Saying Goodbye to  Italy’s ♥ Green Heart ♥ –Arriverderci Umbria!

Let's Go to Italy Together!We lost our heartZ  and enjoyed la dolce vita in Umbria…

Wish you had been here with us! 

 Incredible, spectacular, friendly, picturesque, alluring, delicious and ever so memorable…that begins to describe everything we saw and did, and everyone we met in Italy’s green heart.

Here’s a snapshot of our last few days in…


Not-to-be missed, Alessandra shares her home town’s distinctive Roman roots and medieval authenticity.



  Todi… A charming gem with a view begging you to meander and enjoy the views.     


Assisi…Incomparable, majestic, and inspiring, it’s a place you don’t want to leave but if you must, you know that you must return.  






And last but certainly not least…

Orvieto…Sitting aloft on her tufa throne, Orvieto commands an incomparable view of the lush rolling hills and valley below.  


It’s always so difficult to say goodbye–especially when every moment has been so special and  memorable. We don’t want it to end but then we have those memories and we can dream and plan our next trip. 

Grazie to our tour leaders, Cristina & Julie; to our driver, Aldo; to our outstanding guides, Marco & Alessandra; to our gracious  hosts, Giuseppe & Piero and the lovely staff at Camiano Piccolo.

And, of course, grazie to the winemakers, artisans, chefs, shopkeepers and the warm and welcoming people of Umbria. You will always have a special place in our hearts! 

Group hug with Cristina who made it all happen!


Group hug with our guide extraordinaire, Marco


Julie with Giuseppe & Piero


Our hosts Giuseppe & Piero


Lovely farewell dinner for a lovely group.


You missed this fabulous time in Italy but you can join me in 2016!

* Although I do not have another Umbria tour scheduled at this time, I can help you to plan yours for 6 or more guests. Just send me a message: Victoria (at)PostcardZfromVictoria(dot)com

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Stay tuned for more upcoming blog posts  about Umbria! 

Next stop: Puglia

Send Me a Postcard!Send Me a Postcard! I Love to Hear from YOU! (Just Comment Below!)

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More PostcardZ from Umbria, Italy’s ♥ Green Heart ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!We’re losing our heartZ  and enjoying la dolce vita in Umbria…

Wish you were here! 

 It’s virtually impossible to adequately share all of the incredible sites and experiences of the past few days here in Italy’s green heart, Umbria. 

However, I can share that I have lost my heart and  that Umbria has opened her heart to me.

I will be sharing much much more after I return home but, for now, I want to bring you with me so that we can enjoy this lovely  region of Italy together. 

So, won’t you pour yourself a glass of vino or brew a nice cup of espresso, get comfy and join me? Ah, perfect! Let’s begin…


Di Filippo- organi, commited, and fabulous.



Perticaic, Committed to excellence.






Colle Ciocco, family tradition and pride…


 Only in Umbria & Made in Umbria…Artisans continuing centuries of tradition and quality–made with pride.

Majolica ceramics by the Grazia Family in Deruta 



Hand-woven textiles in Perugia with Marta at Giuditta Brozzetti…





Truffle  hunting & lunch at Agriturismo Bartoli in the lush green hills above Spoleto…    


Medieval paper making workshop with Francesco in Bevagna… 


Cashmere by the Tasselli family in Bevagna…      


*** Medieval hill towns ***

Montefalco; the balcony of Umbria



Spello; Roman roots & floral celebrations… 


Spoleto; style, elegance & the arts…


Perugia; Umbria’s largest city & capital…



 Two more days and we will be visiting Assisi and Orvieto–can’t  wait to visit there with you, too! (To be continued…)
You missed this fabulous time in Italy but you can join me in 2016!

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 Umbria, Italy’s ♥ Green Heart ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!We’re losing our heartZ  and enjoying la dolce vita in Umbria…

Wish you were here! 

 We’ve just started our fabulous Umbrian experience and we’ve already settled into our “home” for 11 days,  Camiano Piccolo.  

Perfectly located in Montefalco, “the balcony of Umbria, our agriturismo has been family-owned and operated for 25 generations by the Fabrizzi family.

 From here we will be exploring nearby picturesque hill towns including Montefalco, Spello, Bevagna, Assisi, Deruta, Todi, Assisi, Orvieto and Perugia.

For the most part these medieval hill towns are not easily accessible without a car so we’re very happy to have local expert drivers and guides.

We settled in on Sunday… 

Mary Jo, Carol , Me , Paula & Joyce


Proprietor & Head Chef, Giuseppe with his daughter Maria Louisa


With our local expert guides Cristina & Julie from Living Italy


Our charming host, Piero Fabrizzi, Giuseppe’s father.


Giuseppe- he does it all & with a smile!

In addition to exploring  we will be enjoying a truffle hunt, wine tastings and cooking classes in private homes, which is how we started our first day. 

Casa Gola is a private home in nearby Bevagna. Here, amongst thousands of olive trees, Luciana and Giovanni have transformed a vacation home into an absolutely fabulous work of art. Not only do they produce high quality olive oil but an elegant selection of skin care products.

We, however, have the good fortune to be here for an extraordinary day of cooking and dining with our lical guide, Cristina and Luciana and her longtime friend, Aurora.

And I do mean extraordinary! Every ingredient in the local traditional dishes we will make is grown on site and is of the highest quality. 

Casa Gola is truly a feast for the senses! Charming , whimsical, and eclectic, preparing and dining here as their guests is a truly a delightful and unique experience.

 Casa Gola…

💚 Let the cooking begin!  💚





💚  And then….Buon Appetito!💚

🍴 Our menu:

– Panzanella (bread salad)

– Frittata con verdure di stagione (Frittata with seasonal vegetables)

– Tagliatelle con pomodoro fresco e basilico e purea di zucchine (Tagliatelle with fresh tomato & basil sauce with zucchini puree)

– Zucchine Ripiene (Stuffed zucchinis)

– Coppette di crema con sfogliatine e visciole (Custard cups with puff pastry & wild cherries)

And local vino, of course!   




Grazie Luciana & Aurora for an ansolutely divine day at Casa Gola!


You missed this fabulous time in Italy but you can join me in 2016!

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 Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Multi-Generational Travel, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Umbria, Victoria on Amazon, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

♥ Smiles from the Face of Italy ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ More Precious Moments, Indelible Memories… ♥

About two weeks ago I published “The Face of Italy”. It was a very personal post, not only about my own Italian-American roots but, about the lovely people of Italy that I have been so very fortunate to meet in my travels…

Knowing I had more photos than I could or should include in one post, I intended to share more of the warm, wonderful faces of Italy…and then…

Coincidentally, as I shared last week, the day after I published “The Face of Italy”, I received notification that my quest for Italian citizenship was complete! I was beyond thrilled and am still a bit overwhelmed.

Your response to both posts has been so heartwarming…grazie! ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!So, with all that in mind, I once again share with you more moments, more memories of the faces of Italy that surely bring a smile to mine… Continue reading

Posted in Basilicata, Campania, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Lazio - Vatican City, Lombardy, Puglia, The Veneto, Tuscany, Umbria | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Challenged to a “Dual”… Dual Citizenship That Is!

(A sequel to: Digging Deep to the Heart of the Family Tree – Some Roots Run Deep!)

Let's Go to Italy Together!The “Challenge”…

In the post from two years ago, I wrote about what it is like to be Italian-American who grew up in the U.S. and how my relationship to my Italian roots evolved. Well, it became very personal for me and happened to coincide with my own digging to apply for dual citizenship since I did qualify through my paternal grandfather.

My digging and research has been another piece in my story which, as I also shared before, I never thought about much growing up or, to be honest, for most of my adult life… Continue reading

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♥ The Face of Italy ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!“Love and understand the Italians, for the people are more marvelous than the land.”
—E. M. Forster

Photo - Victoria De MaioWhen I started to write about the “face of Italy”, I realized that, for me, growing up in an Italian family and the “face of Italy” are inextricably intertwined and interwoven.

It was a natural segue to fold in the past with the present. So rather than write something new I decided to tweak, recycle and add to a guest post I wrote a few years ago for my friend and fellow blogger, Rick Zullo (Rick’s Rome) about what “growing up Italian” meant to me.

Today I have folded that into how being a grown up traveling to Italy has been and continues to be a rewarding and enriching experience for me.

I hope you enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed writing it…

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Posted in Campania, Italy with Victoria!, Puglia, Rome, The Veneto, Travel TipZ, Tuscany, Umbria | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

When 5-Stars Just Aren’t Enough in Venice!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Over the Moon at Baglioni Hotel Luna

The opportunity to be the guest of a 5-star luxury property is a rare and real treat for me. So, needless to say, when when the opportunity to stay at the Baglioni Hotel Regina in Rome presented itself last spring, I was absolutely ecstatic.

I gushed and raved over my “La Grande Bellezza” (“The Great Beauty”) experience and it remains a highlight of my visit to Rome.Photo by Victoria De Maio

So, could lightening strike twice? Ah, as good timing and good fortune would have it, it did this spring! Once again, I had the privilege of staying at their property in Venice, the Baglioni Hotel Luna. Now, Venice, for me is magical and a 5-star experience regardless but to also stay at the LunaWow! 5-stars doesn’t begin to describe it!

And this stay was even more special because it was with fellow bloggers and friends, Margie Miklas, Susan Nelson and Ishita Sood.

From the moment you enter the Luna, you cross the threshold into an elegant, sophisticated ambience and your extraordinary, luxury experience begins. Entering the intimate and tastefully appointed lobby, we are immediately greeted Adriano Girardi, the Food and Beverage Manager, and other members of the gracious and attentive staff .

Old world sophistication and attention to detail is reflected everywhere you look—from the stunning Venetian glass chandelier to the lovely flower arrangements, the sophisticated Baglioni signature is unmistakable.

“With a reputation founded on old world virtues of impeccable service, discretion, and attention to detail, the family-owned Baglioni Hotels is renowned for its quintessential Italian hospitality, architectural elegance and understated luxury.”
– Vicki Arkoff in the Pursuitist profile of Guido Polito *

Checking in, we make our way to our lovely room. Stepping onto our French balcony, we look out to the iconic San Marco Basin—picture perfect (pinch me, please?!?) All this and a personal welcome note accompanied by a  bottle of chilled Prosecco (Baglioni’s own,of course!) accompanied with nibbles almost too lovely to eat. A toast is in order…

“Baglioni Hotels are truly ‘Made in Italy.’ …We represent the Italian and have the privilege of bringing the Italian culture to our guests and being a source of everlasting memories and traditions. It is our pleasure to share our hospitality, connecting our guests to all things Italian…”
– Guido Polito *

Refreshed, we look forward to a tour of the Luna with Hotel Manager, Gianmatteo Zampieri. With an obvious sense of pride and with contagious enthusiasm, he generously shares the rich history and fascinating stories of the property intertwined with Venetian history. Was it a palace? Was it a gambling venue? Was it something more racy…? Like so much of Venice, there is a fascinating mystique and intrigue…

We are also introduced to other management and staff and have the pleasure of spending time learning more about the Baglioni philosophy of and commitment to Italian culinary excellence and tradition with Rosita Dorigo, Baglioni Food and Beverage Consultant, and Head Chef Cosimo Giampaolo. Culminating with the privilege of a tour of his kitchen where the culinary magic takes place, we eagerly anticipate savoring Chef Cosimo’s magic this evening!

“…Not only are the components of the Baglioni hotel collection distinctly Italian, but so are the people who make up the experience.”
– Guido Polito *

At the traditional time in Italy, it’s time for a traditional aperitivo. We are invited to join Rosita in Caffè Baglioni where, under her watchful eye, Marco will treat us to aperitivi paradise! I have to confess here that I had never been fond of the popular Aperol Spritz or a Negroni…until this evening! Accompanied by absolutely divine antipasti, I became a convert! But then, how can you not be persuaded by perfection? Ah, but our  evening isn’t over… there’s more…

Photo by Victoria De MaioUshered to our table at the elegant Canova Restaurant, we are to be guests for the ultimate dining experience. With Rosita and Adriano as our gastronomic guides, we are presented, course by course, with the exquisite creations of Chef Cosimo and his talented staff. (I’m afraid that I don’t have many photos as I was just too preoccupied with savoring the entire experience!) But, take my word for it, every dish presented was edible art and a testimonial to Chef Cosimo’s creativity— in a word, divine!

And you would think that we would skip breakfast the next morning? Absolutely not! Who could resist the sumptuous buffet in the magnificent Marco Polo Ballroom, much less charming maitre d’ Giovanni who personally greets and welcomes every guest by name? Never one to resist the irresistible, again and again, I am impressed by the warm and accommodating management and staff. Photo by Victoria De MaioPhoto by Victoria De Maio

Ah, but all fabulous things must come to an end and, although we must leave our lovely Luna and say arriverderci, the memories of this extraordinary time remain vivid and sweet. 5 Stars?! Oh my, si!

You’ll just have to go the Baglioni Hotel Luna in Venice (or any Baglioni Hotel for that matter) and experience it for yourself! After all, you deserve the best, don’t you?Photo by Victoria De Maio

Grazie di cuore, to everyone at Baglioni Hotel Luna!


* Guido Polito is second generation Manager of family-owned Baglioni Hotels and successor to founder and father, Roberto Polito, who created the Baglioni Hotels Group in 1974. Baglioni Hotels are recognized among the Leading Hotels of the World and members of the prestigious Relais Chateaux Collection.

Let's Go to Italy Together!PostcardZ from VictoriaRead about some of my other recent and quite fabulous experiences in Venice!

Peeking Behind the Mask Venice at Ca’Macana!

Stringing Together a Legacy with Marissa Convento!

Making a Cameo Appearance with Marco Jovon

My Cicchetti/Market Crawl with Walks of Italy

Let's Go to Italy Together!

Posted in Italian Style, Italian Talks Articles, La Dolce Vita!, The Veneto, Travel TipZ, Venice | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Going to Florence? Bring Your Smelling Salts!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Florence is a treasure trove of classic art, a must destination for art lovers and students. In droves, visitors flock to the Uffizi, the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Santa Croce, the Bargello…

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Posted in Florence, Italy with Victoria!, La Dolce Vita!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Travel Planning, Travel TipZ, Tuscany, Tuscany 2016 | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Spotlight on: The San Lorenzo Complex in Florence

Let's Go to Italy Together!Il Complesso di San Lorenzo

The San Lorenzo Complex

That the Medici family acquired enormous power and wealth as bankers and financiers and influenced the legacy of Florence and Tuscany is undeniable…

From the early 15th century and the beginnings of the Medici dynasty with Giovanni di Bicci and Cosimo Il  Vecchio (Cosimo the Elder) to the last Medici descendant, Anna Maria Luisa in the 18th century, the Medici were avid collectors and patrons of the arts.

Nowhere is their influence more evident than in the San Lorenzo neighborhood in the heart of Florence. Continue reading

Posted in Florence, Inspired Travel, Italy with Victoria!, Rewarding Sightseeing, Solo Travel, Tuscany, Tuscany 2016 | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

♥ NEW!!! Let’s DiZcover Tuscany’s Treasures…Together! ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!Announcing! A New Boutique Tour from PostcardZ from Victoria!

You are cordially invited to join us in magnificent, breathtaking Tuscany!

Let’s DiZcover Tuscany’s Treasures!

May 9 – 18, 2016

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Posted in Chianti Country, Florence, Food Tourism, Is a Tour for You?, La Dolce Vita!, Multi-Generational Travel, Pisa, Rewarding Sightseeing, Siena, Solo Travel, The Best Time to Travel, Travel TipZ, Tuscany | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments