Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · food and wine itineraries · Friends and Family Travel · gastronomia · intercity transit · Italy · Sustainable Communities · Tradition · Travel · travel plan · Wine Trails

Food Culture and the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is a compendium of the eating habits traditionally followed by those that live in this part of the world. So, let’s see what it consists of and its beneficial effects on its practitioners.

The eating habits of the 16 nations along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea vary depending on culture, ethnic traditions and religion. There are, however, some characteristics that are common to all:

High consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, bread and cereals

Use of olive oil to cook and as a condiment

Moderate quantities of fish, little meat

Small/moderate quantities of rich cheese and whole yogurt

Moderate wine consumption, usually with meals

Use of local, seasonal and fresh products 

An active lifestyle

The Ingredients of the Mediterranean Diet

Olive Oil is especially important as an alternative to butter, margarine and other fats. It is a valuable source of mono-unsaturated fats that protect against heart disease, as well as a source of antioxidants such as Vitamin E. It is used to prepare vegetables, tomato sauce, salads and to fried fish.

History the Phoenicians planted the first olive trees around the XVI century BC, first on the island of Cyprus then in Asia Minor. Its greatest success was achieved in Greece where the myth was that the goddess Athena, in competition with the other gods, was declared the winner of a contest by Zeus by creating the olive tree. Historians have determined that the first olive tree “Plato’s Olive Tree” was planted near Athens some 2500 years ago.

The species was prevalent in Italy since the days of the Roman Republic, especially in the southern part of the country. Today, it is cultivated everywhere in the country with many DOP and IGP denominations. As one of the pillars of the Mediterranean Diet, extra-virgin olive oil is present in virtually all food recipes. Among its benefits is the lack of physical and chemical manipulations as it is simply extracted by pressing the olives.

the only oil produced by a fruit as opposed to a seed

Olive oil should be the only fat in cooking as it is the only one that is not subject to degrading when exposed to heat. Culturally speaking, olive oil represents the Southern crudeness as opposed to butter cooked foods prevalent in Northern foods.

Therapeutic Aspects the “liquid gold” referred to by Homer has over time had a therapeutic function as well; it reduces the impact of heat while at the same time acting as a blood “cleanser”. It is both a nutrient and a medicine. Dishes containing olive oil are easier to digest, with an excellent gastric and intestinal tolerance as well as a protecting effect on the arteries, stomach and liver.

Fruits and Vegetables a high consumption of fruits and vegetables leads to protective action to prevent cancer and heart disease, probably because of the antioxidants present in these food items. This is especially true of tomatoes, an important source of antioxidants particularly when heated to make a tomato sauce.

Fish such as sardines with its omega 3 polyunsaturated fats have a healthy fat content. Fish consumption is also important for its anti-inflammatory properties in preventing heart disease and regulating blood circulation.

Wine first a clarification: there is no such thing as biological wine, only biological grapes. By its very nature, wine is the opposite of an industrial product that never varies; grapes vary from area to area depending on climactic conditions. They also evolve, mature and decline over time. In all Mediterranean countries wine is consumed in moderation, usually with meals. For men this implies two glasses a day and one for women.Red wine in particular contains a number of vegetable composts with beneficial properties. Also, powerful antioxidants such as poly phenols protect against oxidation.

Legumes during the middle ages, all of Europe risked high mortality rates due to a series of epidemics. Unable to procure high protein foods such as meat, the poorer classes were especially malnourished.Legumes were introduced only from the 10th Century, thereby making a gradual contribution to the welfare of the population, increasing resistance to disease and aiding in the re population of the continent. Later, with the discovery of the Americas and the importation of agricultural products, beans emerged as a basic staple without which the population could not have doubled insize in just a few centuries. They may be consumed fresh or dry, with the former having a higher water content (60-90% versus 10-13%) hence, given the same weight, a lower caloric, protein and glycine content. 


legumes are richest in protein, and protein quality, among all vegetables

In Italy, beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans are the most common staples. Some are canned and are therefore available off season and in areas where they are not cultivated. Both fresh and dry, they are a key component of Italian cuisine in general and the “cucina povera” in particular. Studies confirm a high energy content, a high vitamin B content, as well as iron and calcium. The protein value is 6-7% in fresh and 20-25% in dry legumes.

Especially in dry form, legume seeds contain a respectable quantity of phosphorus, calcium and iron. They should be cooked at length as they contain anti-digestive elements in its crude form. The heat from cooking eliminates these negative characteristics. Dry legumes should be left over night in water before cooking. Lentils do not require this treatment.

Beans have been known since antiquity. Originally from the Americas, they have been found in pre-Inca Peru and were also a favorite with the Romans; known as the “poor man’s meat”, there are over 300 varieties of beans; of these, 60 are edible. There are red, black, multicolor, small, large, round and flat ones. They range from the Mexican bean (small, black and round) to the Spanish one (large, white and flat). Given the large qualities available, beans are cooked in a variety of ways (soups, minestrone, salads and condiments). They are digested slowly and are rather filling.

Lentils were among the first foods to be cultivated and consumed by man; traces have been found in Turkey in ruins dating back to 5500 BC as well as in Egyptian tombs from 2500 BC There are large seeds (6-9 mm), yellow or green, cultivated mostly in the Americas, and a smaller variety (2-6 mm), orange, red or brown in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and India. They are cooked as soup and as a side dish to meat and other dishes. It is a well-wisher during the New Year’s celebrations all over the world.

Peas along with lentils, peas are the legumes of which we have the most information from antiquity. Probably originating in Asia, they may date back to the stone-age. Modern techniques allow for availability year-round, canned or frozen, fresh or dry.

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs with Pay-per-Use

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Chick-Peas originally from the Orient, the name derives from the Latin word “aries” which refers to the shape of the seed. A major staple in the Middle East and in India, they are cooked with pasta, as soup and as a side dish.

Fava Beans this ancient plant, originating from Persia and Northern Africa, may have been known in the bronze and iron ages. Possibly the first legume to be consumed by humans as they do not require cooking. In some parts of Southern Italy, they are eaten as a fruit or in dry form with pasta or greens. Heavy consumption of fresh fava beans may cause anemia in genetically predisposed populations in the Mediterranean basin.

Truffles the black truffle has found a perfect habitat in the beech woods in harmony with oak, birch and hazel trees as well as black pine. It can be found in different areas of central and southern Italy. It has had its place for nearly two thousand years in the more culturally sophisticated cuisine, and is appreciated for its unique aroma. Found in sizes approaching that of a grapefruit, it acts as an environmental guard as it refuses to grow in polluted terrain.Composed of water, fibers and minerals its function is uniquely “aromatic” in this type of cuisine; the small quantities utilized contain limited nutritional value. Nevertheless, it has its place in a variety of preparations associated with appetizers, first and second dishes especially if accompanied by olive oil.

Pasta the Romans where among the first to mention lagane (from which lasagne derive). Previously, Horatio and Cicero consumed this light pasta made with flour and water. However, there is no further historical data on pasta from 200 AD. It is believed that maccheroni originated in Sicily. The term is from the Greek “macar” which means happy or food of the blessed ones. Pasta was seasoned with sugar and honey besides cheese and butter. The first recipe with tomatoes dates from the year 1839. And the first apparition of the word spaghetti appears in a Neapolitan cook book from 1824.

Bread the history of bread begins with that of man with barley and millet the preferred ingredients as they were ideal from a nutritional standpoint; they were eventually replaced by cereal. The invention of bread can be attributed to the Egyptians nearly 3000 years ago. They also developed the first ovens and, it is believed that the workers of the pyramids were paid in bread. Thereafter the Greeks developed at least 72 varieties of bread whereas the Romans improved on certain technical features such as windmills. There were at least 400 ovens in Imperial Rome with the first public oven dating back to 168 BC. Only with the start of the 20th Century bread production reaches an industrial scale.

Mozzarella the domestic water buffalo originates from India and was also found in Persia, brought over by migrant workers or armies. Later, Islamic soldiers brought it to Syria and Egypt. It arrived in Italy in the year 596 during the reign of the Longobard king Aginulfo. It thrives in warm, swampy areas rich in water such as the Nile Delta. In Europe it has found fertile ground in Puglia, Campania and the low lands along the Danube River.Mozzarella was offered and received with great pleasure by the nobility passing through while on the Grand Tour to Pompeii and Paestum. The word mozzarella comes from “mozzata” or cutting. The denomination “Mozzarella di Bufala” was nationally recognized in 1993 with a D.O.C. label and a D.O.P. label at the Europe level in 1996.

Connect for an Italian Food and Culture Experience

accountability · Build Operate Transfer · Business · Circular Economy · Commerce · destination management · Energy Savings Plan · entrepreneurs · Historic District · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Logistics · Mobility · Partnerships · pay-per-use · Resilience · responsibility · shared economy · Tradition · travel plan

Collaborations and Partnerships in the Pay-per-Use Economy

Consumers, Manufacturers and Businesses in the Servitization Economy

Consumers increasingly prefer usership to ownership by utilizing pay-per-use and other on-demand services, as scalable and resilient value-driven outcomes such as pay-per-mile become available.

The Traditional make, use and dispose economy is supplanted by a circular one in which resources have a longer useful life, with product and materials recovery at the end of service life. End to end providers will be replaced by multiple product and service offerors with unique expertise in the provision of customer-centric rather than asset-centric services.

Small Businesses, especially those with clients located in rural and smaller urban communities, can increase their capabilities with environmentally viable offerings by entering into collaborations and partnerships in a multi-sector ecosystem as new companies enter the marketplace to target these opportunities via data democratization and new organizational models.

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs with Pay-per-Use

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Communities that rely on connections and collaborations within and among regions will have access to technologies to transition from a sale to a service culture that features pay-per-use and pay-by-outcome models such as pay-per-mile and power-by-the-hour, creating locally owned enterprises and achieving economies of scale pricing in areas ranging from travel service and destination management, to local and intercity mobility programs connecting large cities with micropolitan areas, and innovative energy savings, water conservation and building automation systems solutions for buildings typically found on main street and in historic districts. Technology tasks include data sources integration, micro payments, flexible billing and cost-effective self-service customer and partner interfaces.

Linking Manufacturing and Services

Circular and Shared Economies create new value as pay per use models and outcome payments change the points of reference of projects and transactions as manufacturers repair and upgrade their products with modular designs; asset management and optimum maintenance become major capabilities. Equipment re-use, remanufacturing and redeployment as well as asset harvesting allow manufacturers to offer life cycle management services.

a collaborative system that delivers seamless customer experiences

Build Operate Transfer · Conservation · Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · Friends and Family Travel · Historic District · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Resilience · Sustainable Communities · Tradition · Travel · travel plan

The Italian Borgo Historic District Concept

economic development virtual hotel towns and albergo diffuso travel accommodations

An Economic Development model designed to offer quality stays that do not impinge on the local lifestyle while promoting year-round resilient growth that favors restructuring, preservation and local resources.

Virtual Hotel Towns address the demand for sustainable, quality tourism in urban and rural areas by focusing on the interaction between visitors and locals as well as developing and promoting a community’s historic preservation efforts, traditions, values and architecture.

US Main Streets and Historic Districts Itineraries

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Albergo Diffuso is an innovative concept designed to revive small historic Italian communities by converting historic buildings into a virtual hotel village. Points of reference include:

Main Street Properties are managed by owners who also provide hospitality services

Travel Accommodations are derived from converted buildings in historic districts

A Central Reception provides Travel Related Services, including food and communications services.

Communities with Guest and Host Interactions that highlight Local Lifestyles

Local Businesses capable of managing incoming travel services benefit from a centralized marketing and sales program. Resources generated from inbound travel transactions are made available to Museums, Theaters and others on Main Street and in Historic Districts.

Local Projects integrate architecture with digital media and engage visitors through interaction with local citizens. Water resources and energy efficiency projects are also community attractors as domestic and international business and government visitors will come to study, learn and acquire knowledge and expertise in these fields.

Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · food and wine itineraries · Friends and Family Travel · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Italy · Tradition · travel plan · Wine Trails

Amalfi Coast Food and Travel

Terra Furoris, Land of Furor, is the ancient name of this community in the hills above the Amalfi Coast; it symbolizes the fury of the sea inside its fjord. This area produces pomodorini and a vine with a terroir – Costa d´Amalfi Doc – unique in Europe.

Furore’s Vineyards produce high quality reds and whites, appreciated around the world, including in a cantina built into the rocks and others that extend for just a few hectares, given the characteristics of this territory, fruit of the local labor and its talents, cultivated in pockets of land carved from mountains, rocks and the sea. 

Furore is one of Italy’s most beautiful borgos

The Cuisine here is representative of the landscape’s variety:

Pasta in the Costiera includes ‘ndunderi, a large-gnocchi with ricotta, semola and spices, recognized by Unesco and made with spelt flour; it traces its origins from Roman times.

Colatura di Alici di Cetara, evolved from the Roman garum, is a local sauce, typical of this area, resulting from the natural process of preserving anchovies.

Dairy Specialties such as ricotta, fior di latte, provola and caciocavalli are still produced by several artisan shops in the nearby town of Tramonti.

Sfusato Amalfitano a Lemon utilized in making Limoncello

Local Culinary Traditions can be experienced with the catch of the day, combined with vegetables and Mediterranean macchia herbs producing dishes such as swordfish cooked in lemon leaves, parmigiana with anchovies, tuna in a genovese sauce, squid and potatoes, the latter especially popular with the local farmer-fishermen and their very large families.

A Cuisine that captures and blends scents from land and sea: migliaccio, minestra maritata and caponata are among the dishes typically found at local restaurants.

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Monasteries Monks and Nuns have experimented and contributed to all this with a judicious use of lemons, fennel, laurel, nuts and wild strawberries, creating sweets and preserves, the Santa Rosa cake, bocconotto, melanzane with chocolate and even the famed caprese.

Pizza is another local tradition, exported by the over three thousand Tramonti pizzaioli who have traveled all over the world.

Food and Travel on the Amalfi Coast

Atlantic Coast · canals · Conservation · Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · food and wine itineraries · Friends and Family Travel · Historic Towns · intercity transit · museums · Tradition · travel plan · waterways · Wine Trails

Mid-Atlantic Rivers Canals and Trails

in the Hudson Delaware and Susquehanna Valleys

The Hudson Valley extends 150 miles above the tip of Manhattan. Designated as a National Heritage Area, the valley is steeped in history, natural beauty, culture, food and farmers’ markets. The first Dutch settlement was established at Fort Nassau, a trading post south of present-day Albany, in the early 17th century, with the purpose of exchanging European goods for beaver pelts. During the French and Indian War in the 1750s, the northern end of the valley became the bulwark of the British defense against French invasion from Canada via Lake Champlain.The valley also became one of the major regions of conflict during the American Revolution.

Dutchess County is 800 square miles of natural scenic beauty, historic and cultural landmarks, and outdoor recreation. Stroll the Walkway Over the Hudson. Tour and taste along the Dutchess Wine Trail. Explore the homes of FDR and Vanderbilt. Taste new creations at The Culinary Institute of America. Fill the pantry at farm markets. Cruise the Hudson River. 

Rockland County is located just 30 miles north of New York City and is known for its quaint villages, spectacular river views and outdoor recreation with 32,000 acres of parklands dotted with sparkling lakes and streams rushing down to the Hudson. Miles marked trails lead right to the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains. 

Coal Iron Steel and Canals of the Delaware and Lehigh Valleys

The Delaware and Lehigh five county region of Northeastern Pennsylvania developed in the late 18thCentury as a result of the anthracite mines, the iron and steel industries, and the canals that were built to reach Philadelphia and other markets. 

165 miles of nature history preservation recreation and education

From its origins as a means to transport anthracite coal from the mines of Luzerne and Carbon County to the markets in the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, the D&L Trail is now a multi-use trail originating from the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania through the rivers and communities of the Lehigh Valley and Bucks County. 

Philadelphia the Brandywine Valley and Wilmington Delaware

In Philadelphia, the waterfront is now a walking and biking destination which covers 6 miles. Trail features include streetscape improvements along the entire waterfront trail, a bi-directional bikeway, pedestrian walkway and rain gardens that will collect the first inch of storm water, relieving the city sewer system during major weather events, as well as benches and bike racks, decorative street pavers, and innovative solar trail lighting.

The Christina Riverfront is one of many reasons for exploring the Delaware culture trail; cruise in a water taxi or stroll the landscaped Riverwalk. Wilmington was the last stop to freedom on the Underground Railroad; the Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park is named for Underground Railroad Conductor Harriett Tubman and Stationmaster Thomas Garrett.

Brandywine Creek is a tributary of the Christina River in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. The 20.4-mile Lower Brandywine is a designated Pennsylvania Scenic River with several tributary streams.

Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River Valley

The Susquehanna River is 464 miles (747 km) long and is the longest river on the US East Coast. With its watershed, it is the 16th-largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the continental United States without commercial boat traffic today. In the Canal Era, navigation improvements were made to enhance the river for barge shipping of bulk goods by water on the Pennsylvania Canal.

Harrisburg, the Capital of Pennsylvania, was inhabited by Native Americans as early as 3000 BC. Known as Peixtin, the area was an important trading post for Native American traders, as trails leading from the Delaware to the Ohio Rivers, and from the Potomac to the Upper Susquehanna intersected there.

An Architectural and Heritage Itinerary

Downtown Lancaster offers a unique experience with historic buildings of different architectural styles and periods and three centuries of civic, commercial, religious, social and architectural history. A leisurely walk can be accomplished in less than an hour. 

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · Friends and Family Travel · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Italy · Tradition · travel plan

Traditions and Folklore in Rome and Lazio

Capena Viterbo Marta Oriolo Romano Gradoli Latina Frosinone

Rome on August 5 it snows in the eternal city. Rose petals fall on the congregation in the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica. This event is a re-enactment of the snowfall that took place on the Esquilino hill on this day in 352, when the Virgin Mary indicated to Pope Liberio the location where the church should be built.

Capena before dawn, every January 13, a large oak log is lit. As flames ember, all the citizens light up a cigarette; this very ancient tradition ends with a benediction of the animals and a parade of local horses dressed in vivacious colors

Viterbo celebrates Santa Rosa on September 4 with a procession led by a very large statue of the saint placed on an elaborate cart; the first one dates-back to 1663. 

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Italy Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Marta on May 14, a procession of the Chiesa della Santissima del Monte: a wooden stand is carried by four persons holding an image of the Madonna adorned with fruits and flowers followed by the clergy and citizenry parading in groups representative of their trades.

Oriolo Romano a unique celebration takes place on August 15 – Ferragosto; a long procession accompanies the statue of the Virgin Mary of the Star along the streets of this XVI Century medieval borgo, built as an ideal town by the Church, an early example of a planned community!

The Venue for a Rodeo by the Butteri of Maremma, the Cowboys of Southern Tuscany

Gradoli on Fat Tuesday, members of the Purgatory Fraternity, wearing black hoods, parade through the town’s streets led by banners and drums, knocking on doors to collect food for the Dinner in Purgatory eaten on Ash Wednesday.

Latina Tuesday is market day: bancarelle with new and used clothes, home furnishings, fruits and vegetables. Best day to visit is the first Tuesday of the month when, it is claimed, new and fresh stuff arrives! 

Frosinone a feast known as Radeca may have pre-Christian origins. Frosinone is a very old town and this event may have its roots in pagan fertility and procreation rituals. The long radeca leaf represents the agave, the ancient symbol of fertility. The event takes place on July 26 to celebrate an insurrection against the Roman Republic and the French army that protected it.

Cultural Heritage · cultural itineraries · destination management · food and wine itineraries · Friends and Family Travel · Historic Towns · intercity transit · Italy · Lakes · museums · Tradition · Travel · travel plan · Wine Trails

Italian Itineraries

Italy Travel Destinations Personalized to meet Your Specific Interests

Travel Programs for friends and family, schools and theme groups with educational workshops, food and wine itineraries and visits to museums, medieval villages, nature parks and archaeological sites.

Abruzzo is on the Adriatic Coast, east of Rome. It is home to national parks, hilltop medieval and Renaissance towns and numerous nature reserves. The Apennine mountain chain forms much of its interior while the coastal plain has sandy beaches and dunes.

Puglia borders the Adriatic Sea in the east, the Ionian Sea to the southeast, and the Strait of Otranto and Gulf of Taranto in the south. Its southernmost portion, the Salento peninsula, forms a high heel on the boot of Italy. 

Campania is famed for its ancient ruins, coastal resorts and culinary traditions. A cultural and national capital for much of its nearly three-millennia history, Naples is home to art museums, the San Carlo opera house and a spectacular bay framed by Mt. Vesuvius, affectionately and fearfully referred to by the local inhabitants as The Monster

Lazio the Roman countryside is a vast alluvial plain surrounding the city of Rome while the south is characterized by flatlands. The Apennines of Latium are marked by the Tiber River valley and three mountains of volcanic origin whose craters are occupied by Lakes Bolsena, Vico and Bracciano. South of the Tiber, the Alban Hills, are of volcanic origin. 

Reduce Transit Times and Travel Costs on Your Next Italy Trip

Travel Plans     Intercity & Local Transport

Marche is slowly being discovered as the new Italian frontier; an abridged expression of the varied charms of Italy with a variety of seasonal and year-round attractions: authentic food, breathtaking landscapes, a lively cultural landscape, artistic and natural treasures.

Veneto If your idea of travel includes admiring, without being rushed and in total tranquility, masterpieces by Giorgione, Lotto, Palladio and Canova or spending a carefree day in the vineyards of Asolo and a Prosecco winery,  or experiencing a unique and high quality cuisine in the company of gracious hosts, then welcome to the Veneto region of Italy. 

The Cultural and Culinary Traditions of Emilia Romagna

Emilia arts and gastronomy in Ferrara and Modena. Weekly Courses, available year-round, designed to acquaint you and expand your knowledge of the arts, culture and cuisine of Ferrara and the Emilia Romagna region. The Cooking Classes take place in Ferrara restaurants, the balsamic vinegar program in Modena and the Fresco art course at the Belriguardo Museum. 

Your Italy Travel Plan