposes, but the trade groups persisted. However, it would still take several more decades to make it a permanent national holiday.

Photo by Victoria De Maio

Sweet memories of my Father…

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Sonora did live to see it signed into law in 1972 by President Richard Nixon and was honored as the founder of Father’s Day at the 1974 World’s Fair Expo in Spokane, WA and died four years later at the age of 96.

Today, Father’s Day, known as “International Men’s Day” in some countries, is celebrated on various dates all over the world. It is estimated that Americans spend over a billion dollars on Father’s Day gifts.

Why not take a real family vacation? Explore your roots together on a multi-generational trip.

Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard!

What is your fondest memory of your Father? Please share below…

 

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♥ Traveling Like a Local with Locals in Puglia (Part 2) ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!Kicking Up Our Heelz Together in Puglia… Again!

Traveling Like a Local with Locals! Part 2!

More...La Dolce Vita Salento Style! ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!

The second half of our unique experience is in Lecce, the Baroque crown jewel of the Salento…

Puglia - Lecce Collage After settling in to our luxury accommodation in Lecce’s historical center, we set out to explore with our expert local guide. On foot is the perfect way to enjoy this spectacular city…

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Eco-Tourism, Food Tourism, Gallipoli, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, La Dolce Vita!, Lecce, Otranto, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Puglia 2017, Puglia 2018, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Trulli of Itria Valley, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

♥ Traveling Like a Local with Locals in Puglia (Part 1) ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!Kicking Up Our Heelz Together in Puglia… Again!

Traveling Like a Local with Locals!

♥ La Dolce Vita Salento Style! ♥

It’s so fabulous to be back in Puglia in spring time! It’s hard to believe that this is trip and tour #6! Every visit is as spectacular as the previousalways more to see and experience- and all of this is made all the more special because I partner/collaborate with local experts. Ylenia and Michele of YLTourPR and I have been a team for three fabulous years.

♥ Now returning is like returning home…

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Our 10 day immersion begins with a warm welcome to the beautiful Masseria that will be our home for the first half of our experience…Puglia spring 2017Let's Go to Italy Together! Our first day is a visit to a family owned and managed organic olive tree farm for a tour and tasting…Puglia spring 2017 And, that evening we learn how to make local specialties, taralli and orecchiette with Ylenia, Mamma Anna and Mamma Angelina…Puglia spring 2017Puglia spring 2017

Let's Go to Italy Together! The next day, our first excursion takes us to the Itria Valley. First, Baroque gem Martina Franca for a Sunday stroll and visit to its stunning Ducale PalacePuglia spring 2017Puglia spring 2017

Puglia spring 2017 Then Ostuni, “the white city” with its stunning panoramic view of the valley and Adriatic…Puglia spring 2017Let's Go to Italy Together! The next day we go off the beaten track to take a guided walk in Cavallino, one of hundreds of untouched local villages of the Salento rich in history and treasures…Puglia spring 2017

Puglia spring 2017 Nearby we are privileged to visit the studio of Renzo, a renowned master sculptor of local pietra leccese stone…Puglia spring 2017Puglia spring 2017 After our fascinating visit with Renzo, it’s time for lunch and we are guests at a local agriturismo.

Dating from the 16th century, we are treated to homemade rolls baked in a wood burning oven along with delectable local specialties including the pasta we helped to make.Puglia spring 2017 The piece de resistance is the cherry torte/cake. Cherries are in season and there are 2500 trees here! Even a homemade cherry liqueur! Delizioso!! Then, a little wine tasting and we’re ready to return to Lecce to rest before still another delectable evening repast…

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Our fourth day takes us to the Baroque crown jewel of the Salento, Lecce. We’ll make Lecce our home base for the next five days of our exploration and immersion into Puglia.   We’ll explore the land of the trulli, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Otranto, Gallipoli, Galatina and more…not to mention the exquisite cuisine and wine of the region. ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!

I’ll be sharing hundreds more photos but I would rather be sharing the real thing…la dolce vita Salento-style…with You!!!

Join Us in Fall for Olive Harvest and SO Much MORE!!!

September 22 – October 1, 2017

Space is Limited! Only 2 Rooms Left!

Why Puglia? Check out: “Only in Puglia…”

Let's Go to Italy Together!◊ 2017 Doesn’t Work? 2018 Tour Dates Coming in June! ◊

(Custom dates & private itineraries available!)

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Send Me a Postcard!Questions? Comments? Send Me a Postcard!

Just comment below – I love to hear from you!

Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Meet Local Artisans, Ostuni, Otranto, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Puglia 2017, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Trulli of Itria Valley, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

 ♥ PostcardZ from the Irresistible Italian Riviera! ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!

♥ Wish You Were Here Enjoying Liguria with Us!

It’s been fabulous to be back in Liguria  and the Italian Riviera in spring time! …

Let’s explore Genoa and the Riviera- East and West…together!!

A photo montage of our first fabulous days together…

Let’s take a stroll in Genoa, “La Superba”…

Looking forward to 10 days with my incredible Liguria experts, Emanuela (BeautifuLiguria) & Francesca (tour guide extraordinaire).. and 5 very fun couples! 

A great start! Aperitivi including Prosecco, of course!

And then? Dinner with Roberto, the “King of Pesto”, of course!
La Superba”…
Eating local…and savoring the sites …the labyrinth of “carruggi” , visit to a chocolate maker over 150 years old and classic local cuisine at Il Cadraio…

Day tripping to the eastern Riviera including the quaint fishing village of Camogli, iconic Portofino where we enjoy a tasty private wine tasting, and Santa Margherita Ligure with its charming painted facades and jewel box cathedral…

Then, heading west to the lesser known side of the Riviera… we visit Mimmo, Mariastella and family on their chinotto plantation. A tasting of the products they produce – marmalade, honey, juice drinks and even a liqueur is enjoyed by all…

Next stops are strolls through the medieval villages of Final Ligure and Noli- seaside gems…

But there’s more back in Genoa! The fantastic Mercato Orientale, learning how to make authentic pesto with Mario and Cristina, and time for a little shopping because tomorrow we leave for the countryside…
We are enjoying a fabulous “insiders” visit of Genoa & the Italian Riviera…and there is more to come… Wish you were here? I do!!!

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Join Us in Fall – Catch the Magic of the Italian Riviera !!!

October 6 – 15, 2017

Space is Limited!

Why Liguria? Check out: “Only in Liguria…”

Let's Go to Italy Together!◊ 2017 Doesn’t Work? 2018 Tour Dates Coming in June! ◊

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Send Me a Postcard!Questions? Comments? Send Me a Postcard!

Just comment below – I love to hear from you!

Posted in Boomer Travel, Cinque Terre, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Food Tourism, Genoa, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italian Riviera, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Liguria, Liguria 2017, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

♥ Catching the Magic of the Italian Riviera! ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Loving La Dolce Vita in Liguria!

It’s so fabulous to be back in Liguria in spring time! And joining me are five fabulous fun couples…

For the next half of our Ligurian experience, we go to Levanto…

On our way we stop for an espresso in Rapallo before our first stop, a visit to an ancient silk factory. Here, under the guidance of Magda, the Cordani family still produces velvet and silk fabrics on 18th century looms…

After a fascinating visit (and a little shopping ), we head for Chiavari. After a walking tour we visit another local artisan, Franco Casoni, well known for his wood carving we each receive our own wooden stamp used to make The typical local pasta called “corzetti”. 

Mine has my name in Italian, Vittoria, and a map of Italy…

Our next accommodation is in Levanto. Here we will stay in an idyllic setting at Villa Nova, a family owned and managed agriturismo.

Our first evening, we enjoy a lovely aperitivi on the covered patio savoring the local antipasti, excellent wines and spectacular view…

Levanto is the perfect home base for the next few days. 

Our first outing is to Cinque Terre. We enjoyed the villages of  Manarola, Vernazza, and Monterosso. 

We climb up up up by bus for a very special wine tasting and”light lunch” of homemade antipasti, two pastas and anchovies- delicioso! Grazie Luciano and Mamma!

Our last excursion is to charming Portovenere where we can stroll the narrow medieval passages, enjoy lunch, shopping and a gelato before returning to Villa Nova.

Already it is our last day together and we will have a very special afternoon cooking Ligurian cuisine together with Ermanno and his wife, Clara, at their restaurant in Levanto, L’Articiocca (Artichoke).

We have enjoyed a fabulous, authentic immersion into the Ligurian culture and cuisine. Wouldn’t you love to join me and my BeautifuLiguria partners next time??!!

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Join Us in Fall – Catch the Magic of the Italian Riviera !!!

October 6 – 15, 2017

Space is Limited!

Why Liguria? Check out: “Only in Liguria…”

Let's Go to Italy Together!

◊ 2017 Doesn’t Work? 2018 Tour Dates Coming in June! ◊

Let’s return together! 

◊ Custom private tours and dates available! ◊

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Send Me a Postcard!Questions? Comments? Send Me a Postcard!

Just comment below – I love to hear from you!

Posted in Boomer Travel, Cinque Terre, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Food Tourism, Genoa, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italian Riviera, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Liguria, Liguria 2017, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ♥ Catching the Magic of the Italian Riviera! ♥

◊ Coming Attractions from Victoria ◊

Let's Go to Italy Together!A quick sneak peek at what you’ll be seeing on PostcardZ from Victoria over the next weeks and beyond…

√ BaVictoria -Vespa copy for site iconck to Italia – I’m heading back to Italy next week to join my expert travel partners and co-lead tours in the Italian Riviera and Puglia. Joining me will be a private group of five fun couples and then another fun group of lovely ladies…

I’ll be sharing here and on social media (links below and on the upper right of the sidebar).

Don’t you wish you were joining us? Me, too!

