Think Small

The small landholders are the most precious part of a state ”.  Thomas Jefferson.

The clients I’ve helped for 20 years know that my preference is always for small.

My ideal restaurant, besides being family run, most often has 20 tables or less. Some Insider’s favorites — at least half — have 12 or fewer.  Owners invariably wander the tables, delivering suggestions, taking orders, offering conviviality — and delicious things to eat and drink.

They often sit down with clients.

Behind our good friend Salvatore (whose osteria has 30 chairs) are some of the vegetables he grows in the restaurant’s kitchen garden.

Besides planning bespoke Italy trips, my primary professional interests are organic agriculture and wine production.  In the trips I plan, I often guide clients to Italy’s organic producers for cheeses, wines, olive oils and other special foods, thus connecting consumers directly with producers. Nearly all of the farmers work on very small properties.  In our blog we’ve introduced you to many of these, including cheesemaker Anna at Caseificio A.D. Campanile  and lentil producer Maria.

Here winemaker Giovanni, who produces what we consider Umbria’s single best Orvieto, describes what makes a good Orvieto white.   (We often book at his family’s seven-room inn, surrounded by 62 acres of vineyards, and highlighted in our December 2009 Newsletter — please ask us for a back copy.)

We urge you to visit neighborhood markets where suppliers are local farmers, and where more often than not, what you select — like these oranges from Cisterna — was growing less than 24 hours before.

We discover and direct you to  special artisans whose very small-scale  production is part of Italian artistic tradition: here of marbled paper.

Please let us help you to “think small” in your Italian itineraries.  Your trip — in the pleasure it brings you — will be all the larger.

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