Home Destinations Memorable Moments in Italy: Puglia to the Dolomites

Memorable Moments in Italy: Puglia to the Dolomites

written by Penny Sadler

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 memorable moments and perhaps be inspired to book a trip.

Memorable Moments in Italy 

Memorable Moments in Italy

Piedmont: Neive and Turin

Adventures of a Carry-on

It was my first visit to the region of Piedmont, a beautiful area known for vineyards, hazelnuts, white truffles, Piedmont beef, and hill towns crowned by castles. When I arrived in the village of Neive, I instantly felt an affinity for it, and wasn’t surprised to learn it has been included on a list of the most beautiful villages in Italy.

We walked the narrow cobblestone streets, taking our time to explore every nook and cranny. Neive is not a very big place, so it didn’t take too long. It was a Sunday and church services were in progress, the town seemed a bit quiet.

As we walked, we looked for a place to eat lunch.  Eventually, we came upon this charming cafe…and without even a second thought, I turned to my friend and said, “I’m going in.” I ordered us both a cappuccino, and we sat down at one of the tables you see in the photo. Moments later, a guy sat at one of the tables next to us, and I asked him for a lunch recommendation. He turned out to be the perfect person to ask. He lives in Neive, and his grandmother had owned a restaurant there. Synchronicity. Besides a restaurant recommendation, he gave us the dirt on all the other restaurants in town. I won’t repeat it here – let’s just say it was memorable.


Nieve in Piedmont @PennySadler 2015

Pretty cafe in the village of Neive, named one of the Most Beautiful Borghi (village) in Italy. Photo by Penny Sadler


Liz Salthouse – Dream Discover Italia


Turin Italy, Piedmnot

Piazza San Carlo, Turin, Italy. Photo by Liz Salthouse

Before I travel I usually research my destination. What are the must-sees, what’s on, what will the weather be like, that sort of thing. But in late 2015 I took a spur of the moment trip to Turin, Torino to locals. What a good decision!

Arriving in the city was a feast for the eyes as the cab wove through 800 stalls at Europe’s largest open-air market in Piazza della Repubblica. And my first walk round town was even better.

Turning the corner, just minutes from my hotel, the enormous baroque Piazza San Carlo opened up, its central horse-back statue silhouetted against the bright winter sun. Wow! But Turin doesn’t have just one impressive square. There’s Piazza Carlo Alberto, home to the national library, Piazza Carignano, seat of Italy’s first parliament and the historic 14th century Piazza Castello right at the heart of Torino just for starters. Not to mention Piazatta Reale, Piazza Carlo Felice and all the garden squares dotted around. Add in miles of porticoes to protect against the summer sun and winter rain and you’ve got a bright, beautiful airy city. I loved it and I’ll be back in 2016!

Lazio: Rome

Thomas Dowson – Archaeology Travel

Memorable Moments in Italy 2015 Ostia antica Italy archaeology travels

Carvings and columns in Ostia. Photo courtesy of Thomas Dowson.

Asking my Archaeology Travel readers for their Rome recommendations, it was the ancient harbour city of Ostia that came out top of the list. After a damp and drizzly first day in Rome, I was delighted to see a bright and cloudless sky on the morning of my second day. Following the directions I had scribbled on a scrap of paper, I managed to get an early enough train that got me to Ostia’s ticket office just as it was opening.

Walking into the archaeological site it is the necropolis you first encounter. I moved quickly on into the commercial district with its warehouses and taverns. Sitting at the top of the public seating of the reconstructed theatre I realised there were no other visitors. And that is how it was for the entire three hours of my visit. I really did have the ancient city all to myself.

While I could have stayed all day, there were still so many other archaeological attractions I wanted to see in the ‘eternal city’. As I was leaving young and obviously excited children were clambering out of two buses. I headed for the train station, and back to the hustle and bustle of the Imperial Forum.


Puglia:Lecce & Poglinano al Mare


Margie Miklas – Margie in Italy

Polignano a Mare Puglia Italy

Cave at Polignano a Mare, Puglia Italy. Photo by Margie Miklas

My favorite moment in Italy in 2015? Wow, that is almost impossible to choose just one. I’m going to say a favorite moment was an unscheduled boat trip in Polignano a Mare to the caves on the crystal blue Adriatic Sea with Captain Dorino. His passion and enthusiasm was addicting as he showed Victoria De Maio, Susan Nelson, and myself a special cave where a heart-shaped hole in the ceiling reflects perfectly on the cave wall when the light is just right. That was an unforgettable experience and a highlight for me in this lovely seaside town in Puglia.



Victoria D’Maio – PostcardZ From Victoria

Memorable Moments in Italy 2015 Lecce Puglia Italy

Fun at Caffe’ Cittandino. Photo courtesy of Victoria De Maio

Choosing one favorite moment from literally thousands of photos is very difficult. So many bring a smile to my face but it’s often the unplanned and unexpected that stand out…

While exploring the beautiful historical center of Lecce, Puglia, one afternoon with my group, we decided to pause for a caffè. Caffe Cittadino was inviting and, stepping inside, we were quickly tempted by the mouth-watering dolce (desserts). I decided to totally indulge and ordered a local specialty, espressino (similar to a macchiato) and a tiramisu.

Roberto delivered our order with a charming flourish. Expressing my delight at the fabulous presentation, he was pleased to pose while I took photos. Upon savoring every out-of-this-world sip and spoonful, I expressed my delight and asked permission to take more photos of the caffè. Not only did he oblige but offered to show me around. He enthusiastically shared about their menu and commitment to artisanal excellence but what I found particularly impressive was how proud he was to work here!

I couldn’t resist asking to take a photo with the entire staff. In a flash, we gathered, posed and a perfect moment was preserved. Grazie Caffè Cittadino! I look forward to another delicious visit in 2016!



Sorcha Holloway – Away With Wine


Italian moments from puglia to the dolomites 2015 Sangiovese grapes.

Ripe Sangiovese grapes. Photo courtesy of  Sorcha Holloway

It’s difficult to choose a favorite moment from four trips to Italy in 2015, but if forced, it would have to be my return to Montalcino in Southern Tuscany, eight years after my first visit, when I lost my heart to Italy and Italian wine. I was first inspired to visit this historic area after reading a book called Vanilla Beans and Brodo, written by Isabella Dusi. Perhaps this is where the seed for Away With Wine was sown.

How wonderful it was to return on wine tour there, visiting six amazing wineries:  Biondi Santi, Poggio Antico, Cupano, Banfi, Cinelli Colombini, and Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, each one unique but sharing a consistently high quality of Brunello di Montalcino, which, to this day, is still my favorite wine. September is the perfect time to visit, with the grapes ripe, heavy on the vine, and ready for harvest.  The days are still warm, and the evenings pleasant.

I love to visit this beautiful fortified town, and it gives me great pleasure to share it with anyone who loves fine wine and travel.


The Veneto


Tom Weber – The Palladian Traveler

memorable moments in Italy 2015 puglia to the dolomites

Photo courtesy of Tom Weber

For nearly 25 years I called Vicenza, a jewel of a city in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, my adopted hometown. But that all changed recently when I pulled up stakes and headed in a southeasterly direction to the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, in the nearby province of Padua, to turn the page and begin the latest chapter in my life as a quill and camera-toting — AHEM — country bumpkin.

In clear view of Monte Fasolo, one of the 81 signature conical peaks that dot the postcard-perfect, lush-green landscape inside this sprawling park, I plan to revitalize my creative juices as I settle in along Via dei Faggi, in the tiny hamlet of Faedo, where this short dispatch emanates.

Like Percy Blythe Shelley, the 19th century English Romantic poet who stayed a spell and penned Lines Written among the Euganean Hills, I, too, hope to drain an inkwell or three in my descriptions of my new surroundings as I begin to document my life here in the peace and quiet of the Euganean Hills.


The Dolomites

Orna O’Reilly: Traveling Italy

Italy Bloggers share memorable moments of 2015

Tre Cime di Lavardo. Photo courtesy of  Orna O’Reilly

My most memorable day in Italy this year has to be my traumatising hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo high up in the Dolomites. Looking back at 2015, that particular day stands out sharply in my mind due to my truly terrible head for heights. You can read about it all in my blog Summer in the Dolomites: Terror at Tre Cime. I was spending a week in Villabassa, a beautiful little town in the Val Pusteria, trying out all the summer activities available and this hike was one of the “must do” items on my list, due to the incomparable scenery. Walking along narrow ledges over bottomless precipices is not my thing and my best moment of 2015 was undoubtedly arriving back at the car-park, safe and sound. For those of you who do not have a problem with heights, I have no doubt this hike is an absolutely fantastic experience.



Jennifer Martin – Vino Travels

Italian moments 2015 from puglia to the dolomites

Verona, Italy. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Martin.

I was fortunate to make it back to Italy in 2015, thanks to an invitation from the Consorzio di Amarone della Valpolicella. Every year the producers of the famous Amarone wine release the first available vintage of their Amarone. In 2015, I was tasting through lots of the 2011 vintage of Amarone della Valpolicella, as well as the Riservas.

