Category Archives: Italy

Sophia’s Travel Travel Agents Fam trip to Naples

Naples, Italy Oct 15-22, 2015

This was just the third part of our Italy trip in October.  Our trip started with a Travel Market business meeting in Rimini,  a seaside town of 145K inhabitants on the Adriatic Sea.  My partner and I  then split up.  I went to Cinqua Terre region and he spent time in Florence and the surrounding Tuscany region.  We finally met up days later in Florence and rented a car.  The next few days, we checked out properties in Tuscany and Umbria and finally, we took a 4-hour drive down the Autostrade on A1 to Naples.

Our base for the 5 night experience was the Grand Hotel Santa Lucia, a 4* built in 1900.  It is right on the Bay of Naples, with the vista including: the seaside fortress of Castel dell’Ovo, a 19th century small fishing village, and Mt Vesuvius. The Castle is the location of the first Greek fortification in the 6th Century BC, and has been rebuilt many times. The castle’s name comes from a legend about the Roman poet Virgil, who had a reputation in medieval times as a great sorcerer and predictor of the future. In the legend, Virgil put a magical egg into the foundations to support the fortifications. Had this egg been broken, the castle would have been destroyed and a series of disastrous events would have transpired in the city of Naples.

A bit about Naples.

Naples’ historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its museums boast some of Europe’s best archeology. The city’s history remains a fundamental component of present day society.This  is revealed in numerous archaeological ruins, monuments and buildings. The people are friendly, and Neapolitan cuisine is honest, authentic and most delicious. Proud birthplace of pizza, which is midway between refined cuisine and a traditional working-class meal, Neapolitan pizza has been one of the region’s main dishes and a symbol of Neapolitan gastronomy since the 18th Century. The region also boasts: the best pasta and coffee, fresh and delicious seafood dishes, and street snacks and sweet treats — from thick-crusted rectangular pizzas to deep-fried sugared dough. We intend to look beyond the grime and graffiti and discover amazing frescoes, sculptures, magnificent vistas of Vesuvius, and warm people with lively and thought-provoking conversations filled with legends and humanity.

October 17,  Saturday.

Antonella, my partner in Amalfi Coast and tour organizer for this trip, advised us against taking a car into Naples and instructed us, instead, to drop it off at  the airport. This  was a very wise decision. It was relatively easy drive to the airport and drop off the car.  I called Antonella, and she was, in fact, on the way to pick us up. (Naples airport is only 30 min or so from the ciy center.)
We were off to hotel to meet our tour participants – a group of travel agents for a week- long educational tour of Naples and the surrounding area.

After we had some time to check-in and explore the vistas and waterfront promenade/exercise path, the group met for personal  introductions and an orientation. Then, we departed to familiarize ourselves with this region,  new even to me region – Phlegraean Peninsula.

 

Naples Phlegraean Amphitheatre

Antonella invited local experts for this area, which included a geologist, an anthropologist, and a historian and archeologist to join us for that evening.

 

The day was like a mini seminar or rather a candy store of information for your mind.

Phlegraean Peninsula, located just north of Naples on the coast, had: two amphitheaters, ancient ruins, an old Greek fishing market, and an array of underwater artifacts from a long ago forgotten home submerged in very shallow water.  There are snorkel and scuba dive centers locally that will gladly help you visit the protected sites. You can also learnLearn about the geology of the region, especially the cauldron and then you can actually  visit an ancient aquifer used by the Greeks, Romans, and all the conquerors through the centuries.   While in this area, we visited the Church of San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples.  His blood has reportedly been saved in a vial and kept in the church.  It allegedly liquefies once a year.  This is the same San Gennaro, for whom  the feast is  celebrated in New York’s Little Italy.  There is no place in Italy where street food, espresso, and friendly people do not enhance your experience.

Naples Macellum

 

October 18, Sunday.

Capri by private boat.

