In the Valley of the Temples

The archeological area of Agrigento that encompasses the Valley of the Temples was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997.  This stunning park is offers visitors access to many Greek temples as well as an ancient necropolis (burial ground)...

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Mary Arnold
Greek Amphorae at COS

Founded in 1980, COS has been running a fully biodynamic and organic operation.  In the spirit of ancient Greek cellar practices, COS opted to work with amphorae, clay jars that used by the ancient Greeks...

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Mary Arnold
Sicily’s other bounty

The day started with a different type of tasting – olive oil tasting.  We visited Frantoi Cutrera, a family business that has been a going concern for 4 generations.  On our tour we learned that olive oil production is rather simple process but once it starts, it is done in a hurry.

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Mary Arnoldfrantoi cutrera
Temples with a view

After so much good food and excellent wine, there’s nothing better than a walk through the ruins of time.  We stopped in the seaside town of Taormina which is home some very impressive ancient Greek temples....

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Mary Arnold
Etna and the gifts of her soil

Today our adventure started by driving up the side of Etna to the “Crateri Silvestri”, two craters on the side of Etna which are now dormant.  The drive up the mountain was surreal, it seemed like we were on the moon with black hardened lava to the left and right of the road.....

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Mary Arnoldetna
Catania and Cannoli

After devouring our cannoli, we jumped back on the bus with Catania in our sights.  We arrived in downtown Catania and checked into to the lovely Hotel Una.  What makes this hotel particularly special is its rooftop terrace where one can sit and watch Etna sputter and churn – it’s a fantastic show!

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Mary Arnold
Serracavallo, beautiful Calabria!

The landscape is beautiful and rugged, full of rolling hills that have been cultivated for olives, lemons, and of course, grapes.  With plantations some 600m above sea level, the vines (and people!) enjoy constant gentle winds, warm sunny days of up to 40⁰C and sunshine, and nice cool nights that drop to 20⁰C providing optimal conditions for the grapes they have planted....

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Lecce: the Florence of the south

Lecce is a jewel and offers so much to see.  We saw the main square - Piazza Sant’Oronzo that boasts a Roman amphitheatre right in the middle, and walked the streets of this beautiful baroque city all the way to the magnificent Duomo all the while listening to the careful details and secrets shared by Simona.

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Mary Arnold
Trulli Trulli Trulli

...can only be described as magical fairy tale-like structures with stone walls and conical rooves.  Declared a UNESCO site in 1996, Trulli can be found... 

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Mary Arnold
Manduria!

We left beautiful Lecce to first visit the Consorzio Produttori di Manduria.  The Consorzio is a local cooperative that was founded in 1932 that now purchases grapes from 400 carefully selected vineyards...

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Mary Arnold