The Val D'Orcia will always have a fond place in our hearts. It was the very first place we stayed and explored in Italy, in fact we stayed just outside of Pienza in the magical clay hills of the Orcia river valley. Sheep and sheep cheese (Pecorino), natural hot spring spas that have been used for thousands of years, and rows of tall thin cedars bordering twisty Tuscan roads are things we will never forget. The people are much more slow paced and relaxed when compared to northern Tuscany.
Click the photo below to enjoy the beauty of Southern Tuscany...
When I was a boy, my Dad had a large fig tree in our little backyard in the city where we lived. He would love eating the rip figs right from the tree, squishing it open between his two thumbs to show me the rich, sweet and colorful seedy fruit inside. Now as a kid, I was never all that partial to figs. I thought they were too mushy--it was a texture thing. As an adult, I discovered there's nothing like figs and cheese... especially when paired with some fresh ricotta and drizzled with honey. Of course, I'm talking about fresh figs... the dried figs are very sweet and would be best left as an ingredient in other dishes or baked goods, the way raisins are used.
We lived just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Winters were very cold back then. I remember Dad wrapping his fig tree very carefully to "put it to bed" for the winter--stuffing newspapers in between the branches, then wrapping with burlap, and then wrapping again with an old carpet. He'd cover the whole thing with a tarp. This would keep out the cold and snow and prevent the branches from freezing all the way to the ground. In the early spring, Dad would unwrap the tree carefully and if he did it properly, the branches only died back a few inches. As soon as it got warm, the tree would put out leaves again... the cycle renewing itself. Some would dig long trenches and kneel the fig trees over and then put the layering on top, but Dad always thought this was overkill.
Roman Satyr picking figs (terracotta)
Figs in a Pompeii fresco
Fig History In the beginning, there was the Fig. In fact, some Biblical scholars believe the Fig was the Forbidden Fruit, not the apple. One only needs to consider that it's perhaps the sweetest fruit on the planet, and to ponder the sensual flesh inside the fruit to understand why it may have well been Forbidden by God Himself.
The edible fig is also one of the first plants cultivated by humans as far back as 11,000 years ago! That's about a thousand years before wheat, rye or peas were farmed. Figs were grown throughout the Middle East and of course from Greece to Italian peninsular. Cato the Elder wrote about figs that were cultivated during the time of the Roman Empire and even listed the varieties: Mariscan, African, Herculanean, Saguntine, and Black Tellanian. Fruits were eaten fresh, of course, but what made figs a valuable food source was their long storage capabilities when dried. Obviously healthy, figs are full of calcium, potassium and fiber. They were also used to produce foie gras by force feeding geese to fatten their livers. In time, figs would be grown from India all the way across the Mediterranean to Portugal. After the discovery of the New World, figs crossed the Atlantic and were grown as a steady supply of nutritious food.
Fig trees can easily get through a seasonal drought, and the Mediterranean climate in Italy is best for them. Old specimens can reach gigantic proportions and grow from 40 to over 100 feet tall. When planted in colder climates, they have to be protected from the cold or they will die back nearly to the ground, putting out new shoots the next spring, but taking a large toll on the shorter cold climate's fruit production season. Its aggressive root system in warmer climates can do damage to property and foundations of buildings so they are not normally grown in urban settings. In some parts of the Orient, figs have even overgrown houses and temples. The cantankerous roots are what allows the fig to survive even in dry, rocky landscapes.
A little known fact about wild figs is that for the most part, they are sterile and need a particular species of wasp to enter inside the fruiting body in order to be able to spread pollen from plant to plant. For this reason, all cultivated figs bought from growers are clones of a mother plant--that is, they are grown from branch cuttings of a plant that is a know variety for good fruit production. If cared for properly, fig trees can produce two crops of figs each year.
A strangler fig overtaking a temple at Angkor Wat
There are a huge number of fig varieties to grow
Fig Use in Recipes Fresh figs must be eaten within a short period of time simply because they don't keep well. Dried figs last for a year or more. Fig jams are a delicious way to keep the taste of figs on hand any time of the year. Cooked figs in ancient times were used as a sweetener as we use sugar today, and can be used in a similar fashion by modern chefs. Of course, we all know the iconic Fig Newton, so we can get a fix of fig that way, but nowadays the humble fig is being elevated into altacucina by chefs worldwide. Here are a few ways to use figs:
Lisa and I grew a fig tree at our last home and enjoyed the fresh fruits. After doing the research for this article and remembering how my Dad grew and loved figs, I'm thinking that next spring I'll put in a couple of young trees in my current garden. I'll let you know how that goes...
(Read the UPDATE at the end of this article about Dion signing my son Lucas' guitar!)
When I was a kid, there was no better tune on the radio for a young, hip kid trying to get girls to notice him than The Wanderer. The man singing that song was Dion DiMucci, better known as Dion... of Dion and the Belmonts, do-wop fame. His voice was edgy with its phrasing... of the streets... rougher than the silky smooth, clean shaven voices at that time--even though his own look was clean shaven. Somehow, I saw through all that hit-factory polish. He sang of real life experience. He wasn't so much singing a song as much as teaching me a life lesson.
When he sang about Runaround Sue, you knew two things... you wanted to find a girl like that to have a sweet taste of what passion is really about, but at the same time you just knew you didn't want that kind of girl for your forever gal. You also knew that you needed to find that place he talks about in Lovers Who Wander... you just had to get there somehow. Perhaps he was giving us the address in his early bluesy version of Kansas City... at "12th Street and Vine".
"I have a full life off The Road. I was never in it for the money or career. That's why I'm comfortable with myself. I know who I am out of the spotlight."
When I finally fell for that first girl--and fell hard--I lamented with Dion, Why Must I Be a Teenager in Love? He taught me that real men can--and do--cry, but only for the truly important things. Then when I finally had a chance to be alone with "my girl", walking along the Palisades Cliffs overlooking the Hudson River where I grew up, with that magnificent, nighttime twinkling view of the Manhattan skyline... testing out each others' romantic limits on one of the wooden benches... I'd find myself asking her to Stay Just a Little Bit Longer.
And when Donna the Prima Donna broke his heart, he gave solid advice to me about how to handle that type of inconsiderate, Italian princess. I've had my share of those... and learned how they aren't worth the effort. Dion taught me that when life kicks me down, I have to get up and keep on keeping on.
A smooth, clean a capella, impromptu rendition of The Wanderer
Not many people know that Dion nearly lost his life during the infamous Winter Dance Party rock and roll tour with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper and other performers. On a frigid February 3 in 1959, after a concert stop in Iowa, Holly and others chartered a flight to the next venue rather than travel on the cold tour bus. Dion was invited to go with them, but said he didn't want to spend $36 for the flight--the same monthly rent his parents paid their Bronx apartment--he couldn't justify the indulgence. The plane crashed, killing all on board. It was dubbed "the end of Rock and Roll" by many at the time. It profoundly gave him a new outlook on life, but proved not to be the end of rock.
This video is amazing... Dion paints a portrait of what it was like growing up in the Fifties--with some heavy hitters along for the ride: Lou Reed; Paul Simon; Joan Jett; guitarist Dave Edmunds; Dire Strait's drummer, Terry Williams; Phil Chen on bass; and Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell.
As the sixties turned from do-wop to pop to mod to psychedelic and the madness in the world turned sweet, often ethnic, Kumbaya folk songs into full blown protest songs, Dion taught me another lesson of peace. With his haunting Abraham, Martin and John he compelled me into feeling the pain of the assassinations of the best of us--Lincoln, King and Kennedy--and perhaps even to make my own personal statements and stance against the madness.
Dion DiMucci - Bluesman
He continued to play music all through the rest of his life, but of course never with the pop star status as when he wore the shark skin suits and sang "dum-da-didy-do-wa-diddy" skat lyrics of do-wop. But he grew as a man and a musician and is now considered one of the best blues singers/guitarists in the world. This is what I love him for, musically speaking... he took the a Capella echoes of the candy store entrances and alleyways and the grittiness of the street, along with the heart of his Italian upbringing and merged it into his blues playing.
Rightfully recognized for the talent he gave to the music scene, Dion was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Bun nowadays, and at this stage of my life, I identify more with the blues songs he sings, like the blues classic Built for Comfort (I'm Not Built for Speed). About an aging man, somewhat overweight, but still passionate inside his heart and mind. That's the blues, Man.
Yes... Italians can play the blues, too. We've had our own share of discrimination and loss and suffering in our heritage. Dion expresses that, but he also still expresses the blues we all feel in the course of finding love--and losing it.
And this brings us to the present day... Dion is still valid, poignant and effective as ever, as evidenced by his recent New York is My Home featuring Paul Simon. His voice is clear and sweet as ever.
Take the time to sit back and enjoy a great Do-Wopper, Rock 'n Roller, Bluesman, singer-songwriter and Italian-American... please watch and listen to the videos I've included in this article.
You'll thank me for it.
Dion's signature on Lucas' guitar
UPDATE: Dion Signs Lucas' Guitar at Morristown, NJ Concert
--July 29, 2016
After writing this article about how Dion's music influenced my life, Dion's publicist contacted me and complimented me on the sentiments and asked if he could re-post it. As an exchange, I told him about Lucas' guitar with a growing collection of famous musicians' signatures on it (James Taylor, Steve Martin, Loudon Wainwright III, Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna fame, Doc Watson and more...). I told him how Lucas was a big fan of Dion's early music and how he would be thrilled to get his signature. He then emailed and said "Dion would be glad to sign your son's guitar". All we had to do was get it to him at one of his appearances.
It took a while, but finally Dion was going to perform at a venue that we visit for concerts: the Mayo Performing Arts Theater (MPAC) in Morristown, NJ. I booked the tickets a while back and last night we attended. With a copy of the emails in hand and Lucas carrying his guitar and putting on his best 12 year old puppy eyes, we kept our fingers crossed. We've been through this before... overly protective security in such events or absolute "NO" from a performer's manager. Things didn't look good as his publicist informed me the day before that Dion's manager was "very, very, very" protective of Dion.
Ok... so we started in tracking down the theater's stage manager and he promised to get the email copy (along with a copy of this article to refresh Dion's memory) backstage--but no promises. After the concert we should wait by the stage-left door.
The concert was fantastic and Dion didn't disappoint. He played a myriad of songs--old and new. He played his new hit New York is my Home, Runaround Sue, the Wanderer and a solo acoustic blues favorite of mine, "Built for Comfort" about a rotund man built for comfort, not for speed but never disappoints with the ladies.
Lucas had a ball. He loved all the songs and rocked out.
Then the end came... and we waited at the stage-left door with a bunch of Brooklyn 75 year old "goombas"--old buddies of Dion (we supposed), and a clean cut VIP couple with their three pre-school kids that had all the earmarks of a congressional family. After the theater cleared out and the roadies had nearly emptied the stage, the stage manager came out and ushered up backstage. The first two groups we having quick chats and photo ops with Dion while we waited in the backstage hallway... but then it was out turn...
Lucas was so excited when he saw HIM. Dion was very nice about it all when I introduced Lucas to him... taking his guitar in his hands and then playing an impromptu blues song with Lucas' name in it! Lucas was star-struck, for sure. Then he asked where Lucas wanted him to sign, and signed it just above the sound hole. I asked to take a photo with my smart phone and the stage manager shoved me into the shot. What a memory!
Lucas left the theater in the light rain wide awake (it was 11:30 pm.... way past his normal bedtime) stunned, "I can't believe that a Rock n Roll Hall of Famer just hugged me!" He wants to save the Sharpie that Dion used to sign his guitar. He wants to never wash the T-shirt he was wearing. What a kid.
I'd do anything for him... like jump through a lot of hoops to get a rock star's signature on his guitar.
In Italy, Internet service is rare, sluggish and prone to weather-related problems (most services are satellite based systems--easier to install with all those stone walls). But soon there may be another option to get connected while visiting your favorite tourist sites. Even though Italy is short on cash, in 2017 it is going to start providing high-speed internet access at major tourist attractions, including all of its UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Also in the plan to get connected: seaside resorts, historic cities, airports and train stations.
But is this just a scheme to get Italian Big Brother watching and following even more people? The Italian government in fact wants to create a nationwide WI-fi network, which users can access via a single personal login, but according to La Repubblica, such a system will allow data to be collected on where tourists are spending their time, and perhaps it's own citizens.
Officials claim that the system would make it easier for people to enjoy Italy's natural and cultural attractions. According to Antonello Giacomelli, from the Economic Development Ministry, "We need to integrate services as much as possible because the digital element is part of the complete visitor experience."
Really? My son Lucas, my wife and I just used our imaginations and our own senses to delve into the history and majesty of the Colosseum when we visited--I had no desire to get on my smart phone to do some surfing. We already have Google tracking us like this. If I even look at a camera I'm interested in, I will then be barrages with camera ads on virtually every site I go onto that uses Googles data. I wouldn't want that after visiting historic sites in Italy (or the Taj Mahal, for that matter... apparently, this is a worldwide effort linking public WiFi with data mining and advertising).
Italy has more World Heritage Sites than any other country--51 at this writing--from Pompeii and Herculaneum, to Palladian villas, the cave city of Matera and Sicily's Mount Etna.
This project is odd when you consider that Italy has a problem with state funding for the upkeep of its historic sites and have already used corporate moneys to restore the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and more. Perhaps it's a scheme to sell the data from such a national WiFi system to pay for their maintenance.
As for me, I don't need WiFi when visiting such sites and soaking in the historic significance and culture.
Turn off your smart phones and just feel the history beneath your feet!
On the Amalfi Coast--tagliatelle with lemon sauce, about 180 calories
There's been a lot of buzz lately about a new study by the Italian research journal, Nutrition & Diabetes, that making pasta a regular part of your diet can help keep you slim and healthy. Italians do have pasta pretty much every day as a part of at least one meal, and in general, Italians do carry less weight around than their Italian-American cousins. The Nutritional & Diabetes journal is an open source publication with a large editorial board with around 30 members--only one of which I noticed was Italian. However, the specific study with the overwhelming title of "Association of pasta consumption with body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio: results from Moli-sani and INHES studies", was in fact compiled by a team of 10 Italian researchers. The study was limited on one hand--two-thirds of the study was based on the diet of the small Molise region in southern Italy (just above Puglia) with onlyone third covering the rest of Italy--and broad-based on the other--the sampling covered more than 23,000 Italians.
We Americans have always considered pasta as a delicious--albeit it--fattening food. The way Americans typically consume pasta--overcooked, and over-sauced, while filling over-sized dinner plates--perhaps that impression is correct. But for the sampling of Italians in the Moli-sani and INHES studies, the opposite seems true: Their conclusion was that "as a traditional component of a Mediterranean diet, pasta consumption was negatively associated with BMI (body mass index), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio and with a lower prevalence of overweight and obesity".
Italian-American style chicken Parmigiana, over 800 calories
In addition to this, another study published in Today’s Dietician (Busting the Top 10 Carb Myths) claimed that pasta can be made into a more healthy carbohydrate source only if it’s cooked al dente, as Italians prepare it.
It goes like this: Eating your pasta al dente is important because the digestive enzymes in the stomach take longer to break down the al dente pasta's starch into sugars, so they are released more slowly into the bloodstream. On the other hand, when you overcook pasta, the softer pasta has a higher level on the Glycemic Index (GI). A given starch's GI indicates how fast glucose (sugar made from carbs) is absorbed into the bloodstream. Carbs with a high GI can be bad for you because because blood sugar taxes the pancreas, and can lead to diabetes and obesity. Al dente pasta is slowly digested, releasing less sugar into the bloodstream.
"Ok", you say... so you'll just eat your pasta like Italians do and everything will be fine. You'll have a license to eat pasta to your heart's content. Not so fast, Marco Polo! You see, you have to look closer at how Italians eat pasta...
An Italian would never pair angel hair pasta with a chunky meat sauce.
Italians never cover tortellini in Alfredo sauce. Tortellini goes in a broth.
Italians eat a small portion of pasta--separately from their meat or fish dishes.
Italians never put olive oil in the cooking water. This would prevent sauces from sticking to the starchy pasta surface--perhaps causing over-saucing.
Italians "pair" sauces to particular pastas the way people pair wine to a menu.
Italians use lots of veggies with their pasta recipes.
In the evenings, most Italians will eat lightly (small main courses and pasta portions) and take a walk in the local piazza after dinner (called a passaggiata) which helps digestion and burns calories.
Italy is full of hills and hill-towns. Physical activity is a part of their life, without consciously having to "exercise".
Italians won't use cheese on every pasta dish, but often incorporate grated Parmigiano Reggiano with a bit of water to make a light cheese sauce.
Mozzarella cheese is usually eaten on its own--fresh with tomatoes and basil--and not melted over each and every pasta dish. Melted Mozzarella goes on pizza in Italy--not so much on pasta.
A portion of Busiate, from southern Italy
Spaghetti and Meatballs--happy together in America
Some tips for healthier pasta
Forget the cook time on the box or package. It's been my experience that while a boxed pasta will have times ranging from 8 to 15 minutes for "al dente", they are never correct. Sampling the pasta is the best way to determine whether it's done.
e a large pot with plenty of rapidly boiling water. Pasta should not be crowded in a smaller pot.
The water must be as salty as sea water. That's not a teaspoon of salt... it's more like a handful. I use Kosher salt for pasta water.
Never use oil in the pasta water. It will make past shapes to slippery for sauces to cling.
In the U.S., 1 pound of pasta can feed as little as 2 people, while in Italy, 1 pound would serve 5-6 people. Smaller portions is a lot healthier.
In place of heavy sauces, try lighter sauces--olive oil, a splash of pasta water and pepperoncino (red pepper flakes); grated Parmigiano Reggiano, black pepper in a slurry of water (Cacio di Pepe alla Romanese); or carbonara (egg, bacon or ham, Parmigiano Reggiano)
Forget the "Parmigiana" style of baked pasta with loads of mozzarella melted on top. There is no such thing as "chicken Parmigiana" in Italy (you won't find spaghetti and meatballs on the same plate, either). Italians have a little pasta as their Primo (first) course with the protein course following. Try shaved Parmigiano Reggiano on top of your pasta--it adds loads of flavor.
If cooked al dente, your body will process the pasta through your body much quicker. Softer cooked pasta remains in the gut longer causing more of the starch to convert to sugars or to be stored as fat.
Forget having large, dense, deli-style "Italian" hoagie bread with your dinners. Try half-inch (on the bias) cut, toasted slices of ciabatta--available nowadays at many U.S. supermarkets. It's less dense and full of air bubbles. Two slices per person is enough. Italians never put baskets of bread on the table.
I'm not saying that we don't all over-indulge from time to time... I mean, hey, Lisa and I (and Lucas is learning, too) cook far better than most restaurants, so it's hard to resist having "seconds" in our house.
Remember, the whole point of my blog is taking a Grand Voyage even if you aren't in Italy... Think Italian, cook like an Italian with simple ingredients, and when you dine, eat and drink like an Italian.
Shakerato We all know that Italians love their espresso, and we also know that Italians also have a fear of ice--especially in a drink. "Heaven forbid", your Nonna would warn, against getting a stomach ache or worse--a chill. Nonna's warning aside, there is a great way to beat the heat if you're espresso inclined--the Shakerato. It's the closet thing to iced coffee that you will find in Italy.
A basic Shakerato is made by combining hot espresso, sugar, a shakerful of ice, and then shaking vigorously in a cocktail shaker until a froth forms. Some get fancy with the Shakerato by adding chocolate syrup or using gelato in place of ice. Many baristas will even add some Amaretto or cream. Typically, your Shakerato will be served in a champagne flute.
Recipe 2 shots espresso 1 teaspoon superfine sugar shaker of ice Optional: Amaretto or liquor of your own choosing Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in the hot espresso and sugar, (and a shot of liquor of choice) then shake vigorously until frothy. Pour into a chilled martini glass and serve.
Original Negroni and the Negroni Sbagliato The Negroni has become the go-to Italian cocktail, even out of Italy. It is considered an aperitif, to build your appetite before a meal. Recipe one part gin one part vermouth rosso (red or semi-sweet) one part Campari Garnished with orange peel. Variation: To make a Boulevardier, the gin is replaced with bourbon.
The Negroni Sbagliato is a later, lighter version of the Negroni. The word Sbagliato means “mistaken” or "bungled" in Italian, referring to this drink's origin. In 1968, a busy bartender at Milan’s famous Bar Basso, made a mistake making a Negroni, and reached for a bottle of bubbly Prosecco instead of gin. If you like fizzy drinks, you'll love this one. Recipe 1 part Prosecco 1 part vermouth 1 part Campari Stir and serve with ice or "straight up".
