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  • vacation spots for fig enthusiasts

    Hello all, for the first time in several years we are planning on going on a real vacation abroad with no plans to visit family (but not that we don’t love them mind you). The plan is to go to a mediterranean area in the early Fall. The ideal would be to rent a place for 7-10 days and use it as a home base to explore the area on day trips and just relax. Perhaps the 7-10 days could be broken up into two destinations but I don’t want to have one of those vacations with a jam-packed itinerary.

    One of my priorities is, of course, figs. I would like to be in an area with outdoor markets that sell a lot of different varieties and to be able to serendipitously stumble across interesting fig trees while exploring the area. My wife isn’t interested in figs so we also want to be in a beautiful area (ideally not overly touristy and not a major cruise ship destination) that has some interesting things to see and do within a days travel. We hope to do some bicycling too.

    Here are some thoughts: Turkey, Greece, Sicily, northern Italy around Lake Como/Lugano, area surrounding Montpellier, France, Spain (around Barcelona). As you can see I haven’t narrowed it down very much. Has anyone done a similar type of vacation and have advice? Frank (FMD), it would be great to hear you on this topic. I’m totally open to suggestions.
    Steve
    D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
    WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

  • #2
    What about Malta? Though there is a refugee crisis going on there, might not be too fun.

    I like to idea of Barcelona/Catalonia. Then you can visit Pons! You could also go north to the Basque country and visit Axier.

    Personally, I'd nominate Bulgaria and you can smuggle back some of those super cold hardy varieties, but that's just me.
    https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
    SE PA
    Zone 6

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    • #3
      Steve

      Try this place:
      http://www.masseriaficazzana.it/varieta_fichi.asp

      You can also visit the Pomona gardens fig collection, and your wife will enjoy visiting the Trulli of Puglia.
      Rafael
      Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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      • #4
        How about this - my woman is a teacher and is leading a field trip this July to Spain and France. The trip just happens to trek right past Baud Nursery. I've made fig leaf flash cards so she can practice recognizing wild trees too.
        RI Zone 6a
        Container Herder

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        • Rewton
          Rewton commented
          Editing a comment
          Now if you can convince her to carry some pruners and use them!

        • fitzski
          fitzski commented
          Editing a comment
          are you going as a chaperone? I'd be tempted

      • #5
        We went to Croatia which had all that you described. Lots of Adriatic type figs both wild and orchards. Great outdoor activity, history, beaches, and slow pace. Food was OK. We stayed between Dubrovnik and Split for 10 days. My avatar photo is a fig grappa from one of the islands, I think Korcula area. I don't think they are on the Euro yet (weren't when we where there) so cost is great.

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        • #6
          Kelby, I thought about Malta (and I'm sure it would be fascinating) but it sounds like the fig tree borer is a real problem there. I hadn't even thought about the refugee crisis but, yes, another thing to steer clear of. Re. Spain I couldn't remember if Pons is located in Mallorca or on the mainland but it would be cool seeing his collection. (That would be the day my wife goes to a museum without me, ha ha.) Rafael, thanks for the link. I'll translate it later but it sounds like an agro-tourism (fig) farm that has lodging. Definitely will look into this further.
          Steve
          D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
          WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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          • #7
            start in Bulgaria, head down to Bursa in Turkey for a quick 2 days then finish up in Greece.
            Jeff in 6a

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            • #8
              Frank, I'll send you an email about Croatia. It looks like a good option but not sure what airport one would use - Dubrovnik? Jeff, I like your plan. Thinking about the logistics perhaps it would make more sense to fly into Istanbul, check out Bursa, then go to Bulgaria and finish up in Greece (flying out of Athens). We've got a lot of things to think about!
              Steve
              D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
              WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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              • #9
                That would work too Steve. I was looking at something similar for the fall.
                Jeff in 6a

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                • #10
                  Ah Steve, a topic very close to my heart!
                  As you may know, every few years my wife and I take a European vacation that yields incredible memories as well as multiple small woody mementos that live on in perpetuity. Last fall we did northern Italy (Como, Maggiore, Venice etc), Switzerland (Lugano area) and Greece.
                  A few years ago we did a cruise that touched on Barcelona, Andalucia, Morocco, Tenerife, Madeira, Cinque Terre, Marseilles, etc.
                  We've also had wonderful visits to Calabria, Sicily, Campania (Amalfi, Capri, Ischia, Sorrento etc).
                  This summer we will be spending 3 weeks in Provence, planning day trips to the surrounding areas.
                  As you can tell, every place mentioned is rich in fig culture. It doesn't matter whether your traveling companions are fig nuts or not. By the end of the trip, they will all be in on the fun of pointing out and locating fig trees for you. Fall is the best time to go since you can actually evaluate your fig finds based on the fruit rather than on a bare tree.
                  If there is any chance that you will be in the Lugano area, I can give you the actual coordinates to the Ponte Tresa fig you see in my avatar.
                  Frank Tallahasee 8B
                  North Florida Figs

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                  • FMD
                    FMD commented
                    Editing a comment
                    In case anyone hasn't seen my fig diary of the last fig vacation, here's the link...

                    http://figs4funforum.websitetoolbox....post1284572948

                  • Rewton
                    Rewton commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks Frank! I've been eyeing that avatar ever since you described your trip. It could be worth basing our itinerary on the coordinates of that tree. Of course I wouldn't tell my wife that the tree was the deciding factor!

                  • Rewton
                    Rewton commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Frank, sent you an ourfigs PM.

                • #11
                  I have various thoughts on the topic, but I think I'd enjoy spending at least a week visiting with Francisco in Portugal. Between the great figs and his vast knowledge I'm sure I'd thoroughly enjoy myself.
                  My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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                  • #12
                    Inverness, Florida.

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                    • #13
                      It is becoming clear that I will need to take several of these trips...
                      Steve
                      D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                      WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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                      • #14
                        I just got back from my trip last night. I chuckled when I re-read my original post as we ended up having a more jam-packed itinerary that I had originally intended. We started in southwest Germany, then went to the lake region of northern Italy (Como) and spent a few days in southern Italy (Lecce, Cisternino and Matera). We stayed for two days in Pomona Gardens where Paolo Belloni grows hundreds of varieties of figs as well as many varieties of other fruit trees with an emphasis on heirloom varieties from southern Italy. The photos show a breakfast we had while staying there as well as the Trulli (conical shaped stone building) that was converted into a B&B. I would strongly recommend a visit to Pomona Gardens if you are ever in that part of the world. The downside of the trip was that very few figs still had fruit. I guess I should have researched the parameters of the fig season more carefully. Nevertheless, I was able to taste a few from Paolo's orchard including some very nice Col de Dame Noir figs.
                        Attached Files
                        Steve
                        D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                        WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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                        • #15
                          What are the round, light brown things on the lower right?
                          Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

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                          • Rewton
                            Rewton commented
                            Editing a comment
                            They are Taralli and are ring shaped bread sticks that originated in the Puglia region of Italy. The ones we encountered were flavored with herbs although I think they can be sweet as well. The two figs are Col de Dame Noir and Verdescu.

                        • #16
                          Very nice memories, thanks for sharing!

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                          • #17
                            Very nice! I like how the trees are planted along those stone walls.
                            https://www.figbid.com/Listing/Browse?Seller=Kelby
                            SE PA
                            Zone 6

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                            • #18
                              Steve, did you get to go to Ponte Tresa?? Tell us about it!
                              Rafael
                              Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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                              • #19
                                Wow your trip sounds like it was just awesome! I would love to do this someday.. Perhaps we could have thread on "Fig Destinations" both near and far I remember being in Sorrento back in 2008 (pre-onset of fig fever lol) where I was in awe of the beautiful lemon trees growing everywhere.. Being a Jersey girl for most of my life before then, I had NEVER seen such a sight. I'll bet there were many beautiful fig trees there that I totally missed out on ;( I'll just have to make a point of returning now to investigate what I may have missed
                                Thank you for sharing your beautiful experience with us!
                                WL: Moro Di Caneva, Fracazanno Multicolore, Dels Ermitans, a nice spread somewhere in California that has the wasp! 😉
                                My Plant Inventory: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...HZcBjcsxMwQ7iY
                                Cuttings & Rooted Cuttings Available 2020: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...ifj96TTnQNCahc

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                                • #20
                                  Rafael - yes, we rented a car to the make the trip to Ponte Tresa/Lugano from where we were staying in Como. Unfortunately, because of technical problems the car wouldn't charge my cell phone which was acting as my gps. So I was kind of stressed out about the phone running out of juice and getting lost. Then we discovered that our Italian rental car (which was the same model and color of Fiat as the one the Pope rides around in) did not have the proper documentation to use the Swiss auto-routes. Sure enough, the Swiss authorities had a checkpoint set up for this type of thing. After some discussion they decided to let us continue without a fine (probably because we were ignorant Americans with a rental car). Driving in Italy was an experience - fortunately no tickets (that I know of) and no damage to the rental car. Anyway, back to figs - the PT tree had just a few fruits but they were out of reach. I didn't linger there too long as I wasn't sure what the locals would thick of some strange person hovering over a fig tree growing along the side of a busy road. I noticed another tree only about 20 yards away also between the road and the lake (but closer to the Italian border). Frank confirmed that the PT tree is the one that is closer to Lugano and that is the one I focused on, shall we say. I could also see one fig that had split showing the green exterior and red pulp.

                                  Jamie - it was my 2nd trip to Italy but, like you, the first time (in 2003) I wasn't focused on fruit trees and we only toured large cities. I was also blown away on this trip by what they grow down there - all the olive groves, citrus, pomegranates, persimmons, and figs (both planted and "volunteer") that were growing everywhere.
                                  Steve
                                  D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
                                  WL: Verdolino, Figue Jaune, Nantes Maroc, Lussheim

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                                  • #21
                                    Steve what about Paolo? Tell us about your interactions with the Italian fig master!
                                    Rafael
                                    Zone 7b, Queens, New York

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                                    • Rewton
                                      Rewton commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Well he was very generous with his time and spent a couple hours showing us around his various orchards. I didn't see all of his figs, there were so many. As you may know he has written a book on the figs common to Puglia and I did see many of those. I asked him about tasty varieties that do not require pollination and are not extremely late season. He said the variety that is probably his best dark fig overall is Pastiliere. He also steered me toward a couple green figs with red pulp: Verdescu (which I tasted and really liked) and Barile.

                                  • #22
                                    The island of Porquerolles, off the coast of France in the Mediterranean sea.
                                    No cars allowed on the island and it has an (they say abandoned) fig orchard with loads of varieties.
                                    I know it will be my next holiday destination.
                                    Last edited by Rob Ster 010; 10-14-2015, 04:48 AM.
                                    Rotterdam / the Netherlands.
                                    Zone 8B

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                                    • Rewton
                                      Rewton commented
                                      Editing a comment
                                      Sounds great - let us know what you find!
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