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Silver Compass Tours was founded by Kelly and Paolo Picarazzi and established in 2014 in Orange which is an emerging cool-climate wine region in New South Wales, Australia. Kelly is Australian and Paolo is Italian, and their business covers both regions with tours focused on taking guests away from the “touristy tours” and providing them something authentic and real.
Wild Heart of Italy
“Only the Locals Know the Best Places to Go”
The Wild Heart of Italy itineraries are completely off-the-beaten-track with many of the destinations being in regions that would be difficult to reach if you didn’t know the area. Paolo is a local to the area which is handy as they speak Ciociarian dialect, and each village in Ciociaria has a different dialect. Paolo understands them all and is the designated translator.
“We like to let our Ciociarians tell their stories to our guests in their own language with Paolo translating,” Kelly explains, “Most understand English but they’re too shy to speak it.”
The tour lasts eight days but only touches on everything that Ciociaria has to offer. It was the food and wine destination of choice for Roman Emperors over 2,500 years ago but over the last two centuries it has become largely forgotten. It also has an amazing history stretching back to prehistory when dinosaurs walked its valleys and there is evidence that early humans settled there over 700,000 years ago.
What to Expect
Kelly and Paolo have gone to incredible lengths to ensure that they open up the door to some unique experiences. A shortlist includes lunch in the garden of a 16th Century noble’s villa with the descendants of the last Italian queen. Private tours of one of the world’s most beautiful gardens Il Giardino di Ninfa. A personal tour by a senior monk on the most incredible art history within the walls of the Benedictine monastery. The same monastery where St Benedict actually founded the order around 400 AD.
A close friend of Kelly and Paolo’s is one of Italy’s best pecorino cheesemakers. His cheese has been awarded DOP cultural heritage status and he’s taken them and a group foraging in fields for wild herbs and showed them how to make ricotta cheese.
Interesting fact: the same cheesemaker threw a lunch party for them in his house which just happens to be an 18th century villa where DH Lawrence once stayed to complete his novel ‘The Lost Girl’.
Other parts of the tours include a medieval banquet under a castle, wine tours through Ciociaria’s three wine regions of Piglio DOCG, Atina DOC and Anagni IGT to sample the Cesanese (red) and MAturano (white) wine indigenous to the region, and endless opportunities to take part in one of Ciociaria’s finest and most loved pastimes. Preparing and eating really, really good food.
Kelly has completed a Certificate of Sustainable Tourism with the United Nation’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and Silver Compass Tours is a member of the World Food Travel Association.
They are a sponsor of a cultural heritage festival that is based in one of their home villages in their itinerary, Picinisco. The ‘Pastorizia In Festival’ which means Festival of the Shepherds, and celebrates the food, wine, song and ancient shepherding and transhumance rituals of the Ciociaria region. http://www.pastoriziainfestival.it/
In 2019 Kelly and Paolo are extending their Wild Heart of Italy itineraries into the neighboring region of Molise. Ciociaria and Molise were deeply connected during the Samnite civilization in the Etruscan era, and they share similar dialects and traditions. Both are completely untouched by tourism and the local communities are thrilled at the thought of sharing their culture and history with international visitors.
They also offer food and wine tours to the Orange wine region in Australia where they currently live. For the past two years they have been focusing on domestic visitors, but this year they will be opening up their packages to international visitors by extending them to 5-7 days.
PRICE: Our tour packages range from AUD$5,500 to AUD$10,000.
TELEPHONE NUMBER: +61 437 091 503