Puglia + Olive Oil = An Ancient Relationship!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Did You Know that More Olive Oil Comes from Puglia than from Any Other Region in Italy?

Puglia’s relationship with olive trees dates back 2700 years. 50-60 million trees (no one knows for sure) – including ancient, gnarled trees, called “ulivi secolari” (literally centuries-old olive trees)- attest to the long standing importance of olive trees here. In fact, Puglia has approximately 60 million olive trees! That’s one for each and every citizen of Italy!

Photo-Victoria De Maio

Thousands and thousands of olive trees!

You may have thought that most of Italy’s olive oil came from Tuscany or Sicily but, in fact, more comes from Puglia than any other region – approximately 40%. In addition to quantity, Puglia’s olive oil is considered to be some of the most palatable in the world for its digestibility and high vitamin content. Continue reading

Posted in Eco-Tourism, Food Tourism, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Puglia, Puglia 2015, Rewarding Sightseeing, The Savvy Traveler, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s “Fall” for Italy Together!!

Let's Go to Italy Together!As far as I’m concerned the two best times to travel anywhere are spring and fall.

Avoiding the summer crowds and heat as well as high season prices, make them are the perfect times to enjoy la dolce vita!

And that’s exactly why I schedule my Italy experiences (I just don’t like the word “tour”!) in spring and fall! So that we can enjoy Italy together at her very best!

I so want to share my Italy with YOU…unique, authentic, delicious immersions into the Italy I love. Continue reading

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Puglia: Leaving But Not Saying Good-Bye!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Puglia: How Many Perfect Moments Can You Hold in Your Heart?

 My time in Italy is always, always precious and Puglia has taken permanent residence in my heart of hearts. With its stunning vistas, eloquent architecture, heavenly (and healthy) cuisine, incredible wines and warm hospitality, it simply is not to be missed! 

Whether you love art and history, enjoy winetasting and cooking classes, or simply love Italy, Puglia truly has it all and will gladly and proudly share it all with you–from the heart. Proud and friendly locals will embrace you like family and you will never quite be the same.

Grazie, Puglia! I must leave you for a little while but I take you with me in my heart and soul for it’s there that we can hold memories, infinite memories, always…

Join me as I recall a few of the thousands of memorable moments from the past days…Seeking, savoring, and loving living la dolce vita!

Home for 10 perfect days.

   

Can’t you almost smell the jasmine?

 

So happy to be back with Yle, Michele & Mamma Giulia

   

Fabio & Daniela, our wonderful driver & guide .

  

Hanging out with locals in Squinzano.

  

Wine tasting with Michele at the Puglia Wine School.

   

Beautiful, Baroque Lecce.

  

Inside St. Croce- magnificent.

  

Don’t forget to look up!

  

Medieval whitewashed Ostuni.

  

Foodie heaven!

  

A n authentic immersion into local life.

  

The unique trulli of Alberobello.

  

Picturesque Gallipoli, pearl of the Ionian.

Vibrant colors everywhere.

Love wine? Come to Puglia!

Agricola Taurino with Donato & crew! Best olive oil in Puglia!

A picnic at Agricola Taurino with Valentino & Salvatore.

  

Otranto on the Adriatic – rich in beauty and history.

Yummy local specialties.

Friendly, generous locals.

A girl can dream can’t she?

 

Mamma Giula prepares another fabulous dinner for us.

  

Making dolci – the sweet life indeed!

  

Exploring Lecce’s food artisans & market starts with Angelo’s to-die-for mozzarella.

   

A visit to Luca’s pastcceria to watch him make & sample the local specialty, pasticciotto, is a must !

The Tentazione gelato team: Maestro Antonio (center) with Gabriele & Paola.

Time to say goodbye with full bags & a full heart.

  
  You missed this fabulous experience–but you don’t have to miss the next one…

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

October 9 – 18, 2015

Space is Limited!

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Posted in Italy with Victoria!, Made in Puglia!, Puglia, Puglia 2015, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

La Dolce Vita–Salento Style–in Puglia!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Puglia!

Although this was my third visit to Puglia, I continue to be delighted by its beauty and uniqueness. 

The stunning architecture, the rich artistic history and culture, and the marvelous lifestyle. 

Let’s take a glimpse at three of her gems: Lecce, Gallipoli and Otranto.

   Lecce is called “the Florence of the south” . Sophisticated and friendly, it will surprise you as you walk through the historic center amid effusively ornamented Baroque churches, palazzos and balconies…

St. Croce- glorious Baroque!

  

  

embellished corbels and colorful balconies are everywhere..

       

The art of cartapesta, papier-mache, is uniquely Leccese.

 

a Roman amphitheater in Lecce’s main square.

  

Lecce’s coat of arms, the she wolf and the leccio tree.

  
 

Taralli, the local favorite snack, comes in all flavors.

  

Buildings of Leccese stone are almost luminous.

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Gallipoli, is the known as “the city of the fishermen”and “the pearl of the Ionian”…as you stroll along her stunning sea front ramparts, you can look out, as far as the eye can see, onto the pristine aquamarine waters of the Ionian.

Then, just meander along the charming passageways and explore her cultural and historical sites (and her inviting shops).

                    

Otranto is the easternmost city in #Puglia. Small and yet cosmopolitan, its medieval towers, gently winding streets, and important cathedral has been hosting pilgrims for centuries.   

               

Characterized by rich histories and traditions, all of these cities demand our respect and admiration. 

And they are all waiting for YOU! I hope to share these gems with you soon…

Join Us this Fall & Enjoy Salento Style!

October 9 – 18, 2015

Space is Limited!

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Posted in Food Tourism, Gelato, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Puglia, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Puglia: Seduced by Salento Lifestyle!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Puglia!

There are places that captivate us, that enchant and delight us. Often we are taken by surprise and, for some unknown reason, we may even feel an unexpected affinity with them.

All of the towns and villages I have visited in the Itria Valley of Puglia have undoubtedly captured my heart and imagination.

I love to stroll and meander through their narrow winding passages, enjoy the brilliant splashes of color against the brilliant white walls and buildings, and delight in the charm and surprises around every corner, along every stairway and on every balcony. The landscape, picturesque and dotted with the unique trulli houses, dry stone walls and manicured fields and gardens invite us not only to take photos but to just pause and enjoy the beauty of the place.

Won’t you join me?

* * *

Ostuni, “the white city”, gleaming,  brillliant and unspoiled.

Patron saint, St. Oronzo protecting the main square.

Don’t forget to look up!

Giuseppe shares his handiwork–beautiful olive wood utensils.

Our lovely guide, Daniela, leads the way…


Brilliant medieval white-washed Ostuni

Cisternino–a small lovely gem.

Picturesque and lovely…

  

Take your time…

 

Charming and picturesque…

    

Locorotondo–almost like a mirage from afar with spotless whitewashed walls and bountiful with colorful accents and friendly locals.

Loving the balconies!

  

Welcoming flowers everywhere.

    

Buongiorno, Maria! Your flowers are so lovely.

     

Donata greets us while hanging her laundry.

       

Overlooking the valley, and out to sea.

Martina Franca–proud and sophisticated with its rich Baroque & Rococo style.

Elegant and inviting.

   

Pretty balconies accent palazzos.

  

The stunning church dedicated to St. Martin.

    

Wander, get a litle lost,,,

      Alberobello–UNESCO site and home of the trulli. I can’t help looking for Snow White and the seven dwarfs!

  
    

        

Join Us this Fall & Enjoy Salento Style! A Leisurely Pace and Small Group Led By Local Experts…

October 9 – 18, 2015

Space is Limited!

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Posted in Food Tourism, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Puglia, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Italy: My Moveable Feast, La Dolce Vita Redux in Puglia!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Puglia! We are ready to begin our amazing experience Salento-style! And what better way to begin than in la cucina together! 

So lovely to be back in Puglia at Masseria Provenzani.

  

    

Friends who are like family…Ylenia, Mamma Giulia & Michele.

Benvenuti! Welcome to Puglia Salento-style.

Aperitivi Pugliese

 

Life on a masseria!

 

Buongiorno!

 

Aprons on! We’re ready to learn all about “cucina povera” with Ylenia and Mamma Giulia.

Cindi, Mariana, Susan, Ylenia, Me, Mamma Giulia & Margie

 

Loving spending time in la cucina with Ylenia and Mamma!

Cucina povera is all about making simple, delicious, healthy meals from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Our cooking class is hands on from start to finish–from washing, chopping, mixing, kneading, and preparing to serving and enjoying… It’s a wonderful group effort filled with  laughter and a new appreciation for the Salento lifestyle.
Our menu today is Mediterranean and almost entirely vegetarian…

  

Polpette di Melanzane–Eggplant “meatballs” with zucchini, peppers, onion.

 

Tortino–Veggie tarts with spinach, farro, cheese, breadcrumbs.

 

Pane verduriano–bread with vegetables

 

Our polpette, tortino, a fabulous farro salad and mollicati (peppers cooked in olive oil with garlic, capers, olives & tomato).

 

Rosato–Local rose wine, of course!

 

Torta all’ananas scaravoliata–Pineapple upside down cake

Definitely “buon appetito”! More cooking, winetasting and sightseeing ahead! Don’t you wish you were here?

In the days ahead we will be visiting Lecce, the “Florence of the south”, the Itria Valley, Gallipoli, Otranto and more…not to mention more cooking, wine and olive oil tasting. Immersing in the Salento lifestyle–please join us…

You Missed this Trip, But You Can Join Us this Fall! 

October 9 – 18, 2015

Space is Limited!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard! Just comment below – I love to hear from you!

Posted in Food Tourism, Gelato, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Puglia, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Arriverderci Venice, La Serenissima!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Venice…Already Dreaming About My Return…

There is just something about Venice–if she has captured your heart and imagination, she never lets you go. And you never want to let go… 

Looking at the Bridge of Sighs, it is easy to understand how that last glimpse of Venice would indeed evoke a very deep sigh indeed.

Unforgettable moments and memories engraved on my heart…

           
        And so I bid a fond arriverderci and heartfelt grazie to La Serenissima. 

Next, my heart leads me back to Puglia… And I am so very happy that you are coming with me!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU! (Just Comment Below!)

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PostcardZ from Enchanting Venice!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Venice: Finding Her Heart…and Mine!

The heart of a place is to be found in its people–that’s where the history, stories and traditions are. And getting to know a place, like getting to know a person, unfolds with attention and time. As the relationship deepens, so does the appreciation and the bond.

This trip had been enriched immeasurably by the connections made…making the place and the people even more precious…

Who knew I’d find a “new best friend from Dublin in Italy? Meeting & spending time with Orna.

  

Karen lives in Venice with her husband. I so enjoyed an evening exploring some of her favorite places in Venice.

  

Marisa is a lovely & talented “impiraressa” who shares her love for this ancient Venetian tradition.

  

Feeling so elegant in one of Marisa’s beautiful creations.

  

Time taking a walk & learning more about the history of glass beads & bead stringing with Marisa was fascinating..

  

Brothers Marco & Alessio carry on the tradition of the handcrafted cameo in the shop started by their grandfather on the Rialto.

  

A dellghtful, delicious lunch at Mamo’s .

A very special highlight has been meeting and sharing time with fellow bloggers and lovers of Italy.

Virtual, long distance friendships are sealed with marvelous memories…

Finally we meet! My dear friend, fellow blogger and writer, Margie Miklas.

What a moment in St. Mark’s Square! Susan (Oregon), Margie (Florida), Ishita (India), and me–together for the first time! Lots of hugs!

 Painting masks at Ca’Macana together was fun-tastic! It was a wet day in Venice but it did not dampen our spirits or creativity! 

Too much fun at Ca’Macana!

  

       

A Bellini at Harry’s Bar–a must!

 

A nitecap at the legendary Caffe Florian.


 

Saying good bye to Ishita…

  

The perfect finale for our last evening in Venice at the Luna Baglioni.

 Yes, I found the heart of Venice in the heart of the friends I met there.
Over the next weeks I will be writing many more PostcardZ  about my wonderful days in Venice…you will join me won’t you?

Let's Go to Italy Together!Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU! (Just Comment Below!)

Posted in Food Tourism, Gelato, Inspired Travel, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, The Veneto, Venice, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

More PostcardZ from Enchanting Venice!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Venice Through My Eyes–Reflections on La Serenissima… 

There are two ways to enjoy Venice…on foot and on water!

Every calle and footbridge offers another spectacular view. Venice loves to show off and I love just meandering through her passageways, riding along her canals and, just drinking in the sheer beauty of this city.

Let’s enjoy a Prosecco!

  

It’s not a dream, it’s Venice!

  

Walking, wandering, charm at every turn.

  

A wonderful walking tour of the Rialto Food & Fish Markets with Walks of Italy was a perfect way to learn more about the traditions of Venetian cuisine amd daily life. Delicious, too! 

I’ll be writing more about this interesting and delicious experience when I get Home but, for now just a taste! 

Emanuela was our guide e & gave us a wonderful introduction to the Rialto.

  

Only in Venice–cicchetti.

Emanuela orders our cicchetti, delicious tastes much like tapas in Spain

  

Another tradition–enjoying Prosecco with cicchetti.

 

The eye-popping Rialto fish market.

 

Fresh daily!

 It’s a gorgeous day after a few wet ones-a perfect opportunity to venture out and explore…Join me, won’t you?  

  

  

   

   

  

 Another very informative and interesting walking tour with ItalyXP included St. Mark’s sestiere and a gondola ride…

More about this experience when I get home before now just enjoy with me…

Gliding through Venice in a gondola–paradise!

      

You haven’t seen Venice until you have seen her from the water.

           

Words fail me this evening… Venice aglow in a spectacular sunset…

           

  

Ahhh, it’s like falling in love all over again. 

Let's Go to Italy Together!Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU! (Just Comment Below!)

Posted in Food Tourism, Gelato, Inspired Travel, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, The Veneto, Venice, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Italy: My Moveable Feast, La Dolce Vita in Venice!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Venice!! La Serenissima!

 I remember the first time that I arrived in Venice… Walking out of the train station into a dream- the enchanting dream that is Venice.

If you have had the good fortune to visit la Serenissima, the serene one, and if she captured your heart and imagination as she did mine, you will recognize and realize that overwhelming feeling–a feeling almost like falling in love at first sight.   

I hope you will join me–a celebratory Prosecco, strolls along the Grand Canal, some cicchetti in the Rialto, vaporetto rides, visits with local artisans and guided walks…and so much (a)more! After all,  this is Venice!

Join me for a Prosecco!

     

The very grand Grand Canal.

    

Where the Venetian Republic ruled- the magnificent Doges Palace.

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Venice in Justice (16th century)

 
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It’s not a dream, it’s Venice!

Oh, she has her detractors. There are those who insist on focusing on her flaws; the crowds, the high prices, the tacky souvenirs…but, for me, Venice remains enchanting, romantic, and timeless. 

venice

Wish you were here!

  
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Lovely la Serenissima.

  
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Breathtaking Piazza San Marco

  
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Only in Venice…

   

 As the Italian proverb says, “Cambiano i suonatori ma la musica e sempre quella.” (The melody’s changed but the song remains the same.)

And the song of Venice is as a Vivaldi tune- delightful, magical and unforgettable. 

Ah, si, falling in love all over again! More coming from Venice! Cicchetti! Prosecco! Dolci! Gelato! The Rialto! The Sestiere! Piazza San Marco! Gondolas! Masks and glass! Campos! So much to see, savor amd enjoy! And, of course, the amazing Venetians and their proud legacy…

Are you ready? Follow along and be sure to visit my Facebook page for daily photo updates: PostcardZ from Victoria!

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Feeling elegant in a creation by Marisa of Venetian Dreams.

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The powerful symbol of the Venetian Republic, the winged lion.

  
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I dolci! La dolce vita! si!

   

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Everyone enjoys a sunny Sunday in Venice.

    
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Serene moments in la Serenissima…

  

Let's Go to Italy Together!Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU! (Just Comment Below!)

Posted in Food Tourism, Gelato, Inspired Travel, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, The Savvy Traveler, The Veneto, Venice, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment