Great Foodie Destinations 2016 – Sicily, Italy

Eats, Sicily, Italy, NatGeo

Sicily, Italy

Photograph by Peter Jordan, Alamy

Sicily is historically a culinary crossroads. Greeks brought olives and grapes, Arabs added sugarcane and spices, and the Spanish threw in tomatoes and chocolate. Thanks to beloved volcano Mount Etna, the island’s fertile soils have regularly produced a bounty of olives, pistachios, and fruits, while the surrounding seas are brimming with seafood.

The island is also a new frontier for Italian wines. Innovative young winemakers are taking advantage of Sicily’s reasonable property costs and rediscovering many of the island’s indigenous grape varietals like Nero d’Avola, Cattarratto, Nerello Mascalese, and Grillo.

What to Eat: Family-operated Pasticceria Palazzolo has operated in Palermo since 1920. It’s renowned for Sicilian specialty cassata, a sponge cake with layers of sheep’s milk ricotta, almond paste, and white icing topped with candied fruit. Also try Sicily’s many deep-fried delicacies—a legacy of Arab influence—like arancini, meat-filled rice balls, at I Cuochini in Palermo and crunchy cuttlefish, shrimp, and squid at La Tavernetta da Piero on the island of Ortigia in Syracuse.

What to Drink: Sip fragrant Marsala wine, which is traditionally served as an aperitif, in the city where it’s produced. Local bar La Sirena Ubriaca serves sweet, dry, and every variation in between alongside snacks like bruschetta topped with pistachio pesto, mulberry jam, or bottarga pâté made with cured fish roe.

Edible Souvenir: The west coast of Sicily is home to some of Europe’s oldest salt marshes. Trapani sea salt is unwashed, untreated, and hand processed using traditional salt pans and is said to retain a distinct flavor. Buy a bag of it at gourmet shop Bazar del Miele in the city of Trapani.

Food Experience: Visit one of Sicily’s up-and-coming winemakers. Stemmari in Sambuca offers guided tours in English Monday through Friday. The winery also offers guided tastings of their wines, like the native Sicilian Grillo or a rich Nero d’Avola. Schedule in advance by e-mail.

Cultural Tip: Sicilians take pranzo, the main midday meal, quite seriously. Stores often close from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. so employees can return home to eat.

Fun Fact: According to legend, the famous Sicilian dish of pasta con le sarde (bucatini pasta with sardines, fennel, pine nuts, and raisins) was first assembled in 827 when Admiral Euphemius of Messina returned from Tunisia.

Staff Tip: Whether you travel to Sicily by plane or boat—your two options—among the first things you’ll see when you arrive are vineyard-covered slopes and fields of fruit and olive trees: Wine and fresh produce are central to Sicilian life. In fact, Sicily now ranks as one of Italy’s top wine producers. Typical foods to try: Chicken Marsala at a restaurant in the town of Marsala; pasta with sea urchin; caponata, made with local eggplant and pine nuts; pasta with Trapanese pesto (basil mixed with Sicilian almonds); and hand-crafted chocolate from the southern town of Modica. To drink, it’s wine and more wine. Indigenous grape varietals to look for include Nero d’Avola, Zibibbo, Malvasia, Grecanico, Grillo, and Nerello. Keep an eye out for local labels such as Spadafora, Donnafugata, Planeta, Graci, and Occhipinti.

courtesy of:  http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/

 

New Museums in 2016 – Pompeii

Pompeii (Naples, Italy)
Now Open

Museum, Pompeii, SmithsonianJust in advance of the 2016 season, six restored sites at the famous Pompeii ruins are newly open to the public. The reopened remnants of the city were preserved after Mt. Vesuvius erupted in the year 79, killing up to 20,000 inhabitants and burying the city in volcanic ash. They include a fabric business, a thermal bathing area, a laundry house and a middle-class dwelling. The restored villas are part of the Grand Pompeii Project, a preservation effort at the site that’s tackling wear and tear from weather and time.

These six sites were closed to visitors for several years. Labor disputes, monetary problems and management issues had the area in a holding pattern, causing a lack of maintenance funds, the collapse of some buildings and restricted tourist access. Now they’re open again—and should make it onto any ancient history buff’s must-see list.

courtesy of:  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/

SAN DIEGO OCT, 2015 FUN EVENTS

Sept. 25 – Nov. 1, The Haunted Hotel   Spine tingling, heart pounding effects that are so real they will keep you screaming for your life as you try to find your way out. Time/Place: See website for schedule. / 424 Market, San Diego Contact: (619) 231-0131 / www.hauntedhotel.com

Sept. 25 – Nov. 1, The Haunted Trail   Enter the mile long Trail through the twisted grove of pines and gnarled oaks. Visitors watch your back! Time/Place: See website for schedule. / Balboa Park Contact: (619) 231-0131 / http://www.hauntedtrail.net

Sept. 25 – Nov. 1, The Scream Zone   A year-to-year favorite is the House of Horror, along with our newest attraction known as KarnEvil, and the Haunted Hayride. Time/Place: See website for schedule. / Del Mar Fairgrounds Contact: (858) 755-1161 / http://www.thescreamzone.com

Sept. 30 – Oct. 4, San Diego Film Festival  Independent films, filmmakers, actors, panels and parties. Produced by the nonprofit San Diego Film Foundation. Time/Place: See website for schedule. / Reading Cinemas, Gaslamp Quarter &  ArcLight Cinemas, La Jolla Contact: (619) 818-2221 / http://www.sdfilmfest.com

Oct. 1, An Outside Perspective: The Impossible Railroad  An Outside Perspective invites visitors to explore issues emerging from the exhibitions on view. Learn about the history of the rail industry in San Diego and its relationship to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. / Time: 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM / Price: Members – Free  |  Students and seniors – $8  |  Nonmembers – $10 / Location: 1001 Kettner Blvd at Broadway, SD, CA 92101 / For more info.: visit www.mcasd.org

Oct. 2 – 31, Boomont Park Fall Festival and Haunt  Boomont Park is back with even more family-friendly Halloween festivities and fun during this month-long event! / Time: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM / Price: Entry to Festival – Free Rides and Some Activities / Location: 3146 Mission Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109 / For more info. call 858.228.9283 or visit www.belmontpark.com

Oct. 2 – 3, La Mesa Oktoberfest  A tradition for our community is the annual Oktoberfest. This activity brings visitors and vendors from all over the region to La Mesa for a weekend dedicated to family, friends, great food and entertainment. / Time: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM / Price: Free / Location: Spring Street and La Mesa Boulevard / For more info.: visit www.lmvma.com

Oct. 2 – 4, MCAS Miramar Air Show  Welcome to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, home of the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing and the largest military air show in the nation. The theme for the 2015 MCAS Miramar Air Show, which runs October 2-4 2015 is “A Salute to Veterans and Their Families.” We take great pride in the men and women who fight our country’s battles and the families who support them. / Time: see website / Price: Free, preferred seating – $30-$300 / Location: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar / For more info. visit www.miramarairshow.com

Oct. 2 – 25, Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns  Lighting up the night this October at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido is the most unique and iconic family-friendly fall event, RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns! See more than 5,000 hand-carved illuminated Jack O’ Lanterns created by professional artists and sculptors arranged in creative ways along a 1/3-mile scenic walking trail all set to an original music score produced exclusively for The RISE! / Time: call or visit website / Price: $22-$30 / Location: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd. Escondido / For more info.: visit www.TheRise.org

Oct. 2 – 11, Oktoberfest in El Cajon  Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage and a variety of German pastries. We offer a great selection of German beers and liquors, and soft drinks and water, to enjoy with your friends and family! / Time: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM / Price: Adults – $5, Under 21 & Active Military – Free / Location: 1017 South Mollison Avenue, El Cajon / For more info. call 619-442-6637 or  www.oktoberfestelcajon.com

Oct. 3, Pacific BeachFest  Visitors and residents of San Diego are welcome to “Discover the Action” this year at the annual Pacific BeachFest. This one-day event is perfect for visitors looking to enjoy all that San Diego beaches have to offer. / Time: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM / Price: Free / Location: Pacific Beach Boardwalk between Diamond Street and Thomas Street, San Diego, CA 92109 / For more info.: call 858.273.3303 or visit www.pacificbeachfest.org

Oct. 3, Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals  The 19th annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals kicks off in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. The top sixteen dogs from the qualifying round will advance to the San Diego final at the Del Mar Race Track. The top dogs from San Diego will advance to the championship at the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Balloon Parade. / Time: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM / Price: $10 for participating dachshunds. Free for humans and non-racing dogs. / Location:  Qualcomm Stadium Rugby Fields / For more info. call 619.283.5808 or visit sandiegobowlgames.com/wiener-dog-races

Oct. 3, Carlsbad Oktoberfest  Be a part of this Carlsbad premier tradition with several hundred of your closest friends, family and neighbors for a day of great food, awesome music, and festive fun. / Time: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM / Price: Children – Free / Adult In Advance – $12 / Adult Day of – $15 / Location: Chestnut Avenue and Pio Pico Drive, Carlsbad / For more info.: visit www.rotaryoktoberfest.org

Oct. 3, Planting Hope Gala   Cocktail reception, three-course dinner, live music, inspiring stories of restoration, and an opportunity to support the life-changing work of Plant With Purpose. Time/Place: 5:30pm / Omni La Costa Resort & Spa: 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad   Contact: (800) 633-5319 / http://www.plantwithpurpose.org/gala/

Oct. 3 – 30, LegoLand Brick-or-Treat Party Nights  Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is back and better than ever! It’s a one-of-a-kind party every Saturday Night in October, PLUS Friday, October 30 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. / Time: 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM / Price: $70-$90 Evening Only – $35-$45 / Location: One LEGOLAND Dr., Carlsbad, CA 92008 / For more info. visit california.legoland.com/BOT

Oct. 5, San Diego Music Awards   Presents awards recognizing many different genres of music. Time/Place: 7pm / Humphreys Concerts by the Bay: 2241 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego Contact: www.sandiegomusicawards.com

Oct. 7-18, Del Mar International Horse Show   The world-class competition attracts an elite field of internationally recognized horses and riders. Time/Place: See website for schedule. / Del Mar Fairgrounds   Contact: (858) 755-1161 / http://www.delmarfairgrounds.com

Oct. 9 – 11, Without Walls Festival 2015  This year’s event boasts numerous collaborations with renowned San Diego theatre and dance companies, along with several national and international artists. / Date:  2015 / Time: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM / Price: visit website / Location: 2910 La Jolla Village Dr., La Jolla, CA 92037 / For more info.: Call 858.550.1075 visit lajollaplayhouse.org/wowfestival

Oct. 10, Julian Cider Run  BBQ lunch, cider samples, apple pie, music & games at a private home with a beautiful view in Julian. All motorcycles & other forms of transportation welcome.   Time/Place: 9:30am / Address given upon RSVP Contact: (619) 296-2135 / http://www.aseltine.org

Oct. 10, Fall Festival for Families   A great chance to get your kids outdoors to discover their environment, enjoy nature and share art and music. Time/Place: 10am-3pm / Alta Vista Gardens: 1270 Vale Terrace, Vista Contact: http://www.avbg.org

Oct. 10, Carnival 4 Canines & Friends   A community event for the whole family with the focus on responsible pet ownership. Time/Place: 10am-2pm / Lake Jennings Park: 9535 Harritt Rd. Contact: http://www.facebook.com/carnival4canines

Oct. 10 – 11, Cardiff Surf Classic & Green Fair  Grassroots community event that pays homage to our Earth. Time/Place: 9am-5pm / Cardiff Reed Contact: (760) 436-0431 / http://www.cardiffsurfclassic.com

Oct.10 – 11, La Jolla Art & Wine Festival  The 2015 La Jolla Art & Wine Festival returns to La Jolla for its seventh annual season on October 10th and 11th in the heart of the village, on Girard Ave. / Time: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Sunday until 6:00 PM / Price: Free / Location: Girard Ave. and Prospect St., La Jolla, CA 92037 / For more info.: Call 858.228.6542 visit www.ljawf.com

Oct.10, Old Town’s Fall Festival  Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is kicking off the fall season October 10 with its annual Fall Festival. The museums and merchants in the state park will host family-friendly games, activities and entertainment reminiscent of an old-fashioned harvest celebration. / Time: 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM / Price: Free / Location: Old Town San Diego State Historic Park / For more info. visit www.parks.ca.gov/oldtownsandiego

Oct. 11, Little Italy FESTA!  Now, the Little Italy Festa is the largest Italian American festival on the West Coast. Hip and Historic Little Italy welcomes over 120,000 attendees with the tantalizing sights, sounds and aromas of Italian culture. / Time: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM / Price: Free / Location: 2210 Columbia St., San Diego, CA 92101 / For more info.: visit www.littleitalysd.com

Oct 13 – 24, San Diego Italian Film Festival  The ninth annual San Diego Italian Film Festival showcases the best of new Italian film and culture with a series of premieres ranging from engaging dramas and entertaining comedies to documentaries telling unique stories. / Time: visit website / Price: Starting at $8 / Location: 1649 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 / For more info. visit www.sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com

Oct. 17, Walk to End Alzheimer’s   There is no cost to walk, however we highly encourage you to join/start a team and fundraise to help find a cure. Time/Place: 6:30am / Balboa Park Contact: (858) 966-3319 / www.act.alz.org

 Oct.18, Safari Park’s Oktoberfest Celebration  Enjoy a delicious and bountiful dinner buffet to celebrate Oktoberfest at the Safari Park. There will be live music and a convenient cash bar. Families are welcome! / Time: 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM / Price: Members: Adult – $44.95 Children – $18.95 Nonmembers: Adult – $57.95 Children – $31.95 / Location: 15500 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido / For more info.: Call 619.718.3000 or visit sdzsafaripark.org/dining-events

Oct. 22, 3rd Annual Whiskey & Wine BBQ  We are excited to celebrate our very own hand-selected Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Whiskey and our wonderful partner Trinitas Cellars with our 3rd Annual Whiskey & Wine BBQ. / Time: 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM / Price: Tickets start at $80 per person / Location: 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037 / For more info. Call 844.806.2529 or visit estancialajolla.com

Oct. 24, Out Of The Darkness Community Walk   Benefits local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Time/Place: 8:30am / NTC Park at Liberty Station / Contact: http://afsp.donordrive.com

Oct. 30, The Orange & Black Ball   A masquerade gala to raise awareness and funds that benefit the museum’s art education and outreach programs. Time/Place: 6pm-12am / Balboa Park: Timken Museum / Contact: (619) 239-5548 / http://www.timkenmuseum.org

Oct. 31, Monster Bash   San Diego’s biggest Halloween Block Party returns transforming over eight city blocks into the largest Halloween event in California. Time/Place: 6pm / Gaslamp Quarter & East Village / Contact: (619) 233-5008 / www.SanDiegoMonsterBash.com

Oct. 30, Hallo-wine and Spirits® Party  Celebrate Halloween at San Diego’s famous haunted hotel on Friday, October 30. Don your best costume and join us for the 6th annual, adults-only, “Hallo-wine and Spirits” Party full of spooky surroundings, great eats, delicious wines and dancing until you drop! / Time: 7:00 PM to 11:45 PM / Price: visit website / Location: 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado, CA 92118 / For more info.: visit hoteldel.com/events/hallowine

Oct. 25 – Dec. 31, Monsters!  Find out what’s hiding under the bed! See beasts familiar and strange, real and imagined, kind-hearted and troublesome, from across the span of human history and culture! You’ll learn where they come from, what they look like, how they behave, and how to defeat them! / Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM / Price: Included with Admission / Location: 1350 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 / For more info. Call 619.239.2001 or visit www.museumofman.org/monsters

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courtesy of:  

IVAN SOLIS, JR.  / Title365 / Ivan.Solis@Title365.com  / (619) 804-9000

FIRST AMERICAN TITLE / sandiegocs@firstam.com / (619) 742-0193

World Famous FREE Museums Around The Globe! (Vatican City)

Vatican City Museums

Vatican City Museums - on the last Sunday of every month, free entrance from 9 am to 12.30 pm

Rome, Italy – on the last Sunday of every month, free entrance from 9 am to 12.30 pm

courtesy of:  http://www.pinterest.com/ottsworld/free-museums-around-the-globe/