One of the things I love about Italy is that it’s seasonal. We have grown so accustomed in the U.S. to having everything available all the time that we have forgotten how we once flowed with the seasons experiencing and appreciating thinks in their time.
This is of course obvious with produce where we get tomatoes, albeit tasteless, soulless fruit that it is in the U.S., all year long. When you come to Italy you find artichokes in the spring but not the fall. In the fall you find fall fruits and veggies you never see in the spring. These seasonal variations are reflected in the menus at restaurants.
There is the less obvious. Chocolate can’t be found in the warm months. We won’t be able to get chocolates welcome goodies to our guests for a week or two more, and then only if the weather is cool. Americans often complain, yet I think this way of living helps us be more in tune with the season and to enjoy each season’s bounty and character all the better.
Then there is the incredible diversity of regions, of being local. We are getting more this way in the U.S., but the Italians take it to an entirely different level. We did a cheese tastng with Cristian Manca at his deli Gastronomia. What an eye opener. We had buffalo mozzarella from Campania, the area around Naples. It is specific to that area. We had three pecorino cheeses each aged a different period of time. The one year old was from Grosetto. It was distinctly better. Then we had a 5 year old pecorino. Very strong but good. And he put a drop off 12 year old balsamic vinegar on it from Modena. Oh my!
On and on it went with parmesan, Gorgonzola and chocolate paired with a local sweet wine. I’ll is full of wonders. I think the seasonal, local aspect of its culture is every bit as impressive as its art and architecture. Indeed, it is art.
|Kristi and Bill Steiner began leading “learning vacations” to Orvieto, Italy in 2003. Through Adventures in Italy they provide a cultural immersion experience. Many trips include the pursuit of some kind of creative work that complements and reinforces exploration of Italy’s culture. Relationships built over the years enable Kristi and Bill to provide experiences that a typical visitor to Orvieto never gets.
Trips are held in May and September/October every year. Their Discover Orvieto and Taste of Orvieto trips are available to groups any time of the year.
Learn more about Kristi and Bill’s trips. Stay abreast of Adventures in Italy developments, and follow Bill’s musings about travel and Italy on his blog Make Haste Slowly. View Bill's photos of Italy, Orvieto, and other memorable places at steinerstudiophotos.com, and follow him on Instagram.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.