√ My “roots in the boot”: I’ll be sharing more about my very special and emotional experience of returning to the birthplaces of the Italian grandparents last fall…

√ Did you know that Italian Americans were the object of racial prejudice and even interred during World War II? I didn’t either but now I’m reading and learning more and will be sharing about this “secret” story…V apron - small no Lulu

In June I will be announcing my 2018 Italy tour dates for the Italian Riviera, Puglia, and Sicily! Fabulous itineraries – unique, authentic & affordable!

√ OOOOOlala! France is on my radar in September – chateaux and vineyards with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Doesn’t that sound divine? Stay tuned…

What’s on YOUR “bucket list”? Portugal and Spain (and of course, more Italy) are on mine… Please share yours!

√ More Travel TipZ! I’ve started drafting my second travel tips book! I’m so excited and I know you’ll love it! You have read Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style, haven’t you??

copyright 2016√ Just for YOU! Remember…we can customize YOUR dream trip to Italy AND I can help you with cruises, travel insurance, all-inclusive vacations, and more...

√ Si, there is space on the fall tours to the Italian Riviera and Puglia! Registration cut-offs soon! What ARE you waiting for???

√ Follow along and get my e-newzletter, too! Promise not to overload you with a bunch of junk – just fabulous articles and updates! You can Subscribe/Follow on the links in the sidebar or send me an email and I’ll get you started!  (And please share with your besties!) Next issue? Publishing on Wednesday, May 3rd!

√ Have I told you lately how much I appreciate your support and feedback? Well, I do! Please feel free to…

Send Me a Postcard!

Send Me a Postcard! Comment Below or

Send Me a Private Message!

I love to hear from YOU!

Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, France, Italy Travel Tips, Liguria, Liguria 2017, Puglia, Puglia 2017, River Cruises, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, Sicily 2018, Solo Travel, Travel Planning, Travel TipZ, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

♦ Only in Sicily… ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!Surrounded by water, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and, along with her surrounding islands, Regione Siciliana is the largest region of Italy.Sicily map

As with every island, Sicily is defined by her relationship to the sea and how it has defined and shaped her history and character. With the Mar Mediterraneo (Mediterranean Sea) to the south and southwest, Mar Ionio (Ionian Sea) to the east, and Mar Tirreno (Tyrrhenian Sea) to the north, she is simultaneously protected and vulnerable.

“My favorite scent memory is the scent of the Sicilian sea!”
– Domenico DolcePhoto: Victoria De Maio

Let's Go to Italy Together!Rich in contrasts, with its magnificent seascapes, rich and bounteous farmlands, and rugged mountainous interior, Sicily is unique, enigmatic, and seductive.

Photo: Victoria De Maio

A land like no other…

Sicilians are distinctly and stubbornly Sicilian! Separated from the toe of Calabria and mainland of Italy, across the Straits of Messina by only 3 km, it may as well be a thousand! Sicilians consider themselves Sicilians first, Italians second. And to this day, 70% of Sicilians speak Sicilian, not Italian.

‘Sicily has suffered 13 dominations from which she has taken both the best and the worst. The sequence of different cultures has made Sicily a fascinating place, quite unlike any other.”
– Andrea Camilleri

And unlike any other, only in Sicily… Continue reading

Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Food Tourism, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, Palermo, Rewarding Sightseeing, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, Sicily 2018, Siracusa, Solo Travel, Taormina, Val di Noto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

♦ Only in Liguria… ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!“Liguria is the only region in Italy that is entirely framed by natural borders: the mountains in the north form a gigantic amphitheatre facing the marine stage to the south.”
– Martina Kolb
(“On the Ligurian Edge” from Nietzsche, Freud, Benn and the Azure Spell of Liguria)

Let's Go to Italy Together!

traditional-prints-and-posters-liguria

(Map courtesy of Traditional Prints & Posters)

One of Italy’s smallest regions, Liguria shares borders with Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna to the east, Piedmonte to the north and France (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) to the west.It’s this very geography and terrain – steep, remote and compact – that has shaped and defined Liguria’s history and character. Unlike many other regions that were invaded and captured, her natural borders have kept her relatively protected and, to some extent, isolated.

Photo by Victoria De Maio

Liguria, between land and sea…

Not as famous as many of her neighbors, Liguria is rich with treasures waiting to be explored and enjoyed, for only in Liguria will you find…

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Cinque Terre, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Genoa, Italian Culture, Italian Riviera, Italy Travel Tips, Liguria, Liguria 2017, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

♦ Only in Puglia… ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!“There is no way to talk about this land without being aware one is in a legendary place.”

– Roberto CotraneoPhoto Victoria De Maio

Despite her rich centuries old history and diverse cultural heritage (including being conquered and occupied or settled by Saracens, Byzantines, Normans, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples, the Hohenstaufens, the Spanish and the French and let’s not forget the coastal occupations by the Turks and the Venetians), Puglia has remained relatively unknown and undiscovered by the travel community at large…until now… Continue reading

Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italy Travel Tips, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Ostuni, Otranto, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Puglia 2017, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Trani, Travel TipZ, Trulli of Itria Valley, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments