♦🍊 Chinotto: A Taste for the Unusual 🍊♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!Perhaps, like me, you’ve never heard of chinotto? My introduction was in September when we visited a chinotto plantation in the Savona province of LiguriaJoin me, won’t you, and we’ll learn about this unusual fruit together…Photo Vicoria De Maio Continue reading

Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Eco-Tourism, Food Tourism, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Riviera, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, Liguria, Liguria 2017, Made in Italy!, Meet Local Artisans, My Italian Journey, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sculpture Salento Style – Sun, Sea & Wind

Let's Go to Italy Together!Today we will meet a master sculptor from the Salento sub-region of Puglia.

Today we will meet Renzo Buttazzo…Photo Victoria De Maio

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, Lecce, Made in Italy!, Made in Puglia!, Meet Local Artisans, Puglia, Puglia 2017, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

🍷MORE Italian Wine Trails & Tales🍷

Let's Go to Italy Together!🍷 Si! I’m delighted to share…

MORE Italian Wine Trails & Tales! 🍷 

Last June I invited a group of fellow bloggers, who also happen to love Italy and be avid wine lovers, to tell us about one of their most memorable wine trail  experiences in Italy… Photo Victoria De MaioThe series of guest posts was so much fun and so well received that I wanted to continue… so, over the coming weeks  you’re invited to come along on more of our favorite Italian Wine Trails & Tales

🍷Won’t you please join us in Sicily, Piedmont, Tuscany, the Veneto, Le Marche, Calabria, Liguria, Puglia, Umbria, and …? Continue reading

Posted in Boomer Travel, Chianti Country, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Eco-Tourism, Food Tourism, Guest Posts, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italian Wine Trails & Tales, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Le Marche, Liguria, Made in Italy!, Piedmont, Rewarding Sightseeing, Sicily, The Veneto, Tuscany, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Presto! It’s Pesto!

Let's Go to Italy Together!It’s late morning and we’ve had a wonderful stroll through the fascinating “caruggi” of historical Genova but, more sightseeing will have to wait, it’s time to think about lunch…and lunch today will be something very authentic, local and delicious because it will include the regional specialty, pesto.Photo - Victoria De Maio Continue reading

Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Food Tourism, Genoa, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Liguria, Made in Italy!, My Italian Journey, Rewarding Sightseeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Let’s Take a Stroll through Genoa’s ”Superb” Market: Mercato Orientale

Let's Go to Italy Together!I’ve been to a lot of local markets—it’s actually one of my favorite things to do in any city I’m visiting – but, I must say that I’ve not seen a market like the marvelous Mercato Orientale.

Photo Victoria De Maio

Some of the vibrant colors and selections of Mercato Orientale…

The Mercato Orientale in Genoa lives up to the moniker of the city itself, la Superba (the Superb one) – it is indeed superb!

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Eco-Tourism, Food Tourism, Genoa, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, Liguria, Liguria 2017, Made in Italy!, Meet Local Artisans, My Italian Journey, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

♥ The Road Home – Back to Reality?

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ Reflections on My Italian Journey ♥
September 4 – October 27, 2016Photo: Victoria De Maio

 “Where you are is who you are. The further inside you the place moves, the more your identity is intertwined with it. Never casual, the choice of place is the choice of something you crave.”
– Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Four regions: Liguria, Tuscany, Puglia and Sicily
53 perfectly remarkable days
Over 50 cities and towns including the birth towns of my grandparents (nonni) in  Tuscany and Sicily
6,000 photos taken
Almost 200 miles walked
Planes, trains, vans, automobiles (yes, I drove in Italy for the first time!) and a sailboat ride
15 hotels, agriturismi and B&B’s
Two fabulous tours including the successful inaugural tour in Liguria and the fifth in Puglia with fun, fun, fun guests and amazing tour partners…and…

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Dual Citizenship, Growing Up Italian, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Liguria, My Italian Journey, Puglia, Rewarding Sightseeing, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, Solo Travel, Tuscany, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

♥ My Italian Journey: Sicily Road Trip #4 – Epilogue ♥

La Dolce Vita for Me Sicily Road Trip – Part 4 – Epilogue  

“Those men, those of former times, had soul and eyes that in no way resemble ours, and in their veins, along with their blood, flowed something that disappeared: love and admiration for the Beautiful.” – Guy de Maupassant

Spacer-LaDolceVita Trying to Recount Countless Memories!

First let’s take a look strictly by the numbers:

› 10 days ‹
› 5 accommodations ‹
› 20 cities/towns visited ‹
› over 2000 km driven ‹
› over 850 photos and videos ‹
countless cappuccinos, fabulous meals, glasses of wine and at least 7 sublime cannoli ‹


Numbers rarely tell the story though – the story lies in the experiences and countless memories…the story lies in the people, in my roots and in the undeniable connection from the heart.

Trying to express and capture it in words is so difficult, maybe impossible…hopefully the images will help.

~ ♦ ~

The opportunity to return to Sicily after 9 years was fabulous but to return having obtained my dual citizenship through my paternal grandfather born here and visit the town of his birth as well as my grandmother’s…

To be able to drive through this amazingly breathtaking region with my good friend, fellow blogger who shares my Sicilian heritage, Margie Miklas made this adventure so special…

To visit cities on Sicily’s three sea coasts as well as its stunning countryside and daunting hilltop towns…

To revisit the magnificient Greek and Roman ruins in all their glory…

To stroll the streets and to immerse in its unique and rich culture…

To meet locals—from the indifferent and impatient (especially on the road!) to the warm and welcoming…

Looking out to the endless sea that surrounds and exposes her, and looking in to her rich lands and resilient people, there’s an undeniable echo of the inescapable and often tumultuous past. It’s in the lifeblood of the land and the people…

Like each of us, there’s no escaping the past. Hewn and honed by time, nature, and history, Sicily has been conquered, dominated, exploited, maligned, and stereotyped but, despite all this, she remains proud, unique, uncompromising, indomitable, unapologetic and unforgettable.

Sicily is in your face what you see is what you get – no fancy artifice, no sugar coating…fiercely independent and spirited, she has and will endure for Sicily is timeless. And so it is with its people – Sicilian first then (maybe) Italian, they too are fiercely independent. In their eyes, manner and attitude you will find all that Sicily has been and remains…

~ ♦ ~

My Sicilian nonni

My Sicilian nonni; Carmelo & Giuseppina DiMaio

My first visit to Sicily was after I had lost my father and my heart ached to tell him about that trip and about how much I came to understand about him, about me. And that deep heartfelt understanding became richer on this trip when I stepped back a generation to grandparents I never knew; grandparents who, along with millions of others, left their remote villages at the turn of the 19th century to venture to the New World with very little besides hope, a willingness to work, and a character and strength borne of generations.

I was and remain deeply touched and grateful…so very grateful for their courage and strength…

~ ♦ ~

♥ And, of course, grazie to all of the warm and wonderful people we met along the way…

At the end I wasn’t sure if I would or could return…but now, only a week back, I know that I will return…the connection is too strong…the roots run too deep.

~ ♦ ~

I’ll be sharing more about my time in Sicily in the coming months…for now you might enjoy the blog posts I shared while “on the road”.

Sicily Road Trip #1

Landing in Palermo then off to explore the west coast including Trapani, Mozia, winetasting at Donnafugata in Marsala…

Sicily Road Trip #2

The southern coast including Castelvetrano and Selinunte then on to Temple of the Gods, Nicosia and Piazza Amerina

Sicily Road Trip #3

Siracusa, Val di Noto – including Scicli, Ragusa and Modica, of course, Taormina.

A very special note of thanks to Auto-Europe for making all of this possible by sponsoring me and Margie, #2SicilianGals, on our Sicily road trip.

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Join Me in Italy in 2017 and Let’s Experience La Dolce Vita Together!

Read more about My Italian Journey

How did #2SicilianGals’ Road Trip Come About?

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♥ My Italian Journey: Sicily Road Trip #3 ♥

La Dolce Vita for Me Sicily Road Trip – Part 3 

“Were a man to spend only one day in Sicily and ask, “What must one see?” I would answer him without hesitation,’Taormina’. It is only a landscape, but a landscape where you find everything on earth that seems made to seduce the eyes, the mind and the imagination.” – Guy de Maupassant

 Siracusa, the UNESCO Val di Noto, Taormina and a few other seaside gems hold a wealth of delights for these #2SicilianGals! (Oh, and did I mention Montalbano?)

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Day tripping from Siracusa takes us for an early morning seaside stroll on the southern Mediterranean coastline…Sicily

And back on Detective Montalbano’s trail…actually to his front door in fictional Marinella (Punta Secca)…SicilySicily

🇮🇹🚗 Next stop takes us inland to Scicli, a delightful Baroque jewel (and the film location for the fictional  police station). Sicily

SicilySicilyAlso, an ideal stop for a shakerato coffee and cannolo break! Well fueled, on to Ragusa Ibla and Ragusa for a lovely lunch and more Baroque…SicilySicily

Modica is all about chocolate and Baroque- delicious! ( Yes, a chocolate cannolo! 😉)SicilySicily
Noto by night… Our amazing day ends with an aperitivo and passeggiata. Perfect day for these #2SicilianGals 👯🇮🇹Sicily

🚗🇮🇹 Leaving Siracusa but not before visiting one of the largest Greek theaters in the world and the Ear of Dionisio where slaves quarried the stone to build Siracusa.SicilySicilySucilt

❤️🇮🇹 Then to the last stop, Taormina…pure charm, spectacular views, another strategically placed Greek theater….and…Sicily

SicilySicily

🚣🏻🇮🇹 A special treat- a private cruise along the coast with Sarah, Simona, Adriana, Maria Letizia & Giovanni…Sicily

❤️ The first place I visited in Sicily in 2007 was Taormina and I absolutely fell in love. Returning has just reignited that very special affection for this very beautiful place…a dream come true…
Sicily

🙋🏻 Tomorrow begins the journey home but I feel that I am leaving my home as well- my ❤️’s home. 

I will be sharing much more about 🇮🇹 My Italian Journey🇮🇹 in the next months. I hope you will join me? And, perhaps, you will be inspired to join me in 2017 and experience “la dolce vita” with me?

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Join Me in Italy in 2017 and Let’s Experience La Dolce Vita Together!

Read more about My Italian Journey

A Special Grazie to Auto-Europe for Sponsoring Us!

How did #2SicilianGals’ Road Trip Come About?

Enjoy Italian Style with My Book

Spacer-LaDolceVitaSend Me a Postcard!Wish YOU Were Here!

Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU!

(Just Comment Below!)

Posted in #2SicilianGals, Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Food Tourism, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Made in Italy!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

♥ My Italian Journey: Sicily Road Trip #2 ♥

La Dolce Vita for Me Sicily Road Trip – Part 2

“But beneath it all will run that Sicilian understanding that the underside of joy is grief, that the face of sacrifice and suffering is the dark mirror image of pleasure and enjoyment, that every moment of arrival is to be treasured and enjoyed in the full knowledge that it has brought us a moment closer to the moment of departure.” -Francine Prose

Spacer-LaDolceVita Heading south…on to roots and ruins in Castelvetrano and Selinunte, then heading east to Piazza Amerina, Nicosia and landing in Siracusa…..#2SicilianGals continue their search for more dolce vita Sicilian style (yes, cannoli, more cannoli, roots, Montalbano and more!) 

🇮🇹❤️ You may or may not remember that one of the objectives of this Italian Journey was to visit the birthplace of all of my grandparents. 

In Tuscany I visited the towns where my maternal nonni were born and filled in some of the pieces of the puzzle of their story which is, of course, my story. 

❤️🇮🇹 Here in Sicily, my goal was the same… I can’t say I met with the same degree of success but I will write more about the visits to the birthplaces of my paternal nonni, Castelvetrano and Nicosia, at a later time.

 So, let’s catch up in the southern seaport town of Sciacca…Sicily

…then a visit to Port Empedocle which, not only is the hometown of Luigi Pirandello and Andrea Camilleri but, is the fictional town of Vigata in Camilleri ‘s hit Inspector Montalbano books and TV series…of course, the Inspector was willing to pose…Sicily🇮🇹 

Near Agrigento, is still another astounding Greek  archeological site, the 2500 year old Valley of the Temples…SicilySicilySicily

🚗🇮🇹 Now, keep in mind we are driving! It’s not all autostrada, by the way! Between the annoying GPS, a roadmap, countless one way and narrow  streets, honking drivers and more than a few swear words, we managed to find our way…eventually… and covered over 2000 km! Sicily

🇮🇹👯 We head to Nicosia where my maternal grandmother was born-I will write more about this later-but I have to share a few photos of this untouched but oh so touching and remote hilltop town deep in the heart of Sicily and …Sicily.,.photos of the lovely family who offer the best cannoli in town (and in my humble opinion, the best from miles around!) 😊👍🇮🇹Sicily

💃🏻 And a “must see” in Piazza Amerina, is  the extraordinary 4th century Villa Romana del Casale  and its extraordinary mosaics…Sicily

🚗👯 And, would you believe that these #2SicilianGals are barely halfway through our adventure? Next stop? Siracusa! 

We stay on the isle of Ortigia exploring Roman ruins, fascinating markets, majestic cathedrals, a traditional puppet show, photogenic kitties,  and oh so much more…( and, yes, of course a little shopping! 😉)SicilySicilySicily

💃🏻🚗 COMING NEXT?!  HOT 🔎 on the trail of my favorite Sicilian Detective as we explore the stunning UNESCO and Baroque gems of the Val di Noto, a few more Greek & Roman jaw dropping sites in Siracusa and on to our last stop and stay, Taormina…

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Join Me in Italy in 2017 and Let’s Experience La Dolce Vita Together!

Read more about My Italian Journey

A Special Grazie to Auto-Europe for Sponsoring Us!

How did #2SicilianGals’ Road Trip Come About?

Enjoy Italian Style with My Book

Spacer-LaDolceVitaSend Me a Postcard!Wish YOU Were Here!

Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU!

(Just Comment Below!)

Posted in #2SicilianGals, Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Food Tourism, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Made in Italy!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

♥ My Italian Journey: Sicily Road Trip #1♥

La Dolce Vita for Me Sicily Road Trip – Part 1

“Sicily has suffered 13 foreign 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

Spacer-LaDolceVitaIt all begins in Palermo and first stop on our road trip is Trapani. Erice, Mozia, private wine tasting in Marsala and touching the eternal in Selnunte are on the list for these #2SicilianGals!

We’re going to show you that there’s so much more to Sicily than The Godfather, cannoli, cassata and handsome detectives…

Please follow along for 10 fabulous days – lots of photos and lots of FUN!

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👯 Let’s begin in Palermo where we pick up our car and head down the coast to Trapani, the ancient port on Sicily’s west coast…Sicily

👯 In the afternoon, it’s like a ghost town but comes alive for the Sunday passeggiata…a little Nero D’Avola and cannoli are in order…Sicily

👯 Our first full day and we’re off to Erice-up, up, and away – almost 5 miles of switchbacks! SicilySicily

🚗 We drive up into the clouds and enjoy the picturesque hill town including a stop at the famous pasticceria of Maria Grammatica for another divine cannolo and genoveso pastry… Sicily

Sicily🚣🏻 Then, down we go to Mozia, where we can visit the salt pans where sea salt has been harvested for thousands of years by the Phoenicians and the Greeks…Sicily

… taking the boat ride across to the island and its museum where one of the most stunningly spectacular statues I’ve ever seen is located…Sicily

Feast your eyes on the Greek charioteer youth…Sicily

🍷Today it’s time to learn more about local wines and do a little tasting and what better place than at the family owned Donnafugata in Marsala…

🍷 Claudia takes us on a fabulous private tour of their impressive facility and shares about the family, the varietals they produce and their uncompromising commitment to the finest quality of local wines…Sicily

An informative and enjoyable tasting is the perfect way to toast to our visit! Salute and Grazie Donnafugata for your hospitality ! 🍷Sicily

(I’ll be writing  a lot more about this wonderful visit so stay tuned for future posts!)

🚗 Our last stop today is en route to Castelvetrano.

 Selinunte- the breathtaking Greek ruins, are located in southwestern Sicily. Sicily

It’s hard to find the words to describe the phenomenal scope and majesty of these 2500 year old temples so I’ll let the photos speak for themselves… SicilySicily

👯 So far the road trip of these #2SicilianGals has been fabulous and there’s much more coming…🇮🇹❤️🚗


 

 

 

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Join Me in Italy in 2017 and Let’s Experience La Dolce Vita Together!

Read more about My Italian Journey

A Special Grazie to Auto-Europe for Sponsoring Us!

How did the #2SicilianGals’ Road Trip Come About?

Enjoy Italian Style with My Book

Spacer-LaDolceVitaSend Me a Postcard!Wish YOU Were Here!

Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU!

(Just Comment Below!)

Posted in #2SicilianGals, Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Made in Italy!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, The Savvy Traveler, Victoria on Amazon, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments