Monday, May 24, 2010

Cooking lessons in Tuscany part 3

Agriturismo Il Rigo cooking lessons part 2

Agriturismo Il Rigo cooking lessons

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pottery experience in Le Marche, Italy

I found this video from a pottery studio I had a chance to visit in Montottone. This was an amazing experience; not only were we welcomed into the studio that had been in the family for generations but were also given a chance at the wheel to make our own creations.

If you are ever lucky enough to visit this incredible region, do not miss the tiny village of Montottone and La Bottega dei Vasai.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Travel Fever: Starve it or Feed it?

I can tell that I'm not the only one starting to feel the effects of travel fever. Spring is here, tax returns are rolling in and everyone is wondering it they should wait maybe one more year to travel or just go for it!

While it is important now more than ever to not live or spend outside are means, I believe that also needs to be tempered with the knowledge that we never now what life is going to bring us. Spending too much time being cautious or waiting for just the right time can lead to a long line of 'what ifs.'

I think the best way to meet in the middle as far as traveling goes would be to play it smart. Now is the time to really take advantage of those travel tips I'm always talking about. Travel on the off season and put up with cooler weather. What a difference in price traveling in the off season brings. I'm planning my next research trip for next March and I can't wait to be able to mingle with less tourists and more Italians. Find charming little B&B's and avoid all those fancy hotels. Tell yourself that you don't need all those extras, they detract from finding the soul of Italy. Those little places are in trouble too, wringing there hands trying to figure out how to find more guests. In fact, several of my contacts have asked me what I thought they could do to encourage more Americans to stay with them. Stay in one place for more than a night or two and offer a cash payment. Prices can be soft right now with longer stays and all Italians prefer cash transactions.

Whatever you do, don't completely give up on your travel dreams. Adjust, adapt and be creative. Of course, finding someone like me to help will give you an edge over other travellers and save you even more money in the long run. At this time, all but a rare accommodation offers my clients exclusive extras and up to 20% off listed rates. I am grateful for their kindness and the passion they put into their work. This is their dream as well.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ferenc Mate: A great author for the winter armchair traveler

It's the middle of winter, the time when I usually start to feel the itch to travel flare up. I have been thumbing through my books trying to find something to help me virtually visit Italy until I can be there in person. I found a great new author who actually has two books out describing his move to Tuscany (the hills of Tuscany) and then his aquistion and creation of a winery outside of Montalcino (A Vineyard in Tuscany: A Wine Lover's Dream). His name is Ferenc Mate and if his stories don't make you want to pack up your bags and go I honestly don't know what will.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Daily doses of Italy

Every morning I wake up to my daily dose of Italy through my email. I found a great site called the Italian Notebook which suprises me everyday with random stories from a handful of writers, most living in country. They have written about everything from art and history to food and customs. I have included to the website and encourage you to sign up for your daily italiano fix!