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Mysterious Matera

The region of Basilicata in the southern part of the Italian peninsula is wild, dramatic and sparsely populated. Its geography has something "other worldly" about it, with majestic mountains, bare clay hills and dark forested valleys.  But it is the landscape of poverty.

Bear Essentials

The first tour of our Italian season took us to the wild landscape of Abruzzo, in the central Apennine region of Italy. Abruzzo is home to imagemany National Parks but the Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise itself is home to some very special residents.

History

Exploring Elba

The island of Elba sits opposite the coast of Tuscany, about 20km from the town of Piombino, where the ferry leaves to connect the island to the mainland. It has a population of about 31,000 residents but is incredibly popular with visitors during the summer months who come to enjoy the secluded coves, azure waters and stunning views from the mountains to the Mediterranean sea.

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A Bonzer Brit!

Chris Bell is one of our most dedicated followers of Hedonistic Hiking tours in Italy but this year, for the first time, he flew to Australia and joined our hikes on the Great Ocean Walk and in the Victorian Alps. We asked him for his first impressions ....

We loved the way you incorporated two Hedonistic Hiking tours into a month of travelling exploring Victoria and Tasmania.  Would you recommend this approach to other  travellers?

Celebrating local produce

The last weekend in February was party time for Hedonistic Hiking as we hosted our annual long lazy Italian-style lunch in the historic village of Wandiligong, and enjoyed some of the very best ingredients that north east Victoria has to offer.

Mick was at the helm, ably assisted by old friend Brad Wolter, and the menu was a journey through some of our favourite Italian dishes but using ingredients sourced entirely from suppliers close to Bright.

Bush Tucker

Dina and I (Annabel) have worked alongside Mick and Jackie in Italy for many seasons and are accustomed to the high standards which they maintain on their tours. But, this weekend, we were their guests on a two day camping trip high in Victoria's Alpine National Park close to Mount Cobbler and I have to say that we were not disappointed!

Books for Cooks

I have some long-standing favourite recipe books when it comes to Italian cooking but recently I've been reading about three newly published collections of fabulous Italian recipes from three different writers, all of whom live outside of Italy.  Two have Italian heritage but all share an over-riding passion for Italy's food and its flavours.  Reading about their books is leading me into temptation ...

Winter in Venice

I've just been lucky enough to visit Venice in January and savour this amazing city out of season when the number of day-trippers must be at its lowest in the whole year.  It is an experience I can wholly recommend as it's such a pleasure to wander the streets without the usual summer tsunami of tourists.  And it doesn't have to be expensive with many small hotels offering amazing prices in this low season.  We stayed in the cute little Ca D'Oro hotel in the Cannaregio district, with a canal view, for just €55 for

Festive Feasting

Panettone is one of the great Italian Christmas culinary traditions and there could be few Italian households not indulging in this festive cake at this time of year.  But what if you wanted to do something a little different with it? We loved this recipe by Philippa Sibley which was published in the December 2013 edition of Gourmet Traveller.

Ingredients:image

Our Hedonistic Heroes

As we (that is Jackie and Annabel) were sitting in a restaurant in Parma one evening, we thought how good it would be to recognise some of the people who help to make our Italian walking holidays so much fun.