Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Rome - La Spezia - Genova: Using Regional Trains.


Rome - La Spezia - Genova: Using Regional Trains
The Frecciabianca or Intercity options will appear if you make a search on Trenitalia for tickets Rome-Genova or Rome La Spezia.
When making the search you will have to enter in the following sequences:

  • Rome - Oribitello
  • Orbitello - Pisa
  • Pisa - La Spezia
  • La Spezia - Genova
Services using Regional Trains (Regionale Veloce)
Fares 1st Class 38.60€ (only to Pisa) 2nd Class 27.75€ NB THESE FARES APPLY TO REGIONAL TRAINS. 
  • Depart Roma Termini  06.13 arrive  Orbitello 08.04 depart Orbitello 08.05 arrive Pisa 10.15 (Through Train Rome-Pisa)
    • Change Train Depart Pisa 11.00. Arrive La Spezia 11.51
  • Depart Roma Termini  10.12 arrive Orbitello 12.02 depart Orbitello 12.04 arrive Pisa 14.15 (Through Train Rome-Pisa)
    • Change Train Depart Pisa 14.34. Arrive La Spezia 15.40
  • Depart Roma Termini  12.15 arrive Orbitello 14.01 depart Orbitello 14.02 arrive Pisa 16.15 (Through Train Rome-Pisa)
    • Change Train Depart Pisa 16.34. Arrive La Spezia 17.40
  • Depart Roma Termini 14.17 arrive Orbitello 16.02 depart Orbitello 16.03 arrive Pisa 18.15 (Through Train Rome-Pisa)
    • Change Train Depart Pisa 18.34. Arrive La Spezia 19.40
  • Depart Roma Termini 18.12 arrive Orbitello 20.02 depart Orbitello 20.03 arrive Pisa 22.20 (Through Train Rome-Pisa)
    • Change Train Depart Pisa 23.04. Arrive La Spezia 00.02
Onward connections La Spezia to Genova (Calling at Cinque Terra Stations) 
Second class only. Fare La Spezia - Genova 7.30€ NB THIS FARE APPLIES TO REGIONAL TRAINS ONLY
  • Depart La Spezia 12.22 Arrive Genova P.P. 14.22
  • Depart La Spezia 15.58 Arrive Genova P.P. 18.22
  • Depart La Spezia 18.00 Arrive Genova P.P. 19.51
  • Depart La Spezia 20.00 Arrive Genova P.P. 22.00
Night Train
  • Depart 23.50 Arrive La Spezia 04.23  Arrive Genoa P.P. 06.01  

Rome - La Spezia - Genoa: Direct trains from Roma Termini


Rome - La Spezia - Genoa:  Direct trains from Roma Termini

  • Fares to Genova 
    • Frecciabianca 1st Class 82.00€  2nd Class 58.50€  
    • Intercity  Fare 1st Class 55.50€ 2nd Class 41.50€
  • Fares to La Spezia
    • Frecciabianca 1st Class 74.00€  2nd Class 52.00€  
    • Intercity  Fare 1st Class 49.50€ 2nd Class 36.50€
  • Depart 06.57 Arrive La Spezia 10.13 Arrive Genoa P.P. 11.16 (Frecciabianca)
  • Depart 08.10 Arrive La Spezia 11.51 Arrive Genoa P.P. 13.08 (Frecciabianca)
  • Depart 09.40 Arrive La Spezia 13.46 Arrive Genoa P.P. 15.08 (Intercity)
  • Depart 12.10 Arrive La Spezia 15.51 Arrive Genoa P.P. 17.08 (Frecciabianca)
  • Depart 13.29 Arrive La Spezia 16.45 Arrive Genoa P.P. 17.48 (Frecciabianca)
  • Depart 15.40 Arrive La Spezia 19.51 Arrive Genoa P.P.  21.08 (Intercity)
  • Depart 17.57 Arrive La Spezia  21.14 Arrive Genoa P.P. 22.19(Frecciabianca)

Rail Connections Florence/Pisa Freccia/Intercity from Pisa


With Change in Pisa to La Spezia using Frecciarossa (9.80€ extra) or Intercity (04.80€ extra)
  • 07.53 arrive Pisa 09.06 (change train) Depart Pisa (Frecciabianca) 09.31 arrive La Spezia 10.13 
  • 09.28 arrive Pisa 10.28 (change train) Depart (Frecciabianca)Pisa 11.00 arrive La Spezia 11.51
  • 10.28 arrive Pisa 11.28 (change train) Depart (Intercity)Pisa 11.44 arrive La Spezia 12.38
  • 13.16 arrive Pisa 14.45 (change train) Depart (Frecciabianca)Pisa 15.00 arrive La Spezia 15.51
  • 15.00 arrive Pisa 15.49  (change train) Depart (Frecciabianca)Pisa 16.01 arrive La Spezia 16.45
  • 16.28 arrive Pisa 17.28 (change train) Depart (Intercity)Pisa 17.44 arrive La Spezia 18.38
  • 17.10 arrive Viareggio 18.51 (change train) Depart (Intercity) Viareggio 19.16 arrive La Spezia 19.51
  • 17.53  arrive Pisa 19.06 (change train) Depart Pisa 19.36 arrive La Spezia 20.46
  • 19.00 arrive Pisa 19.49  (change train) Depart (Frecciabianca) 20.33 arrive La Spezia 21.14
  • 21..28  arrive Pisa 22.28 (change train) Depart (Intercity) Pisa 23.04 arrive La Spezia 00.02

Rail Connections Florence/Pisa - La Spezia & Cinque Terra Cheap connections


Connections from Tuscany (Florence and/or Pisa). Cheapest connections: 
depart Firenze Castello 05.21.via Viareggio (change of train) arrive La Spezia 08.26; Departures from  Firenze S.M. Novella 
  • 05.35 - arrive Pisa 07.34 (change train) Depart Pisa 07.44arrive  La Spezia 
  • 06.10 arrive La Spezia 08.49 (Direct service) 
  • 07.00 arrive Pisa 07.50 (change train) Depart Pisa 08.09 arrive La Spezia 09.19
  • 09.53 arrive La Spezia 12.19 (Direct service)
  • 11.28  arrive Pisa 12.28 (change train) Depart Pisa 12.34 arrive La Spezia 13.40
  • 11.53 arrive La Spezia 14.19 (Direct service)
  • 13.00 arrive Pisa 13.49 (change train) Depart Pisa 13.54  arrive La Spezia 15.09
  • 13.28  arrive Pisa 14.28 (change train) Depart Pisa 14.34 arrive La Spezia 15.40
  • 13.53 arrive La Spezia 16.19 (Direct service)
  • 14.28  arrive Pisa 15.28 (change train) Depart Pisa 15.33 arrive La Spezia 16.40
  • 16.53 arrive La Spezia 18.19 (Direct service)
  • 17.00 arrive Pisa 17.49 (change train) Depart Pisa 17.54  arrive La Spezia 19.08
  • 17.28  arrive Pisa 18.28 (change train) Depart Pisa 18.34 arrive La Spezia 19.40
  • 17.53  arrive Pisa 19.06 (change train) Depart Pisa 19.36 arrive La Spezia 20.46
  • 20..28  arrive Pisa 21.28 (change train) Depart Pisa 21.36 arrive La Spezia 22.46

Travel to Liguria - Cinque Terre via La Spezia from Emilia Romagna




Connections from Emilia Romagna. The journey from Parma to La Spezia takes you through the Apennine mountains where peaks reach above 1,600m. There are a direct connections from Parma: 

  • Depart 07.48 arrive La Spezia Centrale 09.53
  • Depart 13.33 arrive La Spezia Centrale 15.46 
  • Depart 15.44 arrive La Spezia Centrale17.46
  • Depart 17.44 arrive La Spezia Centrale19.46 
  • Depart 19.44 arrive La Spezia Centrale 21.46 
  • Depart 20.44 arrive La Spezia Centrale22.54 
There are other services that depart from Parma but involve changes and the journey time will be approximately three hours. 
NB. If you are intending to travel from Bologna to La Spezia, there are connections via Parma but in most cases will involve around 45 mins wait for a connection. Trenitalia will propose the route via Florence and/or Pisa. The journey time might be slightly quicker but will cost between 36€ -46€ as opposed to 16€ travelling via Parma. If you use the Trenitalia website, first check Bologna-Parma and then Parma-La Spezia.

Travel to Liguria - Cinque Terre via Genoa (Connections from Milan)


Travel to Liguria - Cinque Terre via Genoa
Some Intercity trains from Milan stop at Levanto and Monterosso. The journey time between Milan and Monterosso (the last of the stations) is approx. 3 hours. The departure from Milan Centrale for these direct trains are: 

  • Depart Milan Centrale 06.10 arrive Monterosso 09.02  
  • Depart Milan Centrale 08.10 arrive Monterosso 11.16, 
  • Depart Milan Centrale12.10 arrive Monterosso 15.02
  • Depart Milan Centrale14.05 arrive Monterosso 17.02
  • Depart Milan Centrale16.05 arrive Monterosso 19.02
  • Depart Milan Centrale18.05 arrive Monterosso 21.02
  • Depart Milan Centrale 20.10 arrive Monterosso 23.07 
Journey times to Levanto will be 5 mins less. There are frequent regional services from Genoa Piazza Principe and Genoa Brignole 
To check times, on-line bookings and reservations (REQUIRED ON THESE SERVICES) go to Trenitalia

Motor Rail/Sleeper services to Alessandria


Motor rail services  to Alessandria Close to Liguria less than one hour from Genoa
  • ,Germany (Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Neu Isenburg). 
  • Netherlands (Den Bosch to Alessandria & Livorno)

Rail to Liguria from Moscow


Travel to Liguria Moscow - Genoa Ventimiglia (change Genoa) Book through RussianTrains
  • Depart Moscow Belorussky Station (Thursdays) 16.17 arrive Genoa Saturdays 15.13 (journey time 48 hours 56 mins)
  • For Ventimiglia change in Genoa and catch the 16.55 Intercity arrive Ventimiglia 19.07 
NB the train from Moscow stops at the main stations along the Italian Riviera (Imperia, San Remo and Ventimiglia) but it is not possible to book to these destinations using the Russian Train web booking system.

Rail Travel London - Genoa


Travelling to Liguria  London - Paris - Genoa (Day time) Check options with Swiss Federal Railways
  • Option 1 Depart London St Pancras 05.40 Arrive Paris Nord Est 09.17 Change Stations Depart Paris Gare Lyon 10.41 Arrive Turin  Porta Susa 16.17 (Change Train)  Depart Turin Porta Susa 17.54 Arrive Turin Lingotto 18.04 (Change Train)  Depart Turin Lingotto 18.14 (Intercity) arrive Genoa P.P. 19.53  Journey time 13 hours 13 mins.
  • Option 2 Depart London St Pancras 10.24  Arrive Paris Nord Est 13.47 Change Stations Depart Paris Gare Lyon 14.41 Arrive Turin  Porta Susa 20.13 (Change Train)  Depart Turin Porta Susa 21.13  Arrive Turin Lingotto 21.23  (Change Train)  Depart Turin Lingotto 21.28 (Regional Train) arrive Genoa P.P. 23.32  Journey time 12 hours 08 mins.
  • Option 3 Depart London St Pancras 08.31 Arrive Paris Nord Est 11.47 Change Stations Depart Paris Gare Lyon 12.45 Arrive Turin Porta Susa 18.22 (Change Train) Depart Turin Porta Susa 18.53 (Frecciarossa) Arrive Milan Centrale 19.40 (Change Train) Depart Milan Central 20.10 Arrive Genoa Piazza Principe 21.42 Journey time 13 hours 11 mins
  • Option 4  Depart London St Pancras 08.31 to connect with the 12.49 direct TGV service to Ventimiglia arriving at 19.21 with an onward connection at 19.51 and arriving in Genoa at 23.01 Journey time 13 hours 30 mins
Travelling to Liguria  London - Paris - Genoa (Overnight) NB the different departure stations of the night trains.
  • Depart London St Pancras at 16.22 arrive Paris Nord 19.47 to connect with Lunea service depart 21.23 Paris Austerlitz Book with Lunea
  • Depart London St Pancras at 15.01 arrive Paris Nord 18.17 to connect with the Thello Depart 19.45 Paris Gare Lyon Book with ItaliaRail  or Thello

Rail Travel Paris - Genoa


Travelling to Liguria - Genoa from Paris (daytime)
Rail Europe and SNCF Internet bookings will suggest TGV to Milan and then onwards to Genoa (Change of station in Milan) Fastest journey time using this route:
  • Depart Paris Gare Lyon 07.49 Arrive Milan Porta Garibaldi 14.45 Depart Milan Centrale 16.05 arrive Genoa 17.42. (Journey time 9 hours 53 mins) 
  • Taking the same early morning TGV you will arrive at Turin Porta Susa at 13.25, take the 13.54 train to Turin Lingotto (arrive 14.08) and connect with the 14.14 Intercity and arrive in Genoa at 15.53. (Journey time 8 Hours 4 mins). Swiss Federal Railways SBB will provide this option
Travelling to Liguria - Genoa from Paris (Overnight) Book with Rail Europe
  • Lunea overnight service to Nice Ville (arrive 08.43) TER 09.25 to Ventimiglia (arrive 10.13). Depart Ventimiglia 10.58 Arrive Genoa and 13.06 (Journey time 15 hours 43 mins
  • Alternatively  Thello Service Depart Gare Lyon 19.45 Arrive Milan Centrale 05.38 Depart Milan Centrale 06.10 arrive Genoa 07.44 (Journey time 11 hours 59 mins) 

Travelling to Liguria Basel/Zurich - Ventimiglia


Travelling to Liguria Basel/Zurich - Ventimiglia Book with SBB or Rail Europe
Options are using TGV services via France or Swiss/Italian services via Milan/Genoa
  • Option 1 Via France from Basel SBB (platform 30-35) depart 06.51 arrive Mulhouse Ville 07.14 (regional service) TGV Depart Mulhouse Ville 07.42 arrive Dijon 08.58 (change train) TGV Depart Dijon Ville 09.20 arrive Nice Ville 15.36 (Change train) TER depart Nice Ville 15.55 arrive Ventimiglia 16.43. 
  • Option 2 Via Milan (and more scenic) The best daily connections are Depart Basel SBB 10.07 Arrive Zurich HB 11.00 (Change Train) Depart Zurich HB 11.09 arrive Milan Centrale 14.50 (Change) Depart Milan Centrale 15.05 Arrive Ventimiglia 19.07 
  • Option 3 Depart Basel SBB 16.07 Arrive Zurich HB 17.00 Change Train Depart Zurich HB 17.09 arrive Milan Centrale 20.50 (Change train) Depart Milan Centrale 21.10  Arrive Ventimiglia 01.05 
(Restaurant cars on Swiss trains to Milan - mini bar (trolley) service on Intercity service Milan-Ventimiglia.

Connecting Services Ventimiglia- Genoa


Connecting Services Ventimiglia- Genoa
Intercity services from Ventimiglia to Genoa depart at 06.33, 08.58, 10.58, 14.58,16.58 and 18.58. Journey time 2 hours 8 minutes. It is well worth while spending some time in the Ventimiglia area before continuing to Genoa Consult the web page Liguria - Imperia

Travelling to Liguria From Amsterdam/Brussels - (Paris) - Nice - Ventimiglia


Travelling to Liguria  From Amsterdam/Brussels - (Paris) - Nice - Ventimiglia Book with Rail Europe
  • The fastest service leaves Brussels at 10.21 and arrives in Ventimiglia 19.21 (change Aix-en-Provence) 9 hours journey time
  • From Brussels via Paris (daytime)
    • Depart Brussels Midi 06.37 Arrive Paris Gare du Nord 07.59 Depart Gare Lyon 08.49 arrive Nice  Ville 14.26 Then TER connection at 14.55 arrive Ventimiglia 15.43 Journey time 9 hours 4 mins. Depart Brussels Midi 14.37 Arrive Paris Gare du Nord 15.59 Depart Gare Lyon 16.49 arrive Nice  Ville 22.21 Then TER connection at 22.56 arrive Ventimiglia 23.43 Journey time 9 hours 4 mins
  • From Brussels via Marseille (daytime)
    • Depart Brussels Midi 07.10  Arrive Marseille 12.16 Depart Marseille 13.01 arrive Nice Ville 15.36 Then TER connection at 16.10  arrive Ventimiglia 17.13  Journey time 10 hours 3 mins.
  • From Amsterdam via Paris (daytime)
    • Depart Amsterdam 06.16 Arrive Paris gare du Nord 09.35 Depart Paris Gare du Lyon 10.49 arrive Nice Ville 16.26 then TER at 17.10 arrive Ventimiglia 18.13 
    • Depart Amsterdam 08.16 Arrive Paris gare du Nord 11.35 Depart Paris Gare du Lyon 12.49 arrive Nice Ville 18.27 then TER at 19.10  arrive Ventimiglia 20.13
  • Overnight services
    • To connect with the 21.23 Lunea service
      • Depart Amsterdam 15.16 arrive Paris Gare du Nord 18.35 (for leisurely connection) or 17.16 arrive Paris Gare du Nord 20.35
      • Depart Brussels 18.13 arrive Gare du Nord 19.35 or Depart Brussels 18.37 arrive 19.59