After breakfast, our driver picked us up for our departure to Sorrento, where we  boarded a private boat for day trip to Capri.  You can also take a ferry from Sorrento to Capri but the best way to do is to explore by private boat. We had a captain at our disposal, and he told us he would sail around island and will dock where we wish.

A boat trip across the scintillating waters of the Bay of Naples leads to this stunning and legendary island, surrounded by rose-tinted rocks and coves washed by a translucent sea, giving it the look of a precious marine gem.

Over the years, enchanting Capri has attracted its fair share of superstars. Cesar Augustus had a particular love for the island and, more recently, its guest list has included Naomi Campbell and George Clooney.

We arrived at Capri, docked, went up by funicalr to Anacapri, with its spectacular vistas. The whitewashed houses, cobbled stone streets, and the views over the Amalfi coast are jaw-dropping.  We had lunch in one of the outside cafés, shopped for souvenirs, including the famous “Capri Watch”. One highlight is the Church of San Michele, which was once part of an ancient monastery. Decending, we hopped into two open-air taxis, pink colored (!) Cuban style!

While in Capri, you must take the time to visit the enchanting Blue Grotto, one of the island’s wonders. The visit inside the sea cave by row boat is remarkable, but alas, there were very long boat lines to get in, so we skipped it. For clients we usually prebook it but we kept for this day itinerary flexible.

Back to the boat, the captain set sail to the beautiful east side, to see the subject of one of the most famous postcards of Capri, Monte Solaro, the Bay of Marina Piccola, and the Faraglioni.

It was an enjoyable day and the weather also cooperated.

In the evening, we journeyed to the Tunnels which were a sneak-peek preview of the Museum to be opened in December. The volunteers did an amazing job! We wandered on, through the interconnected passageways, below the bustling Neapolitan streets, and saw aqueducts that had been used for 23 centuries. Then, we descended 121 steps deeper to the air-raid shelters. In 1941, almost 250 miles of tunnels and waterways under Naples were cleared of water and refuse, most wells were sealed, and stairways were built and electricity installed. The Neapolitans, who waited in the shelters as bombs pounded overhead, left markers of their tense days and weeks there: drawings on walls of bombs and planes, and the word “aiuto” (help).

Afterwards, we had dinner in one of the waterfront cafés near our hotel.

October 19, Monday: Naples walking.

10:00am. After breakfast, we took our minibus  into the center of town to meet our local guide Roberto.

We began with  a panoramic tour to the  top. Here, at the observation point, Roberto explained  the history of Naples – from a Greek settlement in 470 bc  it grew and expanded and was  therefore  called “Neapolis” – “New City”.

Naples is very ancient city, built layer over layer on  volcanic stone called “tufo”.  Later, the Romans came and excavated the tufo and building aqueducts. We saw samples of the Roman excavations also. Then we went to see Roman Theater.  It has exceptional views from  hillto sea.

We continued on to Fontanella cemetery, where Roberto, with local flair and exuberance, relished us with old stories and legends of love and the unfortunate “little skull” venerated by the Neapolitan people and linked to  Neapolitan tradition. This is where, in the 1600s, they interned all the victims of the black plague.  It has recently been rearranged, with 40,000 skulls sitting on a 1 meter bed of long bones, lined up along the walls of the catacombs.  Locals visit the place light candles and “adopt” skulls, thinking they will grant them wishes.

Naples Plagues skulls closeup

We were back in town to see the typical streets and alley ways of the Naples – with the laundry hanging to dry. These narrow streets  are actually a UNESCO World Heritage site and thetrue heart of the city.

By now we  were hungry and Roberto took us to the really local places, where we enjoyed local food. Of  course this included pizza in different forms – fried pizza, baked pizza and the city specialty “arancini” –fried rice balls with meat filling.  That was at the famous “Pizzeria del Presidente” which former president Clinton visited years ago.

After pizza, we went outside and sampled delicious deserts from street vendors, and we were just on time to have a sweet little break to try the real Neapolitan coffee with the famous “sfogliatella “, in one of the oldest bakery of Naples.

Afterwards, we continued to Piazza Dante, where we will entered the ancient heart of Naples, through Port’Alba, one of the four citygates..  We passed among the old craftmen’s shops: the luthiers, the artisans making cribs, the booksellers, the potters, the Hospital of dolls. We passed through the famous “Spaccanapoli” and in  particular, the Via San Gregorio Armeno, famous for its “Christmas shopping”. We ended up in the historic center of the city a beautiful place, with monuments. . It was an unique opportunity to learn about the peculiar everyday customs  of the people of Naples!

Next we went to the synagogue, where Roberto gave us and in-depth inspection, and also talked  about the Jewish community in Naples, of which he, himself is a member.

Afterwards, we visited the famous Cappella Sansevero – a museum, built in the late-Baroque style, which houses almost 30 works of art..  The A Christ Veiled under a Shroud (also called Veiled Christ), shows the influence of the veiled Modesty. Itwas completed in 1753 by Giuseppe Sanmartino.  This piece alone was worth the time and cost of the visit!

veiled jesus

 

In the evening, we joined together for our welcome pizza dinner. It featured the famous Neapolitan Pizza in an old, traditional pizzeria, withspecial historic, conic-shaped ovens.

October 20, Tuesday: Sorrento – Positano

We drove to Sorrento after breakfast.

Heading south from Naples along the Bay ,with is vistas of the Isle of Capri and Mt Vesuvius, was majestic thrill. The road propels  you long the side of the bare cliff –  the mountain on one side and a shear drop to the Bay of Naples on the other.

Pastel-washed towns spill down the cliffs towards the sea. Beautiful trailing bougainvillea and zesty lemon groves add the perfect finishing touches. Sorrento is a picturesque town with a vibrant population, cafés, stores, artisans, an opera house and historic grand hotels with terraces that offer impressive views.  Our local guide, Angie, took us for brief walk to show us her hometown. Besides the street scenes, we visited a cameo shop and watched the artisans perform their craft.

There is a lift that takes you down from the mountain height to the beach and marina.  Once down, we then took our minibus further south to Positano.

We arrived in time for our lunch appointment in the famous  5* hotel, Le Sirenuse

 

Le Sirenuse commands one of the premier spots on the southernmost side of the town.  It has been used as the location in several movies, most recently the 1994 film “Only You” starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr. The restaurant boasts a Michelin-starred chef and hosted our magnificent lunch.  Positano is cut into and built up along both sides of the  mountain cliffs.  The cut looks as though it was made through the ages by a river, which once led to the sea.  Positano’s near-vertical alleys, crammed with cafés and boutiques, shower down the cliff-side, each one with its own perfect view  We got to experience this from an insider’s perspective with our local guide, Lucia. She took us on a walking tour where we visited some off-beat, un-touristy, unique places in the nooks and crannies of the hillside.

October 21, Wednesday: Irpinia wine tasting.

Naples is the capital of the Campania region of Italy. The region itself has numerous calls to fame.  These include the sun drenched Amalfi Coast, aka the Italian Riviera, with its old Castles set in the mountains and picturesque villages hidden behind the rocks.  The region is also known as a place for skiing, strolling through the woods, and tasting good cheese and great wines.  The wine region centers around the town of Irpinia, about 40 km east of Naples, where you can relax, while drinking a glass of wine in the garden and admiring the views of vineyards and olive trees over the surrounding hills.

We traveled to Irpinia and  met Gaetano, a local wine producer. He first took us to  a farm to see how Mozzarella is made, and we sampled some mozzarella and another local specialty cheese.

We then proceeded  to a small farmhouse, which also has few rooms and functions as B&B. The grapes were still plump on the vines.  We tasted both red and white, and with each, the flavor exploded in our mouths. These over-ripened grapes were left to harvest later for sweeter desert wines.  We were served a wonderful home cooked meal with local wines.  Italy has this “zero kilometer agrotourismo policy”.  Everything you eat is grown and consumed locally.  Nothing is consumed outside the range,  except for certain staples like sugar, salt, and pepper.

We continued to a working winery, to sample more wine, local olive oil and cheese.

We napped a bit on the hour’s drive back to  Naples. Then, we got ready for another wonderful evening – a  show and dinner in a very typical Neapolitan restaurant, where performers  sing and dance to old Neapolitan music, as they move among the tables. They even sang Sinatra for us as they announced for “Antonella’s Americani”!J

October 22, Thursday: Hercolaneum and Vesuvio.

After our hotel breakfast, we met today’s local guide, Ludovica to go Hercolaneum.

When Vesuvius erupted on 24 August AD 79, it engulfed two flourishing Roman towns, leaving an impression of the opulent lifestyle enjoyed by the wealthier citizens of the Early Roman Empire. Most people are aware of the destruction of Pompeii that occurred on August 24, 79 A.D. The ruins of Pompeii are world famous. Each year thousands of visitors flock to Italy to view the archeological wonder, and they are one of the most visited attractions in the country.  We visited the lesser known town of Herculaneum,  on the other side of Vesuvius.  While the mountain spurted out rocks and ash, the heavy materials carried by the prevailing winds crashed down upon Pompeii, crushing most of it.  Herculaneum, on the other side of the mountain, was upwind and spared of its sister city’ss wrath of raining debris.  Instead it was flooded with mud and filled from the bottom up.  It was not immediately excavated because the Romans had no way for digging into the hardened mud and meters of covering ash.  So the city sat, and when it was finally uncovered some buildings still had their roofs intact. The marble statues were where they had been, and the plaster on the walls was mostly preserved, including the frescos!  It’s smaller than Pompeii, less crowded and easier to navigate.

We then visited a working winery on this sameside of Mt Vesuvius.  The sulfur from the mountain eruptions concentrates in the local soil, making for a very robust grape and hearty wine.  We had a wonderful meal and enjoyed the wine very much.

After lunch, we continued our tour to the top of Vesuvius where the tragedy had begun. We visited and walked through the lava fields and learned the history. We visited the big crater and enjoyed panoramic views over the Bay of Naples.

We still had time before to goingto airport, so ventured to historic Naples to look at B&B Neapolis Bellini, which Antonella and her partner Lisa own. It is located in a meticulously  restored historic building which used to be stables centuries ago. It does have a small elevator, but the marble stairs are beautiful. The 6 rooms are generous in size, but we only were able to see one, as the rest were occupied. We had some cofee, refreshed and departed for  the airport for our next destination, Palermo, Sicily.

That concluded our wonderful trip to the Naples area and Amalfi Coast, I strongly recommend it for anyone’s bucket list.

Link to the slideshow  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KXQHyZPjvk

copyrights of Sophia’s Travel, division of EMCO Travel, LLC

 

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Sophia’s Travel Agent’s fam trip to Sicily

 

October 23, Friday – Palermo – Paceco, Trapani

We stayed at Grand Hotel Des Palmes which is the Grand dame of Palermo.

Breakfast at this hotel was one I will long remember.  The Grand Hotel des Palmes was a stately  old hotel that showed its age, but the large room that held the breakfast buffet was exceptional — if for no other reason than they had a make-your-own cannoli station.

We met our local guide, Bianca in the hotel lobby.

We began with a private walking tour through the old squares and street markets of the city center that date back to the Arab period.  We experienced local specialty foods – from street vendors and in old establishments frequented by locals. We meandered through the Mercato del Capo’s spider web-like alleys located behind the Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest opera house and the casbah-style Ballarò food Market (our favorite). Of course we had the opportunity to sample some of the aforementioned specialties as well as street vendor favorites, such as panelle (fried chickpea rectangles) and crocché (perfectly-fried ovals of mashed potato and egg). We made our way to the main Cathedral, representing the best of Arab-Norman architecture and then to  the Renaissance period fountain of Piazza Pretoria. We then continued to  I Quattro Canti, the church of San Cataldo and the Baroque church of Santa Caterina.

The hospitality of “chez-Anna” was most memorable.   She invited us into her home, along a beautiful square with a picture perfect  view. Her relatives and friends were there, and she fed us and treated us as family, with the most wonderful family-style lunch.

In the afternoon we visited the Inquisition Museum.  Then, we departed towards Trapani for our accommodation in agroturismo Baglio Fontanasalsa.

I visited here previously  in February on and exploratory  trip with Barbara, my partner in Sicily.  In February, it was under construction/renovation, but the manager Collette and the lovely surroundings made an impression on me. They have olive trees, especially one 800 year old olive tree still bearing fruit. They have a a grapevine that is at least 120 years old and still producing sweet grapes. These hang from a trellis over the dining table and continue draping over a romantic courtyard.   Collette, with her hospitality and unique personality, is an attraction herself. There are 3 dogs running around. One is  a “talking dog,” who actually communicates with Collette.

Arriving agin now, there was  a bit of  commotion,  but we  quickly settled into the rooms. Then we came downstairs to explore the property and have some wine before dinner.

Fontanasalsa’s olive oils are exported to prestigious stores in Paris.  The complex is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, lemon, orange and pomegranate orchard gardens..  We arrived in late afternoon and sat in the courtyard, enjoying the sunset with wine.  It looked like scene from a movie set.

Soon  it was dinnertime, with local simple food served family-style accompanied with Fontanasalsa’s local wine.  We lingered a bit after dinner and then went to sleep.

October 24, Saturday. Erice – Salt Route – Mozia

After ample breakfast at Fontanasalsa (I liked their jams), we left to explore local area.

 

Our first stop was Erice, a wonderfully preserved Medieval town, offering the most breathtaking views with a palpable sense of history. Strolling through the narrow streets, we admired its 60 churches and the ruins of the Pepoli Castle. We took  a “gourmet break” to taste the marzipan, cinnamon and sugar pastries  at Maria Grammatico‘s bake shop.  Maria  was born to a poor family, so her mother sent her to live in the convent with the nuns. From the nuns, she learned  how to make pastry, and it turned out she was really talented at it. We enjoyed her fresh baked pastries right from the oven.

Next,  we headed to the sea to follow the historic salt route. Blue skies highlighted the  scenery that incorporates shelter for migration birds via windmills and the so-called “salt houses,” which are actually mountains of salt-covered with protective tiles. The salt pans and windmills still function as they have for centuries.  Located just feet away, we had lunch in a wonderful trattoria.  Then we jumped on a boat, while singing the theme from “Gilligan’s Island”, and took a 15-minute excursion to the Phoenician isle of Mozia (Motya) to see the collection of Joseph Whitaker, the famed archaeologist and ornithologist, whose family made a fortune producing Marsala wine. The island was founded by the Phonecians in approximately 8BC. It has a small museum with the beautiful marble statue “The youth of Motya”.

Back on land after a return boat trip, we headed to taste Marsala wines in the oldest regional winery, Florio.  In this expansive place, replete with history and artifacts, we partook in a choreographed tasting led by our very  knowledgeable hostesses.

We returned to Fontanalasa for dinner.

October 25, Sunday – Valle dei Templi, Agrigento

In the morning, we toured Fontanasalasa.   We had a lovely snack alfresco in the olive garden with an invited musician, who played local folk music.  We even had the chance to harvest our own olives and watch as they were processed into cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.  Afterwards, Colette gifted us with abottle of our own product!  We finished with lunch and more wine and olive oil.

After lunch, we bid  farewell to Colette, her staff and dogs and  departed for our next destination.

Agrigento VOTT city vista

We traveled southeast around the Island of Sicily towards Agrigento.  I was surprised the most by the lack of traffic;, there were hardly any other vehicles along the way.  We passed majestic  rolling hills dotted  with farms producing either wine or olives.  The ambience was peacefully serene, as though we were back in time.  After 2 hours and 15 minutes, we arrived and  met our local guide on cue,as we got off the minibus to visit the Valley of the Temples.

