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

 

 

Our latest e-newsletter is now out and ready to read. Now you can read all our latest travel news to Italy in 2021.

I have written a real heart felt newsletter in these strange and even distressing times for many of us. The world has been shaken up and it is hard to make plans in the foreseeable future. I hope you are all staying safe and healthy too.

We can only continue to keep our dream of travelling to Italy alive each and every day. It is super frustrating for everyone – guests who are itching to travel again and for guests who are saddened with their cancellation or postponement of their Italy travels this year. It is frustrating for us as tour operators to see all our work disappear with the click of a finger, just like that. After 16 years of hard work it is not easy to just close up and fold up just like that.. My team and I will not be beaten but need to rise again and be ready to continue to share our love and passion for Abruzzo and the other central and southern Italy regions we travel to.

 

 

Villetta Barrea lake view Abruzzo
Read all about our Italy News for 2021

In this newsletter – see some great and innovative videos we have put together so you can meet some of my valuation team.

Meet Fabio, Antonella, Barbara, Marta in this newsletter with our fun videos! They are showcasing their villages and towns in Abruzzo, Puglia and Sorrento and are all waiting for you and for me to return.

I am sharing a very easy recipe to make – your very own Italian sponge cake.

Italian sponge cake
Pizza dolce Abruzzese sponge cake

 

You can also make enquiries as to what Abruzzo merchandise you can buy online from me –now selling are the final handmade silver filigree presentosas from Abruzzo.

Silver filigree presentosa Abruzzo
Silver filigree presentosa Abruzzo

Finally you can also shop our range of Abruzzo ceramics – I have mugs and square plates available in a range of styles.

Just ask me for more information and I can email you out the product range.

Enquire here at luci@touringabruzzo.com

Comfort and Tea in these times…

Hi from Luciana Masci from Touring Abruzzo 

Some Italian treasures collected on my travels
Some Italian treasures collected on my travels

In these troubling times since February our lives have had a big shake up and change. With my yearly tours to Italy everything has come to a halt, just like that overnight.

After 16 years of travelling to Italy to lead the tours it is so disastrous and sad that I cannot be there this year.

I am based in Brisbane, Australia and spend part of each year in Italy where I am based in Abruzzo.         

As we cannot travel within Australia or out of Australia it has given me much time to reflect on my life and work. There are things which do give me comfort and solace in these sad times. 

As I isolate and do my best to stay home I enjoy:

  1. My beautiful things around me…

Over a lifetime of travelling I collect beautiful pieces especially c eramics. The ceramic sea urchins are from my visit to the Amalfi Coast and I explored the famous ceramic village of Vietri.

The coaster is a piece from Castelli, in Abruzzo and the ceramic and cork mat is from Portugal way back in 1986!

I have also been fortunate to know wonderful Australian friends who have gifted me special pieces like the blue and white teapot from Vietnam and my prized Royal Crown Derby teacup and saucer both from Rosemary. I will treasure these pieces forever as she is no longer with us.

 

2) Tea tea and more tea…

For an Italian is it strange to say that I don’t drink coffee?? I am a green tea drinker. I love the fragrant jasmine green teas, sencha tea and also herbal teas like peppermint.

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I take it outdoors, indoors and also on my bed with a warm wool blanket…that is super comforting.

3) Cooking and Baking ….

I love to pull out my old recipes and also find new recipes to try out on my family and friends.

I find comfort in making my traditional Abruzzese and Italian recipes like gnocchi, chicken soup, spaghetti alla chitarra with a slow cooked lamb sauce.

Here is a new sponge cake recipe my cousin Loredana shared with me from Abruzzo over a Whats App chat!

I will share it with you here – it has only 3 ingredients and it works every time. In this recipe I cut it in half and sprinkled it with coffee and a liqueur I had in my cupboard (like cointreau or frangelico)., then filled it with homemade nutella spread and whipped chantilly cream!

Great comfort food starts at home
Great comfort food starts at home

Italian Sponge Cake    (Pan di Spagna) by Loredana 

6 eggs

150 gr sugar

180 gr plain flour (sifted and add 2 teaspoons baking powder)

In a mixer bowl add the eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer for around 20 mins until the mixture is pale and creamy and with lots of volume. This is how the air is introduced into the sponge mix.

Turn the mixer off and gently fold in the sifted flour with a spatula or wooden spoon, careful not to overwork the folding. 

Place in a greased springform cake tin and bake in a preheated oven at 170 deg and bake for 30 – 35 mins. It should be soft to touch and the cake come away from the sides.

Leave to cool in the tin before turning out.

 

4) Gardening…

 

Flowers from my garden
Flowers from my garden

 

So satisfying to grow food at home
So satisfying to grow food at home

With my Italian heritage gardening and growing food is part of our DNA! Coming from family who have always farmed in rural Abruzzo, I have always grown up with a vegetable garden.

Here is my pumpkin plant growing which I will harvest soon in our autumn season here in Australia. At the moment I am growing tomatoes, herbs and some greens as well as eggplants. 

I also enjoy growing some flowers like this hibiscus called Lemon Delight and my yellow chrysanthemums which come from our nonna Liberata’s garden and we saved the plants and pass it onto all our family now. 

5) Painting…

My painting "Reaching into the Light"
My painting “Reaching into the Light”

My newest passion is trying to learn to paint. I have always loved sketching but over the years as I become more busy it was something that got forgotten. I have recently got out my old sketch book and seen the things I drew… Now I have picked up paint brush and put paint to canvas.

 This is my latest effort. I have called it “Reaching into the Light”.. What do you think?

I have drawn inspiration from our first people here, our aboriginal people with their rich culture and design. 

I hope to do more, as I find it really zones me out and it is such a mindful practice that I can get lost in my world for a while. It actually has been so good for my mind, body and soul, I wish I can do more and try out different techniques and perhaps learn to mix and blend colours..

Well these are a few of my favourite things, when I am not travelling and working in Italy. 

Thanks to Maria Laura from Laura Selection who has inspired me and encouraged me to write a few word on Comfort and Tea in these times. 

I am looking forward to our collaboration with Maria Laura from Molise region which is just below our beloved Abruzzo. We have created and curated a superb new tour programme “Back Roads of Molise” which was ready to launch this year 2020, however it is on hold for 2021 and we are ready to go with it.

It will be 8 magnificent days exploring the little known region of Molise together with Luciana and Maria Laura!

italyphotosardiniatours

Read more here to learn all about what Luciana and her team will be offering in 2020.

EXPERIENCE CENTRAL & SOUTHERN ITALY with LUCIANA

Luciana is celebrating 16 years of leading boutique and bespoke tours to Abruzzo in central Italy.
Over the years, Luciana has added several other regions in southern Italy to provide more travel choices for guests.
2020 will see Luciana and her team launch 2 new regions –   Sardinia & Molise! 

A big thank you must go out to the many guests who have supported Touring Abruzzo and loved travelling with the team.   Grazie a tutti. 

ABRUZZO – still has so much to offer!

From Private Day Tours, Retracing your Ancestral Heritage in Abruzzo, to 4 day / 8 day / 10 day fully escorted tours – Luciana always shares her love for her ancestral land and creates a true Italian experience.

 NEW TOUR: SARDINIA 2020
We are super excited to release our new tour:  BACK ROADS OF SARDINIA  (8 days) –  September 3-10, 2020
This is a guaranteed departure with small group only. Be prepared to be immersed in the rich history and culture of Sardinia, see amazing artisans at work and enjoy local regional food.
We will travel from Cagliari then west and north of Sardinia to Alghero and end in Olbia.
Luciana has teamed up with Fabio again (Puglia & Basilicata tours) and they will lead the inaugural tour to bring you the signature Touring Abruzzo style and attention to detail!

Read more here to learn all about what Luciana and her team will be offering in 2020.

MOLISE region launching in 2020!
‘TASTES of MOLISE’ tour: 4 days 
This region is directly below Abruzzo and shares much of its culture and history with Abruzzo until it separated in the early 1960’s and became its own region. We will be based in Termoli on the Adriatic coastline and explore the eastern part of Molise .

Tour dates: May 3; May 28; June 21; September 10;

October 12.
‘BACK ROADS of MOLISE’ tour (8 days): 
Tour dates: June 21 & October 12

Catch up on our latest news, recipes and tours in our recently released newsletter. Maybe this is the year you will come to Italy with us!

This year the tours are in full swing already with tour programmes taking in Abruzzo and Puglia for the first half of the year.

The Touring Abruzzo team has a lot of news, information and tips and also a simple recipe from Puglia to try.

Touring Italy has never been easier with us as we have specialist guides in Italy’s central and southern regions so the best of Italy awaits. With a great network of private drivers who are available year round to take you on your private transfers it has never been easier. Whether it is from Rome to Abruzzo, or Abruzzo to Positano or from Abruzzo to Puglia you can travel safely knowing you will get to your destination with ease and see alot of Italy along the way.

Also you can choose your private English speaking guide on your own Private Day Tour in Abruzzo or elsewhere, knowing that it will be tailor made to suit your time, your dates and your interests.

Discovering one’s Italian Heritage has always been very popular with the massive ancestry research available online. In particular we have received many requests over the years to understand one’s Abruzzo Heritage. This is one of the most rewarding parts to our work and service as the research involved is fascinating and many facts are uncovered. To see the emotions on our guests faces is just amazing and real connections are made to a place and time and to a people.

Start planning Italy 2019 now and be surprised. You know we are the Italy you have been searching for at Touring Abruzzo

 

Related Tag : Vacation In iItaly

The Italian government has announced this year 2019 as the Year of Slow Travel. What is that you may ask?
Italy is not new at the art of slow.. in fact it was Italy which launched the Slow Food Movement in 1986 as a backlash to the fast food phenomenon.

Traveling slowly in Italy will give you the chance  to form a more meaningful and stronger connection to the towns you’re visiting, and you will be rewarded immensely.  With a slower pace and programme it is not about ticking off places and famous sights off a list, a waiting in endless queues to catch glimpses of art and architecture. It is about delving deeper and immersing fully into a lesser known region of Italy and staying in less crowded towns where you can feast on all your senses.

You will have time to unwind in a quiet cafe, watch the world go by, learn to use your Italian you have been learning and dying to practice! It is all about the experience and the meaningful connections you will make with the locals. You get to follow the seasons, eat what is local and fresh and appreciate the small pleasures all around you. It is these moments where magic is created and moments turn into lifelong memories. Travel Italy and take it slow and sure. Whether you visit Abruzzo, Marche or Molise in central Italy or Puglia and Basilicata in the heel of Italy and its deep south, there is something special awaiting you and will be the true highlight of your Italy vacation.

 

Last week on Travel Writers Radio they chatted about the Italian Government making 2019 the year of slow travel, and this week accomplished journalist, travel writer and reporter Veronica Matheson learnt more about the joys of slow travel from Luciana Masci who lives in Brisbane, but spends the Italian summer taking small groups of tourists around Abruzzo – the home of her ancestors – which is three hours east of Rome. For more visit www.touringabruzzo.com

Listen here to a fabulous interview with Veronica and understand why Italy and in particular Abruzzo is the place to slow down and unwind and delve deeper into the rich traditions and culture which await you.

 

 

Related Tag : Italy Tour Packages

 

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

Read our latest issue of our e-Newsletter for Italy Travel with Touring Abruzzo.
See what is new in 2018!

TOUR ITALY with Touring Abruzzo.  
Lots of reasons & regions to discover this summer.
We are so proud to celebrate 14 years of travel to ABRUZZO, Italy – sharing the best the region has to offer with other like minded guests. Whether it is to explore something new in Italy or to rediscover your Italian heritage, Abruzzo offers so much. Luciana and her team of local specialists provide the best Italy experience…ever. An Italy vacation to remember.
 

Whether you want to walk in any of the three national parks…treasure hunt for truffles…reconnect with your ancestral village or simply observe typical village life, then look no further than beautiful Abruzzo… 

 

Departures for Abruzzo this summer:
  •  June 3-6; June 17-20: Tastes of Abruzzo (4 days)
  • June 3-12: Grand Tour of Abruzzo (10 days) ** this is the most popular of all our Abruzzo tour programmes.
  • June 17-24: Back Roads of Abruzzo (8 days)                                
Departures this autumn/fall:
  • September 17-20: Tastes of Abruzzo (4 days)
  • September 17-26: Grand Tour of Abruzzo (10 days)

Prices from USD $1800 pp, all inclusive & small group travel

PRIVATE DAY TOURS IN ABRUZZO are available year round (from USD $200 pp)
PRIVATE HERITAGE SERVICES IN ABRUZZO are available year round

MARCHE region is the exciting new region to be added to Touring Abruzzo’s tour programmes in 2018. Launching this month the inaugural departure is for May 23.
Located just above Abruzzo, it is also a wonderful central Italian region often little known to those travelling to Italy. Luciana and colleague Guido have personally created a wonderful 6 day programme including:
  • marvellous landscapes
  • visits to medieval centres for paper making in Fabriano
  • visits to piano accordion makers, wine and olive oil producers of Marche region
  • visits to the birthplaces and homes of composer Rossini in Pesaro and Renaissance master Raphael or Raffello Sanzio of Urbino.
  • fabulous local cuisine of the Marche …

2018 Dates: May 23 -28; June 21-26; September 21-26.

Prices from USD $3300 pp – small group travel

PERFECT PUGLIA: June, September & October departures.
Many options to choose from – 4, 8 or 10 days in Puglia.
Travel with Fabio your Puglia tour specialist.PRIVATE DAY TOURS available also – LEARN MORE HERE
PRICES from USD $2200 pp, small group travelEXCITING TRAVEL TO ITALY’S SOUTH

**************

BACK ROADS OF BASILICATA:  September 1 & October 17 departures.
8 days of exploring the deep south of Italy.

Travel with Fabio your Basilicata tour specialist. PRICES from USD $2200 pp, small group travelEXPLORE MORE OF ITALY ON YOUR NEXT VACATION
FEATURE RECIPE: TARTUFINI  (Little Chocolate Truffles)
I am putting this recipe in as it is back by popular demand. I know a few of you have made it and they taste great!
Happy Cooking and many happy memories of Italy too!

Ingredients:

250gr (8 oz) whole almonds with skin on – ground
200gr (7 oz) sugar
1/2 coffee cup (1.5-2.0 fluid oz) of liqueur eg Tia Maria
1 tbspn dark cocoa
400gr (14 oz)sponge cake or plain soft cake, crumbled
Espresso coffee as needed

Method:

In a bowl, crumble the sponge cake into fine crumbs, add the ground almonds,
sugar and cocoa.
Add the liqueur slowly, then add the espresso coffee – enough to make a firm
dough and not too wet.
Need to roll into round walnut sized shapes to resemble truffles.
Roll in powdered sifted cocoa or in choc shavings or choc hail.
When cooled in fridge and ready to serve, place in small patty cases.

Shop Now
Visit the Touring Abruzzo              
Online Shop  today to see the wonderful items from Abruzzo which are available.
Choose from a boutique range of ceramics, traditional silver jewellery, aprons, tea towels, canvas art and books… Order online today and it will be shipped to you anywhere in the world.
THE ITALY YOU HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR…
 
 
Copyright © *2018* *TOURING ABRUZZO with LUCIANA P/L*, All rights reserved.

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*luci@touringabruzzo.com*

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