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Zest of Italy - Day Tours

Trani, Italy
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Zest of Italy - Day Tours
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Rhonda wrote a review Jun 2019
1 contribution
My family and i were lucky enough to schedule a tour with Livio, Zest of Italy, and our guide Susanna did not disappoint! Despite the rain this walking tour was informative with a mix of food and culture. You should be up for a lot of walking but the little gems/restaurants (ex: Forno Roscioli, one next to the Pantheon, Espresso/pastry shop). I wish we had more time to venture out to the companies tours in different areas but will do so the next time we are in Italy! Have your walking shoes, umbrella, camera and appetite and enjoy "Flavours of Rome, Walking the Eternal City."
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Date of experience: May 2019
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Bernadette wrote a review Jan 2019
Columbia, Missouri3 contributions
I am so happy to have discovered Livio at Zest of Italy. As a former Slow Food leader in the United States, I was thrilled to learn that Livio was a graduate of the Slow Food-affiliated University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy. I knew he would have a thorough knowledge of the best places to eat and the culinary history of any area in Italy I wanted to explore. I was so right; he gave us an unforgettable tour of Puglia. Not only does he know the most delicious places to eat and the country's best chefs, but also arcane bits of Italian history—culinary and otherwise. When I noticed a planting pattern in an olive grove, and asked how far apart the Romans planted those ancient trees, he knew (6 x 6 meters)! We met up with him in Trani (a lovely little port city where he lives) after a stay in the Salento area and a visit to Matera. For three days he led us on a deep dive into Puglia food traditions. In scenic drives through towns small and large, we ate delicious octopus with peaches at one friend's restaurant and a 10-item Puglia-appetizer platter at another's. We visited a small-village cheese lab, where we watched mozzarella being pulled and pecorino-with-walnuts being made. Afterward, at a little table on the street in front of the lab/cheese shop, we sank our teeth into the world's best smoked burrata and ricotta. Then it was on to sample the work of a salumi artisan in Martina Franca, where we were treated to a private tasting of capocollo and other cured-meat delicacies. We visited Livio's dad’s hometown and an 800-year-old olive-wood-fired oven that still cranks out beautiful focaccia, taralli and amaretti. We had special Pugliese coffee drinks at bars in different cities. We watched the orecchiette-making women in the streets of Bari, where we also perused the raw-seafood-plate traditions at the port. You get the picture. Culinary immersion of the first degree. Our town walks usually included a brief stroll through a church, where Livio pointed out interesting architectural features. He also took us to his friend's fascinating art studio, which overlooked a gorgeous bay. Needless to say, his English was impeccable, and his driving very good, also. However, when he bought gelato treats for his children on the way out of a restaurant right before our drive back to Trani (which was at least 20 minutes away), I had to admit I was a little worried it might be a faster-than-usual drive. However, he did a great job, and the ice cream was still frozen when we arrived. I was impressed! Not only did he give us a wonderful tour while we were with him, but made recommendations and reservations for us before and after the tour. We loved his selections of the cave restaurant in Matera, the masseria and its food near Otranto and the trabucco restaurant on the Gargano Peninsula. If you are looking for someone to guide you through Italy's culinary present and past, Livio is your man. His passion, knowledge and enthusiasm for his country and its culinary heritage would be hard to beat.
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Date of experience: September 2018
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Rita D wrote a review Jul 2018
2 contributions
Livio, our knowledgeable and engaging guide, led us through the back streets of Trani, recommending inviting restaurants in the port district and interesting places for pizza. He pointed out architectural features of houses and churches alike. He directed us to a nearby bar around the corner from our hotel for our morning cappuccino, cornetti and ciambelli. We travelled to Bitonto for a city tour punctuated with stops at local bakeries and a cheese shop where we sampled delicious freshly made specialties. Livio provided us with anecdotes and historical background which satisfied both the foodies and the culture mavens in our group of five. In Matera Livio had reserved us a table at a restaurant set, naturally, ...in a cave! I enjoyed the house specialty, cavatelli with crunchy red peppers and toasted bread crumbs, a delicious recommendation from Livio. Livio held the interest of teenagers and adults and, most importantly, made us feel like LOCALS! Grazie, Livio!
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Date of experience: July 2018
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Response from ZestofItaly, Proprietario at Zest of Italy - Day Tours
Responded 26 Jul 2018
Dear Rita, it goes without saying, your family has been great fun to be with and your words are very kind. Thank you so much, really appreciated. I hope our path will cross again in the near future and please do not hesitate to contact us next time you or your dears will be in Italy again. With the wishes of a nice summer. Livio
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Katie J wrote a review Jul 2018
Reading, Massachusetts14 contributions6 helpful votes
I am still dreaming about the enchanting couple of days our family spent with Livio touring Puglia. Specifically, the day we spent touring Bitonto and Matera, was among the most enjoyable and special days of my/our lives! Livio created a captivating itinerary that appealed to our entire family, from my 70 yo mom to my two teens! Being with Livio was like being with a friend: a friend who just happens to know all about the food and history of southern Italy - and the country as a whole - and will share what he knows in a fun, anecdotal way. I can’t think of anything better than a day spent tasting a variety of delicious artisanal products, from focaccia and taralli to burrata, and olive oils, almonds, and figs (including an outstanding fig beer!). We followed this up with a visit to the one-of-a-kind town of Matera, a must see. Before we parted, Livio gave us recommendations for the next two legs of our trip. We left wishing he could join us for the rest of our vacation! If planning a trip to Italy, book some time with Livio. He will surely make it the trip of a lifetime!
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Date of experience: July 2018
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Response from ZestofItaly, Proprietario at Zest of Italy - Day Tours
Responded 25 Jul 2018
Dear Katie, Rita, Olivia, Caroline and Randy, thanks a lot for this kind words, they mean a lot to us... you know you can always count on us anytime you should be back in Italy. Thanks a lot, Livio
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JeffMidlands wrote a review May 2017
Midlands11 contributions3 helpful votes
When you take a private tour you can never be sure what you’re going to get, and we’re familiar with several situations where clients just get to visit some fairly mediocre establishments owned by the operator’s best mates. Having booked with Zest we did get to meet some of Livio’s good friends, but in his case the friendships were born out of prior professional relationships and reflect his very apparent passion for the best his region can offer. We discovered that Livio’s knowledge is extensive, covering local history, agriculture, food science and of course, wine and ‘slow food’. While he’s very willing to share his knowledge with great enthusiasm, we found him to be sensitive to his clients interests and he’ll tell you as much or as little as you want to know about a particular subject. My wife and I spent a long, informative and thoroughly enjoyable day with Livio, exploring ancient sites in and around Trani, sampling olive oil and wine, and enjoying some magnificent Puglia cuisine. His talent for weaving together past history with the present added a special extra dimension to the experience at all places we visited. Livio is excellent company; he’s well aware that most of his clients are on vacation so his relaxed but professional approach was much appreciated. He also went to great lengths to provide details of other places we should visit, independently, while we were in the region. This was very valuable (as we’d failed to find a decent guide book for Puglia). If you want to make the most of your visit to Southern Italy we’d certainly recommend a day or two with Livio Colapinto.
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Date of experience: May 2017
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