Monday, February 25, 2013

Italy: NOVEMBER Photography Tour in Puglia with

--                               [Calling all Photographers:

                         A Creative Break in Puglia, Italy

Take a photography holiday in Puglia and capture the images of our traditional villages and scenic roads off the tourist trail, vineyards, old palaces, farmers on their estates, seaside villages, the countryside and the people of this part of Italy that is less traveled.

Experienced photographers and non-professional 

photographers will find Puglia an incredible place

.    Puglia has spectacular landscapes and natural light,

not to mention the beauty of old farmhouses and country 

houses with their Mediterranean colors (in the Salento 

style), baroque details and local villagers, pizzica

dancers, intimate details and so much more.   

Become a photographer and capture the genuine beauty of

Puglia through its most hidden and unconventional landscapes

and settings.    Our local experts will enable you to take unique

pictures and meet inspiring local people: they will concentrate

on your particular interests. Prior to your visit we will ask

questions to better understand your photo style and

expectations, in order to provide you with the very best

settings. Each holiday is custom tailored with dedication and

focuses on photography. knows the best locations but

 also restaurants where you can taste the delicious local food

 and wine.

Our accommodations are off the beaten-path places:  dimore (old houses), farmhouses, villas fully equipped.  We use an air conditioned van or private cars to arrive at our shooting locations and meals are taken in top places. 
Partners, who are not photographers, can join other interesting activities:   cooking classes, a wine tour, a bike tour or simply relax   Ask about pricing..
Discover and capture the Puglia we love.
This unique opportunity is limited to small groups to insure individual attention.

 A minimum number of four bookings are required to run this tour.
Cost:   1,500 euros   
Creative Break Includes:
•             7 nights in exclusive properties, breakfast included
•             5 lunches with wine: at local trattorias and private family farmhouses
•             5 dinners with wine
•             2 cooking classes
•             2 wine tastings at top producers and 1 vineyard tour
•             olive farm visit with olive oil tasting and tour of the olive groves
•             a special visit to a private farm with a demonstration on the making of ricotta, a cheese tasting
•             visit to an open air market
•             photo tour of historic Lecce, Gallipoli, Otranto, Itria Valley
•             morning photography unique experiences
•             air-conditioned deluxe motor coach
•             a few surprises, as the occasion allows

Not included:
•             airfare
•             meals not listed on the itinerary              

Turn your next vacation in to a travel adventure.....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Italy with Help from a travel planner

When traveling not all trips are  vacations, some are adventures, some for business or just the activity of getting from one place to another.

Planning an adventure/vacation/trip yourself often gives you as much satisfaction as taking the trip. 

However, when you want something special or beyond the basic you often need a professional to share the hidden places and people of the part of the world you are visiting.     This is when I call YLE  who creates dream adventures/vacations for travelers who wish to see Italy from the inside out.
In 2011 I found Yle on FB and she immediately saw that I had an Italian 'dream' to find una nonna (a grandmother) who would show me how to make pasta.
Before I even confirmed my flight Home to Italy Yle had scheduled a day with Nonna Vata.   I spent several hours learning to make 6 types of pasta.  Our conversation included living on a farm in Italy to current politics.  Her lovely granddaughter Debora translated for me but it was amazing that Nonna and I could communicate in many other ways.
So this year I again turned to Yle and Yltour to organize an extensive adventure in Puglia.
The towns I still wish to visit are:     Ostuni, Cisternino,  Locorotondo,  Alberobello  (I spent a day there last year look forward to a second visit,   Monopoli, Martina Franca,  Gallipoli  and
 Otranto .

This is an extensive list for someone who does NOT WANT TO TAKE THE BUS will be a challenge and I know it will take several more visits to Puglia to accomplish this goal.

As it turned out my adventure was even BETTER than what I planned and I have been writing out it at for the past 6 weeks!

But the MOST important reasons for going back to Lecce was to visit Yle and learn about her tours for 2013.  In 2012 she did a wonderful language event,  cooking events and a yoga retreat. 

But her list of offerings is endless:  photography, classic cars, cooking with locals, wine tastings, sports events, photography, art classes, language classes......   I could spend a month with her and never try it all!

The hidden treasure this year was to finally meet MAMMA ANNA.
I have written about her before on  But nothing prepared me for this wonderful encounter.  Within an hour I felt as if I had know here forever.  See our video (amateur) on our visit to the food market.     There should be many more stories on Mamma A so stay tuned.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Italy:Tuscany apartment for sale

Live in the Tuscan Countryside, close to Florence
VALDARNO AREA (Terranova Bracciolini)
35 km South of Florence

A fully restored corner unit with a private garden both front and back
Available in a newly restored country complex. 
 Asking €280.000

Unit is to the right
85 sm: lounge w/corner fireplace, eat in kitchen and bath down stairs
up stairs 2 bedrooms + 1 bathroom (bathrooms are both marble)

Amenities:   air conditioning, central gas heating.

Well served by the train:   station and stores only about 2 km  from the property.
Main Highway also about 1.5 km
"It is truly very well done inside and practically new."

Owners have been transferred and are leaving the home furnished.
For all details contact:
Sheila Ford
Agente Immobiliare
Isc.CCIAA Firenze n° 2456

Monday, February 18, 2013


SASL in Sorrento, Italy

Travel can be inovative if you try to LEARN something, Meet the locals, EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL LIFE

Speaking with Olga Stinga at SASL today I heard about a fantastic project her students are working on her studients are completing to add Sorrento to the 3D world on line

On Monday, February 11th, the project “Sorrento 3D” organized by Sant'Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue, was presented during a dedicated press conference at Sorrento town hall.

The project is part of the academic programs such as the studies of art, archaeology, business, social and natural sciences that SA offers to American students from a variety of American Universities.

 The creator and developer of the project is Jeff Johnston, an architecture professor from Alfred State College (New York, USA) who will count on the precious and efficient collaboration of his students, enrolled in a study abroad semester at Sant'Anna (January-May 2013).

 The purpose of the project is to visualize Sorrento in 3D, through Google Earth (an app that can be easily downloaded for free from the internet), no matter where in the world you are. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1,000 year old olive tree at Taurino's farm

 Taurino's olive tree farm in Puglia, Italy  selected a

1,000 + year old tree for their first 'adopt an

        Olive Tree program  and I am the 'parent'!    

What was life like on the olive farm when my tree was planted 1,000 years ago?     Probably my tree started life as a graft.    Within 6 years this tree would start to produce olives and  supply the family with the oil  they would use for the entire year.
Over the coming year I will update you on  what is happening at Taurino's  olive farm:     new tress leaving
the 'nursery',  pruning the trees (see part two of this blog),  organic fertilization, olives starting to form on the branches and finally the harvest.
You can also adopt a tree in Italy.   Adopt in the memory of a family member, to commemorate an event, birthday or a loved one.    Your adoption is for one year.   In addition to your 'adoption certificate' you receive a photo of your tree and updates over the year as your tree is cared for.
See part 2 of this blog to learn about pruning an olive tree. There are 60,000 trees at Taurinos so this may take some time....
Adopt your tree today.   What a great gift for you nonna or nonno, a lovely way to remember a loved one, a memorial for an Italian ancestor or to become connected with your Italian heritage.

Every tree will be pruned in particular way, in order to have the best quality oil.
Every adopted tree will be registered and every customer will receive one time a year 3 liters of EVOO oil.

Customers who adopt a tree, may  visit the farm during the harvesting period and enjoy the
rural experience, sampling  typical foods in the store.

Every month, customers will receive a newsletter with a description of what activities are happening at Taurino's olive farm.

Only $130.00 per year.
Payment by pay pal at   
Taurinos fine olive oils
Tasting of oils and other Taurino products

Italy: Puglia Wine Tour

Do you enjoy wine, love Italy and travel?

Join a group of like minded travelers and experience a Robertson Tour of Excellence in Puglia

This is your opportunity to travel the Italy our friend Yle with Yltour has shared with us the past year. 

Yle will join Tim Robertson during the tour as you experience the wonderful wines and food of Puglia, visit extraordinary wine producers, enjoy regional foods and stay at lovely hotels and country estates.  

About your stay

Puglia, in the heel of Italy’s boot, is a region of knotted olive groves, vineyards and tourist-free coastlines. Slurp your way through it on a nine-day exploration with Robertson Wine Tours, experts in curating adventures for oenophiles. You’ll visit top wineries, taste fine wines, learn how to make regional dishes and tour the area’s best bits on this small group tour.

What we love

  • Rate includes eight nights accommodation; daily breakfast, four lunches and three dinners, drinks with meals included in the itinerary, all wine tastings, city tours, cooking classes and bicycle and helmet hire; round-trip airport transfers and the services of a tour leader
  • Daily activities are varied, including wine tastings, visits to towns, hands-on cooking lessons and cycling
  • An opportunity to gain a deeper knowledge of wines produced in Puglia

What to know

  • Minimum age of participation is 21
  • Not included: International airfare; insurance; any services not specified in the itinerary
  • The maximum number of participants is 22
  • In addition to the daily activities, you'll also have some free time to relax or explore on your own
  • You'll be traveling with like-minded wine enthusiasts
  • The tour is led by a bilingual tour director

Robertson Wine Tours
Cell     +39 328 6086319
Office  +39 0835 1971 596 

U.K.    +44 208 1448945
U.S.A  +
1 707  9274167
Skype: Robertson Wine Tours
Email: contact

Saturday, February 9, 2013

An Italian greeting......kiss no kiss

Kiss or Handshake?

When I go Home to Italy each year I am often greeted by my Italian friends and contacts with the double kiss.

It was no different when I returned to Pulia to spend a week filming and writing about the great adventures Yle with  can offer.

Of course Yle met me with her natural enthusiasm and a hug.   No hand shake for Yle even if you are a new 'friend'.

Americans can be more formal with a 3 foot space required between strangers.    Invading your personal space is consider .a no no.

So it was a great surprise and even a pleasure that after I had filmed mamma Guilia at the incredible massaria that Yltour includes in her cooking adventures,  that Mamma G.   who had shaken hands when I arrived, gave me the double kiss when I left.

I was accepted, I am Italian!

Talking with Yle later in the trip about the touch no touch decision everyone makes, she told me she could never 'not touch'!  How very interesting.      How very lovely.     Human contact is not dead in Italy.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tuscany: a house with a view

 A house with a view......    In Tuscany......

Yes, if you have been to Italy I KNOW you have thought of the country house you could enjoy.....
Well Sheila Ford has found a property that answers those dreams....

An Old favourite for lovers of Tuscany:        A totally refurbished BARN for SALE. 

Just 20 mins from SIENA this charming, detached BARN of early origin

and built in local stone, has been lovingly restored with 2 beds, 2 baths, etc.
exposed beams and cotto floors. 

Lovely views from every window of extensive unspoilt countryside. 
Private land and access + Lots of furnishings included in the sale price.

Asking €uros 415.000

The country setting offers great views:   Lots of beautiful woodland and hills.
The barn is part of an early farm settlement  and you have a neighbor in the  

next building. 
the nearest village with a bank, a restaurant, a super market,etc  is only 3 kms.    Think of turning in your car for a bike?
Your 'new home' is located in the area of SOVICILLE about 75 km from  Florence.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Florence: Apartment Rental

Stay in one location and take day trips......
Unpack once.......
Become a local for a week or longer.......
All good suggestions for any trip and a GREAT suggestion for a trip to Italy

What better location for your adventure in Italy than Florence?
Now you can stay in the center of the city and walk the medieval streets early in the morning before the noise of the city brings you hundreds of years to the present.

Shop in the central market, take day trips by train or bus from the car needed.
Walk to all the important sites or try the bus system!
Sheila Ford has a great apartment for rent.  Contact her for the details:  


 ATTIC APARTMENT FOR RENTAL laterally 2 minutes walk  to PIAZZA DUOMO !!

 Whether your dream is shopping in TORNABUONI STREET(Florence's 5th AVE) with the fashionable stores BULGARI, GUCCI, FERRAGAMO etc.

or experiencing some authentic COOKING, ART or LANGUAGE CLASSES,

 what better place to be!

 This comfortable fully refurbished ATTIC APT 5th floor, w/Elevator,in an historical building  is available weekly or monthly, 

SLEEPS 3 , Spacious, light and  fully furnished.