◊ 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

♦ 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

♥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

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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, Puglia, Puglia 2018, Sicily, Sicily 2018, Solo Travel, Travel Planning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ♥NEW! Sweetheart Deals for Italy in 2018♥

♥ Countdown to Buon Giorno, Italy! (Again!) ♥

Let's Go to Italy Together!Who said 13 isn’t a lucky number? In September, after my time in Bordeaux, France,  I will be on my way to my beloved Italy for the 13th time and, for the 7th time, to the region of Puglia.…

Photos: Victoria De Maio

Returning to Puglia…

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Come to Italy with Victoria!, Inspired Travel, Is a Tour for You?, Italian Culture, Italy Travel Tips, La Dolce Vita!, Puglia, Puglia 2018, Rewarding Sightseeing, Salento Style, Solo Travel, Travel TipZ, Victoria's Travel TipZ Italian Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Countdown to Bon Voyage & Bonjour, Bordeaux!

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦ 

It’s almost time… in a few weeks I’ll be heading to Bordeaux, France for the first time!

Uniworld Tickets - Bordeaux

I’ve got my tickets to cruise!

♦ I’m thrilled about this opportunity to experience Bordeaux with its spectacular historic sites, cuisine, wine, châteaux, vineyards…and eagerly anticipating embarking (literally & figuratively) on this new adventure solo… Continue reading

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

Spanish Garden Inn: My Heavenly Stay-cation in the Heart of Santa Barbara

Let's Go to Italy Together!You can live in a place and drive by a place for virtually years and never think twice about it, never really pay attention…until you get a request and opportunity to take a closer look…

Spanish Garden Inn - Santa Barbara

My Santa Barbara Stay-Cation

When opportunity came and I was asked by The Telegraph London to write a review of the Spanish Garden Inn here in Santa Barbara, I was immediately delighted! And, this review would require an overnight stay (oh, darn!)…Spanish Garden Inn - Santa Barbara Continue reading

Posted in Hotel Reviews, Inspired Travel, Liguria 2018, Local Travel, Stay-Cations, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

♦ Floating in Luxury with Uniworld…♦

Ooolala! In a few short weeks I’ll be arriving in Bordeaux, France, for the very first time. I simply cannot believe that it has been eight (8) years since my last visit to France…mon Dieu, where does the time go?

Now, after months of anticipation, I am truly delighted- sur la lune (over the moon) – to be returning in September…and to be returning for another Uniworld Boutique River Cruise! Having cruised with Uniworld before I know what to expect!…

Uniworld - River Royale

Floating in luxury on the River Royale (Photo Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)

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Posted in Boomer Travel, Bordeaux, Food Tourism, France, Inspired Travel, Local Travel, Rewarding Sightseeing, River Cruises, Solo Travel, Travel TipZ | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments