Travel Tips

Corfu: An Easy Mediterranean Escape From Italy

 

#corfu #greece #mediterranean #escapeartist #agiosgordiosbeach #agiosgordios

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The island of Corfu and the main city that goes by the same name, are one of the top tourist destinations of the Mediterranean, and are sure to astonish you if you’re looking for a beautiful getaway location, full of history, culture and with plenty of great spots and activities to entertain you during your stay.
The city’s old quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the past Italian occupation of the island can easily be seen in the architecture of some historical buildings. If you’re interested in the history of the Greek island, its art and traditions, there are a number of museums you can visit such as the Archeological Museum and the Kapodistrias Museum. Saint Spyridon Church is the most famous church in Corfu and an important landmark that you cannot miss. In the city of Corfu you can visit the stunning Old Fortress built in the 1500s.
However, the many beauties of the island – both natural and man-made – might seem like too much work to reach if you’re spending your holiday in Italy. After all, the island is Greek and some tourists might believe the process to reach Corfu to be complex. That cannot be more false. In fact, there are a number of ways to easily reach the island and enjoy it to the fullest, and here they are.

 

How To Get To Corfu

The advent of low-cost flying has made the island available to a whole new set of tourists from all over the world. Reaching Corfu by taking low-cost flights from some of the major Italian cities is very easy, and there are many options on this front. You can choose different companies to fly to Corfu, Ryanair flights to the island can be boarded in the airports of Bergamo and Venice. If you’re visiting Naples, Easyjet serves the city’s airport, and you can catch a flight to Corfu from there.
If you’d prefer a panoramic travel experience, and would like to enjoy the Adriatic and Ionian Sea, you can also reach Corfu by ferry. Ferry services and routes to the island can be found in the cities of Ancona, Bari and Brindisi. If you’re set on visiting Corfu, and enjoying Italy is just a plus, staying in any of these cities before you reach the island is sure to be a fantastic experience of Italian culture.

 

What To Do In Corfu

There are many interesting places to visit and the shops will satisfy your need for traditional crafts to bring home as souvenirs. But the immersive activities to do while in Corfu don’t stop inside the picturesque streets of the city, and the most stunning and relaxing thing you can do when on the island is definitely to visit some of the famous beaches that line the coast.
Any spot will be perfect for your needs and you’ll be able to enjoy the sun and the sea without limits, but here are some beaches you can look into, and stop by to have a fantastic day by the shore.
The beach of Agios Gordios is on the West coast of Corfu, opposite the city and airport, so it can easily be reached with a 45-minute bus ride. Buses serve the route from the city of Corfu to the beach, but you can also rely on a taxi service if needed. The area of Agios Gordios is full of apartments and restaurants so it can also be a great accommodation option for tourists. Within 3 km of the beach are a few traditional Greek villages to sample local culture.
Glyfada, also on the West coast of Corfu and not far from the city, is a stunning beach with golden sand and clear water. It’s a welcome experience after many rocky and gravelly beaches you might encounter in Corfu. The beach is very long, and you can find many snack bars and restaurants.
Located to the South of Corfu and quite a distance from the city, is Halikounas Beach. Another long beach with sandy dunes and the clear water typical of the Ionian Sea in Corfu, Halikounas stretches along the shore of Lake Korission and is a great spot for water sports as well.

 

What To Eat

There are many types of food to try in Corfu but you cannot miss Greek cuisine.
A typical dish is gyros, the Greek version of shawarma that is made with pita bread, meat, vegetables and sauces, like the tzatziki sauce. They resemble the Turkish döner kebab, and are hand-held wraps that you can enjoy in a variety of ways.
One of the most famous fast food restaurants that serves gyros in the city of Corfu is Mpouzis O Meraklis. Try out other local Greek snacks, like souvlaki, and enjoy Corfu!

 

#corfu #gyros #greece #greekfood #streetfood #bbq #rotisserie #chicken

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Easy Wine Tour From Milan In One Day

Pavia - Ponte Coperto

If you are staying in Milan during your vacation and you would like to try out and discover more about Northern Italian wines, here’s everything you need to know to find what you’re looking for.
There are no vineyards in the country surrounding Milan, but you can reach an area that is famous for the production of quality wines in just under 45 minutes from the city. The wine production region is known as Oltrepò Pavese, and it’s not always included in most tours, and so not every tourist knows that such a suggestive place with great wine-related activities and experiences is just around the corner.

There are many places that are easily reached by car or train, and even by bus, if you’re staying in Milan. The city has great food, amazing shops and there’s plenty of stunning works of art and museums to visit. However, if you like nature or would like to know more about the produce and ingredients used to create the many delicious foods you can eat in restaurants and the renowned wines, going on a day trip to the countryside outside of Milan is the best option.
Here are some of the places you can visit, and where to go if you’re looking to have a wine tour.

Oltrepò Pavese, Pavia And How To Get There

You can get to Pavia from Milan in under 50 minutes, by train, but you will still need a car if you’d like to visit the wineries in the area, as they’re not connected by public transportation. Car rental is always recommended when travelling across Italy – or you could seek out a taxi service in the area, but that can quickly get expensive.
But while you’re in Pavia, you might as well enjoy the city, which is wildly different from Milan. The atmosphere is less hectic and you’ll have the chance to visit churches, cathedrals and the Visconti residence, all at a more relaxed pace.
While in Pavia you can also visit palaces and historical buildings, and you can visit the countryside and hamlets outside the city and find more stunning buildings and enjoy nature at local natural parks.

An area covering over 420 square miles known as Oltrepò Pavese is also part of the province of Pavia, and this triangular shaped territory is not very well known to foreign tourists, but Italians (especially Northern Italians) are familiar with the area because of its relevance as a wine production region. But visiting the area means that you’ll discover many stunning sceneries and landscapes unknown to most, such as smooth hills, medieval castles and villages, and you can enjoy authentic food and wines that belong to the local tradition.

What Wines Are Produced There?

Sparkling wines produced in this region are the most well-known, and the area of origin for DOC (controlled designation of origin) wines in Oltrepò Pavese covers 42 towns. The Bonarda is the most famous wine produced in the area and has a fruity taste without being sweet, and is well loved by many wine-lovers and restaurant goers. Most Oltrepò Pavese wines are paired with local dished made with mushrooms, truffles and game meats like boar or rabbit. Red DOC wines of Oltrepò Pavese go well with meat dishes, but can usually be paired with every dish of the typical Italian menu (antipasto, first and second course, side dishes and dessert). The Oltrepò Pavese Bianco is a white wine best paired with seafood and fish based dishes or vegetables. Sparkling wines like the Oltrepò Pavese Spumante go well as a cocktail before meals, or when paired with fish dishes. Other notable Oltrepò Pavese DOC wines are the Barbera, Riesling Italico and Riesling Renano.

Some Notable Vineyards Of The Oltrepò Pavese

Since the region of Oltrepò Pavese can be reached in under one hour if you’re based in Milan during your vacation, there are definitely a number of wine tours you can take part to by visiting some of the local vineyards and wineries.
Here are some notable vineyards located in the area of Oltrepò Pavese.

The Canneto Pavese winery was founded in 1961 and includes members from many local vineyards covering a total of about 400 hectares. Every member of the winery takes care to handle the grapes with the outmost care to produce excellent wines.

The Cantina Storica Il Montù doesn’t just deal in wine, but also in grappa, and organizes events throughout the year to showcase the local cuisine along with their own productions.

Terre d’Oltrepò is a society that merges two local wineries (the Cantina di Broni and the Cantina di Casteggio) and offers guided visits along with an extensive selection of wines that can be purchased at the associated locations.

Spumante

Cinque Terre: Is The Sentiero dell’Amore Open?

cinque terre 039

Bad news first – no, the Sentiero dell’Amore is not currently open. And according to locals it doesn’t seem like a lot of effort is being put into securing the trail for public access.
But now that you know, let’s take a step back and see what we’re talking about and what alternatives you have.

First of all, if you found yourself looking for exciting and stunning trails and footpaths to walk down during your trip to Liguria, the Cinque Terre area is exactly what you need.
It is a portion of the coastal area of Liguria and it spans the Italian Riviera from just West of La Spezia and across five villages. The towns, coastline and surrounding hills are part of the Cinque Terre National Park and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, the incredible landscape made of steep cliffs and terraced zones is subject to the elements and is affected by seasonal torrential rains and the consequent floods and mudslides. These events have caused several problems when it comes to the trails that line the Cinque Terre (the most notable example being the subject of this article, the Sentiero dell’Amore), so be careful to check weather alerts (“allerta meteo” in Italian) for dangerous weather conditions, and double check online or with local guides to make sure the trail and footpaths of your choice are currently safe and open to the public.
Of course, while you’re visiting the Cinque Terre, you can’t miss out on the other opportunities unique of this territory, such as local cuisine. You can enjoy great seafood dishes and wines made from locally sourced and produced grapes, and many other dishes and snacks. Try out authentic pesto pasta, focaccia and farinata!

To get back to the topic at hand, let’s see what options are available along the Cinque Terre as far as hiking goes. Don’t worry, there’s plenty to do and see for walkers and hikers both travelling solo, in groups, or with their significant other.

 

What Exactly Is The Sentiero dell’Amore?

The Sentiero has been closed off to the public ever since a landslide back in 2012. Before the rockfall hit, this particular trail was famous for being the most romantic hike one could possibly do in the Cinque Terre area.
The trail is more of a paved path, like a long terrace overlooking the sea, and easy access for the disabled was available to allow everyone to enjoy the Sentiero. The landslide made it impossible to gain access to the trail, save for a short section that can be reached from Manarola, so anyone looking to walk along the Cinque Terre will have to look for alternatives.

Is It Currently Open?

As mentioned, no. The Sentiero dell’Amore is closed off, and any access to the other trails and footpaths depends on weather conditions, due to the region’s periodic floods and landslides that can always block passage to walkers and tourists. The National Park and local authorities will block access and close paths (most often only for a few days) for safety reasons when heavy rains are expected.

The Problems The Trail Is Facing

Since the region has to face periodical heavy rains, due to the area’s climate and the peculiar shape of the territory, with cliffs and rocky formations, the authorities have to face several occurrences of accidents and damage to the paths along the Cinque Terre. The copious amount of tourists visiting the area and enjoying the activities and establishments in the villages along the area’s trails ensure a steady income that is used to maintain the structures and footpaths, but the severe damage caused in 2012 to the Sentiero dell’Amore still hasn’t been repaired.
One of the main problems in the area remains the landslide between Manarola and Corniglia, that has already caused the trail’s closure during the past year. Local accommodation and business owners maintain some of the trails, as volunteers.
You can easily by-pass the problematic section by enjoying a beautiful walk leading through the hamlet of Volastra.

Here Are Some Alternatives

There are plenty of beautiful, picturesque and romantic trails that you can walk for a fantastically immersive experience in the Cinque Terre, so be sure to check the Park’s official website for info. Some trails are recommended for expert hikers, as they can be quite steep and challenging, but if you’re being accompanied by a tour guide most of the alternative paths to the Sentiero dell’Amore will be completely manageable.
Before the inauguration of the Sentiero dell’Amore, directly coasting the sea with a paved path, locals had been walking the upper path from Riomaggiore to Manarola. This is a trekking trail with steep steps that can pose some challenge when wet because of recent rains, so caution is advised and proper gear is recommended.

Heading to Lecce? Here Are The Best Places According to The Locals

Piazza del Duomo - Lecce, Italy - Travel photography

Lecce is a great city in Apulia that you can visit or stay at during your holidays. The city has a lot to offer in the way of historical and artistic attractions, such as churches, Roman ruins, the Castle of Charles V and museums to discover the past and present of this beautiful destination. It also has many other little gems for you to unveil, and you can live a truly immersive experience in Apulia through the local, traditional food and activities that you can engage in while you’re here.
Staying in Lecce means you’ll have the chance to visit this incredible city while also being close by to many other wonderful sights of Salento. You’ll be able to reach beaches, hot springs, cathedrals and more, and the best way to tour Salento is through car rental. The various cities and towns scattered along the coast are not always connected through a reliable and intuitive public transport system and the experience could get complicated and unnecessarily uncomfortable, especially when the alternative of going by car is a much better choice. The lack of severe traffic (unlike that found in Northern Italian cities) will ensure you’ll make your way to your destination faster, and every attraction as sufficient parking space to accommodate tourists.
The best time of the year to visit Salento is the beginning or ending of the high season. Come to Salento in May/June, or during September/October to find a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere. Without hordes of other tourists swarming the beaches and sights, you’ll have more space and time to fully enjoy everything Salento has to offer, both in the way of nature (such as Otranto and Sana Cesarea), as well as what concerns the hinterland, further from the seaside, where you can find great spots (like the city of Lecce itself).

 

Must See in Salento

Salento has a lot to offer and the choice is wide, since every mile of beach hides treasures, and every corner of Apulia has the potential to be a vacation spot full of great things to see and do. Since you’re probably not going to be able to visit every little place on your way up and down Salento, here are some ideas on what to visit during your stay. Don’t forget that behind every little town or beach is hidden a great opportunity to find interesting and scenic locations, restaurants and places to relax – Use the internet freely on the go to look for the best rated eateries and spots for an extra little adventure as you visit the following main sights. Sometimes, getting lost is a blessing, when it enables you to find hidden gems!

Otranto

 

Summer is here . 🏊🌞

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In the city of Otranto you won’t just find the spectacular Aragonese Castle, but also the Cathedral, dating back to 1088. The altar is surrounded by the remains of the 800 Martyrs of Otranto, making for a truly impressive sight.

Lecce

We’ve already mentioned the many beautiful places that you can visit while in Lecce, but the most important and historically relevant feature of the city would have to be its churches. The Duomo, Lecce’s Cathedral is the most eye-catching feature of the city square, with a 70-metre high bell tower.

Galatina

In Galatina you will find many interesting buildings and tourist sites to visit, bot religious and of historical relevance, but the most beautiful is the Basilica di Santa Caterina d’Alessandria, build at the end of the 1300s. While you’re busy in the city touring the sights, stop by a bakery or ask for the local signature dessert at a restaurant: the pasticciotto, a baked pastry with custard filling you’re sure to love!

Santa Cesarea

Come to Santa Cesarea to enjoy the sea and to take part in something unique: the thermal baths, with various facilities. The city was built on hot springs and here you can enjoy different cosmetic and therapeutic services.

Porto Cesareo

Visit this town if you love nature, for you will find a natural reserve, a marine reserve and many wonderful beaches to enjoy. Clear waters, rocky and sandy shores and many picturesque spots await you in Porto Cesareo. Don’t forget to enjoy some incredible fish dishes and seafood while you’re here.

Castro

South of Lecce, you will find the town of Castro and its many natural sights. You can enjoy the beautiful sea nearby and the natural areas and rock formations. The Grotta Zinzulusa is the most relevant in the area among other minor cave complexes near Castro, and it consists of three rooms filled with stunning stalactites, stalagmites and rocky walls that for their shape will remind the visitor of laundry on a clothesline with the sun filtering from the nooks and spaces between them.

Vicino Poesia

Travelling To Salento? Here Are The Top 5 Things To Do In Brindisi

Visiting the Southern regions of Italy is a one-of-a-kind experience, with delicious foods, incredible sights and immersive activities. In the region of Apulia, specifically in the heel of Italy’s boot-shaped territory, lies a magical and interesting area: Salento.


Beautiful geographic features await you, but you’ll also find some of Apulia’s main cities by visiting the region of Salento. The best way to explore all Salento has to offer, is to choose a main city to use as a base for your travels, a starting point from where to visit other small towns and touristic sights.
While not being overly popular or a hugely renowned tourist destination, Brindisi stands as one of the most beautiful cities in lower Apulia, and its position will allow you to visit many neighboring locations with ease. Brindisi has lots of activities and sights to offer for anyone looking to visit the city as well as its surroundings, and staying here will mean you’ll have a lot of options to satisfy all of your needs.
There’s lots to do and see in Apulia, but we want to give you a few tips and suggest some things you might enjoy for a truly immersive journey in Salento, and for a great experience while exploring the city of Brindisi.

Take a stroll through marbled streets and enjoy the seafront
Brindisi itself has many beautiful locations that you can visit (between a meal and another!), as you stroll along the city’s streets all the way to the seafront. There are many incredible and impressive churches, dating from the 11th to the 14th century, such as the Duomo (the main cathedral of Brindisi), the Church of Santa Maria del Casale and that of San Benedetto as well as many others. But you can also visit other places that will amaze you, like the Aragonese Castle, also known as “Forte a Mare” (Sea Fort), and Castello Grande.
Within the territory of the city you can also find natural areas and Regional Natural Parks, if you want to enjoy the local flora and fauna. If you prefer to discover more of local history and culture, museums are in the city center.

Visit Torre Guaceto and go for a swim

 

#salento #puglia #apulia #torreguaceto #puntapenna #brindisi #italy #adriatic #mediterraneansea #southofitaly

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Of course visiting Apulia also means enjoying the sea, and to do just that you can rely on the marine reserve of Torre Guaceto. It’s a beautiful beach located in a protected area and you can go for a swim, go snorkeling, go on treks and hikes and take part in other activities that are being organized along the reserve. Remember to respect the environment, an you’ll have a wonderful time in one of the most beautiful beaches near Brindisi.

Eat local foods – like pizza fritta!

There are many traditional dishes and snacks that you can try while in Apulia and Brindisi, you just need to take a look around food stalls, bars and restaurants. Perhaps the best example of local cuisine is that of fried pizza (pizza fritta), which can be found around pizzerias in Brindisi.
One of the names that comes to mind when thinking about pizza fritta is the Pizzeria Romanelli, located in the city (Via Santa Lucia, 3 – Brindisi). With a long history in deep frying, this restaurant, established in 1949, also has a branched to the States, with a location in Houston, Texas. The pizzeria is also a good bet if you’re just looking to eat a great (regular) Italian pizza, but since you’re already here, you might as well go all out and sample your first (and perhaps best) pizza fritta ever!

Enjoy regional cuisine and explore new tastes

 

#braceria #puglia #brindisi #salento #bombette #bbq #meat #italy

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As already established, Apulia has great dishes and produce to offer. An excellent idea for a meal while in Brindisi would be to have a taste of great meat courses while enjoying Al Fresco seating.
The Braceria Semeraro offers a cozy and homely environment with a few tables inside the restaurant and a number of tables outside on the terrace. Book a table in advance if you’re able, because the place can get crowded. The Braceria is the lovechild of a butcher’s and a restaurant, where you choose the cuts you want to have, which will be cooked for you so that you’ll be able to enjoy them at your table. It accounts for a very unique experience, and there’s no menu, so be prepared to choose from the variety of different meats and cuts.

Visit nearby Ostuni by car rental

By renting a car, you’ll be able to visit many beautiful cities and locations not far from Brindisi, such as Ostuni. The city is full of tourists during summer, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the Old Town, Ostuni’s Cathedral and other landmarks.

Life Is Too Short For Not Living in Italy

iCub, a child-like humanoid designed by the RobotCub Consortium, taken at VVV 2010

Italy is generally a beautiful country with lots of promises and attractions. Many people from across the world know Italy for its exquisite recipes and romance. The wine, the food and coffee is just out of this world. Even the simple act of walking in this part of the world has a way of cooking up ideas with wishes that this feeling should last forever. If you are considering moving to Italy, it just might be the best move ever. Here are a few advantages of moving to Italy to psych you up.

Inspired by this Ted talk by La Stampa multilingual journalist Ioanna Merope Ippiotis we decided to write our own version on why is better to live in Italy than the Us, and the UK.

1. Networking

Italy has relatively fewer opportunities compared to UK and US. For this reason, Italians have perfected the art of networking, and they spend a lot of time trying to make connections with likeminded people. Whatever your reason for moving to Italy, you will need to stay open minded and interactive to build a supportive network around you.

For starters, and if you can afford it, consider working for little or no compensation at first while targeting to meet new people who will potentially open new doors for you. The best part is you won’t have trouble making networks because this is what Italians do best; they are best at personal relations. Sending cold letters to potential employers doesn’t work well here; Italians prefer networking as their first method of finding a job.

Although there is a partial believe that it’s not what you know, but who you know, you can easily turn this around to your advantage through your networking or marketing skills. There are lots of professional networking platforms and organizations such as Ecademy.com, the American Women’s Association of Rome, Benvenuto Club of Milan, among others. Depending in your interests and location, you should find some if these groups and join. Once your face becomes familiar, people will start to trust you and it will be easier to land jobs and business deals.

 

2. Mark Zuckerberg watch this space.

For many Italy is a paternalistic society lacking of innovation, constantly stuck in cycles of recession or low economic growth. But it is often this lack of opporunities that generates the most creative ideas. As we seen worldwide after the 2008 financial crisis, there is a new wave of innovations, and Italy is not immune to that. From Arduino to the Reggio Emilia food innovation programme , Italy innovation spans from 3d printing technology such as the delta wasp project  to intelligent robots such as the ICub created by the Italian technology institute.

Italy was alredy an innovator in the 60s,70s with many fields such as cinema, design, and fashion, and it is doing it again now. So why only look at the US, and UK for jobs or investment opportunities?

3. Cheaper cost of living

The general cost of living can greatly fluctuate depending on whether you plan to live in the north or south. The northern part of Italy tends to be wealthier compared to the south, for this reason, prices in major cities such as Rome and Milan are considerably higher than in the rural areas. In between, there are medium cities and cultural lifestyles that offer a bit of both. In other words, this country has something for everyone.

You will, however, be pleasantly surprised to note that the cost of living in Italy is generally low compared to most cities in UK and US. Whatever your preferences and tastes, the cost of living in Italy is not a high as many people may expect. Many people who come as tourists leave with the impression that Italy is an expensive country to live in. However, if you keep off tourist hot spots, you will not have to spend a fortune to enjoy life here.

Again, the cost of living will depend on where you choose to settle and your lifestyle. Real estate and accommodation will probably be your biggest expense, so by avoiding major cities and choosing small to medium towns, you can save quite a lot. Other living expenses such as food, fuel, and health are fairly consistent across the country. On a wider scale, we can say that the country has a relatively stable economy, salaries are generally reasonable and standard of living is high compared to other EU countries.

If you want to compare the cost of living of your country with Italy try to have a go on this site.

4. Less violence

Most Italian cities are reasonably safe, and security should not be on your list of concerns. However, as an extra layer of security, always get to know your neighbors. Italians look after their own, so the more people you know the safer you will stay. When it comes to moving around cities, especially at night, there are a few neighborhoods that are best left alone. There are a few cases of petty crime in some Italian cities and you can easily fall prey to pickpockets especially if you don’t speak Italian.

Again, as I have mentioned, security is not a major issue here in Italy. Additionally, there is no binge drinking culture that are known to cause violence and personal security issues in cities in the US and UK. 

Also so far Italy has been spared by terrorist attacks that are plaguing countries like the UK and France. Amongst other reasons experts claims that  migrants are less likely to live in ghettos in Italy than in other countries, this leads to a drecreased marginalisation and better integrations, therefore a less violent society with lower inequalities.

 

4. Weather and foods

It’s globally known that Italians take their foods really seriously. The quality of food you get in any restaurant or supermarket will normally be superior to what you can expect in the US. While you have to really search for good food in the US and UK, you have to equally search for bad food in Italy. Generally, the Italians have the best supermarkets. And even the smallest food stores in the smallest towns have a great spread of vegetables, fruits, cheese, and meat.

The strict food laws here prevent excessive use of chemical pesticides, colorings or preservatives. This makes their food quality and safety exceptional. When it comes to their restaurants, you will love the locally grown, fresh foods that making eating here such as delightful experience. The convenience of frozen pizzas and fast food are rare here, and dinner actually lasts for hours.

While many visitors imagine that the weather in Italy is dry and sunny throughout, the climate here actually varies based on location. If you are planning to settle in Milan for instance, you will have an entirely different weather calendar compared to someone living in Palermo. Generally, there are not torturing extremities that can make life unbearable or uncomfortable during your stay here.

 

5. Surroundings and moving around

No matter where you decide to settle in Italy, you will always be surrounded by incredibly rich natural beauty and heritage. After a while, you will absorb in the culture and rich history and start to appreciate your beautiful environment. With time, you will never want to step on a treadmill as there is always plenty to see when you walk around. It’s surprisingly quite easy to move around as most cities and towns are well connected. Additionally, major cities are never far away from the mountains and sea and you can enjoy the view as you speed past in the high-speed trains.

 

6. You will Live longer

Seriously, though, remember when I said Italians take their foods seriously? Aside from strict food regulations, locally grown fresh foods and minimal junk and fast foods, the Mediterranean diet seems to have taken this country by storm in the last two decades.

For starters, the Mediterranean diet essentially incorporates all the basics of healthy eating. Most of these diets include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, and limit unhealthy fats. So if you want to live a few more years in better health and fewer medications, please carry on with your relocation to Italy.

 

Digital Fabrication Helps The Bees With An Opensource Beehive

 Did you know that one in every third food bite you consume depends on successful pollination of plants, specifically attributed to pollinators like bees? According to scientists, if we are to overlook this continued decimation of the bee population, then that time is not far away when we may find ourselves at a huge irreparable loss.

This calls for an undertaking from our parts to protect bees and their beehives, who are on a rapidly decline due to climate change and various other reasons. This very need led to the formulation of an open source beehive project  and resulted in the creation of an open source beehive, the design of which is open to use and modification.

What is Open source beehives all about.

oepnsource beehive=
Top bar open source beehive

Their main goal is to build and facilitate a group of citizen scientists, to understand the reason behind the rapid decline of the bee population; which as of yet, remains a mystery. There are some points that need to be taken into cognisance, these points would help us better analyze this project.

Furthermore, these set of digital files ( the usage of which has been presented below), could be used on a CNC machine to replicate these stylish beehives. One such beehive would follow the best beekeeping practices, as well as create a conducive environment for your bees!

1. The beehives so designed are known to respect best beekeeping principles, which, in turn, create a facilitating environment for our bees and help them grow as well as work to their maximum potential.

2. They also use a field data logger mechanism which assesses the audio and video inputs provided by the bees. Such an input helps the project observe the state of the bees, and prods you into taking corrective measures if necessary.

3. After that comes the beehive classification algorithm, which is used to observe and analyze the various audio signals emitted from the beehive. Such input, one obtained, would help characterize as well as segregated the behavior shown by the bees, tallying it from a long list of beekeeping practices. This list includes intimidation on various factors like swarming, moth invasions or the worst possible case – Catastrophe ( theft or invasion ).

4. Also, there is the buzz box hardware, which could be installed non-intrusively in the beehive. This piece of hardware would help keep a tab on various factors inside and outside the beehive. It would help you track the temperature, battery charge, barometric pressure, and hive vibration. All of this data could be easily accessed on your smartphone and would help you in keeping a tab on your bees.

5. Finally, there is the buzz box phone app, which is meant to provide you with notifications as well as readings of your bees behavior. All of this could be gotten on your smartphone and is easily accessible to read and refer to. Also, if any significant change is noticed, an intimation would be provided to you almost instantly, which would make your life far easier

Why do our bees need help

To understand this important point, we have to understand their importance to us. If bees wouldn’t have been there to pollinate our crops, hard labor related pollination would cost us over 300bn$ ( Global estimate ). Now, that isn’t a small figure to pay no heed to; also, as have been asserted above, they provide us with a third of our food!

There are many factors and facets behind the rapidly declining population of the bees. Some have been enunciated below, this would help you better understand the reasons attributed to it.

1. Pesticides

Pesticides are a major “buzz kill”. Jokes apart, excessive utilization of pesticides in agriculture has lead to the creation of an unhealthy environment for our bees. There are many pesticides that are known as the bee-killers, but there have been no concrete steps taken to prevent their usage. Albeit, they are usually ignored, for the greater good, or something like that!

2. Mass agriculture

Wild pollinators need more than agriculture-related plants to work. Due to the explosive decline in forests, grass and shrubs, bees find themselves at a loss of a place to call their “home”. Also, intensive agriculture commands more than 35% of the ice-free surface area, with it growing year-on-year.

3. Climate Change

The much talked about topic of climate change would have adverse effects on the growth of the population of wild pollinators. This erratic change in temperature, rainfall, and many other factors leads to a confusion in pollinators about the ongoing season.

4. Parasites

Parasites like Varroa mite have, over the years, led to a rapid loss of bee colonies. If research is to believed, then they are as inimical to bee health as are pesticides usage. When pollinators contract such parasites, they tend to experience a rapid decline in their immune system and find it hard to fight and fend off minor diseases. Now, that leads to an unaccounted number of deaths in pollinators.

What can an Open source beehive do

With the ever-growing grasp of technology over our normal lives, it would be wise to use this knowledge in preserving something that means so much to us. If we are able to create an healthy environment for our bees, then it would, in turn, also benefit us in the long run. Furthermore, such steps taken by an open source project  are always steps in the right direction, as it allows people to participate, modify, and collaborate on such an importa issue.

A decimation of their population due to climate change, pesticides, pathogens etc. could lead to a massive loss of our food security. Hence, Citizen science or public participation in scientific research is the need of the hour. If all of us come together to provide our opinion on the subject, then that time is not far away when the bee population would be more robust.

Also, when we utilize the help of technology, it becomes much easier for us to keep an observant check on bees and their conditions in beehives. This would also aid us in fending off any unwanted attack on them!

‘FICO’ Foodie Fun Park by Eataly Bologna Soon to Open

Eataly, the leading name in food retail for Italian cuisine, produce and culinary traditions, will soon be opening an exclusive theme park, unique in its kind: FICO – Eataly World. The project for this foodie fun park was born in 2013 and ever since, Eataly has focused its efforts into developing and expanding upon the initial idea until this year, and the park will be finally ready to open by the end of 2017.
The name of the park, ‘FICO’ comes from the acronym of Fabbrica Italiana Contadina, Italian Farming Factory in English, and it will represent over 2000 companies and will host 40 farming factories for a surface area of 11.000 square meters between farms and cultivations. The total surface of the park, located in the CAAB (The Agricultural Center in Bologna), is of 80.000 square meters. FICO will include educational courses and itineraries spanning through the farms and classes located across the park. The park also includes congress centers, restaurants and a market area to showcase produce from the territory, and products and ingredients of the Italian culinary tradition.

 

Benvenuto a Eataly!

What is the vision behind the project?

The mission and the vision behind this grand project is to teach and showcase how all parts of production, from the cultivation and breeding of raw ingredients to the final dish that can be prepared and brought to the dinner table by using them to their full potential, are equally important, not only for the excellence and quality of the final product, but for the development and ethical use of the territory of Italy.
FICO will not just be a park for foodies and tourists to enjoy food in all of its parts, step by step, but it will also be an educational experience, to learn with a new approach notions that are often underappreciated. FICO will be a bridge between generations, teaching young people the traditions and the lifestyle of those people who grow, process and bring food to our tables every day. The objective is to make people get more in touch with the natural environment in which we live and which is fundamental for our sustenance. This will be done at the park through activities and games that will cover the entire food production chain of the Italian agro-food industry.

What will you find at FICO?

Tourists, business partners and children visiting FICO will see the process of growing the raw ingredients in person, and touch with their own hands the produce and results of the farming done at FICO: they’ll have a chance to experience how biodiversity is a valuable asset in the growth of the raw materials and resources. Then, they will be able to join workshops to experience the processing of the ingredients according to local methods towards the creation of food and wines. Individuals, groups, children and families will be entertained with educational and hands-on tours and classes, and there will be many different types of restaurants and street-food stalls to choose from to try the products and dishes at the end of the educational experiences available at the FICO –Eataly World foodie park. But the options for people visiting the Fabbrica Italiana Contadina don’t end here. An extended area of 10.000 square meters will house an organic market and traditional craft stores, so that small and medium businesses of Italy will be able to showcase their manufacturing and crafting arts.
The best Italian companies, sponsoring the park and represented by it will be featured inside the context of a 4.000 square meter event and convention center. This area, at the heart of the park, will host conferences, team-building experiences and food-themed meetings for Italian partners and visitors from all around the world.

When will FICO open to the public?

The opening date hasn’t been released yet, so the best way to know when the park will open is to subscribe to FICO’s newsletter. You can also use the contact form at this link http://www.eatalyworld.it/en/contact-form to get in touch with the park’s team, or you could add FICO on social media through the name “Eataly World” and follow its development and hear the news about the park and it’s inauguration by following the hashtag #eatalyworld.
In the meantime, as we wait for this incredible foodie fun park to open its gates, we can get acquainted with its location and how to reach it.
The CAAB that hosts FICO grounds can be reached from Bologna’s Marconi international airport. Take the shuttle to Bologna’s central railway station and from here you can take the bus (line number 35) and in 30 minutes you’ll reach the FICO Eataly World gates (CAAB bus stop). If you’re going by car, use the motorway and FICO is located at the following address: Via Paolo Canali, 1 – 40127 Bologna.

How To Get a Reservation at Osteria Francescana? Actually, You Can’t

osteria francescana met Bottura

Or rather, you can try. But it might be more complicated than you’d imagine.

The world-famous award-winning, (three) Michelin star holding restaurant has become a celebrity of its own – one everyone who decides to visit Italy has at least once thought about eating at. And with good reason, since the dishes served by Chef Bottura at the Osteria Francescana find their roots in traditional, top-quality Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting to make a move towards the future, innovating and presenting products and produce with a refreshing, new look. The only problem? Booking a lunch or a dinner can be quite the process.

The Osteria’s Fame

In the past few years, Massimo Bottura, the chef behind the Osteria Francescana, has been praised and regarded by the culinary world for a number of reasons: for being true to his roots in his style, mission and choice of ingredients, for bringing innovative ideas – literally – to the table, and for creating new dishes that contribute to create a unique dining experience.
Thanks to this, Chef Bottura’s fame has skyrocketed to the Olympus of Italian haute-cuisine, making his restaurant, one of the most exclusive in Italy, and the best restaurant in the world, according to “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016”. The waiting list to book a table is of four months, so if you need to book for a specific date, or period of time (based on the days you’ll be in Modena), you need to be prepared.

How to Book

First of all, as we already established, the restaurant is fully booked, and sold out, for the next 4 months. New reservations start on April for the month of July, and so on.
At this link, http://www.osteriafrancescana.it/reservations/ you can see the reservations’ calendar with available dates and, if you skip forward using the arrows, you can see the instructions about booking a table: reservations open on a certain date and time, so if you want to get in early on the waiting list, prepare to call, or email the staff accordingly.
By making a reservation you are in fact inquiring about booking a table, and the Osteria will get back at you in the next 96 hours – enough time to sort the tables and pick clients from the waiting list for that date. If someone cancels their reservation, that’s all the more chance you have for your request to go through, but it can be though.
Being flexible with dates and times is a great way to get in the Osteria’s “good graces” and your reservation is more likely to be confirmed. A great way to show the staff you’re fine with multiple dates, and okay with going either at lunch or dinner is making a call.
For a successful call, remember to be nice and accommodating. Ask the staff if there’s something that can be done to fit you in, pointing out your availability.

More info can be found clicking on the following Quora and Tripadvisor links. Along with inquiries about how to make a reservation and how to contact the restaurant, you can also find other tips, reviews, and frequently asked questions about the Osteria’s dress-code and more.
https://www.quora.com/How-hard-is-it-to-get-a-reservation-at-Osteria-Francescana
https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/FAQ_Answers-g187803-d1160010-t918838-I_ll_be_in_Modena_in_a_few_months_how_did_you.html

Alternatives to the Osteria Francescana

Of course managing to find a spot at the Osteria can be done, but if you couldn’t book a table in time, or your reservation didn’t go through, don’t fret: there are more fantastic dining experiences to be had in and around Modena that’ll be sure to leave you a great memory (and after-taste) of your visit to the city.
Here are a couple of alternatives that you can rely on for a great lunch or dinner out, and don’t forget that the internet is always available if you need to look up restaurants and osterie on the spot. Or, you could just look around, and you’ll see plenty of quaint little places with great local and traditional menus.

The Osteria Franceschetta

Chef Bottura also manages this Osteria, with the collaboration of other famous chefs. The menu is rich of interesting, fusion-style dishes that still find their roots in Italian and local, Emilian cuisine, but without forgetting a twist in the presentation, tastes and colors.
Choosing this restaurant will make it so that you’ll still enjoy an incredible experience alongside Bottura’s ideas and creations but in a different ambient, with more affordable options that those of the Osteria Francescana, and a more relaxed booking experience.
Reservation is advised, and can be done through the Osteria’s website:
http://www.franceschetta.it/en/

L’Erba del Re – Award-winning Restaurant in Modena

This restaurant can boast one Michelin star, along with many other awards and great results achieved through the years. If you couldn’t get into Osteria Francescana, the Ristorante L’Erba del Re is an excellent alternative, with traditional and innovative dishes, made with locally sourced and top-quality ingredients. Tasting menus for a well-rounded culinary experience are available.
http://www.lerbadelre.it/

Sherry Wine tour in Jerez – Best Bodegas – Andalusia Spain

If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life.

– Alexander Fleming

Gonzalez Byass 25

What comes to your mind when you hear the word, Sherry? Something that is sweet and dark? Some drink that shows up only on exclusive occasions before returning to the confines of the drinks cabinet, till next time.

Let’s get into it. Sherry is a Spanish fortified wine with more than 3,000 years of rich tradition to accompany. Wine when added to a distilled spirit (i.e. brandy) becomes a Sherry.

The word itself is an Anglicization of the Spanish word Xeres. The exclusivity of Sherry can be gauge from its protected designation of origin status in Europe. All the Sherry wines must legally be from the geographical region of Andalucía known, also known as the Sherry Triangle. Additionally, the words Jerez / Xérès / Sherry are registered by Spanish wine producers and anyone using them outside the production area will face legal consequences.

The thin layer of yeast placed on top of the sherry wines barrel is called Flor, it splits all wines produced by the Sherry Triangle into two principal categories.

The process starts with fermenting the must, extracted from the white grapes produced in Southwestern Spain. This is achieved by adding  yeasts or pie de cuba.T his results in a young wine with an approximate 13.5% alcohol. Additionally, right after the fermentation, flor will start developing on this young wine. Flor is a thin layer of yeast on top of the sherry wine barrels. This waxy foam of layer protects the wine from air exposure and keeps the character of the Sherry intact. After that, a carefully quantified selection is made to fortify the wine by adding a distilled spirit to it.

Oxidative Sherry

This Sherry is brewed partially or entirely without flor i.e. Amontillado and Oloroso.

In recent years a lot of research has been put in place to decode the microbiology of sherry wine making and the impact of a flor veil on top of the Sherry wine barrels. All of this is because of the fame attained by the biologically aged Sherries.

Wine aficionados opine that to cherish the real character and blossoming taste of this wonderfully idiosyncratic wine; it’s essential to serve it with the right kind of savory food.

3 Types Of Sherries To Try.

“If it swims, serve Fino; if it flies, serve Amontillado; if it runs, serve Oloroso”

Jeremy Rockett, Marketing Director of González Byass – Spain’s most well-known sherry bodegas.

FINO

Fino in the Spanish language means refined. It is traditionally the driest and also the palest type of Sherry. It is consumed soon after the bottle is opened because air can cause them to lose their characteristic flavor in a matter of hours.

It is said by wine aficionados that no wine blends that well with savory food than a properly aged Fino Sherry. For that very reason, an ice-cold Fino is a natural companion of Tapas (wide variety of Spanish appetizers)

That’s why the cuisines and wines of Andalucía have developed a very close bond over the centuries.

AMONTILLADO

Amontillado is a type of Sherry that after being aged under flor is then exposed to oxygen. It results in a Sherry that is darker in color than Fino, but is comparatively lighter than Oloroso.

Amontillado is naturally dry by nature. Although, occasionally sold with medium to light sweeteners. The sweetened Sherry cannot be labeled as Amontillado.

This type of Sherry is generally served chilled and mostly with food like chicken or rabbit. Traditionally, it is served with a thin gravy soup.

OLOROSO

Oloroso in Spanish means scented is a type of Sherry that’s been aged for a longer period of time than Fino or Amontillado resulting in a richly blended and darker wine containing alcohol levels between 18 to 20%.

Oloroso is not for the weak hearted as they are the most alcoholic Sherries. They are also dry by nature. Just like Amontillado, more often than not Olorosos are served in a sweetened form known as Cream Sherry. However, these sweetened versions cannot be labeled Oloroso.

Jerez

THE BEST BODEGAS IN JEREZ

Oxford defines bodega as a cellar or shop selling wine and food, especially in a Spanish-speaking country or area.

BODEGAS TRADICION – website

Cozy, friendly and quintessentially Spanish. Bodegas Tradicion prides itself in bottling only the most refined and fully-aged wines capable of giving sensory pleasures to its Winers and Diners.

The Bodegas Tradicion guarantees that their wines include no artificiality of chill-filtration, sulphites, cooked-wine, cold stabilization or caramel while maturing and bottling their signature wines.

The beauty of their Sherries is that they taste as good alone as they do with the right kind of dishes.

LUSTAU – website

Lustau’s origin goes way back to 1896. When, Don José Ruiz-Berdejo started operating a winery in his backyard to sell them to the bigger houses that bottled and exported the wines.

In the 19th century founder’s son-in-law, Don Emilio Lustau Ortega started expanding the business and the range of wines produced. Later in 1990, the Lustao Company was sold to Luis Caballero. That sale further allowed the company to grow and allowed it purchase six bodega buildings which were restored in 2001 and 2003 and now house all of the Lustau Wines.

Lustau markets as many as 40 different wines found within 8 categories and ranges. They are particularly famous in foreign markets i.e. the USA.

SANDEMAN – website

Despite its increasing popularity, experts believe that wine tourism movement is only operating at 20% of its projected potential and can easily be double in the near future. It can be said that SANDEMAN is playing its significant role even in that 20% wine tourism.

A crucial factor escalating the movement is wine roads, through wine-producing regions and through the major spring event of Open Cellars which attracts millions of tourists.

These Sherry Wine Tours in Jerez offers an opportunity to see how and where wine is made and can also spot the difference by tasting it at its source.

These tours also offer visitors an opportunity to get to know about the traditions and culture blended into wine making and the country life.

One can say that while the primary focus of the tourists is on tasting sensuous Sherries they also, subconsciously discover the uniqueness and scenic locales of Spain.

To conclude proverbially in Spanish,

Friends and wine should be old.