Category Archives: Beyond Venice

Even the most devoted Venezia-philes among us get out of town occasionally…

Bring on the O Foods…

…and help fight Ovarian Cancer.

O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

o_cancerSeptember is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and for the second year in a row, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are hosting the O Foods Contest to raise awareness of this important health issue.

Get all the details for entering and prizes HERE.

The Contest has ended, and the Awards Announced!

Check the following links for the Roundup, and the Winners:

Ms. Adventures in Italy

Bleeding Espresso

Heading for the hills (some hills). Cortina d'Ampezzo, unplugged.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is known all’estero (abroad) as the upscale resort where glitterati may be spotted shooshing its legendary slopes during winter months. In summer, the Queen of the Dolomites is instead where many locals set up house, in the process abandoning the lowland and lagoon heat. A friend whose family has made this a regular habit for almost thirty years offered me refuge when the latest heat wave assaulted Venice, and as it coincided perfectly with Ferragosto holiday, I threw hiking boots and a hairbrush in a backpack and skedaddled.

I hopped the train to Calalzo (a two to three hour trip). It times out perfectly with the Dolomiti Bus connection, and I rode about an hour more. What I found when I arrived was clear mountain air, breathtaking scenery, flowers bursting from every window box, and a ton of friendly folks who’d been vacationing together for decades.

I think it would take a lifetime to walk, hike, and climb all the trails around Cortina. The good news is there’s something for everyone, from the saunterer to the most expert climber. Adele and I walked and ate for two-and-a-half days, even finding enough funghi to make a marvelous sauce for lunch the last day.

I can show better than explain the results to you however, take a look. If you ever get to Cortina in the summer, here’s only a sample of what you’ll find there:

Celebrating the wines of La Tuscia

festedelvino2.jpgLa Tuscia Viterbese refers to the area surrounding Viterbo where the Etruscans once reigned; today’s communities celebrate their regional DOC and IGT wines with Feste del Vino della Tuscia. They began in late July, but if you’re in the area you still have until the 16th of August to enjoy some of these interesting, and likely lesser known wines along with local fare in a festive atmosphere, al fresco.

The festivals take place in the towns named for the DOCs they celebrate. These wines are light, refreshing and flavorful, with whites vinified from varieties like Aleatico, Trebbiano, Malvasia (more than one type of each), the native Greco, Grechetto; red varieties that include Sangiovese, Montepulciano (the grape), and Ciliegiolo, among others.

Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone is a blend of three white grape varieties. It’s a light and refreshing, produced in a variety of versions from dry to sparkling (also dry). The name (Latin for “It is,” or perhaps Italian for “Ecco”) has a delightful history; worth translating at (in Italian).

Vignanello is a town and a DOC, produced in the area just east of it. There are four versions are Bianco (one or two Trebbiano varieties, and two different Malvasia), Greco (which is the variety), Rosso (Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, maybe more), and Rosato (same blend as the Rosso). You might also find the Greco in a sparkling version, and the Bianco superiore, or at a higher alcohol level due to a particularly mature vintage or other factors.

GRADOLI (only Friday, August 14)
This DOC zone Aleatico di Gradoli is located in the area just north of the Lago di Bolsena, and the wine is produced from the  Aleatico grape. Don’t let the “dessert” category throw you however: though it’s not dry, its sweetness is balanced, fresh, and certainly worth trying.

You may also spot Tarquinia, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi (a larger DOC zone extending north and south of Viterbo), and even Orvieto, whose zone is shared with Umbria, not to mention IGTs (still regional with fewer restrictions than a DOC wine) such as Lazio, Colli Cimini, and Civitella d’Agliano.


The town festivals include tastings of both wines and local fare, music, wine carriage processions and even a neighborhood palio competition, this Monday night is the Calici di Stelle with tastings under San Lorenzo’s falling stars.

Most events take place in the evening, but also check with any of the tourist offices of the town nearest you for details, don’t to hesitate to call 334 284 2216. (ANSA)

Please join me in welcoming…Greece!

For this post, we’re not only going beyond Venice, we’re going beyond Italy…

We (author and full-time Athens resident Kat Christofer, distributor Beagle Bay, and Illustrata Press) are pleased as punch to introduce you to our new arrival, Greece: Instructions for Use: The Practical, On-site Assistant for the Enthusiastic (Even Experienced) Traveler. It’s the latest in the Instructions for Use Travel Series which already feature similar, highly-praised “operations manuals” for Italy (by Yours Truly) and France , by Alison Culliford.

greeceifu_cover2009_72x900_shadow.jpgWhether you’re heading to Greece on your dream cruise, to study abroad, for business travel, to explore on your own — even if you’re relocating, Greece: Instructions for Use offers practical, concise, and thorough answers to all your how-to and what-now life-in-Greece questions. Greece: Instructions for Use, along with its sister publications, are not your everyday destination guides. Why? They’re unique in that they

  • concentrate solely on the practical and the cultural info that appears in no other guide.
  • are highly portable (palm-sized and lighter than a cell phone), so they won’t weigh you down.
  • are low-tech: the design helps you flip directly to the road sign, the train station code, the phone number format, or whatever info you need, at the moment you need it.
  • are written by full-time, in-country inhabitants

Let’s face it: when you’re preparing to travel, you have little time and zero frame of reference (not to mention language) to orient yourself to the culture into which you’re about to immerse yourself. Yet this is exactly the information can turn an everyday sojourn into an extraordinary one — maybe even save your traveling relationships when you hit the inevitable bump in the explorational road.

Greece: Instructions for Use by Kat Christofer
from the Instructions for Use Travel Series

ISBN: 978-1-885436-45-0
s distributed by Beagle Bay, Inc.
and available from the online or in-store bookseller of your choice.

Oh, and be sure to visit Kat’s rich web site, — perhaps the most extensive single resource on Greece around.

In the midst of trip preparations? Still making trip decisions? Be sure to download the free PDF, Planning Your Greek (or Italian, or French) Adventure from the Instructions for Use Travel site.