Spritz During the 19th century when the Austro-Hungarian Empire controlled the Veneto, the Spritz was born in Padua. Germans had a taste for lighter wines than the heavier, often sweeter wines of the Veneto, to they had their drinks served with a spritzen--a spray of soda water--to lighten them up. The classic Spritz version is made with Aperol, but other choices are Campari, Cynar or Select. In fact, when a person orders a Spritz in Italy, they are expected to tell the barista their liquor of choice. Recipe 3 parts Prosecco 2 parts Aperol (or other liquor) 1 splash soda water Stir and serve up or on the rocks, with a garnish of orange or lemon slice or an olive.
Sgroppino In Venice, the custom is to have some sgropin (sorbet) in between meal courses to cleanse the palette. In the local Venetian dialect there are many words that mariners use, especially relating to nautical knots. The dialect word, sgroppino means "little un-knotter"--supposedly, the drink unties knots in your stomach during large feasts. Recipe 1/3 cup lemon sorbet 3 ounces Prosecco 1-ounce vodka Whisk together by hand or with an electric hand mixer, then pout into a frosty champagne flute. Top with a sprig of mint or slice of lemon or lime.
Bellini In Italy, summer is the time for marrying your favorite fruit to your favorite alcoholic liquor. Peaches are a natural for this technique. In 1948, bartender Giuseppe Cipriani, developed a new cocktail by combining a peach puree (he loved white peaches) with the Italian bubbly, Prosecco, and served it as his Harry’s Bar in Venice. Supposedly, he named it after the pink hue in many of Renaissance painter Bellini’s masterpieces. Recipe 2 parts Prosecco 1 part peach puree It couldn't be simpler, as most great Italian things are... Stir and serve in a chilled glass.
Limoncello Now, technically, Limoncello isn't a mixed cocktail--you don't mix it, you make it yourself. Making Limoncello has been a tradition in southern Italy, namely around the gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast, for at least a hundred years, although some claim that until the 1980s, the drink was made by only a handful of families in Campania. The huge, wrinkled, thick skinned Sfusato lemons grown in the Amalfi area are typically used, but you can use any lemons that are bright in both fragrance and color. Limoncello is considered a digestivo, meant for aiding digestion at the end of a meal, always served chilled, but is also used as an ingredient in mixed cocktails.
Of course, you can find it and pay high prices for the better bottles imported directly from Italy, but I thought it would be more fun to give you a recipe to make it right in your own home.
Recipe Ingredients: 10 lemons 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka 3 - 1/2 cups water 3 - 1/2 cups sugar (add more if you'd like it sweeter)
The Italian way to make Limoncello is with grain alcohol, but most in the States use vodka--your choice. As the Italians do, select the best, most fragrant lemons (organic, if you can find them) and then wash them with a brush and water in the kitchen sink.
Using a standard type of vegetable peeler, remove the zest (not the white pith) and steep them in the alcohol/vodka for 4 days. Afterwards, strain the peels from the liquid through a fine mesh cheesecloth. Discard the peels.
Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until a simple syrup develops--around 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Then add the syrup into the lemon mixture. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. (Stores like Marshall's/Home Stores usually sells decorative bottles perfect for bottling your limoncello.) You can add some spiraled peels of lemon into the bottles. Seal the bottles... they will store well like any liquor--for several years--that is, if you can go that long without drinking it!
Variation: Crema di Limoncello You can replace the water when making the simple syrup with whole milk and add vanilla to make a creamy version of Limoncello.
So there you have it... several great Italian cocktails to have when you visit Italia or when relaxing on your backyard deck. Enjoy them with friends and great food. And remember, don't drink and drive--especially when on the Amalfi Coast Road...
You would think rock doesn’t make for the ideal natural element where to build a town. Yet, the following Italian villages have been able to transform a hostile environment into a uniquely charming place to live.
Carved into the rock and often perched on a hill or plateau, the 20 'borghi' below, selected by search engine Skyscanner as Italy’s most spectacular, all offer stunning views of the sea or surrounding countryside. Have you visited any of them?
Around the July 4th holiday weekend, Lucas wanted to test his brand new ice pop mold kit. No cheap plastic molds for this young Foodie... this is a professional quality kit that Lucas purchased with his own savings. The result was fantastic: His cherry (with real cherry chunks), lemonade and blueberry Flag-Pops! Real cool!
Experience the Italian lifestyle, heritage, cuisine, art, music, language and traditions, while learning how our own Grand Voyage to Italy affected our lives back at home--per sempre--forever. Andiamo, take a Grand Voyage with us...