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


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

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


There are so many traditional recipes in Italy as every region has their own version of a particular recipe or their own special recipe only in that region.. Abruzzo is no exception. I have been asked many times for the recipe to this delicious Olive oil cake.

There are many versions where you can add fresh ricotta or almonds. Sometimes I can even add yoghurt if I have some in the fridge… or lime zest instead of lemon.. Once you know the basic method you can modernise the recipe! Good luck and start baking..

Olive oil and ricotta cake - Abruzzese style
Olive oil and ricotta cake – Abruzzese style


TARALLO ABRUZZESE – Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

4 eggs

250 gr sugar 

200 gr s.r flour and some extra baking powder 1 tspn

180 gr fresh ricotta

½ cup water (or milk)

½ cup of oil 

Lemon zest of 1 lemon or orange zest


Separate eggs, beat egg whites until stiff – for about 2 mins or so.

Add sugar, continue beating.

Add the 4 egg yolks, continue beating. Up to this point, should be beaten for about 8 mins in total to allow air to get in.

Add the lemon zest and some vanilla essence, add the ricotta and beat until smooth.

Add the sifted S.R flour, baking powder, the water and the oil and fold through. If it is too runny add a spoon of flour at a time. If it is too thick, add a spoon of milk or water at a time. Mixture should be thick ribbons runny when you lift it off the whisk or spoon.

Grease a ring cake tin and flour it.

Cook for 1 hr in 170 deg C oven.

Olive oil cake with Ricotta - Abruzzese style
Olive oil cake with Ricotta


Related Tag: Abruzzo 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

Mentions of Italy instantly invoke thoughts of mouth-watering food, rich local wines and family heritage dating back hundreds of years. You can experience all that and more by exploring Italy with our tours of Italy.  Consider a small group tour of Italy to  Abruzzo – one of Italy’s most stunning and untouched regions. By travelling with us to Abruzzo we explore traditional slow cooking, authentic food, Italian heritage, local nature and undiscovered treasures of the region as Luciana continues her mission to spread her knowledge of all things Abruzzese. Now in her 13th year as a travel ambassador, Luciana Masci, director of Touring Abruzzo, encompasses the best of Abruzzo for those who are new to the region, and those who are coming back for more.




She is still leading her small group tours to this hidden gem in central Italy with her dynamic team of local guides and professionals. There is a wide choice of 4, 8 and 10 day Abruzzo tour programmes which are all inclusive. This means there is virtually no further cost out of pocket once you have booked. You can just sit back and enjoy the journey.

“With my tours and cooking classes I am not only able to share the secrets of this wonderful region, but also recipes and history that have been passed down through my own family and are close to my heart.”

Having lived and worked in Abruzzo over the last 13 years Luciana has been able to reconnect with her ancestral heritage, her family and her village.

“Discovering my ancestral heritage was truly inspiring, and something I have had the privilege of sharing with my past tour guests in Abruzzo.”

Over the last few years Luciana has also added new exciting destinations in Italy – to make any vacation in Italy a complete one. There are now itineraries featuring other undiscovered gems in southern Italy – Basilicata and Puglia. Each explore southern Italy’s rich history, local cuisine and stunning scenery. As of 2018, Touring Abruzzo will also offer a new entry – small group tours of central Italy to the Marche region. This region lies just above Abruzzo and is worth considering on your next Italy tour. Dates have been arranged so that you can bookend  2 short programmes together such as Abruzzo then Marche or Abruzzo followed by Puglia.

Fresh food markets in Matera, Basilicata
Fresh food markets in Matera, Basilicata

What other reasons do you need to travel to Italy with Luciana and her dynamic team in 2018?

Private tours to central and southern Italy will continue to be available and heritage tours of Abruzzo will also be available.

You can contact Luciana to know more about Marche tours.





Your next small group tour to Italy - Le Marche region central Italy
Your next small group tour to Italy – Le Marche region central Italy
Puglia coastline is stunning
Puglia coastline is stunning
Your wonderful guide Fabio


Visit Abruzzo Italy, the picture postcard “beauty of the north” and experience the age-old Italian lifestyle that has remained unchanged for centuries. Here colourfully dressed shepherds still guide their flocks of sheep down century-old pathways and the Beachwood forests are inhabited by bears and wolves.  Ominous castles loom over desolate stretches of wilderness – now guarding nothing more than a family of mountain goats and a majestic royal eagle soaring over the landscape.

Although Abruzzo is traditionally thought of as a remote mountainous region, vast sandy beaches stretch along its eastern border south of Pescara and along the Adriatic north. Towards the west, the hills rise sharply into the infamous Abruzzo mountain range with isolated hill towns dotted here and there.

 Italy tours experiences

Italy Tours to Abruzzo National Parks

The site of this vast and well-administered national park is what Italian grandmothers call “God’s own country” and it is regarded as one of the most important national parks in Europe. Close by is the newly designated protected area of Maiella National Park, as well as several other regional parks. These protected areas abound with flora and fauna where flowering meadows and thick forests give way to snow-capped granite peaks and high barren plains. Calderone, the southernmost glacier in Europe, extends majestically from Corno Grande all the way to Corno Piccolo, yet overshadowed by Gran Sasso, the tallest peak on the Italian Peninsula.


Places of Interest on Italy Tours to Abruzzo

–              From Castelli to Chieti a staggering array of traditional home-cooked food can be found, some of which visitors to the region had never experienced before. This is a great experience whilst on an Italy tours.

–              This is castle country with broad valleys and high mountains surrounding magnificent structures. The sights make tours of Italy spectacular.

–              Some convents and monasteries in Abruzzo are works of art while some are situated in a world-class location which offers interesting alternatives to hotel accommodation. Our Italy travel packages include all accommodation whilst on tour.

–              The jewel of Abruzzo is Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, a haven for trees, wild animals and flowers. It’s a must visit on your next vacation in Italy.

–              Camping sites in Abruzzo are well-organized with excellent facilities, a must do on your tours of Italy.

–              Kids love to track the spectacular underground river situated in the Stiffe Caves in Abruzzo Italy. This is another great thing to do on your next vacation in Italy.

–              Italy travel packages offer an easy way to experience a panoramic view of Abruzzo with a ride on the Treno della Valle.

–              Colorful pageants and festivals are held year round throughout Abruzzo and several flea markets held in the grounds of 16th century cathedrals offer a chance to stock up on souvenirs for friends and family.

–              Discover other unspoiled hidden gems in the region of Abruzzo, Puglia and Basilicata on tours of Italy and immerse yourself in the traditional Italian culture and lifestyle. Our Italy travel packages make seeing the true Italian culture and way of life possible with great vacation in Italy deals.


Tours to Italy include private and day tours to experience the heritage and treasures of Abruzzo, or take a grand Italy tour of ten days to visit the best of the northern, central and southern regions of this historically beautiful region. Make your vacation in Italy a memorable one with Touring Abruzzo’s incredible Italy travel packages to visit stunning destinations such as Abruzzo Italy.

Planning your trip to Italy is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the best of this amazing country. It makes sense then that you would choose the best possibly locations such as Abruzzo, Puglia and Basilicata for your trip.

This is why the Italy tour packages that we offer focus on these areas, bringing you to destinations that have been long enshrined in history, but still offer a more modern experience as well. Our packages include a local English-speaking guide who is completely familiar with the area so that they are able to take you to all of Italy’s best kept secrets, yet able to understand any special needs or requests that you may have as well.

Italy tour packages

In the Abruzzo, Puglia and Basilicata regions, there are countless great opportunities to make your Italy vacations become memories to last a lifetime. Everything from great food to amazing sights are all on offer, with great prices to match. These regions are historical and aren’t overrun with other tourists, so you get to see a true glimpse into the lives of modern Italians, while showing parallels to the ways that they have lived for thousands of years.

Normally, Italy vacation packages only focus on the most popular areas of a city, but when you have your trip to Italy with us we focus on the incredible sights that have been kept a secret from tourists. We strive to give you the same experience that a local has, showing off everything that each region and city has to offer. Whether you are interested in culture, food, wine, or architecture, you won’t be disappointed in your trip to Italy and the time that you spend there.

One of the unique things that we can offer in these regions as part of our Italy tour packages is traditional Italian village life. We can take you into a village, show you how everyone lives, let you live among them, and help you make friends that will last for a lifetime. This isn’t an experience that you can get in Rome or Florence, and it isn’t one that can be emulated while staying in hostels or touring in large groups. Instead, this is a true look into the everyday life of people living in this area, so make sure to visit with Touring Abruzzo when you plan a trip to Italy.

We also offer unique food and wine tasting tours and completely customisable trips to see, taste, hear, and experience everything that you have ever wanted to see in whilst on your trip to Italy. Our Italy vacations are tailored to your needs. So, if your passion is history, culture, food, travel, nature, or architecture, or you just want to explore the true Italy, contact us to talk about our range of Italy vacation packages and plan the trip of a lifetime!


Related Tag : Trip to Italy

Availing Italy Tour Packages for Your Tours of Italy Vacations

Do you want to experience an Italy vacation organised by the Italy vacations experts that can offer you fantastic Italy tour packages? Abruzzo Italy is a place that adventurous tourists like you have to visit while having a vacation in Italy. Italy vacation packages offered by Touring Abruzzo, will allow you to explore the best parts of Italy stress free. There are various Italy tour packages that you can depending on your budget and the itinerary that you want to have for your vacation in Italy.

Trip to Italy Shopfront
Cafe Shopfront – Tours of Italy

One of the reasons why you should get Italy tour packages for your trip is the safety and adventure that it can offer you while having your vacation in Italy. Italy tour packages with Touring means that you won’t have to navigate the streets of Abruzzo Italy, Basilicata and Puglia alone.

People who aren’t good with directions and those who don’t know how to drive will enjoy the transportation benefits of vacation tour packages that Touring Abruzzo can give. You don’t need to worry about having to explain where you want to go or asking questions in a foreign language when you get lost. This can be very stressful because of the language barrier, but not with Touring Abruzzo as you’ll always have a local guide to look after you and show you all of the best kept secrets. If you want to avoid such problems while having a vacation in Italy, booking tour packages for your Abruzzo Italy trip is always a good idea.

Italy travel packages also include various activities that you will enjoy while having your vacation in Italy. Italy tour packages from Touring Abruzzo have customised itinerary and exciting trips to wineries and artisan cheese makers. If you are wondering, there are a bunch of things that you can do while having a vacation in Abruzzo Italy. The region is home to national parks that will show you the natural beauty of Italy through Touring Abruzzo’s Italy vacation packages

Italy tour packages
Trip to Italy Tours

Your children can also enjoy Italy travel packages because it will introduce them to towering castles that instantly make them feel like royalty. Exciting activities like hiking and horseback riding can be organised if you’re in the region in the summer. Enjoy your Italy holiday stress free when you book Italy vacation packages


Italy vacation packages are not only a whole lot of fun but are great if you’re interested in learning about Italian culture. You are not only safe with your local tour guide, but you’ll also be on a small personable tour as the maximum amount of people on each tour is 12. Italy travel packages offered by Touring Abruzzo include guided tours in Abruzzo Italy, Puglia, and Basilicata. So, stop wasting your time and start booking your next Italy tour with Touring Abruzzo for a vacation with memories to last a lifetime.