Truffle Hunts around Florence and Siena

Cristiano Savini will be the guide of this special report. 

Truffle hunter and his dog
Truffle hunts in Tuscany

Today’s mission is the research of truffles in Tuscany. To be more precise, we are in the province of Pisa, in a green area that stretches from the inland of Tuscany to the hills of Chianti. It’s called Boscone di Forcoli, it’s an enchanting and silent wood where you won’t find many tourists.
Get on your boots and a pair of comfortable trousers, and you will be ready to enter this magic place with Cristiano, Luca, an expert truffle seller and Giotto, the uncontested four-legged star of the company.

The Job of the Truffle Hunter.

To better know Cristiano Savini and his job, first of all he tells us that he knows this wood by heart, and that in 2007 he found exactly here, a white truffle that incredibly weighted 1.450 Kg.
When he doesn’t travel by reason of work, he wakes up at 3 at night, as well as the 650 truffle sellers who have joined his family-run business, well known all over the world.

He goes on saying that the first one who understood the value of this special but underestimated tuber was his grandfather Zelindo, in the 60s. He used to wander on a Vespa, which their grandchildren still treasure, looking for the truffles-diggers of his town but soon he started to travel in the direction of Milan and the Piemonte region with his beloved tubers and the commerce of truffles finally becomes his own job.
Savini tells us that the White truffle, Bianco is typical of winter; then in March we find the so called Bianchetto (or marzuolo) and finally we have the Black one, called Nero Liscio and the Scorzone. It clearly means that we can find fresh truffles all the year and that, by reservation, we can try an amazing truffle experience like this one.
In fact, while we move forward, many treasures of the wood, if we can call the truffles like that, comes out with their inebriating fragrances that changes according to the type of ground where they’re hidden.
The fragrances are very strong and intense and they have the power of transporting you through space and time.

As we said before, Giotto is the protagonist of this research of truffles and it’s a crossbred, but Cristiano explains us that the perfect breed for this job is the Lagotto Romagnolo. However, what’s really important is to personally train and educate the dog, so every dog with short paws, great musculature and a pronounced nose will be perfect.
Furthermore, it’s essential to remember that for them it’s not a job but just a game!

Once we’re back we discover that seven companies are there to spend a day of sharing; and they’re not there by chance; they are seven producers, precisely Forcoli, Ursini, Biscottificio MatteiDeseo, Pasta Mancini, Il Borgo del Balsamico, La Via del Tè, La Nicchia di Pantelleria who, together with Salvini Tartufi, have created a group of Unique friends producers who have two main targets in common: the high quality of the products and the novelty of the image.

Truffle hunting Experiences in Italy For you too.

Experiences like this makes you understand that we’re blessed to be in Italy. If you are looking for a truffle hunting experience in Italy you can also have a look at this page. Contact us if you would like to arrange a truffle hunting experience during your stay in Florence or Sienna.

2 Parmesan Producers in Italy Go Kosher

Parmesan cheese is one of many signature foods Italy has to offer. Whether sprinkled over pizza or eaten as a snack, this popular cheese continues to soar in global popularity. Sadly, many within the Jewish faith are not allowed to consume this cheese due to religious and dietary restrictions. This is especially true for the Jewish community in Italy, which consists of several food connoisseurs and aficionados. While kosher parmesan cheese is available, most are simply processed and not authentic across the board. While parmesan usually refers to generic grated cheese in the West, the real cheese is produced in Northern Italy and dates back centuries. As a result, there really is no kosher Parmigiano-Reggiano available for those of the Jewish faith. This, however, is changing very soon.

fire stamp on cheese
Cheese ageing since 2006

Authentic Kosher Parmesan Parmigiano Reggiano.

For the first time ever, two local producers in Emilia Romagna have launched authentic kosher parmesan lines. This includes the famous Bertinelli cheese factory, which recently announced its plans for kosher Parmigiano-Reggiano by the end of 2015. Caseificio Colla will also have its official kosher line launch this October. The news has dazzled the culinary community, and especially Jewish food enthusiasts that have been waiting for products like these for years. Due to the small Jewish population in Italy, however, the producers will mainly be targeting Israeli and American markets. Still, the ability to have real kosher parmesan cheese has put smiles on many faces across Italy.

Kosher Parmigiano-Reggiano

In order for parmesan cheese to be deemed kosher, it must pass a number of strict protocols. This includes its milk, which must emanate from cows consuming grass or hay. Secondly the cheese must be aged for at least a year, and restricted to certain factories and provinces. This includes Modena, Bologna, Reggio Emilia, and of course, Parma. While the Azienda Agricola Fantacini firm used to produce kosher parmesan cheese, this ceased in 2010. The result was a void felt by many observant Jews that relied on kosher products for dietary reasons. With the launch of 2 new kosher lines, however, Jews within Italy can enjoy mouthwatering parmesan again without the worry of breaking religious traditions.

The Producers

The Bertinelli cheese factory dates back to the mid-1800s. As a family owned entity, they specialize in a myriad of cheeses and delicacies. Nicola Bertinelli, Owner, stated that the new kosher line is a big step for the company. The factory will ensure their kosher line meets strict guidelines, and the process of turning milk into hard cheese utilizes the right rennet. This is the main substance used for hardening, which must come from slaughtered animals based on Jewish law.

Bologna Foodie’s Vacation With Accommodation, Tour and Cooking Classes

Are you an Italian food connoisseur? Do you love parmesan cheese specialties and mouth watering ham? If you do then Bologna is simply the perfect place for you. Known for its scrumptious entrees and tantalizing dishes, Bologna promises a culinary experience of a lifetime. If you consider yourself a foodie, this unique tour features a self catering apartment stay in the central part of town. As part of your package, you will receive 1 pasta cookery lesson and an elegant 3 food gourmet tour. The lavish apartment has spacious rooms, and is perfect for those interested in expanding their culinary horizons and delights. There are also concierge services and convenient airport pick-up and drop off.

bologna food tour
Bologna food experiences – source

The Bologna Holiday Food Package.

The tour features a modern and contemporary apartment surrounded by a myriad of amenities. Explore the wonders of Bologna by visiting local eateries, restaurants, and cafes. Bologna is synonymous with world class cuisine, including mortadella, tagliatelle, fresh pastas, and delicious ham and salami platters. There are several delicatessens adjacent to your luxurious apartment as well. The second day of the food tour takes you on a trip to the local culinary arts school. You will have a chance to meet our professional chef who continues to receive stellar reviews from customers and critics alike. The chef will accompany you to the local markets to purchase fresh ingredients and everything you need for the cooking lessons.

The Cooking Class plus the Market  Tour

Once all the particulars are taken care of, you will head to the chef’s kitchen for the lesson and meal preparation. This includes traditional Bolognese classics, such as fresh egg pastas and tantalizing sauces. The third day of tour includes the famous gourmet tour, which includes the local parmesan far and cheese production venue. You will love sampling local favorites, including Parma ham and Balsamic vinegar. The guided tour features an English speaker for your convenience. The 3 night tour and stay costs is indicated below and it is per person. This is inclusive of guide services, transportation, and cookery lessons. If you love Italian cuisine, the Bolognese tour will truly achieve your desired results. Since these tours are based on availability, it is advised to book your reservations now.

 

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Foodies’ Stay in Parma at Cheese Producing Farm

Cheese is certainly an acquired taste. If you, however, love cheese and especially parmesan, there’s nothing like a visit to Parma’s regionally renowned cheese producing farm. This popular venue is a haven for cheese lovers and enthusiasts alike. Whether for family vacations or foodies’ gatherings, this fully functional farm in Parma is simply unique at every turn. With lavish and elegant B&B accommodations to a fully course breakfast, the agriturismo truly captures the allure and essence of agrarian Italy. As part of your package, you and your loved ones will see the magic behind Parmesan production. There is also a Balsamic vinegar tasting tour, along with a gourmet lunch and cured meat tasting courtesy of Parma’s top ham producer.

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Parmesan tasting In Italy
Parmesan tour

The Tour

With the help of the owner who will do a  guided tour, foodies will simply love visiting the local dairy and cheese producing farm. Upon arrival, guests will meet the farm producer for itinerary and map details. As a fully operational farm, the location in Parma continues to soar in regional popularity. In fact, the farms are a great alternative to pricey and over priced hotels. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, your 2 night tour is guaranteed to be entertaining and educational. From tantalizing tasting tours to mouth watering farmer style breakfasts, what better way to enjoy Mother Nature than at Parma’s top dairy farm? If you love cheese and parmesan, this trip will truly meet your needs within time and budget.

The Parma Farm

The Parma Farm stays and visits are organised by Emiliza Delizia.  As one of the most visited countries in the world, Italy has so many foodie’s things to see, do and eat. Whether you love fine wines, or culture and history, Parma simply has it all. With simplicity at its finest, now is the perfect time to visit this great venue and spend countless hours of fun. You can also contact the farm for any questions or inquiries in regards to tasting tours and accomodations.

Cooking classes in Parma.

For those interested in learn how to cook dishes from the parma cuisine it is also possible to organise cookery classes in the region.

bnb in Parma
Parmesan producing farm with accommodation
where to stay in Parma
Farm Stay in Parma

 

Robert De Niro to Play Enzo Ferrari.

According to the Il Messaggero, an Italian Newspaper, Robert De Niro, 71, will play Enzo Ferrari in a biographical movie of the famous sports car impresario’s life.

 

robertdeniro
Robert de Niro – source

 

Ferrari died in 1988 aged 90 and is the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari team and Ferrari (an Italian luxury sports car manufacturing company). De Niro told the newspaper that it was a great honor to tell the life of an astonishing man who revolutionized the motor sport industry and that the film will be produced soon—most likely in Italy. He added that the biopic is one of his most important projects that he would prioritize it over all his other projects.

The biopic will be conjointly produced by TriBeCa Film (De Niro’s Production Company) and Triworld’s Gianni Bozzacchi, and is expected to cover Ferrari’s life from 1945 to the 1980s. The script will be written by Nixon’s genius screenwriters, Christopher Wilkinson and Rivele J Stephen. One of the good directors who have shown interest in directing the biopic is Clint Eastwood. Clint is reported to have agreed to direct the movie if he likes the Nixon’s script.

Bozzacchi stated that the “epic” film’s title will simply be “Ferrari” and would have a considerably big budget. This is not the first time that De Niro will be featuring in Ferrari story film: he is reported to have been attached to play the marquee founder in a 1990s Michael Mann’s production (the original version of the Ferrari story) that unfortunately never made it to the cinemas.

The language that the biopic will be shot in is, however, still not clear as the involved stakeholders have not stated whether the film will be based on Ferrari’s native language (Italian), in English, or a mixture of both. Nonetheless, De Niro seems to be comfortable with both languages. He is reported to have spent around four months mastering the Sicilian dialect for the Godfather: Part II and fluently spoke Italian in the 2011 romantic comedy film, The Ages of Love.

Travelling to Le Marche: Caves of Frasassi and Verdicchio Wine.

Let’s visit Frasassi Caves and admire the vineyards and the medieval villages. 

Let’s go among the legends, the magic, the flavors and the natural wonders of the typical Le Marche landscape, and look at the gentle hills and to the sea sloping.

After crossing the border of Emilia Romagna, we continue the trip along the Adriatic coast and go southward following Ancona. In our journey we’ll be with www.myownitaly.com a travel&tourism website where you can discover unusual and different itineraries in Italy.

The Grotte di Frasassi, in Le Marche region.

We begin our journey in Le Marche starting from Frasassi, one of the most famous villages of the region, located in the province of Ancona. Here since the 70’s, after a laborious and delicate work of digging, visitors could access to these spectacular caves.

The visit of the famous Frasassi Caves can be an experience full of surprises: the caves stretch for thirty kilometers and they are located on eight different levels, with millenary concentrations of limestone that formed stalactites and stalagmites of spectacular proportions that make up an incredible and unique natural sight.
A walk of about 1 hour and 15 minutes is accessible to everybody at a temperature of 14 degrees that is constant all the year round. That’s why they recommend to use comfortable shoes and a sweatshirt even during the summer months.

The “Abyss Ancona” is the first part of the cave and the researchers gave it the name of their city. It is a big cave, perhaps one of the deepest caves in Europe and in the world: 180 m. long, 120 m. large and 200 m. high. At the end of the “Abyss” it is possible to see a caotic hoard of blocks, results of movements and fallings down from time immemorial that gave origin to the abyss.

Enjoy Le Marche Wines.

After visiting the caves, it is also worth to make a stop at one of the many wine cellars that in this area produce a typical Le Marche white wine: the verdicchio wine. The best way to learn everything about any aspect of this wine is to understand the secrets of the traditional production: in order to learn more and more you might stop at the Cantina Colonnara, in Cupramontana: here the wines are obtained thanks to a perfect combination of different elements, such as the earth, the microclimate, the human labor.
The Colonnara wine farm consists of 100+ members and 100+ hectares of vineyards. You will appreciate a modern method of wine production and also the production of sparkling wines first with the Martinotti method (fermentation in barrel) in the 70s, then with the Classic Method Brut (bottle fermentation) since 1980.

 Source of the Image of Frasassi caves

Where to Eat in Venice: Alle Testiere, Quadri, Alla Palanca

Venice is the epicenter for Italian culture, arts, history, and entertainment. Known as “The City of Romance”, Venice features a myriad of historic monuments and ancient art museums. The city is also blanketed by a number of 5-star restaurants, eateries, and outdoor cafes. From mouth watering appetizers and entrees to fine wines, the area is home to some of the finest dining establishments in the country. Whether you love authentic Italian cuisine or local samples, your taste buds are guaranteed to sizzle courtesy of world-renowned chefs that have received stellar reviews from critics and tourists alike.

eatinvenice
Eat like a Local in Venice – source

 

Alle Testiere

When visiting Venice, Alle Testiere is simply a must. This lavish and elegant ristorante truly captures the allure and essence of fine dining. They feature exquisite and exotic seafood that is perfect for family and corporate luncheons. Located near Santa Maria Formosa, the restaurant also has a full bar and wine menu, along with comfortable seating for 22 patrons in a lovely dining room. Led by Chef Bruno, you are guaranteed the freshest catches of the day and a world class culinary experience. With bountiful flavors that accentuate all dishes, the John Dory fillet is a signature item featuring aromatic herbs and citrus sauces. Prices are around €50 per head.

Quadri

Quadri is another enchanted venue that features true opulence and elegance at every turn. Led by the Alakmo brothers, this dazzling eatery features stunning views of the piazza. Whether for romantic candlelight dinners or brunches, Chef Massimiliano (Max) will truly take you on a culinary journey of a lifetime. From his signature “Uovo Sospeso” dessert to classic Italian and continental dishes, your taste buds are sure to be in for a treat. Enjoy mouthwatering pastas, fish entrees, and succulent beef and chicken dishes set to elegant décor and picturesque surroundings. There is also a great menu for wine lovers, enthusiasts, and aficionados.

Alla Palanca

Next on the menu is the regionally renowned Alla Palanca restaurant. Located in Giudecca, this impressive bar-trattoria features the best bacari and seafood in Venice. The venue is perfect for lavish and elegant dinners, and features an extensive wine and dessert bar. The area is blanketed by contemporary architecture that captures the essence of exquisite dining at its finest. Their signature cuttlefish risotto is a local favorite, and part of a dazzling menu that features grilled tuna specialties and tantalizing appetizers. Whether you are in the mood for classic Italian salads, buffalo mozzarella or grilled aubergines, this unique and classy venue will truly achieve your desired results.

We offer food walking tours in Venice and cookery classes with Rialto Market visits.

Cinque Terre Hiking Tours with Stunning Seascape and Vineyards.

vernazza
Walking in Cinque Terre – Vernazza – source

Please note that currently some of the paths might be closed until further notice, your guide will offer alternatives.

The Cinque Terre paths are popular for locals and visitors alike. If you love hiking, these amazing paths guarantee a unique experience. We specialize in guided walking tours of some of the most breathtaking paths in Italy. Surrounded by scenic backdrops and captivating imagery, you will learn about the history of Cinque Terre and experience Mother Nature at her finest. From stunning hills to picturesque scenery, our tours are designed to rejuvenate the body, mind, and spirit.

The Paths of Cinque Terre

Sentiero dell’ Amore – Known as the “Way of Love”, this is an ancient mule track, which emanates from Riomaggiore and cultivates into a renowned romantic walkway. Surrounded by seaside cliffs, the path is not always fit for hiking and strolls. While it does depend on the conditions of the sea, this unique walk offers compelling imagery and overviews of exotic wildlife that inhabit the coastline. Its sandstone geometry also lends to the overall aesthetics and geography. Your walk includes a view of the popular Manarola homes, which overlook the sea and are adjacent to Groppo. This site was once famous for its bridges, and surrounded by residential establishments that are embedded in the rock structures.

Sentiero Azzurro – Known as the “Blue Trail”, this is one of the most popular paths that span the peninsula. The trails are not hard to walk, and the panoramic views are simply breathtaking. As a haven for thousands of hikers and walkers, the historic trail dates back to the middle Ages. The part of the walk that connects the Way of Love, however, was structured in the 20th century. These amazing paths were the only form of communication between coastal inhabitants for centuries. The Blue Trail also entails several mule tracks, and winds through small residential settlements, sanctuaries, and stone walls. While it is possible to walk the entire trail in one day, experiencing the magic of Cinque Terre is best when spread out over a few days.

Cinque Terre Hiking Tours

The classic tour takes places at the National Park of Cinque Terre. Whether for hiking or walking, you should be physical fit and able to enjoy the tour at its fullest. The tour covers the Vernazza-Riomaggiore and continues via train to Monterosso. Participants will also have plenty of time to visit local villages for shopping and souvenirs. The tour departs from Riomaggiore and goes through Via Dell’ Amore on the way to Manarola. We then continue along Sentiero Azzurro on our way to Corniglia for a mouthwatering picnic. The tour then moves onto Vernazza, where you can reach Monterosso via train or other destinations.

What to Wear for Hiking in the Cinque Terre.

Sentierio dell’Amore and Sentiero Azzurro are fairly easy to walk and you can do so with normal comfortable walking shoes. While the paths between the villages in the national park are fairly steep and will require a certain level of fitness and we suggest to wear proper hiking shoes for these paths.

Are the Sentierio dell’Amore and Sentiero Azzurro open?

This pretty much depends on conditions of the weather and sometimes it is necessary to close them due to landslides and other geological conditions as the surrounding are very fragile.

 

Venice Like a Local With Food and Wine Tasting at Local Bacari

Explore the Food Wonders of Venice

The Venice walking tour commences at 6pm at Rialto Bridge. A professional tour and food guide will lead you to the best authentic delicacies and fine wines at ones of Venice’s leading bacaros. This is a traditional osteria, which can be found throughout the city and world renowned Veneto Region. From cicchetti and snacks to ombra (fine wine), your taste buds are guaranteed to sizzle! The 2 hour tour also includes visits to 3 unique bacari locations selected by the tour guide. These popular Italian venues have received stellar reviews and are a must for fine wine and food connoisseurs. The Venice walking tour is available for small private groups, and perfect for families and corporate clients.

fritto misto
Eat like a local in Venice – source

 

 The Venice Art Scene

Venice is a wonderful city blanketed by historic architecture and contemporary works of art. As the “City of Merchants”, Venice is surrounded by the sea and known for its romantic allure and captivating scenery. The walking tour features picturesque landscapes, along with breathtaking masterpieces and Venetian sculptures that are a must for art lovers and enthusiasts. From traditional architecture to modern art, you will simply be in awe while exploring the magic of this beloved and romantic city.

Venice Tour Highlights

In addition to the scrumptious wines and tantalizing aromas, the tour also includes a trip to the globally popular Basilica. The tour will depart at Saint Mark’s square where a professional guide will take you on a journey of a lifetime. The Basilica is a stunning venue that houses some of the most incredible mosaics and views Italy has to offer. This includes beautiful sunsets from the terrace, along with the Venetian culture, sidewalk cafes, live music and so much more. The tour also showcases impressive architectural designs and styles that will truly impact the soul.

Venice: The City of Dreams

Venice is the epicenter of art, music, history, and world class cuisine. While you can surely plan your own tour, nothing compares to a guided tour that pinpoints all the cultural events and sights this remarkable city is famous for. With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to book your walking tours and experience the magic of Venice like no other. As always, slots are filling up fast so it is best to schedule your tours ASAP. Whether for family vacations or corporate gatherings, Venice is truly the city where dreams come alive!

 

Explore Florence with Valentina (Food Tasting Included!)

Florence is a breathtaking city and the epicenter for Italian culture, cuisine, and history. From world class art museums to ancient architecture, explore the wonders of Florence with the lovely Valentina. As an experienced and certified tour guide, she specializes in exquisite tours of Florence with a touch of class. Whether you love sampling Italian delicacies or the world renowned Chianti and Brunello wines of the region, this amazing tour will simply leave you in awe. As the city of romance, Florence is also blanketed by countless outdoor cafes, lavish restaurants, and elegant scenery at every turn. If planning a family or corporate vacation this summer, Florence welcomes you and yours with open arms!

valentina
Let Valentina be your local guide.

 

The Tour

The exciting walking tour commences from Piazza San Marco. For your convenience, the tour can also start at the hotel or venue you are staying at. The first stop is the famous statue of David located at the Museum of the Acaddemia. The world renowned gallery showcases the timeless and priceless sculptures and art of Michelangeglo and several Renaissance period artists. The gallery is also home to literary and artistic works from Russian painters and artisans. The next stop on the tour is the famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, which is the highlight of the religious center in Florence. Your walking tour includes plenty of sidewalk food and wine stands, along with presentations and historical facts by Valentina.

Tour Highlights and End

The walking tour continues with a visit to the Piazza dell Repubblica, which is a must see for art enthusiasts and historians. The City of Florentia is also home to the ancient roman forum, the Church of Orsanmichele, and the popular leather market at Porcellino. Tour highlights also include the political center of the city at Piazza della Signoria, which features the incredible Palazzo Vecchio. The tour ends at Ponte Vecchio and the Bridge of the Goldsmiths. If you have always wanted to experience the wonders of Florence, now is the perfect time to book your tours with Valentina.

Food and Wine Tasting

No tour of Florence is ever complete without sampling the local favorites and fine wines. Upon request, Valentina can easily organize food and wine tasting tours in Florence, which feature world class cheeses and several other mouth watering entrees and specialties. Also you can come to Bologna and try our best selling food tour in Italy.