Search This Blog

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Ceglie Messapica

Ceglie Messapica, a small town in the heart of Apulia, located on the North side of Salento and at the heart of Valle d’Itria. They called Ceglie Messapica “the Land between two seas”, and it is in fact few km far from the Ionian Sea and few others from the Adriatic one, set in the midst of the lands of centuries-old olive trees andTrulli.

What I like here:

A cosy B&B:
Santa Anna

A wonderful Trattoria Messapica in
Piazza Plebiscito 27, Ceglie Messapica


a Trullo to stay a week:
Trulli Angelo

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

New Villa in Piemont in Roccaverano

Villa with pool in Piemont:

We're pleased to inform you about this new villa in Piemont for 16 people with private pool. A main villa for 10 and 2 houses for 3 people each one.

Back To The Middle Ages In Italy

Article first published as BackTo The Middle Ages In Italy on Technorati.

The first Sunday of September in the afternoon, thousands of people gather in the town of Arezzo, Tuscany. The reason? The Giostra del Saracino (Joust of the Saracen), an incredibly popular medieval tournament held in this lovely old city twice a year, in July as well as September. It is said that the origins of the joust go back to the Crusades, and its popularity varied during time, before being firmly reinstated during the 1930s.

As you arrive, you really have the feeling that you have stepped back in time… A great deal of detail goes into the historical costumes, and the explosion of colours is a pure delight. Not only are the protagonists of the tournament dressed that way, but residents too. On the day of the event, a procession takes place from the dome to the Piazza Grande, starting with a blessing of the Bishop in front of the cathedral. Once everyone is gathered in the main square, the flag wavers, known as the sbandieratori, demonstrate their skills, launching their flags high into the sky before catching them at the last second. It is then time for the representatives of the four districts to defy each other. They joust in pairs, mounted on a horse, but nowadays do not throw lances at each other anymore. Instead, the aim of the game is to hit the Saracen king, a target carved in wood, trying to score a maximum of points in order to win the golden lance.

There are also several other traditional events to choose from, not only in Tuscany but also in regions such as Umbria or Le Marche.

The Quintana of Foligno (Umbria) is one of them. It was named after the 5th road of the Roman military camp, dedicated to the training of lance fighting, and was later turned into a knight jousting tournament. In 1613 it was officially instated as part of the Carnival celebrations. The first part of the event is held in June on a Saturday night, and the counter challenge the second or third Sunday of September. Ten knights, representing the town quarters, are competing. Their duty is to catch with their lance three rings of decreasing sizes, which are dangling from a gyrating statue of Mars, the Roman God of war. All this while sitting on a horse going at full speed.

Other possibilities include the Palio del Serafino in Sarnano or the Disfia del Bracciale in Treia, both located in the Marche region. The Palio del Serafino is a reminiscence of the 13th and 14th centuries that happens in August and consists of a week of processions, banquets and tournaments opposing the four different parts of the town. The Disfia del Bracciale sees teams of two players dressed in medieval costumes and sporting big spiky bracelets made of wood confront each other. The purpose of the game, played against the fortified walls, is to propel a leather ball over a high net. The match and the party that follow are the culminating point of ten days of celebrations.

Are you ready to join in?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Eating by the sea

From sunrise to sunset, the informal hospitality of people living by the sea...

Ristorante Emilia a Portonovo - Monte Conero, not far away from Casa Olivi Villa in Italy

Cooking in Casa Olivi

Take a look what you can eat in Casa Olivi:

Menu 1
crostini with truffle and mozarella
crostini with spring vegetable
typical prociutto from Trentino (speck, salami)
scoperino cheese with grape marmelade 
small tomatoes filled with ricotta 
small artichokes in olive oil
gnocchi with duck sauce 
veal and green peas
fritata of vegetable 
crema fritta (speciality of Le Marches)
apple tart

Menu 2
Melon and prosciutto
Ravioli of ricotta or lasagna Vincisgrassi
roasted chicken
tomatoes and melanzane (aubergines) roasted
crostata with blackberry marmelade
chocolate sausage

Menu 3
melon and prosciutto
ricotta in the oven
pecorino cheese, grape marmelade and small peperoncini
artichoke in olive oil
home made olives
lasagna Vincisgrassi
milk pork roasted
potatoes and tomatoes roasted
green beans
fruit tart

Fish cous cous

This cous cous has been cooked in Casa Natoli in Sciacca, Italy! It was super!

Nonna Giusy’s Fish with Couscous

From the book Jamie’s Italy by
Serves 4


When I was on the island of Marettimo, I found out that it’s famous for its African-influenced couscous dishes. I walked around the town one day asking the locals who made the best couscous and, of course, every answer was “Mia mamma!” That is, until one lad took me along to meet his grandmother — Norma Giusy.
She was the most incredible woman, who made her own couscous by hand using coarse semolina flour and rubbing it in a bowl with a bit of water until it stuck together in little chunky bits. It was so delicious, and incredibly easy to make, but I think the type of flour she was using will be hard to find outside Italy, so I would suggest using quality bought couscous instead.
This is how the women on the island prepare whatever fish their husbands catch at sea each day. When they see the boats coming in, they put the couscous on to steam and get ready to start poaching the fish. It’s a really interesting method and damn tasty. I was at Norma Giusy’s house for three hours learning how to make it, so thanks, Norma! (And she makes a mean limoncello, too.)



1 small onion, peeled

½ bulb garlic, peeled

~ Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked

14 oz. couscous


~ Olive oil

1 large white onion, peeled and sliced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

½ dried red chile, crumbled

2 red mullet or bream (11 to 14 ounces each), gutted and scaled

2 jars (16 ounces each) stewed tomatoes

~ Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

~ Large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Put the onion, garlic, and parsley into a food processor and whiz up until fine. Mix with the couscous, then put into a steamer or use a colander over a pan of boiling water and let it steam very slowly for half an hour. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, put a pan on low heat and add a good glug of olive oil. Add the sliced onion and garlic and the chile and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Add the fish to the pan, then pour in the stewed tomatoes and the same amount of water so that the fish is covered. Season with a little salt and pepper and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully transfer the fish to a plate, then pour half the sauce into the bowl of couscous and mix together.
  3. At this point Norma Giusy placed a couple of towels over the bowl so the couscous remained warm while it absorbed the sauce. You can do this, or cover the bowl with aluminum foil and place it in a very low oven (160 degrees) for 30 minutes. Flake the meat from the fish and put into a second serving bowl. Be careful to remove all the bones. Pour the rest of the poaching sauce over the top, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve with the bowl of couscous in the middle of the table for people to help themselves.


Editor’s notes: If you don’t have a good setup for steaming couscous (such as a couscoussière), you can make an all-in-one version by pulverizing the onion, garlic, parsley, and 2 cups water in a blender, then pouring the liquid over 1 1/2 cups couscous in a saucepan. Cook on low for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the couscous pearls) until the couscous has absorbed all the water. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Vary the flavors in the fish-poaching stew by adding fennel seeds, Aleppo pepper, chopped kale, and the like. Canned whole tomatoes work perfectly well as a substitute for the stewed tomatoes. And a few fillets of firm-fleshed fish, such as halibut or black cod, will do just fine in the place of the bream or mullet.
This content is from the book Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver.