It is difficult and frustrating to know that in Australia we cannot travel anywhere outside our country for now. Italy seems so distant but the memories and feelings and sensations are so clear and vivid to me. Here is a little list of what I truly love and miss. I cannot wait to return to my land and my people once more…

  1. The sound of church bells.

Since medieval times,  bells have always had a place in the cultural life of Italy.

They are a call to arms, a call for war, they can be the sound of happiness for weddings, the slow peal for funerals…

In my village of Palombaro I love the daily sound of our church bell either from the church of San Salvatore or from the Madonna dell’Assunta.

I would hear the bells ringing on the quarter hour and the half hour and on the hour.. It gave my day some regularity and sense of calmness. 

On Sunday the bells would sound for longer and call the villagers for the 11.00 am mass.

It is a joyous sound!

Marinelli family Agnone Touring Abruzzo
Visiting Agnone and it’s bells

Villages of Abruzzo Palombaro Touring Abruzzo tours

My village bell tower in Palombaro

Peace bell made in Agnone
Civitella del Tronto peace bell

2) The smiles and faces of my family and friends.

Of course I miss my immediate family there – my cousins and my aunty in Palombaro, Chieti, Ripa Teatina and Villamagna.

I long to see my old friend Dora who is now over 80. She gets around the village and is always busy doing something… from picking walnuts off her trees and selling them to local bakeries to use in their baking to growing the best tomatoes outside her apartment on her balcony. She is always ready with her large smile and always keen to get me in for a mid morning caffe!

I wish I could be near my darling cousin Loredana who loves our weekly shopping trips and in the right season we go foraging for wild asparagus for example which is in the springtime. She calls me up and says  to pop around and make pasta with her and stay on for dinner… no formal invitation needed.  I walk from one end of the village where I am and in 5 mins I am outside her door!

My many friends I have met over the years bring me much joy with their warmth and kindness and always ready to help me out or meet me for a gelato!

Abruzzo foraging tours with Touring Abruzzo
My cousin Loredana and myself foraging for elderberries

 

Walnuts in Abruzzo foraging with Touring Abruzzo
My special friend Dora in my village

3) The smell of coffee and cornetto!

You may be shocked to hear that I don’t drink coffee! However the smell is so wonderful and as soon as I arrive in Rome my senses are stirred up when I smell the Lavazza or Illy coffee from the cafe-bar and the baked cornetti or Italian croissants (which are like a brioche). I know I have arrived back in Italy.

Every village has at least one bar and the sound of the coffee machine and clinking of the espresso coffee cups…aah  (I drink green tea and now decaf coffee by the way!)

Touring Abruzzo cafe places to tour
Coffee time in Abruzzo

 

4) Shopping!!

Of course I do! My wardrobe is mainly from my Italian finds – the lovely pants and dresses and the great shoes and handbags… Oh I do miss that. It is fun going to the sales with my cousin Loredana and we find things for each other. We try dresses on and have a laugh.

Even the mundane grocery shop we do together is fun as we chat and giggle all the way. We find new items to try and exchange recipes for the night’s dinner.

Touring Abruzzo shopping timeWeekly shopping trip with cousin Loredana

5) The Tomatoes and the Olive Oil!

I think many of you will agree on this one! Those of you who remember staying at Loreto Aprutino at the agriturismo and nonna Olga would come out with a plate of bread with home grown sun ripened tomatoes with some dried oregano, a sprinkle of salt and lashings of their extravirgin olive oil.. Oh I can taste that sweetness now and flesh so meaty and it tastes like a real tomato. Do you remember that?

Tastes of Abruzzo with Touring Abruzzo
              Real tomatoes in Italy!

What are your top five things you miss or love about Italy?

Write to me here: luci@touringabruzzo. com

 

The country of Italy is a history boffin’s dream country, with all the historic art and buildings restored or kept just as they were centuries ago. That is why Abruzzo is a must for any enthusiast. But that is not all that this gem of a province is capable of offering. There is so much more to Abruzzo and without a dependable guide to lead you around, you might miss out on some amazing places and people. For Italy vacations, you can always get the assistance of Touring Abruzzo, a team who is passionate about Abruzzo and will help you fall in love with it. If you are not sure what Abruzzo may have in store for you, then read further:

  • Trabocchi Coast

When in Abruzzo, there is no excuse in not making a trip to the Trabocchi Coast. This 70-kilometre stretch of coast stretches from Ortona to San Salvo and is a UNESCO World Heritage stretch. A few coves and reefs can be found below the hills of the coast but that just one of several attractions of the coast. Make sure you do not miss the Trabocchi, a collection of fishing net structures that were used in the distant past by fisherman. They collected sea bass, sardines and anchovies without going into deep waters.

'Trabocchi' fishing structure in Abruzzo
‘Trabocchi’ fishing structure in Abruzzo
  • Historical buildings

First is the Santa Maria Della Pietà, an octagonal church that was built in the seventeenth century. This church was allegedly built by the locals, so they could show their appreciation to the Madonna for rescuing them against an attack from a group of thugs. At a higher elevation is the famed Rocca Calascio that can be found alongside the Campo Imperatore, the mountain grassland and the Gran Sasso e Monti Della Laga National Park. The Rocca Calascio is a fortress that was built as a watchtower in the tenth century and built to be impenetrable to invaders. Although it never tasted battle, the fortress was damaged in a 1461 earthquake.

Abruzzo the road less travelled in Italy
Abruzzo the road less travelled in Italy
  • Confetti

Confetti candy is sugar-coated almond candies and can be found in Sulmona. These sweets are usually designed as flowers and are made with sugar. They are given as a favour at weddings and baptisms as well as graduations. These confetti from Sulmona have also graced the tables of many of the modern royal weddings in England from Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry!

Confetti of Abruzzo
Confetti of Abruzzo

A trip to Abruzzo will broaden your horizons and learn more about what Italy is all about. Great memories await in Abruzzo… So make your bookings today.

Related Tag : Vacation In Italy 

When we receive a request to start heritage and genealogy research in Abruzzo it is always a pleasure. There is much excitement as to what will be uncovered – dates of birth, death or marriage.
But not just that sometimes there are mysteries solved or reasons why people left Abruzzo to search fortunes and a better life in USA or Australia or Canada.

The icing on the cake is when we do manage to find living relatives. That is such a positive and it makes all the difference to reconnecting guests with their village, their region, their past and also their future. Often guests supply us with an address or a contact name and number which was handed down from past migrants going back to the homeland in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s …not knowing if these contacts are still valid or not.

It starts with finding the village in Abruzzo

It starts with locating the village in Abruzzo

The process is not an easy one as for each guest that has requested prior heritage research in Abruzzo we do take it seriously. There is an extensive on site field visit to the Abruzzese village. Not only are the archives located in the town hall but also we seek to find the ancestral house, or an address from where the family left back in the 1890’s to the early 1900’s. Then we visit the cemetery, the church and any other notable places in the village.

The church where the ancestors were married in Alanno
The church where the ancestors were married in Alanno

On the day itself, the hard work pays off and the magic unfolds. From start to finish it is an amazing experience both for us at Touring Abruzzo and for the guests. To see the smiles on their faces, the wonderment the awe and the happiness is really priceless.

Discovering the area is always a delight
Discovering the area is always a delight

We hear many stories of people having gone to their village independently and not finding a thing or arriving only to find the town hall closed or the mayor unavailable or disinterested. They are unable to connect in a meaningful way, speak no Italian or the local dialect or know how to meet the right people who will open up the right doors. In a small village it is vital to speak to a person who leads you to another, from the village priest to the town baker – all of whom are vital in piecing together a story and history for the guests who are coming to revisit their ancestral village.

Arriving in the ancestral village of Alanno
Arriving in the ancestral village of Alanno
Revisiting places where the family lived and worked is amazing
Revisiting places where the family lived and worked is amazing

The Italian family still in the village is equally amazed and excited as well – they have often heard stories of their grandparents and their siblings going to overseas to the States and often returning with money made over there. Some would remain in Abruzzo then other family members would join those still in America. It really makes their dreams come true, which is so special.

 

Connecting with new family in Abruzzo is priceless!
Connecting with new family in Abruzzo is priceless. The best Italy vacation ever that is for sure!

 

Sharing stories and photos
Sharing stories and photos

 

Great memories and reminiscences
Great memories and reminiscences

If you want to contact us to learn how you can be part of something grand and bigger and more meaningful in searching for your ancestral village in Abruzzo, Italy then ask us more here. We can assist in all stages of your planning, to your arrival as well as seeing more and experiencing more of what Abruzzo has to offer with some special private day tours in Abruzzo to complete your Italy tours and vacations, which can be added on when you visit Abruzzo with us.

 

 

The grand finale - a family lunch
The grand finale – a family lunch

Related Tags:  Abruzzo Italy

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..

Related Tag : Vacation In Italy

www.touringabruzzo.com

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

Related Tags: Abruzzo Italy

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..
Picture
Love this Ape used as a milk van!
Picture
Also to transport milk around the property!
Picture
How about as a removal service! My 15 yr old friend has found his new vocation.
Picture
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 Italy – 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 Italy. Pure magic!

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

Remember that travelling to Abruzzo Italy 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..