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  • Artisan traditions in Tuscany, Umbria & Le Marche

    June 9, 2017

    We also met Patrizia at the monastery, who cooks things like fried elderberry flowers and nettle pasta from the plants in her vicinity and hugs everyone she meets because she is just a happy woman, doing what she loves. One of her neighbors came by in the morning carrying his laptop, set it up on a table in the dining room and started working.  When we started talking to him he informed us that he tells Patrizia he comes for the wifi at the B & B but, he said, “I really just come to be around Patrizia”. The setting was so peaceful and beautiful, with rolling hills and forest nearby that it was difficult to leave after two days. And the Romanesque church on the grounds contained the same beauty as the outdoors.

    Fried elderberry flowers

    We then visited a museum for weaving in Stia, http://www.museodellartedellalana.it where the last weaver (her vocation for 50 years) is the docent/curator. She does workshops in all phases of weaving and the museum is a treasure of the last couple of hundred years of weaving in wool, linen, cotton and hemp. We sat and talked with her for 3 hours and then went next door to a family owned weaving business that had looms from the 1920’s, mechanized, not treadle like the museum had displayed. We spent another 2 hours there seeing the generations of change, the beautiful clothing they made, including a copy of a coat that Audrey Hepburn wore in one of her films. The history in all of these places took my breath away. And I was almost persuaded to purchase the softest cashmere coat but came to my senses. Maybe the next time I go I won’t be so disciplined.

    Citta di Castello held more treasures that were mind-blowing. We met a woman who is cultivating and saving heirloom fruit trees from all over Italy (she’s an author and just received her Ph.d in Archeologea Arboreta) and she lives in a house attached to an 1100 year old church! Her property was overwhelmingly fascinating. Then there was the Museo di Erbe in Citta http://www.abocamuseum.it which holds illuminated books and relics of old Farmacia’s from the 16th century. The care and beauty with which this museum was created makes it a must see when visiting this town.

    The last place we stayed was high up above San Sepolcro where 4 generations have raised pristine cinta senese pigs for salumi cured more than 3 years! The young proprietor and his father http://www.terradimichelangelo.com/were so proud of their small business and shared all about the history, showed us the coolers for prosciutto, cooked us a fabulous meal and housed us in the most beautiful apartment; three ensuite bedrooms complete with antiques. The accommodations were stunning as were the views and the food in their small restaurant. Then we visited the Museo Civico San Sepolcro http://www.museocivicosansepolcro.it/ with the Piero della Francesca fresco that is being restored. Wow! Oh and the palazzo with private Della Robbia’s in the loggia. On our way out of town we visited the Burri exhibit at a palazzo exclusively housing his works.  His oversized canvases are mixed media using some odd and interesting materials.I’ve not mentioned the castle, hosted by a charming, noblewoman, the incredible meals & wines in remote places or the Carbonaio museo in a high mountain village of 130. Every day was filled with new and wonderful things, but it was mostly the people that were so captivating. When they saw our interest they opened up and shared the generations of knowledge and traditions that were such treasures. There was much more but I am still processing it all. Our goal is to solicit and support the existing family members, especially the young ones, in continuing these important artisan traditions. Look for our 10 day tour in 2018 and remember, we limit our small groups to ten guests.  For inquiries: 760.470.8852 or aparnaca@gmail.com

    http://www.italianexcursion.com

  • Be a fearless traveler, but safe!

    January 5, 2017

    These are interesting, yet uncertain times in the World.  If one follows the news it is evident that there are places around the globe that are less safe.  We have found that traveling in Italy and some other parts of western Europe feel safe and protected.  And one of our missions for small group tours ... Read more
  • Nine Women in a Van! (part 1)

    May 31, 2016

    The Italian countryside with nine women in a van!  Nightmare or dream vacation?  Lucky for me, this tour turned out to be a dream vacation for me!  First, I found a comfortable, art filled, state of the art villa in a tiny village outside of Orvieto.  Villa Tripoli is located on beautiful acres of rolling ... Read more
  • A Night to Remember, by Dr. Diana Hoppe

    May 31, 2016

    http://www.drdianahoppe.com/a-night-to-remember-trulli/ Read more
  • Announcing tours for 2016 & 2017

    January 5, 2016

    Our tours fill up quickly because we limit the size and number of trips annually.  Why do we do this, you ask?  We like to keep things simple, leisurely and relaxed.  If we have too much planning to do in one year we lose the joy of traveling to this lovely country.  Our focus is ... Read more
  • Time to travel!

    August 25, 2015

    Europe has become the premier destination for American traveler’s, according to The International Business Times (http://www.ibtimes.com/europe-travel-deals-euro-weakening-americans-can-travel-cheap-dollar-exchange-rate-1773732).  Why?  Well, the euro is now 1.2 to the US dollar, the lowest it has been in more than a decade.  That means your trip to Italy will be hundreds of dollars less this year than it would have ... Read more
  • Low gas prices & good euro exchange!

    February 2, 2015

    Yes, it is time to make your plans for traveling to Europe.  Low gas prices are proving to be a boon to air travel and the euro is leveling off to the dollar.  This year will be a good year to see most of Europe. One of the things I like to do to get ready ... Read more
  • Packing tips from Huffington Post Travel!

    January 8, 2015

    Here is a great article that we wanted to share with you to enhance your travel experience.  Some of these ideas are even new to us and we have a lot of miles under our belt at Italian Excursion.  With more and more luggage restrictions by the airlines this might save us a few headaches. ... Read more
  • Happy New Year!

    January 4, 2015

    Wow, this year came and went so quickly it seems like a blur!  Italian Excursion wishes everyone a peaceful, healthy year that fulfills all of your dreams.  Is travel on your list?  How about travel to Italy?  Our tours for spring and fall are going to be even more beautiful, relaxed and interesting as we ... Read more
  • Friends in Umbria

    December 6, 2014

    We are starting to plan for our 2015 tours.  It’s always exciting to begin a new project or travel with a new group.  That’s one of the things about travel that is so invigorating.  One never knows, even after creating a plan, how it will actually turn out.  The mystery is so inviting!  There are ... Read more
  • Holiday gifts!

    November 25, 2014

    It’s hard to believe another year is almost over but here we are nearing the Thanksgiving holiday, then Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza with be upon us, not to mention the Solstice.  More and more people are being very thoughtful about gift giving for family and friends. I have a creative idea that may be appealing. How ... Read more