Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Italy Vacations on a Budget: Monastery or Convent Lodging

From San Francisco by way of New York Times Jane Margolies reports about Monastery and Convent lodging for your next Italy vacation.

Travelers discover cloisters' blessings
Jane Margolies, New York Times

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For more Italy travel click here to visit Web Vision Italy, the only television network about Italy vacations.

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Montalcino - Brunello di Montalcino

Wine producers in Montalcino who produce the Brunello di Montalcino have voted overwhelmingly in favour of keeping Sangiovese as the only grape variety allowed in their bottles.

Click here for video of Montalcino.

For more video about Italy travel and your Italy vacation click Web Vision Italy, the only Internet television network about Italy.

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why gelato?

Does Italy celebrate Halloween?

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Forget sugar this year folks - go for gelato.

WhyGelato.com? Because Cold Is Hot!
Great News for Gelato Lovers - A Web Site Just for You

Last update: 10:28 a.m. EDT Oct. 28, 2008
CONCORD, N.C., Oct 28, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- WhyGelato.com? Because it made Mona Lisa smile. Maybe because Italy's too far away. No, it's definitely because it was love at first taste. Whatever your answer, the reasons for WhyGelato.com are endless. If gelato is your passion, or you've just heard about it but never had a taste, WhyGelato.com is the Web site for you.

Launching this week, WhyGelato.com is a gelato-inspired resource for anyone and everyone interested in gelato and looking to learn more about the delicious frozen treat - including where to find and enjoy it.

Sometimes referred to as Italian ice cream, gelato is known for its intense flavors, creaminess and artisanal qualities. Gelato means "frozen" in Italian and is something Italians consider a part of everyday life - partly because of its nutritional value and partly because enjoying gelato usually includes family and friends, and fun.

WhyGelato.com features the following and much, much more:

-- Find a Gelato Provider Near You: Whether you're in Charlotte, Tampa, St. Louis, Columbus or countless other cities across the country, you'll find the perfect place to indulge your passion for everything gelato - and the list continues to grow every day. In fact, gelato shops, pizza places, Italian restaurants, coffee shops, frozen yogurt shops and other spots that serve fresh gelato are invited to fill in their location information so no matter where you are, you can find gelato nearby.

-- Events & Extras: Want to wear or celebrate all things gelato? Look no further for gelato events nationwide and great WhyGelato.com merchandise. You can buy brightly colored T-shirts with the answers to WhyGelato.com? such as, "because cold is hot" and "because good taste never goes out of style."

-- Around the World: One gelato experience inspires another, so if you've found or are looking for the perfect place to enjoy gelato, this is where you can share your own or hear someone else's gelato story. You can even add a photo! Think of the smiles you'll bring when you give people the scoop on that special gelato shop you and your friends meet at on Saturday afternoons, and imagine how fun it would be to hear about someone else's gelato crawl.

-- Gelato 101: Did you know that gelato dates back to ancient times or that it's made from just a few natural ingredients? If not, check out Gelato 101 to learn about the history, ingredients, how it's made and why it's good for you.

-- Flavors: It's not just about chocolate, vanilla and strawberry anymore. Kiwi, coconut, hazelnut, tiramisu and even bubble gum have made their way into modern gelato. You can even discover what your favorite flavor says about you.

-- Gelato News: Want to read the latest gelato news and sign up for a WhyGelato.com e-Newsletter? Look no further.

WhyGelato.com is sponsored by PreGel AMERICA, a global specialty dessert company founded in 1967 in Reggio Emilia, Italy. PreGel AMERICA developed WhyGelato.com to educate consumers on all things gelato and further the gelato industry. PreGel develops, manufactures and distributes natural ingredients, toppings and fillings of the highest quality from Italy including flavors, powders and pastes used in gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbetto, semifreddos, pastries and much more. The company's U.S. headquarters is in Concord, N.C., just Northeast of Charlotte.

"Gelato has been part of my life, my culture and my family for over 100 years, and my goal in life is to bring the passion Italians have for gelato to America," said PreGel AMERICA President and CEO Marco Casol, who was born in Italy and is an accomplished gelato master. "We developed WhyGelato.com to start a vibrant gelato community online for gelato lovers, people who serve gelato and people who just want to know more. As I travel the country and the world, I know from experience that once people taste and experience gelato, they become passionate gelato lovers who will go to great lengths to find it. I almost feel as if it's my duty to make the gelato experience available to everyone."

For more on travel to Italy visit Web Vision Italy the best Italy video.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Italy Travel Fall 2008 - Arts Guide

Rome, October 24, 2008 - The following is a city-by-city guide to some of Italy's top art exhibitions:

BOLOGNA - Pinacoteca Nazionale: Amico Aspertini (1474-1552), A Bizarre Artist in the Age of Durer and Raphael; until January 11.

BRESCIA - Museo di Santa Giulia: Van Gogh, Masterpieces from the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in Otterlo, Netherlands; until January 25.

CORTONA - Etruscan Academy Museum (MAEC): 30 masterpieces of Etruscan art from Russia's Hermitage museum including the only Etruscan bronze funerary urn ever found; until January 6.

FERMO - Palazzo dei Priori: leading Marche Renaissance painter Vincenzo Pagani and influences including Raphael, Carlo Crivelli; until November 9.

FLORENCE - Palazzo Strozzi: Caterina and Maria de' Medici, Women in Power; October 24-February 8.

- Galleria Palatina: Flemish Artists in Florence, 1430-1530; the likes of van Eyck, Memling and Leida compared to contemporaries Raphael, Botticelli, Castagno and Ghirlandaio; until October 26.

- Palazzo Pitti: The Medicis And Science; large collection of scientific writings and tools; until January 11.

Accademia di Belle Arti: Giovanni Fattori Past and Present, 130 works; until November 23.

- Archaeological Museum: retrospective on British sculptor Matthew Spender, who has lived in Tuscany for the last 40 years; until December 30.

GENOA - Palazzo Ducale: 'Lucio Fontana Light and Colour'; until February 15.

MAMIANO DI TRAVERSETOLO (PARMA) - Fondazione Magnani-Rocca: Giovanni Fattori, The Poetry of Truth; until November 30.

MANTUA - Ducal Palace; first major show on Jacopo Alari-Bonacorsi aka Antico, an acclaimed sculptor in Mantegna's time; bronzes of mythological figures and busts of Roman rulers loaned by the Louvre, the Met, the Victor & Albert, the Bargello and Viennese museums; from Modena's Galleria Estense, celebrated Vaso Gonzaga made for wedding of Gianfrancesco Gonzaga; until January 6.

MILAN - Palazzo Reale: Georges Seurat, Paul Seignac and the neo-Impressionists; over 100 works from major international museums; until January 25.

- same venue: Tiepolos and Canalettos from the Terruzzi Collection; until January 11.

- same venue: biggest-ever retrospective on Naive artist Antonio Ligabue; 250 works until October 26.

- Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation: 'Great Works 1972-2008'; until March 22.

- Brera Academy and Palazzo Stelline (Credito Valtellinese): Mario Schifano 1943-1998, Selected Works; major retrospective marking 10th anniversary of artist's death, previously at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome; until February 1.

MONTECATINI TERME - ex-Terme Tamerici: Boldini Mon Amour; 180 works by Parisian School portrait painter Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), many unseen including three portraits of secret lover Countess Rastj; until December 30.

NAPLES - Archaeological Museum: Herculaneum: Three Centuries of Discoveries; until April 2009.

- Madre modern art gallery: Robert Rauschenberg, Travelling 1970-76; until January 19.

NUORO - MAN gallery: Man Ray, 300 pieces from his private collection; October 24-January 6.

PALERMO - Palazzo dei Normanni: The Fantastic World of Picasso, 66 works until March 8.

PARMA - National Gallery: 'Correggio', biggest exhibit on once-neglected artist in years; around 80 works flanked by 40 by contemporaries, plus chance to see three most important frescos up close in city churches; until January 25.

PERUGIA - Palazzo Baldeschi al Corso; From Corot to Picasso and Fattori to De Pisis, modern Italian and European art from two private collections including Monet, Van Gogh and Modigliani; until January 15.

REGGIO EMILIA - Palazzo Magnani and other venues; Matilda and the Treasure of Canossa, 200 works of Medieval art; until January 11.