The temples were erected in the Fifth century BC, following the ancient principle (Greek as well as Roman), “face East”. In this way, the rising sun would first illuminate the statue of the Divinity, as a principle of life. The archaeological area known as the Valley of the Temples is one of the most important archeological sites in the world. It has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1998. Along an outstretched rocky scarp, chosen as the southern limit of the town, are still sited the great temples of ancient Akragas. These include the Temple of Hera (Juno) Lacinia, Concordia, Heracles (Hercules), Olympian Zeus (Jupiter), Castor and Pollux (Dioscuri) and Hephaistos (Vulcan). Further down, on the bank of the Akragas River, near a medical spring, stood the Temple dedicated to Asklepius (Eusculapius), the god of medicine. At the mouth of the river there was the harbor and emporium (trading-post) of the ancient city.  These Temples were built along one line and a single pathway led us past each one.  These are older than the Acropolis of Athens but still, some of the temples were very much intact. The British did not borrow the frieze from these Temples as they did with the Parthenon, which was also damaged in 1687 by the Venetians during the Morean War.

Dinner was in local restaurant with a beautiful view overlooking the temples.

October 26, Sunday. Piazza Armerina, Caltagirone, Siracusa

We stayed in an old Arab style Kasbah, Baglio de La Luna, with breathtaking night views of the Valley.

We then took an inland route, passing by two very notable sights that were the focus of our touring today. Upon arrival in the mountain town of Piazza Armerina, we visited the renowned Villa Romana del Casale, one of the grand attractions of Sicily, boasting the largest and best preserved collection of Roman Mosaics in the world. This place was thought to be the summer palace of the regional Roman commander. It was lost then found and the artistry is impressive.

We left and continued 45 minutes to Caltagirone, famous for its pottery production. Here the main sights include an Aragonese Castle, built at the end of the Fourteenth century and an imposing, Eighteenth Century Duomo. The architectural highlight is undoubtedly the 142 steps of the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte that connect the lower town with the older upper town. Each step is decorated with ceramic tiles. We visited a pottery factory and learned the secrets of this ancient art.

Finally we drove off to the east to Siracusa with accommodations in the historic center, Ortigia.

October 27, Monday, Siracusa, Noto

Our driver and guide picked us up from the hotel, and we departed for a 30-minute drive to Noto.  I was amazed by the beauty of the Sicilian Baroque as we explored Noto. Noto is one of the seven villages, rebuilt after the earthquake of 1693. The flowing ornate buildings and balconies were intricate and beautiful works of art.  The small café in town ranks one of the best coffee shops in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal.  It was time to sit down and  enjoy the local espresso and specialty of the region, granitas.  The location in the town square across from

 

the Cathedral was perfect.

We shopped in the local artisan stores.  We plunged  ourselves in the Iblean local life, and we delved our hands into a very special cooking experience. With Chef Andrea we learned how to cook an authentic Sicilian meal in a unique location, an ancient watermill.

Driven by the expertise of the chef, we immersed ourselves “mani o” with the ingredients to create our own meal —  from fresh homemade pasta to desert.  A selection of Sicilian wines completed the menu. We enjoyed the results of our group effort with the chef in the relaxing tranquility of the terrace, with the spectacular view of the falls and the smooth sound of the river in the background.

Here is a link to video of our cooking experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6RszzUivy8

That afternoon we met our local guide in Ortigia and had an in-depth walking tour of Ortigia. We admired the Cathedral, built on the ruins of the Temple of Athena; the Palazzo Beneventano, and the Temple of Apollo. It was one legend after another. Our visit also included the Archaeological Park in Syracusa, the Greek Theatre and the Dionysus Ear.

October 28, Tuesday : ETNA North experience with the wine tasting

Aetna lava walk fog

We were transferred from our comfortable Mercedes minibus into two four by fours — a Land Rover and a Toyota. We proceeded with our geologist driver/guide through the northern side of the volcano, between forest trails and fun off-road paths of ancient lava flows to the inside the “Etna Park”. We discovered Etna and its history. We started with a delightful walk on the edge of the ancient extinct craters to better understand the structure of the volcano. Then, we continued with the exciting discovery of a lava flow cave. Finally, we made the ascent by jeep, off the road and on to the top of an ancient lava flow to the great Mount Belvedere. From here we could admire the whole “Valle del Bove,” where lava flows from the last eruptions are collected. Then, we proceeded onward, where we reached the territory of Linguaglossa, home to the vineyards of Etna DOC. We visited a Sicilian cave, revealing all stages of the supply chain, from harvesting to bottling to the finishing touch – a tasting of 3 wine labels and a wonderful lunch. It seems the high sulfer content of the soil on the sides of this active volcano gives the grapes a unique taste that makes these wines special.  Note: Since we left, the volcano has experienced another active stage.  We only hope no person nor property was damaged.  Seeing the actual areas consumed by the lava flows in the past, gave us a special insight into the devastation that can and does occur.

We arrived Taormina, our last evening in Sicily.

October 29, Wednesday, Taormina

Taormina? The best I can say “wow”. It is a seaside city build up the side of a mountain. There is just one winding road that goes up and another (on the north side of the town) that goes down. It is a pedestrian-only city with some room, but not much for delivery and infrastructure vehicles.  The vistas are remarkable. The streets are clean and packed with restaurants and shops.  There is an ancient theater on the uppermost bluff and several historical churches. We had a little time at night to enjoy the city, including a wonderful meal in an outside trattoria. The next morning we had about four hours to further explore before our ride came to take us to the airport.

I would like to thank Barbara for being with us for a whole week and arranging such a wonderful tour. Also, thanks to Simona and her geologist guides who provided an enriching educational day and the robust wine in Aetna.

For more photos, see our slideshow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aspEtA8X4Hs

copyrights of Sophia’s Travel, division of EMCO Travel, LLC

 

 

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Luxury escorted tour of Engadine and Piedmont

This is not your usual escorted tour. Created for food and luxury sports car enthusiasts.  Passion for fine motorization – elegant convertibles might be the appropriate choice – surely helps. So does a genuine interest in refined and artful cuisine.

We offer pure fun on some of the most beautiful mountain roads of the Piedmont, the Gotthard and Stelvio region and the Engadine Valley. We also offer enlightening insight views into the the work of two top chefs of Italian and Alpine cuisine – Antonino Cannavacciuolo (Villa Crespi, Lake Orta, 2 Michelin stars) will give you insights into his kitchen while Martin Goeschel (L‘Autezza, Ftan, 1 Michelin star, 18 points Gault Millau) will take you to the world’s highest culinary school where you will experience cooking at first hand.

You will be traveling in escorted small group (maximum 6 vehicles).
We have at our disposal some of the most exclusive sports cars such as AUDI (S5 + R8-V8 + R8-V10), BENTLEY (GT + GTC), LAMBORGHINI (Gallardo + Aventador),PORSCHE (Boxster S + 911 S + 911 4S + 911 Turbo + 911 Turbo conv. + Panamera GTS + Panamera 4S + Panamera Turbo), ASTON MARTIN (Vantage V8 Roadster
+ Vantage V8 S + DB 9 Volante), FERRARI (California + F430 + F458 Italia + F458 Italia Spider), MASERATI (GT + GranCabrio + MC Stradale), MERCEDES BENZ (SLK + SL 63 AMG), MINI (Roadster S), BMW (Z4 M-pack) and JAGUAR (XKR + F-Type V8-S).

Please click here   to see details.

See Rome from the back seat of a classic Vespa!

Discover Rome in an altogether different way by experiencing it on two wheels! http://emcoinc.com/travel/html/Europe/RomeVespaTour.htm

 

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