I was fortunate to meet other wine writers, wine magazine editors and wine bloggers from all over the world as we traveled through multiple vineyards over the four days prior to the big 2011 release event. We met many wine makers, toured vineyards, sampled lots of great wines from the area and not just Amarone. There is nothing like immersing yourself in a wine region, experiencing the soils, climate, terrain and speaking directly with the folks that are involved in the winemaking.

I arrived a day early and stayed a couple of days later as well, so I could even further explore Verona, as I’ve only been once before. I even ventured north and met a wine blogger I’ve come to know from networking and we toured Vicenza together. Another day I spent in the beautiful city of Trento. All too much to write about here, but to say the least, it was another unforgettable tour of Italy.

A big thank you to everyone who contributed. What great memories! And thanks to my readers for your time and attention. We appreciate you.

Now tell me, have you been to any of these places in Italy?  See something you like or want to know more about? Let me know! And please do share on your social media pages with friends and family.


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Lillie February 21, 2016 at 12:19 pm

This is a part of Italy I’ve never explored, but now am highly intrigued!

Mary @ Green Global Travel February 21, 2016 at 9:32 am

What a great round up of Italian memories. I love that most of the destinations are smaller towns and villages that not everyone has heard of-makes me want to dust off my Italian phrase book. Thanks for sharing!

Penny Sadler February 21, 2016 at 12:36 pm

I know what you mean Mary!

Allison Porter February 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Those are two of my favorite areas – Puglia, with the “Florence of the South” and the Dolomites. Traveling by train through the mountainous areas was a treat (especially in the cafe car with a cappuccino). We love being able to explore different areas of a region or country. Look forward to seeing more posts on Italy! And great photos. Best regards,


JessieV February 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

What a lovely post – and so inspiring! Time to get to Italy!

Penny Sadler February 14, 2016 at 10:25 pm

The Veneto is a bit off the beaten path, except for Venice of course. I’m sure you’d love it.

Sand In My Suitcase January 8, 2016 at 10:43 pm

Now you’re really giving us a serious itch to visit Italy soon! We’d like to see Verona – heard it’s way less touristy than Venice, and has great opera and pasta!

Penny Sadler January 9, 2016 at 8:19 pm

I’m itching to get back there myself!

Ana O January 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Well, I haven’t been to any of those places but to the areas, like Tuscany.
I would go back in a heartbeat. I’d also like to visit the Piedmont bc that’s where paternal great grandfather came from.

Penny Sadler January 9, 2016 at 8:20 pm

My great great grandfather was from either Piemonte or Lombardia. The lakes area. It’s truly one of the most beautiful. But then every area is. Thanks for the comment.

Victoria De Maio January 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm

What a fun collaboration, Penny, and I’m so honored and pleased to be included! I love reading about the favorite moments and places of other bloggers and lovers of Italy…inspiring!

Penny Sadler January 9, 2016 at 8:21 pm

Thrilled that you could participate V.

Margie Miklas January 7, 2016 at 8:46 pm

Loved reading everyone else’s memorable places in Italy!! Thank you Penny for including me also!! Great post!!

Penny Sadler January 9, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Thanks Margie. I’d love to have been on that boat with you.

Jennifer Martin (Vino Travels) January 7, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Thanks for putting this together. Great to read of everyones travels.

Penny Sadler January 7, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Thank you Jennifer! It was interesting. Lots of different perspectives. Your wine travel sounded like a blast!

Marcy Braiker January 7, 2016 at 1:07 am

I get the feeling that you are not a skier, however you did mention the Dolomites. You need to know about the Selleranda. It is a unique ski “circle” of about 24 miles. You can go either clockwise or counterclockwise. There are four starting places where you can lodge. We stayed at Val Gardena, and did the trip easily in a day. The skiing is intermediate, and some of the lifts are not like any you have ever seen before (horizontal over some terrain). The mountain views of course are amazing. I highly recommend this as a great experience. This is the type of skiing you can not adequately describe, it needs to be experienced in all it’s wonder.

Penny Sadler January 7, 2016 at 10:09 am

Hi Marcy, Thanks for the tip about skiing. If you read the post you’ll see that the blogger, Orna O’Reilly, did not go to the Dolomites to ski. Never the less her experience was quite interesting. You may enjoy reading it. Thanks!

Mike ( Nomadic Texan ) January 6, 2016 at 11:25 pm

Darn I should have contributed for Sicily, the Aeolian islands or Milan. Should have contacted you I guess! Good post young lady!

Penny Sadler January 6, 2016 at 11:33 pm

I wish I’d thought to ask you! I’ll do another!


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