An invitation to Piedmont

Precious black and white diamonds

World best truffles market and cuisine

Top chef – top wines – top cuisine

Dear Friends,
After the successful 4th edition of the Salone del Gusto tour we have received several enquiries for the availability on the next tour but, unfortunately, as you know the next edition of our Salone del Gusto tour is not until October 2014, HOWEVER there is an option for those of you who cannot wait that long to visit Piedmont and enjoy its exquisite wines, cuisine, and landscapes.
Carlo and I have come up with a nice idea for those who prefer not to wait two years before taking an extraordinary culinary tour. In addition to a rich offering of cultural and culinary experiences, the itinerary will include the International Truffle Market in Alba, a foodieai??i??s paradise.

The truffle market is a true spectacle allowing you to observe ai???trifulao,ai??? as truffle hunters are called in Piedmont, sell their precious finds. Buyers smell and re-smell the valuable ai???tartufiai??? before settling on a price. This year the average price was in the range of $5700 per kilogram, about $170 per ounce. Severe drought in Europe made this product more expensive than ever. The market offers more than truffles ai??i?? itai??i??s a close up of Piedmontai??i??s incredible wines, cheeses, mushrooms, preserves of every kind, chocolate, and torrone made with the delicious local hazelnuts known for their flavor and quality. There are so many tempting specialties and an opportunity to learn about the products by talking to the producers and tasting at will.
The tour includes two full day visits of Torino, an elegant Italian city that has perfectly preserved all the richness the royal family of Savoy left behind after the Monarchy fell in Italy in I946. There will also be winery visits and wine tastings, cooking classes, outdoor market visits, even a spa session (optional not included in the package price), chocolate tasting, and an extensive tour program to visit some of the most popular wine villages of the Piedmont Langhe area. You will even experience a truffle hunt with dogs.

The package includes 8 nights accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily, transportation throughout the tour, wine tastings and cooking class as indicated in the itinerary, entrance fees when required, wine with meals, local professional guides, a bilingual tour escort.

Com/news/2016-09-08-dissecting-eyeballs-and-t-rex-s-virtual-reality-in-the-classroom i’m a fan of bryanalexander’s paper writer ftte shinding events

The Island of Splendor

Most beautiful island in the world

History, Art, Architecture, Gastronomy

The photos were taken over a period of years on multiple visits to the island. Sicily it still an amazing destination; its history, art, architecture, and gastronomy are layered on a tapestry of many civilizations from the early Sicanians to the late Bourbons, each one leaving indelible marks that are still visible today, yet the island remains so livable, even in contemporary times.
The cultural richness of the island is unsurpassed, and this richness is also reflected in its unique culinary traditions. Its wines, used for years as the base for the worldai??i??s most expensive Barolos, Chiantis, and Bordeaux, are quickly and quietly reaching the top levels for quality and price in their own right.
Sicily is among my favorite Italian regions, and I would never miss a chance to travel there. Whether you visit the eastern side or the western side, you will find this island so amazing that you will not want to leave.

The still standing remains of a temple on the western side of Selinunte archeological park, along the southwest coast, glowing in a golden sunset, built in approximately 628 BCE by a group of Greek settlers, near the mouth of the river of the same nameai??i??

ai??i??the temple of Hera (Selinunte) the best preserved of the archeological park (eastside)ai??i?? Norman Palace in Palermo was the seat of the King of Sicily during the Norman domination. The original foundation of an Arab palace built in the 9th century by the Arab Emir of Palermo is still visible in the basement of the palaceai??i??.

ai??i??Inside the Norman Palace you can admire the Palatine Chapel, with its rare mosaics unsurpassed for the quality and refinement of their execution, resulting from the most amazing mix of civilizations and art forms, by far the best example of Arab-Norman-Byzantine style that prevailed in the 12th century in Sicilyai??i??.

ai??i??ai???Terremoto del Belice,ai??? as it is known, refers to the earthquake that between January 14-15, 1968, with three shocks, the strongest reaching a magnitude of 5.5 of the Richter scale, leveled one of the oldest and most beautiful villages in Sicily: Gibellina. There were more than 400 casualties, 1000 people injured, and an estimated 100,000 people left homeless Gibellina was abandoned and the inhabitants, several years later, were relocated in ai???Nuova Gibellina,ai??? about 18 km from the old townai??i??.

ai??i??In the 1980s, Alberto Burri, an artist born in the small Umbrian town of CittA? di Castello, created Europeai??i??s largest land art project on the site of the destroyed Gibellina. The work entitled the ai???Grande (a concrete cemetery) covers most of the old town, an area roughly 300 meters by 400 meters, with white concrete preserving the shape of the buildings and streetsai??i??

ai??i??The beautiful ornate rose window of Chiesa Madre, the main church in Erice, a city founded by the Elymians, the first inhabitants of the islandai??i??

ai??i??.Syracuse Greek-Roman theater, called ai???caveaai??? by the Romans, was the largest ever built by the Greeks. It has 67 rows divided into nine sections with eight aisles that could contain more than 15,000 spectatorsai??i??

ai??i??Sicily offers splendid architecture; the Monreale Duomo cloister represents a beautiful example of Arab-Norman styleai??i??

ai??i??The mosaics of Villa Romana del Casale, a Roman-era villa discovered in the early 19th Century, contains the largest and most complex collection of Roman mosaics in the worldai??i??

ai??i??Donnafugata Castle, located about 20 km from Ragusa Ibla. The name of Donnafugata, of Arabic origins, can be misleading. It is a free interpretation of the Ayn as Jafat, which means Fountain of Health, that in Sicilian dialect is pronounced Ronnafuata. The name was then changed to a more modern form as

ai??i??quaint fishing villages like Castellamare del Golfoai??i??

ai??i??ancient towns like Ragusa Iblaai??i??

ai??i??or jet-set summer resorts like Taorminaai??i??

ai??i??and ski areas like the Mount Etna volcanoai??i??

ai??i??archeological sites such as Agrigento and its Valley of Temples…

..or exquisite and refined cuisine both savory and sweet…

..and outstanding quality wines.

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Com/event/ftf sal khan let’s teach for mastery and not for test scores

Last lost Paradise

Castelluccio and Piano Grande with flowers blossoming in late May

Umbria Unknown and Uncontaminated

Paradise de la Reine Sibylle

The French writer, Antoine De La Salle, wrote magnificently about one of the last unspoiled corners in Italy. Iai??i??m referring to the National Park of Monti Sibillini, 180,000 acres of uncontaminated land on the Apennine mountain range between Umbria and the Marche regions.

The land is divided into Piano Grande (Big Plain) Piano Piccolo (Small Plain), Piano Perduto (Lost Plain), and Castelluccio di Norcia(150 inhabitants), the one and only small center in a radius of 25 kilometers surrounded by a beautiful mountains and nature.

In late Spring, when the last snow has melted, the green pastures begin to change colors, yellow first, then red with millions of poppies, and blue, white, violet, a giant palette of beautiful colors under a clear and sunny sky. A true Paradise for hikers, bikers and just visitors in search of a tranquil place to spend a few days to recharge while enjoying nature and great cuisine far from the hectic crowded cities.

The cuisine is something really extraordinary. The area is famous for the production of lentils, those harvested on the Piano Piccolo are thought to be the best in the world, small tasty and flavorful, true delicacies especially when prepared with the local cured meats.

The cured meats of this area are indeed out of this world. The air and the temperatures in this area are ideal for the production of Prosciutto, Salami, Sausages, Pancetta and more. Iai??i??m sure that travelers to Italy have seen in Rome or Florence or in other places in Central Italy, shops with signs reading ai??? This sign indicates products from Norcia, the virtual capital of the Sibillini National Park.

Not to be missed is Pecorino di Norcia, a cheese made with sheep milk, excellent both fresh or aged, delicious grated on Pasta alla Norcina. This area is also famous for its Black Truffles, superb on pasta in any season. Remember to look for Porcini mushrooms to bring back home or to enjoy at Norciaai??i??s many restaurants, a true delicacy here.

There is more than gastronomy in this pristine area of Italy. The park area comprises several small quaint villages in addition to Norcia and Castelluccio. Consider visiting Visso, Castel Santai??i??Angelo,
Amandola, Bolognola and Ussita as well.

Before I forget, I donai??i??t want to miss a chocolate shop on the main street in Norcia that makes a unique and delicate chocolate.

For hikers <> I would suggest some mythological places like the Sybille cavern, Pilatus Lake and Mad Hell Throat. These are among the most spectacular hikes you can imagine. A detailed hiking map is available and easy to find in bookstores in Italy. Or if you need one in the USA feel free to give us a call.

The best time to visit and enjoy the flowers is between the end of May the end of June. The timing is tricky because it depends on how cold the winter was and when the last snow melted. The area is busy in the summer months with Italians, mainly former inhabitants, who return with their families to spend two or three weeks of vacation. The air is always clean, the temperatures are warm in the day and pleasantly cool in the evening and nights. A car is necessary to reach the various hiking starting points. Iai??i??m not aware of any transportation available in the park.

Norcia, Visso, Bolognola are the gateways to the park; there is limited public transportation available from Rome, but if you do not have a car you can take the train to Spoleto and then a bus to Norcia.
I could not find a website for the bus schedule. best suggestion is to call the Ufficio Promozine Turistica in Spoleto Tel. 39-0743-238920.

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Driving in Italy? Beware of 3 letters ZTL

Do not drive past that sign!


Are you going to drive your rental car in Italy? Please, beware and read carefully. Limited traffic areas have been instituted in most of the historical centers of Italian cities, including Rome, Florence, Siena, Assisi, Orvieto, Lucca, Pisa and many more. This measure has been taken to increase pedestrian areas, commercial activities, and reduce pollution to preserve historical sites.
In these limited traffic areas only authorized vehicles are allowed to drive, such as: buses, police cars, ambulances, etc. Residents, with a permit, have access as well. All of the authorized vehicles have their license plate registered with the Municipal Police.
If a vehicle crosses a limited traffic area, cameras will take a picture of the license plate. The photo is automatically sent back to a computer of the Municipal Police and if the license plate is not registered a violation ticket is generated and sent to the owner of the vehicle.
The limited traffic areas are clearly indicated with a sign (see picture at top) marked with a white circle with red borders (see picture), stating the hours in which the area is restricted.

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Italy’s best kept secrets

A view of Messina

Culinary findings

“U ‘piscistoccu”

Messina, located on the northeastern corner of has a very rich culinary reputation based on many of its local products, however, oddly enough, Messinaai??i??s most famous culinary tradition is a dried fish imported from the frigid waters of Norway. Known as ai???BaccalAi??ai??? in Italian or dried cod, Messinaai??i??s most popular offering is not LOCAL at all, itai??i??s cod caught in the waters off Lofoten Islands, an archipelago on Norwayai??i??s north coast.
Strictly air-dried, ai???Stoccafisso,ai??? as the locals call it, has been a popular dish since the middle of the 15th century.

History recounts that in 1432 the ship of a rich and famous Venetian merchant, Piero Querini, ran aground on the island of Rost, in the Lofoten Archipelago. After just a few months the ship was repaired and set sail once again for Venice loaded with its cargo of dried cod.

At that time, Messina was a ai???must-stopai??? for ships sailing in the Mediterranean and those entering from the strait of Gibraltar, so Piero Queriniai??i??s ship made a stop in Messina and sold a large part of its cargo before reaching the final destination of Venice.

ai???Messinesiai??? quickly adapted this new food staple to their culinary traditions and prepared it in different variations (roasted, fried, grilled, on pasta, on salads, puttanesca, or simply with olive oil and lemon. The signature dish, which was a soup called ai???la ghiottaai??? with potatoes, olives, capers, onions, tomato sauce, celery, and olive oil quickly became ai???the dishai??? of the town.

Even today, there are a few well-known places in Messina that carry on this tradition with great satisfaction to local gourmet diners and a few connoisseurs. Back in the 60s, this food was in serious decline due to the change in eating habits and the arrival of ai???more modernai??? fast food. Today, thanks to a group of gastronomes, this succulent ai???piscistoccuai??? dish (as the locals call it) has returned to the top of the menu for locals and for those in the know!

If you have a chance to or land tour, I strongly recommend that you stop to savor this unique dish characteristic of Sicilian culinary tradition. Messina itself will delight you with a variety of historical, artistic and culinary venues that you can enjoy in addition to this gastronomic delight.

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An exciting restaurant in Tuscany

Visiting a historical cellar

La Leggenda dei Frati – The Legend of Friars

Dining in the heart of Chianti wine region

There is a jewel of a restaurant to be found in the heart of the Chianti area, where Tuscany actually feels more authentic and traditional, in the small village of Abbadia ad Isola. You will find it just next to a former Benedictine Abbey. This small restaurant, La Leggenda dei Frati is operated by the Saporito Brothers, Nicola e Filippo. Filippois in charge of the kitchen and Nicola is master of the dining room.

The brothers started their business a few years ago, very quietly, in one of the rooms that used to host what was once the dungeon of the abbey. This is where a bellicose bishop used to send rebellious citizens who didnai??i??t agree with him, particularly about taxes.

According to my friends Nicola and Filippo, a ghost inhabits several buildings that comprise the complex including a church that is still in use.

ai???How else do you explain lights that turn on and off suddenly without anyone touching the switch, or the power going out in this building but not in the buildings across the streets?ai??? Nicola asks me. ai???Or how do you explain doors slamming in the middle of the night?ai???

Legend says that a high-ranking Cardinal arrived from Rome to visit the abbey. The dungeon was filled to capacity, and during an important religious celebration, the prisoners started a rebellion. The noise coming up from the prisons reached the church where the cardinal was celebrating, the bishop got so mad that in order to quiet the prisoners his militia resorted to killing several of the poor peasants that were protesting.

ai???If you want to see for yourself,ai??? Nicola said, ai???just stay with us until we close and leave the restaurant late at I still havenai??i??t had time to check it out for myself.

With or without ghosts at the table, the Saporito Brothers run a very good business. If you are in for a serious dining experience, you have found the right place. Some of the selections include: Ribollita, Pici, Liver patAi??, Bean soup, Wild Boar sauce, Chianina steak and many other dishes that represent the most authentic Tuscan cuisine masterly recreated to tease your taste buds. Fresh ingredients from local gardens picked up daily at the farmers market, the best olive oils in the area, together with passion and competence, all contribute to an exquisite culinary experience.

The wine list, of course, pays homage to the local production with a collection of the best super and regular Tuscan reds and whites along with some remarkable Italian finds.

The service is precise and the prices are in line with the level, between ai??i??50/70 ($60/75).

Castellina in Chianti (Si)
LocalitAi?? Abbadia Isola
Tel. 0577 301 222, Monday closed.

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Italy Team won Gelato World Cup

Read about real Italy

Gelato World Cup 2012

Italy Team wins again

The Italian Team participating in the 5th edition of “Gelato World Cup” won the 2012 edition beating France and Switzerland.

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No wonder!

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Espresso coffee price on the raise


Latest from “Il Bel Paese”

The Espresso coffee price, the most popular drink in Italy, is poised to raise soon giving the increased prices of sugar and coffee…

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A Cruise Liner departs from Venice

The tragedy of Costa Concordia

To some this moment was predictable, but the world appears shocked by the sinking of the Costa Corcordia – 11 casualties, 28 people missing, an environmental disaster poised to occur, and all this for a foolish gesture. Obviously, no one seriously considered what a curtsy (ai???inchinoai??? in Italian) or ai???showing offai??? can cost families, an entire country, a big industry, and the environment. Capt. Schettino offered the curtsy to the island and to the tourists sailing on the Costa Concordia liner.

The ai???inchinoai??? was a practice well known to the Costa Co. management. They boasted in a ai???tutto ciA? grazie al Comandante Francesco Schettino, di Meta di Sorrento,ai??? (ai???All of this compliments of Comandante Schettino from Meta di

in the most troubled spots of the full of dangerous and spectacular places. Among the show spots are: Procida, Island of Giannutri, Venice-St. Markai??i??s basin, the Giglio Island, all with a myriad of photo ops and ai???WOWai??? moments for an unforgettable ai???Profumi del Mediterraneoai??? cruise that gave Capt. Schettino a chance to show off his bravura at the controls.

The tragedy is profoundly sad for all of the innocent victims and their families. Of course, itai??i??s logical to place blame on Schettino for abandoning the ship ahead of its passengers, but it is also time to look beyond Schettino, a coward in his own right, to all those Armani suits above him who should be charged for the same crimes for which Francesco Schettino is charged.

Obviously the unloading of responsibilities has already begun; home detention for the Captain indicates that the maneuvering is underway. Wait for the trial to start; it will be interesting to see and hear what these people will say, the same ones who praised the commander for his antics.

Perhaps something can be learned from this tragedy. Letai??i??s make a real effort to ensure that these fragile places are kept free of senseless commercialism and that they are preserved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

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Emperor Nero never actually saw the Coliseum in Rome..

The Flavium Amphitheatre - Coliseum

Symbol of Rome

The Flavium Amphitheatre

The Coliseum is the most visited site in Italy with millions of visitors annually, but few visitors are aware of is real name and origins.

Emperor Nero never actually saw the Coliseum in Rome; both Cecil De Milleai??i??s and Mervyn Le Royai??i??s movies, ai???The Sign of The Crossai??? and ai???Quo Vadis?ai??? were historically inaccurate. Nero had actually died well before the construction of the ai???colossusai??? began. In those times no building of its magnitude had been seen anywhere in the world, even in the powerful Roman Empire.

Attributing the construction of that ai???recreationalai??? place to the Emperor Nero remains
Among the many legends created over the past two thousand years. More recently, film versions, imagination and distortions have created further myths about the origins of this famous symbol of Rome.

The original name of what we now call the Coliseum was ai???Anfiteatro Flavioai??? Flavium Amphitheatre from the name of the ai???Flavi,ai??? a powerful Roman family that seized power in Rome after Nero died.

Vespasianum, the first of the family to seize power, decided to build the monument that was unveiled and opened for business by his son Titus around 80 CE. Nero died in 68 CE.

It was renamed the Coliseum in Medieval times referring to its colossal size. The name has remained the Coliseum ignoring the name of its creator.

Its elliptic form has a perimeter of 1,750 feet; the height is 170 feet with a seating capacity of about 50,000, a real colossus for its time. Originally it was furnished with a clever system of sails that protected the spectators from the scorching summer sun in Rome and from rain.

The notion that it was a place of Christian martyrdom is without any historical proof; it was rather a place for public celebrations, for the commemoration of battles, dramas based on classic mythology and gladiator battles.

It is, certainly the most well known image of Rome and one of the most visited historical sites in the world. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980 and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The unforgettable 1953 movie ai???A Roman Holiday,ai??? co-starring Gregory Peck with the young and beautiful Audrey Hepburn, revived Rome as a popular romantic destination.
Reservation is mandatory for a visit.

or email:

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