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Posted by in Destinations, Italy, Postcards | 18 comments

Postcard: Polignano a Mare, Italy

Postcard: Polignano a Mare, Italy

  Polignano a Mare is a romantic seaside town built upon limestone bluffs. It is easy to see why it is known as The Pearl of the Adriatic — the water is a million shades of blue and green and the waves are crystal clear. Located in Puglia, on Italy’s southeastern coast, it’s an area mainly for tourism, good food and wine, and of course, fantastic beaches.  I fell in love with it immediately. I loved lying on the beach and soaking my feet in that cool clear water. I could have been happy to spend a week doing nothing else in Polignano a Mare. But what I liked best were the views of the Adriatic ocean. Priceless! Though it was only April, the weather was perfect and the beaches were almost deserted. Each day I soaked up the early spring sunshine as I walked to my favorite coffee bar – where I often stayed until evening apertivo hour.  La dolce far niente  (the sweetness of doing nothing) was...

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Posted by in Destinations, Italy, Wine Travel | 18 comments

A Beautiful Wine Tasting and Tour: Francone Winery, Neive, Italy

A Beautiful Wine Tasting and Tour: Francone Winery, Neive, Italy

This experience was so much fun from beginning to end that I’m not sure where to begin telling the story. Should I start at the beginning, with a beautiful tasting and tour at Francone Winery in Neive? Or should I start at the end, in the famous Gallina vineyards drinking Francone’s award-winning Barbaresco with new friends on a clear day, the Alps visible in the distance? I think I shall start at the beginning, because it set the tone for the rest of the tour. Fabrizio Francone greeted us that chilly morning wearing several of layers of plaid and an air of ease that I imagine must come with being part of an historical and successful winemaking family, grounded in the land and the culture. Welcoming us to his family’s cantina in Neive, his energy and enthusiasm made us feel right at home. Fabrizio is a natural ambassador for the Langhe, Roero, and Monferato wine regions of Piedmont, Italy. The Francone family has been producing wine in Piedmont since...

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Posted by in Cultural Exploration, Destinations, Food and Drink, Italy, Wine Travel | 12 comments

A Surprise Food and Wine Pairing: Moscato For Breakfast

A Surprise Food and Wine Pairing: Moscato For Breakfast

A wall of glass windows and sunlight outside revealed green hills lined with vineyards, the vines ready for harvest or recently picked clean. The smell of eggs and bacon filled the room; the breakfast/brunch preparations were already underway when we arrived. Bottles of Moscato d’Asti were opened and glasses clinked. This, I thought, was the kind of experience people dream about, read about, and remember for years to come. I was in the home of Paolo Demarie, a third generation Italian wine maker in Piedmont, drinking wine made from grapes from his vineyards. Not a bad start to my trip.   After passing my WSET (Wine and Spirits Education Trust) wine exam last summer,  I connected with American expat Valerie, of Girls Gotta Drink, for some ideas how to best experience Italy’s Piedmont wine country. Valerie suggested a visit to Demarie for a tour of the new, eco-friendly winery, and a food and wine pairing Val coined, Moscato For Breakfast. Food and wine pairings are my favorite – it...

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Posted by in Cultural Exploration, Destinations, Italy, Photography | 18 comments

How To Spend A Romantic Day in Bassano Del Grappa

How To Spend A Romantic Day in Bassano Del Grappa

I’ve been thinking about writing something for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, and every time I do, an image of a broken heart that I saw on the side of a building pops into my mind. I thought that seemed like the ultimate anti-Valentine’s Day image, until I saw this article on the Condé Nast Traveler website – and suddenly I knew what the image of the heart was trying to tell me. The Condé Nast article was actually a photo essay, called 10 Alternatives To Famous Romantic Spots For Valentine’s Day. The list included the Italian town of Bassano del Grappa, which just happens to be where I saw and photographed the heart on the wall. It’s a beautiful little town on the Brenta River, just an hour away from Venice. I happen to agree with the editors at Condé Nast Traveler – Bassano del Grappa would be a great place for a Valentine’s date, or a romantic date, any time of the year. The architecture, frescoes, cafes,...

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Posted by in Destinations, Italy, Just for fun, Memoirs | 20 comments

Memorable Moments in Italy 2015: Puglia to the Dolomites

Memorable Moments in Italy 2015: Puglia to the Dolomites

Happy New Year, and thanks for being here. I’ve actually paid attention to the content and articles that my readers (you) seem to enjoy the most… no surprise, anything to do with Italy seems to be a big hit. And why not? How do I love Italy? Let me count the ways. Actually, there are too many to count. I’ve got lots more great Italy content coming in 2016. I’ve also discovered that there are a lot of other people out there who write and blog about Italy. Some I’ve met online, and some I’ve met in person. Either way, we all have a love of Italy in common. To start off the new year, I thought it would be fun to do this collaborative post of memorable moments in Italy. From the vineyards of Tuscany, to the mountains of the Dolomites, if you too dream of Italy, I hope you’ll find some inspiration here. Join us in remembering Italy 2015. Memorable Moments in Italy 2015 Piedmont: Neive and Turin...

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