We are happy to release this very special video footage (4 minutes) which has taken a long while to create.

Over these valuable 4 minutes you can be transported to another world – a world of traditions, tranquillity and timelessness.

This is Abruzzo, the Italy you have been searching for. Explore this little known gem of central Italy with us…from the glorious Apennine mountains to the blue of the Adriatic coast, Abruzzo has something for everyone. Touring Abruzzo offers custom and private tours, heritage/genealogy services and small group tours throughout the year.

Help us celebrate 14 years of travel to Abruzzo and travel to Italy. 

Over the years Luciana has made so many real and meaningful connections with her local people of Abruzzo, who are equally excited to share the beauty of this quiet and little known region. The many  goldsmiths, wrought iron artisans, farmers, olive oil producers, wine makers, cheesemakers, truffle hunters, custodians of museums, restaurateurs cooks, chefs and just wonderful local Abruzzese – I take my hat off to you and thank you for all you who have shared your love and passion for this land with me and my team at Touring Abruzzo.

Travel to Italy with us, knowing you will be taken care of.

Arrive in Italy as a guest…and leave as a friend..

 

www.touringabruzzo.com

When most of Europe and the northern hemisphere celebrates Labour Day or May Day, in Abruzzo there is a wonderful food tradition each May 1, in a little corner in the north of the region. If you are visiting the northern province of Teramo in Abruzzo this spring then be sure to be there on the 1st May when an ancient food tradition will be featured all over the province.

Traditionally this time in May marks the end of the winter and the promise of spring. Food wise it was when the bare winter cupboards and pantry were emptied of what could be found and added with some greens of springtime. Hence the dish

“Le Virtu” (The Virtues) was created – a thick and hearty soup or ‘minestra’. It is a wonderful healthy and robust mix of dried legumes and beans, odd bits of dried pasta in varying shapes and lengths, some pieces of fresh or cured meats as well as fresh herbs and wild greens.

Every family in the province of Teramo had their own personal recipe and way of making it with what they had, so it was truly a peasant dish of the poor, known as ‘la cucina povera’. Today though, this type of cooking is appreciated again and has risen in it’s culinary heights and can be found in many restaurants in Abruzzo.

Le Virtu' a typical spring dish in Abruzzo
Le Virtu’ a typical spring dish in Abruzzo  (Photo from www.eventiteramo.it)

The variety of ingredients that were used led to great creativity in the kitchen. For example any of these typical fresh greens or foraged wild greens could be included, such as: wild chicory, wild asparagus, dandelion, silverbeet, spinach, artichokes, endive and borage. Legumes could be anything from lentils, borlotti beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, to fresh peas and broad beans of the season. Even the pasta could be a blend of dried pasta and some fresh pasta.

To flavour the VIRTU‘ dish many fresh herbs can be used such as sage, marjoram, thyme, celery, parsley, wild mint, wild fennel, dill and spices included pepper and nutmeg.

Wild Asparagus in Abruzzo
Wild Asparagus in Abruzzo

 

It is truly a feast for the senses!

On your next Italy vacation, tour more of Italy and a visit to Abruzzo is a must on your Italy tour programme where you can discover this seasonal celebration and other great traditional dishes.

If you want to try making this dish here is the recipe from Bon Appetit 

Well BUON APPETITO to you!

I am so happy to share with you the article in last week’s Lismore Northern Star paper, about my father’s (Sabatino Masci) emotional journey back to where it started for him in Australia in 1952. I took him back to Lismore and he relived his hard times as a migrant. His book “A Difficult Harvest” captures all his memories beautifully. Not bad to write one’s memoires at age 80!

 

From Italy with love
From Italy with love

It all started in Abruzzo – the central Italy region where my parents were born and raised. During the post war years poverty and hardship were rife.. unemployment was high and the Italian feudal system was actually still alive and well. Poor tenant farmers like my father’s family endured a subsistence living.. eking out as much as they could from the small parcel of land given to them to work. The lord or boss of the estate always had first pick of the produce and crops..it would be at least 50% which would go to their landlord’s household. This included many eggs, seasonal vegetables like artichokes, zucchini, eggplants, chickens and other farm animals raised. When preparing the pig during the freezing winter months the best cuts would go to the lord of course.This would leave the poor farmers with mostly the cheaper cuts like offal (lung, heart and liver) or the trotters.. Of course great culinary traditions and dishes sprung from these meagre ingredients.

Sabatino decided at age 19 to leave his native land and try out his luck in Australia as a sponsored migrant. 42 days later he arrives on Australian shores ready to make a new life. The book has beautiful descriptions of life as a child in Abruzzo and what he did to survive. His times as a young innocent 11 year old during World War 2 and then his departure at age 19 from Italy to Australia.

Once in Australia he was sent to the migrant camp of Bonegilla in Victoria and from there he went further north at a dairy milking cows, then he settled upon banana farming in the bush from Lismore. It was at a place called Bentley Creek on the road to Kyogle.

Fast foward 55 years and Sabatino now aged 85 years old has had the opportunity to revisit this area of northern NSW and luckily his mates Jim and Peter were still alive and also 85 years old. It was such a great reunion and to see them so happy together, retelling stories of that time. Like going wild boar hunting and they lost their dogs, shooting the creek to bring up the eels and walking through the bush in pitch black darkness to get back to their farm shacks.

Chatting about old times
Chatting about old times
Reunion at the Italo Australian club Lismore
Reunion at the Italo Australian club Lismore

Another wonderful highlight in my father’s life there was that he was not married in the usual style.. He married by proxy that is he sent for his future wife Rosa from the same village in Abruzzo. She of course could not come out as an unmarried woman so she agreed and their legal marriage was done by proxy where Rosa was still in Ripa Teatina and dad was in Lismore. To be exact he was at St Carthage’s office where the papers were signed. You could say it was Married at first sight!!

Marriage Italian Australian style by proxy
St Carthage where Sabatino married by proxy in 1956

 

Married at First Sight Italian style 1957
Married at First Sight Italian style 1957
Sabatino with his horses Lismore
Sabatino with his horses Lismore

We donated a copy of his book to the Lismore Public Library so it can be read by all. His story echos many of the European migrants of that time. It is heartfelt and frank at the same time.

Donation of A DIFFICULT HARVEST to Lismore Public Library
Donation of A DIFFICULT HARVEST to Lismore Public Library
Revisiting the church where Sabatino was married by proxy
Revisiting the church where Sabatino was married by proxy

READ THE ONLINE ARTICLE HERE

READ THE ACTUAL PAPER ARTICLE BELOW:

Article in Lismore's paper THE NORTHERN STAR
Article in Lismore’s paper THE NORTHERN STAR

If you would like to purchase a copy of Sabatino Masci’s autobiography please contact Touring Abruzzo. Happy to ship anywhere in the world. COST IS AUD $29.95 plus postage. (USD $23.95 plus postage).

 

 

More Italian cooking is coming your way this summer – Saturday 10 February

Luciana will be hosting the next hands on cooking class:

‘A TALE OF 2 SUMMERS – Celebrating Summer and The Cuisine of Abruzzo in Australia’

 

fried stuffed olives Italy tours
fried stuffed olives – olive ascolane from northern Abruzzo area

Luciana your host for Italy tours

SPOIL SOMEONE YOU LOVE WITH A GIFT VOUCHER:

DATE: Saturday 10 February
TIME: 9.30am – 2.30 pm
VENUE: To be announced, in Brisbane.

COST: $160 (past cooking class guests only $140)

Come and Celebrate all things Italian this summer and relive your Italian holiday vacation and travels to Abruzzo as you cook up a storm with Luciana Masci. Learn the skills and secrets to make a superb 5 course Italian banquet..
Impress your family and friends and most of all have fun with food and with like minded people. Using only the freshest of ingredients and seasonal cooking, this class promises to impress for sure. Recipes have been gathered and passed down to Luciana and come from northern and central Abruzzo areas. You and your friends will create these Italian dishes from antipasti, pasta, meat and dessert. Great new recipes you can entertain with over our wonderful Australian summer.

Learn to make recipes including:
* fried stuffed olives (olive ascolane)
* summer spelt salad
* tortellini filled with ricotta and walnuts
* lamb with egg, cheese and lemon
* semolina and almond cake (parozzo abruzzese)

tortelloni hand made Italy tours
hand made tortelloni

 

lamb with egg and cheese Italy tours
lamb with egg and cheese

Classes often fill up (small classes only )..so reserve your places now.

GIFT VOUCHERS AVAILABLE ALSO –  So why not contact Luciana and her team at Touring Abruzzo now to reserve your spot?

Tour Italy with Luciana and relive your Italian memories with this great cooking class.
Contact Luciana luci@touringabruzzo.com or 07) 3102 4384.

OTHER CLASSES IN 2018:   MARCH 18 and APRIL 15

Touring Abruzzo trip advisor is proud to announce it’s TRIP ADVISOR listing and already has many reviews.
All guests who travel with Luciana Masci and her team have had memorable experiences and are willing to share it with others. Her passion for Abruzzo is evident as well as her attention to detail and truly personalised service. Touring abruzzo italy tours trip advisor.
READ HERE to access the latest wonderful reviews now online.
Whether you visit Abruzzo Italy for a private day tour, revisit your ancestral village or come one of Luciana’s set tour departures there is something for everyone to take away in their hearts. Her local knowledge and access to an authentic Abruzzo village Italy experience …that only local can provide!
The Piaggio APE is a 3 wheeler designed in Italy in 1948. You may not know but the engineer and designer behind the much love APE was from ABRUZZO! Yes Corradino D’Ascanio hailed from Popoli, near Sulmona and he also invented the VESPA and aircraft!  So the first Ape were virtually a Vespa with 2 wheels added to the back and added a tray at the rear as well. So an affordable means of commercial transport was born. Today it is still seen around the villages and I remember my cousins in Ripa Teatina in the 1970’s using it to go to the fields and sell at the markets.
Today I see many young ones who have converted their family’s APE into a modern piece of transport.
Others have created wonderful commercial activities out of them, like food trucks.
I love the APE used as a milk van! Which one do you like? The original ones were 50 cc, 125 cc and you can get 150 cc and 175 cc as well..
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Love this Ape used as a milk van!
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Also to transport milk around the property!
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How about as a removal service! My 15 yr old friend has found his new vocation.
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Gotta love this one… pretty in pink and selling pizza with mortadella!
WHICH IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
Here is my new 2016 brochure for your perusal. It is 4 pages filled with exciting new tour itineraries and destinations.
You will find my small group tours to ABRUZZO – are going strong and still very popular, after 12 years.
TOURING ABRUZZO is proud to work with a great team of professionals who make my work a pleasure.
 TOURS TO ABRUZZO in 2016: 
* Tastes of Abruzzo 4 days of fun, food and the best of Abruzzo. A great taste!
* Back Roads of Abruzzo – 8 days on the roads less travelled in Abruzzo. Amazing and live like a local for a week!
* Grand Tour of Abruzzo 10 days of immersion in the culture, food and traditions of Abruzzo. Pure magic!

Ask Luciana for more information and see the dates from May to October this year.

Remember that travelling to Abruzzo with Luciana is an ALL INCLUSIVE experience.. There is virtually nothing further out of pocket to spend once you sign up for a tour programme.
ALL GROUPS ARE SMALL and NEVER EXCEED 12 GUESTS – usually there are less (average 4- 8 guests)
CHOOSE OTHER DESTINATIONS IN SOUTHERN ITALY – 
After extensive research with wonderful guides and learned archeologists, Luciana can now offer fabulous new destinations in Southern Italy:
  • PUGLIA TOURS choose a programme to suit you in this splendid part of Italy’s heel.
  • BASILICATA – the beauty of Matera and timeless atmosphere will leave you mesmerised..
  • LAZIO & CAMPANIA – follow the Appian Way from Rome to Naples and discover its treasures..

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IN THIS SECTION, I will write about the glorious TASTES of ABRUZZO which can be simple and also sophisticated, tastes which vary within the region itself and tastes which reflect the passion of its people and true artisans.
Here are a couple – Antonella and Dino, the most generous people and Dino is an artisan breadmaker.
How about the taste of freshly baked focaccia filled with grilled capsicum
(peppers) with egg and cheese – ‘peperone con cace’ e ove’ ?
You will find recipes archived or file in the relevant sections.

In my first cooking class for the 2014 season in Brisbane, Australia we will explore and have fun making these Abruzzese treats – baked and fried. You will see that olive oil (especially extravirgin olive oil) is used in all cooking. Butter is not a traditional ingredient in Abruzzo, unlike the northern regions of Italy so you will see how the flavour is fabulous and not to mention the health qualities!

Here is what we will be making in our Italian Bake off class:
Sbrisolonaa ricotta crumble cake with almonds and chocolate as well as an Italian crema and sour cherry version,
Pizzelle – crispy thin traditional Italian olive oil waffles, easy to make but so impressive. We will make 2 versions, both sweet and savoury. The sweet version has liqueur as a secret ingredient and the savoury version we will use saffron or poppy seeds and pepper!
Biscotti –
 rolled with fig jam and cocoa, Luciana’s very own flavour combination…so perfect to serve with any afternoon coffee
Crespelle –
 for a festive touch to celebrate the summer season we create these scrumptious sweet fritters made with a soft dough where we can add sultanas or aniseeds and sprinkle with sugar!


PictureAldo Di Toro

I went to an Opera Queensland production in Brisbane just a few days ago to see the latest production of the  great tragedy of LA TRAVIATA by Giuseppe Verdi and guess who was playing the lead role of Alfredo alongside the main tragic character of Violetta played by the terrific Emma Pearson?
None other than Aldo Di Toro, a friend whom I have met through other musicians in Abruzzo over the years.  Aldo is a second generation Australian, like me – child of Abruzzese migrants who settled in Australia.
He hails from Western Australia where he graduated from the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music and has won several awards  from Opera Foundation Australia: the 2000 Italian Opera Award which enabled him to study at Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the 2002 AIMS Award for further study in Graz, Austria. 
Now he lives in Abruzzo in the delightful village of Sant’Eusanio, Italy which is actually only a few kilometres from where I live in Abruzzo! What a great base for him to rest up in between his hectic schedule..
I remember fondly when several years ago I assisted in arranging a concert for him in Brisbane in conjunction with 4MBS radio at Coorparoo, Brisbane where he sang alongside pianist and accompanist Roberto Rupo.
Read more about his operatic highlights and roles here in the Opera Australia site

Wishing you all the best ALDO!


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Abruzzo in central Italy has a population of around 1.3 million people today. However in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s there was a huge migration of its people to North America especially to USA. It reached its peak from 1900- 1915 with a huge exodus. Sadly the migration was driven by dire poverty and uneasy political situation where the poor peasants had very few rights under the old feudal system, not enough land to live off and to feed the large families. Going to America was a dream and the thought of travelling to New York to make their fortune was enough to send at least 500,000 Abruzzese to North America. 
Other regions of Italy also saw huge numbers of migrants heading to USA and Canada in those years. The regions were from Fruili Venezia Giulia in the north of Italy to Sicily and Calabria in Italy’s south. This migration has been referred to as the Italian Diaspora.
Migration then had another peak in the post second world war period especially in the 1950’s. Here many of the Abruzzese travelled to Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and of course Australia.
My father Sabatino  and my mother Rosa were one of these migrants with a sponsored passage to Australia. This was in 1952 for my father and in 1956 for my mother.

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Luciana researching for a client in the archives of a town hall in Abruzzo
Since I started my work in Abruzzo in 2004, I have had many many requests to research for clients the ancestral heritage and genealogy of family members. After detailed research and networking and piecing together information from documents and oral history I am able to reconnect  children of Abruzzese migrants to their ancestral village.
This is particularly satisfying when my guests share this real emotional connection to their past and to their long lost family and creates memories to last a lifetime. 
Here are some of the many villages I have had requests to research and reconnect: 
Where is your family from?
Alfedena
Caramanico
Casoli
Chieti

Civitella del Tronto
Civitella Messer Raimondo
Fara San Martino
Furci
Guardiagrele
Introdacqua
Morro D’Oro
Ortucchio
Nereto
Palombaro
Pescara
Pescosansonesco
Picciano
Ripa Teatina
Roseto degli Abruzzi

Sant’Eufemia a Maiella
Sulmona
Tufillo
Villamagna..
With virtually  all my guests over the years,  I find that this search and rediscovery in Abruzzo becomes the highlight of their Italian journey always wishing they had spent more time in beautiful Abruzzo. Come and discover YOUR ABRUZZO HERITAGE yourself.