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Living Villa Cappelli Podcast by Paul Cappelli

Living Villa Cappelli Podcast

by Paul Cappelli

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Direct from Italy! Follow the adventures of two Americans running a villa in Puglia, Italy, and learn all about Italian the culture, people, food and fun. Every week, we’ll share our lives with you and what life in Italy is really like especially for two Americans. From Italian recipes to travel in Italy to interviews with others who share the same Italian spirit, we’ll cover it all. So come along for the ride and discover that life is better when you put a little Italian into it.

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  • 060: Italian Villa Projects
    Fri, Mar 22, 2019

    In this podcast, we catch you up on the projects we’ve been doing at the villa during our “off time” without guests.  From major new interviews to unexpected construction, we’ve had a lot going on.


    Topics we cover:


    • Paul’s interview on CBS Sunday Morning about olive blight in southern Puglia that is destroying a lot of olive trees


      Here are some excerpts from the written story:

    Olive trees don't just dot the landscape in Puglia, Italy; they define it.  They are so important here, in the heel of Italy's boot, that locals use words like "patrimony" and "cultural heritage" when describing them. But what is worrying olive growers here is a disease that's killing olive trees by the millions.

    Paul Cappelli, who'd been an advertising executive in New York City until a few years ago, left his job and moved to a home on the ancient Appian Way surrounded by olive trees, and entered the oil business. "Not the Texas oil business; I'm in the real oil business!" he said.

    It's a dream come true, with a nightmare behind me," he said.

    "That's what it feels like, a nightmare?" asked correspondent Seth Doane.

    "Yeah. I'm always looking over my shoulder."

    Paul Cappelli has tested his trees, and there's no sign of xylella – yet.  "It's like the Black Death is coming," he said. "It feels like if I look over my shoulder and I see dark clouds, it's the Bubonic Plague coming towards the town."


      While the story itself is sad, if was a nice bit of PR for us

      How we have been working on making the garden much more organized and pretty

      From a raised bed vegetable garden to new walls and planters

      We are also are building a storage room next to the pool for all the pool equipment

      The new land of olive grooves that we bought that we’d love to do a huge dinner in, like in Out Standing in the Field

    • The complete story of our leaky roof and and how we had to redo a whole section of roof that we just put on three years ago

      The discovery of the problem through to the new construction

      How the problem developed in the first place

      What the contractors claimed the brown water was

      Are plans to move the laundry room

      Our big question of whether or not to get a clothes dryer

      We cleaned out our wine cellar

      One side of the wine cellar will still be a rec room from guests, while another side will be a small antiques store for guests at the villa

      The hard water in Italy

      Thus why we put in a water softener, to help with everything from washing dishes to saving appliances

      How the hard water broke down the ice machine twice

      Paul got a good 20-30 lithographs and he is buying up old frames to put them up at the villa

      How the artwork comes from friends up in Parma who had a long connection to Paul’s family, including Paul’s uncle being the chauffeur to a count from Parma

      Paul’s olive tree and olive wood projects


  • The Top 10 reasons to book an Italian villa for your next celebration
    Sat, Jan 26, 2019

    Have a big milestone birthday coming up?  Or perhaps an anniversary?  Perhaps you’re just looking to travel with a large group of family and friends.  Then booking a villa in Italy might is the perfect way to celebrate with family and friends.  Here are just a few of the reasons you should book an Italian villa now!


    1. It’s more affordable than you think

    When you stay in a villa in Italy, it will feel like you’re living in luxury, but it’s very affordable.  Definitely more affordable than a hotel or resort.

    According to Lonely Planet travel site, even a midrange hotel room in Italy will cost you upwards of 200 Euro a night.  At a four or five star hotel, it will be 250 Euro or more. 

    A villa rental however usually averages to 99 Euro a night per room.  That’s a 60% savings! 

    • Meals

    • alcohol

    Parking, etc.

    Bonus tip:  It’s not uncommon to ask guests to chip in when joining you for this amazing celebration.  They will also have an amazing holiday, you are just arranging it all. You don’t have to pay for it all on top of that!  Renting a villa makes it a lot easier to split costs that deciding who had the salad and who at the pasta at dinner.


    2.  You can bring along a ton of friends and family

    Space, it’s not the final frontier.  It’s what you get when you rent a villa!  Ever tried to squeeze your family into a hotel room when traveling?   Especially once you get to five or more kids?  It’s not only uncomfortable, but a hassle. 

    A hotel room can average around 400 square feet

    A villa can average 2000 square feet!

    Or 20000 sq. Feet total


      full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, multiple living spaces, and probably a game room or two is an amazing option for larger groups. 

    • get away from everyone for a couple of hours?  There’s always some corner free.  Want to play a board game? Set up your area over there while others lounge by the pool.  There are always options when you rented a villa.


    3. You’ll find a variety of entertainment

    If you’re traveling with a large group for your birthday or anniversary (or other big event), that usually means you’ll have a range of ages, from parents with kids to elderly relatives. 

    An Italian villa rental allows you all to be together, yet still have your own space to find something fun to do.  A hotel just isn’t geared for families or groups of friends traveling together. Between the expenses mentioned above, it’s also not conducive for a lot of together time.  Just gathering by the hotel pool or a nearby restaurant isn’t all the different from other get-togethers at home.

    A villa allows you to cook together. Play games together.  Take a walk or run together.  Go see the sights and more.

    Plus, while kids do love hotels, they do get bored easily.  With a villa, you can comfortably let them explore and play without worrying about other guests.  Plus, most villa rentals have a DVD library, board games, and pool to keep kids occupied.

    Double plus, if you can get an Italian villa centrally located, you can take a lot of fun day trips.  Italy, and especially Puglia, have a lot of great sites that both young and old enjoy seeing.  From castles like Castel del Monte, to amazing seaside towns like Polignano a Mare, and to beautiful Unesco World Heritage sights like Matera.

    Your celebration will be YOUR celebration

    When renting a villa for your getaway, you get a higher level of privacy that you could never get at a hotel or condo.  No sharing the pool.  No dealing with dining with strangers or hotel staff asking to clean your room early in the morning.

    It also works in the opposite direction.  No one likes to go to a restaurant with a toddler that could have a meltdown or that crazy loud uncle that tends to embarrass you. 

    Hotel guests can include everyone from adventurous newlyweds, rowdy teens, crying babies and even creepy guys poolside.  A villa rental really is a lot more private.

    That beautiful space is YOUR space.

    5.  You’ll celebrate in style

    From your own kitchen to a private pool, a villa rental has so many extra amenities you probably never even realized you wanted. 

    • Pack lighter and do a load of laundry midweek with an onsite washer
    • Keep in touch with free WiFi
    • Keep the kiddos entertained with cocomplimentary board games and DVDs
    • Enjoy walks in the surrounding countryside
    • Park your car easily and quickly
    • Enjoy cleaning and meal preparation for a small extra cost

    Extra hint:  Look for a vacation rental with caretakers that also live on the property.  It’s like having an amazing concierge at no extra cost. They can directly to the best local sights, help make any reservations, and are always on hand if you need anything at all.


    6.  You’ll enjoy all the comforts of home

    A villa isn’t just a bedroom and tiny bathroom.  It is a home.  And comes with all the comforts of home. 

    • A big kitchen to cook family meals
    • Full-sized appliances like a dishwasher for easy cleanup
    • Glasses and an ice machine for cocktail hour
    • Furniture, indoor and out, to lounge in

    Those are just a few of the things that come with some Italian villa rentals. 


    You also have to advantage of being on your own schedule. 

    • Want to sleep in?  Fine.  Breakfast is whenever you want. 
    • Want a midnight snack?  Go for it. 
    • Want to jump in the pool at 2AM?  No one is stopping you. 
    • Want to start happy hour at 4PM?  The bar is open 24/7.


    7. Nights out can be nights in

    Dinners can be complicated with your on holiday.  Who has to be designated driver?  Who wants to deal with any kids late into the night?  Who wants to navigate unfamiliar roads in the dark? 

    With a villa rental, you can have fun, relaxing meals at home without all those worries.  Whether you prepare the meal yourself or get the villa staff to do it for you, life is so much easier. Everyone can drink. The kids can easily be put to bed early.  And there’s no driving to worry about.


    8.  You’ll have totally one-of-a-kind experience 

    A villa is so much more than just a room with a view. Want a truly unique getaway?

      Stay in a historic villa overlooking ancient olive grooves

      Pick fresh vegetables and herbs right from the garden, farm to table indeed

      Feel like your being spoiled rotten — in a good way

      Open up your windows and let the view take your breath away

    It’s all possible with a villa rental in Italy.



    9.  You’ll get to escape and immerse yourself in Italian culture

    This goes hand-in-hand with the one-of-a-kind experience, but really deserves it’s own bullet point.

    Renting an Italian villa really allows you to live like a local.  It’s an experience something like a hotel or resort could just never offer.

    You’ll get to really immerse yourself in the wonder Italian culture.  From shopping to cooking to exploring the area, it's an exciting part of any holiday.

    Usuall,y cooking lessons are also available, so you dive in and learn the local cuisine even more!

    Again, having onsite caretakers really helps here.  They can point you to the best local shops, recommend the local cafes and restaurants, give you tips for any day trips, and even show you the local customs or recipes. If you really want to feel like a local, this is the way to go.


    10.  You’ll make your special event truly special!

    With everything from breathtaking views to relaxing downtime to unbelievable meals with family and friends, renting an Italian villa can be a fun and affordable way to make your celebration truly amazing.

  • 058: Real News, Fake Food
    Sat, Dec 01, 2018

    In this podcast, we take a dive into the culinary world and explore where there is a lot of “fake food” out there. From doctored extra virgin olive oils and grated cheese to wine and balsamic vinegar, we give you the real news on fake food.

    Topics we cover:

      How we’ve had a few podcast fans visit this year, including Kendra and her new business:  www.vida.wine

      How often we don’t realize the wool is being pulled over our eyes in regards to food. Here’s a list.  Do you have others?  Let us know in the comments.

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Real News Fake Food  The corrupt world of extra virgin olive oil and the struggles we face with that. It is definitely a fake food most times.

      This book covers this topic extensively.  Check it out: Extra Virginity

      How by Italian law that even if the olives come from a different country, as long as the oil is bottled in Italy it is allowed to be called “Italian Olive Oil”

      How producers from Tuscany come down to Puglia and buy Puglia olives, then bottle extra virgin olive oil in Tuscany and call it Tuscan olive oil

      How our extra virgin olive oil is really just freshly squeezed olives

      We’ve covered this subject a couple of times in past episodes.  Check out:


    And click here to sign up for our email course explaining more on how to tell if your extra virgin olive oil is really extra virgin.


    Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription.

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      Paul wonders why whole bean coffee costs less than ground coffeeReal News Fake Food 2

      Paul believes there must be other additives to make it cost less

      After doing a little research, I think there may be other reasons:  Namely, inferior beans.  Here's what one site had to say:

    "Whole bean coffees come from better lots, because it’s impossible to hide negative qualities in a bag of whole bean coffee. Much of the coffee’s aromas and flavors are released when it’s ground. Therefore, customers who purchase whole bean coffee and grind it at home will notice the coffee’s nuanced qualities — regardless of whether they are good or bad.

    In comparison, coffee that’s pre-ground has already lost many of its aromatics and flavors by the time the customer purchases it. Thus, it’s not as important to use beans that are highly flavorful and aromatic when selling pre-ground coffee. Roasters that offer ground selections can get away with using lower-quality beans."

      Does anyone have any insight?  Let us know in the comments!

      How Paul had a work colleague was bragging about how he makes coffee pods that have 75% pure coffee grounds in the pods

    Parmesan Cheese 

    Real News Fake Food 3  We did a whole podcast on this here: Why your Italian "food" may not be real food

      How Parmesan actually is legally allowed to have cellulose (wood pulp) in every jar. Supposedly it is a safe anti-clumping additive when it is only 2-4% of a product. But FDA investigations found 8.8% in some! In some cases ,the cheese was less than 40% of the product!

    Wal-Mart has now be slapped with a lawsuit over selling a product labeled as 100% Grated Parmesan but had 7.8% wood pulp!

    Truffle oil

      How Paul bought some fresh truffles a few years ago and we made truffle oilReal News Fake Food 4

      But then we discovered this can be very very dangerous, and only last 2-3 days

      This sight https://www.idratherbeachef.com/how-to-make-truffle-oil/ goes into it a bit more:

    "When you make fresh truffle oil as demonstrated in this post, it has a VERY limited shelf life of two, maybe three days maximum. I suggest making it in small batches to ensure all the oil may be used quickly.

    Fresh truffle oil has a limited shelf life due to the oil not being brought and held 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature that kills botulism and other bacteria which thrive in an anaerobic environment. Learn more about botulism from homemade canned, preserved or fermented foods.

    The truffle oil isn’t brought to 212 degrees because the truffle would start to toast and produce strange flavors. We want truffle oil to embody the essence of the truffle itself, not taste like burnt mushrooms."

      In other words, the extra virgin olive oil you are using to make your truffle oil is only brought up so a low heat to infuse the oil.  This low heat infuses the oil but it not hot enough to kill botulism.  If it was brought up to that heat it would burn the truffles.

    • So unless a chef is making truffle oil as a special for a few nights meals, don't think any Truffle Oil has any real truffles in it.  Making it a real fake food.


    Real News Fake Food 5  You can find really cheap wines sometimes

      So when you see something labeled as "Red Wine" is there a rule that says it has to be made with grapes?

      Well, according to the legal definitely, wine's legal definition is according to https://definitions.uslegal.com/w/wine-trade/ is:

    "Wine refers to any fermented alcoholic beverage and is generally made from grapes or other fruit. It is mainly used for nonindustrial use."

      Also, wines if they are below 11% alcohol content, you do no have to specify what is in the wine on the label.

    Chili Peppers

      We talk a little about our chili crop this yearReal News Fake Food 15

      Paul talks about he believes they put red dye in chili flakes

      You also have no idea how long the chili flakes have been sitting in the bag

    Balsamic Vinegar

      What real balsamic vinegar is all aboutReal News Fake Food 14

      How regular vinegars are made versus balsamic vinegars

      This is one of what our vendor explained about IGP for balsamic vinegars

      Why it's only made in Modena

    There is 2 different types of IGP.

    -          Industrial IGP produce in Steel silos in maximum 2 month. And in This balsamic vinegar is a mix of vinegar, strong balsamic vinegar, caramel to thicken and colored the balsamic vinegar. And in this silos is put this mix for 2 month to Repose.  In the bottom of this silos is “easy found” wood sawdust, to give the effect of the olded balsamic vinegar and the taste of wood. See the steel silos  in the pic(this is industrial) Is to easy and quick to obtain the product but is not the original. Is easy to found in all store and supermarket. Especially abroad

    -          Artigianal IGP (MY BALSAMIC VINEGAR)  produce, respect the product specification, and the old process of production. Is put in different  wooden barrel  of different wood (oak, chestnut, mulberry, juniper, cherry, locust, ash).

    This is the barrel use also for DOP (after I explain the DOP ), but there isn’t a battery set (you chose of two different type of barrel) and put the vinegar, with cooked must,  to grow old in this barrel, for minimum 5/6 years. And my grandfather  They taught  to me, “Is impossible buy the time”. You see the picture with wood barrel.

    -          The DOP is the best of Balsamic vinegar. The product specification, is very strong like Artigianal IGP. You have a wooden barrel, composed to minimum 5 bottle( Example my battery barrel is composed to 5 bottle, you see in 3 pic.) and is possible arrive to the maximum with 12 barrel.  Is possible compose your battery with this wood(oak, chestnut, mulberry, juniper, cherry, locust, ash). There is long process to obtain the certification of your wooden Battery, by competent persons and public authority,. And you obtain the first Balsamic vinegar, in 2 step . Step 1 is 12 year old,  is called “Affinato” you take a maximum 10 % to the  bottle (the little one) which composed your Wooden battery, and after you bring this balsamic vinegar in a special place  (Consortium Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P.) when the people check it (see in database when you are register your wooden battery). And in this place The competent person  put  your balsamic vinegar, in  the “Giuggiaro bottle”. Step 2 is 25 year old, is called “extravecchio” “extraold” the process is the same of the 12 year old balsamic vinegar, but you attend 25 years to take it.  


    Real News Fake Food 6  If you don't know, most vitamins are filled with fillers, like silica (sand)

      Check the inactive ingredients on any vitamins and you will see they filled with tons of things that are not vitamins

      And for their Vitamin D, they use our extra virgin olive oil as a carrier inside the vitamin

      You can check out Pure Vitamin Club here.


    Skim Milk

      We argue a bit about is if really fake or not for consideration in this episodeReal News Fake Food 7

      To Paul's point, they have taken all the good stuff out and now it's really just colored water

      How we only buy whole milk here at the villa

      The podcast Steven mentioned: Food: A Cultural Culinary History Podcast

      Also, how white bread is so over processed that it losses all it's vitamins, so they have to add the vitamins back in.  But how if they just didn't over process it, they would have all those vitamins to begin with.

    Ham & Turkey

    Real News Fake Food 8  How most of the ham and turkey you use to make cold cuts is all the remnants of the original animals "glued" back together

      That's also called a pressed ham

      The different between prosciutto and and prosciutto crudo

    Baby Carrots

      How these are just deformed carrots that are cut down and treated to make baby carrotsReal News Fake Food 9

      About the guy who invented them, and his other products Bunny Balls

      Paul argues that they are "fake" because they lead you to believe they are grown to be small

    Real News Fake Food 13  The multicolored carrots we get here in Puglia

      Why carrots are mostly orange

      And why the Irish hate the color orange on St. Patrick's Day




      How you really have to check the labels, especially if doesn't say 100% of whatever fruit you are buying.Real News Fake Food 10

      Most might say 100% juice, but it's a mix of all kinds of different juices, not just the "orange juice" you think you are buying

    Real News Fake Food 11Tea Bags

      Paul has seen a lot in the news lately about all the bad thing being found in tea bags.


      Most scallops are not real scallops, but pressed together fishReal News Fake Food 12

    This is the shellac picture I was talking about.

      How I used to add wax to chocolate when making peanut butter balls with my mother.  I assumed it was to skip the tempering process.  Does anyone know?  Let us know in the comments.

    •  Why eggs are sold non-refrigerated in Italy but sold refrigerated in the states.

    To sum up our Real New, Fake Food podcast.  Look for real food from the fresh food aisle, not processed food. And be sure to read your labels.

    What do you think?  Did we miss a fake food?  Let us know in the comments!


  • 057: It's Not Only Rock 'n' Roll
    Fri, Nov 09, 2018

    We move outdoors to sit among the olive trees for our second part of our interview with rock ’n’ roll royalty Jenny Boyd.  We talk music, creativity, and her book It’s Not Only Rock ’n’ Roll.

    Topics we cover:

      We talk about Jenny’s second husband

      The British invasion

      How Brits saw America a land of opportunity

      What musicians drive was during the creative process, what they experience when writing a son

      What part drugs and alcohol played in the creative process

      If they believed everyone has the potential to be creative and how to express yourself

      How they musicians are just like normal folks

      How the Beatles never knew their music would live on and be so popular for so long

      How they came from very simple lives in Liverpool

      How Jenny’s new book is a memoir of her life growing up in the 60s and 70s with all these musicians

      How George Harrison was most influenced by their experience in India

      Carpool Karaoke with Corbin

      The reason some groups have stayed together or come back together

      How Jenny interviewed Keith Richards for the book

      Keith’s take on creativity

      How all the artists were willing to talk about their muse

      How they all had a sense of destiny and knew they were going to be famous

      Paul’s breakfast with Pete Townsend

      Pete’s take on people feeling he was selling out by using his music in advertising

      How people feel they have ownership over of the music and even the artists

      The most interesting Don Hendly, Joni Mitchel, David Crosby, Graham Nash

      How all of the artists were really encouraged by someone when they were young

      How you have to be you to be creativity

      How Paul hated seeing work that was imitating other work in advertising

      How you need to find your own voice and find the courage to use it.

      A book on the subject:  The Courage to Create

      Paul’s description of showing creative work to clients and how it feels like you are exposing yourself to them

      How Eric Clapton described it as looking into the face of God

      How Ringo described presenting songs to the rest of the group

      One of Paul’s favorite quotes about creativity:  “Big ideas are so hard to find, so fragile, and so easy to kill. Don’t forget that, all of you that don’t have them.”

      How Jenny was inspired by her stay at Villa Cappelli

      How she stayed “in the now” while here and enjoying

      How she was inspired by the food and cooking at Villa Cappelli

      Steven’s take on cooking and how there are no rules

      Jenny’s take on our creative expression at Villa Cappelli

      Steven’s appreciation of Italian’s “living in the now” and definitely enjoying each moment and each day

      Italians don’t just each to nourish, but sit down, relax and each with the family

      Paul really wants to create a sign that says, “Just calm down!” for guests that come to the villa

      How tours have changed here at the villa from guests really interacting with each other to everyone sitting on their phone posting pics to Facebook

      How one of our guests did something amazing while staying here.  She wouldn’t take a camera with her when she went out.  She instead took her sketch pad and would sketch whatever she saw and then watercolor it.

      Jenny said she was inspired to draw while staying here

      The famous picture of everyone “enjoying” the Pope’s visit

      How we hope to do an unplugged tour at some point

      This great Nature Valley commercial


      Again, enjoy Jenny’s book. Check it out here.

      Again, you can follow Jenny here at her website.

  • 056: Jenny Boyd "Rock 'n' Roll Nobility"
    Wed, Sep 19, 2018

    We are finally back after a very very very busy summer.  But we couldn't resist making some time to sit down with one of our guests, Jenny Boyd, and talk to her about creative and music and her book It's Not Only Rock 'n' Roll.

    Topics we cover:

      We introduce Jenny Boyd, a recent guest at Villa Cappelli

    Book Pic  She wrote the book It’s Not Only Rock and Roll  Click here to get a copy.

      How Paul grew up with the music Jenny had a first-hand account of this music

      How Jenny is a part of rock and roll nobility if you will

      How music today doesn’t have the same social relevance as it did in the 60s and 70s

      We wonder what has changed, why aren’t artist tapping into the zeitgeist like that used to

      They really had no idea that it was going to be such an important time and that music would be such a big part of it.

      The Beatles were like the first boy band

      Jenny was married to Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac

      How Jenny and Mick meet

      Pattie Boyd is Jenny’s sister, who was married to George Harrison of the Beatles and later Eric Clapton

      Jenny talks about how Pattie and George met

      How Eric Clapton wooed Jenny away from George, writing Layla for her while Pattie and George were still together

    Here's the song on iTunes and below are the lyrics:

    [Verse 1]

    What will you do when you get lonely

    And nobody is waiting by your side?

    You have been running and hiding much too long

    You know it is just your foolish pride


    Layla, you’ve got me on my knees

    Layla, I am begging, darling, please Layla

    Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?

    [Verse 2]

    I tried to give you consolation

    When your old man had let you down

    Like a fool, I fell in love with you

    You turned my whole world upside down


    Layla, you’ve got me on my knees

    Layla, I am begging, darling, please Layla

    Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?

    [Verse 3]

    Let us make the best of the situation

    Before I finally go insane

    Please, don’t say we will never find a way

    And tell me all my love in vain


    Layla, you’ve got me on my knees

    Layla, I am begging, darling, please Layla

    Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?


    Layla, you’ve got me on my knees

    Layla, I am begging, darling, please Layla

    Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?


    Layla, you’ve got me on my knees

    Layla, I am begging, darling, please Layla

    Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?


    Layla, you’ve got me on my knees

    Layla, I am begging, darling, please Layla

    Darling, won't you ease my worried mind?

      How Paul likes Bell Bottom Blues from the same album

      The drive is very key for all the artists Jenny interviewed

      They also had a sense of destiny.  For example, Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills & Nash said he just knew they were going to be famous

      Jenny went to San Fransisco in the 60s and had an “ah-ha” moment

      When she moved to San Fransisco, they were all tapping into the zeitgeist

      How the musicians hung out with royals and everyone was just equal

      How Paul thinks pot had something to do with it

      Paul’s memory of disc eaters

      Paul’s story of when Rumors came out and smoking when his Mom was visiting

      How the song Jennifer Juniper was written about Jenny by Donovan


    "Jennifer Juniper"
    Jennifer Juniper, lives upon the hill
    Jennifer Juniper, sitting very still

    Is she sleeping? I don't think so
    Is she breathing? Yes, very low
    Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love?

    Jennifer Juniper, rides a dappled mare
    Jennifer Juniper, lilacs in her hair

    Is she dreaming? Yes, I think so
    Is she pretty? Yes, ever so
    Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love?

    I'm thinking of what it would be like if she loved me
    How just lately this happy song, it came along
    And I like to somehow try and tell you

    Jennifer Juniper, hair of golden flax
    Jennifer Juniper, longs for what she lacks

    Do you like her? Yes, I do, sir
    Would you love her? Yes, I would, sir
    Whatcha doing, Jennifer, my love?

    Jennifer Juniper
    Jennifer Juniper
    Jennifer Juniper

    Jennifer Juniper, vit sur la colline
    Jennifer Juniper, assise tr?s tranquille

    Dort-elle? Je ne crois pas
    Respire-t-elle? Oui, mais tout bas
    Qu'est-ce que tu fais, Jenny, mon amour?

    Jennifer Juniper
    Jennifer Juniper
    Jennifer Juniper


      Jenny went to India with the Beatles

      How the Beatles influenced people to start meditating

      How they were met at the airport by Mia Farrow

      How the Beatles would come up with songs on the roof of where they were staying and a lot of those songs ended up on The White Album

      What the book is about, which is that we all have a creative potential

      One common thread explored in the book is the “muse”

      Abraham Maslow coined the term “peak experience”

      How many of the artist had never talked about before where their creativity comes from

      How some of the artists said if they didn’t write the inspiration down when they had it, say in bed, then they would later hear it and someone else had actually “picked it up” and written it down

      How when the inspiration visits, it visits, and you have to answer the call at that moment

      How Paul creates starting with a visual, and that is the middle of the story, then you create by writing going back to the start and then the end

      How the artists see themselves as just the messengers

      How Jenny interviewed 75 artists

      How it sounds like a great Netflix series

      How it would be hard to do a book like this now

      How Jenny had a calling card when contacting the artists

      How the bands would get so connected to each other that they would all start on the same wrong verse together

      How runners can tap into the peak experience as well

      Jenny was in love with Buddy Holly when she was young

      Jenny talks about her experience when John Lennon died

      We talk a little about Catcher in the Rye, a book Paul has never finished

      How artistic expression can move us in so many ways

      Jenny’s website is:  http://www.thejennyboyd.com/

      Paul asks for some of Jenny’s favorite songs:

    Things we said today” by the Beatles


    "Things We Said Today"
    You say you will love me
    If I have to go
    You'll be thinking of me
    Somehow I will know
    Someday when I'm lonely
    Wishing you weren't so far away
    Then I will remember
    Things we said today

    You say you'll be mine, girl
    Till the end of time
    These days such a kind girl
    Seems so hard to find
    Someday when we're dreaming
    Deep in love, not a lot to say
    Then we will remember
    Things we said today

    Me, I'm just the lucky kind
    Love to hear you say that love is luck
    And though we may be blind
    Love is here to stay and that's enough

    To make you mine, girl
    Be the only one
    Love me all the time, girl
    We'll go on and on
    Someday when we're dreaming
    Deep in love, not a lot to say
    Then we will remember
    Things we said today

    Me, I'm just the lucky kind
    Love to hear you say that love is luck
    Though we may be blind
    Love is here to stay and that's enough

    To make you mine, girl
    Be the only one
    Love me all the time, girl
    We'll go on and on
    Someday when we're dreaming
    Deep in love, not a lot to say
    Then we will remember
    Things we said today



    I put a spell on you” by Nina Simone



    "I Put A Spell On You"
    I put a spell on you
    'Cause you're mine

    You better stop the things you do
    I ain't lyin'
    No I ain't lyin'

    You know I can't stand it
    You're runnin' around
    You know better daddy
    I can't stand it cause you put me down
    Yeah, Yeah

    I put a spell on you
    Because you're mine
    You're mine

    I love ya
    I love you
    I love you
    I love you anyhow
    And I don't care
    If you don't want me
    I'm yours right now

    You hear me
    I put a spell on you
    Because you're mine


    Further on up the road” by Bobby Bland


    Further on up the road, someone gonna hurt you like you hurt me
    Further on up the road, someone gonna hurt you like you hurt me
    Further on up the road, baby you just wait and see

    You got to reap just what you sow, that old saying is true
    You got to reap just what you sow, that old saying is true
    Like you mistreat someone, someone's gonna mistreat you

    Now you're laughing pretty baby, someday you're gonna be crying
    Now you're laughing pretty baby, some, someday you're gonna be crying
    Further on up the road, you'll find out I wasn't lying

    Yeah, baby, further on up the road, baby, hmmm, you'll find out I wasn't lying

    Further on up the road, when you're all alone and blue
    Further on up the road, when you're all alone and blue
    You're gonna ask me to take you back baby, but I'll have somebody new

    Hmmm, baby, further on up the road
    Hmmm, baby, further on up the road
    Hmmm, you'll get yours

    Landslide” by Stevie Nix



    I took my love, I took it down
    I climbed a mountain and I turned around
    And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
    'Till the landslide brought me down

    Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
    Can the child within my heart rise above?
    Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
    Can I handle the seasons of my life?

    Well, I've been afraid of changing
    'Cause I've built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Even children get older
    And I'm getting older too

    Well, I've been afraid of changing
    'Cause I've built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Even children get older
    And I'm getting older too
    Oh, I'm getting older too

    Oh, take my love, take it down
    Oh, climb a mountain and turn around
    And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
    Well the landslide will bring it down
    And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
    Well the landslide will bring it down, oh oh
    The landslide will bring it down


      How Paul appreciates The Beatles’ songs more as he gets older

      Paul tells his story about George Michael and The Beatles

      One of Paul’s favorite Beatles’ songs at the time was Hey Jude, and he explains why

      Paul talks about preferring Christine McVie over Stevie Nicks

      Jenny talks about how Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mack

      How when Stevie joined the band it totally changed their sound

      Jenny talks just a bit about her time at Villa Cappelli

    If you liked this podcast, we do a second recap podcast with Jenny in the next one.  What do you think?  Did we miss out on asking Jenny a question?  What would you ask her?  Let us know in the comments (and she just may respond herself!).


  • 055: Spring in Puglia
    Thu, Mar 22, 2018

    Another quick catchup episode, talking about spring in Puglia, our new dogs, our spring projects, and other odds and ends of life in our villa in Puglia, Italy.

    Topics we cover:

      How we lost our dog Orso recently

      And how we decided to get some new puppies

      Mina came to us from a farm in the Mugia

      Mina is a girl, which is what Paul wanted

      Mina is also a Maremmano, here’s a little about that breed:

    - An Abruzzo sheepdog

    - Used for centuries by Italian shepherds to guard sheep from wolves

    - They have a solid, muscular build, a thick white coat, a large head and a black nose

    - The coat is thick and long and forms a thick collar (or mane) around the neck

      How Mina was terrorizing the casts, so we had to get Mina a playmate

      He is half Maremmano and half Dogo Argentino, though he looks all Dogo Argentino

      He has very distinct markings, and after a lot of suggestions from our Instagram friends (link), Logan came up with the name Duke

      A little about his breed:

    - A large, white, muscular dog developed in Argentina

    - Their primary purpose was for big game hunting, like wild boar

    -  Some say they look similar to American Pit Bull Terrier

    -  While breed as big game hunters, they are also trained for search and rescue, police assistance, service dogs, military work, and more

      Here are some pictures of them:




      Our off-season projects

      How we replaced our wooden raised beds with some beautiful stone raised beds

      The walls of the beds are drywall, meaning they don’t use any mortar

      The artistry of constructing these walls.  Here is a video:


      Then we constructed a beautiful shed in the back corner of our garden

      Here are some pictures of the shed as well

      All the materials we used to build the shed

      Paul’s other project, making olive wood cutting boards

      Here are some pictures of his work

      Here’s his holy cutting boards as well



    • Here’s a link to the story about the Virgin Mary Apparition appearing in a window: http://www.tampabayskeptics.org/v9n4rpt.html

      Our winter weather here in Puglia

      We had a very good olive harvest this year, but it was a very late harvest

      Our new 3L tins

      We have a few new products:

    - Some anchovy fillets

    - Colatura di Alici, like an anchovy fish sauce

    • The Colatura is sort of like Garum, which was a fermented fish sauce used as a condiment in the cuisines of ancient GreeceRome, and later Byzantium

      Paul helped come up with the name of company who makes the products in Amalfi, and the company’s name is Amalfin

      If anyone is interested in us carrying their line of tun products, let us know.

      It is high-quality tuna packed in oil

      Paul wants to know what it is called “Tuna fish”?  Why not just “Tuna”?  Is it a marketing thing?  Does anyone know?  Please let us know in the comments!

      Our new ceramic jugs to decant our 3L into a pouring jug

      How olives are drupes, making extra virgin olive oil essentially fruit juice

      Drupes include coffeejujubemangoolive, dates, coconutcashewalmondapricotcherrydamsonnectarinepeach, and plum.

      Anyone interested in our culinary tour, there is still room. Click here for more information.

    • Michael’s podcast that we mention is here, so you can enjoy his playing on our out of tune piano.

      Our hashtag promotion. Just snap a dish you made with our products or you with our products, and hashtag #villacappelli on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  We will be choosing at random, one lucky winner each month to get a free bottle of our extra virgin olive oil.

      Sign up for our 3-Point Thursday emails below!

      How Saint Joseph’s Day is Father’s Day in Italy.

  • 054:Catch-Up Italian Style
    Sun, Dec 03, 2017

    After a long hiatus (we were super, super busy), we are back with a podcast catching you up on everything that’s been happening since we last broadcast.

    Have a subject you’d like us to cover, let us know in the comments.

    Topics we cover:

      Our experience being actors in August

    [caption id="attachment_2164" align="alignleft" width="225"]Catch Up Italian Style Our ugly beards![/caption]

      How we had to grow our beards out in the middle of a heatwave in August

      Our experience on set and the characters we played

      How hot it was on set

      Why we got to name our characters with our real names




      Paul’s family from the Fresno California area that visited

      How Paul’s uncle refused to come back to Italy when he was 16 and instead went to Chicago and then Fresno, where he settled and had kids.  Michael is his grandson

      How his cousin did come back to Italy eventually for an arranged marriage

      How many of the Terlizzi descendants still live in the Fresno area

      And the other areas they have settled as well

      How all immigrants tend to settle in the same area

      Our visitors from Israel

      What Israelis are like as guests

      A funny story the grandfather of the group told us relating to his name being Jesus

      Our friend John Herbst visiting from NYC

      The skit that John always compares our podcast to:


      The group who came with the charity we donate to every year, Family Equality

      Why we believe you should use Google Maps, NOT GPS when traveling in Italy

      All the industries smartphones have destroyed, watches, digital cameras, notebooks, calendars, GPS units, maps, etc.

      Our friends Sarah and Erwin from Brussels who visit us every year

      Patrick Brunner our friend from NYC and LA who visited us, and how he had a very hard time getting here for over a year

      Our other regular guests, Angel and John from Boston who came with their group of friends

    • How Paul drove them around to some different and off-the-beaten-path places in Puglia and to the Amalfi coast

      Some sights to avoid in Puglia

      How we can customize tours for you when you come visit

      Our friend Matt who also came to visit his husband Chantry at the end of their honeymoon

      Our culinary tour that we had this year

      And our new culinary tour for May 2018.  If you’d like more information, check it out here

      Our friend Daniel Miller and his crew that came to visit

      Paul’s quick vacation to San Diego to see his daughter Nikki

      How he got to go fishing with Nikki and Matt (her fianc?). If you’re in the San Diego area and want to have a great fishing experience, look him up here.

      How Puglia is not great about tasting and wine tours, but quite a few guest this year had really great experiences and the local wineries

      Paul had quick trip to Paris and all the amazing food he had there and brought back, especially the blood sausage

      Paul's love of the food stands and flea markets in Paris

      The group of Hungarians that came to finish off the season

      How Hungarian is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn (a point covered in my 3-Point Thursday Newsletter. Sign up to get it below!)

      The good times to visit us, especially if you are only looking for a room or two

      How great the end of September and October is in Puglia, almost like a second spring

  • 053B: Bonus, Eat Happy Sweepstakes
    Sat, Sep 09, 2017

    If you're seeing this before September 9, 2017, you're in luck and can still enter our amazing Eat Happy Sweepstakes!

    Just click here to enter

    If you're seeing this after the fact, please sign up for our mailing list on the right or below this post so you can be notified when we have another sweepstakes!


    Below is the list of prizes and sales copy if you are interested.

    Win over $700 in Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, food, and cookbooks!

    Prizes include:

    • An autographed copy of Anna Vocino's best selling cookbook Eat Happy  ($34.95)
    • One half-hour phone consultation with star cook Anna Vocino ($150)
    • Two 3L tins of pure Villa Cappelli EVOO ($199.98)
    • One 500mL bottle Villa Cappelli EVOO ($24.99)
    • One 500mL bottle of Organic Villa Cappelli EVOO ($34.99)
    • One jar of Villa Cappelli Bay Leaves ($9.99)
    • One 500mL bottle of Artisinal Red Wine Vinegar ($12.99)
    • Two Villa Cappelli Spaghettata Spicy Spice Blends ($13.98)
    • Two bags of Villa Cappelli 100% Italian Sea Salts ($15.98)
    • Two bags of Villa Cappelli Italian Herb Sea Salts ($17.98)
    • Two bags of Villa Cappelli Italian Lemon Sea Salts ($17.98)
    • One Villa Cappelli Erbe Di Puglia ($6.99)
    • One Villa Cappelli Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Spread ($8.49)
    • One Villa Cappelli  Sun-Dried Tomato Spread ($8.49)
    • One Villa Cappelli  Sun-Dried Tomatoes ($8.49)
    • Four bags of Villa Cappelli "Crack" Fava Chips ($27.96)
    • Bonus recipes from Anna Vocino ($19.99)
    • A free half-hour phone consultation with celebrity fitness trainer, Vinnie Tortorich ($100)

    Why are we doing this?

    Long story short, we are Mom and Pop gals and guys competing against giant food corporations with million dollar budgets.

    This contest helps us reach folks like you and spread the word about quality food and healthy eating.

    What are people saying about us?

    On Villa Cappelli:

    • "I can't go back to using any other olive oil. It's ADDICTING!!!!!" — Nare P.
    • "Best Olive Oil on Planet. I use it on everything as it's so versatile, salads, cooking, baking, roasting, the list goes on!" — Luke T.
    • "I don't think I really understood how good olive oil could be until I had the product from Villa Cappelli.....VC makes a product full of flavor, rich in complexity and full of love." — Diane E.

    On Eat Happy:

    • "This cookbook deserves no less than 5 stars....I wish I could give it more!" — Anzura
    • "I've never been much of a cook until this book. Every recipe works and is sooooo delicious!!!" — Marina B.
    • "A must-have for anyone dealing with autoimmune or mood issues, such as celiac, fibromyalgia, RA, depression, eating disorders" — Jody R.
    Anna Vocino


    Paul Cappelli
    & Steven Crutchfield


    Who we are, in case you didn't know by now....

    Anna Vocino

    When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m an actor, comic, voice overer, blogger, and podcaster.

    Celiac and Gluten Free since 2002, I wrote Eat Happy to recreate gluten free versions of comfort food favorites from my half Italian, half Southern-girl heritage.

    In 2012, I partnered with the inimitable Vinnie Tortorich to co-host and produce The Angriest Trainer Podcast, and my recipes these days are mostly free from sugars and grains—the Vinnie term is NSNG—No Sugars No Grains. I use fresh ingredients whenever possible, and I keep things simple.

    NSNG and cooking has changed my life, so I hope I can help it change yours.

    Paul Cappelli & Steven Crutchfield

    We’ve been hosting, cooking and touring Italy for over 13 years, and like you, we love everything Italian. The food, the culture, the people — all of it.  It really comes down to living life to its fullest, which Italians do every day.

    In a former life, we were both international advertising creatives, creating some award winning famous ads. However, we grew tired of corporate life and Italy was calling.

    So we moved to Puglia, Italy, and created Villa Cappelli, an agriturismo hosting guests from around the world while making Italian food products for people like you.

    We love sharing our love of Italy, and all of our products — all 100% Italian, natural, and delicious — are our way of giving you just a little taste of Italy.

    Remember, just click here to enter.


  • 053: 21 Things Italians Do Better
    Sun, Aug 20, 2017

    What do we think Italians do better than anyone?  Find out in our list below.  But first, a couple of notes.

    While some of you finding this post will read through this as a blog post, please note these are podcast show notes where Paul and Steven discuss their thoughts on the 21 Things Italians Do Better.  So hopefully you’ll listen to the podcast as well, so any nuances come through.

    Also note, when we say Italians, we mean Italians living in Italy.  Not Italian-Americans.  While a lot of these apply to both, this is meant to be our observations of Italians living in Italy.

    So without further ado, here are 21Things Italians Do Better.

    1. Food and Cooking

    21 Things Italians Do Better 2Food is so personal and subjective, steeped in tradition.  So while I’m sure many might argue that there are other amazing national cuisines out there, many would agree Italian food is amazing.

    The secret could be a couple of things.  Most notably, the fact that they eat very seasonally.  Thus the flavors are all very fresh and delicious, at the height of their flavor if you will.

    So with Italian cooking, dishes can actually be very simple. It’s about highlighting the fresh ingredients, not covering up something with a heavy sauce to hide a flavor.

    [Note: In the interest of getting these show notes up, I will follow up on the Caterina d’ Medici information we talked about in the podcast.]

    2.  Fashion

    This can be divided into two parts, one part being the actual designers and one being the fashion of Italians every day.21 Things Italians Do Better 22

    So the designer part is easy, as there are lots of big names in the fashion industry, including Versace, Gucci, Valentino, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana.

    However, the populous as a whole always ascribes to La Bella Figura, or “The Beautiful Figure.”  Meaning that one is always looks and composes oneself to make the best possible impression.

    In our experience, this is very much ingrained in a lot of the Things Italians Do Better InstaItalian people, especially older generations, who will not leave the house without dressing up.

    It’s nice to see so many people with such a sense of style.

    Paul’s mother is a prime example of this. While most of the time she’s sitting around in old clothes in her room watching TV, if company is coming over or we are going out, she definitely gets her bling on.



    3.  They make family a top priority

    There are many examples of this.

    21 Things Italians Do Better 23They will dote over any kid in the room.

    They will never leave a kid with a babysitter, like a neighbor or family friend. They feel that’s just not right to leave them like that.

    Every day (at least in the south), they go home at noon to have lunch with the family.

    And every Sunday, you must eat with all your family.

    They have multigenerational families living together, where the grandparents take care of the kids.

    These are just a few examples, but anyone who’s ever been to any Italians home for Sunday lunch or any special event, sees right away how important family is to every Italian.

    4. Italians are great at showing affection

    Some cultures, well a lot of cultures, have a hard time showing any kind of affection, to family, much less to friends or acquaintances.

    Italians are much more, shall we say, “touchy-feely.”21 Things Italians Do Better 24

    While they won’t run up and give you a kiss or bear hug on a first greeting, after one or two meetings they will expect the kiss-on-the-cheek greeting.

    NOTE:  If you’re coming to Italy always remember, go to the right first!  You will touch your left cheek to their left cheek, then reverse and touch your right to cheek to their right cheek.  Actual kissing or kissing sounds are optional, depending on personal preference.

    Another interesting note for us is how men here have no problem showing affection.  Male fFriends will easily walk arm in arm or put their arm around their male friend at the table.  They have no problem showing affection and don’t think of it as “gay” as say someone might in the states.

    5.  Italian really know how to “take it easy”

    Different but similar to La Dolce VitaDolce Far Niente is the “sweet do-nothing”  or the art of doing nothing.

    21 Things Italians Do Better 25La Dolce Vita is enjoying the life around you — the food, the sunsets, riding on the back of the Vespa with your loved one, etc.

    Dolce Far Niente is defined by Merriam-Webster as pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness.”  Really, it’s just enjoying doing nothing.  Indulging in relaxation and blissful laziness.

    The fact that Italians even have a phrase for this concept shows you just how good they are at doing it.

    Eat Pray Love explains it a bit more:

    6.  No one speaks with passion like Italians

    21 Things Italians Do Better 26Maybe it’s because they are so passionate about life, but Italians are very passionate when they are communicating.

    Doesn’t matter if it’s about politics or the correct driving directions, Italians are very animated when communicating. 

    7. Italians are amazing designers

    Pick up any Italian interior design magazine and you’ll be blown away by the beauty and innovation you see on every page.  It really is breathtaking sometimes.

    Perhaps it comes from a population who truly loves fine art and culture. But from wherever it comes from, Italians do amazing design. 

    It can be argued when it comes to cars, this had dropped off a bit in recent years.

    But in other areas, especially home design, I think they still do amazing stuff.  We have a tray, a simple kitchen tray to carry dishes on, that is amazingly simple, beautiful and totally useful.  As Paul says, “It should be form meets function, not form over function.”

    8.  Italians enjoy meals like no one else

    21 Things Italians Do Better 28Especially in the south, you’ll find a lot of Italians head home every day for lunch and enjoy a big meal with the family.

    But it’s really not just about time with the family or getting out of the midday sun —which are also important.

    For Italians, it really is about enjoying the meal.  Unlike say in the states, where most of the time you are eating for sustenance, because you have to.  Italians sit down and enjoy every single thing on the table.

    You’ll even notice this even with the way a lot of Italians eat.  They won’t load up a plate full of every different item.  Instead, they eat put one item at a time on their plate, enjoy it, then move on to another item.

    It’s all about savoring everything.  Buon appetito!

    9. Italians rule when it comes to coffee

    Coffee is almost so ingrained into the Italian lifestyle that when most people think of Italy, they picture sitting at an Italian cafe having an espresso.21 Things Italians Do Better 27

    Here’s it’s a ritual.  There are “rules.” (No cappuccino after noon. Drink it at the counter or table, not on the go. Etc).

    Many business meetings start with a cup of espresso.  Just about every meal ends with one.  And anytime company comes over, day or night, you always offer them espresso.

    But perhaps it is such a part of their culture because it’s so good.  They might not be grown their own beans, but they certainly know how to roast it and prepare it.

    10.  Nobody cleans house like Italians

    21 Things Italians Do Better 29They hate dust.  They hate dirty clothes.  They hate clutter.

    We have never seen any dust in any home we visit here in Italy.

    If they saw a dirty piece of clothing on the ground, they would pick it up, wash it, iron it, and give it back to you.

    I only wish I had an ounce of the energy they do for housecleaning.

    11.  They appreciate fine art like no one else21 Things Italians Do Better 218

    They study art.  They live in it.  It gives them a deeper understanding and appreciation for it that a lot of other cultures just don’t have.

    This harkens back a bit to the fashion and design points as well.  They just love life and making it beautiful and appreciating it all.

    12.  They are very respectful

    When you first meet a woman, you never refer to her by her first name until she says you can.  Until then, it’s “Signora.”

    As another example, when we were doing reconstruction here and the architect or engineer would show up on-site, the contractors (who honestly probably knew as much about all the engineering stuff as they did) would always address them with their formal titles.  Not by name.

    They are always very very respectful of their elders.  As they should be.  But here, they are the leaders of the family.  They are listened to, respected, and obeyed if necessary.

    13.  Italians are great politicians

    It really comes down to the art of the deal.  Italians are great at working the system.

    When it comes to actually governing, it can easily be debated they are probably not the best.  But if you need to find away to get something done, they can usually find a way around something or work through a friend to help you out.

    As a good Italian friend once told Paul, “You Americans are great a marketing and sales, but when it comes to politics, you don’t know s***.”

    I do believe the multi-party system in government tends to exasperate this trait.  Italians have to compromise to get things done.  With a two party system, things tend to be black and white.  Either you are for this or against it.

    Italians have to navigate the subtleties to get anywhere.

    14.  Italians are also very good about personal hygiene

    21 Things Italians Do Better 210Perhaps the biggest example of this is the bidet.  While Paul states the bidet was invented by Italians in the podcast, a lot of people believe it was an invention of the French in the 17th century.   However, the earliest written reference is in Italy in 1710.

    Either way, Italians are obsessed with them.  I’m actually surprised they can even travel to other countries where you’d be hard-pressed to find one anywhere.


    15.  Italians are passionate lovers21 Things Italians Do Better 211

    Not only are the passionate when they speak, Italians love to love.  Whether being classically romantic or lustfully sexual, they are passionate about love and making love.

    I’ll just leave that one at that.


    21 Things Italians Do Better 21216.   Italians know about anatomy like no one else

    When Italians aren't feeling well, they can tell you where they are hurting and what is probably wrong internally.

    They can name you all the body parts and how they function.

    Not sure why.  Not sure how.  But Italy is a country full of anatomy loving people.

    17. Italians are great drivers

    Some of you are probably thinking, “What?  They are CRAZY drivers!”21 Things Italians Do Better 213

    While they can drive a little “wild,” Italians do know how to drive very well.

    You rarely see or hear of many accidents.

    They obey the passing lane rule on the highway to a fault, never driving in the left-hand lane and only using it for passing.

    While Paul disagrees with me, I believe they are good at parking. They might not always park in the lines so well, but they can parallel park like nobody's business.

    They are also very aware of pedestrians in towns, as people are keen on walking out into the middle of the street, so they have to stop on a dime all the time.

    21 Things Italians Do Better 21418.  No one travels and vacations like Italians

    They usually are traveling at least two or three times a year and are always planning their next trip.

    Paul believes they might not be very adventurous on their trips. For example, they might go to Egypt but stay in a resort the entire time.  So they really aren’t seeing Egypt per se.

    But they do love to explore the world.  I think this still goes back to the deep root of all their culture, where it's all about enjoying life.

    19.  Italians are great about keeping it in the family

    When you talk about stuff that has to with the family, it stays within the family.

    Family secrets remain family secrets.

    Which, on a lighter note, is really troublesome when it comes to getting recipes from some of the ladies in town.

    20. Italians fish like there’s no one’s business21 Things Italians Do Better 215

    This goes along with our #1 point above food, but specifically, Italians really do seafood very very well, especially in the south.

    It’s probably not the first thing you think of when you think of Italian food. I’m sure pizza, pasta, and gelato are first on many people’s minds.  But when it comes to catching and preparing fresh seafood, Italians are amazing at it.

    21 Things Italians Do Better 21621.  No one does drama like Italians

    Just look at Italian mothers.  Or any famous scene around an Italian dinner table. Or any famous Italian opera.

    Paul uses the example of the Addolorata.  The Pained Madonna, who is always dressed in black and has a dagger through her heart.  Because of course that’s how every grieving mother feels when her child passes away before her.  “Like a dagger through her heart.”


    BONUS:  22. Nobody does extra virgin olive oil like Italians

    While Spain might produce more volume, Italian extra virgin olive oil is known all over the world over as being amazing, delicious, and nutritious — the best.
    21 Things Italians Do Better 217

    Obviously, we are biased in this one, but we honestly do believe that.  And if you want to sign up for our free 4 part email course on how to tell if your extra virgin olive oil is really extra virgin, just click here.

    Or to try some of the world’s best extra virgin olive oil, you can always head to our site here.




    What do you think?  Did we miss something that Italians do better?  Let us know in the comments below.

  • 052: Small Town Italian Politics
    Sun, Jul 02, 2017

    In this episode, we catch up with some renovations happening at the villa and Paul’s adventure in local small town Italian politics.

    Topics we cover:

      How we added three new bathrooms upstairs

      How we saved a lot of time and money by using existing sewer pipes instead of adding in new ones and new construction to our first floor

      How Paul loves using Farrow & Ball paints

      Paul’s explanation between dyes and pigments

      Impressionist paintings

      One villa guest who stayed with us, Natvar Bhavsar who used pigments in his painting

      Paul’s adventure in politics

      Three strange rules (strange to us) that exist in Italian elections

      First off there were 290 candidates for 17 city council seats

      One reason is each of the parties, of which there are many, they have to nominate a certain number of people in order to be considered a “list” or a “party”

      All these parties then form coalitions, there were three this election nominating three men for mayor

      The next rule that was strange was the fact that you have two votes for city council, and if you want to use both votes, one has to be for a man and one for a woman

      While understanding the thinking behind this, it seems like a strange law

      In a national election, you are voting for a party, not for a person

      In Italy, people always lament about how people here get jobs not so much based on merit, but on who they know, etc.

      However, when it comes to politics, most people don’t seem to be voting based on merits, but on the fact they are voting for their cousin, or their brother-in-law, or their neighbor, etc.

      The election outcome

      Why the one left wing coalition is not throwing his support behind the other left-wing coalition

      What it will take for Paul’s party to win in the runoff election

      Paul’s speech during the election

      Steven’s surprise in the passion and dedication people showed for a small town election, holding debates and getting very fired up

      How some of the people during the debates were spitting on the other candidates

      How the whole town almost shuts down a few days before the election

      There is a 48 media blackout before the election

      What the incumbents did to win the election

      The results of the election for Paul

      How because there are so many candidates running, a guy who got 2% of the vote got elected to city council

      Why this seems so confusing for us coming from a two party system

      NOTE/UPDATE:  Paul’s party did not win in the runoff election

      Why Paul decided to run

      How Paul uses Facebook to influence the government here

    Some more about Italian politics

    • Italy is run through a Parliamentary Republic with a multi-party system.

    • Italy has been a Parliamentary Republic since June 2, 1946 when the monarchy was abolished

      Executive power is held by the Council of Ministers which is led by a Prime Minister

      Legislative power is held by two house of parliament primarily, and secondarily by the Council of Ministers which can introduce bills and holds the majority of the parliament

      The judiciary is independent of the executive and legislative and headed by the High Council of the Judiciary

    Paul's Speech:

  • 051: The Olives and the Grapes, an interview with Kenny White
    Thu, Apr 13, 2017

    Kenny White — the pianist, singer/songwriter, producer and arranger — has been in the NYC recording scene for decades.  And lucky for us, he recently blessed us with a concert at Villa Cappelli. So we took the time to sit down and get his thoughts on the current music scene, his creative process, and even play a few songs.

    Topics we cover:

    • How Paul and Kenny met in the advertising business
    • The Coke commercial that Paul and Kenny worked on:

    • How Paul wanted a 60 piece orchestra for the spot and Kenny then had to write a piece for 60 pieces which he had never done before
    • How Kenny had to stay up to write the song and miss his wife’s birthday
    • A film had never been filmed at Rockefeller Center before
    • Getting through the bureaucracy is by schmoozing people
    • How people are buying vinyl again
    • Kenny is doing a tour of his latest album Long List of Priors
    • The countries he's toured, including Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England and Italy
    • The title comes from the song “A Road Less Traveled”
    • The song, “The Other Shore”
    • Kenny’s song he wrote when leaving Italy, “The Olive and The Grapes”  Lyrics below:

    The sun made good time today, broke the long night’s tension
    It skied along the cloud tops, ’til it lit the starboard engine
    Doesn’t matter how the coin lands, heads or tails,
    With paradise dissolving into the vapor trails

    Up here, you’d think we’d be much closer to the spot where heaven waits
    No that’s down there, somewhere among the olives and the grapes

    Lost under fedoras, dead smokes and worn out skin
    The men stand at the bar and nod to every person hat walks in
    Already on their 4th cup, the fraternity is clear
    As they laugh at the same jokes they’ve told for 40 years

    I’m leaving with a missing part, the story’s incomplete
    So I’ll make up an ending with fewer bruises and scrapes,
    ‘The boy who traded in the blacktop for the olives and the grapes”

    War has knocked on doors here, spilled its venom in the streets
    And history’s been laid low between enemy drumbeats
    A young girl sits by the water, like so many have before her
    Imagining a life that reaches way beyond her border

    I know that she has planned at least a hundred great escapes
    But she belongs right there among them
    Belongs right there among them
    She belongs right there among the olives and the grapes.

    Kenny White - vocal, piano, Antoine Silverman - string arrangement, Gary Schreiner - accordion, Marty Ballou - bass, Antoine Silverman - violin, Entcho Todorov - violin, Jonathan Dinklage - viola, Anja Wood - cello

    • Which comes first for Kenny, the lyrics or the music when writing music
    • Kenny’s songwriting theory
    • How most music today is about nothing, has no real story
    • Paul believes because music is not political today, it might be holding back political movements and causes
    • The political songs that Kenny has written
    • Why songs aren’t political today
    • The movie “The Last Waltz
    • The picture of the Pope’s visit to NYC where no one is “in the moment”
    • Kenny’s experience with Woodstock
    • Paul’s experience at the Watkins Glen Concert
    • Kenny’s home in Brooklyn, New York
    • Kenny’s experience growing up with a lot of Italian-Americans
    • Kenny having to find someone to guard the stage during the homecoming dance
    • Paul’s experience with music and Coke commercials
    • To buy Kenny’s stuff:

    • Kenny’s song with David Crosby and Peter Wolf
    • Paul’s experience with Joe Cocker

    Did you like our interview with Kenny White?  Any questions for him?  Let us know in the comments.

  • 050: Preparing Asparagus — hunting, buying, and cooking
    Fri, Mar 17, 2017

    In this podcast, you’ll learn all about Paul’s hunt for wild asparagus, some tips on how to cook asparagus, and what to look for when buying it in the store.

    Topics we cover:

      How much wild asparagus Paul as been picking

    Preparing Asparagus2
    Wild Asparagus. Much thinner than the cultivated kind.

      Why Paul goes picking on Thursdays

      Two ways to cook the asparagus

    If you steam them or use a “wet cooking method,” they will taste more “green” and grassy

    While if you roast them or use a “dry cooking method,” they will take more “meaty”

      How you can cook them/steam them very easily in the microwave using the below method:


    Preparing Asparagus Alton

      When Paul worked on microwaves for GE, the best uses for microwaves

      Paul recipe a pasta cooking the wild asparagus with some mussels, garlic, onions, parsley, and tomatoes

      How you pick the wild asparagus, pinching them off a picking them from the fields

      How asparagus goes well with shrimp

      A bit about our KTM chili flakes which contains the Carolina Reaper

      The tomatoes we use for cooking in the winter, a slightly dried hanging tomato

    Preparing Asparagus
    Here are the tomatoes we talk about in the podcast.

      The most amazing bowl of Pasta had in Naples features just tomatoes and basil

      The waiter claimed it was so good because the tomatoes were grown in the volcanic soil

      The way some of the older women make fresh tomato sauce

      Some tips on buying asparagus

    Look for bright green or violet-tinged spears with firm —not limp — stems.

    The tips should be closed and compact.

    Avoid limp asparagus.  Take out a stem from the bunch and see if it is limp.

    Preparting Asparagus FB

      How to store your asparagus when you bring it home — namely placing them in just a bit of water as if they are fresh cut flowers

      But why you should eat it very quickly

      How Paul likes the asparagus with our new Red Wine Vinegar

      The smell associated with asparagus — how some people have it, some can’t detect it, and how they don’t know why it happens

      How food transcends all

      How the last podcast hit a nerve with some people (LINK)

    Bonus asparagus info:

    Preparing Asparagus3
    Another wild asparagus picture. Notice the "thorny bush" it comes from.

    • Asparagus is made up of 93% water.

    • It is low in calories and is very low in sodium.

    • It’s a good source of vitamins and fiber.

    • The white version of asparagus enjoyed in the Netherlands, Spain, France, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Italy, and Switzerland.  The asparagus is covered in soil as they grow to “blanch” them.  Since no photosynthesis starts, the shoots remain white.   It is believed to be less bitter and much more tender.  But honestly, I’m not so sure on that.  I personally like a bright, green asparagus.

    • Hollandaise sauce is a popular sauce to serve with asparagus. Hollandaise is an emulsion of egg yolk and liquid butter with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

    • Asparagus originated in maritime habitats, so it likes soils that are too saline for normal weeds to grow. Thus, a little salt was traditionally used to suppress weeds in beds intended for asparagus. The downside to this is of course that bed couldn’t be used to grow anything else.

  • 049: 15 Strange Things Italians Do
    Wed, Feb 22, 2017

    To start with, this should probably have a major subhead: "15 Strange Things Italians Do that are strange to Americans." Because I'm sure they are not strange to any Italian or even other parts of the world. But to two Americans, these are a few of the weird things we've noticed Italians do.

    Know any others?  Let us know in the comments.  And don't forget to share this with family and friends who might get a kick out of it.

    1. They don't wear seatbelts or use baby seats

    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 9Not sure if this is a macho thing? Or they believe it's safer because you can, I don't know, throw yourself from the car? Whatever the reason, they almost refuse to do it.

    To keep the car from beeping at them, they will either buckle the seatbelt behind them in the car. Or, they will actually carry around an extra buckle, just a buckle with maybe a little strap on it, so they can put that in the latch to stop the car from beeping.

    It is against the law and you will get a ticket if you are stopped, so don't try this when visiting.

    Is this only a southern thing? Small town thing? Let us know in the comments.

    When it comes to the kids, the children will actually sit in mom or dad's lap while they are driving. Sometimes while the parent is also on the phone driving a stick shift.

    We have no rationale for this one. It's just crazy.

    2. They throw litter out of the window of their carItalian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 7

    This is definitely more a southern thing I think than northern. But littering here is just not looked at as a terrible thing like it is in the states.

    I have watched someone literally clean out their car while driving down the road. Reaching down to throw out a plastic bottle, then some papers, etc. When was the last time you EVER saw that in the states?


    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do3. They peel their fruit and vegetables

    You will never see an Italian bite into an apple or pear unpeeled, even if it is washed.  That sucker has to be peeled before it passes those lips!

    The new rule in Italy is that when purchasing fruit in a market, the display has to say if the peel is edible. If it is organic, the peel is edible. I bet they still peel the organic.




    4. Italians will not "drive" in the passing laneItalian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 2

    This is strange to us but it is CORRECT. The passing lane should only be for passing. And while Italians do drive fast and like maniacs, they do strictly adhere to this rule.

    So if you are driving in Italy, don't stick around in the left lane. Pass someone and get back into the right-hand lane. Otherwise, you'll have a lot of Italian drivers honking and flashing their lights at you.



    5. They never go outside with wet hair

    It goes back to colpo d'aria, the thought that a hit of cold air will cause sudden death. OK. Not sudden death, but pretty much every other malady out there. It's also why they won't drive with a window down, hate fans blowing directly on them, and wear scarves in the summer (see #10 below).


    6. When entering a room in someone else's home or a store, they have to say "hello"Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 6

    You might have already greeted them at the gate. Or the room they are entering could be empty with the lights off. And there doesn't have to another person even around. But when they enter the room, they will say, "Buon Giorno" or "

    Or the room they are entering could be empty, with the lights of and not another person even around.

    But when they enter the room, they will say, "Buon Giorno" or "Permisso."

    Polite? I don't know. To an American, it's just weird.


    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 117. They never eat eggs for breakfast

    Today, most Americans probably have more in common with Italians in this regard. Today, American's will grab a bowl of cereal or a cereal bar before running out the door and aren't usually cooking up a batch of eggs.

    However, you will never see an Italian scrambling up some eggs and bacon for breakfast, even on the weekend. Italians are pretty consistent in their concept of breakfast, which usually consists of a coffee and a pastry. That's it.

    Italians are pretty consistent in their concept of breakfast, which usually consists of a coffee and a pastry. That's it.


    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 12

    8. Non-gay Italians of the same sex will walk arm in arm or hand in hand

    Italians are very affectionate and not afraid of physical contact. Male friends will even horse around grabbing each other by the groin.

    It sort of goes back to the whole phrase "Are they gay or just European?" Sometimes, honestly, it can be hard to tell, even with good gaydar.



    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 59. They kiss hello and goodbye

    Strangers, no. But after meeting someone once or twice, you almost always greet them with a kiss.

    Remember, always start on the left cheek. So your left cheek against theirs. Then, move to right cheek against their right cheek. A little crisscross dance if you will.

    Whether you actually touch cheeks, making kissing sounds, or actually kiss each other's cheek is all sort of a personal preference.


    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 1010. They wear scarves all the time

    This goes back a bit to the colpo d'aira thing, as Italians seem to get afflicted all the time with cervicale. As near as we can tell, it's sort of a stiff neck. Or some sort of neck ailment.

    Paul also thinks it's part of national pride thing for them. They must accessorize and be stylish. It's just part of being Italian.


    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 311. They always dress to go out

    You will never, ever see a "people of Walmart" post in Italy. Mainly because there are no Walmarts, but also because they would never be caught dead outside the house in pajamas, torn shirt, sweats, workout clothes, or even a slightly worn t-shirt.

    For the women, this is especially true.

    The guys are obsessive about their shoes, though. Even sneakers. If they buy a new pair of tennis shoes and they come to visit us in the country, if you want to go for a walk they must change their shoes first. A scuff would be a mortal sin.




    12. They cross themselves when they pass a church or anything religiousItalian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 8

    Even in the car when driving by a religious spot, you'll see them make the sign of the cross (head, stomach, shoulder, shoulder) in the car.

    It almost becomes a habitual thing. Like looking both ways before crossing the street.

    Even the atheists. For those, I guess it's a superstitious thing.

    This also goes hand in hand with men having to touch their balls when passing a cemetery or hearse.

    13. They have weird store hours

    Want a 24/7 deli or gas station? Good luck with that.

    Want to pick something up at the store on your way home for lunch? If it's after 1 PM, good luck with that.

    As I've talked about in the past, especially in small towns, everyone goes home for lunch. So from 1-4 PM you won't find much open except the big huge supermarkets or department stores.

    But they also have weird days where everything in town is closed. It's part of a guild system. For example, no restaurant in Terlizzi is open 7 days a week. Not a one. And I believe all but one are closed on Monday, and then that restaurant is closed on Tuesday when the rest reopen.

    Also, on Thursday night, every fruit and vegetable vendor in closed.

    Why doesn't someone break ranks and open on Thursday? They'd make a killing! Maybe that's the greedy American talking, but it is strange to me.

    NOTE: I'm sure this is mostly only in very small towns.

    Paul believes some of the reason for this, besides the guild rules, is that a lot of these shops are Mom and Pop stores and they don't trust anyone else at the register. Some of it also a way to protect their way of life. Everyone wants some time off.

    Italian Travel Culture Strange Things Italians Do 414. They will not eat or drink anything to go

    You will never see an Italian walking down the street with a cup of coffee. You will also never see them driving while eating a sandwich.

    You will never see an Italian walking down the street with a cup of coffee. You will also never see them driving while eating a sandwich.

    Even at a rest stop. They will order their sandwich, then eat it at either the counter or a table in the rest stop.

    15. They always ask you what you had for lunch

    It always comes back to food, doesn't it?

    When a friend stops by for coffee in the afternoon, invariably after a nice "hello" and "how are you doing," they will ask you what you had for lunch.

    It's the strangest thing. Except when someone is talking about an amazing meal they had a restaurant, when have you ever in your life asked someone what they had for lunch?

    Good thing we always take a picture of what we're eating so we can show them!

    So, how'd we do?  Any other strange things Italians do that we missed?  Let us know below in the comments.  And don't forget to share this post with family and friends with the share buttons below.



  • 048: Villa Cappelli Guest Chef
    Sun, Feb 05, 2017

    After a long hiatus, we are back to give you updates on happenings at the villa from record snow storms to our latest guests.  But most importantly, the amazing experience we had — and hope to continue to have — with a guest chef at Villa Cappelli.

    Topics we cover:
    • We hosted our annual Thanksgiving dinner at the villa where we cook the turkeys in the wood burning oven
    • Why Italians love our mashed potatoes
    • Our guest chef Teresa who we had visiting us for a month and half
    • How we started our special international food nights at Villa Cappelli
    • Our Teresa, from Pasadena, California, found us through our friend Hillary
    • How this lead us to want to develop a program at the villa
    • A chef can come and stay at the villa for a week or month or whatever works and help us create these special events
    • If you are interested or know anyone who might be interested, please send them to our Facebook group Villa Cappelli Guest Chef or email us info@villacappelli.com
    • Some of the first special night's drinks included:
    Villa Cappelli Margarita

    Invented in 1941 in Mexico, when one afternoon, a bartender made a special cocktail for Margarita Henkel, the daughter of the German ambassador. Includes tequila, triple sec homemade lime juice, homemade sour mix, salt.

    Villa Cappelli Margarita
    Recipe Type: Drink
    Prep time: 5 mins
    Total time: 5 mins
    Serves: 1 Margarita
    • 2 oz Tequila
    • 1 oz Lime juice
    • 1 oz Cointreau or any orange liquor
    • Salt (optional)
    1. Rub the rim of the glass with the lime slice, then roll in salt so the glass is rimmed with the salt. Fill with ice.
    2. Shake the other ingredients with ice, then pour into your glass. Garnish with a lime slice if you like.


     Brown Derby

    This cocktail inherits its name after the famous hat-shaped Los Angeles diner where it was created. This refreshing drink is made with bourbon, honey, and grapefruit juice.

    Brown Derby
    Recipe Type: Drinks
    Prep time: 2 mins
    Total time: 2 mins
    Serves: 1 drink
    • 1.5 oz Bourbon
    • 1 oz Fresh grapefruit juice
    • .5 oz Honey syrup
    1. Add all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake, and strain into your glass.
    2. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge or twist.

    California Collins

    Mixologist Ryan Fitzgerald created this drink for the San Francisco Slow Food Festival. It's made with lemon verbena or lemon grass, gin, apple juice and soda.

    California Collins
    Recipe Type: Drinks
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time: 5 mins
    Total time: 5 mins
    Serves: 1 drink
    • 8 fresh lemon verbena leaves or one 1 1/2-inch piece of lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, crushed
    • Ice
    • 2 oz gin, preferably Jun?pero
    • 2 oz unfiltered apple juice
    • 1 oz chilled club soda
    1. In a collins glass, gently muddle the lemon verbena leaves or lemongrass bulb. Add ice and the gin and apple juice, then stir well. If using lemongrass, discard the bulb. Stir in the club soda.


    • Some of the first special night's dishes included:
    Croqueta de Prosciutto

    Prosciutto, made from by Paul's cousins in the hills of Pisa, infused in bechamel sauce, then breaded and fried.

    Tartare di carne di cavallo

    Horse meat with lemon, capers from our garden, red onion, roasted peppers, and raw quail egg.

    Soldadito de Pavia

    Fritters of salt cod, potatoes and parsley served with a lemon cream sauce. These "little soldiers" were traditionally served to the sailors to support them during the fighting.

    • Teresa secret for the Soldadito was to use egg whites in the recipe, so they came out nice and fluffy
    • They use bechamel in Italy to make lasagna, but Paul's mother refuses to use that. She uses ricotta instead.
    • How it's difficult to find salt cod in the United States
    • It's a winter dish here in Italy
    • How you can eat salt cod "raw" after soaking it and getting out the salt out
    • What Steven doesn't like about salt cod
    • One of the specials from the second night:
    Funghi a la Plancha

    Grilled mushrooms with chimichurri sauce and fried quail eggs.

    The chimichurri sauce as the key here. Sooooo good!

    • Paul continued with a sushi night
    • How Teresa did an amazing job of using ingredients that were within the Italians taste profile but presented in a totally different way
    • How the Italians really liked the idea of a having a "foreign" chef
    • How someone at one of the nights said in Italian that the food "was not working for her" and how I misunderstood that
    • How Steven is NOT a good waiter
    • What we did for the Christmas holidays
    • Teresa's on New Year's Eve
    • The massive snow storm we've had here this winter
    • How it's one of the coldest winters on record in Italy
    • How a lot of our citrus trees got ruined
    • Our guests the Mangolds and our friends from NYC Kurt & George
    • How we deal with the cold here at the villa

    Cirveche guest chef

    Horse tartar

    Horse Tartar Guest chef


    Paella Guest chef

  • 047: International Nomads Austin and Geneva
    Mon, Dec 05, 2016

    Enjoy our interview with our recent guests 10-year-old Geneva and her father Austin, who are traveling the world together.

    Topics we cover:

    • An introduction to Austin and Geneva who made Villa Cappelli a pit stop on their world tour
    • Austin is single father traveling with his daughter Geneva who is 10 years old
    • The most recent cities they've visited after traveling for a year and a half
    • Whether our not they are in the witness protection program
    • Geneva was born in NY
    • She's been to 31 countries at the ripe old age of 10
    • What her favorite country is (or does she have one?)
    • What Austin's favorite countries are
    • The country that Austin believes everyone should visit (and surprisingly it's NOT Italy).   We should have kicked him out of the villa right then.
    • How Austin decided to home school Geneva a couple of years ago based on the advice of one of her teachers
    • It was difficult in the beginning, but now Geneva works with her father to design her curriculum
    • Austin really wants her to be curious and to know herself
    • If you are interested, here are a couple of resource sites for homeschooling:



    • How homeschooling helps you really get to know your child and their strengths of weaknesses
    • How Austin and Geneva got to be a part of our harvest tour for 2016 and help us pick olives
    •  Why Austin decided to have Geneva as a single parent
    •  The process Austin went through, from surrogacy and more, in order to have Geneva
    • And how Geneva's mother was actually Austin's French teacher
    • How money wasn't really fulfilling him and why he decided to have Geneva
    • Austin's philosophy of people on the color spectrum
    • How they talked about changing their last names, and Austin's was Frost and Geneva's was Bagel, which she based on being a name that was used to pick on her in school
    • What it's like for Geneva being the child of a gay father
    • Does she feel like anything is missing?
    • How Geneva has become a little sister to Casey
    • The difference between staying at a five-star hotel where no one is talking to each other and staying a Motel 6 where all the guests have BBQs together
    • Austin's revelation in when he went for a walk at night and saw a bunch of people in their giant homes
    • If travel is part of Geneva's education
    • Austin wanted Geneva to see America is not just "it"
    • Where Austin and Geneva's home is
    • How in America you normally live in stand alone homes, but in Europe and especially Italy, where a majority of people live in apartment buildings, closer together and know their neighbors
    • How Italians live at home with their families until they get married
    • Whether Geneva would rather be traveling or settled down in a big home, aka "having the American" dream
    • Where Geneva feels her home is, everywhere and wherever her dad is
    • If you can save $10 a day, you'll have $1200 after 3 months, so you save
    • How much more fun Austin and Geneva have had on their most recent trip with a smaller budget

    Follow Austin and Geneva on Facebook at PeterTink.

    Follow them on Instagram here at https://www.instagram.com/2nomadic/


    Here's the Pinky and the Brain opening video we mentioned.

  • 046: The Best Italian Culinary Tour
    Sat, Oct 22, 2016

    There are all kinds of Italian Culinary Tours, but we like to think ours is pretty special — that's why I can say "best" because it's ours. So Paul and I fire up the mics to talk about our Culture and Culinary Tour (better name perhaps to be determined).

    Topics we cover:

    • How busy we've been
    • Two podcast fans, Tom and Mary Deany, stayed with us recently
    • How Paul hasn't changed to his winter drink yet
    • Planting our winter garden
    • Including a Carolina Reaper
    • Paul going crazy foraging for mushrooms
    • Paul took a selfie while foraging with his new friend

    What's that over my head on the rocks??? #puglia #villacappelli #gotyourgoat #altamurgia

    A photo posted by Italian Lifestyle Gurus (@villacappelli) on Oct 14, 2016 at 7:11am PDT


    • For more information on our culinary tour (our discussion is listed below) head here. You can sign up for our email list to get more information when we have it available.
    • If you have a good name for our Culture and Culinary tour, contact us.
    • The itinerary:


    • Arrival. Welcome lunch, dinner, and orientation.
    • As well as a limoncello lesson.


    • Foraging for vegetables and Castel del Monte.
    • Lunch at a nice seafood restaurant.
    • Pasta making class that night at the villa. We always make ravioli as we can have fun with the filling. This year Paul made one with peach, walnuts, and ricotta, trying to mimic the flavors of a pasta we had in Florence years and years ago.
    • Since the pasta has to dry, we have dinner in Terlizzi.


    • Food shopping with Paul in Terlizzi, visiting all his favorite vegetable, meat, bread, and cheese vendors.
    • Including a horse butcher shop.
    • Lunch/cooking class back at the villa
    • Dinner/cooking class that night at the villa with the food purchased that morning.


    • Alberobello
    • Polignano a Mare
    • Lunch at Grotta Palazzese, one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world with also very delicious food
    • A light dinner at the villa since it's a big lunch at Grotta Palezzese
    • We should mention that there is a Happy Hour included every night before dinner as well


    • Bisceglie. Shopping at the local fish market.
    • Lunch/cooking class back at the villa
    • Jatta museum in Ruvo di Puglia that afternoon
    • Being as ancient necropolis, Ruvo actually supplies many of the Grecian urns in museums throughout the world
    • Dinner in Terlizzi


    • Trani. Tour this beautiful seaside town and it's famous cathedral.
    • Canne della Battaglia, where Hannibal defeated the Roman army during the Second Punic War
    • Video of how Hannibal defeated the Roman
    • Light dinner at the villa


    • Matera. A beautifully preserved town that was recently chosen as the Culture Capital of Europe for 2019. The oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
    • We do this tour during the day, but Paul and I just went to Matera at night and highly recommend visiting it then as well.
    • Lunch at Matera.
    • Finish the limoncello making lesson, seeing the final process. Then everyone gets to take home their own bottle of limoncello and a Villa Cappelli apron
    • Then we have a pizza party at the villa that night. We make our own pizzas in our pizza oven and everyone gets to take turns rolling out their own pizza dough and making their own pizzas.

    Again, for more information on this tour, go livingvillacappelli.com/culinarytour

    Any questions or comments on our Italian Culinary Tour?  Please leave us a note in the comments.





  • 045: Non Stereotypical Italian Music with Michael Hynes
    Mon, Sep 05, 2016

    At Villa Cappelli, we often surround ourselves with stereotypical Italian music like pizzica or Neopolitan classics, but when guest Michael Hynes visited, we were entertained with the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel and more!  It was another magical moment with our guests, and hopefully, the podcast captures even just a little bit of that.

    Topics we cover:
    • How guests surprise us with their talents here at Villa Cappelli, including our latest guest from Australia, Michael Hynes
    • How Steven has never tried Vegemite
    • What Vegemite is actually like
    • How we "discovered" Michael talent at the piano
    • How Michael can easily memorize the songs, but is slower in memorizing the lyrics
    • Paul's favorite song from his Catholic Confirmation (and yes, he really does sing in during the episode)
    • Michael is a human jukebox, knowing over 500 songs!!!
    • How Steven couldn't memorize a song for the life of him during high school band
    • Michael doesn't consider himself a genius, but the writers of the songs are the geniuses
    • How we got our piano at Villa Cappelli, especially since neither Paul nor Steven play
    • Other guests have also just sat down at the piano and started playing
    • Mike plays Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

    Here is  Leonard's version, but dare I say I like Michael's better?

    Here are the lyrics for those die-hard fans:

    Now I've heard there was a secret chord
    That David played, and it pleased the Lord
    But you don't really care for music, do you?
    It goes like this
    The fourth, the fifth
    The minor fall, the major lift
    The baffled king composing Hallelujah


    Your faith was strong but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
    She tied you to a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
    And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    You say I took the name in vain
    I don't even know the name
    But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
    There's a blaze of light
    In every word
    It doesn't matter which you heard
    The holy or the broken Hallelujah

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    I did my best, it wasn't much
    I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
    I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
    And even though it all went wrong
    I'll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    • The pianos that Michael has at home
    • Michael's whole family is musically inclined
    • The amazing organ in the Terlizzi cathedral
    • The day of shopping Paul and Michael did
    • Steven's theory on why some Italian Americans call pasta sauce "gravy"
    • How the Italians and Irish never got along, until....
    • Some Australian slang
    • A little about the cockney rhyming slang
    • Michael sings a bit of "I get no kick from champagne"
    • A bit about songwriters and how songwriters and lyrists work together
    • The mural discovered in Terlizzi showing the story of Joseph and his multi-colored coat
    • Paul's experience seeing an Elton John concert
    • Michael sings "Candle in the wind"

    Goodbye Norma Jean
    Though I never knew you at all
    You had the grace to hold yourself
    While those around you crawled
    They crawled out of the woodwork
    And they whispered into your brain
    They set you on the treadmill
    And they made you change your name

    And it seems to me you lived your life
    Like a candle in the wind
    Never knowing who to cling to
    When the rain set in
    And I would have liked to have known you
    But I was just a kid
    Your candle burned out long before
    Your legend ever did

    Loneliness was tough
    The toughest role you ever played
    Hollywood created a superstar
    And pain was the price you paid
    Even when you died
    Oh the press still hounded you
    All the papers had to say
    Was that Marilyn was found in the nude

    Goodbye Norma Jean
    From the young man in the 22nd row
    Who sees you as something as more than sexual
    More than just our Marilyn Monroe

    Written by Bernie Taupin, Elton John • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

    • Why Paul believes that song has done more for Marilyn's legend than anything else
    • The famous castrato from Terlizzi
    • Three of Paul's most memorable concerts
      • 1. Three Dog Night
        • And Michael sings a bit of "Joy to the World (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog)"
      • 2. Watkins Glen Racetrack with 700,000 people
      • Billy Joel at Carnegie Hall
        • A Michael sings "New York State of Mind"

    Some folks like to get away
    Take a holiday from the neighborhood
    Hop a flight to Miami Beach
    Or to Hollywood
    But I'm taking a Greyhound
    On the Hudson River Line
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    I've seen all the movie stars
    In their fancy cars and their limousines
    Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens
    But I know what I'm needing
    And I don't want to waste more time
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    It was so easy living day by day
    Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
    But now I need a little give and take
    The New York Times, The Daily News

    It comes down to reality
    And it's fine with me 'cause I've let it slide
    Don't care if it's Chinatown or on Riverside
    I don't have any reasons
    I've left them all behind
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    It was so easy living day by day
    Out of touch with the rhythm and blues
    But now I need a little give and take
    The New York Times, The Daily News

    It comes down to reality
    And it's fine with me 'cause I've let it slide
    Don't care if it's Chinatown or on Riverside
    I don't have any reasons
    I've left them all behind
    I'm in a New York state of mind

    I'm just taking a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line
    'Cause I'm in a New York state of mind

    • And finally, Michaels sings us out with "Somebody to love"

    Can anybody find me somebody to love?

    Each morning I get up I die a little
    Can barely stand on my feet
    (take a look at yourself)
    Take a look in the mirror and cry
    Lord, what you're doing to me

    I have spent all my years in believing you
    But I just can't get no relief, Lord!
    Somebody, somebody
    Can anybody find me somebody to love?

    I work hard (he works hard) every day of my life
    I work 'til I ache my bones
    At the end (at the end of the day) I take home my hard-earned pay all on my own

    I get down (down) on my knees (knees)
    And I start to pray (praise the Lord)
    'Til the tears run down from my eyes
    Lord, somebody, somebody (please)
    Can anybody find me somebody to love?

    (he works hard) everyday (everyday)
    I try, and I try, and I try

    But everybody wants to put me down
    They say I'm goin' crazy
    They say I got a lot of water in my brain
    I got no common sense
    I got nobody left to believe in
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

    Oh, Lord
    Somebody, somebody
    Can anybody find me somebody to love?
    (Can anybody find me someone to love)

    Got no feel, I got no rhythm
    I just keep losing my beat (you just keep losing and losing)
    I'm OK, I'm alright (he's alright, he's alright)
    I ain't gonna face no defeat
    I just gotta get out of this prison cell
    One day (someday) I'm gonna be free, Lord!

    Find me somebody to love [repeat]

    Can anybody find me somebody to love?

    Some pics of Michael and Tanya during their stay with us:


    Stereotypical Italian Music Stereotypical Italian Music Stereotypical Italian Music  What did you think of our non stereotypical Italian music?  Let us know in the comments.



  • 044: The Amalfi Coastline
    Mon, Jul 25, 2016

    Join us on a trip to the Amalfi Coastline, arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Learn what we think were definitely the highlights you shouldn't miss.

    Topics we cover:

    • It was Paul's birthday recently. So we talk about how you used to not be able to sing Happy Birthday on any television show or movie without paying royalties. Though we are not sure that is true any more. Anyone know for sure? Let us know in the comments.
    • How we made very good time traveling from Villa Cappelli to Amafi, even taking a scenic tour
    • How inexpensive it can be to rent a car in Italy, especially if you are an Italian citizen
    • AutoEurope is the site Paul used to rent the car
    • Paul thinks you should get an international license when coming to Italy and renting a car. Here's one site for that.
    • How we met our friend ???? there to took us all around. It always helps to find a local who can show you around.
    • The driving conditions in Amafi
    • The Emerald Grotto
    • The amazing ceramics shop we visited right across from the caves
    • The big beautiful tables and other vases
    • Our lunch in Priaino, a big beautiful cove where you can eat right on the water
    • The restaurants we ate at in Amafi were good even though it was touristy places
    • How the kid next to us at lunch was eating spaghetti and meatballs which we talk about  this in another podcast and how it is a bit "don't" in Italy
    • How the restaurants there will cater to the tastes of their clientele without really teaching them about the Italian culture
    • The large buses on the winding roads
    • How there are a lot fewer cars on the road at night
    • That night we went to see the procession of Saint Andrew
      • This link will give your more info on him, but here's the gist: He was probably the brother of Simon Peter. They were both fishermen (so I did see him holding a fishing net), thus the tradition that when Jesus called them to be his disciples, he said he would make them "fisher of men"
    • How Amafi is a member of the four Maritime Republics — Pisa, Genoa, Venice, Amafi
    • The size of the procession compared to ours in August
    • How the priests had to carry down the statute down the steep stairs
    • Why the saints are only the busts
    • How they set off cannon shots during the procession which can be pretty dang surprising
    • Our dinner of fried fish, Neapolitan pizza, and vodka — the vodka being half the cost of the meal
    • The fireworks of the festival
    • Furore where our hotel La Locanda del Furore was
    • How we feel we compare to the tourism in Amafi
    • How the Amafi coast is probably not for the physically challenged
    • Renting a boat and seeing the coast from a boat and just how beautiful it is
    • We highly recommending renting a boat when you are there to see the coast from the water
    • How you steer away from Amafi during July and August
    • Ravello, one of the most beautiful and amazing spots
    • How Paul realizes he actually was in Amafi years ago
    • The Villa Cimbrone gardens with a terrace 390m or 1,300 ft. high with amazing views
    • How the gardens are so beautiful in Amafi
    • How beautiful the town of Ravello was
    • The amazing horizon pools in Amafi
    • How a trip like this can inspire you to improve your own space
    • The restaurant where we ate lunch on our final day which you can only get to by boat
    • How the Amafi coast reminded of us mix of the south of France and the Greek islands
    • The Monastero Santa Rosa.  I mentioned in the podcast I would scan some photos, but actually their website does an amazing job with a photo tour here.
    • Where the nuns would get mummified back in the day
    • How Steven forgets that outside of Puglia, especially in touristy places like Amafi, others speak English
    • How the radio actually had a segment called "English is the future" and taught listeners English through the song Killing Me Softly

    Steven enjoying the boat ride

    Amalfi CoastlinePaul relaxing in the boat

    Amalfi Coastline

    Paul taking a dip in the blue water
    Amalfi Coastline

    The church in Amalfi

    Amalfi CoastlineThe procession of Saint Andrew

    Amalfi CoastlineThe view from Ravello

    Amalfi CoastlineVilla Cimbrone gardens

    Amalfi Coastline Amalfi CoastlineGetting cheeky in the gardens

    Amalfi CoastlineOur final lunch right on the water

    Amalfi Coastline


    Here's Paul going Facebook Live during the podcast:

    So what'd you think of our trip to the Amalfi Coastline?  What did we miss?  Anything you really want to see?  Let us know in the comments.

  • 043: Eat Happy with Anna Vocino
    Fri, Jul 15, 2016

    Anna joins us again for another fun podcast, featuring an amazing day of food shopping with Paul, a delicious lunch, and a fun discussion about her new cookbook Eat Happy.

    Topics we cover:
    • How Anna's last name is ironic. It translates to "little voice" yet she is a voice over talent.
    • Anna's mission to find stracciatella (more info below)
    • How cheese shops are call caseificio and why
    • The cheese grater also has name based on a similar base
    • The local dialect is influencedd by the different cultures that have all been in the area and thus is also a history of the area
    • The two biggest influences to the local Terlizzi dialect are French and Arabic
    • How areas near Lecce have a more Greek influenced dialect
    • How the local dialects were all spoken languages, no written languages
    • What Paul and Anna did all day, shopping and enjoying Aperol Spritz (recipe here)
    • How it is mandatory to have a gluten-free section in Italian supermarkets
    • Our lunch, which included steamed mussels, and Paul's "recipe" for the mussels
    • Our lunch also included raw tuna and salmon sashimi
    • The Facebook Live video we shot during lunch

    • The difference between an aperitif and digestif
    • How Italians want to drink with a purpose, not just drink to get drunk
    • Anna's new cookbook Eat Happy: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Low Carb Recipes For A Joyful Life
    • How the cookbook came about
    • How long it took Anna to make the cookboo
    • The struggles Anna went through
    • How Anna tested and retested every recipe
    • How magazine recipes aren't really tested a lot
    • Taking pictures of recipes for a cookbook
    • How Italians hate cilantro
    • How recipes evolve and are guidelines, not rule books; you can adjust them to your own tastes
    • How even different kinds of salts can affect a recipe and should be adjusted to your taste
    • Our red wine infused sea salt
    • What real balsamic vinegar really is
    • How the other "balsamic" can be used to make salad dressing, but not the real stuff
    • A quick explanation on how they make balsamic vinegar
    • Why Italians hate Bloody Mary
    • Our favorite Bloody Mary Mix, Bob's No Problem
    • Anna's favorite recipes

    - Anything with zucchini noodles made with Paderno spiralizer

    - Butternut squash cauliflower rice

    - Low-carb pizza crust

    - Pistachio crusted salmon

    - Sausage zucchini bake

    - Bacon broccoli

    • Cooking seasonally
    • Our Red Onion Jam
    • Paul and Anna's shopping, where they also bought:

    - Napoli salumi with peppercorns

    - Some spicy Calabrese salumi

    - Mortadella, how big and delicious it is in Italy

    • How Paul hates bologna or baloney



    More on Stracciatella

    Eat_Happy_stracciatellaOtherwise known as heaven on Earth at Villa Cappelli, it's a fresh cheese produced in Puglia using a stretching and shredding method. Thus the name which means "little shreds."

    The way it was explained to me at one point is that it's the same as mozzarella before it becomes mozzarella. Meaning, the curds aren't worked quite as much.

    After the shreds are made, they are mixed with cream. It's amaze balls. A creamy, smooth, delicious bite of heaven.

    This is also the same cheese you find in the center of burrata, which is essentially stracciatella wrapped in mozzarella. So when you cut into the big ball of mozzarella, the stracciatella and cream ooze out. Also to die for, but for me, why not just enjoy the star of the dish on its own!




  • 042: Orecchiette with broccoli rabe
    Sun, Jun 26, 2016

    Orecchiette with broccoli rabe is one of the signature dishes in Puglia. In this podcast, Paul and I are joined by Anna Vocino as we talk all about this amazing dish.

    Topics we cover:

    • How long it's been since Anna's last visit in person
    • How Paul and I are getting married now that gay marriage is recognized in Italy
    • The different versions and spelling so broccoli rabe
      • For the record, it's spelled rabe, or raab, and sometimes called rapini.
      • In Puglia, it's called cime di rape (roughly translate to turnip tops)
    • We discuss more of the broccoli rabe characteristics, which I cover more in detail below
    • In northern Italy, they will throw away the little "heads" of the broccoli rabe and eat only the leaves
    • In some places in southern Italy, they will throw away the leaves and each only the "heads"
    • We eat everything
    • What exactly caper berries are and where they come from
      • Essentially, a caper is a small bud on a caper bush. You pick these buds before they flower and preserve them to have capers
      • If you don't pick the capers, they turn into beautiful flowers and the pistol becomes caper berries
    • We pickle them to use in our martinis
    • How you will never go hungry in southern Italy as you can find all kinds of food growing wild
    • Paul's memory of all the older Italians going out into the fields and picking wild greens, like wild baby fennel and chicory
    • How broccoli rabe is one of the most nutrient dense foods (again, more info below)
    • If you are going to pick wild greens, you need to look for uncontaminated areas (i.e. free of herbicides)
    • Orecchiette pasta
      • Called this because they look like little ears which is a direct translation of the name
      • It has a different name in the location dialect
      • The difficultly it making the pasta
      • But when you make a mistake in making an orecchiette, it becomes cavatelli
    • Paul's technique for making orecchiette with broccoli rabe (video below):
      • Take your clean broccoli rabe and put into boiling water
      • After you cook the broccoli rabe for about 10 minutes, you then add the orecchiette into the same pot
      • When the pasta is cooked, you take it all out of the water and top with a mixture of garlic, anchovies and extra virgin olive oil
    • How oreccheitte with sausage and broccoli rabe is not really very traditional in southern Italy mainly because meat was not always available
    • Steven's technique for making orecchiette with broccoli rabe, which gets rid of the bitterness of the broccolli rabe:
      • Boil the broccolli rabe as in Paul's version, but remove from the water after five minutes (your are blanching them)
      • Then add them to another pot with the extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic and anchovies. Saut? that the create your sauce.
      • Cook the pasta separately and combine
    • How most Americans are not used to cooking with anchovies
    • How ancient Romans used garum (fermented fish guts) to season their food
    • The cookbook we mention on the show is Cooking Apicius
    • A rather explicit story of Marlon Brandon
    • Portnoy's Complaint is the other explicit book Paul mentions on the podcast
    • Anna's recipe for the broccolli rabe:
      • Ann shaves the bottom the stems to make them more tender
      • Paul says the easier way to to this is to cut a cross into the stems to make sure they open up and cook
      • After washing off the broccoli rabe, she throws it into a pot with extra virgin olive oil and garlic (not rinsing the broccoli too much as you want the water — cover it, which steams the broccoli and after the water has evaporated the garlic caramelizes and helps take the edge of the brocolli rabe
    • How you appreciate bitterness the older you get
    • For example, Paul never used to like cipaduzze, or wild hyacinth bulbs, but now loves them
      • They are very, very bitter and grow very deep in the ground
      • You usually boil them, then squish them, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and salt
    • How they grow the cipaduzze now


    Orecchiette with broccoli rabeIt's a traditional Puglia pasta whose name translates to "little ears" though the shape, as you can see, is more like little hats.

    Not only it is good with broccoli rabe, but the shape is great with ragu and hearty meat sauces to help scoop up the sauce.

    Broccoli rabe

    Also spelled raab, and sometimes called rapini or broccoletti. In Puglia, it's called cime di rape.Orecchiette with broccoli rabe

    It is a cool season crop, so you find it in late fall, winter and maybe early spring. In the states you can probably find it all year round, but really, the flavor is best during winter.

    It features broccoli-like tiny flowerheads that look like tiny broccoli heads, but don't get as big. All parts are edible, including the stems, leaves and flowheads.

    It can have a very bitter, spicy and peppery flavor. But it does mellow out once cooked, and if blanched can almost be eliminated.

    Boccoli rabe is also one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. 3.5 ounces provides half your daily requirement of vitamins A and C. It's also a good source of folate, potassium, fiber, and calcium. Full of Phyto-nutrients and antioxidants, which do all the good thins antioxidants do, like protect you from cancer, lessen inflammation, and more.

    Anna's site again: www.annavocino.com

    And we talk with her in other episodes: 038: Is there Italian food without pasta? and 037: Eating gluten-free in Italy with Anna Vocino

  • 041: Fighting big drug companies with Celebrity Trainer Vinnie Tortorich
    Mon, Jun 13, 2016

    We talk with Italian-American trainer to the stars, Vinnie Tortorich, about his life growing up in an Italian family in Louisiana, his NSNG lifestyle and his new Pure Vitamin Club. WARNING: This episode is not family friendly. Any young ones should probably not listen.

    A little intro to Vinnie:

    He's Hollywood's go-to guy when it comes to health and fitness. A true celebrity fitness trainer. (He's the guy training all those celebrities to look good on film and television)

    He's also the host of a hugely successful podcast with Anna Vocino where he dishes out health and fitness advice. He created the No Sugar, No Grain (NSNG) movement and thereby simplified healthy eating in one fell swoop.

    He has written a best selling fitness book called Fitness Confidential, which to give you a quick reader's digest of the book, talks about how Vinnie beat cancer many years ago and along the way gives you an inside look at the corrupt world of fitness and fitness products. The book, as of this recording, has 1078 reviews on Amazon, which is unheard of!

    Topics we cover:

    • Why Vinnie doesn't like Jillian Michaels
    • Why Vinnie says he's not a "celebrity" on television
    • How Paul worked with Bob Harper
    • Why Steven loved Vinnie's book Fitness Confidential
    • All our experiences with podcasting
    • Here's a link to Vinnie's Podcast
    • Vinnie's Italian background
    • The food Vinnie grew up in Louisiana
    • Why Paul used to get beat up every day when he first moved to America
    • How the first Italian immigrants to America landed in Louisiana
    • Why perhaps some immigrants moved to places like Buffalo
    • How Vinnie heard the mafia was created
    • And how Paul heard the mafia was created
    • Paul's Uncle's theory on why perhaps the African American community didn't progress as fast other ethnicities, which has to do with the mafia
    • How Vinnie grew up with a lot of Beyonces
    • How Vinnie's grandparents lived in slave quarters in his best friend's grandparent's farm
    • A story of a former friend of ours that leaves Vinnie speechless
    • Vinnie's rant about podcasts and podcasting
    • How Paul would get press back in the day
    • Vinnie's take on the difference between prostitution and pornography
    • How no one can you in Italy whether prostitution is legal or illegal
    • How Italian men think it's OK for them to cheat but not for a woman to cheat on them and why
    • How Vinnie's girlfriend Serena Scott-Thomas was a Bond girl, one of the oldest when she did made the film The World Is Not Enough
    • Serena's most recent film, Inherent Vice, where her picture ended up in the LA Times)
    • The new segments we want keep doing featuring Paul's mother
    • The latest recipe featuring horse meat
    • How the recipes are always so simple
    • How Vinnie ate a lot of rabbit when he was young
    • How Vinnie's grandmother always still found pellets after Vinnie cleaned the rabbits he was hunting
    • How Paul's mother makes her ragu
    • Why Vinnie created a new kind of vitamin
    • Why Paul believes the hardest part of selling a pure vitamin or a pure extra virgin olive oil is educating consumers to understand that the other products are all cut with cheap fillers so the big companies can make money
    • How David Ogilvy changed the way companies talked to their customers
    • How Steven has lost 30 lbs. eating Vinnie's NSNG diet

    What'd you think of the interview? Any questions or comments for Vinnie or us? Leave them in the comments below. Grazie!

  • 040: Ghosts and Gay Weddings in Italy
    Fri, Jun 03, 2016

    After and short break, we are back with a new podcast covering everything from our haunted villa in Puglia to our first gay wedding in Italy at Villa Cappelli.

    Here are some of the topics we cover:

    • How our first guest of the season, Bud and Pam, where actually fans of the podcast
    • Out guests that week, Penelope and Whitney, who didn't know Bud and Pam, actually ended not only being from the same town but living very near each other.
    • Both Bud and Whitney were former military and Bud actually uses to work for Whitney's cousin
    • Why Steven thinks the villa is magic, bringing the right people to the villa whenever we need them, including:
      • A wrist surgeon after I broke my wrist
      • A chef who directly me to a program for our FDA inspection
      • Elizabeth (from episode 15 here: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/15/) connecting with her family
      • And the one I forgot on the podcast, a trademark lawyer when we were having a trademark dispute with another another oil producer
    • The study of grounding and why we think people sleep so well at the villa
      • I didn't get into this too much on the episode, but did a bit of research after and will probably do a blog post on this later.
      • Basically, the theory is we should come regularly into contact with the Earth, a “grounding” force. It supposed helps balance out and or negate all the positive electrons, i.e. free radicals, that are building up in our bodies. Those pesky free radicals again!
      • With all the electromagnetic waves these days, we have a high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies.
      • The practice of earthing (or I've heard the term grounding used interchangeably)  involves touching the Earth’s surface energy by walking, sitting or sleeping outside in direct contact with the Earth or using a using something like this Earthing mat to help negate all those free radicals which supposedly reduces inflammation, stress, anxiety and depression.
      • This may be one theory as to why folks sleep so well at Villa Cappelli. Not only are they surrounded by and in direct contact with nature during the day, but at night in the old rooms, they come more into contact with Earthing materials.
      • The nice quiet country life probably doesn't hurt either.
    • The reason we believe the villa is slightly haunted, mostly revolving a "ghost story" told by Paul's son Logan
    • Paul wonders why people are afraid of ghosts, so Steven explains poltergeist
    • The other magical moment this week at Villa Cappelli, our first gay wedding
    • We walk you through the amazing day we had with the wedding
    • The coolest cake topping you've ever seen

    Here are some pictures and videos from the wedding.

    At the ceremony

    Gay weddings in Italy

     Exchanging the rings
    Gay weddings in ItalyThe courtyard food fest
    Gay weddings in ItalyAnother angle of the courtyard food fest
    Gay weddings in ItalyThe dinning room
    Gay weddings in ItalyThe happy couple at dinner

    Gay weddings in Italy

    As promised, here's a picture of orecchiette

     Gay Weddings in Italy





    And here's cavatelli

    Gay Weddings in Italy





    So that's our take on the magic of the villa with ghosts and gay weddings in Italy.  Did you like the pictures of the ceremony?  Any thoughts?  Just let us know in the comments!

  • 039: One of the best authentic Italian meals ever
    Sat, Apr 30, 2016

    Antichi Sopori is definitely serves one of the best authenticItalian meals ever — really one of the best meals ever period.

    And, to be perfectly honest, I use the word "authentic" mostlyfor Google. Because, while these dishes are spectacular, the cheftakes traditional Italian foods and refines and redefines them tocreate totally original tasty little morsels.  In other words,while the dishes could have originally come from your grandmother'skitchen, these particular dishes are probably something no Italiangrandmother would make.  Certainly not Mama Cappelli.

    A majority of their ingredients for each dish come from theirlarge garden a few meters away from the restaurant.  So it isa nice, heavy vegetarian meal (until you get to the meat course, ofcourse).

    The head chef, Pietro Zito, couldn't be a nicer guy and hisstaff really is top quality.  The waiters know everythingabout the menu and every dish, while also serving everything with aflourish and a smile.

    Hopefully the pictures and descriptions along with the podcastgive you at least a taste of the amazing meal you can have whenvisiting.

    A little wine to start off the meal

    Authentic Italian mealsYou'll see a bottle of their extra virgin olive oilalso in the background.

    Baby fresh fava beans

    Authentic Italian Meals

    Served in a light sauce of lemon and oil.

    Cheese antipasti

    Authentic Italian mealsClockwise starting at the top: Dried sausage. Ricottawith candied celery. Pecorino with candied carrots. Caciocavallowith candied onions. Capicola with pickled broccoli spears.

    Vegetable antipasti

    Authentic Italian mealsClockwise starting at the top: an artichoke cooked"old-style" with cheese inside; a frittata made from fresh babygreens; kale stuffed with ricotta and squash


    authentic Italian mealsGrilled baby artichokes on a bed of mashedpotatoes

    Onions Gratine

    authentic Italian mealsOnions covered with breadcrumbs and cheese and bakeduntil brown.


    authentic Italian mealsFoccacia made with Senator Cappelli grain (the samegrain as our pasta)

    Sheep's milk cheese with fresh fava beans

    Authentic Italian mealsThecheese literally melted in your mouth and paired with the tart favabeans the combinations was blow-away


    authentic Italian mealsAsquare spaghetti-like pasta with a sauce of brazed scallions,brazed tomatoes, and smoked sausage

    The scarpetta

    Authentic Italian mealsRemember, bread is not there to fill you up beforeyour meal! Italians use bread to mop up any sauce left after thepasta is gone. Literally it means "little shoe" I guess because itlooks like you are making a little shoe move across your plate?I'll have research that name...


    authentic Italian mealsOrecchiette (or little ears) a very traditional pastain Puglia made from grano arso with a wild broccoli rape. Be sureto listen to Paul's explanation of what grano arso is and why it'scalled tat. It's at around the 11 minute mark.

    Note this is not the exact pasta we had.  It's the samepasta, but a different sauce.  But I wanted to show you thisdish so you could see the style of pasta


    authentic Italian mealsPolignano a Mare carrots and fennel

    Fresh fava beans

    authentic Italian mealsStraight from the restaurant's garden

    Lamb with roasted potatoes

    authentic Italian mealsRoasted lamb thigh. This melted in your mouth. One ofthe best lambs I've ever had.

    The lamb with gravy

    Authentic Italian MealsThegravy was almost as good as the lamb itself. This dish wassomething I'd love to perfect at home. I think that's a challengeto myself!

    Pork steak

    Authentic Italian MealsThismelted in your mouth, too. I mean. I was dying. This was so good.To be honest, their meat dishes have never been the highlight oftheir meals, but they really stepped up their game with these two.I would go back just for this. And I LOVED everything else. Butseriously. I hope these become standard on the menu!

    Cassata (sort of)

    authentic Italian mealsSponge cake soaked in either fruit juice or liquor,later with ricotta cheese and then a thin shell of chocolate withchocolate sauce drizzled on top.

    This is, again, more their take on a traditional cassata so Iuse that term loosely. But whatever it's called, it'sdelicious.

    After-dinner drinks

    Authentic Italian mealsNocino and limoncello with some sugar-coated almonds.Want to make your own limoncello, check out our recipe here. Trustme. It's so much better.

    Here's where you'll find our "Crack" Almonds: Sugar.  Like the ones yousee pictured here.

    Baba a rum

    authentic Italian mealsAsmall spongy cake soaked in rum served with cream.

    Deconstructed Tiramisu

    authentic Italian mealsLadyfingers dipped in coffee later with marscapone topped with asprinkling of chocolate and crumbled almond cookies

    Apple Torte

    authentic Italian mealsNotmy favorite, but still delicious

    Mama Cappelli

    authentic Italian mealsI'mnot sure she LOVED the place as much as we did. She liked all themeals, but as with any traditional Italian grandmother, if it's notthe way her family made it, it's not really the right way.


    Here's where you can find out more about Antichi Sapori.

    Do you agree it's one of the best authentic meals ever? What are you thoughts?  Let us know in the comments below.

  • 038: Is there Italian food without pasta?
    Fri, Apr 22, 2016


    While that is a bit sacrilegious to talk about Italian food without pasta, it can be done. And rather easily. Anna Vocino, joins us for the second part of her interview where we talking making "noodles" from vegetables and how to eat Italian food without eating sugar or grains.

    Topics we cover:

    • How Paul has been foraging for wild asparagus this spring
    • What wild asparagus is like
    • How we have been preparing them, including a frittata, a mussel and asparagus frittata, an asparagus and shrimp pasta sauce, a pizza rustica with asparagus
    • How artichokes are so much bigger in the United States than in Italy
    • Italians eat so much more seasonably
    • Since Americans haven't really grown up with it, they have a hard time even knowing what's in season
    • Spiralizing vegetables
    • My spiralizer reviews, based on my experience and hearing from others
    • I have this spiralizer. The good: it's cheaper and smaller so it fits easily in a drawer. The bad: it's not so easy to use and sometimes I feel just chopping the vegetables extra fine would be faster.
    • This is the spiralizer Anna has, the Paderno. The good, from what I've heard: it's easy to use and very fast. The bad: it's another large kitchen appliance to keep up with.
    • This is the spiralizer I use. The good: smaller so it fits in a drawer and cheaper.  The bad: it's actually not super easy or quick to use, and you're always left with a bit of vegetable end at the end which can't spiral, and it's hard to clean.
    • Paul packing up our new dry pepper flakes which is part of KTM line
    • Anna's husband Lauren and his new show. There's a sneak peek below.
    • Our favorite restaurant in New York City: The Red Cat
    • The chef at Red Cat Jimmy Bradley
    • How you can easily eat no sugar, no grains with pasta just substituting out a simple other ingredient to put your sauce on
    • Older peoples obsession with bowel movements
    • How when you happen to be on a reality TV show or an actor like Anna, you can get fan mail way after the show originally aired
    • Starting our new section of the podcast featuring Mama Cappelli
    • Anna's favorite podcast of ours talking about Italian Weddings.
    • The show Don of Ceremonies
    • How all of Anna's recipes are amazing. Check them out on her blog here: AnnaVocino.com
    • Her recipe for Curried Rice is one of my favorites
    • How Anna and Vinnie and their fans are buying up all our oil
    • How people are getting to experience really fresh extra virgin olive oil
    Click the pizza crust to get my 5 favorite Anna recipes.


    Here's just a taste of some of her work:




  • 037: Eating gluten-free in Italy with Anna Vocino
    Sat, Apr 16, 2016

    Gluten Free in ItalyWhile Italy is known as the land of pasta and pizza, it is actually very easy to avoid gluten here. Italians are very aware of celiac disease and even have entire grocery store aisles full of gluten-free products. Anna Vocino, a great friend to Villa Cappelli,  the voice at the start of every podcast, and a celiac herself, joins us to talk about her experiences visiting Italy.

    Topics we cover:

    • Anna's stay at Villa Cappelli several years ago
    • Her aunt and uncle renewing their wedding vows in a church (Chiesa di Santa Maria di Cesano) from 1055 A.D.
    • Anna and another woman, a Wiccan, helped officiated the renewals in a Catholic church. Thank goodness for language barriers!
    • How Anna's daughter sang "Haulalula" at the ceremony
    • Paul experience with New Kids on the Block
    • Anna's experience watching us on The Pitch
    • Anna and Paul's advice to young people in advertising or acting
    • Woody Allen's movie Bananas
    • How Anna and I don't eat sugar or grains
    • Anna's diagnosis as a celiac and how she's dealt with it
    • How you can find very good gluten-free pasta in Italy
    • How easy it is to find restaurants in Italy that will serve you gluten-free dishes
    • How Italians are very in tune with their bodies and very knowledgeable of anatomy
    • How Italians eat a lot of vegetables, which might come have a bit to do with them eating off the land so much
    • How it dawned us that all of our products are vegan, totally free of any animal products.
    • Why Anna decided to start doing the podcast
    • How No Sugar, No Grains (#NSNG) forces you to cut out processed foods and eat very intentionally, not just mindlessly
    • How it was very easy to cut out just the pasta and bread to go no sugar, no grains
    • How I lost 30 lbs. just cutting out the sugar and grains
    • How women sometimes have more hormonal issues to fix when eating this way
    • Anna now has learned she can't eat dairy as well

    Find all things Anna at AnnaVocino.com

    Listen to her on her podcast with Vinnie Tortorich here.

    Here's just  some of her work:

    Do you have questions about being gluten-free in Italy?  Or eating no sugar, no grains?  Just let us know in the comments!


  • 036: Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
    Sun, Apr 10, 2016

    Sun-dried tomato spread

    Sun-Dried Tomato Spread is probably a product you're not very familiar with, mainly because, as far as we know, we're one of the few people who make it. So we're making a quick episode, as requested by listeners, to explain this product.

    We'll explain exactly what it is, why you might want to use it, and how to use it.

    We go into more depth in the podcast, but below are some show notes as well.

    What is Sun-Dried Tomato Spread?

    Sun-dried tomatoes blended with extra virgin olive oil and spices to create a product that's somewhere between a ketchup and a paste.

    Sun-dried tomato spread We use those mainly just a reference so you know a bit of the taste and consistency of the spread.

    It naturally a tiny bit sweet due to the concentration of the tomotoes and it is thick like a tomato paste but has much more flavor than just a paste.


    Why use it?


    Sun-dried tomatoes are said to provide the most lycopene, gram per grSun-dried tomato spread am, than any other food and have 20 times more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

    Plus, the spreads are made with extra virgin olive oil which improves lycopene absorption by the body. That's not counting the extra virgin olive oil benefits!

    So in the end, you've got one powerful—yet delicious—antioxidant spread without any sugar, corn syrup or any sweetener of any kind, no any preservatives or chemicals!

    Just deliciousness!

    Why is Lycopene important and what is it?

    (Note: Please see full disclaimer below stating I am NOT a doctor nor nutritionist. This is general information I have found on the internet and curated for you.)

    Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant from the Vitamin A (carotenoid) family. Like any anti-antioxidant, it is believed that it may help protect cells from damage.

    It's what gives fruits and vegetables their red color, thus you can also find lycopene in watermelons, pink grapefruits, apricots and pink guavas.

    I stand corrected from what I say in the podcast in that it appears gac (????) has the highest content of lycopene of any know fruit or vegetable. It's found in southeast Asia, but since most of us have never heard it, much less tried it, 85% of lycopene for most people come from some sort of tomato product. If someone has ever has gac please let me know in the comments!

    Sun-dried tomato spread When you cook the tomatoes, as we do when making the spreads, it actually makes it easier for the body to access and use the lycopene (which is why I believe ketchup is also a high lycopene product).

    As for the health benefits, as I said, it's considered a power anti-oxidant which is protects us for free radicals. Several articles I read mentioned tons of things lycopene is being studied to see if it helps, everything from asthma, cancer prevention, coronary artery disease, and the one that got a tone of press, enlarged prostate. It seems not study has definitely proved lycopene's effectiveness in treating any of these ailments.   While, there is unclear scientific evidence for all these, that certainly won't keep me from enjoying them.

    But, the best benefit, it's just damn delicious!

    Sources: Mayoclinic, WebMd, Foodtrients, Wikipedia

    How do you use it?
    Sun-dried tomato spread Snack attack!

    Put it on a cracker or small piece of toast and you have an instant appetizer or snack! So quick, yet so delicious.






    Sun-dried tomato spread dipDip it, baby!

    Dip cracker, chips or raw vegetables (or yes, even just your spoon) in a bowl of it and enjoy.






    No Sun-dried tomato spread more ketchup!

    Use this wherever you would ketchup. Sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers. You won't be coating your food with a layer of essentially sugar and it gives you a super concentrated, delicious tomato flavor.





    Sauce it up!Sun-dried tomato spread

    In stead of tomato paste in your favorite sauce recipe, add the same amount of Sun-Dried Tomato Spread. It acts on the same principle of being a concentrated tomato flavor, but adds so much more flavor.





    Sun-dried tomato spread Bring back the meatloaf!

    Use it in your favorite meatloaf recipe in place of ketchup or tomato paste and enjoy.






    Any fans out there have another great what they've used our Sun-Dried Tomato Spread?  Let us know in the comments!


    Oh, and click here to get the Sun-Dried Tomato Spread and here to get the Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Spread or save and get them both in our Healthy Ketchup Collection.


    Note: I should state I am not a doctor nor nutritionist, nor do I play one on TV.  This podcast and show notes pro­vide gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health, and nutrition.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this podcast and show notes, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the listener or reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

    Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have heard on the podcast or read here or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor immediately. The views expressed on the podcast and show notes and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are affiliated.









  • 035: Italian Superstitions & Expat Life with Rick Zullo
    Thu, Mar 31, 2016

    Italian Superstitions

    Italian superstitions

    While Italian superstitions aren't any crazier than any other country's, but they are interesting for someone who didn't grow up with them. We're talking with Rick Zullo today who wrote about a lot of these on his blog which talks about his expat experiences throughout Italy.

    Topics we cover with Rick:

    • Rick's Italian heritage
    • The Italian-American ghettos created by Italian immigrants in the U.S.
    • How these ghettos kept some traditions more strict than even in Italy
    • Where all these ghettos are located, everywhere from New York to Chicago to Lousiana
    • Italian wines
    • How mythology, superstitions and religion mix a lot in Italy
    • Paul's theory on where the tradition of Easter Eggs comes from
    • The worst insult you can say to someone here in the south, Ki Te Murt.  Which by the way in the inspiration for our new line of hot and spicy products.
    • How a lot of these superstitions and traditions are followed with a sense of obligation to family and culture
    • The tradition of first confession and first holy communion
    • The slight mistranslation in Christ Stopped at Eboli
    • The new civil union law that will hopefully pass in Italy
    • The power of the Catholic church in Italian politics

    Below is the list superstitions we discuss:

    MalocchioItalian Superstitions

    The evil eye. The bane of many an Italian when someone looks at you in an envious manner they can give you the evil eye, even unintentionally. You could be struck with all kinds of sicknesses, most of which include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. The only cure is to search out an Italian grandma who has inherited a talent to rid you of this curse.

    Covering the mirrors when someone dies

    I have heard that the mirror represents the soul, so breaking means you'll loose part of your soul thus have 7 years of bad luck. Are you covering/mourning the passing of your loved one's soul by covering the mirrors? Who knows. Maybe people just didn't want to see themselves when grieving.

    Touch your balls

    Italian SuperstitionsEvery time a hearse goes by, a man must grab his balls or be the next to ride in the hearse.

    Sweeping our the corners of a new house

    When moving into a new home, you must sweep out all the corners to get rid of any evil spirits that might be lurking around. This is probably a good idea as it also gets ride of any lingering dirt and dust.

    You have to kiss bread before you throw it awayItalian Superstitions

    Bread represents Jesus, so you can't just throw it away. You have to kiss it good-bye. I'm not sure why this makes it any better that you're throwing it away, but you have to do it.

    You can't make a bed with three people or the youngest will die

    This is a "fond" memory for Paul, as when he was growing up in a household full of women he would always jump in to help with the chores and be shooed away immediately if they were making the bed as he was the youngest. Maybe that's why he doesn't make beds to this day?

    Throw coins into a newlywed's bed to bring them good fortune

    Showering them with fortune. Seems a pretty straight-forward one. After all, they end up with some money right away.

    Throw coins in a newlyweds' car for good fortune

    Same goes for this one, though I'm wondering if you are supposed to do both or just one.

    If you spill salt, throw it over your left shoulderItalian Superstitions

    Salt was a very important product, used not to flavor food but preserve it, so you didn't want any to go to waste. If you do spill it, throw it over your left shoulder so you can blind the devil who is bringing you the bad luck.

    If you drop a utensil like a fork or knife on to the floor, company is coming

    Anyone know the origin of this one? I couldn't find anything. Just curious how this one developed.

    If you want to sell your house, bury a statue of Saint Joseph in your front yard upside down

    This was a new one for Paul and I. Interesting one to say the least.

    17 is unlucky number, meaning death, while 13 is lucky

    Italian SuperstitionsVery different than in America, but as Paul points out, they accommodate both superstitions in Italy, where something you won't find both a 13th floor or a 17th floor in a building.

    Pouring wine underhanded (you palm is facing up and the back of your hand toward the table) is bad luck

    It essentially means you want the person you are pouring the wine for to choke to death. It goes back to the time of poison rings where it was much easier obviously to pour the poison from your ring into someone's glass when pouring this way.

    Do you know any we missed? Let us know in the comments.

    Sorry, couldn't resist putting this up:



    We'd like to thank Rick again for joining us. You can find him at http://rickzullo.com/

    And here are just a few of the books he's written: Live like an Italian, Eat like an Italian, Talk like an Italian

  • 034: Easter in Italy — Mama Cappelli's Easter memories
    Tue, Mar 22, 2016

    Easter in ItalyEaster in Italy

    Last year we did a whole podcast covering some of the strange and mysterious customs we've experienced in Italy during holy week. You can find that here: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/easter-in-italy/

    This year, we sat down with Paul's mother so she could tell us how they used to celebrate Easter when she was young. She shares some recipes, memories and laughs.

    Here's a list of all we talk about:

    Ragu sauceEaster in Italy

    Connie describes her famous ragu sauce recipe. You'll find that here: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/connie-cappellis-ragu/

    Easter in ItalyNo Meatballs!

    Connie confirms our no meatballs and spaghetti rule the we talked about here: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/032-traditional-italian-food-what-not-to-do-when-it-comes-to-cooking-eating-italy/

    Stuffed Lamb or Veal Breast

    I will be following up with a real recipe with pictures and a video here. But here's the recipe as Connie describes it. If you listen, you'll see why we say "recipes are dumb" as no Italian grandmother will ever give you exact amounts.

    The stuffing ingredients include mortadella or ham (no prosciutto as it will taste rancid when cooked), eggs, grated Pecorino Romano, bread crumbs, parsley, a little salt and pepper. The stuffing will be rather thick, as you need to actually stuff it into the meat.

    The cut meat is a some of the ribs with a little bit of the belly. The hole is cut into the side along the belly (when I get pictures, that will help explain this).


    Easter in ItalyConnie explains you can used the exact same stuffing to make Stuffed Cuttlefish.

    What she doesn't explain is they will stuff the cuttlefish and tie them up, and then cook in a tomato sauce. You would eat the sauce on pasta, and the cuttlefish as second.

    This was eaten on Friday because you could NOT eat meat on Easter Friday at all.

    What the heck is cuttlefish?

    If you don't know what a cuttlefish is, it's essentially a cousin of squid or calamari. Here's a nice article about cuttlefish.

    When you are eating them, they look and taste pretty much like calamari. Honestly, most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference. The cuttlefish is just thicker and meatier.

    Paul explains that in Italian, they are called seppia (which I just discovered is very close to their scientific order name Sepiida). The cuttlefish excrete a unique brown pigment when it is alarmed. And that is how we get the word "sepia" which refers to the brown pigment color in English.

    The bone found in them distinguishes them from their squid relatives. This is the bone you'll find in bird cages.


    How Paul's mother speaks four different languages: English, Italian, the local Terlizzi dialect and a version of the dialect which is a mix of dialect and English. She gives a lot of fun examples in the podcast.


    A fun Easter dessert in the shape of a basket with an egg on top. I have not personally seen this my self here, but I'm sure you'll still find them in many homes and bakeries.

    Pasquetta (Little Easter)

    This is the Monday after Easter. It is a very big celebration in Italy. Almost as big as Easter itself.

    In Connie's time, the would pack up all the leftovers and head to the country and have a big picnic with the leftovers.

    The real Mediterranean diet with lots of fish and little meat

    We talk about how back in Connie's time, they used to eat what is probably a Easter in Italymuch truer Mediterranean diet than today.

    Almost every day they would eat fish, and meat was maybe served on Sunday. Even then, it was a pound of meat for five people just to flavor the sauce for your pasta.

    They would have a lot of vegetables, nuts, and olives. Junk food didn't exist and celery was a snack. Would this be nice again!


    The Procession

    The depressing parade that's been going on in town for years. He covered a lot of this in last year's podcast again, which you'll find here: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/easter-in-italy/

    Here's a quick video of it as well.

  • 033: 19 Great Italian Travel Tips
    Sat, Mar 12, 2016

    Italian Travel Tips

    The ol' country is an amazing place to visit, but there's a lot to see and do. So we wanted to provide these easy Italy travel tips for you. While this is not an extensive list by any means, it will give you some basics to help save you time and money when traveling to Italy, and maybe avoid some headaches as well.

    Topics we cover:


    Now, the all important travel tips for Italy

    1. Come in the "off-season"

    Obviously this tip is harder to follow if you're traveling with kids, who are traditionally off in the summer months, but if you can make it during April, May, September, and October, Italy can be a little easier to navigate for a few reasons.

    1. It's a lot cooler. July and August can be brutal in Italy. So if you can make it during the late spring or early fall, you're more likely to find much nicer weather.
    2. Tons of great fresh fruits and vegetables. Fall is almost like a second spring in Puglia, and a lot of amazing produce comes back into season after a hot summer.
    3. You'll avoid the crowds of the high season. If you're traveling to any of the major destinations like Rome or Venice, the crowds can be overwhelming at times. But during the off-season, the city takes on a whole new life. My first time in Venice was in January, and I thought it was amazing. Mainly because Paul and I were about the only tourist on the street. So it felt like we had the city all to ourselves.
    2. Plan to come more than once — or for an extended period of time

    There is sooo much to see in Italy. And if you are coming for the first time, you'll want to hit the major hot spots first.

    A lot people have a very specific idea of what Italy is like based on what they've seen in movies or on television. And a lot of that based on Rome or Tuscany or Venice.Italian Travel Tips

    So you might want to plan on hitting at least one of two of these areas so you won't be disappointed in Italy not living up to what you have in mind. And we definitely recommend visiting those places, as they are iconic for a reason.

    But after that, whether it's after your first week or your first trip, try and visit places like Puglia, Calabria, and Sicily.

    You'll get a bit more the feeling of what it's like to really live in Italy. A more "authentic" and "old world" tour if you will. Plus, since you're "off the beaten path," i.e. not the major, major tourist sites, you can avoid the crowds.

    3. Skip the big bus tour packages

    While these kinds of tours have their place, they probably aren't in Italy. Italy is meant to be savored like a fine wine.

    These trips try to cram as much into each day as possible, starting with having your luggage outside your hotel door by 5:30 AM.

    So don't be afraid to "go it alone." Italians love tourists and are always willing to help you, even if it's only through sign language because you don't speak the same language.

    If still want a guide, so for something smaller.  We work with an agency called HETravel who puts together some nice small tours usually of no more than 15-20 people.  Here the culinary tour that do with us as an example: http://hetravel.com/tour/gay-travel-italy-puglia-villa-culinary-experience/

    We've also worked with tons of travelers to design personal tours for them while staying at the villa. If interested, you can click the tab above that says Stay at the Villa.

    Full disclosure: I have not experienced one of these trips myself in Italy, but I have heard nothing but bad accounts from others who have done them here. If you know differently, just let us know in the comments.

    4. Travel with friends and family and use sites like VRBO, Homeaway and Flipkey

    If you are not familiar with these sites, these are sites that allow you to rent homes, like our villa, directly from the owner. VRBO stands for Vacation Rental By Owner.

    One of Homeaway's newest ad campaign says, "Whole House. Whole Family. Whole Vacation." Which pretty much sums up the idea. While you all still get the privacy of your own room, your family gets the privacy of an entire home. You don't have to share your vacation with anyone!

    And the savings can be phenomenal. This Homeaway info graphic does an amazing job describing the advantage.

    Italy travel tips

    5. Don't eat at restaurants that have pictures of the food on the menu

    While you might be afraid of getting something wrong ordering in a language you aren't familiar with, these restaurants usually cater to the masses and are just pumping out food...just food, not necessarily good food.

    Italian Travel Tips
    Trust your waiter to bring you the best in the house.

    Ask locals, like a cop or garbage man, yes, the workers, and they'll send you to the local places that will give you great food at a great price.

    If language is an issue, but sure to check out a site like TripAdvisor before you leave.

    Be aware, most hotel concierge people are going to send you to a restaurant that has cut a deal with the hotel to send them customers.

    Paul recommends going somewhere where you don't have to order off a menu. While this sounds strange, just sit down, ask the waiter what they are making that day or what is good that day. This will usually ensure you are getting fresh, amazing food that is a specialty of the chef.

    6. Try to fly as close to your final destination as possible, forgetting the train or car

    Unless you are a large family, this will save you a lot of time, energy and headaches.

    So what do we mean? Say you are flying from in from the states and you are landing in Italy in Rome or Milan, but your final destination is Puglia. Book a flight that takes you to Bari. Don't get off at Rome, then attempt to drive or train the final leg of the trip.Italian Travel Tips

    When driving, you have to figure in the cost of the rental, the cost of gas (NOT cheap in Italy) and the cost of tolls (also not cheap). So at the end of the day, it won't save you much money at all and take you easily twice as long if not longer.

    The train isn't much better. You have to deal with getting your bags in Rome, lugging them to the train, and paying for a ticket, which is usually the same amount as a plane ticket. Plus, again, it takes a lot longer.

    When you fly from the major hubs into the smaller airports, customs is almost non-existent, so you'll fly right through and there's a lot less waiting time for your bags as well.

    7. When taking a flight inside of Italy, use the company's .it site

    This goes mainly for Alitalia.it: https://www.alitalia.com/it_it/

    You can easily save a hundred Euro or more booking a ticket through this site. Use Google translate if you're nervous about booking anything in the foreign language, but it's all pretty basic at the end of the day.

    NOTE: This is for INTERNAL flights while your staying in Italy. So if landed in Rome, spent a few days in Rome,and now want to fly to Venice. This in what this is for.

    You do not want to use this if you are flying into Rome and want to then fly to Venice that same day (your final destination). You want to book your flight all they way through to final destination then (see tip above), otherwise you might get a airline attendant who refuses to book your luggage all the way through to your final destination, saying you bought to separate tickets so it's impossible. This is not true, but it just depends on who you get.

    This would mean you'd have to get you bags in Rome and then recheck in, go through security again, and spend a lot of time waiting in lines, which you don't want to do.  So use this only if you are flying around within Italy after being here awhile.

    Also, don't forget Alitalia is not the only airline to choose from. Look at Ryan Air or EasyJet as well.

    8. Bring a portable luggage scale

    Italy travel tipsAirlines are getting more and more strict about luggage weight. So if you plan on picking up some souvenirs while in Italy, be sure you're not overweight and spending a lot of extra money just to get them home.

    This especially true if you are traveling via one of the discount airlines I mentioned above like RyanAir or EasyJet. They don't charge you much for a ticket, so they are trying to make money anyway they can and can be very strict when it comes to weight.

    Here's a link to one on Amazon: http://geni.us/1OcJ

    9. Watch your bags & do NOT trust a stranger to watch your bags

    This goes for whether you're taking a car, bus, train or plane. Crime is not rampant here by any means, but it happens.

    You get off a train and start looking at your map or guidebook.  The thief easy grabs your back and jumps on the train. And before you know, it the doors have closed and the thief and your bag are off to the next destination.

    We actually had a friend who stay with us recently who asked the bus driver to watch his bag while he went inside. When he came back out, the bus and his bag were gone.

    Listen to the podcast for the full story on that one.

    10. Get going early

    Yes, you are on vacation. Yes, you'd love to sleep in. But, I can't recommend the mornings enough in Italy.

    Italian Travel Tips1. You'll avoid a lot of the tourist crowds. Especially if you are in the major cities like Rome or Venice, this can be especially magical as you really do see the city in a whole new way.

    2. Italy is just so gorgeous in the morning. The light and the silence seem to transport you right into the old world.

    3. You'll get a lot of sight seeing in, then you can just relax, have a long lunch and live like an Italian. Plus, you might find a lot of places closed in the afternoon, so you can't do a lot anyway. And, come summer, you might not want to be walking around the Italian sun during those hours anyway!

    11.  Sleep on the flight over

    Take a sleeping pill or a couple big glasses of wine, whatever it takes!Italian Travel Tips

    Even if you just get 5 hours or so on that flight, you'll wake up and be in Italy and can enjoy a full day in Italy rather than taking a whole day (or two or three) to recover in your hotel room.

    In other words, you hit the ground running and get a lot more into your vacation starting from day one!

    11B. If you need alcohol to get your sleep in, buy it at Duty Free before you leave

    Get a small bottle, open it on the plane and have a much more affordable drink that you would buying your alcohol from the airlines.

    Remember, however, if you are connecting to another flight in Italy that same day, you will need to leave ther remaining alcohol behind on the plane. You have to go through security again when you land in Rome or Milan before making your connection, and you won't be able to take an open bottle through security.

    12. Use an ATM to get your cash

    Do NOT exchange your money at the currency exchange booth at the airport! You will be spending WAY more money than necessary. Plus, then what do you do with all that cash? Carry it around with you? Leave it in the hotel?

    You're also going to get the best exchange rate this way as well. Hands down.

    13. Be prepared to pay in cash

    Italy travel tipsSome places will not take credit cards. They may say their phone line is down or the credit card machine is not working, but really, they just want you to pay in cash.

    See #12 above on tips about getting this cash.

    Also, many will not take American Express or Discover. Bring your Visa or Mastercard.

    14. Use Skype and WhatsApp to communicate back home

    Think about when you will be using your phone to call home. Mostly back at your hotel or rental home. Which usually have WiFi nowdays.

    Both of these applications work over the Internet. Skype is more for calling, WhatsApp is for texting. Both are free to download to your phone. Here are the links:

    Click here for Skype.

    Click here to get WhatsApp.

    Have whoever you want to call in the states download Skype to their phone or computer, set up an account, and you can call them for FREE. If that's too much work, you can also add $10 to your Skype account, and make international calls for pennies.

    WhatsApp is the same principal, except its mostly for texts. Just have whoever you are wanting to text download WhatsApp to their phone.

    15. Let your bank or credit card company know you are leaving the country

    Your bank or credit card company is always trying to protect you from identity theft. So if they see a charge from Italy and they don't know you are traveling there, they could easy freeze your account.

    16. When renting a car, use the local Italian sites just like the airlines

    Paul threw this tip on the podcast. He says put you are a resident of Italy, but you can still put in your American information.

    Basically, tell them you are coming from Italy, and you'll get a much better rate.

    17. Be aware of everything closing between 1PM and 4PM

    We've talked about this before, unless you are in major cities, a lot of times you'll find shop owners go home from lunch. So they go home, eat their pasta, and then take a nap.

    Now they will stay open later, until 8 or 9 PM, but if you are traveling in and around smaller towns, be aware you could be stuck not even finding a restaurant open.

    So plan accordingly.

    18. You have to call a taxi — if there's even one around

    At places like Rome or Milan, you will find them at the airports or at a taxi stand. But they are not so common otherwise.

    If you need one, be sure to ask your hotel, rental home owner or restaurant to call one for you.

    19. If you order a martini, you will not get an American martini

    Italian Travel TipsNormally, if you just say you want a martini, they will serve a drink called Martini Bianco. A sweet drink served over ice.

    Even if you use terms like James Bond to get them to understand what you want, be careful in that a lot of people want to make you a mixed drink. So they will put two parts vodka to one part vermouth, and they'll use a sweet vermouth instead of dry vermouth.

    It's just all wrong. Try and head off this problem and explain what you really want if you can. Or stick to vodka on the rocks or wine!


    So that's it for our Italy travel tips. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments below. And be sure to sign up for our newsletter below to get tips, trick, recipes and more every Thursday.

  • 032: Traditional Italian Food — what NOT to do when it comes to Italian food in Italy
    Sun, Mar 06, 2016

    Traditional Italian Food

    There are lots of "rules" when it comes to traditional Italian food. And what you may think would be the same for Italian food in the states can be very different than what you'll find in Italy. Here are 14 things to never do when cooking or eating in Italy.

    Note: We base our conversation a lot off this original blog post: http://www.retale.com/blog/culinary-sins-according-proper-italian-chefs/

    Topics we cover:


    Now, the all important "don'ts" when it comes to traditional Italian food in Italy.

    1. Don't add oil to pasta water

    Paul and I agree with this one. It's totally not necessary. While your pasta should have salt to flavor the pasta, the oil doesn't serve any purpose while you're boiling it. It will help as a sauce afterward, and maybe slightly as a non-sticking agent, though you should be tossing your pasta with your sauce right away after removing from your boiling water.

    Stir your pasta occasionally while it's cooking and your should be OK.  Be sure to stir spaghetti and other fine pasta right away when adding to your water to keep it from forming a large spaghetti log.

    And have plenty of water in the pot so the pasta can move around.

    Paul believes you should add the salt after the water has come to a boil. Steven doesn't necessarily agree. Find out why.

    2. Don't ever mix cheese and seafood

    This is another one right on the money, except for a key recipe shown below. Never ever add grated cheese to a seafood pasta dish. The restaurant will give you grated cheese if you ask for it, but they'll look at you as barbarian tourist.

    The one except I point out for this is Mussels Genovese. Recipe below. NOTE: This is the name the people here in our region of Puglia call this recipe.  I'm sure every region is different.

    Essentially, as Paul points out, this is like making a frittata, however it's still breaking the rule.

    Mussels Genovese
    Recipe Type: Main
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Cook time:
    Total time:
    A delicious, simple way to enjoy mussels. The amounts and the ingredients here are more estimations. Use your judgement when making.
    • 2 lbs. of mussels, halved
    • 6 Eggs
    • 2 Tablespoons grated cheese
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
    • Pepper
    1. Place the mussels (you only need the half with the actual mussel in it) in a flat bottomed frying pan so the mussels are facing up. Add a bit of water to the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let cook about 5 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile mix your eggs, cheese and parsley in a bowl. Add pepper to taste, but don't add an salt. The cheese and mussels will have enough. When the mussels are ready, pour the eggs over them in the pan, recover, and let cook until the eggs are cooked, about 4-5 minutes.
    3. Here is where you would need to used your judgement. You want a thin coasting of the eggs on top of the mussels, but not so much egg that they are completely submerged in a big egg frittata. If you need more, add some more eggs and cheese. And hold back if it looks like you have too much. Use the leftovers for an omelet the next day.
    4. Serve and enjoy.

    A lot of adding the cheese to a pasta is a habit we've all formed, just wanting to add cheese to pasta before we've even tasted it. However, in this case, the cheese just overpowers the flavor of most delicate seafood and Paul says it's just not "kosher."

    There are other exceptions here, but as Paul points out, they really aren't Italian dishes. Do you know an exception we missed? Let us know in the comments!

    3. Don't top pasta with chicken

    Traditional Italian FoodThis one's totally right. Those dishes you see being passed off as Italian at the big Italian restaurant chain, well, they aren't very Italian.

    We couldn't think of a single pasta dish that even includes chicken. In fact, Italians aren't really big on chicken in general.

    And, by the way, there is no such thing as Chicken Parmesan or Chicken Parmigiana here. It doesn't exist.

    4. Don't serve bread and butter

    Traditional Italian Food No Bread and butterVery very true. They may cook with butter up north, but they really don't do the bread and butter thing.

    Bread is set at the table so you have it to act as a scarpetta — the little shoe — to scoop or mop up any remains on your plate. So don't go eating all the bread before your meal is even served!

    Also, as we've said before, there is no dipping your bread in extra virgin olive oil here. Just wait until you get home and enjoy some of our oil with some good crusty bread.

    5. Don't order ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ or ‘Fettuccine Alfredo’

    Well, you might find them in touristy locations, like Rome and Milan, who make Italian American dishes for the tourist, but they aren't traditional Italian food.

    To be honest, I did not know this about Spaghetti Bolognese. And, maybe I'm still too American, but I see no problem with it. There are certain pastas that do go with certain sauces, as they help carry the sauce better, but in this case I think you are OK.

    Traditionally, the blogger said tagliatelle is served with the Bolognese, but I've always done rigatoni (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigatoni). I like how the thick meaty sauce can get trapped more inside the pasta.

    And we agree that Fettuccine Alfredo, the most famous “Italian” dish in the U.S., is pretty much unknown in Italy.  In the words of Madeline Kahn, "It's trew. It's trew."

    6. Don't ever order or eat spaghetti with meatballs

    Traditional Italian Food no spaghetti and meatballsThis combination just does not exist in Italian cuisine in Italy.

    Meatballs can be found in a pasta forno or a ragu, but it's not something you serve with spaghetti. Ever.

    Oh, and here we mention Paul's Mother's Ragu recipe. You'll find that here: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/connie-cappellis-ragu/

    7. Don't put ketchup on pasta. Never. Ever.

    This one happened to us when we had some Swedes visit. I still can't believe it happened.

    Who does this? If YOU do, leave us a comment below, but beware our wrath!

    Oh, and here's a link to our Sun-Dried Tomato Spread we talk about: http://villacappelli.com/collections/antipasta-aka-appetizers-1/products/sun-dried-tomato-spread

    8. Don't treat pasta as a side dish

    Pasta is a primi (first course after anti-pasti) or MAYBE a main dish, but it is never, ever just a side dish.

    That big ol' Italian food chain restaurant in the states serves pasta as a side dish if you order something other than a pasta as your main course.  At least it used to. I haven't been there is over 20 years.

    Paul also talks here about how we eat things separately here in Italy. You usually have only one part of your meal on your plate at a time.

    I grew up never letting any food on my plate touch each other and only ate one thing at time.  So I'd eat my meat, then my green beans, then my mashed potatoes. And they could not touch!  Maybe I really am Italian.

    Paul also talks about other guests we had that mixed their salad with pasta. Enough said on that.

    9. Don't consume a cappuccino at any time except for breakfast

    We've talked about this many times before. Italians just think the milk is too heavy to have after a meal. It won't aid in your digestions.Traditional Italian Food No cappuccino after breakfast

    Now, for breakfast, it's a whole meal in itself. Especially up north.

    10. Don't ever disrespect tradition

    "Nonna knows best. She learned the recipes from her nonna, who learned from her nonna, who learned from her nonna and so on and so forth."

    This might as well be written in stone.

    11. Don't use true balsamic vinegar on your salads

    We talked about this more in depth in that last episode: http://www.livingvillacappelli.com/031-why-your-italian-food-is-probably-not-real-food/

    Also, check out our balsamic here: http://villacappelli.com/collections/italian-conserves/products/5-year-aged-balsamic-vinegar

    12. Don't make or eat thick crust pizza

    Thick crust pizza is really more a focaccia.Traditional Italian Food No thick crust pizza

    Here, the pizza is more marriage of the thin dough, tomato sauce, cheese and toppings. It's not all about the bread. And you can really taste every ingredient.

    Most of the pizzas in the states are there to fill you up with a bunch of bread, as it's cheaper than the toppings.

    Here's our pizza crust recipe.  Try it and discover the difference.

    Villa Cappelli Pizza Dough
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Cook time:
    Total time:
    A very simple, light pizza dough. The crust will be crisp when cooked in a really hot oven. The recipe can be doubled or more without any problems.
    • 3/4 Cup Warm Water
    • 1 teaspoon yeast (or one packet of 7g quick rising yeast)
    • 2 Cups Flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1. Mix the warm water and yeast in a bowl. Let sit for a few minutes. Then add your flour and salt to the bowl. Mix until comes together and is forming a ball.
    2. Turn the dough onto a well floured surface. Wood is best. Just not something cold, like a cold marble counter.
    3. Kneed the dough for roughly 3-5 minutes until it very elastic and springy. Add more flour or water during this time if need be. But you rarely need more water. If it seems dry, just keep mixing. It will eventually come together.
    4. Turn the bowl over on the dough and let rise for 1.5 hours.
    5. Break into four equal parts and roll into smaller balls. Let these rise another hour under and warm dish towel or the like.
    6. When ready, roll into a very thin crust, about a 1/4 inch thick and about 8 to 9 inches in diameter. Top lightly with sauce, cheese and toppings. Do NOT add too many toppings or the crust won't be able to hold it when you are eating.
    7. Cook in an extremely hot oven. At least 500°F or more. For our wood-burning pizza oven, this cooks in about 3 minutes. For home ovens, it will probably take you 5 to 10 minutes.
    8. To bake your pizza, slide it on top of a baking stone or upside-down sheet pan. Bake until the cheese is melted, the crust is golden, and there is some charred bits on the top and edges.
    13. Don't eat your salad BEFORE a meal

    Traditional Italian Food Salad after a mealThe salad, and the roughage you find in the salad, helps you digest after a big meal.

    It's all about digestion in Italy, and this is no exception. You won't even find many places that will give you a side salad during your meal.

    14. Don't put any dressing on your salad other than extra virgin olive oil and vinegar

    Ranch. Thousand Island. French. You just can't find it here.

    This probably goes back to the fact that you are eating the salad at the end of the meal. To add a bunch of heavy dairy or sugar after eating a big meal would just fill you up., where as the vinegar almost acts as a pallet cleanser.

    What do you think? Did we miss a don't when it comes to traditional Italian food? Let us know in the comments or leave us a voice mail.


  • 031: Why your Italian "food" may not be real food
    Fri, Feb 26, 2016

    Food fraud is rampant, especially when it comes to big food companies. In this episode, we cover a range of fraud in Italian foods, from coffee to "parmasan" cheese to balsamic vinegar to extra virgin olive oil. Discover why the Italian "food" you may be buying may not really be Italian food at all.

    Topics we cover:

    • Paul's trip to Florida to take care of some of his mother's affairs
    • Our advice when shipping packages to friends and family in Italy
    • Paul's rant about Starbucks, well his rant about the people of Starbucks
    • Why can't women have their wallet ready at the cash register when checking out anywhere?
    • How cashiers ALWAYS ask if you have exact change when checking out anywhere here.
    • How Parmesam "cheese" is not really cheese, but cellulose

    More on this subject, because it's important.

    I don't know about you, but I don't really want to eat wood pulp, which is was cellulose if you didn't know. Supposedly it is a safe anti-clumping additive when it is only 2-4% of a product (still sounds gross to me). But these FDA investigations found 8.8% in some! In some cases the cheese was less than 40% of the product!

    Wal-Mart has now be slapped with a lawsuit over selling a product labeled as 100% Grated Parmesan but had 7.8% wood pulp. I'm sure they'll argue what the definition of "parmesan" is, which could be anything since it's a made up word. But talk about deceiving consumers who think it's cheese!!

    • The benefits of real Parmigiano Reggiano

    Again, more on this.

    Because of its granular structure, Parmigiano Reggiano is super easy to grate. Most of the time, you simply break off chunks with the knife shown and enjoy.

    parmigiano knife

    If you use grated Parmigiano in your cooking, it doesn’t really call attention to itself, blending with other ingredients, it adds depth of flavor and a sophisticated touch.

    It's also a super healthy cheese:

    • It is lactose-free, making it a safe choice for people who have trouble digesting milk.

    • It is a rich source of both calcium and protein.

    • A serving of Pargmigiano cheese contains B12 ,Vitamin A, and a variety of other vitamins and minerals.

    Bonus tip: Rinds

    Don’t throw out the rinds. They are completely edible, they add wonderful flavor to soups, stews and broths. When you're done with the cheese and have only the rind left, put it in a plastic bag and stick in the freezer. When you're ready, add it to you soup, stem or broth. Some eat the rind after this or just discard it, it's up to you. You could also cut up the now cooked rind, fry the cubes, and use as a garnish.

    • How what you may know as balsamic vinegar is not really balsamic

    True original, traditional balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale), is made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice. Only two consortia produce true traditional balsamic vinegar, Modena and neighboring Reggio Emilia.

    The names "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena" (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) and "Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia" (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Reggio Emilia) are protected by both the Italian Denominazione di origine protetta and the European Union's Protected Designation of Origin.

    Made from a reduction of pressed Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes, the resulting thick syrup is subsequently aged for a minimum of 12 years in a battery of several barrels of successively smaller sizes. True balsamic vinegar is rich, glossy, deep brown in color, and has a complex flavor.

    It is most often served in drops on top of chunks of Parmigiano Reggiano and mortadella. It is also used sparingly to enhance steaks, eggs or grilled fish, as well as on fresh fruit such as strawberries and pears and gelato.

    So what is the balsamic you normally see in the stores?

    Very cheap balsamic vinegars are just vinegars that have been colored and flavored with caramel to simulate the sweetness of real balsamic and thinkers like guar gum or corn flour to simulate the thickness. Fine for salad dressings and glazes, they won't have the authentic intensity of flavor.

    How do you know if it's real Balsmic?

    1. Just like with Extra virgin olive oil, if it's cheap it's "fake."

    2. For true balsamic vinegar, look to Modena or Reggio Emilia.

    Sources here, here & here.

    • Click here to find our Balsamic Vinegar
    • How Balsamic Vinegar is made, namely in attics not in cellars moving
    • Olive Oil Times article where farmers are proposing and anti-fraud seal
    • Why you should be aware of cheap "extra virgin olive oil"
    • The FDA inspection we experience recently
    • The Italian health authorities and the experience we had with them
    • And another reason to trust small producers
    • The legal nightmares that come with opening a bar or restaurant in Italy


  • 030: Italian cures for the common cold, fact v. fiction
    Fri, Feb 19, 2016

    Italians have some amazing home remedies when you're feeling under the weather. These natural cures have been handed down from generation to generation and for good reason. They actually work. I'll attempt to add a little science to the why and also explore a few traditions that probably won't cure any cold, but are practiced nonetheless.

    Note: I should state I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. All of these "remedies" are cures I've discovered while living in Italy and following the advice of older family members. This podcast and show notes pro­vide gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about med­i­cine, health, and nutrition.  The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this podcast and show notes, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the listener or reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other health care worker.

    Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have heard on the podcast or read here or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor immediately. The views expressed on the podcast and show notes and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are affiliated.

    Also, I listed my Internet sources below in case you want to dig any further on the research and science parts.


    Italian cold cure #1: Herb Tea

    This is a recommendation right from Paul's mother and another family friend. Don't mess with the older Italians. They know their stuff. This really, really works. At least based solely on MY experience. Whether anyone has actually done a scientific study on this, I could not find.

    As for the herbs, specifically this should include sage and thyme, with some mint and honey being optional. Use fresh if you have them, dry, which is the winter is more likely, if you don't. Here's the recipe and then we'll talk about why it works.

    Villa Cappelli Cold Cure Tea
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Total time:
    A great herb tea to help relieve the symptoms of the common cold.
    • 1 1/2 cups hot water
    • 2-3 Tbl dried sage
    • 1 Tbl dried thyme
    • 1 Tbl dried mint
    1. Mix the dried herbs with hot water, let steep for 10 minutes. Very important. You need at least 10 minutes in really hot water or the dry herbs to release all their goodness.
    2. Strain and enjoy. Fee free to add a dash of honey or milk to cut the herb taste a bit.

    There is some science behind why this works. First, did you know thyme is an officially approved German remedy for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough! And being mostly German, you know I had to include this fact in here.

    Anyway, theme is packed with cough-suppressant compounds. Thyme flavonoids relax tracheal muscles, which are involved in coughing, and also reduce inflammation. It also contains chemicals that might help bacterial and fungal infections, and minor irritations.

    Sage is another powerhouse. It has astringent, antiseptic, and antibacterial qualities, along with a long history of use for sore throats, coughs, and mouth inflammations. People have been using sage and it's medicinal properties in Europe for ages.

    Then there's mint. Peppermint contains menthol, which can help soothe sore throats and dry coughs. It's also a decongestant that can thin mucus and help break up phlegm. Plus, it tastes good.

    I can't recommend enough having an herb garden if you don't. Plants like sage, rosemary and thyme are pretty hardly and once they get going, you just need to trim here and there (if you aren't using them that much) and you'll always have fresh herbs on hand.

    Not being a great gardener yet (that's Paul), I will instead direct you to a couple of links on how to grow and cultivate these herbs on your own.

    Click here on for recommendations on growing sage.

    Click here on for recommendations on growing thyme.

    Click here on for recommendations on growing mint.

    Sources are here & here.


    Italian cold cure #2: Warm Wine

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Cold cures2This is another cure directly from Paul's mother. And I've learned not to argue. I can't say this one has worked for me, but I also haven't given this one a true try. I don't think a half a drink one night would really count. Casey, Paul's daughter, swears this got her over her last cold. She added a bit of cinnamon to hers, which I'd also recommend.  Some add a slice of orange as well.

    The reasoning, at least from Connie, it is gets you all warm and you sweat out the bad stuff. I always thought it was just because you got drunk and felt better. Well you know what, I was WRONG:

    "Now research has revealed that all wine is a powerful ally against a far more frequent health problem - the common cold. Doctors have discovered that drinking a moderate amount can help develop a kind of immunity against the 200 viruses that trigger the ailment. The study found that people who had more than 14 glasses of wine a week had a 40 per cent lower risk of getting a cold than teetotallers. And the protection was even stronger for those who favoured red wine over white..." — The dailymail.co.uk

    "The common cold, or rhinovirus infection, is an upper-respiratory tract infection that can produce mucus, congestion and a runny nose. Infections result in inflammation -- the body’s natural defense mechanism that destroys bacteria and viruses. Resveratrol, which is found in red wine, is believed to prevent two inflammation-producing molecules from being produced. They are sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D." — Livestrong.com

    NOTE: Drink alcohol in moderation as a preventative measure. Studies have shown that, while a cold cannot be cured by alcohol, moderate alcohol consumption can increase one's resistance to the cold. One study has shown that drinking 8 to 14 glasses of red wine a week has reduced the chances of getting a cold by 60 percent. 

    Know what medications can cause negative reactions when mixed with alcohol. Most cold medications contain ingredients that should not be mixed with alcohol. Here is a list of cold-related medications that should not be taken while you are drinking.  — Wikihow.com

    • Medications for allergies, colds, and flu
    • Cough medications
    • Medications that ease muscle pain and fevers
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Aspirin
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB)


    Italian cold cure #3: Raw Garlic

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Cold cures3

    Here, I'm a firm believer is the adjective "raw."

    Crushing fresh garlic, whether your slicked, crushing or biting down on it, causes a chemical reaction that releases allicin. (sounds like Allison) Allicin is a powerful antibacterial ONLY present shortly after garlic is crushed and BEFORE it is heated!

    Eating fresh garlic like this is supposed to knock out the cold or flu. Some experts even recommend eating a clove or two every 3 to 4 hours!

    Some recommend sucking on a clove for 15 minutes (sorry, can't do). Others recommend chewing the drinking orange juice. (Really??) I've also seen chopping it and mixing with honey (I tried this. It was disgusting).

    The best way I found was chopping up the garlic and putting it either with our extra virgin olive oil or our sun-dried tomato spread on a piece of bread and going to town. It's still pretty strong with the oil, but sort of like a raw garlic bread. The sun-dried tomato spread wins hands down for me. It melds well with the flavors in the spread and is something I could eat all the time, even when I'm not fighting a cold.

    The science: Allicin I already mentioned. In addition, garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. For colds and flus, it also provides decongestant and expectorant effects. Vitamin C, a slew of enzymes, and minerals such as sulphur and selenium also definitely play a role.

    A recent study looked at the effectiveness of garlic in 146 people over a 3 month period. Those that took a garlic supplement had 24 occurrences of cold symptoms, as opposed to 65 occurrences in those that did not take garlic. Also, those that took garlic had 1 day less of cold symptoms.[1]

    Sources here & here.


    Italian cold cure #4: Il Corno or Il Cornetto

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Cold cures4


    The "Evil Eye," or Malocchio, is a superstition found all over Mediterranean basin. One thing they all have in common is that the Evil Eye is caused by jealousy and envy. If a person envies you or your family fortunes, they may cause a malocchio curse even without meaning to.

    Every culture seems to have their own version of the Evil Eye and their own ways to fight it. I know it Greece and Turkey there are the glass blue eye charms to ward off the evil eye. However, in Italy they have the Il Corno or Il Cornetto.

    It consists of a twisted horn-shaped charm often made of gold, silver, bone, terracotta or red coral.[1] Originally it is said they resembled the twisted horn of an animal, though over the years they have become stylized and less horn-like. If you didn't know, like me when I first saw one, you would think it was a chili pepper.

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Cold cures5

    Always related to the Corno is the hand gesture known as the mano cornuta, which also wards off the Evil Eye. It is made by extending the pinkie and index finger like a pair of horns and pointing them down. But be careful!! When this gesture is made pointing up (similar to the heavy metal salute to the Devil or Hook 'em Horns of Texas) it is as an insult to somebody, meaning they are a cuckold. Which means their spouse is cheating on them. And in Italy, it usually means the spouse is cheat on them and everybody knows it but them.

    Sadly, I could not find any scientific studies to back this one up.

    Click here for more on the superstition source.


    Italian cold cure #5: Avoid Un Colpo D'Aria

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Cold cures6

    Last, but certainly not least, above all else in Italy, you must, absolutely must avoid being hit by a gust of wind or breeze. I used to say "cool breeze" but have come to learn it does not have to be cool. I could be 110 degrees outside and if you have a fan directly on you or open a car window and you could be looking at causing a range of health issues, including a stiff neck, headache and even, yes a cold or influenza!

    Italians will avoid it at all costs, even wearing scarves in the summer and not opening their window at night in case it might cause them to get sick.

    Again, I couldn't find any scientific studies on this one, but millions of Italians swear by it. Does strength in numbers make it correct?


    Any other cures you know? Please let us know, we'd love to hear about them?

  • 029: Five of our favorite extra virgin olive oil recipes
    Thu, Feb 11, 2016

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food EVOO


    The newest harvest of extra virgin olive oil is in and to celebrate, Steven gives you five amazing recipes where extra virgin olive oil is the star.

    Villa Cappelli Pinzimonio
    Recipe Type: Snack
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Total time:
    Instead of bread, Italians dip a much healthier alternative— raw, fresh vegetables — into their extra virgin olive oil.
    • [url href="http://villacappelli.com/collections/extra-virigin-olive-oil/products/villa-cappelli-extra-virgin-olive-oil" target="_blank"]Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive OIl[/url]
    • Bell peppers
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Fennel
    • Celery
    • Carrots
    • Radishes
    • Salt and Pepper
    • Vinegar (optional)
    1. There really is no set "recipe." Just prepare a big plate of fresh vegetables cut into strips or pieces for dipping.
    2. Serve with a bowl of Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Have some vinegar (any kind really) and some Villa Cappelli 100% Italian Sea Salt on hand if anyone wants to add a little extra flair to their dish, but the oil has enough flavor on its own. You can also experiment adding a dash of lemon or lime to the mix or garlic and any herbs you want. Everyone can make their own small dipping bowl to taste or make a big one everyone can share. Then just dip and eat.


    Villa Cappelli Grilled Vegetables
    Recipe Type: Side
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Cook time:
    Total time:
    A simple side of grilled vegetables with extra virgin olive oil.
    • Zucchini
    • Eggplant
    • Finely chopped fresh mint
    • Finely chopped fresh garlic
    • [url href="http://villacappelli.com/collections/extra-virigin-olive-oil/products/villa-cappelli-extra-virgin-olive-oil" target="_blank"]Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil[/url]
    • Salt
    • Balsamic Vinegar
    1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise so you have longer strips, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.
    2. Cut the eggplant to the same thickness either lengthwise or in rounds.
    3. Place the vegetables on either a hot grill or a hot non-stick pan. Let them good for about two minutes on each side until they either get a nice grill or a nice browning in your pan.
    4. Remove from pan and top with a sprinkling of garlic, mint and salt. Then a drizzle of both the Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Add more topping as you add more layers from your vegetables.
    5. Can be served at room temperature.


    Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mayo
    Recipe Type: Condiment
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Total time:
    Serves: 2 Cups
    • 3 eggs
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1.5 cups [url href="http://villacappelli.com/collections/extra-virigin-olive-oil/products/villa-cappelli-extra-virgin-olive-oil" target="_blank"]Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil[/url]
    1. Take 3 eggs, 1/4 cup (60 ml) of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and place in a blender, hopefully a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. Blend for about 10 seconds until the mixture is nice and combined, increasing the speed slowly. Then SLOWLY pour in 1.5 cups of Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil as the blender is running. Watch the mixture and when it starts to thicken, stop. In the Vitamix this shouldn’t take much longer than 30 seconds max. Refrigerate and use within 2-3 weeks.


    Villa Cappelli Vinaigrette
    Recipe Type: Condiment
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Total time:
    Super simple and healthy salad dressing.
    • [url href="http://villacappelli.com/collections/extra-virigin-olive-oil/products/villa-cappelli-extra-virgin-olive-oil" target="_blank"]Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil[/url]
    • Vinegar (whatever kind you like)
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Optional: mustard, herbs, lemon juice
    1. Just remember, 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.
    2. It's a flexible ratio, so add more vinegar if you like things more tart or more oil for a richer dressing.
    3. Just take an old conserve or jam jar, and eyeball your oil. Then add 1/3 the amount of vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Here, you can also add a dash of mustard, some herbs like [url href="http://villacappelli.com/collections/italian-conserves/products/italian-oregano" target="_blank"]oregano[/url], or lemon juice.
    4. Close up the jar and shake the heck out of it.
    5. Put your finger over the salad and pour a bit of the dressing over your finger and salad. Then taste the dressing on your finger. Adjust to your taste.


    Villa Cappelli Signature Drink
    Recipe Type: Drink
    Author: Villa Cappelli
    Prep time:
    Total time:
    It might sound strange, but the Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil just adds a richness to the drink.
    • [url href="http://villacappelli.com/collections/extra-virigin-olive-oil/products/villa-cappelli-extra-virgin-olive-oil" target="_blank"]Villa Cappelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil[/url]
    • Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
    • Vodka
    • Basil leaves
    • Simply syrup (optional)
    1. Simple Syrup (optional)
    2. Take equal parts sugar and water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar, about 3 minutes. Remove, cool and refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar. It will keep for about 3 months.
    3. Drop 3 medium torn basil leaves into a cocktail shaker, fill will ice. Add 1.5 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice, 1.5 ounces vodka, .5 ounce of Villa Cappelli EVOO, and .25 ounce simple syrup. Shake VIGOROUSLY for at LEAST 10 seconds if not 30.
    4. If you are making a bigger batch, remember the ratio: equal parts vodka to grapefruit juice, then half that in EVOO, then a quarter simple syrup.
    5. Strain into your glass and garnish with a small basil leaf.


  • 028: Terlizzi — a foodie paradise
    Fri, Feb 05, 2016

    From amazing butchers to delicious cheeses to insanely fresh fruit and vegetables, you'll find it all in Terlizzi, Italy.  Being our "hometown," it holds a special place in our hearts here at Villa Cappelli. In this episode, we'll take you a short tour of this charming town and what makes it so special — and it's not just the food.

    Topics we cover:

    • The status of our extra virgin olive oil shipment for this year
    • Whey have to ship our 500 mL bottle's labels all the way from Japan
    • What people call their "country homes" here in Italy
    • The national graffiti contest featured as your enter Terlizzi
    • How Italians always manage to save money
    • How Terlizzi is known as the city of flowers, being the largest fresh cut flower producer in all of Italy
    • The rules of the Living Villa Cappelli drinking game:
      • every time Paul corrects Steven, you have to take a drink
      • every time Paul contradicts himself, you have to chug your whole drink
    • Terlizzi is also known for its ceramics, which we use for some our extra virgin olive oil
    • How the town is also famous for its butchers
    • People shop individual butcher shops, not from the supermarket
    • Paul has a butcher for each different meat we want — beef, pork, horse, or chicken
    • How Paul also has different vendor with a stand alone shop for different fruits and vegetables, and even bread
    • How the cheese shops are amazing here, but they tend to have only local cheeses
    • The amazing fresh mozzarella you can find in town
    • And the local stracciatella and burrata
    • Our recipe for Caprese salad
    • The fresh ricotta cheese that's also amazing
    • The clock tower of Terlizzi, which is the largest back light clock tower in Europe after Big Ben
    • The amazing tree-lined street that surrounds the old town that used to be the moat of the old town
    • The medieval old town of Terlizzi
    • Our amazing rib recipe
    • Why the church in this area, from the 1700s, is still called the "new church"
    • Why you can find pieces of the old church all over town
    • The beautiful area in Terlizzi where every night people take their passeggiata
    • Santa Maria di Nuova, the other church in town and the amazing frescoes of Joseph and his multi-colored coat. Check out his story here or here.
    • To check out the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat here
    • How Terlizzi once belonged to Monti Carlo
    • The different spots where you can get married in Terlizzi, and how Villa Cappelli is one of them
    • How Terlizzi and Sovereto, a suburb of Terlizzi, were named one of the most beautiful places in Italy
    • The sheep paths surrounding the area, including right by Villa Capppelli
    • Paul's Facebook group Terlizzi, USA
    • The new Facebook group Paul will be starting with pictures of properties you can buy in the area





  • 027: Is an Italian woman's place only in the kitchen?
    Wed, Jan 20, 2016

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Women F

    What role do Italian women play in their society? How about American women? Does it differ? Joe and Andrea Lathe-Vitale return for the second part of our sit down with them around the kitchen table. Things got a little political and we discussed a bit how we have seen women's places in Italian culture and society.


    Topics we cover:

    • A couple of reasons homes stay in families for so long
    • How Italy does not let anyone go by the wayside — they take care of you
    • How there is only one homeless person in all of Terlizzi
    • Why the women do not want the men to do any housework, according to Paul
    • How women didn't want Steven to help clear the table
    • How Italians always figured out a way to put away money
    • Paul's memory of Christmas Clubs
    • How a lot of men from Southern Italy were icemen in the summer and home heating oil in the winter
    • What jobs were listed on the records for Andrea's family
    • How women used to not able to pass down Italian citizenship to their family
    • Pay inequality in America with men v. women
    • How women still get the short end of the stick still in America
    • Why we renamed our Red Tropea Onion Conserve Cipolon'
    • Here is Joe and Andrea's site again to order their hot stuff: Fancy Cat Sauce Co.

    How to open our Extra Virgin Olive Oil 3L Tin:

  • 026: Hot Sauces & Italian Healthcare
    Fri, Jan 08, 2016

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food Spicy F

    Love spicy food? Want to know what the health care system in Italy is like?   In this, the first of a two part interview, we discuss both topics with Joe and Andrea Lathe-Vitale. These two are making the big move to Italy as well as making their own line of hot sauces. Finally, near the end of the podcast, we get into how the healthcare is here in Italy compared to the U.S.

    Click here for 5 fun & delicious places to add spice.

    Topics we cover:

    • How Andrea and Joe are planning on moving to Italy
    • Our common love for hot sauces
    • How they name their products after their cats
    • You'll find their products at Fancy Cat Sauce Co.
    • Joe's favorite pepper
    • Finding the right mix of flavor and heat when it comes to hot sauces
    • Joe and Andrea's visit to the mill
    • The ibuprofen properties of extra virgin olive oil
    • Where I first learned about it in Extra Virginity
    • Why Steven doesn't fear fat (and how he lost 30 lbs. — Be sure to check out Vinnie Tortorich and Anna Vocino's podcast for more info and Vinnie's best-selling book)
    • Did some kid really die from eating a Carolina Reaper? We couldn't find this to be true, but if you know about it, let us know.
    • Joe and Andree's decision to move to Italy
    • L'arte di arrangiarsi "the art of getting by" v. America which is all about "the art of getting ahead."
    • How we believe the health care in Italy contributes to l'arte di arrangiarsi. (Here's an article talking about Italy being ranked the 2nd Healthiest Country in the World)
    • What the doctors' offices are here like in Italy
    • How Italian doctors make house calls
    • How the casual, friendly nature of doctors in Italy actually makes them feel less profession to Americans
    • The cost of prescriptions in Italy
    • Below is the video Steven was talking about where John discusses the reasons why the U.S. spend so much more on health care than any other country in the world.    The term Steven couldn't think of is inelastic demand.

  • 025: Christmas in Italy
    Thu, Dec 24, 2015


    What's Christmas like in Italy? Well, some traditions are the same and some are very different. We'll take through our experience with this amazing season in Italy.

    Topics we cover

    • Paul's memories of his family drinking Manhattans in Boston
    • The Italians start celebrating the season on Saint Nicolas day in early December
    • The fact that Saint Nicolas is actually buried here in Bari
    • How the kids get gifts on Saint Nicolas day, Christmas day and on the Epiphany
    • How kids put their shoes out during Saint Nicolas day to get presents
    • How everyone makes their own homemade nativity scene every year with bark, moss, twigs and more
    • A moving nativity in Terlizzi that as 40 moving parts that move 1000 pieces
    • Steven's childhood memory of a children's book that explained how he got into home that didn't have fireplaces. We are still looking for the name of this book, but this one does mention fairies traveling with Santa to help him get into homes: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
    • How old Steven was when he stopped believing and what kept Steven believing for a long time
    • The tradition of the Bafana for the Epiphany. She is an old woman who delivers gifts to children throughout Italy on Epiphany Eve (the night of January 5) in a similar way to St Nicholas or Santa Claus, also delivering a a lump of coal if they are bad. A popular belief is that her name derives from the Feast of Epiphany or in Italian La Festa dell'Epifania. Epiphania. In popular folklore Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany to fill their stockings with candy and presents if they are good. Or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. She is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney (again, like another guy we know).
    • Why we believe we have the song The Twelve Days of Christmas
    • How the wise mean were zoroastrians
    • The traditional Panatone (here's an image and recipe if you feel so inclined, we have NOT tried this recipe, you'll understand why from the episode)
    • Vincotto (or dried fig molasses)
    • Calzoncelli cookies, Cartellate and Susamielli
    • Feast of the Seven Fishes
    • How the Bari area likes raw fish more
    • The eel the locals eat here on Christmas Eve
    • Paul's memory of his Aunt cleaning eels in Boston
    • Paul believes most people don't take down their Christmas decorations until after the Epiphany in America, Steven thinks they come down as soon as December 25th is over. What do you think?
    • How you can leave us voice mail (check out the banner to the right)

    Any traditions we missed? What does your family do to celebrate? Let us know.


    Some pictures of Christmas from years past in Italy and the Villa.

    Cartellate Cookies with Vincotto
    Cartellate Cookies with Vincotto
    The wine cellar decorated for a Christmas party at Villa Cappelli.
    The wine cellar decorated for a Christmas party at Villa Cappelli.
    A close up of a homemade nativity.
    A close up of a homemade nativity.
    Some nativity actors.
    Some nativity actors.
    Orso looking out at the snow at Villa Cappelli.
    Orso looking out at the snow at Villa Cappelli.
    Wreaths caught in the snow storm of 2014.
    Wreaths caught in the snow storm of 2014.
    Calzoncelli, one of Paul's favorites.
    Calzoncelli, one of Paul's favorites.

  • 024: Thanksgiving Italian Style — turkey in a brick oven and NO pasta!
    Wed, Dec 16, 2015

    How do they celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy? Well, they don't. But WE do! So we invited a bunch of friends and family to join us for an American Thanksgiving here at Villa Cappelli. They were all terrified to come as there was no pasta on the menu, but....

    Topics we cover

    • Paul's new favorite drink for winter, a Manhattan
    • Why we say the "locusts have descended" when the Italians come to eat Thanksgiving here
    • How the turkey here in Italy broke our first oven
    • A telemarketer calls, and we reveal our experience with them in Italy
    • Just how big the turkeys are here in Italy
    • Why Paul prefers I call our pizza oven a brick oven
    • How the turkey cooks in the pizza...oops, brick oven
    • Paul vents a little about his mother, like all Italian sons who love their mother
    • The range of people we had this year
    • How the Italians were afraid to come as there was no pasta on the menu
    • How we arranged the buffet using makeshift heating trays
    • Our challenge with cranberry sauce and how we made it this year with dried cranberries. Here's the recipe we essentially followed. I didn't use any cranberry juice, just all water with a bit of lemon juice and orange zest.
    • Why the mash potatoes are so good to the Italians
    • Why some types of vegetables are so hard to find for us here in Puglia, Italy
    • Heirloom carrots grown locally here in shades of purple, yellow and orange
    • And why carrots are mostly orange today
    • Desserts, including a chocolate cream pie, apple pie, pecan (or any nut) bars and brownies
    • We finished the meal with our Limoncello and Nocino
    • The destination wedding we had at the villa the week before
    • How the couple we know is from our reality show The Pitch.
    • How the flourist suggested the perfect spot for the wedding
    • Our latest product which makes a great gift: Red Wine Sea Salt

  • 023: Italy has the world's best sandwich topper (and it's not ketchup!)
    Fri, Nov 06, 2015

    Italian Villa Rental Italy Italian food red onion jam FNot ketchup. Not mayo. Not even mustard. We think the world's best sandwich and hamburger topper is our Red Onion Jam (Cipolon'). After a few shout outs to some fans, we tell you just what goes into making this amazing product and what else you can do with it.

    Topics we cover:

    • Some help from our fans:
    • Paul's mother living with us now and the one tool that helps us a ton at the villa. Check it out here.
    • How we added 700 sq meters to the villa (7534 sq. feet)
    • Red Tropea Onions — what they are and where the come from
    • Why British and French Red Onion Jam
    • It does sound strange, but why it's so good
    • Our questions about what the difference is between jams, conserves, preserves and marmalades. If you know the official answer, let us know at info@villacappelli.com
    • What we make our fruit conserves with
    • Why Paul hates to see fruit on a tree that is not going to be picked
    • Paul's idea for a new product line. What do you think? Let us know.
    • The ingredients in our red onion jam (also known as Cipolon')
    • How to use the red tropea onion jam
      • On a sharp piece of cheese (the salty sweet combination is amazing)
      • On a piece of bread with lardo
      • On a piece of salami
      • As the world's best sandwich or hamburger topper
      • On a nice piece of steak
      • In place of onions or caramelized onions to your sauces and other dishes
    • How it lasts a long time in the fridge after opening
    • Why Paul believes it's one of our most flavorful products, while I believe the Bell Pepper is

  • 022: How to tell if your extra virgin olive oil is really extra virgin
    Sun, Oct 18, 2015

    After a short catch up on life at the villa, including a couple of culinary tours and our harvest of peppers, you'll learn about our PLUS method (Price. Label. Understanding. Source) which you can use to help ensure the extra virgin olive oil you are buying is truly extra virgin olive oil.

    Topics we cover:

    • Why you should always back up your hard drive with an external drive like this one or a cloud based system
    • Our two culinary tours and one bike tour we just had
    • The first culinary tour with chefs Michael Howell and Michael Blackie
    • Canada's premiere food film festival Devour!
    • Michael Blackie's restaurant Next
    • The fun with have with HETravel tours at Villa Cappelli
    • Some of our favorite restaurants in the area, including Grotta Palazzese and Antichi Sapori
    • Why most Italian restaurants don't like serving kids
    • Why it's hard for Italian restaurants here in Italy, from the number of seatings to alcohol consumption
    • Why you shouldn't order off the menu in an Italian restaurant
    • Paul's long lost cousins from California that recently visited us
    • Our Facebook group, Terlizzi USA
    • Our shipment we're preparing for the US
    • Paul and his peppers, from Habaneros to the hottest pepper in the world, the Carolina Reaper
    • Why we called our spicy products, KTM, Kit a Mut or Curse the Dead
    • The Scoville Scale for rating peppers and what it means, which essential the Smithsonian Magazine explains better than me: The idea was to dilute an alcohol-based extract made with the given pepper until it no longer tasted hot to a group of taste testers. The degree of dilution translates to the SHU. In other words, according to the Scoville scale, you would need as many as 5,000 cups of water to dilute 1 cup of tobacco sauce enough to no longer taste the heat.
      Some of the health benefits of peppers, including lowering blood pressure, thinning blood and helping HEAL ulcers
    • Some of our other conserves like our Plum Conserves
    • A video series on Italian television about the fraud in the olive oil industry
    • Why the politicians are one of the biggest problems, including laws that confiscated oil has to be proven bad within three days time and customs officials are held personally responsible for any losses a company may experience if the company fights the charges brought against them
    • The economics of extra virgin olive oil and how it's impossible to sell extra virgin olive oil for as little amount of money that big companies do
    • Our PLUS method to insure you what are buying is truly extra virgin olive oil
      • Price. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
      • Label. Look for seals like DOP and the origin of olives.
      • Understanding. Know that terms like "light" and "pure" olive oil are just marketing terms.
      • Source. Know where your extra virgin olive oil comes from. Trust a farm, not a factory.
    • Why you shouldn't be fooled by green oil

  • 021: If you love seafood and beaches, you’ll love Puglia, Italy
    Thu, Oct 01, 2015

    Italian Villa Rental italy travel seafood ftThe second part of our Puglia coast series where you’ll learn all about the southern coastal towns of Puglia, including Bisceglia, Molfetta, Giovinazzo, Poliganano A Mare, and Monopoli, Otranto, Leuca, Gollipoli, Porto Selvaggio and one of the world’s most amazing places to take a swim. So put bring your appetites and bathing suits, and join us on this tour of the Puglia coast.

    Topics we cover:

    • Bisceglia fish market
    • Why fish from the Adriatic tastes better than fish from the Mediterranean
    • Bisceglia’s old town
    • The restaurant we found in Bisceglia who’s family has been has been running the same restaurant for 150 years
    • Their amazing Braciola/Involtini made with horse meat
    • The port and town of Molfetta
    • The fishing port and market of Molfetta
    • The connection of Molfetta and Hoboken
    • The great shopping centers in Molfetta
    • The charming seaside town of Giovinazzo
    • Why the streets are so narrow and winding in Giovinazzo
    • Polignano a Mare, a amazing town which juts out into the sea
    • Grotta Palazzese, which is listed as one of the top ten restaurants in the world with a view
    • The cliff diving in Polignano A Mare
    • How Polignano A Mare is the home town of Domenico Modugno, who sang Volare
    • The connection to the statue of in Polignano A Mare and Villa Cappelli
    • A little about Monopoli
    • The amazing cathedral at Otranto with a mosaic floor designed all by one monk and alter made with the bones of martyrs
    • The different kind of beaches in Puglia, rock versus sand
    • Leuca where the two seas meet, the Mediterranean and Adriatic
    • Gollipoli with it’s amazing beaches
    • How Gollipoli is becoming a huge European gay destination
    • Porto Selvaggio and it’s amazing beach, definitely worth a visit
    • Porto Cesareo and our impression of it
    • Just a bit on Taranto and its archeological museum
    • A swimming hole in Puglia always listed as amazing places to take a swim in the world: Grotta della Poesia, Roca Vecchia, Italy, which is also an important archaeological site.
    • Some of the products we’re producing right now, including our Plum Conserve and Fig Conserve
    The swimming cove at Porto Selvaggio.
    The swimming cove at Porto Selvaggio.
    The tower view at Porto Selvaggio in Puglia, Italy.
    The tower view at Porto Selvaggio in Puglia, Italy.
    The ancient olive trees found along the coast in southern Puglia.
    The ancient olive trees found along the coast in southern Puglia.


  • 020: Why the coast of Puglia, Italy, is the best
    Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    In the first part of a two part podcast, you’ll learn all about the northern coastal towns of Puglia and why they are some of the best in the world, including Peschici, Vieste, Margherita di Savoia, Barletta, and Trani. So put on your sunscreen and join us for amazing ports, beaches, seafood and more.

    Topics we cover

    • Our impression of Peschici and Vieste in the Gargano
    • Why the drives are worth the visit to these towns
    • Why Monte Sant’Angelo is one of the two most important religious sites dedicated to the archangel Michael
    • And what makes Monte Sant’Angelo’s archangel appearances are so special
    • The beautiful drive around Margherita di Savoia
    • The fact that our sea salts come from the flats of Margherita di Savoia, in three varieties:
    • Where we got the name Erbe di Puglia
    • Barletta and it’s giant legend, no, really a legend about a giant and the statue in Barletta
    • Trani a cute port town in Puglia [link]
    • The funny thing about Trani weddings
    • How it’s tourist friendly without being touristy
    • The boat at Trani we hope guests rent at some point, which includes sailing, fishing, grilled fish and karaoke
    • A culinary tour that is staying with us now lead by Michael Howell
    • His food film festival in Canada called Devour!
    • Why we love the cathedral so much in Trani
    • What famous person’s bones you can find in the Trani cathedral (Hint: he comes around every Christmas, and it’s not Jesus)
    • Trani’s Jewish Ghetto


  • 019: Are Italian weddings the best in the world?
    Mon, Sep 14, 2015

    Learn all about the spectacle of an Italian wedding. From tons of Italian food, to music and dancing, to some interesting traditions, a wedding in Italy is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Find out all about them in this podcast.

    Topics you’ll hear about:

    • Anna Vocino, who does our voice over intro
    • A little about the nearby town of Bitonto
    • The funny thing the priest said at the end of a ceremony we just went to
    • What the wedding spaces are like here
    • Who gets more drunk at weddings, Italians or Americans
    • Why there are so many babies at Italian weddings
    • Where Italians leave their sleeping babies
    • The food at an Italian wedding and the crazy amount of it
    • The Italian wedding we went to years ago that had almost twice as much food
    • What ballerinas have to do with the wedding cake at this wedding
    • What they put out at the dessert tables (not just dessert)
    • How “gifts” work at Italian weddings
    • How there are no bridesmaids or groomsmen at Italian weddings
    • How the bride and groom sit alone at an Italian wedding
    • An extreme wedding tradition in Andria, Italy
    • Dancing traditions at Italian weddings
    • Why they all like the The Pitch, Season 1 - The Pitch" target="_blank">YMCA song
    • The special moment at the cutting of the wedding cake that Paul loved
    • How the event space impressed Steven
    • The Pitch, Season 1 - The Pitch" target="_blank">Click here to see us on the reality TV show, The Pitch

  • 018: Why southern Italy is better than northern Italy
    Thu, Sep 03, 2015

    Learn some of the advantages southern Italy has over the northern sections. While most people have visited the northern cities like Rome, Pisa, and Milan, they might not realize what they are missing in the south. Paul and Steven discuss a blog post about this and whether they agree with every point.

    Topics covered:

    • Paul’s Uncle Guy listening to boxer Nino Binvinito on the radio
    • We discuss why southern Italy is better than northern Italy according to this blog post
    • Why the “economic crisis” of the south is good news for any travelers coming to Puglia
    • Why Paul thinks the “economic crisis” isn’t much of a crisis
    • That the beaches in the south are better than the north
    • It’s hard to find a lot of sandy beaches, but the beaches are spectacular
    • This mind-blowing fact: Even though it is the smaller island, Sardinia's jagged coastline (1849km) is almost twice as long as Sicily's (1000km).
    • Which mainland state in the U.S. Paul thought had the longest coastline, that being Rhode Island. This is actually incorrect, and from I can see, it actually has the most coastline per square mile of land.
    • Why we do think the food in the south is better than the north
    • Why some people in the south don’t eat a lot of meat
    • Why we don’t necessarily agree that the people in the south are friendlier than those in the north
    • People complaining about the attitude of Romans
    • Green energy in southern Italy
    • The air “pollution” at Villa Cappelli (jasmine, olive oil and grapes)
    • The passeggiata (evening stroll) tradition in southern Italy
    • How Italians dress up to leave the house
    • How Italian men are very metrosexual and carry man purses (murses)
    • Why the cargo short trend really should be over, even this BuzzFeed article agrees
    • The il riposo (the afternoon nap) or control'ora
    • The reasons for the nap in the afternoon
    • Southern Italians living longer than northern Italians
    • How the shops shut down from 1 to 4 every day and why you should plan for this when traveling

  • 017: An Italian feast you have to see (or hear) to believe
    Sun, Aug 16, 2015

    Villa Rental Italy Puglia Featured 2Learn all about the feast of the Madonna of Sovereto in Terlizzi and Sovereto in Puglia, Italy. From carts several stories tall to shepherd boys, you’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the celebration. So pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the festivities!

    Topics we cover:

    • The change in Italian clothing in August
    • The difference between a feast and a festival
    • The story of the Madonna of Sovereto
    • The Knights Templars’ frescos in Sovereto
    • What is a “black Madonna”
    • How oxen played an important part in determining where the Madonna now lives
    • Why the bloody ox still has a prominent place in the feast
    • The difference between a triumphal cart and a float
    • The construction of this massive (5 story tall) cart for the festival
    • How the cart is manually pushed through the town by a group of men
    • Why throwing candy at the kids in the cart isn’t such a nice thing
    • Why they have to put gravel down on one corner
    • How the cart is steered through the town
    • The meat of the feast
    • A special delicacy everyone eats during the feast
    • The other part of the ceremony that takes place on April 23
    • Why the Madonna is also known as the Madonna of the Water
    • Why Steven likes this part of the feast as it’s one giant block party for the whole town of Terlizzi
    • How people refer to their apartments as houses and their stand-alone houses as villas
    • The World War II frescos that were the highlight of this year’s feast for us
    • Popeye, Oliveoil and more that were on the frescos

    Click here to join the fun in our Facebook group: Italian Food & Travel, Tips and Tricks


    Photos of the festival

    A special thanks to Maria Pansini. All the black and white photos are hers.

    The cart coming down the street.
    The cart coming down the street.
    The Madonna making her way to the cart.
    The Madonna making her way to the cart.
    The shepherd who leads the procession.
    The shepherd who leads the procession.
    Getting ready.
    Getting ready.
    Chaos in the streets.
    Chaos in the streets.
    The honor guard steering the cart.
    The honor guard steering the cart.
    The cart entering the square.
    The cart entering the square.
    The oxen.
    The oxen.
    Pushing the cart.
    Pushing the cart.
    The other part of the festival in April that is one giant block party.
    The other part of the festival in April that is one giant block party.
    The World War II frescos we saw.
    The World War II frescos we saw.
    Oliveoil.So fitting to be found in Puglia.
    Oliveoil. So fitting to be found in Puglia.
    The names on the wall.Anyone know anyone here?
    The names on the wall. Anyone know anyone here?

  • 016: Summer in Italy — beating the heat and our favorite no-cook recipes
    Sun, Aug 09, 2015

    Learn how Italians deal with the summer heat, some traditions in Italy during the summer, and some of our favorite no-cook summer recipes.

    Topics we cover:

    • The problem of finding fans in Italy at the height of summer
    • And how this relates to the Italian mindset when doing business
    • Ferragosto in Italy, where the entire country shuts down and goes on vacation for two weeks
    • Puglia listed as having one of the best beaches
    • The sea culture in Italy and how the sea water and air is thought to be very good for you
    • Why Italians used to bring newborns into the stable to smell urine
    • The different reasons Americans and Europeans come to Italy
    • The theory of how the Serbian War was an economic plan
    • What our neighbors think of our pool
    • “Cliff diving” into our pool
    • Our recipe for a wonderful tomato and tuna dish
    • What we believe is the correct way to make a caprese salad, including putting the basil in the middle, NOT on top
    • Why the caprese is the national Italian dish
    • The correct to serve pasta and sauce, marrying the two flavors
    • The zucchini stalk pasta we cooked the other night



    Click here to learn the top 4 ways Italians beat the heat without AC! 



    Tomato boats



      Simple, tasty appetizer or side: half-ripened tomatoes, tuna, mayo, topped with anchovy and capers.   A photo posted by Villa Cappelli (@villacappelli) on

    Take a firm plum tomato (firm is key, can’t be too ripe and mushy), and cut it in half length wise. Scoop out the seeds and membrane so you are left with a boat. Combine some good quality tuna with some homemade mayo (recipe below) and dash of pepper and then add your tuna to your tomato boats. Top with a sliver of anchovy and a couple of capers.


    Villa Cappelli Mayo   
    Take 3 eggs, 1-2 Tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and place in a blender, hopefully a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. Blend for about 10 seconds until the mixture is nice and combined. Then SLOWLY pour in ? cup of Villa Cappelli extra virgin olive oil as the blender is running. Watch the miture and when it starts to thicken, stop. In the Vitamix this shouldn’t take much longer than 30 seconds max. Refrigerate and use within 2-3 weeks.


      Villa Cappelli Caprese Salad


    #villacappelli #food #natural #culinarytour #puglia #cheese #lunch

    A photo posted by Villa Cappelli (@villacappelli) on

    Take a ball of fresh mozzarella into ? inch slices. Place your ovals of mozzarella on plate. Tear up some fresh basil and place on each slice of mozzarella. Slice up your tomatoes and place them on top of each slick of mozzarella and basil. Season your tomatoes with a little salt, then top each slice with a nice pour of Villa Cappelli extra virgin olive oil.



    Click here to learn the top 4 ways Italians beat the heat without AC!


    What's your favorite no-cook recipe or way to beat the heat?  Let us know!

  • 015:Finding family and returning home to Italy
    Thu, Jul 30, 2015

    You’ll learn how a podcast and a pigeon lead Elizabeth Coughlin to return to her great grandfather’s hometown of Terlizzi and fulfill her grandmother’s dream of reconnecting with her family in Italy. Enjoy this interview get inspired to find your roots and your home.

    Topics we cover:

    • Why Elizabeth’s family said they came from Bari when they actually came from Terlizzi
    • Where the families around this area who left Italy settled in the US, including areas around Boston and Hoboken
    • How Beth found us and how that lead to her finding her long lost family
    • How her grandfather’s draft card lead to her finding Terlizzi
    • Beth’s new tagline for Villa Cappelli “Eating at Villa Cappelli is like eating Sunday lunch every day.”
    • Our signature cocktail made with Villa Cappelli extra virgin olive oil (recipe below)
    • How the Spanish influenza influenced Italian immigrants in the U.S.
    • Specifically how from the Spanish influenza killed Beth’s great grandfather’s first wife and her great grandmother’s first husband as well as how it killed Paul’s grandfather’s first wife
    • The story of Paul’s family and how his grandfather married
    • How Beth’s Nonna was a big influence for her research and trip
    • Beth’s entire story of how to found her family again and how, almost magically, they were in the Terlizzi, the closest town to the villa (see Beth’s full story in her own words below)
    • How a pigeon plays a big role in Beth’s decision to come to Villa Cappelli (from the book: Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small)
    • How strange it is for Italians to understand the need for people to seek out their families in Italy, since for them, their families have always been from the town they grew up in
    • How Beth’s Nonna came along for their trip
    • How Beth’s trip has made her appreciate appreciate each moment and how this is just the beginning of the trip
    • How Beth and Paul might be related


    Villa Cappelli Cocktail Recipe (makes one drink):

    3 medium basil leaves, torn, plus one small basil leaf for garnish

    1.5 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

    1.5 ounces vodka

    .5 ounce Villa Cappelli extra virgin olive oil

    .25 ounce simple syrup (optional)


    Drop torn basil leaves into a cocktail shaker and fill shaker with ice. Add grapefruit juice, vodka, Villa Cappelli extra virgin olive oil and simple syrup. Shake vigorously for at least 10 seconds. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with small basil leaf. You can also blend all the ingredients together in a high-powered blender.


    Elizabeth’s full story:


    Returning to Family by Elizabeth Coughlin

    Nanas and grandpas are an amazing gift. My Nana, Angela “Angie” Gesmundo, was just that - a beautiful gift from God. To me she was a friend, a teacher, and my hero. When I needed a problem solved, or just wanted to share a story, Nana was the one I talked to. With her ‘say it like it is’ approach, she taught me life lessons: self-respect, the importance of family, and to always keep things honest. Her points were direct. “Don’t spit in the wind or it might come back and hit you in the face” is one example. Or she would say, “Listen, I won’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you what I will put up with!”

    Besides lessons about life, she taught love of life by example. Nana loved to dance, to sing and she wore bright stylish clothes and make up. A hairdresser by trade, she constantly surprised us with a new hair color. She was so full of youthful fun, most strangers assumed she was my mom. In her fingers, which were adorned with extremely long nails usually painted sparkly white, she often held a Marlboro cigarette, a habit she never was able to kick.

    Nana often talked about her family. Her mother, she recalled, came from San Giovanni la Punta in Sicily and her father, Giuseppe “Joe” Gesmundo, was from the province of Bari in Italy. Giuseppe came to America with his first wife, Anna, with whom he had three sons. Sadly, Anna died from the flu in the early 1900s. Nana’s now widowed father needed help raising his children, so he married his housekeeper, Maria, whose husband had also just died of the flu. While Maria was raising Giuseppe’s three boys, the couple had two children of their own, my Nana Angela and her brother, Joe.

    For reasons unknown to me, Nana did not know much about her father’s history, including where he was from. She did recall stories about his having farmed in Italy and about owning some type of land. There were also stories of his possible political ties. This historical gap left me to wonder, who was great grandfather Giuseppe and where did he come from?

    Nana clearly remembered from her own childhood that Joe Gesmundo had been a strict man who dressed impeccably and grew an enormous garden of row upon row of tomatoes and other vegetables at their home in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

    He had strict rules for his family and she never crossed them because he demanded they be followed, or else…

    She also recalled how her dad found his first job in America. He approached a group of Italian construction workers and asked one of them, “How do I ask the boss for a job in English?”

    Instead of giving him the correct response, the worker told him English swear words. The boss, did not find any humor in the bad language, and asked my great grandfather, “Who told you to say such words?”

    Giuseppe pointed to the man, who was laughing. The boss turned to my great grandfather and said, “You need a job? Well now you have one--- his!”

    According to my Nana, her dad worked as a janitor at the local bank for many years. He also started the Italian Credit Union in Haverhill, an accomplishment in which Nana took great pride. Giuseppe Gesmundo, my great grandfather, suffered a fatal heart attack on his 71st birthday on April 18, 1958, in Haverhill.

    It was Nana’s dream to someday visit Italy and find her relatives. She would talk about it often, looking into the distance as if she somehow knew it would remain just a dream. Sadly, shortly after I turned 18, my best friend, my Nana, my rock, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an aggressive cancer that attacks the bones, and she died on August 20, 1990, before she could go to Italy.

    We now live in an age of information, when it is almost too easy to find out anything about anyone. So a few years ago I began my search, to fulfill my Nana’s dream to find her family in Italy.

    I began my research on the website ancestory.com where I discovered bits and pieces about Giuseppe, but nothing concrete. Then one day in my search I found his World War I draft card. On his card he had written that he was from a town in Italy called Terlizzi. As I never knew what town he was from, only that he came from Bari province, it was an important part of the puzzle. A few years went by and life got in the way, and I drifted away from my heritage research. Then in 2014 I began listening to a podcast on health and fitness, ‘The Angriest Trainer’, with Vinnie Tortorich and Anna Vocino. That is when everything changed.

    The podcast is hilariously entertaining, as well as informative. It was and still is an addictive show to listen to. Their down to earth approach reminded me a lot of myself as well as my Italian relatives. No coincidence, because Vinnie and Anna happen to be Italian.

    As I continued to listen to my new favorite podcast, I heard their ad for a 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, called Villa Cappelli. As a longtime foodie, I decided to look up this olive oil and its history. After looking through their website, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Their 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil was made in, of all places, Terlizzi, Italy! Not only could I buy delicious food from this company, but I discovered that they also rent their villa! Wow!

    As I stared at the screen and imagined going to the villa and finding my family, realistically I thought it would be impossible. I put my dreams aside, little knowing that my Nana from up above would intervene.

    August 25, 2014 was an oppressively hot day in my hometown of Topsfield, outside of Boston, Massachusetts. As I stepped outside, I noticed a beautiful pigeon sitting in my driveway. I thought that seemed strange but left my house to do some errands. When I came back the pigeon was waiting for me. I decided to feed the visitor some breadcrumbs and water, and he seemed most grateful. For three days my new friend jumped around my yard, sat on my roof and one time even sat at my front door peering in the side window as if to say, “Do you notice me?”

    After the pigeon left a not so friendly gift on the top of my husband’s car, we decided our visitor needed to be returned to his owner. He had a couple of identity bands around his ankle, but nothing that indicated his home. I decided to look up, via the internet, local racing pigeon clubs and found the contact information for a guy named Ron. After some exchange of correspondence, we agreed to meet and that I would hand over the bird.

    With great help and effort from my son, Thomas, we managed to get our new friend into a pet carrier, and we went to meet Ron and his wife at an agreed location. Ron and his wife were an older couple, and immediately we knew they were genuine folks. Ron explained that sometimes when racing, pigeons can get lost. He looked over our pigeon friend and determined he was only about four months old and quite thin. He was most grateful we called him because he actually thought he might know who owned the bird.

    The next day I received this email from Ron:

     “Hello Again Beth,

     I want to thank you for the trouble you and your son went thru to get this bird. I spoke to the owner and he wanted me to thank you also...

    If there were more people like you and your family, this world could be a better place for us all...  I wish you nothing but good health and happiness in your Life...”

     After reading Ron’s touching email I decided to look up what it meant to have a pigeon come into your life. I grabbed a book off my shelf, Animal-Speak: The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small by Ted Andrews. He writes, “The Pigeon has a long history associated with the home and with fertility. The real name of Christopher Columbus was “Colombo”, which is the Italian word for “pigeon”…It is because of this that they are often symbols for a time or a need to return to the security of home. Pigeons can teach us how to find our way back when we are lost. They help us to remember and find the love of home and home life that we have either given up or lost…Have we forgotten our basic foundations, the heritage we have had passed on to us through home and family?”

    Speechless, I closed the book and thought about the villa in Terlizzi and made my decision. We were going.

    After exchanging some family emails, I found a relative in Michigan who had an address in Terlizzi, as one of my Nana’s brothers did visit family over 25 years ago. I quickly wrote a letter, explained who I was and my interest in meeting my lost relatives. I then emailed the villa, put down a deposit and announced to my parents, we were going to Terlizzi, to finish Nana’s dream to find her dad’s family.

    Three months went by and we heard nothing. Just when I was about to lose hope, a letter arrived. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. I danced around my kitchen, and my kids finally demanded I open it. The letter was from my great-grandfather’s brother’s family. They wrote how happy they were to hear from us and that they would be very excited to meet us in July, 2015.

    As I sat in my kitchen holding the letter, I thought about all the events that led up to this moment - the World War I draftcard from ancestory.com, Vinnie Tortorich’s podcast, the Villa Cappelli 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, and my beautiful pigeon “colombo” friend. In my heart, I know each event was carefully orchestrated by my Nana, in her quest to see her families unite, to finish one dream and start another.

    Never give up just because a loved one has died. I believe our love and dreams for each other live on. We only need to stop, and inhale the small wonders our loved ones leave us each day. Maybe it’s a shiny penny or a small feather, a familiar smile, or a scent that takes us back to a loved one. All of these are signs that their love for us lives on. Now, when I see a pigeon look at me just right, I take a moment and smile and remember, that my Nana will always love me.


    One last video, just for fun.  Orso welcoming Thomas to the villa:





  • 014: Art and photography with photographer Paul Freeman
    Thu, Jul 23, 2015

    Learn about the challenges and issues of shooting the male figure when we talk with world famous photographer Paul Freeman about Italian art, photography and more.

    Topics we cover:

    • Freeman’s shoots here at the villa on his first trip and this current trip
    • Why the villa reminds Freeman of the film The Leopard (English Sub-titles)
    • The theme of a lot of Freeman’s work of shooting the male nude within rustic blue-collar settings
    • Why Freeman thinks every good photo should tell a story
    • Why dumpster diving is not the same in Italy as it is anywhere else and the treasures Paul finds in the “trash”
    • The difference Paul finds in Italian models v. Australian models
    • What Freeman says to people when they say “what you do is just pornography”
    • The surprising way Italian women approached Freeman’s books
    • Why Paul believes the study of art developed these womens' point of view
    • The difference in use of sex in American advertising and European advertising
    • The use of the male figure v. the female figure in advertising
    • Our take on the new Dad Bod trend
    • Our discussion on the first famous Calvin Klein underwear ad
    • Freeman’s take on models with tattoos and why they shouldn’t have them
    • Paul’s story on where tattoos, especially of religious figures, come from
    • The origin of the hoop earring
    • What’s next for Freeman
    • Freeman’s story and advice on self-publishing
    • The issue Freeman had in finding a publisher that would print the male nude
    • Freeman’s stress with the future of printing v. digital
    • Why Paul got rid of his collection of art books when we moved to Italy
    • Why Freeman puts a timelessness into his photos

  • 013: Destination weddings in Italy with Jeannie Uyanik
    Thu, Jul 16, 2015

    Need to plan the perfect destination wedding or event in Italy? Then this episode is for you. We talk with event and wedding planner Jeannie Uyanik, who we recently worked with here at Villa Cappelli, all about what makes for a great Italian destination wedding.

    Topics we cover:

    • Jeannie’s first take on the villa and the importance of communication when planning events
    • How space plays a part in planning an event
    • How we play concierge for guests
    • Why you have to think about guests from arrival point to departure point when planning a destination wedding
    • Why a local source is important when planning an event
    • Why Jeanie feels like a foreigner without being a tourist in Puglia
    • Why Puglia is like “story book” Italy
    • How “untouched” Puglia is from Jeannie’s perspective and the special nature that provides destination weddings or any event
    • The trends of destination weddings and why they are now focused on doing something totally different
    • Why so it’s important to give back to the guests who are attending your destination wedding in Italy
    • How important flowers are to a destination wedding
    • How having multiple spaces can play an important part in planning your space for a destination wedding
    • Why having muted colors is important for any event space
    • Why you should always send someone to look at your destination space or go yourself
    • And why spending that little bit of extra money to see the space, yourself or through a planner, is so worth it
    • Why Jennie believes you shouldn’t have to sell your location to your guests
    • How to prioritize your guest list
    • Trends for destination weddings
    • The cost of items in Puglia and what makes it such a great value for destination weddings


    Our tips for destination weddings in Italy

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Consider all factors when choosing your dream location

    While the location of your wedding determines not the mood (rustic, country, seaside), the ease required to pull it off is also very important. You want your guests to walk away from your wedding weekend saying, "That was so them!" but also have an easy time getting to and from your location, and you have an easy time getting there when planning.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Don’t dismiss locations and look for a blank canvas

    Not all the locations you look at are going to spot on the first time you see them. Don’t dismiss a location because of perhaps a single flaw. You can do a lot to disguise something you don’t like or draw the eye away from it. It’s also important the location have muted colors or more of a blank canvas. That way, it’s very easy for you to bring your style and personality to the space.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Start now!

    You need to tell friends and right away so they can begin planning. Don't be upset if some of your closest friends or relatives don't attend. Fees for travel, hotel, and car rental can really add up. They need lots of time, too. You’ll need to give four months’ notice—MINIMUM—to guests invited to a wedding away. Ten to twelve month befor e is much better so they can book tickets and make reservations before prices skyrocket.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: When to book

    Bookings should be made between 10 months to a year before the wedding date. It’s hard for a venue to give prices much before that time, as prices are likely to increase between your booking and the time of the event. But you can always try, as some venues might like to lock up some business ahead of time. As Italy is a popular destination, many venues and town halls can get booked up to 10 months before. So if you need those venues, make your booking is 10 months to a year in advance.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Come in the off-season

    If you choose to marry during high tourist season, you'll want to reserve spaces and venues quickly and give guests time to make reservations. However, we recommend you choose the shoulder seasons of spring or fall to save yourself and your guests some money. Italy has amazing weather around that time and the off-season will mean fewer crowds and less hassle.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Visit your location

    Try to take at least one trip to your location, and if you can swing it, two or three is ideal. On the first trip, scout and secure your key venues — ceremony and reception spaces, hotels for guests, a rehearsal dinner venue — and local suppliers such as caterers, florists and photographers. On another trip, you'll need to schedule "tastings" with your caterer, see sample bouquets from the florist, plan a hair and makeup session with a local salon and organize activities (tours, dinners, museums) for your guests.

    If you can’t make, be sure you communicate very clearly with the venues and vendors you’ll be using. And if you can’t make the trip yourself, you might thing of sending someone else. See the next tip.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Use a planner

    If you're hosting a destination wedding, you will need to entrust at least part of the planning to someone else's capable hands. A wedding planner can shoulder the burden of researching and securing local vendors (especially valuable if said vendors speak English only as a second language), dealing with logistics, and handling any last-minute fires that may start in the weeks leading up to the wedding. Set aside about 10 to 15 percent of your total budget for a local planner. If you go with a planner from home, expect to cover his transportation costs for planning visits and the actual wedding.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Tying the knot legally

    The legal side of tying the knot in Italy can be complicated.  Here is some official info from the U.S. Embassy in Italy on what is required: http://italy.usembassy.gov/acs/marriage/general-marriage.html This would be a good area with which to have an agency or local wedding planner’s help.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Relax, it’s Italy

    Remember, you are now on "Italian time" — things happen when they happen — so don't mistake a vendor's laid-back attitude for incompetence. Schedule regular check-ins and then trust your vendors to work their magic. But they do work at their own pace, which may seem slower to those from the home.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Bring pros from home

    If something is extremely important to you, bring pros you trust from home to handle critical aspects such as the photography or hair and makeup. Actually, when it comes to photographers, we highly recommend this for Italian destination weddings. Italian wedding photography seems to be stuck in the 80s Sears portrait stage and can be pretty corny. Sorry Italian photographers! We’d love to be proved wrong, so send us your websites if you disagree!

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Take care of guests

    In addition to arranging group rates for flights and rooms, list information for getting to and from the nearest airport to your wedding locale, invite everyone to the rehearsal or welcome dinner and next-day brunch, and deliver welcome bags to their rooms, full of essentials for the trip, like suntan lotion, water, bug spray, maps, lists of local attractions

    You should also plan out a lot of activities for guests. They don’t have to join every one, but they took the time to come to your wedding, it’s time to give back and make their stay extra special and exciting.

    Also, figure out if anyone will need special help, from wheelchairs to cribs, and make sure they are taken care of.

    Think of your guests when choosing a location as well. Grandma might not be able to make around rocky terrain if your ceremony is outside. Or if there are a lot of kids, a location with a pool or other entertainment will probably be key.

    Destination Weddings in Italy: Make it special and different

    Try to get away from the stereotype of Italy and Italian locations. Italy has so much to offer and many couples are attracted to the well-known destinations such as Tuscany, Sorrento and Lake Garda. However, places like Puglia offer some absolutely spectacular scenery and are excellent values. You won’t have to compromise on the quality you’ll be discovering a completely untouched part of Italy.

  • 012:Traveling in Italy with kids with director Scott Ellis and actor Scot Drummond
    Wed, Jul 08, 2015


    We talk with director Scott Ellis and actor Scott Drummond, recent guests at the villa, all about their lives and how traveling in Italy has been, especially with two small children.


    Topics we cover:


    ·      Ellis’ experience with a naked Bradley Cooper in Elephant Man


    ·      What Italians call people with elephantiasis (it’s flattering)


    ·      Which craft Drummond prefers, stage or television


    ·      Why Paul can’t remember the lyrics of any Italian song, but why it doesn’t remember


    ·      Drummond’s experience on the new Tina Fey and Amy Poehler film Sisters


    ·      Why the Appian Way contributes to the phrase “all roads lead to Rome”


    ·      Why Scott & Scott fell in love with the place and might get married here (we hope)


    ·      What stars ratings mean when it comes to a hotel


    ·      Why Drummond feels Puglia is a more authentic Italy


    ·      What it’s like traveling in Italy with kids


    ·      What’s the advantage traveling with friends and families who also have kids


    ·      How fun it was to cook with the kids in the kitchen and the lessons the kids learned from that


    ·      How the parents approached the eating and meals in Italy telling them they need to try new things while here


    ·      Ellis’ amazing creation of Saint Silence day


    ·      Ellis’ experience with the Puglian food


    ·      Paul’s take on Slow Food


    ·      Why 90% of our meals are all about Paul’s shopping


    Tips for traveling with kids in Italy


    1. Traveling with kids in Italy: food

    When traveling with kids in Italy, or any other foreign country, tell them ahead of time they must be open to trying new dishes. This will make it easier when visiting restaurants in Italy and finding food they will eat.  Also prepare kids ahead of time and let them know they may taste food that is not the same as what they normally get home. For instance, you won't find spaghetti and meatballs in true Italian restaurants and there really is no such thing as thick crust pizza. However, in Italy you can always find a lot of food many kids will like.


    On that same note, pick restaurants where you want to eat not always what the kids want to eat. You'll be hard-pressed to find any restaurant that can’t at least make a pasta with a tomato sauce or pasta with cheese for those picky eaters.


     Also remember, stores close at 1PM and reopen from 4PM to 8PM.  So expect long lunches starting at 1PM, and you probably won’t find many places open for dinner before 8PM.


    2. Traveling with kids in Italy: language

    Italians always appreciate it if you try to use a little of their language. Have some fun with the kids and teach them some basic phrases like ciao for “hello,” grazie for “thank you” and prego for “you’re welcome.” The basics will help them show some manners when interacting with Italians, and it will be fun to immerse them a little bit in the culture.


    3. Traveling with kids in Italy: entertainment

    Sometimes you just want a little downtime from all the tourist attractions. During this time, don't count on television providing any sort of entertainment for your kids while traveling in Italy. Television is all in Italian, even the American cartoons. Cards and board games, especially the mini travel kinds, can help fill this downtime for your kids.  Be prepared to leave behind these games making room in your luggage for souvenirs you pick up along the way. If they are old enough, it might be fun for your kids to have a travel journal to document each day's activities.


    4. Traveling with kids in Italy: car or train


    When traveling in Italy, you are sure to travel by car or train at some point to see different sites in the area. Remember to bring water, cups, and snacks in the car to satisfy hungry and thirsty kids. It's also fun to keep them entertained with all the new sites of the Italian countryside you'll be driving through. And always have in your back pocket some fun car games if they really need to be entertained.




    5. Traveling with kids in Italy: traveling with friends and family


    One way to make traveling in Italy or anywhere else much easier on you is to travel with friends and family that have the kids around the same age as yours. The kids will immediately have playmates so they entertain each other and stay out of your hair. It makes the trip a lot more fun for your kids and a lot easier on you. For such trips, we recommend you rent the space just like the Villa Cappelli with lots of rooms for everybody and a pool to entertain the kids. It makes your trip much more relaxed and easier when you can all gather in common spaces, cook meals together, and have delicious dinners without having to worry about getting back to a hotel room. Look for these spaces on sites like Homeaway.com and Flipkey.com.




    6. Traveling with kids in Italy: site seeing


    When it comes to seeing the sights in Italy, we recommend you pick exploration over museums. What we mean by this is that dragging a kid through museum will not be fun for you or them. But bringing history to life by taking them to ancient ruins, human cave dwellings, or coliseums. Doing something active while also enjoying the rich history of Italy will keep you both happy and immersed in the Italian culture.




    7. Traveling with kids in Italy: eat lots of gelato


    Traveling with kids in Italy gives you the best excuse in the world to eat gelato at least once a day. Remember, gelato has less calories and fat than ice cream, and you won’t find more delicious gelato in a range of flavors anywhere else.  So enjoy!




  • 011: Prosciutto, pancetta, and sausage from Tuscany
    Fri, Jun 26, 2015

    Italian meat! Paul and Steven talk about Paul’s trip to Tuscany to visit family and the wonders of prosciutto, pancetta and sausage from Italy. Hopefully you’re not too hungry after listening to this episode.


    Topics covered include:

    • Paul’s problem with the Tuscan airport
    • Paul’s arrival in America and a peek at why his ego is so big
    • Why Paul can literally say “That prosciutto has my name on it.”
    • What is unusual about Tuscan bread (hint: it has no salt)
    • One theory of why the bread is unsalted
    • Raw sausage and why we love it
    • How to eat raw sausage
    • How to freeze the sausage if you need to
    • Why his cousin’s pancetta is so amazing
    • Why people call the pancetta “the baby”
    • How we were able to get some pancetta back to the U.S. one trip
    • How women play a big part in the prosciutto and pancetta production
    • How Paul’s trip brought on a wave of nostalgia
    • Our advice on buying your own prosciutto or pancetta
    • And what to serve with your prosciutto

  • 010: Italian bike tour
    Wed, Jun 17, 2015

    It's all about biking Puglia, Italy.  We'll cover the itinerary for our amazing week of biking through the Italian countryside, from coastal towns to castles to amazing meals, it's all included when you hop on a bike a join us in Puglia.

    You'll learn:

    • Why our Puglia bike tour is unique compared to most other bike trips
    • Where most Greco Roman urns in museums around the world come from (hint: it’s a nearby town we visit during the first day of our tour)
    • What Molfetta and Hoboken have in common
    • A bit about Giovinazzo
    • A little about Gravina and it’s ancient cave churches
    • Where you’ll find a room full of stacked skulls
    • What a “picnic lunch” entails at Villa Cappelli
    • A bit about Castel Del Monte, a UNESCO World Heritage site
    • What the artist who created the statue of Domenico Modugno was doing at the villa (hint: it’s all about ancient stucco)
    • How cactus plants play a part on making ancient stucco
    • A bit about Pogliano a Mare and Grotta Palazzese, a restaurant listed as having one of the best views in the world
    • A little about Matera, European Culture Capital for 2019
    • All about our favorite ride of the week from Monte Gargnone to Castello di Monteserico through rolling hills and amazing countryside
    • The beauty of abandonment
    • A little history on Trani and its famous cathedral
    • How you can join the bike tour or design your own
    • My recommendations for any bike trip

  • 009: Italian ancestry and discovering your heritage
    Wed, Jun 10, 2015

    This is the second part of our interview with John and Angela Cahill. This time we talk a bit about our other day trips south to Gallipoli and Lecce, and then we get into what you can do if you are looking to research your Italian heritage while visiting Italy.

    You’ll learn:

    • About our trip to Porto Selvaggio, which Angela calls the Blue Grotto without all the people.
    • About our drive to Gallipoli and Lecce
    • About a day trip to Bovino, named the #5 top town in all of Italy to visit
    • Why Angela calls Puglia the “quintessential Italy”
    • About Angela and John’s first visit with us and our heritage services
    • Where you can start with your research into your Italian heritage
    • What is important to have when you come here looking for records
    • What vital information you should know if you are looking to get photocopies of your family’s records (hint: it has to do with the age of the document)
    • How knowing just a few family names can help you in these small town and might even find you some cousins
    • Where all the old records are stored in Italy
    • What kind of specific information it is good to have when trying to find records or relatives
    Looking to research you own heritage? Here are some suggestions:
    Use your family as your first and foremost resource.

    Sit down with your grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, and anybody else who might know your family history. You're looking to get names, birth dates, dates of death, marriage dates and other specific information they might have. Many family members may have already done their own research, so definitely use their knowledge and their previous work to your advantage.

    Get the stories.

    Names and dates are great but having stories associated with the information is priceless. So get that video cam working (your phone will do) and at the next family reunion or get together have your relatives tell stories about your family. Use photo albums to jog their memories and bring up stories you’ve never even heard. This is the part of genealogy research that is truly exciting and rewarding. Having your history told through experiences and memories is what it’s all about.

    Get the documents.

    Once you have the names dates and stories you want to start verifying information by getting copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, immigration and naturalization papers, Census records, gravestones and more. If family numbers have copies of these be sure to photocopy them and be prepared to do a lot of research to find your own copy.

    Put it down on paper.

    Now that you have all the info, start building your family tree, adding in photos documents, and stories/notes whenever possible. There are so software programs out there to help you with this, but call us old school, nothing beats putting it an in a nice notebook or photo album to share with family and friends.


    Researching online

    Below are some specific genealogy sites relating to Italian heritage. Honestly, we haven’t use any of these, so we can’t speak of how good or bad they may be. It does look like “MyItalianFamily.com” has extra services like the ability to hire experts to help in your research, which could be helpful if you get stuck somewhere.




    These sites below are general genealogical sites. We have used Ancestry.com in the past. The biggest issue, at least at the time, was that no records went past your family’s arrival in America. So eventually you’ll be stuck if you need to research history in the old country.

    www.familysearch.org (this is the extensive Mormon database)



    libertyellisfoundation.org (Note that the Ellis Island site only covers those who would have gone through Ellis Island. Many Italian immigrants arrived in Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans.)

    Terlizzi, USA Facebook Group

    Before coming to Italy to do any research:
    • Have as many dates and names as possible
    • Have any “alternative” family names, say if someone went by a nickname, you’ll need their name on their birth certificate
    • If possible, contact the local offices before your arrival as this might save yourself a lot of time and frustration if any leg work can be done ahead of time
    • When here, try to have someone who can really speak the language for you. It’s not always just about making yourself understood, but about being able to smooth talk employees into really helping you out.

    If you have other resources you’ve had success with, please let us all know in the comments section. We’d all love to hear what’s worked for you!

  • 008: Travel with us to the Gargano
    Fri, Jun 05, 2015

    Join us as we interview guest John and Angela Cahill and talk all about our trip to the amazingly beautiful Garagano, the spur of the boot.  Hopefully you’ll feel like you took a small trip with us and discover what sites not to miss when you come for real.  Plus, you’ll learn how to make our world famous limoncello and limontini.






    This episode, you’ll hear:


    ·      A bit about the Gargano


    ·      Why the town of Monte Sant’Angelo was so special to us


    ·      What role the Archangel Michael plays in the town (he is their namesake)


    ·      All about the graffiti from the 1100s etched into the stone in the chapel left by the Crusaders


    ·      The ex-votos, painting left behind thanking the Archangel Michael for the miracles he has performed


    ·      All about Angela’s obsession with confessionals throughout the churches in Italy


    ·      The castle in the same town that truly looked and felt like a real castle


    ·      A bit about Paul, Angela and John’s trip to Lucera Castle


    ·      Our delicious “light” lunch in town


    ·      How the town was touristy without being touristy


    ·      About the great a new liquor we discovered, Limonulivo, and the 12 year old pomegranate brandy we got to try


    ·      Our drive through the Foresta Umbra


    ·      The amazing drive to and from the Gargano, through salt flats, flocks of flamingos and herds of goats and cows


    ·      The completion of our day through Peschici and Vieste


  • 007: Italian music, from the great 50s and 60s to folk music and more
    Mon, Jun 01, 2015

    It’s a podcast dedicated to Italian music. We talk about our adventures in the Italian music scene, covering everything from a great band that was playing in Terlizzi to our favorite pizzica group (Italian folk music) to movie theme songs blaring over the Italian radio.

    You’ll learn all about:

    • Our special Italian music night in Terlizzi
    • The muglese, a local band from the Muggia
    • Why Paul loves Italian music from the 50s and 60s
    • A special Italian homage to Frank Sinatra that we heard
    • The Italian version of a grilled cheese sandwich, featuring balls of caciocavallo melting over a hot grill
    • The portable pasta maker at the music night
    • Why the old town was perfect for the concert
    • Why you wont find a night like this in big Italian tourist cities like Rome
    • Southern folk music, Pizzica
    • And why it’s called Pizzica
    • Why we call our handy man factotum
    • Why his radio station sets the mood for the villa everyday
    • Paul’s experience with Mina, Italy’s Barbara Streisand
    • How a Mina song plays a big role in Paul’s 46th birthday and the twin towers
    • Where I heard the theme song to Star Wars
    • Our idea for a retro-music party at the villa
    • A cool concert we went to in nearby Soverto
    • An amazing electro-classical concert we held here at the villa

  • 006: Local Italian flowers, foraging for mushrooms, and more!
    Thu, May 28, 2015

    Experience another typical week in the life of an Italian, where we talk all about the amazing flowers from Terlizzi, foraging for mushrooms, putting in new stone floors and more!



    You’ll hear:


    ·      Where the word “ciao” comes from


    ·      That Terlizzi, our nearby town, is one of the largest producers of fresh cut flowers


    ·      The florist from Terlizzi actually supply the Vatican with their flowers for special events


    ·      That the Pope has extra virgin olive oil from Terlizzi on his table


    ·      Just what was included in the amazing flower arrangements we had at the villa during last year’s wedding


    ·      About our appearance on the reality TV show, The Pitch


    ·      How we make our homemade sushi


    ·      About Paul’s wild asparagus hunting


    ·      All about Paul’s infamous mushroom discovery last year


    ·      Our other mushroom foraging adventures


    ·      Why our friend Rocky is moving from London to Italy


    ·      Why we love our old stone floors that we just put down


    ·      A bit about our heritage tour services for guests of the villa




  • 005: Italian names: nicknames, family names, married names and more
    Mon, May 25, 2015

    It’s the Italian name game.  Paul and Steven start the episode talking about Paul’s trip to Florida, but then quickly progress into a conversation all about names in Italy.  You’ll learn all about the funny nicknames in small towns, why married women here don’t take their husband’s last name, and why there are no juniors in Italy.




    You’ll learn:


     ·      About Paul’s trip to Florida to surprise his mother for her birthday


    ·      How the surprise got ruined


    ·      Why Paul suddenly likes Florida


    ·      How Italian last names can indicate the region of your family’s heritage: if it ends in an “i” they are usually from the north and if it ends in an “o” they are from the south.


    ·      What it means when a person has the last name of a town in Italy


    ·      A bit about the Jewish ghettos in Italy


    ·      Where the words “ghetto” and “graffiti” come from


    ·      How some of the orphans got their names in Italy


    ·      Why the families here in Italy all have family nicknames


    ·      What Paul’s family’s nickname — the Dirt Eaters — exactly means


    ·      Why women here do not take their husband’s last name


    ·      Why there are no juniors here in Italy


    ·      Why all a lot of first cousins have the same name, first AND last


    ·      Why there are so many guys named Nicola in the Bari area


    ·      What the heck Santa Claus has to do with Bari and Puglia


    ·      Paul’s friend David Lucas’s association to Blue Oyster Cult’s song Don’t Fear the Reaper and the famous Saturday Night Live skit about the song and the cowbell


    ·      How Paul feels Miami is very up and coming


    ·      Our big pig experiment


  • 004:Renovating an ancient villa in Italy
    Thu, May 21, 2015

    You’ll discover:




    ·      Why you shouldn’t buy alcohol at Duty Free at the airport


    ·      What construction is like in Italy


    ·      Updates on our project that includes a cooking school, restaurant, bar, and store


    ·      Just how many house Paul has renovated (Hint, it’s enough that if you need any advice, just send him an email!)


    ·      The weird challenges that you face when basically renovating a huge stone structure


    ·      What recycling really means to us now in Italy


    ·      How guilds control some aspects of business in Italy


    ·      Older Italians view of older buildings like ours, and why they want modern and new homes


    ·      The cost of antiques here (due to the point above)


    ·      What borage is and why Paul and Casey went hunting for it


    ·      A recipe for a local Puglia specialty: Favetta


    ·      What kind of trees you’ll find along the country roads in Puglia and why (NOT the olive trees in this case)


    ·      Why the cuisine of Puglia is la cucina povera


    ·      Our take on Italian restaurants and why they are so popular throughout the world


    ·      Paul’s shopping routine


    ·      Some surprises we found during construction




  • 003: Easter in Italy
    Mon, May 18, 2015

    It’s all about Easter and Holy Week in Italy.  Our experiences, some of which are straight out of the Godfather, and just how different and mysterious the celebrations are here in Puglia, Italy.






    You’ll discover:


    ·      Our experiences with the local passion play in Terlizzi, Italy


    ·      The progression of the play and how they used the charming old town of Terlizzi to put on an amazing show


    ·      How we, as Americans, snuck to the front of the line for the show


    ·      How similar the architecture around our area is similar to Jerusalem


    ·      How typical Italian communication played a part in our experience of the play


    ·      The mysteries parade on Good Friday in Terlizzi, Italy


    ·      Why the carrying of the statues is so cool to Steven


    ·      What we cooked for Easter lunch in our wood burning pizza oven


    ·      All the different celebrations in the area and our idea for an Easter tour


    ·      Why we have eggs at Easter


    ·      Some traditional holiday dishes from our area, including a local Easter dish and a spicy ricotta spread


  • 002: Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Everything you always wanted to know and never knew to ask
    Fri, May 08, 2015


    Paul and Steven talk about all things extra virgin olive oil, a subject obviously close to their hearts.




    You’ll discover:


     •  How old olive trees are


      When olives are harvested and how


     Why Puglia extra virgin olive oil, NOT Tuscan extra virgin olive oil, is the best  


     What exactly “extra virgin” means


      Why pungent and bitter extra virgin olive oil is a good thing


      Why extra virgin olive oil is a fruit oil, not a vegetable oil


      Why the old farmers used to pick olives barefoot


      How the olives are milled


     Why yield is important when harvesting olive and making extra virgin olive oil


      Why we stay at the mill during the entire process


      How many olive trees there are in Puglia — it’s probably a lot more than you think


  • 001: Puglia and Villa Cappelli
    Mon, May 04, 2015


    It’s all about the villa and Puglia, Italy. 




    You’ll discover:




     That Puglia has been called “The new Tuscany,” but why Paul feels is should be called “The old Tuscany” 


      The history of the area, more specifically the Bari area and Puglia


     Why there are so many red heads in all the nearby towns


      What unusual shape the cave under our garden is in — dating from 2000 B.C., no one is quite sure why it is in the shape it is


      How old the tomb was we found about a 50 meters from the villa’s front door


      The problem with digging in Ital.


      Why we chose Puglia, Italy, to settle in Italy


      The state of the villa when we found it


      How 911 lead us to Puglia


      What you can and cannot buy in Italy if you’re a resident


      A bit about how the guild system works in Italy


      What are blue cars and how many Italy has


      What Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Helen Mirren have in common


      What’s the deal with ethnic food in Italy


  • 000: Intro to Living Villa Cappelli
    Mon, May 04, 2015


    Paul and Steven give you an introduction to Living Villa Cappelli.  A bit about their lives and what the show will cover, which includes Italian culture, food, history, travel and more.




    You’ll discover:


     • Where Paul was born and where he grew up (hint, his accent doesn’t give it away)


    • What Paul and Steven’s careers were before running a villa in Italy  


      Just how small Steven’s town was where he grew up


      Where and what Villa Cappelli is


      Why Paul’s family’s name in town translated to “The Suckers”


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