Tips & Temptations...Newsletter
May 2019
In this issue:



Dolomites of the South

What Cianti is to Tuscany


Best seasons to visit Italy
Restaurantes or Osterios: Is there a difference?

Off the Radar
Hot destinations come and go but Italy is one of the most visited countries in the world. And, like many European countries, it has been overrun with tourists - every year driving authenticity further and further into hiding.

But what if I could take you to places where the crowds are minimal and the authenticity of Italy remains? Where the visitors are travelers, not tourists?

This two-part May issue is for those of you wishing to experience the oh so hard to find unspoiled Italy. This is Italy where nothing is made in China!


Rural, unspoiled, rugged and authentic
City of Matera, 2019 host city of the Capital of European Culture
Matera is an artisan's paradise at anytime. But from Jan 2019 to Jan 2020, events, concerts, international art from around the world will descend upon the city.

Blend into the international scene among artists, sculptors, jewellers, all creating and displaying their wares; or peek over the shoulder of a writer crafting his latest mystery novel in a local coffee shop.

City of Matera
Built on rock, Matera once had a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside. These caves have been repurposed into museums - the MUSMA (contemporary sculpture), underground hotels, spas and churches. Visit the Chiese Rupestri at sunrise or sunset for a truly spiritual experience.
Castelmezzano, member of Italy's 19 most beautiful villages
Town of Maratea - Portofino without the tourists
Once described as, "a giant who threw a clutch of cute houses against the side of a mountain." Experience the Angel Flight that carries you over the entire valley for a bird’s eye view of this ancient village.

Home of the Paths of the Seven Stones - an ancient path inspired by old tales and imagination.
Include this seaside resort in your itinerary. The quality of the water is pure heaven! Make a point to visit the Cave of Wonders, a natural cave 100 metres above the town.

Rent a yacht in Naples, sail down the magnificent Amalfi Coast, overnight in Maratea before you sail off to Sicily!
The "heel" and home to historic villages
Roca Vecchia – Poetry Grotto

Similar to the Blue Grotto in Capri, but surrounded by an archeological site for a truly surreal experience.
City of Ostuni

The white washed City of Ostuni combines Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine characteristics. Although it enjoys a lot of tourism, it has managed to maintain its authenticity.
Cave di Bauxite Otranto

Remind you of anything? Bryce Canyon may come to mind. Dive into this crystal clear water.

A sleepy little fishermen’s village with pristine beaches and unspoiled by tourism.

Enjoy an al fresco meal at a traditional Macellerie Eatery. Not a restaurant but rather a butcher shop. Join the locals and choose your cut of meat to have it immediately cooked to your specifications on the barbecue.
Baia delle Zagare

One of the five most beautiful beaches in Italy and arguably the Mediterranean.

To book a Virtuoso reservation, contact me at (403) 560-2733

Pulling together a journey of this nature is a challenge. How do we get there? What village is a day trip and which is overnight? Are there quaint boutique hotels and B&Bs? Can we go as a group and hike, bike and yacht? How do we connect the dots?

That's my job and I have the answers, tour operators and guides to create your unhurried, off the radar journey through Italy. Let's transform your ideas into reality.

In Part 2, I'll take you to Northern Italy where art, architecture and museums are prolific and world class skiing should be on your radar.

When is the best time to visit Italy?
My suggestion is to avoid summer and early fall. Since travel advisors will always suggest that the shoulder seasons are best for Europe, high season now extends well into the fall. So spring or late autumn are your best bet to avoid crowded airports and tourists in general.
How much is enough?
Italians will tell you that tipping is considered a bonus for exceptional service. Usually it is just a matter of rounding up. Here is a comprehensive guide I found in Afar magazine.

What's the difference?
Restaurantes are the most expensive dining option, while Osterios and Travernas are smaller and less expensive. It has nothing to do with the quality of the food. And don't be surprised to pay less standing at the bar then if you want a table – tables cost more. Why? Unlike Canada and the USA, your table is yours for as long as you want.
What should you expect traveling with FortunateFewTravel and Virtuoso?
White glove treatment of course. It’s all in the details:
E nhanced recognition
E xquisite cuisine and impeccable service
E ntire family treated like royalty
Breathtaking Destinations and Photographs
Grab your iPad, climb into that hammock, and browse through the virtual copies of Virtuoso's beautiful magazines. Just visit and click on Our Magazines.
Virtuoso Life, Virtuoso Traveler and Best of the Best - what dreams are made of! Ask me for your complimentary glossy hard copy.