Travelling to Liguria London - Paris - Nice - Ventimiglia


From London to Paris Book with SNCF
    To connect with the day service Paris-Nice-Ventimiglia; 
      • Depart London 07.01 arrive at Paris Gare du Nord at 10.17 (then short connect time to catch the 10.41 or more leisurely connection for the 12.49 direct TGV service to Ventimiglia. Alternatively the 08.31 departure from London with arrival at 11.47 allows one hour to connect with the 12.49 direct service.
      • To connect with the Lunea overnight service Paris-Nice; Depart London 16.01 arrive Gard du Nord at 19.17 0r 16.22 arrive 19.47. The other option is to take an early morning Eurostar and spend some time in Paris before catching the sleeper service.
    • From Paris (Gare Lyon)  by TGVBook with SNCF 
      • The first TGV leaves (Paris-Nice) at 07.45 with arrival in Ventimiglia at 14.43 (Journey time 6 hours 58 mins) Thereafter, there are TGV trains departing Paris at 08.49; 10.49; 14.49 & 16.49 all with onward connections to Ventimiglia and similar travel times.
      • There is a once a day direct TGV service Paris - Ventimiglia; Departs Paris 12.49 arriving in Ventimiglia at 19.21 (travel time 6 hours 32mins)
    • From Paris Austerlitz Book with SNCF
      • Lunea night train leaves Paris at 21.23 arrives in Nice at 08.43 the following morning with an onward connection at 09.00 and arrival in Ventimiglia at 09.51 

    Wednesday, 16 May 2012

    La Taverna Dei Tre Gufi

    I have not as yet published the Piemonte page. However, I feel that I need to mention this delightful restaurant. My wife and I took a last minute decision to eat out last night and stumbled upon La Taverna Dei Tre Gufi as we drove back to Torino.

    This is  probably one of the best eating experiences I have had in a long time. Traditional "Piemontese", everything was absolutely exquisite: the food, fresh ingredients and freshly cooked; excellent service without being intrusive and energetic and enthusiastic young staff who really seem to enjoy their vocation. Absolutely excellent! The experience epitomises the reason why I have created this blog/website.

    Taverna website: www.tavernatregufi.it Address: Via Devietti Goggia 71, 10077 Malanghero (To) Tel 011 924 70 47

    Sunday, 4 March 2012

    SAGRA - Festivals and Fairs


    A sagra means a festival or fair. These occur throughout the year, often to celebrate the arrival of a particular local product from the land; some of the most famous are those celebrating the arrival of the white truffle in Alba; porcini mushrooms; wine; chestnuts etc. The fairs or festivals also celebrate particular seasonal recipes of a particular region, province or even town/village. Particularly during the period from May to October, the signs for a “Sagra” are prevalent throughout rural Italy. Some of these may be officially sponsored by the region or province; others to raise money for a particular cause; and others, it would appear, an excuse for communal eating, music and dancing!

    Some recent examples can be found here:
    Truffle special Piemonte:  Turin - Montechiaro Since the realignment of the tracks for the high speed trains (now in tunnels) restrictions have been introduced regarding the use of steam locomotives. It is hoped a solution will be found to this problem. In the meantime diesel hauled stock has been used. 
    Wine and traditional food special in Tuscany: Treno a vapore della Vendemmia e della Sporcellata
    One of many that celebrate the arrival of chestnuts (and the different varieties) Il Treno delle Castagne
    And there are many more! 


    Friday, 2 March 2012

    Rail Travel to Calabria

    For a detailed overview  of rail connections UK - Italy please consult Taking the Train to Italy

    London-Amsterdam-Brussels
    • Mid afternoon Train from London (Eurostar) or Amsterdam/Brussels (Thalys) to Paris Gare du Nord
    • Depart Gare du Lyon 19.45 Arrive Milano Centrale 05.38 (Thello Night Train)
    • Depart Milano Centrale 06.45 Arrive Napoli 15.52 Booking Can be made through RailEurope
    • Remainder of journey can be booked with Trenitalia
    • Depart Napoli 16.55 Arrive Reggio Calabria 22.00 (Intercity) OR
    • Depart Napoli 18.55 Arrive Reggio Calabria 22.00 (Freccia Argento) Timetable options Napoli - Reggio Calabri
    Northern Europe/Germany via Basel
    • Depart Basel 06.31 Arrive Napoli 16.10 (Change Milano Centrale) Booking Can be made through RailEurope
    • Depart Napoli 16.55 Arrive Reggio Calabria 22.00 (Intercity) OR
    • Depart Napoli 18.55 Arrive Reggio Calabria 22.00 (Freccia Argento) Timetable options Napoli - Reggio Calabria

    Northern Europe/Germany via Munich
    Option 1 
    • Depart Munchen 09.31 Arrive Bologna 16.26
    • Depart Bologna 16.28 Arrive Naples 20.10 Booking Can be made through RailEurope
    Option 2
    • Depart Munchen 09.31 Arrive Bologna 16.26
    • Depart Bologna 16.44 Arrive Naples 23.00 Booking Can be made through RailEurope
    For each of these options it will be necessary to overnight in Naples Timetable options for Naples - Reggio Calabria 1 and Afternoon/evening
    Northern/Eastern Europe via Vienna and Brenner
    • Depart Vienna Meidling 19.29 Arrive Roma Termine 09.08 Booking Can be made through RailEurope
    • Depart Roma Termine 09.39 Arrive Regio Calabria 17.00 (Inter City)
    • Depart Roma Termine 10.45 Arrive Regio Calabria 17.05 (Eurostar) Timetable options Roma - Reggio Calabria
    Connections to other destinations in Calabria will be in another post

    Rail Travel to Puglia

    For a detailed overview  of rail connections UK - Italy please consult Taking the Train to Italy
    From London - Amsterdam -  Brussels
    • Afternoon trains Eurostar (London) or Thalys (Amsterdam/Brussels to Paris 
    • Night Train to Milan (Depart Paris Gare du Lyon 19.45Aarrive Milano Centale 05.38)
    • Morning train to Foggia/Bari/Lecce (Depart Milano Centrale 07.35 arrive Lecce 16.37
    • Bookings can be made here RailEurope
    From Northern Europe/Germany via Basel & Milan
    • Depart Basle 06.31 Arrive Lecce 20.37 (Change Milano Centrale) or
    • Depart Basle 07.04 Arrive Lecce 22.37 (Change Milano Centrale)
    • Bookings can be made here RailEurope
    From Northern Europe/Germany via Brenner & Bologna
    From Northern/Eastern Europe Via Vienna/Brenner & Bologna

    Option 1
    • Depart Vienna (Westbahnhof) 06.14 Arrive Bologna 16.26 Bookings can be made here RailEurope
    • Depart Bologna 17.42 Arrive Bari 23.25 (no connection for Lecce with this option) Options for connections Bologna
    Option 2

    Rail Travel Options to Basilicata

    For a detailed overview  of rail connections UK - Italy please consult Taking the Train to Italy
    From London- Amsterdam to Basilicata

    Option 1

    Option 2
    From Northern-Western  Europe and Germany via Basle
    From Northern Europe Germany-Austria  Via Brenner to Basilicata

    Origins of the passion for food and rail journeys

    So how did these passions for food and rail start?

    Let’s start at the beginning. The garden of the house where I was born in Hucknall backed onto what was the Great Central Railway. My grandfather had been the Station Master at Hucknall and other Great Central Stations, including Quorn, where my father was born. My  father followed in the footsteps of his father and uncles after returning from six years as a soldier in World War II. When I was three my father was transferred to Cambridge and we grew up in Suffolk. My childhood revolved around railways: travelling with my father around East Anglia; with him or my mother to Italy; and as soon as I was able to travel alone spent lengthy periods at Cambridge station or, with use of privilege tickets, the London terminals.

    The food passion started from having an Italian mother and having to improvise during the period of rationing after World War II. We grew virtually everything and improvised in the making of certain Italian products. For example, despite the meat shortages, my father was able to obtain rabbits from which he made salami!  During the mid-1950s Italian food products started to arrive in the UK (London) and making use of the free rail travel we ventured to the Italian food store in Soho and brought back wooden cases of pasta (long spaghetti or macaroni) in the traditional blue wrapping.

    Travel to Italy started very early in my life and there I was exposed to totally different food culture; variety, freshness and of course TASTE! I can remember eating with my great-grand-father above Via Giuseppe Panini on the opposite shore to Lecco on Lake Como; him with his large fiasco of wine on the floor that he would lift every now and then to fill his glass; the smell of grano that he ate in large quantities - I can also still smell the kitchen! My mother had a number of aunts; I remember excitable Zia Piera and Zia Gianna who had been a minor film actress and fantastic cook. She had visited England in 1950 and was desperate for her niece (my mother) for whom she had acted as guardian when my mothers parents had died. So our visits to Italy were all accompanied by large meals to “feed us up” for the return to England.

    My real passion for Italian food was reinforced when I started to spend longer periods in Italy. At the age of thirteen-and-a-half I travelled alone to Italy by train and spent almost time between family and my mother’s friends. In Lecco, I stayed with my mother’s cousin, whose son Giacomo Mojoli would later in life become vice president of Slowfood International, and during the day help out her brother Peppino who had a fruit and vegetable store. I would help Renzo deliver groceries around Lecco on a tricycle made for carrying goods: at lunch time I would often eat with Peppino’s mother Serena (my mother’s aunt) who would often improvise with ingredients from the shop; sometime would take a picnic to lake shore or on special occasions eat at the restaurant next to the shop in Piazza XX Settembre. In the late afternoons I would sometimes go fishing with my great-grand uncle who would sell fish on the market.

    Later in the 1960s I spent a year working in Italy; it was then that I was introduced to the gastronomic extravaganzas; I would regularly eat with Zia Gianna and watch her prepare food or at week-ends eat for hours on-end with my mother’s friend Paola in Lissone; an incredibly versatile cook. These were the experiences I always looked forward to when I later travelled back to Italy and especially during the ten years that I lived in Denmark. I would always make a point of stopping off in Milano to savour Zia Gianna’s food and that of Fulvia my mother’s cousin.

    Whether it is the family DNA or Italian blood or not, I am passionate about food and what goes into the preparation and I love improvisation! The other evening I watched Giorgio Locatelli prepare caponata; something that can be varied by the individual preparing it. A couple of years ago I prepared my own version for an Eat-In held in Torino. Leo Reiser  from Slowfood still comments on it when I met him; I assume he thought it was good!!!

    A very satisfying experience was the conceptualisation of an Eat-In instead of a traditional welcome cocktail for the conference that marked the end of a ten year project I had been managing in South Africa for almost ten years. A large marquee was installed outside of Durban City Hall; small producers from the community gardens and farms our programme had supported brought their produce to sell to the conference delegates who then had their raw ingredients prepared
    a group of students from the local hotel school supervised by two professional cooks (one Italian and one South African).The event was voted a great success.

    For the past ten years we spend our summer holidays at a small farm on the Tuscan coast at Pian di Rocca close to Castiglione della Pescaia. This will be discussed when we reach Tuscany on our journey through Italy.

    Cookery Books - Puglia-Basilicata-Calabria

    I have always enjoyed reading cookery books but have not necessarily followed the recipes! As you will have seen from another post, I try to think of the ingredients when I taste something that I have enjoyed and take it from there!

    In terms of general Italian cookery books, I occasionally still consult Elizabeth David’s Italian Cooking. However, the one I most enjoy glancing through is the tattered version of Il Talismano della Felicità  (literal translation the object of happiness) by Ada Boni  (1934 edition) that my great aunt gave to mother when she left Italy for England. It also includes some handwritten notes. At home (in Italy) the various members of the family argue the merits of Il Carnicina or il Cucchaio D’Argento (Silver Spoon). They are all agreed on the excellent Made in Italy by Giorgio Locatelli.

    iPhone Applications
    • La Cucina Italiana
    • Eatitaly recipes
    • Cucchaio D’Argento
    • Slow Wine
    • Barilla (pasta recipes)
    • Italian Herbs
    • Tap Italy - Where to buy and eat Italian food in London 

    Puglia - Italiano
    1. Ricette di osterie della Puglia. Mare, erbe e fornelli (Ricette di Arcigola Slow Food) Antonio Attore
    2. Puglia ricette e sapori [Rilegato] Luva Lazari  
    3. Quaranta Ricette di Puglia I piatti della tradizione in modo facile e veloce. Giovanna Quaranta
    4. 1000 Ricette della Puglia  di Lucia Lazari
    5. Puglia. Le autentiche ricette della tradizione. I prodotti tipici e i vini
    6. Signori a tavola. Il Salento in 101 menu e 1100 ricette
    7. Le ricette più gustoso della Puglia W. Dello Russo
    8. Puglia in tavola. Le ricette della tradizione Puglia in tasca Nicola Sbisà
    9. Ricette di Osteria d’Italia, Rio, Polenta, Gnocchi
    Puglia - English
    1. Puglian Cookbook Viktoria Todorovska
    2. Italian Country Cooking: Recipes from Umbria and Puglia Susanna Gelmetti
    3. Trulli Italian [Kindle Edition] Clay Damewood
    4. Puglia: A Culinary Memoir (Italy's Food Culture) Maria P. Ferrante
    Basilicata - Italiano
    1. La cucina della Basilicata in cento ricette tradizionali (Italia tascabile) Ottavio Cavalcanti
    2. Puglia e Basilicata. Primi piatti (Antiche ricette della tradizione popolare F.Murer
    3. Puglia e Basilicata. Carne (Antiche ricette della tradizione popolare F. Murer
    4. Puglia e Basilicata. Pesce (Antiche ricette della tradizione popolare F. Murer
    5. Puglia e Basilicata. Dolci (Antiche ricette della tradizione popolare F. Murer
    6. Basilicata e Calabria. Le autentiche ricette della tradizione. I prodotti tipici e i vini
    Basilicata - English
    1. The Food and Cooking of Sicily: 65 Classic Dishes from Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia Valentina Harris
    Calabria - Italiano
    1. Adotta un piatto slow food. Le ricette dei concorsi gastronomici della cucina tradizionale calabrese promossi dal convivium slow food di Soverato M. Gigliotti
    2. Quando si mangiava insieme. Antiche ricette del vibonese e della cipolla di tropea Carmine Macchione
    3. La cucina della Calabria in cento ricette tradizionalOttavio Cavalcanti
    Calabria - English
    1. My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South Rosetta Costantino
    2. Giovanna's Legacy: Gifts from Her Italian Kitchen Mary i. Falbo
    3. Cucina DI Calabria Mary Amabile Palmer
    4. Cucina Di Calabria: Treasured Recipes and Family Traditions from Southern Italy, Mary Amabile Palmer

    Alberobello

    Information on Alberobello

    Getting there by public transport

    Ferrovie del Sud-Est (train) from  Stazione Centrale- Bari (Timetable) or bus  from Taranto (Timetable)
      
    Alberobello, famous for trulli homes, is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site (Photo Gallery of Alberobello)

    Agriturismo in and around Alberobello (Accommodation on Farms - Small Holdings)
    (these are suggestions from guides)
    • Azienda Agrituristica "Laire" di Barnaba Francesco & Figli. Produces, among others, oilive and traditional cheeses
    • I Trulli Panoramici  (Site currently in Italian only) offers a wide range of facilities beyond residential and restaurant. Various courses ranging from cookery, pottery to art.
    Restaurants in Alberobello: