Friday, 17 March 2017 00:00

Made in the Sicilian town of Modica

Modica GabrieleGiuffrida1
Made in the Sicilian town of Modica, this Aztec-inspired chocolate is one of the world’s best-kept secrets.
One hot day in May, I opened the door of a tiny Sicilian café and found a lone elderly woman sitting in the dark. Not realising the café was closed, I told her – in poor Italian – of my quest to find a special type of chocolate that’s unique to the island.

read more...

Our tour
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/sicilian-wine-and-culinary-tour
fountainitaly
Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, but now wine lovers have an even better excuse to hop over on a plane.

A vineyard in Abruzzo, just east of Rome, has opened a wine fountain that emits rivulets of red wine. 

Yes, that’s right, an actual wine fountain.

The ‘Fontana Del Vino’ has been dreamed up by Dora Sarchese Vini, a picturesque vineyard along the popular Cammino di San Tommaso hiking route.

read more...

Our tour
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/abruzzo-the-green-lung-of-italy
Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00

Mount Etna: Facts About Volcano's

etna
Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and one of the world's most frequently erupting volcanoes. It is also the volcano with the longest record of continuous eruption. Mount Etna also made an appearance in a "Star Wars" movie...

read more...

our tours

From palermo to etna the earth of sicily

Discovery etna and aeolian islands

Responsible trip in sicily

Volcanic photo tour

Ski touring and free ride on etna
Friday, 10 March 2017 00:00

Europe’s Loveliest Alpine Towns

5 Bernina Express Panorama andrea mezzani1
On a trip from Lake Como to St. Moritz, Italian alpinism and Swiss charm coalesce into a truly memorable journey. Separated by Europe’s loftiest mountain range and in a region where glamour is synonymous with the great outdoors, the two towns are only a short train ride apart, providing the ideal distance to enjoy the best of both countries’ mountain culture in one journey. Beginning in Lake Como in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, discover an abundance of bougainvillea-lined villages before boarding the Bernina Express in Tirano, marking your start along the world’s most beautiful rail journey.

read more...

Our Tour
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/como-lake-and-bernina-alps

 

Wednesday, 08 March 2017 00:00

Monte Cofano Nature Reserve

Panorama 2 Stefano Marta
Monte Cofano Nature Reserve, a hidden gem of Sicily
The "Monte Cofano" Nature Reserve is a protected natural area of ​​Sicily. It is a mountainous promontory of limestone, a characteristic triangular shape overlooking the sea, which reaches 659 m in height. It is located on the coast of the province of Trapani, at the eastern end of the gulf of Bonagia. It is included in the municipality of Custonaci, along the coast from Trapani to San Vito Lo Capo. The area of ​​the Reserve covers 537.5 hectares. Within it are a small seasonal wetland, a torrential ravine (Gorge Cipollazzo) and numerous karst phenomena related to remodeling of the limestone rock by water, both surface (sinkholes and sinkholes) and in depth (caves).Vegetation Stefano Marta

The Flora
The Reserve includes different Mediterranean ecosystems: the prairie of Ampelodesma, the coastal scrubland, the dwarf palm and the tree spurge; the ancient forests of oak (Quercus ilex) and downy oak (Quercus pubescens) are now very reduced; the Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) reported in the past in the territory of the reserve is not currently more present. But the real peculiarity of the botanical reserve is represented from the cave that is home to many endemic species such as the rock cabbage (Brassica drepanensis) and the sparrow hawk of Mount Cofano (Hieracium cophanense), exclusive endemism of Mount Cofano and the near Zingaro Natural Reserve. The Bivona cabbage (Brassica bivoniana), the cornflower of the cliffs (Centaurea ucriae), the Bivona spurge (Euphorbia bivonae), the Zafferanetto Linares (Romulea linaresii) and the smarginata larkspur (Delphinium emarginatum). The reserve is also home to several species of wild orchids including the orchid Robert (Barlia robertiana), the mirror ophrys (Ophrys ciliata), the yellow ophrys (Ophrys lutea), the flower of wasp ophrys (Ophrys tenthredinifera) , the italic orchid (Orchis italica) and the butterfly orchid (Anacamptis papilionacea).
An incredible botanical garden!
Panorama Stefano Marta
The Fauna
Among mammals is reported the presence of the fox (Vulpes vulpes), the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), the weasel (Mustela nivalis) and the porcupine (Hystrix cristata), but also small rodents such as Savi's vole (Microtus savii ). The reserve is home to several species of migratory birds such as the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), the buzzard (Buteo buteo), the raven (Corvus corax), the pigeon (Columba livia) and the common gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus). Among the reptiles should be mentioned the presence of the Sicilian lizard (Podarcis wagleriana), the green lizard (Lacerta bilineata), the gongilo (Chalcides ocellatus) and, among the snakes, the western whip snake (Coluber viridiflavus) and the viper (Vipera aspis).
OUR TOURS
Monday, 06 March 2017 00:00

Neapolitan Music by John Turturro


Neapolitan Music
Naples has played an important and vibrant role over the centuries not just in the music of Italy, but in the general history of western European musical traditions. This influence extends from the early music conservatories in the 16th century through the music of Alessandro Scarlatti during the Baroque period and the comic operas of Pergolesi, Piccinni and, eventually, Rossini and Mozart. The vitality of Neapolitan popular music from the late 19th century has made such songs as 'O Sole mio and Funiculì Funiculà a permanent part of our musical consciousness.
Naples and Vesuvius GabrieleGiuffrida
The “Canzone Napoletana”
Canzone Napoletana is what most people think of when they think of Neapolitan music. It consists of a large body of composed popular music—such songs as 'O sole mio, Torna a Surriento, Funiculì funiculà, etc. The Neapolitan song became a formal institution in the 1830s through the vehicle of an annual song writing competition for the yearly Festival of Piedigrotta, dedicated to the Madonna of Piedigrotta, a well-known church in the Mergellina area of Naples. The winner of the first festival was a song entitled Te voglio bene assaie; it was composed by the prominent opera composer, Gaetano Donizetti. The festival ran regularly until 1950 when it was abandoned. A subsequent Festival of Neapolitan Song on Italian state radio enjoyed some success in the 1950s but was eventually abandoned as well. The period since 1950 has produced such songs as Malafemmena by Totò, Indifferentemente by Mario Trevi and Carmela by Sergio Bruni. Although separated by some decades from the earlier classics of this genre, they have now become "classics" in their own right.

Plebiscito Square Naples GabrieleGiuffrida

Passion, the John Turturro movie
Because his Italian origin and his love for music, the actor John Turturro, in 2010 directed a wonderful musical/documentary about the Neapolitan music. The film is an investigation into the heart of the traditional Neapolitan music, from classical and opera, to folk and ethnic music, created in Naples.
Here an interview to John Turturro, talking about the meaning of this project and some nice curios facts during the making of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cw-XFLwZxs
Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

Engadin and Giovanni Segantini

Engadin: the lake district of the Alps.

The Engadin is a long high Alpine valley region in the eastern Swiss Alps located in the canton of Graubünden in most southeastern Switzerland with about 25,000 inhabitants. It follows the route of the Inn (Romansh: En) river from its headwaters at Maloja Pass in the southwest running roughly northeast until the Inn flows into Austria, one hundred kilometers downstream. The En/Inn subsequently flows at Passau into the Donau, as the only Swiss river. The Engadine is protected by high mountain ranges on all sides and is famous for its sunny climate, beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. The highest mountains of the wider area of the Engadine is the Bernina Range in the southwestern part. Four beautiful lakes are the protagonist of the low valley: from South to North, the Sils lake, the Silvaplana lake, the Champfer lake and the St. Moritz lake. In this magical world of water, glacier, flowers and wild animal, leaved one of the most prestigious painter ever: Giovanni Segantini

Giovanni Segantini: the “Van Gogh of the Alps

Giovanni Segantini (15 January 1858 – 28 September 1899) was an Italian painter known for his large pastoral landscapes of the Alps. He was one of the most famous artists in Europe in the late 19th century, and his paintings were collected by major museums. In later life he combined a Divisionist painting style with Symbolist images of nature. He was active in Switzerland for most of his life.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/news-mandala-tour#sigProIdfb1a7f3242


To discover more about the relation between Segantini and Engadin: http://www.segantini-museum.ch/en/giovanni-segantini/segantini-in-the-engadin.html
To visit the “Segantini Museum” in St. Moritz, all the information at: http://www.segantini-museum.ch/en.html
To see some painting of Segantini, see: http://vsemart.com/italian-painter-giovanni-segantini/

Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

Portofino Natural Park San Fruttuoso Abbey

San Fruttuoso Abbey
The origins of the complex are still shrouded in mystery. One of the most famous traditions traces the construction of the abbey to the eighth century, when Prospero, bishop of Tarragona fleeing Spain invaded by the Arabs, chose the bay to shelter and build a church where the relics of the martyr Fruttuoso. The cult of the saint soon spread throughout Liguria, so much so that it attributed special protection functions for sailors.
Much of the Abbey dates back to the X-XI century. In the new structure, the Byzantine dome, built in the tenth century at a perennial spring, was incorporated in the octagonal tower. In this period, the complex of Capodimonte increased its prestige up to assume jurisdiction over the entire promontory of Portofino.
From the thirteenth century the fortunes of San Fruttuoso became intertwined with that of the Doria family, who commissioned the renovation of the building, by building the abbey overlooking the sea with loggia with two orders of three-mullioned windows. In recognition of the many restoration projects promoted by the Doria, the monks allowed them the adjoining crypt on the lower cloister as graveyard family: even today the tombs of white marble and gray stone are visible, dating between 1275 and 1305.

The legend of the dragon
Legend has it that a priest Justin, one of the young men who accompanied San Prospero in his flight from Spain to Liguria, brought with him the ashes of the three martyrs: Fruttuoso bishop and his Deacons Eulogio and Augurio. While sailing in Giustino appeared in a dream the angel of the Lord (in other versions San Fruttuoso itself) revealing that would take them in a overhung place to a great mountain. In a cave of this mountain, he said the angel, lived an enormous dragon, that they should not fear, because, thanks to the powers of the three martyrs, could have cast it out Justin himself. The angel still indicated that under a rock would find a source of water to which they would have had to build a church. The "famous Dragon" is a widespread legend among sailors, perhaps to ward off possible contenders who wanted to get water in the place.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/news-mandala-tour#sigProId737b2df36c


For general information, opening hours, tickets and events, see:
Monday, 20 February 2017 00:00

Cinque Terre DOC wine


Cinque Terre is a small DOC white wine region in Liguria, North Italy.

The DOC was granted in 1973 and production is limited to the coastal areas of the Cinque Terre in the Province of La Spezia, and specifically to the territories of the communes of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza (which includes the village of Corniglia, whose wine has been known since Roman times) and Monterosso al Mare, together with two adjacent areas within the commune of La Spezia: Tramonti di Biassa and Tramonti di Campiglia.
The wine is produced from a must containing at least 40% of the Boscogrape, but may also contain up to 40% of Albarola and/or Vermentino and up to 20% of other white-berried grapes approved and/or recommended for the Province of La Spezia.
The wines tend to be dry, with straw yellow color, and a delicate aroma.
Typically, it is best drunk with the local cuisine, and especially with seafood — until the arrival of the railway in 1874, the five villages of the Cinque Terre were little fishing hamlets, accessible only by sea.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/news-mandala-tour#sigProId18f5bbc2f2


The harvest and the wine production
The terraced vineyards located along the coastline offer a raisin wine.
The name of Sciacchetrà wine comes from the dialect of Liguria, and means: (sciac) = to press the grape and (tra) = removing bad grape during the fermentation.
It is produced thanks drying the harvested grapes on the farmstead roofs, exposed to the sun.
The wine producers use the “cremagliera train”, a motorized monorail system to carry the grapes from the terraced vineyards on the steep mountains down to the roadway, for transport to the winery.
In the past was really different and more strenuous: the grape growers were used to anchor their fishing boats below the vineyards. Then, with the basket on their shoulders full of grape, downhill to their boat and sailing to other villages to work the grape for the wine.

Sciacchetrà DOC wine
Sciacchetrà DOC is also produced in the same Cinque Terre area and is a 'vino passito' or Straw wine of the Cinque Terre DOC wine, and is typically drunk with cheese or desserts.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 00:00

Earthquake in Central Italy


Eartquake finale


Summary

About the earthquake's impact in the area
Fiastra is a small mountaineering village of about 600 people. It is located in the heart of the Monti Sibillini National Park, an area, in Central Italy, that has recently been shocked by many serious earthquakes. The population, whose majority has been evacuated on the accommodation facilities and hotels of the coast, lives with the uncertainty of their immediate future: almost all the houses were damaged, some areas were completely destroyed and all the public facilities were condemned.
All the area has seen a significant increase in tourist numbers in the last few years, finally expressing the formidable touristic opportunities imagined with the creation of the National Park.
Fiastra is an easy destination to be reached, very close to the mountain range, setting of a beautiful lake that is nestled into a hillside high context, offering a wide range of recreational activities (hiking, kayak, biking) that over time have been developed.

Challenge of the project

The natural house's guides
The project aims to build a natural building in Fiastra, characterized by a high level of energy savings, suitable to host in this first phase all of those - involved in mountaineering activities who have always worked in the North area of the Sibillini Mountains - that have lost all or part of their homes, due to the earthquake.

A natural building is first an earthquake-resistant building, over conventional building systems include the advantages of renewable nature, cost, easy availability, naturally fire-retardant and high insulation value. The house , on two floors, should be able to accommodate 12 people and be destined later in a Guest House in support of the wider circuit of the "Grande Anello dei Sibillini", a 8 days trekking across Umbria and Marche Apennines.

The goals
The project has already been shared with all the groups involved: the Monti Sibillini National Park would provide the edification area and Fiastra Municipality the technical department expertise for the urbanization.





Donations
The priority to start the project is to have the project drawing done, so we start by asking for the € 8500.
IBAN - IT83L0335967684510700211266 registered to Ricostruiamo Fiastra

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://www.mandalatour.com/en/news-mandala-tour#sigProIdcd9521da3a
Page 1 of 2
Copyright © Mandala Organic Tours srl - Viale Africa 174 - 95129 Catania (CT)

Tribunale di Catania R.I. n. 55813/2000 - R.E.A. n. 253074 C.C.I.A.A. CT<.p> capitale sociale € 99.000 i.v.| P.I. 03743520870

Autorizzazione Assessorato Turismo Regione Sicilia: 3362 VII tur. | All rights reserved | Designed by jaweb.it