The Italy Rules are my set of guidelines for the first-time and infrequent Italy traveler. I have traveled to, lived, and worked in Italy frequently over the past 20 years. In this time I evolved from a curious tourist to hardened, salty veteran of the trials, travails, and pitfalls of one of the world’s most visited countries. One usually dreams of Italy for years before finally setting their foot into the proverbial boot. The dream usually crashes in much less time. This post is really for the traveler who has not been deep into the Amazon or climbed to base camps in Nepal. This post is for those of you who enjoy modern conveniences, large bathrooms, and the amenities of a comfortable Western life. For the most part, I am you. I love my big bed, my central heat and air, and my very fast wi-fi connection. However, Italy is reason enough for me forego these luxuries for a few weeks or months out of every year. [Read more...]
Friuli Friday Photos Finale is my final Friday blog of 2012. These shots are from an extraordinary spring adventure in Friuli-Venezia-Giulia and one from the Veneto just next door. We are in Northeast Italy here, in a land still seeking an identity after changing hands frequently in the 19th and early 20th centuries. I never would have thought I would have eaten the best sauerkraut of my life in Italy, and I did. Tall people, Fascist art, pork in a dozen ways on one plate, my kind of weirdness shared with friends. Nicolas Emery, the famous Rubicon explorer, his fiancée Giulia Laveto (aka juujee), and of course The Schmee were all present and on board for wine, food, and Friuli. [Read more...]
The Most Influential Blogs of 2012 is my tribute to some of the finest work on the web done by caring curators of quality and passion. These individuals and their work gives me cause to pause on my birthday today to celebrate along with them because of what their influence means to my work. For those of you looking to find truth in advertising, look no further than these fantastic sites. [Read more...]
iPhone 5 Fun Photo Friday besides being a lovely title replete with alliteration is my first foray into the natural world with my new iPhone 5. Since studying under Sam Krisch (one of the leading iPhone photo artists in the world) for a brief period I feel my universe has opened and I am now capable of creating images that range from the ethereal to the theatrical. This is how my mind works, this is how I see things in the light. All the world is truly the stage and I, merely a player with a piece of technology that finally render my inherent disabilities somehow functional. (more on this another time) [Read more...]
Sicily – Theatrical Friday Photos - Is a journey across the enigmatic island using photos that conjure emotions reminiscent of the theater. I am more and more returning to my theatrical roots and seeking inventive and resourceful ways to tell you my stories. This is one of them.
We left the airport at Trapani in a rented Fiat Punto our Garmin Nuvi GPS device had not been updated in 3 years, and roads in Sicily are museums for allied bombing runs from the 1940s. Then, there was this structure in its abandoned glory. Nino Rota played in my head and I fought the urge to look for sheep to herd. In reality I barely took enough time to stare at the gorgeous wreck before getting lost a few more times on the roads that go and go yet no distance ever seems overcome. [Read more...]
San Francisco Bay to Sausalito – Fun Photo Friday is my first post since Thanksgiving. As I am preparing to launch my newest travel venture, working on my book, and diving deep into the coffee, wine, and cuisine of San Francisco I am posting less frequently. At the same time I feel as though what I am lacking in volume I am subsidizing in quality content. I will let all of you decide that for me.
Today’s post chronicles an amazing day Juliet and I spent on the San Francisco bay and across the way in Marin county. We had the great pleasure of being guided by Shawndra McCrorey, an enormously talented wine professional working for an exceptional Italian wine import company, Zigzagando.
Shawndra showed us a side of Marin county we may not have found on our own and we are grateful to share these images from this truly Blissful Adventure.
I took the first shot above from the aft deck of our ferry from SF to Sausalito. I am likely more patriotic than most of my readers would know and while the country can often be so divided I am certain that America is alive and well here in the bay. [Read more...]
Hipstamatic fun photo Friday is a joyful exploration of the depths in iPhone photography that help me to document The Blissful Adventurer. These images represent my particular vision of the images I see and are intended to alter mood and shift perspective. Hipstamatic is an application for mobile phone cameras that has inspired me since its inception and I hope very much it remains a fixture in the app world. [Read more...]
Mt. Etna -Volcanoes, Vines, and the Holy Spirit is a 3 part series on how I came to meet Salvo Foti, the preeminent voice on traditional (ancient) winemaking on Mt Etna. I am releasing my post now to celebrate Salvo’s visit to San Francisco this week. Salvo Foti will be pouring wine and discussing how he makes the magic this Saturday at Biondivino is San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood from 6-8PM. Come out and enjoy the wines and say hello to yours truly as well as the great Salvo Foti.
We walked all together through the vineyards at Palmento Santo Spirito and saw vines as old as 150 years resting next to new plantings. The cycle of life in Sicily is as clear as anywhere I have seen. Ancestral vines keeping watch over new ones managed by men following ancient rituals to the tune of making wine without the use of electricity. I assumed Salvo was kidding till he walked us through the dark and dank rooms of the Palmento and explained to us how the grapes are carried up the ramp by hand and into the lava stone pool where they are foot tread to break the skins and allow the juice and pulp to run free into the rock tank below. The temperature outside over 90 degrees while the stone and the vented windows keep the inside temps at 75 or less. This was how the Romans made wine said Salvo and yet they say what I am doing is illegal. Two thousand years of winemaking precedence cannot be wrong but the EU says it is illegal. I want to know so much more. [Read more...]
Mt. Etna -Volcanoes, Vines, and the Holy Spirit is a 3 part series on how I came to meet Salvo Foti, the preeminent voice on traditional (ancient) winemaking on Mt Etna. I am releasing my post now to celebrate Salvo’s visit to San Francisco this week. Salvo Foti will be pouring wine and discussing how he makes the magic this Saturday at Biondivino is San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood from 6-8PM. Come out and enjoy the wines and say hello to yours truly as well as the great Salvo Foti. [Read more...]