After the International Wine Tourism Conference blogger trip ends in Naples, I will leave the carefully orchestrated world of the media trip and enter the twilight zone of possibilities.
I can imagine your hands slapped up to the side of your face when I tell you I'm going on a road trip with Fabio. (No, not that Fabio from bodice ripper romance novels, the Fabio I’m talking about is not blonde or famous…yet.)
I worked for Fabio at the Touring Club of Italy, where he was the Director of the International Department. We became fast friends and even better, Fabio's friends (of which there are legions) became my friends too. There is probably not a single part of Italy in which Fabio does not know someone and I don't mean casually, he really knows people everywhere. When I travel in Italy all I need to do is to utter the words "Fabio sent me” and immediately a room is prepared, another plate set at the table.
The last time I was careening around Italy with Fabio I ended up in the hospital, and I owe him my life for ignoring my insistence that I was fine, and taking me directly to the local emergency room. But that was a few years ago and I'm up for another adventure to the deep dark corners and the farthest reaches of the 'boot'.
I've had more memorable adventures with Fabio than almost anyone else in my life. Heck, all my best stories have Fabio in them. (And in my soon to be completed book Come for the Wine, Stay for the Surgery, Fabio is a major character.)
There's no one more fun and spontaneous than Fabio. He'll take you to small family producers of wines, olive oils and cheeses, to secret restaurants, local sagres and indigenous food festivals, and way off the track hiking trails. Some of which you'll never be able to find again, but that's what makes it um...special. Traveling with Fabio gives new meaning to the oft-maligned word 'authentic'.
Finally, after many years of people urging him to share all his insider knowledge of Italy, he's partnered with a gastronomy tour business called Die Genussreise based in Germany and is also promoting the tours and services of Adagio con Brio to independent travelers as well. Check out the Facebook page here.
It's about time. Fabio is the most affable and charming polyglot you will ever meet. If you want an off-the-chart experience, have Fabio pick you up at the airport and then just let it all unfold. Equal parts guide, gastronome, raconteur, and bon vivant, Fabio has everything you need in a travel companion. Nobody road trips better than Fabio.
So it is with glee and excitement that I look forward to our five-day road trip around Puglia and then up to Rome for four days where I'll be on a quest to find the best negronis and wander the streets where my grandmother, my namesake, was born.
I'll be tweeting and posting about it here. And just to be on the safe side -- this time I've purchased MedEvac insurance.