Friday, August 19, 2016

Cooking vegetarian in Puglia: a small glimpse of this fall event

Italian cooking
 is more enjoyable with a local wine.  

The cooking and wine school in Puglia, Italy offers a wide assortment of custom events that make a trip to Italy more than museums and monuments.   

But it is Ylenia Sambati who will 
be the reason you return to Puglia. 
  

A lifelong vegetarian, I have asked Yle to share Italian-vegetarian recipes with me to post on Home to Italy as well as puplish with La Gazzetta Italiana newspaper.  


Now you can learn a healthy way to cook Italian dishes during a a special week of cooking (click here for details), learning and experiencing the area near Lecce.




The perfect setting for cooking lessons at the school




 Here is a small sample of a cooking lesson
with Yle




You can take cooking lessons everywhere in Italy.   But an experience with Cook in Puglia is so much more.

"Meeting Yle more than 3 years ago was one of the unplanned events that can leave a lasting impression.   
When I return to Puglia, I never feel like a tourist, but like a friend returning home."  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Certosa closing outside of Florence: 4 monks are being relocated.

Sad News!

I just read about the closing on the monastery with only 4 monks outside of Florence.

You may have read my post from the very interesting visit I made a year ago with a local expat and friend Sheila.

I am very sorry to see the closure of this amazing complex.   If I can return to Florence in November I shall take another bus trip out to visit the monks before they are relocated.   Just hope they continue the daily tours or I shall be attending a Sunday mass!





Story from the Florentine:


The end of Certosa

From monastery to museum?

Editorial Staff
July 13, 2016 - 12:21
Only four monks remain at Certosa di Galluzzo and their religious order has instructed them to leave by the end of the year.
 
 
The first Cistercian monks moved into the fourteenth-century religious complex in 1958, replacing the Carthusian order. In the beginning, Certosa flourished, training the young brotherhood to become priests, but the vocation was lost gradually and no younger generation has taken over the reins.
 
The four monks, infirm and ageing, still living at Certosa are no longer able to take care of the vast religious complex by themselves. Owned by the State, the superintendency for architectural and landscape heritage of Florence is taking over the management of Certosa—the monks will leave by the end of the year.
 
In an article in local newspaper Corriere Fiorentino, Padre Luigi, one of the four monks left at Certosa, commented, “This place will change from being a monastery and become a museum, and it will lose its spiritual essence… We have done a lot here. Now it will be up to someone else not to disperse our work.”

 
In their 60 years here, the monks have worked hard to support themselves, receiving no support from the Church: preserving books and making jams, ancient-style liqueurs and ceramics, as well as offering guided tours, including the priceless frescoes of Pontormo, maintaining the monastery and holding public mass on Sunday mornings.

The story noted above in the Corriere Fiorentino is in Italian and the online translation is not great, ut I will share it with you as well


As quoted in the above newspaper and auto translated (leave a lot to be corrected)

Choc Charterhouse, the farewell of the monks
The four leave the religious complex of Galluzzo later this year: "we are too few, now nothing will make more sense
by Jacopo Starlings
http://corrierefiorentino.corriere.it/includes2013/images/logo_firma.pnghttp://corrierefiorentino.corriere.it/firenze/notizie/cronaca/16_luglio_09/certosa-choc-l-addio-monaci-df7641a2-45b6-11e6-9c7d-5c4ec5b1f94a.shtml?refresh_ce-cpby

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After nearly 60 years, the Cistercian monks at the end of the year will leave the Certosa del Galluzzo. The first arrived here in 1958, instead of the carthusians. There was the student to become priests, many monks and many vocations. Then, decade after decade, that vocation has faded gradually. The monks are aged, many have died. There was generational.
Today they remained only in four and alone cannot sustain this large monastic complex, one of the most beautiful in Italy. The facility, owned by the State, will change management. The monks will leave by the end of the year. Instead of monks, will replace the Superintendence. Father Luigi, one of 4 monks were, says: "this place will be transformed from a Museum, and will lose its spiritual essence. In any case, no regrets: ' we have done so much, now it's up to someone else not to lose our jobs. As for us, it's not the House that makes the monk. "
The saddest is Father Saleem, arrived here in 1958, when he was only 19 years old: "our order has decided so, but leaving the monastery I lose a piece of life, I won't be able to work anymore, nothing will make more sense." He lives locked up ten hours a day in his laboratory for the restoration of old books. Volumes even in the fourteenth century, arriving here in dramatic conditions and that, thanks to their experience, they come back to life. The reputation of Father Sixto took him in universities and libraries of Russia, Argentina, Egypt, Chile.
Here in the monastery sleeping in cells, wake up at 5 and then two hours of prayers. Then get to work up to 19. There is the restoration of books and the production of jams, the collection of figs and oranges, the distillery where liquor with ancient methods and the pottery workshop. Monks handyman, that self-support without receiving salary from the Church. And then the guided tours, morning and afternoon, maintenance of the monastery and the public mass on Sunday morning, in addition to the summer theatre of the chairs. "We've always done it all ourselves — says Father Luigi — but now we were too few."
Especially as one of the four monks, the eldest, the prior Roberto, is ill and no longer able to work. Then there's Father Berenè, Eritrea, also sorry to leave. The Carthusian monastery there are works of great value, such as the frescoes by Pontormo. Will remain almost everything here. But the monks fear for the future of this religious stronghold. Father Sisto looks around and sighs worried: "Let's just hope it doesn't become a hovel."
July 9, 2016 | 11:30
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Monday, June 13, 2016

Italy: Closed for August

From the Archives

August 15 is 'marked on the calendar in red', I was informed by Olga Stinga  one of my great sources in Sorrento, for Italian insight.1



Ferragosto on August 15th, is Assumption Day, a national holiday.  A day when offices, factories, many stores and restaurants are closed it also is the beginning of the exodus from the cities and towns for families not working in the tourist industry.   

The month of August traditionally has been the month for vacanza, vacation, when Italians leave the cities for the cooler mountains, countryside and the sea.     The Italians I lived among in Sorrento loved the sun.   Before temperatures allowed coats to be left at home, the decks for the countless lounge chairs along the Marina Grande were being constructed.    Bodies would fill each sun bed, cover the rocks in coves and grill on the stone beaches along the coast.    The Italians love the sun.


For a perspective on small towns vs cities, I asked my Italian friends to tell me about August closings. "The practice of closing for the entire month (of August) is not common, perhaps because of the economic situation the last few years" Isabell Salesny, in Rome, tells me.   "Any small retail activity, bars, pizza take aways, ice cream shops, close from the 15th to the end of august." "From June to the end of August, grandparents, stay at home moms and children are at the beach.  Husbands visit on the weekends?"  2



Vacations may be shortened to a few days around Ferrogosto, 2 weeks or until school children return to the classroom in September. 


My translator, Caterina lives in  Ravenna  and shares that "the month long holiday is shrinking.   Some services do not close:   pharmacies, tourist attractions.
In smaller towns usually there is only one baker and one vegetable store, and in many cases one shop for both kinds of products, and of course the owner doesn't close."  "Barber shops close for vacations, (my hair dresser closes for two weeks."  3      
" the hardware store may close for a week or more, but here in Ravenna we have a mall and many supermarkets, where you can find everything while you wait until you favorite shop will open again."


Myra Robinson lives about an hour outside of Venice, is an author and an expat.  She answered "how August closings affect daily life?" "Quite often local stores stagger their holidays so that there is always one barber's open etc. The little supermarket is suspending its continuous opening hours and will be closed from 1 to 3.30. I remember from last year that the (Saturday) market was somewhat diminished in July and August. The usual shoe stall and handbag stall were not there, but there was always a fish stall, green grocery etc whereas normally there would be two or three. 4


Monica Cesarato my Venice authority:  "yes they do, usually for a month in August - even in Venice, last night I saw an Osteria which was closing for a month from middle of July to middle of August.


But I have to say as the years go by I see more and more people not closing during the summer, due to the crisis." 5


"Lecce is always opened" declares Yle Sambati in Puglia.
"August is the month of holidays for many Italians: many of them go on holiday in
August at least mentally..unplugged for at least 20 days.   It is the time of the year during which (you) forget about public offices or quick replies.......most of them say "it's August" (this is hilarious right?), or "contact me after august".
 
"And since Puglia is more than ever before,  the TOP place for the Italians, they all head south.
Especially in the Salento - namely the trendiest part of Puglia - with its incredible beaches and summer places, services and facilities are available also in August except for FERRAGOSTO"

"In the past, the cities used to be empty in August since all the locals were on the beach or enjoying their summer houses. It's different now,  In Lecce, for example, from the morning till very late at night you have people in town and many facilities available."


"The shops that close are mostly those outside the historic town, since this is the part of the town where most locals and tourists enjoy the DOLCE VITA, what in Lecce we call THE MOVIDA.  Shops and facilities may close " PER FERIE" (summer holiday) and open up again after Ferragosto (August 15th) or for the Saint Patron Celebration (Festa di Sant'Oronzo August 24 - 26)".6


."

My new BF Tina with DND said:  What Ferie?7



Buono Vacanze

Thank you to all my contributors from Italy for your input and willingness to answer my many odd questions.

1.  Olga Sting Study Abroad Program Coordinator & Head of the Italian Department, Santa Anna Institute  http://www.santannainstitute.com
2.  Isabell Salesney, Estate Agent and co founder of Rome based, www.Casaitaly.it
3.  Catterina   for translations find her on Fiver.com  as slam24
4.  Myra Robinson, author of Fried Flowers and Fango, writer, expat:  http://myrarobinson.info
5.  Monica Cesato, http://www.monicacesarato.com, learn Italian, home stay, cooking adventures and Venice experiences not in the travel books.
6.  Ylenia Sambati, owner of Yltour.com (www.yltourcongressi.com).  A travel concierge
  who works to maker you dream of Italy come true. 
7.  Discover Naples Destinations, DND.  A totally new way to travel and learn about Naples and it's surrounding treasures.  http://www.discovernapolidestinations.com, ask for Tina













Sunday, May 29, 2016

Why I can NOT move to Italy..........

Of Course I love Italy, visiting any small town, village or city via train routes.



Returning Home to Italy 2 or 3 times a year confirms with each visit, that I must spend time in Italy. 
 
 

So why can't I just pack up and move home?   I did this for my first 3 month 'sabbatical' in 2008 to test if I could live in a city where I had no contacts, not speaking more than  basic Italian (equivalent to a 3 yr old) and no plan to be a tourist, just to live in Sorrento and try to be Italian.








Because I would never leave...................
How can one country have so many interesting, unique and even sometimes strange places to explore?  Festivals to attend.  Century old traditions to learn about.

Living in Italy I might NEVER travel to any other country.       And there is so much to see in the world.  
The best part of each morning!
So for the next year I shall try to see beyond Europe.  I will return to Asia.  This time it will not be a business trip.   It shall be a trip to try to see some local life:  meeting a geisha in Japan, taking a mini walk about in Australia, learning to make noodles in China and learning where saris are made in India.  
 
A common view as you walk a cobbled street
After traveling the world will I finally move to Italy?    Who knows but I will always go Home to Italy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Visit Puglia, Italy: Language and Cultural Experience

Puglia, Italy offers so much.............

Ylenia Sambati has created another unique adventure for her guests who explore the wonderful Salento area in Puglia.
  

Why not combine exploring Italian culture while studying Italian on your next adventure.   Your days will be filled with special events selected by perhaps the best travel expert in the Salento!


Join us on October 23 to 30th for a language and cultural program
Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert Ylenia Sambati has created a special,
new program that combines cooking, Italian language lessons and cultural experiences.    

A great introduction to the wonders of Puglia
Limited to just 8 travelers, this experience  is ideal for solo travelers or friends who seek immersion in the local culture via
language, food, wine and city tours.
























LANGUAGE AND CULTURE IN PUGLIA

Your amazing week in Puglia will include:
• 7 nights at a B&B or boutique hotel in Lecce
• round trip private transfers to each activity
• 5 day language course
• 1 day cooking course
• 4 guided tours
• guided winery visit
• 1 afternoon conversation class in a caffeteria
• breakfast daily
• 4 lunches and 5 dinners
• 1 Full Free 












Cost per person € 1.750,00 based on double room occupancy, single room add a one time fee of €100,00 (Airfare not included)




                                                                              



Learning some of the local language let's you interact with the people you meet every day in the shops, restaurants, hotel and at the local bar while you have a coffee.

"I have visited Puglia 3 times and each adventure Yle created for me has been wonderful.  You may arrive as a tourist but you can leave as a traveler with a new friend in Puglia"   Lee Laurino

This new trip has been designed by YLTOUR.PR.COM and


Home to Italy is happy to share this opportunity with you. 

Reserve your adventure and obtain further details from Yle:
www.Yltour.pr.com  the Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert.


.









  All photos are the property of Yltour.pr.com and can not be duplicated without written permission






































The Cook in Puglia cooking and wine school is offering a special week featuring regional and seasonal home-cooking for vegetarians, vegans and Italian food lovers.  


                   
                   CULINARY TRIP FOR VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS
IN PUGLIA  September 1 - 8, 2016
 
SEPTEMBER 1 - 8, 2016
Refresh your vegetarian and vegan cooking skills during a week-long vacation in Puglia and learn the culinary secrets of the famous local diet and  cucina povera.
A small group holiday in Puglia with a vegetarian and vegan cooking theme.
The holiday includes three hands on cookery sessions based on Puglia cuisine







During the workshops you will get a chance to sample a selection of Puglia wines with some produced by local varieties.

                                                                                Your adventure will include:

• 7 nights at a B&B /boutique hotel in        Lecce and a Masseria combined
• round trip private transfers to each          activity
• all meals and wine
• welcome drinks and aperitif
• lunch at an original Masseria (restored    farm estate)
• 3 Italian language lessons
• 3 day cooking courses
• market shopping tour

• 4 guided tours
• guided winery visit and a picnic
• 1 Full Free Day


Cost per person € 1.830 based on double room occupancy,
single room add a one time fee of € 100

(Airfare not included)
 This trip has been designed for www.hometoitaly.com
by YLTOUR PR, the Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert  www.yltourpr.com                                            
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Join us on October 23 to 30th

Visit Puglia, Italy: Language and Cultural Experience


     
Ylenia Sambati has created another unique adventure for her guests who explore the wonderful Salento area in Puglia.
  

Why not combine exploring Italian culture while studying Italian on your next adventure.   Your days will be filled with special events selected by perhaps the best travel expert in the Salento!

Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert Ylenia Sambati has created a special,
new program that combines cooking, Italian language lessons and cultural experiences.    

A great introduction to the wonders of PugliaLimited to just 8 travelers, this experience  is ideal for solo travelers or friends who seek immersion in the local culture via
language, food, wine and city tours.





 
                   LANGUAGE AND CULTURE IN PUGLIA


Your amazing week in Puglia will include:
• 7 nights at a B&B or boutique hotel in Lecce
• round trip private transfers to each activity
• 5 day language course
• 1 day cooking course
• 4 guided tours
                                   • guided winery visit
                                   • 1 afternoon conversation class in a cafeteria
                                   • breakfast daily
                                   • 4 lunches and 5 dinners
                                   • 1 Full Free  

Cost per person € 1.750,00 based on double room occupancy, single room add a one time fee of €100,00 (Airfare not included)                                                                          
Learning some of the local language let's you interact with the people you meet every day in the shops, restaurants, hotel and at the local bar while you have a coffee.
This new trip has been designed by YLTOUR.PR.COM and  Home to Italy is happy to share this opportunity with you. 
Reserve your adventure and obtain further details from Yle:   www.Yltour.pr.com  
the Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert.
All photos are the property of Yltour.pr.com and can not be duplicated without written permission
















                













 


Monday, May 23, 2016

Visit Puglia: Italian Cooking:Vegetarian and Vegan cooking event





The Cook in Puglia cooking and wine school is offering a special week featuring regional and seasonal home-cooking for vegetarians, vegans and Italian food lovers.  


CULINARY TRIP FOR VEGETARIANS AND VEGANS
IN PUGLIA  September 1 - 8, 2016




SEPTEMBER 1 - 8, 2016
  
Refresh your vegetarian and vegan cooking skills during a week-long vacation in Puglia and learn 
the culinary secrets of the famous local diet and
cucina povera.



A small group holiday in Puglia with a vegetarian and vegan cooking theme.
The holiday includes three hands on cookery sessions based on Puglia cuisine






With the focus on local vegetables, it is all about simple regional and seasonal home-cooking.




During the workshops you will get a chance to sample a selection of Puglia wines with some produced by local varieties.


Your adventure will include:


• 7 nights at a B&B /boutique hotel in        Lecce and a Masseria combined
• round trip private transfers to each          activity
• all meals and wine
• welcome drinks and aperitif
• lunch at an original Masseria (restored    farm estate)
• 3 Italian language lessons
• 3 day cooking courses
• market shopping tour

• 4 guided tours
• guided winery visit and a picnic
• 1 Full Free Day









Cost per person € 1.830 based on double room occupancy,
single room add a one time fee of € 100

(Airfare not included)







This trip has been designed for www.hometoitaly.com
by YLTOUR PR, the Puglia Travel and Lifestyle Expert www.yltourpr.com                                            

To book this amazing adventure contact Yle Sambati at the above web site.

  








All photos are the property of Yltour.pr.com.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Central Florence Hotel della Signoria

A surprise, finding a charming hotel in Florence


Hotel della Signoria



When traveling in Italy for two or three months I often change hotels within one city.  Critics tell me this is a stupid idea.  It can take time to change hotels but it is possible to cut hotel costs by up to 30% by taking advantage of last minute prices.   Best of all I often can stay in a better hotel or try another hotel to be added to my list of 'great places to stay'.  










 This is a small hotel just off the main pedestrian street a few blocks from the Ponte Vecchio   A great location for major sites, the train station and shopping.  
"In the historic center of Florence, the Hotel della Signoria awaits you just a short walk from Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery, with an exclusive view overlooking Piazza della Signoria, among the splendid palaces and museums that have made our city unique for centuries. "*
  

I was lucky on this trip, two of my hotels had roof top features.  The rooftop of Hotel della Signoria is glass enclosed and is the breakfast room.   You can enjoy the roof top view while sipping cappucino.

I had asked if I could come up and take photos later.  This was agreed to but the manager would need to unlock the room.   I did not want to bother her, maybe next time.



         It is exciting when the room is large, the bed is NOT a single (I travel solo) and extra basic.
               After so many years returning to Florence, I had never found this hotel before.



 The room had been renovated with a great bath, strong shower and lots of space
I had a full desk, a flat screen TV, mini bar and strong wifi signal




Hotel della Signoria
Via delle Terme, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Phone:+39 055 214530
US:888-205-7322
UK:0808 145-3778
EU:+1 469-610-3608 
http://www.hoteldellasignoriahttp://www.hoteldelasignoria.com


Note:  I had a room in the front on  a lower floor.     Ask for a room in the back or on a higher floor to avoid street noise
Some of the abov copy is from the hotel web page*