Sleeping Around in Santa Barbara…

Let's Go to Italy Together!Yes, I confess, for the past few months I’ve been sleeping around here in Santa Barbara…but, it isn’t what you think!Spanish Garden Inn - Santa Barbara Continue reading

Posted in Hotel Reviews, Inspired Travel, Local Travel, Santa Barbara, Stay-Cations, Telegraph London, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

⇑⇓Italy Travel Tip: Watch Your Step(s)⇑⇓

Let's Go to Italy Together!⇑⇓ Stairway to a Misstep…

It doesn’t seem to matter how much advice and warning I give to those planning their trip to Italy, very few are really prepared for the stairs! And they are everywhere. Photo: Victoria De Maio Continue reading

Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Italy Travel Tips, Ohhh...My Aching Feet!, Rewarding Sightseeing, S.O.S. - Just in Case..., Safe TravelZ, The Savvy Traveler, Travel PointerZ, Travel SmartZ, Travel TidBitZ, Travel TipZ, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

♥ Gelato: Love from Italy ♥

♥ The Gelato Festival Comes to America! ♥

Photo: Victoria De Maio

Enjoying gelato & more with Gabriele & Daniele!

For several years I have tried (unsuccessfully) to attend a Gelato Festival in Florence, Italy…but several weeks ago, Gelato Festival America came to me!

Gelato - V

The Gelato Festival came to Santa Barbara!

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Posted in Come to Italy with Victoria!, Food Tourism, Gelato, Italian Culture, Italian Style, La Dolce Vita!, Local Travel, Made in Italy!, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

We ♥ Puglia! (And YOU Will, Too!)

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ This fall Cathleen, Jan P., Yvette, Deborah, Jan O., Patricia, Sonia and Joe joined me and my Puglia Partners, Yle & Michele and team for 10 fabulous, fun, delicious days…

…and they truly fell “head over heelz” for Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot! ♥

Group w gift bags

Benvenuti in Puglia!

♥ But, don’t take my word for it…here’s what they have to say…

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Food Tourism, Gallipoli, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italy Travel Tips, Lecce, Only in Puglia, Ostuni, Otranto, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Puglia 2017, Puglia 2018, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Travel TipZ, Trulli of Itria Valley, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

♥NEW! Sweetheart Deals for Italy in 2018♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!♥ ANNOUNCING!! ♥

♥ Early Bird “Sweetheart Deals” for Italy in 2018 ♥

Puglia Italian Riviera Sicily  

It’s time to plan your amazing, fabulous, delicious, trip-of-a-lifetime trip to Italy! And I’m here to help! Partnering with local experts, we have created unique, boutique experiences designed to immerse you in the authentic, local lifestyle of each region.

Travel like a local with locals! Together we’ll enjoy traveling in small groups (never more than 12), private transportation, staying in luxury hotels in historical city centers and in picture-perfect accommodations in the countryside, sampling delicious traditional cuisine and wine, visiting picturesque towns, villages and archeological sites, cooking together, visiting and tasting in boutique wineries, meeting local artisans…

…and only the very best each region has to offer!

Register by February 14th and $ave!!2018 Tours

Here are the details…

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italian Riviera, Italian Style, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Liguria, Liguria 2018, Only in Liguria, Only in Puglia, Only in Sicily, Puglia, Puglia 2018, Sicily, Sicily 2018, Solo Travel, Travel Planning, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ♥NEW! Sweetheart Deals for Italy in 2018♥

◊ In Search of Salvo in Sicily! (Montalbano, Of Course!) ◊

Let's Go to Italy Together!Join me as I go hot on the trail of the elusive Inspector Montalbano…

It’s no mystery that I am and have been an avid fan of Andrea Camilleri’s engaging Sicilian inspector, Commissario Montalbano, since 2007. Then, while visiting Siracusa (Sicily) with a small group, my friend and tour guide pointed out his books as we passed a bookstore window. She asked if I had read the bestsellers and, unfamiliar, I took note and so began my journey with Salvo et al.

Photo: Victoria De Maio

Hooked from the first page…

I was immediately hooked, proceeded to devour every one of the bestselling Montalbano detective novels and haven’t missed one since… Continue reading

Posted in #2SicilianGals, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, Italian Style, Made in Italy!, Only in Sicily, Rewarding Sightseeing, Sicily, Sicily 2018, Val di Noto | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ◊ In Search of Salvo in Sicily! (Montalbano, Of Course!) ◊

♦ October = Italian-American Heritage Month ♦

Let's Go to Italy Together!♦ Their Story is My Story ♦

Dual citizenship

Coming full circle…

“We all grow up with the weight of history on us.  Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies.”
~Shirley Abbott
Unanswered questions
Detective work

♦ October is celebrated as Italian-American Heritage Month in the United States. ♦

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Posted in Dual Citizenship, Growing Up Italian, Inspired Travel, Italian Culture, My Italian Journey, Roots in the Boot, Sicily, Tuscany | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Puglia #7: The Salento Seduction Continues!

Let's Go to Italy Together!Can YOU Picture Yourself Here with US?!?

Enjoying all things authentic here in the seductive Salento sub-region of Puglia with an exceptional team of expert locals, and staying in a charming restored Masseria and a luxury hotel in the historical center of Baroque Lecce?

Benvenuti in Puglia!

“Cucina Povera” – delizioso!

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Food Tourism, Gallipoli, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Lecce, Made in Puglia!, Meet Local Artisans, MIlestone Celebrations, Ostuni, Otranto, Polignano a Mare, Puglia, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Travel Planning, Trulli of Itria Valley, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Puglia #7: The Salento Seduction Continues!

♦ More Bordeaux…Merci, Uniworld ♦

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

OOOOlala!!

 Magnifique! Fantastique! Merveilleux! Délicieux!

The past weeks have been …practically indescribable! Starting with a visit to Sauternes…

Visiting biodynamic Chateau Guiraud for an informative tasting, then on to Chateau Royal de Cazeneuve where we are greeted by Queen Margot and Henri IV and treated to an exquisite lunch paired with Sauternes…

Chateau Guiraud

Chateau Royal de Cazeneuve

Sauternes wine pairing lunch

On to The port of Paulliac and the land of Medoc where we visit Le Chateau Du Tertre and learn about Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon…

Le Chateau Du Tertre

On to Blaye Fortress and in the afternoon a special “rendezvous-vous chez Remy Martin cognac”…

Chez Remy Martin Cognac…

And there’s more! We must visit St. Emilion, oui? Picturesque, charming, and elegant…and, of course, a wine tour/tasting. 

We visit Chateau Soutard where it’s all about Merlot…

Strolling St. Emilion

Elegant wine shops…

Local charm

Chateau Soutard

We sail on to Libourne where we explore their local market- One of my very favorite things to do when I travel-and this one does not disappoint!

Market day in Libourne

And one more chateau this afternoon, Chateau Abzac, where we are greeted by Baron d’Anglade. The chateau husband and his family since 1796.

Baron d’Anglade welcomes us to Chateau d’Abzac

The last day is a  very special excursion to Arcachon and the extraordinary dunes of Pyla and then an extraordinary 5-star lunch!

♦ ♦ ♦

Exploring Bordeaux and this exquisite corner of France with Uniworld has been a dream fulfilled!

Fairy tale châteaux, spectacular vistas of vineyards… Meeting and enjoying locals and all while being  luxuriously spoiled in every way imaginable – starting with my beautifully appointed stateroom and splendid amenities to the scrumptious and sumptuous culinary delights and a professional staff extraordinaire!!

OOOlala indeed! My adventure started as a solo but after 8 days I made so many lovely acquaintances and new friends! Perfect, oui?

All of this and more…Yes, much more!!! 

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

It’s time to leave Bordeaux but the memories are indelible. I will definitely be sharing much more about my unforgettable time here when I return home…but first, I’m off to Italy and back to Puglia where another fabulous time awaits…

♦ ♦ ♦

Truly, I wish you were here! Maybe 2018 will be the year?

Posted in Boomer Travel, Bordeaux, Food Tourism, France, Inspired Travel, Is a Cruise for You?, Rewarding Sightseeing, River Cruises, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

♦ Bonjour from Bordeaux! ♦

 ♦ ♦ ♦ All aboard! ♦ ♦ ♦

Oui, I’ve been on board the River Royale with Uniworld as we cruised from Bordeaux, France, along the Garonne, Dordodogne and Gironde for 8 glorious days…

Before the cruise I spent several days becoming acquainted with and exploring beautiful Bordeaux…

By foot, by open air bus, by bateau (boat), and more on foot…I found Bordeaux to be enchanting and alluring… 

Merci  to Alaïs and Bordeaux Tourism for their generous guidance and Bordeaux CityPass…

Thanks to their visionary major, Bordeaux has enhanced her image by creating attractive open spaces and a vibrant pedestrian-only historic center, improving public transportation, and accentuating her noble cultural heritage. 

 Join me on this visual feast (I promise to update with more detailed descriptions)…A foodie/wine walk, a visit to the spectacular Cite du Vin – Bordeaux’s state of the art wine museum – and sampling local specialties from oysters to caneles …and, of course, local fromage and vin! 

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Bordeaux, Food Tourism, France, Inspired Travel, Is a Cruise for You?, Rewarding Sightseeing, River Cruises, Solo Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments