Monday, May 28, 2012

Amalfi Regattra June 3 2012, will you be there?

Our friends at Sorrento Lingue shared the following information on the Regatta in Amalfi this month.   Cheer for your team and join in the celebration!
Information from  Commune di Amalfi

The Historical Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics that will be in Amalfi on the 3sr June 2010

The History of the Regatta
The idea of an historical festival which could evoke the shining exploits from the epoch of the Ancient Italian Maritime Republics, was independently thought of by two enthusiasts, Mirro Chiaverini of Pisa and Francesco Amodio of Amalfi, at the end of the 1940's. The official charter for the race was instituted by the Regatta Board of the four Maritime Republics in Amalfi on December 10, 1955. From then on, every year, the festival, which consist of an historical parade and a rowing contest, takes place in turn in one of the four Ancient Maritime Republics.

The Regatta

Does your Italian trip include a villa rental?

 “From the villas’ terrace I look across the green fields, olive groves and rolling hillside…….”    Oh to be able to stay in a villa in Italy……….

When you dream of Italy, do you see yourself in a villa, apartment or room with a view of the lush landscape?   There are many views in Italy.

Kathy McCabe, the creator of the Dream Of  Italy  newsletter,   recently helped me find a source for a villa rental in Italy.   The villa dream was for a former client of mine.   Villas are not suited to solo travelers so I can just admire the photos of the green vistas or sea views that others can enjoy.    I reviewed some of the offerings from the list of rental companies Kathy sent me.   One great property after another……

One of the rental companies grabbed my attention:       Laura Massoni Travel.
Kathy had mentioned that Laura lives in both Italy and the USA and upon further research I found that she is located in San Diego, CA

As an Italian American I have a goal of moving ‘home’ to Italy so I am fascinated when I meet Italians who move to the USA.   I hope to have an interview with Ms Massoni soon.    Meanwhile I want to share with you some of the information I did find and some of the photos on her web site that will make you want to go Home To Italy.     
On the Laura Massoni Travel website:
Why use our company? Because our MISSION is to ensure that your clients are well taken care of and experience the "authentic" Italian way of life. We only use GENUINE Italian guides on excursions. We strive to arrange small group tours, enhancing the Italian experience which is often lost in larger groups.
When we arrange cooking classes we use local Italian natives or chefs who are experts cooking the local or regional delicacies. Either born locally or having lived in the area for an extended period of time these experts not only know about the delectable cuisine but also about the rich history of the region. It is this attention to detail, and the resulting fantastic experience your clients will have that sets us apart from all the rest. Even returning visitors will love the different regions that they will experience when seeing Italy the Laura Massoni Travel way.

Another reason to use us is that we have offices in both the United States and in Italy with dedicated associates eager to take care of your clients when they travel.
You and your clients will rest easy knowing that we are HERE for them on BOTH continents. 

You can find the entire article on Renting a villa in Italy at the Dream Of Italy website.  
I shall be enjoying the villa photos at all these sites for months to come...

Lee Laurino

Monday, May 21, 2012

Has anyone tried "eating with an Italian family"?

A blogger at Dream of Venice responded to my question:  What experience can you suggest to a traveler to see the real Italy?

They sent me a link to the company that arranges visits with Italian families for lunch or dinner.....   take a look and let me know what you think.

Home Food - Who we are:

Italian gondolas? In Sorrento, the Carruzzella is the way to go......

My friends at Sorrento Lingue language school in Sorrento Italy have sent me this post on the wheeled chair that have been used for decades........have you taken a horse drawn carriage ride?

A carruzzella  
          Coming to Sorrento and taking a ride in a "wheeled chair" is equivalent to going to Venice and not take a gondola ride. Ever since the Grand Tour, when Sorrento was the destination of the most famous noble families in Europe and overseas, even when traveling in a carriage, everyone left their car and preferred to use local media to make sure you take this' essence of what they were visiting.

       In the late nineteenth century, Sorrento was one of the most famous resorts in Europe. So goodbye sedan, the most popular method in the first half of the nineteenth century was the wheeled chair, because with a “
piastra” you could have one  for a full day transport, instead half day cost only six “carlini”.

     Today in the places of arrival, port and rail-station, bus and taxi stations, the wheelchairs - about half a dozen - are beribboned with their horses waiting for passengers near the monument dedicated to Torquato Tasso.

Sorrento Italy, the taste of Lemons!

Another wonderful post about Sorrento, Italy from our friends at Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue
   language school.........

Lemons into lemonade,  NO limoncello!

The wonderful language school in Sorrento, Sorrento Lingue, has sent me this  post on the Lemons of Sorrento.....They have also promised some other wonderful stories to share with us....

The gardens of Sorrento

The "gardens" terraced for the cultivation of citrus fruits are a unique feature of the Sorrento peninsula. The lemons hanging from the trees of the Coast, in systems with terraces, are mostly of a quality so sweet, slightly sour flavor and round, which is called "Pane” (bread), as it can easily be eaten in slices for dessert with or without the addition of a spoonful of sugar.  

 The Sorrento gardens are easily recognizable by the characteristic "pergola", the traditional protection of citrus groves of Sorrento. The pergola structure was established as a defense against adverse environmental conditions, and thanks to two key elements: windbreaks and hedges, is used to protect the plants since lemon and orange trees, are particularly sensitive to wind and cold.

In addition to this important feature, coverage determines some changes in the characteristics of citrus.  The low light and temperatures often slows vital functions of the plant, so that the bloom is concentrated in late spring from the month of May.                                                                                                              Fruit ripening is, therefore, late and the harvest takes place between spring and summer each year. 

In addition to the aesthetic appearance of the pergola is one of the most fascinating landscape of the Amalfi-Sorrento Coast.

At the end of the 800's the  landscape of Peninsula Sorrentine was full of citrus so as to occupy about 40% of the total area.   With the passage of time farmers began to specialize in the cultivation of oranges and lemons. To protect them from the cold they built "the pagliarelle" placed on trellis made with chestnut poles.

In 1830 fair trade in citrus fruits. The oranges were collected and transported to the warehouse with carts pulled by donkeys. Then they proceeded to selection and then into packaging boxes.   

After collection, the work was mainly done by women called “incartatrici" (wrapping), as the fruits wrapped in colored tissue paper, on which was engraved the name of the company, the brand and the quality of the fruit. 

Later, other women called "maestre” (teachers) put oranges in crates to be transported to the port of Marina Piccola in Sorrento or Marina di Cassano in Piano di Sorrento: here the crates were shipped to be transported across Europe and America.


 Thank you Valeria for this wonderful post.

On your next Italian adventure take Italian lessons at Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue
  and live as an Italian!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I meet Italians everywhere I go, in the USA

Finding a new Gelato store in Cape May lead me to finding Italian expats!

Monica works with her brother in Cione's

I have been driving to NJ from Atlanta every 6 weeks exploring some of the towns along the way I never bothered with, when the only motive was "are we there yet".

But in the past year I found that I am finding "Italians" everywhere I go!   I met a volunteer at one of the state run welcome centers who told me her parents immigrated here in the early 1900's and I met Jo in Stauton off of interstate 81 while traveling the mountain route.  She is a first generation Italian!
So when I stopped in Cape May, NJ to walk around this charming Victorian sea side village I was surprised to find a gelato store  next to the self serve frozen yogurt store.  With very little debate I picked gelato.......  The bigger surprise was the young owner of the shop moved to NJ from Italy!

We chatted while I selected my two flavours (this is how it is served in Italy)  and Monica was kind enough to allow me to speak Italian with no skill.... 

After a google search I find that she and her brother are from Milan.  He was an attorney.
But I wish to know how they selected Cape May and what promted them to create a gelato store?

The Gelato was wonderful and if I decide to make the 90 minute drive back to Cape May Monica said we could work on my Italian........    just amazing who you meet on the road.

Cione Gelato        315 Ocean Street, Unit 10, Cape May, New Jersey 08204 

In the Washington Commons shopping complex next to the ACME 
phone:             267.496.7788      

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yoga in Italy? This is not it is better!!!

Is travel sometimes exhausting, trying to see everything in a short amount of time?   Why not spend some of your adventure living in Puglia and enjoying a yoga retreat?   See what Yle has created for you.......



 A wonderful natural setting to relax and restore  
...Take space and time to unwind and recharge in Puglia ....
September and October 2012
For info:
Salento, in Puglia, is the hidden treasure of southern Italy with its coastline and small fishing villages of a predominant baroque and country chic style, combining gentle hills and farmlands, white walled medieval towns each with its culinary specialties.
If you love Italy and the genuine, simple atmosphere of the south,  a yoga holiday in Salento can be the right place for you, combining yoga with cooking classes, wine tasting, photography, painting and enjoying all the beautiful things Puglia has to offer daily.
Yoga classes take place in some very inspiring locations as well as relaxation sessions. Known as the land of simplicity, Puglia can truly surprise you with her beauty and sense of life. This is the ideal vacation and destination for those of you looking for natural beauty, transformative yoga, good company and a place to be simply yourself.
The morning session will allow you to connect with the surrounding and dive deep into yourself, from the flow of your breath to the practise of postures that cultivate core strength and steadiness to the body until you feel  stronger and more confident.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Italy, Pizza home delivery!


Photo thanks to Sorrento Info

Pizza!  Home Delivery in Italy?  Say it is not so....

Italian Americans (in New Jersey at least) probably eat Pizza once a week or more. 

Living in the south, it is nearly impossible to find what I call “real” pizza. 

Stopping for a slice is a phrase I hear when visiting my hometown but not often on my long road trips in America.

While living in Sorrento, Italy I found pizza was a dinner item.     You order an individual pizza   and eat it with a knife and fork…..    While in Rome I saw many locations that sold a faccacia type of pizza that was sold by the gram.    Hot out of the oven the smell would waft down the street and drag you into the store.   School children on their way home would have a ‘slice’ in the heavy paper in one hand and books in the other.
Cafe Pizza in Bari, Italy 2011

One of the best locations in Rome is at the piazza dei Fiore.   I stood transfixed watching the bakers making countless long slabs of the pizza like base.      None of the pizza I saw or tried in Italy looked like the cheese laden product we have here.   

Dominos is NOT in Italy but Pizza is now being delivered to Italian homes!  This amazes me since the event of eating out with family or friends is a major pastime in Italy.   Dinners out can last hours and the diners truly enjoy the food and the company.

Olga Stinga with the Sorrento Lingue language school in Sorrento was kind enough to confirm for me that it is true, pizza is now available for ‘take away’ and home delivery!    She tells me “home delivery is becoming more frequent and many Pizzerias do that.  Here in Sorrento there is the Pizzeria “Cuore di Pizza” that delivers and even in Piano di Sorrento there is “Pizza Expresse” and “Re Pizza” that offer this service.
Rome Pizza bakers

What will change next?   Starbucks in every small town?  Please NO…..

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Italian Death Notices!


 I have walked by posters in many Italian towns saying 'goodbye' to a family member, announcing to the neighborhood that a friend has passed away.       I think I always read these to see if any locals had a familiar name.   Many were similar but none were exactly the same.

The notices are lovely, often with photos.  Since I only read a little Italian I could not tell if there were poems or stories about the person.

While living in Sorrento Italy I visited the local cemetery.   I walked by the cemetery  every Tuesday on the way to the weekly market.  After asking my contact in Sorrento if it was acceptable to walk around the cemetery he told me families often visit on Sunday.  Sometimes they might bring a picnic.  And the monuments were very interesting and kept impeccable.

This location was old and had newer sections
built on top of the older sections.
Each marker had photos and flowers and sometimes messages.  
Not a quiet place, lots of visitors and one tourist.

Festivals in Italy

 There is a list of Festivals for May in Italia

for you to dream about.

Thanks to Diane Hayes (author) and her web site

Becomming Italian Word by Word

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Affordable Italy Custom Tours

Travel with our expert, Yle.
Our local expert tells us that travel to Puglia can be your affordable experience this year
no matter what your budget is........see her list of great events tomorrow.
Meet Yle, your tour expert

It is time to seriously plan your vacation in Italy and discover an unspoilt side of the “bel paese” (beautiful country)  focusing on one of the most charming destinations in Italy – Puglia – a hidden region almost unknown to tourists.

And if it is a budget holiday?   No problem, whatever you are looking for, we have a full range of simply cozy accommodations to choose from and unique tours to join for one day or  more.
More and more frequently I am asked by my guests to suggest  some very unique on a budget solutions:     they can be B&B, agritourism, guest houses, homes in villages (case di paese), country houses, lofts, apartments.      All of them with a common characteristic: being it well located, preferably a few steps from the centre of the town where they can easily get anywhere and with the possibility of experiencing the true Puglia with locals, cooking, sightseeing, tasting wine and more fun activities.

Sometimes they clearly tell me what their budget is and I tailor a unique holiday accordingly. Staying in a nice apartment or in a beautiful country house equipped with all the comforts (kitchen corner included), swimming pool and bikes available, can be a fun experience.    I show them how to live like a local, where to shop for their food and more!    After a little while they’re so perfectly blended with the locals and they never feel like tourists.
For sure I find it quite boring, touring and exploring the classical way.  

It’s exactly the same everywhere and does not leave you unique memories. While blending totally with the area is “the travel experience” which makes the guest feel rightt at home and comfortable. 

Your budget is never a problem but an opportunity to tailor something specifically focused on the  preferences of the guests.    masseria, we can easily suggest some lovely places for you to stay.
Furthermore, if guests drive their own car it is also possible to settle them into some wonderful country houses (in the countryside or by the ocean).   In these accommodations, it is very common to dine with the family that owns the home.
Now let me say that the internet is a boundless resource of contacts and address.  But often what is advertised is not completely what it truly is!     That’s why a local travel expert can help you find the perfect place for you without any kind of surprises.
Being a local travel expert and doing this job for a long time I can  suggests to guests just what they are looking for.  
   Sometimes,  guests contact me for daily tours having found their accommodation on their own, and once they spend the day together in one of our wonderful venues (with lovely locals) they can simply return there for relaxation, to meet more nice people.     This may not be available in the place they have booked on their own.

Puglia has a great selection of quality on a budget holiday accommodation and attractions.
Why wait then? Book your holiday to Puglia today on for a tailor made trip that suits your taste and budget.
..and if your kitchen is cool enough we can eventually plan a cook eve t  and following dinner with locals!
Feel free to contact Yle anytime:


Include Learning Italian on Your Next Trip Home to Italy

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Point Park University "School of Communication": round table at SASL
On May 21st, Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue (SASL), based in Sorrento at Via Marina Grand ... >>
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SL 50+ PROGRAM 2012

Italian Language and Culture

The program is designed for people who want to learn Italian and experience the local culture with other students of a similar age and interests. 
Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue proudly offers a 2-week 50 + Italian language and culture program (also with a 4-week option upon request).
This program is available in October and in April in the following weeks:
·         From 15th April 2012 to 27th April 2012
·         From 30th September, 2012 to  13th October 2012

 The program includes: 
·         Accommodation: in family, single room, B&B*
·         1 Tour of Sorrento
·         1Excursions to  Pompeii
·         1 Excursion  to Naples 
·         2 afternoons of  school activities, such as Italian film and class cultural lessons.
·         1 Visit to Lemoncello Factory followed by tasting
·         1 Make your own Gelato and enjoy
·         1 Typical Sorrentine cooking class

Sant’Anna Institute-Sorrento Lingue can offer on request a multitude of differentaccommodation arrangements including:  shared Apartments, apartment rentals, and hotel reservations.
Optional Excursions:
During the rest  of your free time you can enjoy 
excursions to Capri, Ischia, The Amalfi Coast, Positano, The Castle of Caserta, Paestum, Vesuvious, Historic Naples, which includes, Capodimonte Museum, The National Archaeological Museum, world famous San Carlo Opera house and more.
Something Special on the Weekends
We organize excursions to Rome, Florence, Siena and more.
You can also enjoy a refreshing and rejuvenating experience at a local wellness centre and health Spa where you can pamper yourself to a Turkish bath, a thermal Spa, a sauna and a variety of massages and luxurious treatments to make your visit truly rewarding.
Price:  1009 Euros (two weeks)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Italian Adventure you dont want to miss

Have you always wanted to visit Italy?   Have you heard great stories about Sorrento and the many wonderful towns within a short boat or bus ride?
Now there is a program that takes you from a tourist to a traveler!
Why not live as an Italian while you experience Italy?

Hear from recent attendees about their experience enrolling in beginning Italian lessons, touring important sites in the area, living with a family (other accommodations are available), learning to make gelato and a long list of other events during your adventure in Sorrento.

2008 group touring Naples


The Club 50+ programme offers a complete package of lessons and activities, exclusively for people aged 50 and over who want to travel, meet like-minded people and improve their Italian.
SASL 50+ course focuses on practical General Italian in the four skills of speaking, reading, writing and listening. You will be placed in a class  of  students  from  different  backgrounds and nationalities, all of whom are over 50


The  excursion  programme  includes  activities that  will help you to discover this unique city and its culture. You will discover the incredible history  of  Sorrento,  Pompei,  Naples  and  the Campania  Region and have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful Mediterranean cuisine.


You  will study in  group classes, take  part  in group activities, and have free time to create friendships  with  people  from  many  different cultures


- 2 weeks Italian Basic Course

- Accommodation: 2 weeks

in family, single room, B&B

- 1 tour of Sorrento

- 1excursions to Pompeii

- 1 excursion to Naples

- 2 afternoons of school

activities, such as Italian film and class cultural lessons.

- 1 visit to Lemoncello Factory followed by tasting

- 1 make your own Gelato and enjoy

- 1 typical Sorrentine cooking class
PRICE 1009   per person

COURSE DATES: From15th April 2012 to 27th April 2012

From 1st October 2012

to       13th October 2012


2 weeks
s per week
m day/5 days per week)

more information at:
SASL - Sant’Anna Institute - Sorrento Lingue
Via Marina Grande 16 - 80067 Sorrento (NA)
Tel. +39-081-807-55-99 - Email: