♦ 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, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 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 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, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Trani, Travel TipZ, Trulli of Itria Valley, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

No Flowers or Chocolates for This Saint!

When I travel I love researching the legends and stories of my destinations. Part of that is a curiosity about the origin of rituals, holidays, and traditions…in this case, Saint Valentine’s Day.

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No Flowers or Chocolates for This Saint!

Roses are Red,  Violets are Blue…I’m Glad I’m No Saint, Aren’t YOU?

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Typically St. Valentine’s Day conjures up images of romantisaint valentinesc, lovey-dovey stuff like hearts and flowers, boxes of chocolates, mushy greeting cards, and the like… Well, this wasn’t exactly the case for this holiday’s namesake, Saint Valentine – in fact, there was no romance for this saint! Furthermore, there are actually three potential Valentines that the day commemorates and in all three cases, they were martyred i.e., imprisoned, tortured, and executed. Yikes, not my idea of romantic or happy ending!

Hearts & flowers now...

Hearts & flowers now…

We can agree that Saint Valentine’s Day (also known as Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine) is observed on February 14th of each year.  So, how did our version of Saint Valentine become the Hallmark version characterized by cupid, declarations of love, romantic evenings, and hearts and flowers? Well, it depends on who you read and who you believe since, as with any good story, it gets embellished a bit over the centuries and, as in this case, can take on legendary (i.e. exaggerated) proportions. But, it all makes for a good story, so….
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♦ Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ: BONUS & Summary ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together! Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ: BONUS from Italy ExpertZ & Summary

GRAPHIC Victoria -VespaOne of the many serendipities of writing/blogging about and traveling/leading tours to Italy is meeting and associating with both native Italian business owners and Italophiles who share my love for Bella Italia.

In the Bonus Chapter, I have invited 19 of these fellow ExpertZ to share their best travel tip for visiting Italy. I know you’ll find their advice insightful and beneficial.

A special grazie to Contributors: Ylenia, Margie, Rick, Michela, Susan, Monica, Maria, Daniele, Susan, Lora, Shannon & Nada, and to new Contributors: Marilyn, Orna, Emanuela, Anna, Kathryn, Lucia and Federico, Francesca & Annalisa…

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Posted in Book Signings, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Design YOUR Dream Trip to Italy, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italy Travel Tips, Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ, La Dolce Vita!, Travel Planning, Victoria on Amazon, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Italy Travel Tip: An Intimate Look at Puglia, A Guest Post

Apologies for earlier misfire!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Today’s Guest Post, originally published two years ago, is from my lovely friend, tour partner, and Expert contributor to my book, Ylenia Sambati.

Yle and I met via fellow Italophiles and the internet almost 5 years ago when the idea of offering small group tours to Italy was percolating for me. Ylenia and Puglia came across my radar, we connected, and it has been nothing but fabulous ever since!

Photo Victoria De Maio

We can’t wait to welcome you to Puglia!

My connection and friendship with Ylenia, as well as her partner Michele, and all of the fabulous people I’ve met and worked with in Puglia, is one that I treasure. It is through them that I have come to love and appreciate all aspects of this unique region: the culture and customs, the art and history, the cuisine, the traditions…the people.

Ylenia’s love for Puglia and the Salento sub-region of Puglia is deep and contagious. For this and many reasons, I invited Ylenia to share about her roots and passion… Continue reading

Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Guest Posts, Italian Culture, Italian Style, La Dolce Vita!, Puglia, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Solo but NOT Alone!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Is it possible to travel solo in a small group and enjoy all of the benefits of independent travel? You bet!!!

Photo by Victoria De Maio

Let’s go…together!

Traveling in a small group can be the best of all travel experiences, especially for the solo traveler, and here are 10 reasons why!

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Posted in Art of Packing, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, La Dolce Vita!, Liguria, Puglia, Rewarding Sightseeing, S.O.S. - Just in Case..., Safe TravelZ, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, Travel Planning, Travel SmartZ, Travel TipZ, Tuscany | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

♦Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ: #9 Some Things Never Change & #10 Why You Came to Italy♦

Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ: #9 Some Things Never Change &

#10 Why You Came to Italy in the First Place

We travel for many reasons – to experience, enjoy, and learn about other cultures and ways of life. Doubtless, Italy is at the top of many lists. Dreamy photos and Hollywood stereotypes perpetuate the romantic image as well as the stereotypes.
For those and many other reasons, I feel that it’s important to prepare you for the real and authentic Italy…

Photo: Victoria De Maio

Some things never change…

It’s important to keep in mind…

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Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ, La Dolce Vita!, Travel Planning, Victoria on Amazon, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

♦ Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ: #8 Safety & Well-Being ♦

Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ: #8 Safety & Well-Being

Don’t believe everything you “hear” but always practice personal safety and pay attention at all times – and that means before you leave home – so that it’s a habit.

This and many More TipZ to stay safe and not be sorry!

Photo: Victoria De Maio

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Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, Italy Travel TipZ BlitZ, La Dolce Vita!, S.O.S. - Just in Case..., Travel Planning, Victoria on Amazon, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

♦ Italy Travel Tip: Italian in My Pocket! ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!This review in praise of Kathyrn Occhipinti’s “Conversational Italian for Travelers is LONG overdue! But, as it turns out, it’s timely because the author, Kathryn, is a featured Expert Contributor in my updated and recently (re)published  “Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style – MORE Ways to Enjoy Italian Ways on Your Trip to Italy”!

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Even though I grew up in an Italian family, for the most part that generation didn’t teach Italian to their children. Therefore I’m not, unfortunately, anywhere near fluent. I’ve shared before that I’ve probably taken Italian 101, well, 101 times! But I try and I hobble along and maintain a desire to improve. And I always recommend learning, at least, basic words and phrases…

That is exactly why Kathryn’s handy pocket size book is a perfect companion. Less than 4’x6″, you can carry it in your pocket or purse and learn useful expressions almost anywhere and anytime!

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti)

Conversational Italian for Travelers

Even if learning Italian isn’t on your new year’s resolutions, I always suggest that you learn a few useful phrases before you land and then, learn and practice along the way. But why wait for your next trip…study a little every day!

With this handy phrase book you can easily find the topic you need (starting with the basics and offering exactly what you need when you need it (e.g., Travel, Transportation, At the Restaurant, At the Hotel, etc.). Worst case, if you can’t pronounce it, just point and smile!

Grazie, Kathryn, for this practical, handy way to refresh, learn and be conversational on my Italy travels.

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Take “Conversational Italian for Travelers” and

“Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style” with you to Italy!

Let's Go to Italy Together!

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti)

Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti

Dr. Kathryn Occhipinti is a radiologist of Italian-American descent who has been leading Italian language groups in the Peoria and Chicago areas for about 10 years. She focuses on methods to make learning Italian as a second language easy and enjoyable for the adult audience.

Using her experiences as a teacher and frequent traveler to Italy, she wrote the Conversational Italian for Travelers series of books, which follow the character Caterina on her travels through Italy, while at the same time introducing the fundamentals of the Italian language.

This series of books is truly different from other Italian language books! The Conversational books are friendly, humorous, and combine travel tips with language lessons. These books also provide a method for people to understand and remember Italian phrases so that they can create their own. Everything one needs to know to travel to Italy is in this series of books!

The associated website, www.LearnTravelItalian.com provides FREE interactive dialogues recorded by native Italian speakers, cultural notes, and Italian recipes to make learning the language really come alive.

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Posted in Book Reviews, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Italian Culture, Italy Travel Tips, Travel Planning, Victoria on Amazon, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment