will customize your trip to Italy so that you will feel like you are traveling with a friend, not on a tour.
Nancy grew up spending half of every year in her mother's village, Montepone in the hills of Calabria above Soverato in the Catanzarro region of Italy. She is fluent in Italian and knows all the unique restaurants, inns, and out of the way spots you might never experience. Best of all she shares colorful stories of life growing up in Italy and she is related to and/or knows many of the locals.
She took us to Memo's cottage where he prepared a meal of fried tomatoes potatoes and peppers cooked on the outdoor fireplace topped off with his own red wine.
The beach is just across the railroad tracks a short walk through a tunnel.
We met other locals too.
At the bakery down the street we bought fresh warm bread from the bread maker. He's not in the shop? No problem a neighbor will lead you to his house so he can come open up and sell you huge round loaves.
The fish and cheese come fresh to your door. And of course the vegetables too.
Listen to the vendor call out, "zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, big ones, round, ones, thin ones, long ones...just the way you like them." ;-)
And when his truck must maneuver narrow alley ways and cause a traffic jam of one or two cars, the whole village is there for the entertainment and with not a little advice.
Nature hikes and walks through mountain villages provide all the color that is Italy.
Geraniums cascade down cobbled alleyways.
And always the colorful laundry, knickers and all.
Who could resist Squillace Pottery for color, especially when you can buy it in the nearby village where it is made from the potters working there.
Of course Italy may be best known for the food and we were treated to everything from the simple homemade bread with fresh ricotta cheese and tomatoes to seafood and other dishes from the region. We ate on the balcony in the mountains, cafes in tiny villages and restaurants seaside. And always the cappuccino, the beer, wine and pastries.
We went to an olive oil tasting dinner sponsored by the Slow Food movement. It began in Italy! Watch for a future blog on this organization with a Navajo connection. We would have never known about the event if we weren't traveling with Nancy.
So if you want a real taste of Italy try a cooking tour or yoga tour. Perhaps you have roots in Italy. Let Nancy help you find them. Or just go enjoy the beach and the history. Better yet let Nancy show you the magic you don't even know exists in places you never heard of in Italy. Check out Ionian Jewel Tours on Face book.