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Client Testimonials 2019

As customers on this tour, we want to say a big thank you to our very knowledgeable garden expert Robert for sharing his passion for Italian gardens with us. Special thanks also to Beniamino for his company and sharing his knowledge and love of Italian culture. We saw some amazing places in the company of a delightful group and had a really great time. Italy certainly came up trumps for us again this year. ANNE AND RICHARD This year’s Mezzogiorno tour with Anne and Beniamino through Basilicata and Puglia was a delightful combination of the Southern Italian countryside with its ancient hilltop towns and historic sites and the best of the local food and wine. It was all very well organized, re

The Etruscan Winged Horses

While visiting the northern area of Lazio, home of the Etruscans, we came across some amazing archaeological finds. The first was the great Necropolis Etrusca del Cerveteri, which is the largest ancient necropolis in the Mediterranean area. This huge Etruscan burial ground covering 400 hectares dates from the 9th Century BC and was used over the next three hundred years to bury the dead. Some of you might be thinking this was rather a macabre place to visit but in fact it was extremely interesting. Much of what we know about Etruscan life has been learnt from the decorative details and finds from the tombs. The round tombs (tumuli) were carved out of the local rock and represented a house f

Paradise in a Garden

Our tours in May/June this year showed us some of Italy’s most splendid gardens, ranging from the Renaissance splendour of Villa Lante to the exotic Argentinian abandon of La Mortella. We were absolutely delighted to have Christchurch-based landscape architect Robert Watson with us. As predicted, he was passionate and knowledgeable about the gardens as well as being extremely good company. An early stop was the magnificent Summer Palace of the Popes at Castel Gandolfo near Frascati with its manicured hillside gardens, terraces and parkland stretching over 55 hectares. There was no sign of the present Pope but we were reliably informed by a local restaurant that he did pop in from time to tim

Food, Glorious Food

The food in Italy this year was as good as ever. A simple plate of pasta topped with exactly the right local cheese was transformed into a luscious culinary delight reflecting the exacting traditions of the region we were visiting. We tried some new dishes not for the faint-hearted – octopus was one of these and the vegetarians amongst us raved about the range and appearance of beautifully presented dishes available to them. Special mention must be made of the exquisite multi-course dinner served to us in our box as we watched the opera La Traviata at the beautiful Teatro Salone Margherita situated close to the Spanish Steps. Having dinner there while enjoying Verdi’s magnificent opera was a

A Tribute to Carlo Levi

Readers of my previous blogs will recall that in 2017, a Connectitalia-NZ tour visited Aliano, a remote town in Basilicata, where Carlo Levi, a political activist from prosperous Turin, was exiled for two years by the Fascist Government in the 1930’s. This year, we returned to Aliano and were delighted to secure a private viewing of Carlo Levi’s house and his paintings in the little art gallery in the town. We subsequently visited the Palazzo Lanfranchi Art Gallery in Matera to view the stunning mural he created in 1961, together with some of his other paintings. It is difficult to overstate the impact this young doctor and political dissident had on the lives of the residents of Aliano and

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