Courtyard Of Courtship | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Walking along the small alleyways of Polignano a Mare in my beloved Puglia, a good aroma of home cooked food filled my nose. The salty air of the Mediterranean mixed with the food aroma coming from people’s houses permeated the air and created an aura of antiquity, that midday feeling when works stops to give way to daily meal with family and nothing else matters.

I was visiting my country at that time and I was walking the streets of Polignano with all my childhood friends who are ready to pick up our friendship where we left off, as if no years have passed by and no oceans divide us.
I pushed open the large green metal patina door of the house where the food aroma was coming out and a beautiful courtyard revealed in front of my eyes. Tall and short plants concealed colorful seating areas, cherubs in the fountains looked happy to play with the water, flowers everywhere, distressed walls, consumed floor and clean laundry were in all in one space open to the sky.

On the second floor, the mama was leaning on the balcony, visibly curious to see what a group of strangers were doing in her courtyard. To relieve her inconvenience of having strangers in her court, I soon asked her what she was cooking and why it smelled so good. She replied that the aroma I thought was so fantastic was nothing more than simple pasta and beans with pork bones. She invited all 10 of us to eat with her family and after a few minutes of reluctance, we were delighted to accept the invitation. The lunch lasted a good 3 hours, during which time she took out her best home-made wines and the best food preserved for the winter. It was a feast with people with had not known before that moment and became our best friend.

A courtyard is not a backyard, nor a front porch, it is a private open spaces surrounded by walls used in residential architecture for as long as people have lived in constructed dwellings. In Roman villas the Peristilio was a courtyard used to give more light and aeration to the dwelling, often enclosing a swimming pool, or fountains to give out a pleasant atmosphere with games of water. In the Middle Eastern countries and as far as 3000 B.C., courtyards have been used for many purposes including cooking, sleeping, working, playing, gardening, and even places to keep animals.

In the Renaissance Italy the courts with portico and colonnades returned in all the classic elements, even monasteries and public buildings adopted the style. In Italy there are beautiful examples of public buildings with a court: Brunelleschi’s Palazzo Busini-Bardi (1430), Palazzo Strozzi and Palazzo Pitti (late 1500) in Florence, Palazzo Venezia (1470) and Palazzo Farnese in Rome or Palazzo Ducale (1470) in Urbino.

Courtship often took place in the courtyard of private homes under the watchful eye of the family, but mostly courtyards filled the universal desires of human beings to have air, light, privacy, security and tranquility.
If I will ever build my house, I will have a spectacle of courtyard and reproduce that moment in Polignano with all the friends who will want to court my food. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val Admiring World This is my 24th years in design business and I am not showing signs of wanting to quit. I will be evolving in different directions, while still helping people realizing their dream spaces in homes, offices, interiors, exteriors and improving restaurants or cafes. Check out my books on
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Au Revoir Holidays | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Last night, I closed the holiday season celebrating Epiphany day, which falls on Jan. 6.
Epiphany Day in my native Italy was the day when kids received their Christmas gift, note I said a gift in the singular form and received nothing for Christmas day. Christmas was only a religious celebration, a time to spend in holiness, reflecting on spirituality, with family cooking, laughing, loving and enjoying one another.

On the evening of Jan.5th, my parents told us kids to go to bed earlier than usual to allow the Befana (Epiphany) to come down through chimneys or other ways if there was no fireplace and leave one gift for each kid of the house. They also suggested leaving a little something to eat for the Befana. Flying on a broom from home to home, delivering gifts, made the old woman very tired, thus she needed to replenish her strength. A reminder of possibly receiving black charcoal at the Epiphany Day instead of a gift loomed over our head during the year, it kind of forced us to be good kids all the time. Black charcoal was only a chunk of sugar colored with black food coloring, but still, receiving it, was such an ordeal.

We went to bed early than usual, but we stayed awake listening for any noises indicating the Befana was in the house. In the morning, the food we left on the table for her was gone or half eaten and the gifts we found were exactly what we asked in the letter we wrote in December and gave to our parents to send to the Befana. It was so sweet, innocent and gratifying, because the Befana listened.

Until one day, I was eleven years old, I peeped through a keyhole and saw my parents arranging the gifts for us three kids in the usual place in the kitchen. The next day, we opened the gifts and of course we were very happy to receive just what we had asked. Then I told my father that I saw him and mom putting the gifts in place the night before. His answer was: “Oh yes?! Then you are too old to get gifts.” I never received one more gift at Epiphany Day, only some clothes for Christmas, a sweater, perhaps a pair of shoes, a skirt, but not all of them together, only one, until I was eighteen. Nothing else after that. I started working and gave them a gift instead.

The night of Jan. 6th was for a fun day for the adult too. They invited a bunch of friends with kids and together we took down all the chocolate decorations on the Christmas tree. It was another occasion to celebrate with food, a lot of love and laughter, or an excuse to organize the first party of the year. Kids plaid with their new toys.

Yesterday, as I do every year, I celebrated Epiphany Day my way, took down my Christmas decorations and cooked all bunch of food to share with a few friends. Reflecting on what really Christmas means these days, I don’t look forward to the holidays stress and spending. We should call the Christmas Season the “Stores’ Season” instead. In this part of the world, everything we do in the last three months of the year is about increasing stores sales, alleviating our bank account of a few thousand of dollars and stir ourselves crazy trying to enjoy the holidays in a frenzy way. People never receive gifts in their wish list, or receive useless gifts with no meaning, thus recycling the gifts received  for the next occasions, or the next Christmas is a thing to do, while some other people pay their Christmas debts all year around. This is not the way to enjoy Holy Day, only a backward way of doing things!
During the holidays enjoy spending time with people you love and care about as long as they last, share food and fun with them.  That’s the best gift.

I can officially say Au Revoir to the holidays. No resolutions for me, only continuing living life in colors and doing the best I can for others and me. I hope you have a splendid 2014. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValOperaStampValentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990 improving people’s life by changing their spaces. Often people describe her as “the colorist” for a reason. She lives in a colorful world, wrote a book on colors ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors and loves to color her clients’ environments by creating the unusual. Her deep interest in food led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition and well-being, then finally she wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine. Find Valentina’s three books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Things I Miss | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

This video has circulated in a group of Italian women I belong. The video is all about the best most common Italian food. Many women in the group commented that the video made them cry. I know, we the expatriates, miss our mother land, we get very emotional and like them I miss it too, but Italy is not all about food.
Thanks to the proliferation of food lovers, importers have made possible for us expatriates to find all kinds of Italian food even here in the USA making the distance from home more digestible. Prices for imported real Italian food are outrageous, but they know we bend to their wishes and our tables are always a bounty of food from home that manage to astound our friends and silence our pain.

What I miss about Italy is not the food. What I miss is a life of subtle emotions.
A. I don’t see the swallow birds and their sweet chirping announcing the coming of Spring. Instead, I see black, scary and ominous crows. Their sound reminds me of Sir Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds”.
B. I  don’t hear the church bells ringing at midday marking Italian lunch time break. How sweet to go home and eat with the family.
C. I miss my neighbor knocking on my door to ask for a cup of sugar, a lemon or a hand full of parsley, which often is an excuse to get a cup of coffee together.
D. I miss my girlfriends calling at 11:00 at night just to shoot the breeze and tell me about the happenings of their day. In the US nobody calls anymore but everybody text. Texting takes more time to write word by word than to say the same thing verbally. Voice travels faster than typing and the voice doesn’t betray emotions. Through voice we can detect if a person is sick, sad, happy or lying. Texting is cold, calculate and abbreviated.
E. I miss the salty water smell of my Adriatic Sea and the transparent waters of Gargano and Salento. Just taking a simple walk around the Lungomare (along the sea) in the downtown area of Bari my hometown is invigorating, healthy and relaxing.
F. The grocer in my hometown, when he received a new product, a new wine or something he knew I would appreciate,  always put it aside for me, or called me to tell me about it and if I didn’t show up in the store for 3-4 days, he would send someone at my home to check that everything was fine and didn’t need any help. In the American grocery shops I am one of the millions shoppers without a face or name.
G. I miss taking long walk with friends, talking, laughing and watching shops’ windows without buying anything.
H. I miss going to restaurants and café for fun, leisure, pleasure, not for conducting business as people do in the States. It gives me indigestion to sit in front of food at all hours of the day and talk business with people I might not see again. I eat breakfast in the early morning, lunch under the sun rays and dinner under the moon rays. I don’t miss any meal because of work and I don’t eat and drink at all hours of the day either. Having a glass of wine at 3:00 in the afternoon, just to share some business ideas, doesn’t cut it for me and end up either changing the appointment to a more convenient time for me or turn it down all together. In Italy we have apéritif after 6:00 pm, when the day is over and we can enjoy friends, colleagues, or business associates as people.
I. I miss my neighbors sticking their nose in my business. There was time I thought they were such a nuisance, but if I got sick, they always came around with soups and cooked food. Now in the States, I live in a  very private neighborhood, it’s so private that if I leave for month, no one knows I was gone and if I am sick nobody brings me anything, because nobody knows I am even sick.

Perhaps some of my northern friends in my Italian group will disagree with me. Perhaps the North of Italy is very much like the US, but I come from the South of Italy, where each one of us has a weight in somebody else’s life, friendship is real, family ties are strong, promises are promises and contracts are still done with a handshake. “I see you later”, really means later in the same day, or “I call you later”, really means that person will call again in a few hours. You have no idea how many times I waited for someone to call or to come, when I first arrived in the States and didn’t know any better.

One of the comments of my group of women said we must be in peace with ourself and accept the new place as it is. There is no one living in a foreign country more in peace as I am.  I made a great living in a foreign land without anyone’s support and without a family. I am very thankful to have experienced a new life and new customs, but the things I miss, I will always miss and if I think harder the list could be longer. Pardon my lament,  it’s so uncharacteristic of me to write a post like this one, it must be the corny Christmas time. Wishing you all great holiday seasons. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValOperaStamp2

Valentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works all over the world via Skype line and in the traditional in home consultations producing concepts for remodeling, restoration of historical dwelling, upgrading, décor restyling and home fashion. Vogue magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15 and interviewed on various Blog Talk Radios. Author of three books all-available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
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A Stiffener For The Holidays | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

There was no way we could leave a family or friend’s house before tasting a touch of home-made rosolio. I know you are asking what the heck is a rosolio.

Let’s go back in time: Renaissance Italy 1400. Monks and most respectful families engaged in a practice of adding flavors to distilled water to cure simple ailments and to help digestion after a heavy meal. The flavors came from experiments of macerating herbs, plant roots, flowers and seasonal fruit, sometimes mixing some species together and sometimes using them singularly. Sundew, a particular carnivorous plant considered aphrodisiac attracted so much interest during Renaissance time that became the main ingredient for rosa solis, a cordial liqueur of a pretty bright yellow. Flecks of pearls and real gold to attract energy from the sun enriched the mixture. Nothing but the best for rich and nobles! The word rosolio originated from the predecessor rosa solis. By 1700 the entire Europe was enthralled with spirited drinks served in dainty glasses that became a social recreation more than medicinal purposes.
It’s hard to get rid of something that makes us feel good, therefore this social habit continued to these days and digestive drinks (after dinner drinks) were born.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Cordial Glasses-A

In Europe is still very common to find cordials in most households. They are generally made of seasonal fruits and served straight out of the bottle, no ice, no water added to the glass. Just like during the Renaissance, a cordial drink is always served in a small and dainty glass that one holds by the foot of the glass, or by the lower part of the stem. This is not a drink that goes down in one shot, sipping and savoring is the way to go while enjoying the company. It forces us to have cultivated manners.

StrawberryLiqueur

(Photo from my book: ©Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts)

There is still time to produce this delightful Strawberry Liqueur and have a taste of a home-made stiffener during the holidays. My clients get an array of original food I produce in the most natural way and not found in any stores.

Strawberry Liqueur
Ingredients:
34 fluid oz. of pure alcohol 90° proof
17.5 oz. of strawberries
34 fluid oz. of water
24.5 oz. of sugar

Wash strawberries, take out leaves and stems.
Place the strawberries in a glass jar with a lid that closes hermetically, pour in the alcohol and let them macerate for at least 30 days. Gently turn the jar up side down every three days and return it to the up right position.

After 30 days, make a simple syrup with water and sugar. Bring it to a boil and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar is melted.
Let it cool before filling the bottle.

Filter the macerated strawberries trough cheesecloth or a tight mesh colander. With the help of a funnel, pour the strawberry liquid in a decorative glass bottle, add the simple sugar. Shake the bottle gently, taste. Mix in a little more alcohol, if you like it stronger. Close with a tight cap. Let it rest one more week, then enjoy it. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val:FarfalleStampValentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990 improving people’s life by changing their spaces. Most often she designs kitchens and wine grottos; outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms; great rooms and entertainment rooms. Her deep interest in food led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition and well-being. Finally she wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory. Get your copy of Valentina’s books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Shoes Tell Your Story | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

A jazzy music from the ’30 was filling the air of San Francisco’s street the other day. As I got closer, I recognized the music of Duke Ellington playing from of a boom box sitting on the pavement next to a shoeshine stall. I looked around and suddenly I was catapulted in a different time in a different country.
(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Shoeshine(Found on: http://wilmingtonian9.rssing.com)

The colors of the street turned sepia colors and I was a girl in Italy walking together with my father, in a time when men took a great care of their exterior appearance and just like women, men too went into extensive hours of grooming to achieve a polished look. In my vision, shoeshine stalls were at almost every city block, ice cream vendors screamed to have the best ice cream of the entire city and bicyclists filled the streets with only a few cars, but the sound of San Francisco’s cable car returned me to reality. The magic of being in another era lasted a few seconds.

The street shoeshine stalls are disappearing in Italy too, as people find more convenient to polish their shoes at home. However, there is a majority of people in Italy still cleaning their shoes before leaving home. Italian people wear leather shoes more often than tennis shoes and the “dandy” affected look is still very much a high game in Italy. To have dirty shoes is a sign of sloppiness and uncaring to make bella figura, the Italian art of looking good in the eyes of others.

Sciuscia'
(Photo from the film Sciuscia’)

Kids shined shoes of American GIs during WWII out of necessity to make extra money. Italian film-maker Vittorio De Sica took inspiration from this new street activity to produce a film called Sciuscia’, which was the word kids shouted to American soldiers to attract their attention and let them know they were open to shine shoes. It was the way English sounded to them Shoeshine – Sciuscia’. They served only men and continued to these days.

An Italian shoeshine is a colorful street character. The man who wants to shine his shoes will be asked to sit on the high chair while the shoeshine will sing at him some Opera Aria or any well-known pop music, otherwise the two men will start talking about politics and sport, two favorite subjects men talk about in the street with strangers. A shoeshine might not be a highly educated person, but can speak four or more languages easily. At times, I heard them babble in Japanese, Chinese and Arabic, aside from the common European languages they have mastered well and mostly learned in the street from tourists. Rest assured that at the end of his service, the shoes are like brand new and the customer leaves amused.

saphir-shoeshine-starter-kit2

Every home in Italy owns one elegant wooden box with all the necessary items to shine shoes beautifully and if not they have the basic creams and brushes lose in a drawer. I have a cedar box my mother left me and every time I go out the door, I polish my shoes and remember.
Now, it’s September and as every September it’s time to go through my shoes, get rid of the pairs I don’t want anymore and polish all the winter shoes. My shoes are well kept and someone else will have the chance to enjoy them the second time around.

©Shoes-A

Feet are the end of our body and often are not the prettiest part. They support the weight and the beating of the walk. We make them swollen and tired, the least we can do, is to make them look good. Shoes tell the story of who we are and men with polished shoes have my attention! Ciao,
Valentina
Open this link and scroll down the page to find my Fashion Services
https://valentinadesigns.com/services

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val WorkingValentina Cirasola has been a lifetime designer in fashion and interiors. Her extensive knowledge of colors and materials led her in both directions successfully. Vogue Italy and many prominent publications in California featured her work. Among designing and remodeling homes, designing custom-made furniture and writing books, Valentina is now teaching etiquette, table manners, table setting and life style. Check out her latest book Red-A Voyage Into Colors on the subject of colors, available on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Spirit Of Gatto Verde | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Renato Nicassio last June wrote a blog on the ethic and spirit of Chiringuito, apparently a preferred spot in the city of Bari, Italy where people escape the summer heat.
http://ilblogstruggentediunformidabilegenio.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/letica-barese-e-lo-spirito-del-chiringuito

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

 

 

This is my answer to Renato’s blog.

Introduction To Bar Gatto Verde
In the same town of Renato’s Chiringuito, Bari, Italy, in the upper area of the city at the corner of Viale J.F. Kennedy with Via Giulio Petroni, very near to Poggiofranco, there was a small bar called Gatto Verde. The tiny coffee shop (in Italian called bar, which confuses tourists looking for a dark place where to spend a few hours drinking hard liquors) sold the usual espresso, cappuccino, cornetti (croissants) always consumed standing up among a crowd trying to wake up in the morning rush hours. The bar also sold ice cream but that was reserved for the afternoon stroll and Peroni beer that most tourists would describe it as camel piss. Later when the bar made a little profit became a pizzeria with a modern seating area American style making it almost a luxurious pizza place.

GattoVerdeCorner
(View Of Gatto Verde Cafe’-Bar- daytime)

Just like the Chiringuito, young people, mostly “nulla tenenti” meaning students and young workers at their first job, gathered every night outside the Gatto Verde. Even though Bari is a city on the Adriatic Sea, there, at the Gatto Verde we didn’t even get a swift of the salty water, too far to reach. You must know that distances in Italy are felt as the bubonic plague. Living in America now, I can drive 300 miles in one day to reach a client or a supplier, in Bari it’s s burden to drive or walk 30 minutes to downtown from Viale Kennedy.

Gatto Verde
(View Of Gatto Verde Cafe’-Bar- nighttime)


Chapter 1 and only one

There was nothing to admire at the corner of that intersection except a gas station directly across from Gatto Verde, tall modern apartment buildings sharing the same road with two storey, old small buildings and a series of utilitarian stores, fruit vendor, butcher, bread store, fish place, hardware, notion store, a photographer and a pagoda-style Catholic Church, so much criticized when it was built. It was a corner without history or identity like you say in your article about the Chiringuito.

There was nothing to admire, no palm trees, no one row of cafés and restaurant on the promenade, no Maserati driving by, nor handsome lads to drool for, nothing of nothing and the air was polluted just as at the Chiringuito, only a different pollution made by exhaust fans from cars, trucks, motor scooters and people’s loud voices. However, my group of friends met every night after 7:00 pm at the usual Gatto Verde and we were a lot of us. At times we shared a couple of Peroni beer between 15 people as we couldn’t afford a beer per person, other times someone offered a cup of espresso to their best friends, but we met for the pleasure of meeting old and new friends. Among our group, someone owned some used cars and most of the times we didn’t go anywhere, gasoline was too expensive even then. We stayed in the cars, sometimes we stuffed ten people in a small Fiat, to talk and laugh until our stomach muscles hurt either for the crunched up position or for the real laughter.

We spent the best hours there at the Gatto Verde when it was just a small coffee shop. Many puppy loves and many serious relationships happened at that location. At Gatto Verde we didn’t say H & G (hi and by), we discussed real society matters and resolved personal challenges while we made a lot of cigarette smoke. Coffee cups being banged on the counter and in the sink was our background music. Imprinted in my head there are still our conversations; we struck friendship I can count on to these days, even though Oceans divide us.

“Why people go to such a place as the Chiringuito” or “We go to the Chiringuito because everybody goes there” and “What else do you want to do at night?” These are questions you raised, my dear Renato. My answers are simple. People go to Chiringuito or Gatto Verde because of the desire to cocoon with other people and especially because there is a lack of activities in that city from the dawn of time. How about the Mediterranean mentality? Don’t you think it has a lot to do with it?

a. The Mediterranean people tend to gather at night in places where there are noise, confusion and a lot of people wandering around without a program.
b. Mediterranean people go out after 8:00pm and live through the night, whether there is something or nothing to do. As long as there are people around and whether they know them or not, it doesn’t matter, they allow boredom to take place, this way they can feel miserable together.
c. Mediterranean people don’t eat under the sun rays, they eat under the moonlight, thus restaurants are full at midnight through early hours of the morning and empty in the late afternoon/early evening.
d. Mediterranean people are always tired in the morning, rushing to work and are unpleasant until lunchtime because they burn energies through the small hours of the night.

As an alternative to places like Chiringuito or Gatto Verde, Mediterranean people could visit museums, or participate to cultural events, could visit art galleries or support the liberal arts, or could appreciate theatre art: opera, ballet, and plays. What better activities then painting in a group, gathering to learn new cooking skills, or take classes on arts and crafts? How about doing some sport that is not the usual soccer on Sunday?
But none of that happens, Mediterranean people live in the street, the street is their theatre, there is the place they show their art of coquetry and put it to a good use.

I was part of that ‘What else is there to do?” In that city, nothing is happening now just as much nothing happened then. I had the chance, since my transfer to California, to talk to Italian emigrants, who moved abroad like I did. My question always aimed to know the reason why they moved since they came from beautiful cities the world admires, like Florence, Rome, or Capri. Their answer was: “One can’t live with bread and love only”.
Well, at least I had the excuse to leave Bari, a beautiful postcard city with little substance and believers in friendship and family ties.

As far as Gatto Verde, my group of friends left that meeting point when it became pretentious and attracted a different crowd. We were people with ideals, goals, things to do and we were not static. Some of us when to different parts of the city, some others went to breath a different air abroad. That different crowd, which took our place, contributed to the closing down of Gatto Verde, I guess they weren’t the crowd leaders we were and not as exciting as we were.
The Chiringuito will continue to exist as long as static people will frequent it. Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val in ParadiseValentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer working in the USA and Europe since 1990, specializing in kitchen, bath, wine cellar, and outdoor kitchen designs. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. “Vogue” magazine and many prominent publications in California featured Valentina’s work. She also has made four appearances on T.V. Comcast Channel 15. Author of three published books, the latest RED – A Voyage Into Colors is on the subject of colors.
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

Local Flavors | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

The idea of Local Flavors by http://biancadventures.wordpress.com  gives me an opportunity to show some of the local flavors my group of curious travelers will experience as soon as they land in Italy this coming April 15 with me. That’s right, I am taking a group to Puglia, South East of Italy on the Adriatic Sea. In 2012 American soap opera running on T.V. since 25 years ago “The Bold And The Beautiful” filmed eight episodes of the main protagonist’s wedding between the towns of Alberobello, Polignano a Mare and Fasano, a very quaint area of the region.  
I didn’t even know the existence of this soap opera until I spotted this video, now I just hope Hollywood’s influence on the region doesn’t help raising prices for the locals.

Don Antonio the fruit vendor, truly an Italian charmer, always offers the typical afternoon glass of bubbles (Italian Prosecco) with familiar shoppers that come in after 6:00 pm. He knows how to keep the shoppers faithful to his merchandise and how to keep them in the shop. It is a ritual while shopping there for produce to get a glass of Prosecco and a taste of something delicious his wife prepares daily with his fruit and vegetables. They are two delightful people who can steal your time blindly if you don’t watch the clock. Often, Italian shops are daily meeting points of people living in the neighborhood. They buy whatever product the store sells while they indulge in gossips, news, business or even planning future activities between each other.

My local flavors include the show all the fishermen put out on the seafood bank along the promenade in Bari, the main city of Puglia. My group will enjoy watching them opening live shell-fish, will get a real amusement hearing them making loud and colorful comments on who has the best fish of the Adriatic Sea and will feel enticed to try some of those delicious morsel of row fish, wine and bread. Puglia is the only region in Italy where people are accustomed to eat row fish, even if the price is as high as 50-60-70 Euro per Kilo.

As a local born in those parts, my work as a tour guide into art, architecture, history and local flavors will be easy. I am planning to show the area on foot and by a private bus. Walking around the streets is the best way to learn the customs of a country. My group will admire the beautiful Mediterranean architecture and learn some insight of the local history. They will learn that balconies are not just an appendix of their flat, but also places for eating outdoor, gardening and exchanging a conversation with the next neighbor. They will admire fashionable people, pick up some folkloric slang or……a lover. Well….., Italy is the country that will enrich you in every sense.

To register for my trip click here, I still have room for April 15, 2013 : https://valentinaexpressions.com/trips-2
Ciao,
Valentina
http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

PDots2Valentina Cirasola will host two trips a year to Italy with the intention of showing Italy with the eyes of a designer born in those parts and let people experience the ”wheel of emotions” don’t even know exist. She will take her groups to the non-commercial Italy, areas not beaten down by massive tourism. Valentina will guide the tours through art, architecture, food, shopping and special adventures organized for people who want to live it up!

Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

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Jean M. Cogdell, Author-Writing something worth reading, one word at a time in easy to swallow bite size portions.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

READER - WRITER - RESOURCES - & MORE

Sisi Hidupku

my mobile diary...

valentina design universe

Entertainment, TV Shows, Design Shows, Public TV,

Valentina Expressions

Luxury for Comfortable Living and Good Life Through Designs, Style, Travel, Food

Katrina Perkins

A force of Nature, with intense acting skills.

Postcards from Italy---Natalia Sarkissian

stories, one postcard at a time

In So Many Words

Creative writing inspired by life, love, laughter ... and a horse named Shakespeare

Art Gowns

The Art of Glamorous Fantasy

Paula Acton

Scribblings of an Aspiring Author

MAGNO

"La flamme des cuisines."

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Atonement in Bloom"

litadoolan

Any old world uncovered by new writing

The Love of History

Another site/blog for loving history

Life is too short to drink bad wine

La vie est trop courte pour boire du mauvais vin

Badfish & Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world

daysandmonths

a journey of discovery with my camera...

yadadarcyyada

Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure

Chasing Destino

Free mom hugs

This Man's Journey

Home is where our story begins.

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