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27 December 2012

Bramasole Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil—the Elixir of Life

Frances Mayes' Bramasole Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All photography except where noted is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Frances Mayes' Bramasole Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All photography except where noted is property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited. 

If you know me, you know how much I love Tuscany with its golden hills of olive groves and vineyards punctuated by picturesque Tuscan villas and charming hilltop towns that await around every turn in the road. Despite my many visits to Tuscany, I have yet to stop at one of the vineyards or olive groves ripe with sun-drenched grapes and hearty fresh olives for a tour and tasting. Until such time comes, I must settle for imported wines and olive oils that bring those sweet tastes of Tuscany to life for me back home. With that said, I bring to you an olive-oil tasting that has changed forever the way I think about this elixir of life—a savory oil so full of the flavors of Tuscany.

23 December 2012

In Search of Christmas: Celebrating Italian Christmas Traditions

Buon Natale! Christmastime at St. Peter's in Rome, Italy. Photo: RomeCabs.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
Buon Natale! Christmastime at St. Peter's in Rome, Italy. Photo: RomeCabs.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

Buon Natale

In Search of Christmas in Europe brings us to Italy my friends and with that, I wish you Buon Natale! We'll celebrate the time-honored traditions and customs enjoyed by Italians who know a thing or two about celebrations! We'll send letters to Babbo Natale (Father Christmas), gather with Italian families as they set up elaborate presepi (Nativities), and then feast with them on Christmas Eve. From Advent to the Epiphany, there's an Italian celebration for just about every day in between and we're going to join the festivities; plus hear a few tips from some of my good friends as well. Andiamo and let's celebrate Buon Natale!

09 December 2012

In Search of Christmas: The Austrian Christmas Markets

The Neo-Gothic Viennese City Hall building provides a magnificent backdrop for the Vienna Christmas Market.
Photo: © Austrian Tourist Office. Unauthorized use is prohibited.
The Neo-Gothic Viennese City Hall building provides a magnificent backdrop for the Vienna Christmas Market. Photo: © Austrian Tourist Office. Unauthorized use is prohibited.

Updated for 2016


Fröhliche Weihnachten

Continuing my pilgrimage in search of European Christmas traditions, I am drawn to the splendor of Austria—where the hills are alive with "The Sounds of Music" and concert halls echo with the melodic symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven—among many other historical and splendid places to visit in this Alpine country. But at this time of the year, it's the enchanting Austrian Christmas markets or Advent Markets I am after for a chance to see how the Austrians herald in the season of Advent. For nearly 800 years, the Austrian Christkindlmarkts have drawn residents and visitors to picturesque town squares and magnificent palace grounds with their vibrant Christmas lights, Alpine chalets and let's not forget the wafting tantalizing aromas that promise to send your taste buds 'a reelin' during this magical holiday season! Stroll along the lanes—a visual feast of savory bites, handcrafted gifts and ornaments, and those sweet confections of course. If you're in Austria during the holidays, set out in search of your Christmas—seek out one of the Austrian Christmas markets and I guarantee you'll be donning your Christmas spirit the moment you arrive.

03 December 2012

ArtOdysseys: Unforgettable Moments at the Vatican in Rome

The 'Creation of Adam' from the central panel of Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling. Photo: WikiMedia.org.
The "Creation of Adam" from the central panel of Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling. Photo: WikiMedia.org.

Welcome to the December ArtSmart Roundtable. What is the ArtSmart Roundtable you ask? It's a company of travel bloggers who share their passion for art while traveling around the world, and on the first Monday of each month, we publish a themed series of our discoveries in composition, medium or experience. December is the month we share our absolute favorite travel + art experience.

01 December 2012

The Allure of Italy and a World of Possibilities

The Franchetti piste on Mount Faloria in the Italian Dolomites. Photo: Wikimedia.org.
The Franchetti piste on Mount Faloria in the Italian Dolomites. Photo: Wikimedia.org.

If you fancy something a little bit special for your next getaway, why not consider a holiday in Italy? This magnificent destination is full of wonder and just happens to be one of our favorite places in the world! Its ancient history is perfectly re-told through the streets, museums and monuments of Rome, once the seat of the powerful Roman Empire, which is brimming with crumbling ruins and architectural remains dating back over two thousand years. From mist-shrouded lakes and majestic mountains to historic hilltop towns and spectacular beaches, Italy appeals to all kinds of travelers who are seeking an escape of sublime proportions!