Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to savor fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or drinking( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitors, demonstrations and special menu. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have risen beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

A
A costumed medieval dinner at the Sagra della Castagna. Photograph: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll discovery chestnuts roast in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop township an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone era. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit pastry in the tournament for best historic dinner. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looking like theyve sprung to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to eat, year-round
Get a savor of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to remain
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by wood at Podere Pontepietra ( doublings from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and the opinions of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photo: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colouring or flavour, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the festival in its accolade now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 arrived last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, says Italy-based food novelist Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and rivalries sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna set it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to feed, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its is accessible to clients from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to bide
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doubles from 95 B& B ), a fairly, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop township of SantAgata Feltria. Photograph: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most famous of Italys truffle celebrations is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a festival as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent restaurants scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy perfume lingers. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to feed, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities think black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek restaurant that recently opened in town.

Where to bide
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doublings from 60 B& B ), simply three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Dedicated protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but get sharper as it ages, relies on cows grazing on Alpine grasslands. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menu( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern borders of Italy is how much the cheese and its preparations feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and author of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is only a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to eat, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roasted lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to remain
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Visitors revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a pretty, whitewashed town halfway between Bari and Taranto, this celebration celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcome, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and rinse it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the street. On every alley theres something happening, tells Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If someone asked me: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I only have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to feed, year round
Between its star cook and lovely place in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to bide
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doublings from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed homes unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a horse stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great quantities, at the festival in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this festival in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, greeting about 300,000 visitors. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the field since the middle ages. This festival in the fruits honor is Italys foremost, but its not only marrone youll detect here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheeses, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused darknes chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to eat, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has determined a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to stay
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doubleds from 70 B& B) is a working 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers surprisingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

10 top tips-off from our Los Angeles correspondent

Stars in the sky and on the silver screen, trips to the beach and a graveyard, plus a stroll with a local performer who calls himself the people walker LA delivers the very best for our west coast writer

Hollywood movie magic

Watch a movie at the Aero in Santa Monica, or the Egyptian in Hollywood: both are part of AmericanCinematheque, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting Americas indigenous art form the moving picture. It has an old-style ambience and eclectic choices, and after screenings there are often Q& As with the cinemas directors and superstars. You can see top talent, especially in autumn the run-up to awardings season when Oscar hopefuls come out to lobby.
americancinematheque.com

See the real stars

Garvey
Garvey Ranch Observatory in Monterey Park. Photo: Lawrence K/ LA Times/ Getty

Garvey Ranch Observatory, 10 miles east of downtown, hosts telescope house and mirror-making sessions, as well as public stargazing every Wednesday night. The presence of Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Space X, plus UCLA and USC, constructs Los Angeles quite the physics hub so you find top boffins and engineers coming here to play astronomer.
Garvey Ranch Observatory, 781 Orange Avenue, Monterey Park,
nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov

Futuristic food

Five
Dishes at Baroo

Some of LAs best food is may be in nondescript-looking restaurants on bland strip malls. These include Baroo, wedged between a 7-Eleven and a hair salon. Named after the rice bowls that are one of the few possessions Buddhist monks are permitted, it is a shrine to fermenting. Chef and co-founder Kwang Uh constructs passionfruit kraut and fizzing pineapple tepache ($ 3 ), kimchi fried rice seasoned with fermented pineapple and a herb-strewn grain dish called noorook ($ 12 ), sluiced with pureed beets and a variation of koji the fungus are applied to construct sake and studded with nuts and grains. The LA Timess food oracle, Jonathan Gold, raved: Noorook savours like nothing you have ever eaten. But it does savour a little like the future.
baroola.strikingly.com

Hire a people walker

Chuck
Chuck McCarthy, the People Walker

For$ 7 a mile Chuck McCarthy, an underemployed actor who came up with this sideline, will accompany you on foot. Calling himself the People Walker, he started it as a joke, then discovered a market. He is based in Los Feliz, near the Hollywood Hills, and has colleagues dotted around other neighbourhoods. Having expended an afternoon with Chuck I recommend him. Hes affable, wry and knowledgeable about local lore.
facebook.com/ thepeoplewalker

Stroll among the tombs of Hollywood

Grounds
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Photograph: Alamy

Forever Cemetery is the resting place of Cecil B DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and hundreds more starrings. Its on the National Register of Historic Sites, and deservedly so. There are concerts year-round and outdoor screenings of classic films and modern blockbusters in summer, when people bring carpets, food and wine. I watched Sunset Boulevard here , not far from Gloria Swansons grave. Not at all creepy. I guess shed have approved.
hollywoodforever.com

Take the Expo line to Santa Monica

Expo
Expo line light rail develop. Photograph: Ted Soqui/ Corbis/ Getty

Six decades after the last Pacific Electric red automobile trolley left Santa Monica, a new rail line connecting it to downtown Los Angeles opened in March 2016. For $1.75 one way, its a new style to insure and experience a city that most visitors navigate by vehicle. The Expo line is not fast all overground, it stops at traffic lights, taking 50 minutes to cover the 14 miles but that devotes time to soak in the cityscape and fellow passengers who can be executives, skateboarders, maids, techies and hipsters.
metro.net

Rent a bike

Cyclists
Cyclists employing LA Metros Bike Share programme. Photograph: Marcus Yam/ LA Times/ Getty

LA may still be the worlds automobile capital but bike-friendly initiatives, including new bike lanes, have stimulated much of the town viable for those on two wheels. The city is mostly flat, with a blessed climate, so theres no excuse. There are rental stores all over the city but a good option is the city-run Metro Bike Share, which has thousands of green bikes parked all over the place. If youre going to use it just a handful of hours, the walk-up rate is $3.50 per half-hour. If you plan on riding more than six days during a visit, plump for a $20 monthly pass. Check whether you overlap with one of CicLAvias occasional fun cycling events. Or, if feeling adventurous, join one a wolf pack hustle organised group rides and races around the city.

Celebrate the sundowner at Hotel Erwin

Sunset
Sunset at Hotel Erwin, Venice Beach. Photograph: Alamy

Its in every guidebook but for good reason: have a sundowner on the Erwin hotels rooftop bar in Venice. After mixing with the artists, buskers, egotists, hustlers and tourist hordes on the boardwalk, youll require a drinking and theres no better view than the sun sinking into the Pacific. The hotel has been a Venice landmark since the 1970 s: a funky, architectural survivor amid the gentrification that has transformed the rest of the neighbourhood. Try a blood orange julep for $15, an average cost for the area.
hotelerwin.com

Check out improv slapstick for $16

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Cannabis tourism in California- a women’s wellness retreat with puff love

At the Ganja Goddess Getaway, yes, there are yoga class and spiritual talks but the mother lode comes from the spliffs, edibles and pot-infused mocktails that aid the healing

Wearing a T-shirt with the slogan” Mary Jane Smokewear”, a woman with long, grey pigtails crawled towards me, offering a hit off a balloon pouch inflated with marijuana vapors. I was sitting cross-legged under a Ganja Goddess Getaway-branded gazebo on a perfect California afternoon and it was the umpteenth hour that day that a stranger had come over, unprompted, to share their weed.

The bag was just one way my fellow ganja goddesses were getting high. Plates piled with spliffs, giant blunts, laced caramel-pecan candies and fruity mocktails improved with pot-infused tinctures also made the rounds. At one point, I was handed a wizard tube packed with a “tiramisu”. Where a domestic goddess might use cream and ladyfingers, a ganja goddess gets “baking” with alternating layers of green and hash.

This is a canna-holiday, California-style. After new laws permitting recreational marijuana use came into effect in the state on 1 January, canna-visionaries wasted little time integrating their product into the region’s aspirational aesthetic. You can tour the “sun-grown”, ” craft” cannabis fields of the north’s Humboldt County while in Los Angeles marijuana chef Chris Sayegh plans to open the city’s first” high cuisine” cannabis restaurant( working name: Herb ).

‘Mama’
‘ Mama’ Sailene Ossman, one of the getaway’s co-founders serves a weed-laced sweet treat.

The women-only Ganja Goddess Getaway bills itself as a wellness retreat with a( herbal) change. The retreat itself is in the timbers near the coast at Pescadero, about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco. At the end of a long dirt track, in a meadow surrounded by redwoods, I detected about 135 “goddesses” engaged in a ritual of” whiff and pass “. Twentysomething girls sporting cannabis-leaf-motif leggings shared bongs with middle-aged females dressed in loungewear. Others passed spliffs around the hot tub, lined up for henna tattoos, or got cannabis petroleum massages. Two friends who had “followed” the pungent aromas all the way from Chile snored peacefully through a Laughter Yoga class.

The getaway’s five co-founders are a diverse mixture: CEO Deidra Bagdasarian is also the entrepreneur behind award-winning cannabis confection company Bliss Edibles, while event co-ordinator Trish Demesmin was an administrator at Oakland’s cannabis business college, Oaksterdam, and is now chairman of a medical cannabis delivery company. “Mama” Sailene Ossman is the company’s head of public relations and attributes her nickname to” being famous for bringing the food and the weed”, while married couple Kelli Valentine and Ciera Lagges complete the quintet, the former as in-house filmmaker, the latter as chief creative officer. Together, they all preach cannabis as a” meditative and spiritual” plant.

Bagdasarian’s vision for the getaway has changed since it launched in 2016( when merely women with a medical marijuana card could attend ).

” In the beginning, I just wanted it to be a good vacation, like a stoner-girl slumber party ,” she told me. Soon, however, she noticed the women were undergoing “transformational” experiences,” So I wanted to foster a space where women can use cannabis as a tool for self-improvement .”

Deidra
Deidra Bagdasarian, co-founder and CEO of Ganja Goddess Getaway

This constructs the retreat less a group slump in front of Netflix and more a series of wellness seminars wherein the crowd pass weed around while listening to talks with topics such as Give Plants A Chance. During this, Bagdasarian recounted the inability of Prozac to assuage her depression. She railed against accepted norms of big pharma, sugar and a culture of chemicals. But cannabis, Bagdasarian told, was a healer. Everyone was paying attention until a butterfly flapped into the gazebo, drawing an en masse, distracted “woooah”.

It’s true the women I met here weren’t merely in it for the laughters. They all talked about how cannabis had helped them with ailments and conditions, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. Many had travelled solo, from “non-legal” states including Nebraska, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida and they formed fast bonds, sharing in-jokes over breakfast and doing morning meditation together.

” No one’s judging ,” said a 35 -year-old from Sacramento, when I asked what the appeal was.” This is two days where I get to simply be myself and focus on me .” Like the majority of women I spoke to, she asked to remain anonymous, for anxiety of what her workplace, family and friends would think.

Ganja
‘ Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing unlimited food and weed .’

A lot of Americans are in the “cannabis closet”, Bagdasarian said. But here, they can meet” their tribe “. And cannabis, she added, is a useful facilitator.” It lets you take your mask off. Females like being vulnerable and connecting. We give them a safe space where they can do that .”

“Safe”, however, is a relative term given the United States’ tangled cannabis laws. In January, us attorney general Jeff Sessions announced he was giving federal prosecutors carte blanche to go after cannabis growers, vendors and users who are violating the nation’s rule of law. The shock memoranda defied Obama-era policy to leave states that had legalised the medication alone. President Trump, however, lately promised to respect states’ rights on legal pot. More states are discussing” running recreational” this year, including Michigan, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Such ambiguity has stalled many California cities from writing rules that would grant cannabis tourism a “green” lighting. It’s frustrating for Bagdasarian, who cites observing venues as her biggest challenge. Few places permit open intake and cannabis businesses are blocked from promoting themselves on social media. Ticket seller Eventbrite recently cut ties with the getaway, citing federal law.

For this reason, the getaway is limited to private retreat centres, where camping is the most practical accommodation. In Pescadero, attendees shared 12 -person bell tents or brought their own; there were also more comfy, though higher-priced alternatives, of a shared yurt with wood-burner and cots and dorm-style rooms in the main lodge. Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing unlimited food and weed.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to savor fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or drinking( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitors, demonstrations and special menus. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan celebrations celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have risen beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

A
A costumed medieval dinner at the Sagra della Castagna. Photograph: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll detect chestnuts cook in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop township an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone epoch. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit pastry in the contest for best historic banquet. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looking like theyve leap to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to feed, year-round
Get a savor of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to stay
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by wood at Podere Pontepietra ( doublings from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and views of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photograph: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the festival in its accolade now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 went last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, tells Italy-based food novelist Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and rivalries sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna put it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to eat, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its is accessible to clients from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to bide
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doubleds from 95 B& B ), a fairly, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria. Photo: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most famous of Italys truffle celebrations is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a celebration as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent restaurants scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy aroma lingers. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to feed, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities suppose black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek restaurant that lately opened in town.

Where to bide
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doubleds from 60 B& B ), just three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Devoted protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but gets sharper as it ages, relies on cows grazing on Alpine pastures. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menus( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern bounds of Italy is how much the cheese and its preparations feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and writer of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is merely a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to feed, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roast lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to stay
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Visitors revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a fairly, whitewashed town halfway between Bari and Taranto, this celebration celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcome, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and clean it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the streets. On every alley theres something happening, says Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If someone asked a question: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I only have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to feed, year round
Between its star chef and lovely place in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to stay
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doubleds from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed homes unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a horse stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great sums, at the festival in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this festival in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, greeting about 300,000 visitors. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the field since the middle ages. This festival in the fruit honour is Italys foremost, but its not only marrone youll discover here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheeses, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused darknes chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to eat, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has found a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to stay
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doubles from 70 B& B) is a running 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers amazingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

14 Holiday Gifts For People Afflicted With Wanderlust

Many of us wanderers have that passionate travelling gene we need to feed every now and then.

To satisfy this longing, I’ve put together a listing of unbelievable presents to give that extraordinary person in their own lives with a sense of adventure, whetherhe or sheisa significant other, spouse, best friend, sibling or even you.

Some of these are once-in-a-lifetime dreams, and others are close-to-home itineraries to fit everyones budget and wanderlust dreams.

1. Meditation retreat in Assisi, Italy

Travel& Leisure Magazine named Simple Peace one of the top 10 retreat centers in the entire world. This gorgeous destination is located on a serene hilltop town in Italy. It offers an incredible retreat to detect and celebrate your inner peace.


2. Cooking class vacation in Provence, France

This exceptional, week-long escapade is comprised of hands-on cooking classes and group snacks to savor the scrumptious finished products. Visits to local vineyards, marketplaces, stores and eateries make any food connoisseurs fantasy a reality.


3. Sleep like a mermaid underwater in Dubai

Atlantis The Palm hotel is simply drenched with luxury. Every Underwater Suite features floor to ceiling windows seeming out deep into the lagoon.


4. Skiing and wintertime frolic in the French Alps

The French Alps are mind-blowing. From skiing down and snowshoeing across the sparkling slopes, to relaxing in the sauna and steam room, that really is the ultimate present for the winter lover in your life.


5. Wine and hiking West Coast adventure

This hiking journey embraces the gorgeous San Francisco Bay area into the wine country. The adventure includes hiking, kayaking on Tomales Bay, and exploring winery estates.


6. Yachting in the Maldives

Rent the yacht of your selection and cruise along the water of the Indian Ocean. Relish this beautiful country while diving, shelling and snorkeling. This paradise in South Central Asia attains for an unforgettable experience.


7. Spa revival on Luacala Island, Fiji

Enjoy Fijian treatments and organic conveniences in tranquil surrounds. Relax in the Spa Garden, where handpicked herbs, flowers, spices and fruits are integratedinto massage oils and lotions used for spa therapies. Rejuvenate your intellect, body and soul in a spectacular setting.


8. Glamping in Australia

Take your glamping experience to an entirely new level of luxury in the heart of Australias breathtaking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The glamorous tents are located on red sand dunes, complete with plush, custom-designed furniture, a cozy hearth and floor-to-ceiling windows. This vacation spot is truly unprecedented.


9. Hot air ballooning in Colorado

Take inunparalleled positions of the Rocky Mountains over Boulder, Colorado while savoring pleasures and toasting with champagne.


10. Kayaking in Kauai, Hawaii

Kayaking in Kauaishould be one everyone’s pail list. The Na Pali Coast has stunning cliffs and makes for a breathtaking memory.


11. Snorkeling and scuba diving in Bora Bora

Bora Bora is bordered by a lagoon and obstacle reef, and is known for some of the best water extravagances in the world. If you have any intention of snorkeling or scuba diving, Bora Bora is the perfect destination.


12. Boat party in Ibiza, Spain

Get into the club scene on the Mediterranean. There is actually no other place to party that will compare.


13. Replicate a serene Swedish spa in the convenience of your own home

Complete with body scrubbing, plush bathrobes, exfoliating face masks and cucumber water. The perfect music, essential oils, candles and all of the finest luxurious amenities will transform your home into a tranquil spa.


14. Travel to the moon and back with a romantic rooftop galactic picnic

Star gaze with that special someone under a handcrafted lighted canopy on the rooftop. Order the finest foods for your dining experience, and surround yourself with throw pillows, an abundance of candles, a telescope and the finest champagne.

Extravagant gifts such as many listed above may seem outrageous and out of reach. Maintain in mind that you merely live once, and an unforgettable dreaming experience will last a lifetime.

Read more:

Is Russia Ruining the Worlds Oldest and Deepest Lake?

The road from Irkutsk to the resort town of Listvyanka curls for about an hour through a white wood frozen under thick snowfall. My driver, Sasha, turned down his favorite techno music:” Here it is ,” he said blithely and slackened the car, pointing at the wonder of Siberia, Lake Baikal. It is the oldest and deepest lake in the world and sits at the southern edge of Siberia, near the Mongolian perimeter.

Icy cold northern sunshine poured through the trees at this city at the mouth of the shiny Angara River, powerful, turbulent and never freezing as it flows out of the enormous lagoon. Puffs of white steam rose from water of Father Baikal, as people here lovingly address their precious lagoon.

For centuries, ancient Baikal has inspired arts and religion among all ethnic groups living peacefully around Baikal–Shamanists and Buddhists here tie up colorful ribbons to trees in gratitude, with wishings whispered; Orthodox believers build churches on the lake’s banks. Some residents pray to the planet’s holy pearl, to preservation of their Siberian sea.

Others do not care whether the lagoon will stay clean for thousands of years, and have taken to dumping sewage into it. The road to Listvianka objective abruptly at a cliff, outside a red brick, multi-story hotel called Gold, of dubious reputation. Last February, locals watched a disgusting scene: yellow liquid was running right out onto Baikal’s ice from a hose that stretched from the hotel. This time, it was dirty laundry water.” cleaning powder that contains phosphate was dangerous for the lake’s species ,” Marina Rikhvanova, a senior ecologist from Irkutsk told The Daily Beast.” The pollution causes overwhelming growth of Spirogyra algae, which pushes out Baikal’s endemic sponge, the key cleanser of Baikal’s water, and destroys invertebrate organisms, the main food for Baikal’s fish .”

Today Lake Baikal, like a huge mirror, reflects Russia’s core challenges of indifference to human rights, neglect for a threatened surrounding, and the power of corrupt practices and authoritarian pressure on independent voices that are crucial for increasing public awareness.

Five years ago, the Russian Justice Ministry listed 29 environmental groups as “foreign agents” for working on foreign grants and being a threat to Russia’s security. Conservationists, previously working on increasing public environmental awareness, became tied up with solving legal issues, struggling to prove that they were no harm to Russia’s security. As a result of the new law’s pressure, 14 green groups labeled as “foreign agents” have stopped their activity, Human Rights Watch reported last year.

One of them was Rikhvanova’s once well-known NGO, called Baikal Ecological Wave, a group of activists who had devoted more than two decades of “peoples lives” to supporting environmental education and organizing scientific expeditions to Lake Baikal.” The law spoiled our reputation, we spent time and efforts to defend the working group in the tribunals and eventually closed down the old Baikal Ecological Wave .” Rikhvanova, the co-founder of the NGO and win of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2008, told The Daily Beast in a recent interview.

Winter days are short in Siberia. By 3 p. m. on my visit, the northern sky turns purple over the peaceful waves of Lake Baikal. Angela, a local street vendor of smoked, salty fish and tea, gave her samovar a friendly looking, as to an old friend. The tea ceremony looked shamanic. Pursing her lips in the frosty air, Angela put cranberries in the teapot, then black tea and in the end a pinch of Sagan Dalya, a native herb grown in the hills around the lagoon. Angela lifted her eyes to the horizon, where gentle clouds puffed over the lake’s turquoise surface in fresh frosty air:” See, Father Baikal is steaming, like my samovar ,” she joked and then grew serious.” This tea will revive you, but first try some of my omul, it might be the last fish on sale ,” Angela offered her smoked Omul, a salted, fatty delicacy that savor like fishy salami.

Until recently, omul made business opportunities for local residents, and lots of gastronomic pleasures for Baikal visitors. Every morning, in spite of icy winter gust, anglers in their waterproof gear strolled towards the shore and fishmongers set up their oily, black fish smokers along the road, so visitors like us could have omul for lunch. But due to poaching violations and increasing pollution, the population of omul in the pond has dramatically dropped in the last few years. The harvest fell from 50,000 tons down to 10 -1 3,000. So, since October, authorities limited omul fishing to 5 kilos or about 11 pounds of fish per person–a crucial change for locals largely dependent on the Omul industry.

“Posledny,” or the last one, is the word you often hear around Baikal these days.” We have many concerns about Baikal getting sick: Omul vanishes, dozens of Baikal seals die, tons of Spirogyra algae rottings on the shore in summertime ,” Maria Moreva, a guide at Baikal Museum at Listvianka told The Daily Beast.

Spirogyra always existed in the lagoon but not in the disastrous volumes of the past two or three years. Expeditions organized by Irkutsk Limnological Institute in 2017 discovered pollute reeking heaps of dirty, dead algae rinsed by the waves onto the coast on the northern coast of Baikal.

But new hotels grow as mushrooms after the rainfall in Listvianka. Local families living near one new hotel said when they boiled water from their well it smelled strongly of ammonia.

” Chinese entrepreneurs arrive in large numbers and develop the hotel businesses, even on Alkhon Island. Authorities should oblige every hotel to construct and use sewage treatment plants ,” Moreva told The Daily Beast.

Meanwhile, the lagoon is ringing its alarm bell: In late October, 132 Baikal seals died and cleaned ashore, to be found by locals on the beach. Some seals were pregnant. It is still unclear what could have caused such a mass calamity- some scientists suggest that it was a natural process, that the seal population is too large, others insist that there is not enough food for seals in the pond. But nobody is denying that the lake is in danger.

Pollution of Baikal was a core issue at a recent session of Vladimir Putin’s supporters, All-Russia People’s Front, in the republic of Buryatia.” The scale of violations – worn down cleaning facilities, illegal dumps, cutting down trees just amazes ,” State Duma deputy Nikolai Buduyev said at the meeting, adding that all ships sailing in Baikal dump the waste into the lake. The participants agreed to work on a legislative project to stop violations. To watch the implementations of such legislation around the 395 -mile-long lake, the region would need an army of environmental groups for protection. But the number of independent activists is shrinking in Russia faster than the Omul.

” The worst peril is people’s unwillingness to self-organize, to form communities for protecting Baikal’s purity ,” Rikhvanova said. In Russia today, the newest peril is one of apathy.

Read more: www.thedailybeast.com

10 of the best hostels with pools around the world

For those who like to take a dip after a day of exploring( or a night partying ), here are some of the best hostels with their own swimming pools

Freehand Miami, US

Occupying the 1930 s art deco building of one of Miami Beachs historic hotels, the Freehand is one classy joint. Surrounded by deck chairs and giant green palm to shade you from the Florida sun, the pond was one of the elements that makes this such a laid-back place to stay. While the garden has plenty of lounging spots, inside you can relax, drink and dine in communal regions decked out with kitsch, funky decoration, vintage oddities and cosy furniture. The hostel has a full-service eatery with delicious fresh fish and shellfish on the menu, but the real treat is its James Beard Award semi-finalist cocktail bar, the Broken Shaker, where you can enjoy exotic liqueur, herb and syrup infusions thrown together by expert mixologists.
Dorm bed from 17 pn, thefreehand.com/ miami

Swanky Mint Hostel, Croatia

Swanky
Photograph: Petar Vucetic

Not merely swanky by name, this already hugely popular hostel in Zagreb upped its game this August when it became the first hostel in the Croatian capital to offer a swimming pool. Situated on the hostel terrace, the pond dedicates guests the chance to cool off from the heat of the city, attaining it that bit more tempting to expend an extra night before heading to the coast. That said, the rest of the hostel is pretty inviting, too; the building is a former textile dyeing mill, and offers a beautiful sunlight terrace with foliage climbing up its red-brick walls, as well as simply designed rooms and dormitories, plus functional but cool chipboard bunks. The hostel bar is a popular spot on the citys main street not just with backpackers with live music and DJ nights, as well as those all-important cheap cocktails.
Dorm bed from 16 pn,
swanky-hostel.com

Plus Hostel Berlin, Germany

Plus

As a place to remain for a lively weekend in the city, Plus Hostel Berlin the newest of the half dozen Plus Hostels couldnt be better. The hostel is set right behind Warschauer Strasse U-bahn, so its walking distance from the citys best clubs, as well as summer hangouts like Gorlitzer and Treptower parks. Its perfectly placed for those who want to roll out of bed and go to a party. Though the decor and rooms are pretty basic, Plus Hostel makes up for this with its sauna and impressive indoor pool, which is big enough to swim lengths of, should you wish to clear your head after a heavy night. Free yoga sessions every Thursday morning also help and the super-low prices even more so.
Dorm bed from 18 pn,
plushostels.com/ plusberlin

TOC Hostel Barcelona, Spain

TOCBarcelona

Even without the pool, TOC Barcelona would almost be swanky enough to pass as a budget boutique hotel. The suites for two are simple and snug, with small balconies to look out over the city from; the communal areas are decked out with contemporary furniture and those low-hanging industrial illuminates that are a staple of hip establishments. The hostel also has a lively bar and coffeehouse, as well as a kitchen which allows you cook your own food. The rooftop pool and terrace, however, are what attain the TOC special, with wooden decking and sun loungers to cool off on after a day exploring the cafes, stores and bars around La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter.
Dorm bed from 29 pn,
tochostels.com/ barcelona

Refill Now! Thailand

Refill

Its not the most reassuring name for a hostel with a swimming pool, but Bangkoks Refill Now! really is a tranquil place to stay. Its east of the city centre, a little further out than most backpackers select, but for those who want something quieter and better formed than the stacks of cheap beds around Khao San Road, this is a good place to start. The small pool is a cool feature in the four-storey hostels peaceful back garden, surrounded by tropical plants. The lobby area features more lush foliage and corners to hang out in, while on the top floor youll find the hostels massage parlor. The rooms are pretty sleek, too, particularly if you opt for a private loft.
Dorm bed from 8p n, refillnow.co.th

Sunset Destination Hostel, Portugal

Sunset

With opinions over the Tagus river and Lisbons Golden Gate Bridge, this stylish hostel is bang in the middle of the citys best clubbing neighborhood, Cais do Sodr, which is renowned for its pink-painted street and the overflowing bars that line it. The rooms in the hostel are well appointed, with wooden floors and pleasingly mismatched furniture, with custom-made bunks in the dorms and draperies for extra privacy. Still, guests will want to expend most of their day on the Sunset Terrace, with its pond overlooking the river, and the Zebra Bar, where people can sip cocktails from hammocks, smoke shisha and get a massage.
Dorms from 16 pn,
destinationhostels.com/ sunset-destination-hostel

The Backpack, South Africa

The

This Cape Town hostel has a host of awards under its belt, topping rankings for Africas best hostel for years on end most recently for its green policies and employee involvement. Its a big place, able to accommodate up to 100 people in rooms and dorms spread across four Victorian homes, courtyards and gardens. As for the pond, its surrounded by mosaic artwork and offers a stunning opinion of Table Mountain which you can also enjoy from the cafe each morning over breakfast.
Dorm bed from 13 pn,
backpackers.co.za

Bambuda Lodge, Panama

Bambuda
Photograph: Shane P White

Surrounded by rainforest and tropical fruit trees, the huge pond at Bambuda is actually less impressive than its waterfront locating. Just off the hostels dock is a coral reef, which guests can explore employing free borrowed snorkelling gear from the hostel, or by renting a canoe. If thats not enough to get you out of bed in the morning, then perhaps the 150 ft waterslide from the hostel bar into the ocean will do the trick.
Dorm bed from 12 pn,
bambuda.net

La Brisa Loca, Colombia

La

So, its not quite a pool to do durations of, but the water feature in La Brisa Locas beautiful internal courtyard with plants tumbling off the balconies is a great place for a paddle while you cool off with a brew and get to know some of your fellow traveller. The impressive 100 -year-old hostel building in Santa Marta, a former mansion, exudes colonial Caribbean charm, with high-ceilinged rooms and a stunning roof terrace, complete with rows of hammocks and views of the ocean and the city cathedral. Inside, the Rum Junkies bar has five happy hours a day to spice up the ambiance.
Dorm bed from 11 pn,
labrisaloca.com

Travellers Oasis, Australia

Travellers

Ranked among the top three hostels in Oceania, Travellers Oasis in Cairns is a sweet little backpacker home with an easygoing, homely atmosphere its not as much of a party hostel as many of the popular ones around the country are. As well as a relaxing pond side region, theres a shady kitchen area with hammocks and benches and its perfectly placed to investigate Cairns, or as a base for journeys to the Great Barrier Reef.
Dorm bed from 16 pn, travellersoasis.com.au

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra celebration

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to taste fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or drink( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitions, demonstrations and special menu. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country carnivals or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have risen beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

A
A costumed medieval dinner at the Sagra della Castagna. Photograph: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll find chestnuts roasting in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop township an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone epoch. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit tart in the contest for best historic dinner. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looks a lot like theyve sprung to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to eat, year-round
Get a savour of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to bide
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by wood at Podere Pontepietra ( doubles from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and views of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photograph: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colour or flavor, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the celebration in its honor now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 came last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, says Italy-based food novelist Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and rivalries sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna put it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to eat, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its open to customers from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to stay
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doublings from 95 B& B ), a pretty, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop township of SantAgata Feltria. Photo: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most well known of Italys truffle celebrations is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a festival as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent eateries scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy smell persists. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to feed, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities think black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek eatery that recently opened in town.

Where to stay
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doubleds from 60 B& B ), simply three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Given protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but get sharper as it ages, relies on kine grazing on Alpine grasslands. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menu( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern boundaries of Italy is how much the cheese and its preparations feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and writer of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is just a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to eat, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roasted lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to bide
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Visitors revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a fairly, whitewashed town halfway between Bari and Taranto, this festival celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcoming, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and washing it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the streets. On every alley theres something happening, says Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If someone asked me: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I merely have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to eat, year round
Between its star cook and lovely place in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to remain
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doubleds from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed homes unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a pony stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great sums, at the festival in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this festival in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, greeting about 300,000 guests. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the area since the middle ages. This festival in the fruits honor is Italys foremost, but its not only marrone youll discover here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheese, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused darknes chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to eat, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has procured a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to bide
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doublings from 70 B& B) is a running 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers amazingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to taste fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or beverage( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitions, demonstrations and special menus. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have soared beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

A
A costumed medieval banquet at the Sagra della Castagna. Photo: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll discover chestnuts roasting in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop town an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone era. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit tart in the contest for best historic banquet. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looking like theyve leap to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to eat, year-round
Get a savor of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to bide
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by forest at Podere Pontepietra ( doubles from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and views of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photo: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colour or flavor, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the festival in its accolade now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 came last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, says Italy-based food novelist Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and competitions sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna put it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to eat, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its is accessible to clients from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to remain
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doubles from 95 B& B ), a pretty, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria. Photo: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most famous of Italys truffle festivals is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a celebration as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent eateries scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy smell persists. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to feed, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities guess black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek restaurant that recently opened in town.

Where to stay
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doublings from 60 B& B ), only three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Devoted protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but get sharper as it ages, relies on kine grazing on Alpine grasslands. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menu( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern boundaries of Italy is how much the cheese and its preparations feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and author of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is just a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to eat, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roasted lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to stay
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Visitors revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a fairly, whitewashed township halfway between Bari and Taranto, this festival celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcome, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and washing it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the street. On every alley theres something happening, says Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If person asked a question: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I merely have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to eat, year round
Between its star chef and lovely locating in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to bide
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doubles from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed houses unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a horse stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great quantities, at the festival in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this festival in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, welcoming about 300,000 visitors. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the area since the middle ages. This celebration in the fruit honour is Italys foremost, but its not just marrone youll detect here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheeses, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused dark chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to feed, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has determined a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to bide
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doubleds from 70 B& B) is a working 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers amazingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

9 Quiet Travel Destinations That Are Anything But Boring

Such articles first appeared on QuietRev.com

When introverts want to get away, they want to genuinely get away. Youre unlikely to find them crammed on a bus with other tourists or playing drinking games by a cruise-ship pool. Good-time travel for introverts allows period and space for quiet reflection of the worlds many wonders.

With that in mind, we present to you a range of notions for introvert-friendly vacations. And remember that when cost is a consideration, period is everything: off-season traveling is less expensive. And, by the way, less crowded. Which is penalty with us.

Be a fl neur in France

The definition of the word flneur has evolved over time from male dandies who strolled the street to people who enjoy being quiet spectators of life swirling around them. To be a flneur is to enjoy the great theater of the street. Historian Anas Bazin once wrote that the only, the true monarch of Paris is the flneur. In other words, in Paris, flneurs rule! So settle into a sidewalk cafperhaps Caf de Deux Moulins in Montmartre, induced famous in the movie Amelie and let the world go on around you. For more information, check out the Paris tourist bureau.

Relinquish control on the Queen Mary 2

If your image of a cruise is a frenzy of fun and too much food, youre not entirely wrong. But thats only one kind of cruise. A transatlantic traverse on the Queen Mary 2 is something else entirely. There are few places that are as no place as halfway between the continents in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Look aroundbooks lie open but forgotten in laps; conversations have trailed off; people sit gazing at the great nothing surrounding the shiplulled, hypnotized, and stillness by the ocean and the empty horizon. Bliss.

Contemplate your place in the universe in Oregon

The Oregon coast is not the seashore of umbrella drinkings and limbo competitions. Its got a pensive vibe, with waves dramatically crashing on the rocks, sandy beaches that invite long thoughtful walks, and dense rich woodlands that march right up to the ocean. In high season, its popular with households, and Cannon Beach hosts a large and famous annual sandcastle rivalry. In the off-season, the coast is quieter, except when blizzards blow in from the Pacifica natural sight all the more delightful when youre cozied up in a room with a view.

Take a long view in Pontresina

With access to three of Switzerlands most well known ski resorts, the town of Pontresinanestled in a valley in the Bernina Range, one of the Alps rangesis skiers paradise. But as the snow gives route to green and wildflowers( except on the most towering peaks ), the skiers give way to hikersand Pontresina is no less inviting. Take a cable car or mountain railway up the mountain to lunch al fresco with magnificent opinions, then hike back down on impeccably groomed trails through pine-scented woods. With more than 350 miles of trails, youre unlikely to encounter crowds, but you will find benches with long valley opinions perfect for rest and reflection.

Enjoy the beach without the commotion on the British Virgin Islands

The US Virgin Islands are among the Caribbeans most visited; some days, St. Thomas is like a mall on Black Friday. But on the British Virgin Islands, a particular favorite of yachters, you wont have to fight for a space on tranquil beaches. Skip the bustling capital of Tortola, and opt instead to hobnob with yachters. Ensconce yourself in a luxurious villa or resort on Virgin Gorda. Enjoy the casual barefoot beachfront life at tiny Jost Van Dykea three-by-four mile island with fewer than 300 inhabitants and a cluster of smaller islands off its east endwhen you want to get away from your getaway. Or pack a snorkel or dive gear to fulfill the sea beasts who make their home in Horseshoe Reef, surrounding the island of Anegada.

Kick back with the children at the Grand Canyon

If you can stand a little a re we there yet ?, take the kids to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona, and show them unspoiled nature. Far more remote and less populous than the canyons South Rim( no tour buses !), the North Rim has an lodge. Its open May through October, so youll need to book a year in advance.( The rim may be visited after October, but services are limited. Once snow starts falling, the roads are shut .) Or reserve a campsite, and sleep amidst the Ponderosa pines. Along with soaking in views of astounding scale, you can explore the woods( look for black-and-white Kaibab squirrels, unique to the region ). Mule journeys and free ranger programs are available.

Get on the way, route back machine on the Galapagos Islands

Only small cruise ships ply the Galapagos Islands, and tour groups are limited to 20 people at a time, so the only crowds youll encounter here is likely to be blue-footed boobies, cormorants, iguanas, seals, and the finches that inspired Darwins theory of natural selection. The fearlessness of these protected beasts, which have never been hunted, adds to the sensation of entering a land untouched by hour. These volcanic islands are stark and scrubby but dense with biology, geology, and history. Tourism is threatening this sensitive ecosystem, so do visit, but do the world a favor, and choose a ship that has earned Smart Voyager certification.

Let your mind roll across the United States

If youve never driven across the United States, then you dont truly know how big it is. Go it alone, or grab a not-too-chatty friend and hit the freeways. A road-trip playlist is fun, but stillnes can be soothing. Open the window, and let your brain air out. And be sure to stop often to visit roadside attractions, to insure the major sites( Grand Canyonrequired viewing ), or simply to get out of the car and smell the soft moist south, the hot spicy tang of the desert, and the bracing piney air of the mountains. Flying is travelling, but a road trip-up is a journey.

Stroll it off in England

Base yourself amidst a historic collection of Tudor half-timbered homes in the pretty market town of Ludlow, England, which dates to 1086, when the Normans constructed its enforcing castle as part of a line of defenses against the Welsh. From there, put one across sturdy shoes to stroll the green and rolling countryside of Shropshire. Rural and sparsely populated, Shropshire has 3,500 miles of right-of-way( walking access on private property ), where you might encounter more sheep than people. Walk from village to village to the castle ruins over craggy rocks and across rolling pastureland.

Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com