ROME - Chiostro del Bramante: The Myth of Julius Caesar, first ever show focusing on him alone; 200 items from ancient times until the 20th century; until April 5.

- Vittoriano: Picasso 1917-1937, the Harlequin of Art; more than 180 works in first major Rome show on Spanish artist in 55 years; until February 8.

- Scuderie del Quirinale: Giovanni Bellini, biggest show in 50 years on artist Durer called 'the best of them all'; until January 11.

- Palazzo delle Esposizioni: Etruscans, The Ancient Metropoli of Latium; until January 9.

- Colosseum: Ruins and Rebirths, 80 works charting development of heritage protection; until February 15.

- Fondazione Memmo: Basquiat, 40 works until February 1.

- Castel Sant'Angelo: The Wolf And The Sphinx, Rome and Egypt From History To Myth; until November 9.

- Gagosian Gallery: Georg Baselitz, Remix series; until November 8.

- Museo dell'Ara Pacis: Bruno Munari, retrospective on artist and designer; until February 22.

SIENA - Piazza del Duomo and other city sites: Mario Ceroli, Forms In Movement; giant works by avant-garde sculptor; until November 7.

STRA - Villa Pisani: 70 paintings and monumental works by sculptor Mimmo Paladino, hand-picked and arranged by the artist in the historic villa's magnificent grounds; until November 2.

TIVOLI - Villa Adriana: Between Light and Darkness; Ancient Roman funerary beds including bone-decorated bed from Aquinum and one found on Rome's Esquiline Hill; until November 2.

TRENTO - Castello del Buonconsiglio; first major show on relatively unknown Renaissance sculptor Andrea Briosco aka Il Riccio; until November 2.

- same venue: Rembrandt and Masterpieces of European Graphics; until November 2.

TREVISO - Casa dei Carraresi: Canaletto, Venice and its Splendours; until April 5.

TURIN - San Paolo Foundation: Heavenly Empire, From Terracotta Army To Silk Road; imperial Chinese works from Qi, Han and Tang dynasties (3rd century BC to 11th century AD); until November 16.

VENICE - Biennale venues including Arsenale and Padiglione Italia: 11th International Architecture Exhibition from 56 countries entitled Out There: Architecture Beyond Building; 23 installations at Arsenale; experimental work of 55 international firms at the Padiglione as well as a survey of the Masters of the Experiment, five visionaries including Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid; also, Uneternal City, Thirty Years of Uninterrupted Rome, 12 designs for a possible 'new Rome'; plus 13 exhibitions around Venice by visiting countries and 24 collateral events; until November 23.

- Fondazione Cini: New Graphic Design Japan; until November 2.

- Palazzo Grassi: Italics, Italian contemporary art 1968-2008; until January 11.

VICENZA - Palazzo Barbaran: 'Palladio 500', 200 works including 30 models of Palladian architecture plus art by Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian celebrate Andrea Palladio on the 500th anniversary of his birth; until January 9, when exhibit moves to London (Royal Academy of Arts, 31 January - 13 April 2009) and on to Washington in autumn 2009.

VIGEVANO - Castello: Futurism and Modernity, mainly local artists; until December 14.

VITERBO - Rocca Albertoz Etruscan Museum: Celtic, Etruscan and other pre-Roman artefacts showing their interpretations of the night sky; show includes Celtic ceremonial brooch from Brno, Czech Republic; bronze Etruscan statuette of 'haruspex' (entrail-gazing priest); and famous 'Liver of Piacenza', a bronze model of the sheep's organ used by Etruscans to tell the future; until October 26.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to Buy a Train Ticket on a Italy Vacation

We returned Thursday after 23 days in Italy - a fabulous Italy vacation made so easy because we used the train in Italy to travel.

The train in Italy from Rome to Florence, Bologna on to Venice or Parma are great routes.

The train in Italy from Rome to Civitavecchia on to La Spezia and the Cinque Terre is also an excellent route.

Train from Rome to Naples is another great route to travel by train in Italy.

We find that the easiest way to buy a train ticket in Italy is in the train station at a vending machine. Not all vending machines are created equally and may present a problem if you have never used them before. Click here to see a video of how to buy a train ticket in Italy.

TrenItalia - Cost of Train ticket in Italy: Flexi, AMICA, and Standard
Flexi tickets, like flexible, cost more and are flexible when changing tickets without penalty.

Amica fare on TrenItalia is a 20% discount for advance purchase; it has to be bought at least one day prior to the travel date. It's available in limited numbers, and only on trains that have reservations.

Change Amica ticket on TrenItalia day of travel by paying back 20% discount.

Standard tickets buy when you get to station before train. You pay the regular fare and may or may not reserve a seat - depending on train type.

Italy Train types:
AV trains are the fastest and most modern Italian trains, and always require reservations. On some routes, such as Rome to Naples, they travel on special high speed tracks; otherwise there's not much different between them and a Eurostar train.

Eurostar trains are fast and modern, and always require reservations.

There are two types of Intercity, the plain IC and the ICPlus. The IC trains sometimes have mandatory reservations, and sometimes optional. The ICPLus trains always require reservations. The Eurocity (EC) trains are similar, except they cross international borders.

Local or regional trains are various when traveling within a region to towns. No rervations required.

If you buy a ticket that doesn't include a reservation, with the date and time of departure printed on the ticket, you have to stamp the ticket in a little yellow machine near the track before getting on the train. This establishes the time of travel and ensures that you can't try to reuse the ticket later. There is a big fine if you haven't stamped the ticket. If you have a reserved time already printed on the ticket, it's not necessary to stamp it, but if you're in doubt, stamp it anyway.

For more on traveling trains in Italy visit Web Vision Italy.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Italy Travel: Palladio 500th Anniversary Celebrations in Vicenza

Does your Italy travel bring you to Venice? If so, consider a visit to Vicenza, in the region of Veneto, 45 miles west of Venice, to see
La Grande Mostre
, the big show, a permanent exhibition of Andrea Palladio's finest buildings.

Andrea Palladio (November 30, 1508 – August 19, 1580), was an Italian architect, widely considered the most influential person in the history of Western architecture. Born in Padua, the 500th anniversary is being celebrated in Vicenza with the launch of the permanent exhibition, Palladio - La Grande Mostra, because so many of his buildings are there.

Palladio architectural style drew on the buildings of ancient Rome as models. The major theme of both his rural and urban building was temple architecture, with a strong pointed pediment supported by columns and approached by wide steps.

Palladio's influence was far-reaching, although his buildings are all in a relatively small part of Italy. One factor in the spread of his influence was the publication in 1570 of his architectural treatise I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture), which set out rules others could follow. Before this landmark publication, architectural drawings by Palladio had appeared in print as illustrations to Daniele Barbaro's "Commentary" on Vitruvius.

Interest in his style was renewed in later generations and became fashionable all over Europe, for example in parts of the Loire Valley of France. In Britain, Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren embraced the Palladian style. Another admirer was the architect Richard Boyle, 4th Earl of Cork, also known as Lord Burlington, who, with William Kent, designed Chiswick House. Exponents of Palladianism include the 18th century Venetian architect Giacomo Leoni who published an authoritative four-volume work on Palladio and his architectural concepts.

Palladio's architectural influence spread to St. Petersburg and to Charlottesville in Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson commissioned a Palladian villa he called Monticello.

In 1994 UNESCO inscribed "Vicenza, City of Palladio" on its list of World Heritage Sites. In 1996 the site was expanded to include the Palladian villas outside the core area, and accordingly renamed "City of Palladio and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto".

Palladio's works in Vicenza is home to twenty-three buildings designed by Palladio.

The famous Palladio buildings in Vicenza are:

The three-dimensional stage at the The Teatro Olimpico, designed for the Accademia degli Olimpici. Construction had started on this project when Palladio died in 1580. ;

The Villa Capra (also known as "La Rotonda"), located just outside the downtown area;

The Basilica Palladiana, centrally located in Vicenza's Piazza dei Signori, of which Palladio himself said that it might stand comparison with any similar work of antiquity;

Palazzo Chiericati; (home of Vicenza's museum)

Palazzo Barbaran Da Porto; (Site of the permanent exhibition - full of original drawings)

Palazzo Da Porto Breganze;

Palazzo Porto in Piazza Castello;

Palazzo Thiene;

Click here for more video of Vicenza and video of Palladio's buildings.

For video about Italy visit Web Vision Italy, the only Internet television network about Italy travel.

Google, DailyMotion, Blip.tv, Veoh, Crackle and Viddler

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Italy Travel: 23 days traveling in Italy, then an anglo newspaper

Lake Como, Florence, Rome, Montalcino, Rome - we are on our way home.

Saw this today:

Euro-enthusiasts can be astonishingly parochial
Posted By: Daniel Hannan at Oct 23, 2008 at 18:34:27 [General]
Posted in: Politics
Tags:, Caroline Flint , EU , Euro-scepticism

Talking of ridiculous arguments for the EU, check out this one from the new Europe minister, Caroline Flint (hat-tip, Open Europe): "Britain is an island nation, but our instinct is international - we shop at European fashion shops, we eat at pizzerias, we holiday on the Mediterranean. So why do people distrust the European Union and feel distant from its institutions?"

Pizza and the EU are not really the same thing

Er, let me see, minister. Could it be that those institutions are remote and self-serving? Could it be that the EU has become a racket, whose chief purpose is to transfer money from taxpayers to its employees?

Could it be that we Euro-sceptics are genuine internationalists? That it is precisely because we like other countries and speak their languages that we cheer their patriotism and respect their independence?

If, by contrast, your idea of being cosmopolitan is eating at a pizzeria, it's perhaps no surprise that you over-compensate by adopting an uncritical attitude to the EU.

For more on travel to Italy visit Web Vision Italy - the only Italy travel television network.

So tell us in your opinion, is the age of nations over?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rome Italy: A Plate Full of Coins

At a restaurant in Rome when ready to pay the bill we were told no credit cards. Probably not true but we didn't press the issue.

We gave 50 euros and expected 13 euros in change.

What we received was a plate full of coins.

Of course we were cheated by more that 3 euros.

When called to task immediately two 5 euro biils and correct change appeared.

Be ever alert. Never accept a plate full of coins.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rome Italy: You can't get a bad meal in Italy" Oh yes you can in Rome

The age of myths is over. There are so many tourists in Rome, every day of the year, that food is in huge demand. Many restaurants/trattorias/osterias because of locale are innundated with customers. The key is, they will not see these customers again.

So the tourist-diner gets sub-standard food at top price. The restaurants/trattorias/osterias that exploit their customers can stay in business in Rome a long time since their bad reputation, in the eyes of Romans, is irrelevant: they only serve bad meals to today's tourist.

So trust your own instinct -- walk in, look around, walk over to the antipasto table and look at today's products and concentrate your interest only on today's specials, don't be seduced by a menu of a 1,000 selections. Italian food, authentic Italian food, is of fresh produts, simply prepared, in a homey-neighborhood, friendly, unpretentios environment.

For good food and restaurants in Italy, visit the Food Channel of www.WebVisionItaly.com.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Italy Travel: Three Strikes You're In

Find a caffé or a wine bar close by where you're staying and patronize it.

First time, you probably will not even be acknowleged.

The second time, you will get a slight nod.

The third time you will be greeted by a smile and a certain look, one that says I know you've been here.

Each time thereafter, as soon as you enter you'll be greeted with a "buon giorno" and a welcoming smile. You are now part of the "inner" circle.

Skip a day or two, and when you return, don't be surprised if you get a hug and a "where have you been"?

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Italy Vacations - On Tour with Isabella Dusi - Emilia Romagna

On Tour with Isabella Dusi - Emilia Romagna

Italy vacations with Isabella Dusi in June Web Vision Italy arrived in Parma from Lucca. We'll cover the Tuscany hill towns with Isabella Dusi in another blog.

We stayed in Parma three days visiting Prosciutto di Parma farms, Parmigiano Reggiano farms, and balsamic vinegar distilleries.

Parma was our base for Emilia Romagna. We also traveled to Modena, but skipped Bologna this trip.

Sipping Brunello in Montalcino today enjoying our Italy vacation, while having a look at the Italy cutting room floor that the Web Vision Italy crew produced in Parma in June, and plotting 2009's productions from... can you guess where?

Parma's Piazza Garibaldi yellow color is native to Parma and the sun dial on the building makes Parma's centro storico one of the most picturesque squares in Italy.

The crew works hard to film, produce, edit, and post it on the web for the world's enjoyment. Our passion for Italy is really making the whole Web Vision Italy project possible and so much fun.

We have interns blogging and editing, being mentored by Hollywood video producers and directors, all contributing to a common passion about Italy.

For more about traveling in Italy with Isabella Dusi and Web Vision Italy send an email to:


Italy travel with guides, full tour, or personal itineraries for your interests with and without local guides Italy vacations by Web Vision Italy. Meet a guide for three hours or six hours and a driver to buses for tour groups in Italy, Web Vision Italy vacations sends you to Italy however you like to travel in Italy. Web Vision Italy brings you Parma hotels - best areas in centro storico at lowest price.

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Italy Travel: Montalcino-On Tour with Isabella Dusi

Our Italy Vacation is winding down after our week in Rome we are settled into Montalcino for a few days.

The light is beautiful here this time of year, of course the hills are always breathtaking. The Brunello is inspiring!

Our Tuscany hill town trip report may become a trip novel!

We are also in the Tuscan hill town of Montalcino visiting with Isabella Dusi, an Australian native now living in Montalcino with her husband Luigi. She is the author of Vanilla Beans and Brodo, she works to save the Church of San Pietro in Montalcino, which is full of Ventura Salimbeni masterpieces painted on silk, and a tour guide, which Italy travel vacations she combines the wonderful Italian culinary tradition, fine Italian art history by region, and Italy's political history to make the vacation in Italy travel that much more interesting.

Isabella Dusi invited the Web Vision Italy crew, photographers, etc. to join her on tour in Italy to bring our viewers new shows about Italy travel.

On Tour with Isabella Dusi is a series of Italy video television shows that we hope provides Italy travelers an idea of what to see and what to do when enjoying Italy vacations.

It's been a very busy 2008 with many programs slated for release in 2009. We started On Tour with ISabella Dusi in Tuscany back in April, then we traveled to the Italy's region of Emilia Romagna in June and ended in Veneto.

Some of these shows from Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, and Veneto are available now on our Italy travel television network Web Vision Italy. More Italy video is coming to Web Vision Italy all the time.

These shows provide a great route to follow along when traveling from Venice to Florence to Rome, with stops along the way at interesting sites in Italy.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The Most Beautiful Garbage Dropoff in the World

We rented an apartment on Via Farnese by the Farnese Palace at the corner of Via Giulia, in Rome.

Our front door was less than 10 feet from an arch designed by Michelangelo. I photographed it, stood under it, all the while marvellling at the fact that the arch is a work of Michelangelo.

When instructing us on the details of the apartment, our landlord casually informed us that garbage is picked up 3 times a day and that our assigned spot is on the street under the Michelangelo arch.

Where do you drop your garbage?

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Italy Travel: The Great TrenItalia Robbery

One of the great and convenient ways of travel in Italy is by train on TrenItalia. However, be ever vigilant.

Case in point 1. While you are getting settled in, gypsies jump aboard selling water, sandwiches, etc. But what they really do is, in the commotion of everyone settling in, they take off with your change and leave the train.


And even then, only from an officially uniformed employee..

Case in point 2. Eating in the restaurant car is a fabulous experience and great fun. But remember as the train makes various stops, the gypsies can jump on and jump off and sometimes with your handbags or luggage.


By the way, we have traveled for the past 3 weeks in Italy via train and have only had good experiences, including a delightful lunch.

So use the trains and enjoy, but be alert.

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Italy Travel: The Rinse Cycle

Italy has an obsession with street washing.

If your hotel room or apartment faces the street (always our choice), be prepared to be startled by the massive machines that wash, scrub, and rinse the streets every pre-dawn in all the cities/towns/villages.

In Rome it happens even mid-day.

So should you look out your hotel window at the street and it's wet, it may not have rained, it's just the rinse cycle.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rome Italy: A Walk Around the Block

Our block is Rome.

Today's Rome itinerary wandering for one day in Rome.

We walked from our apartment in Piazza Farnese through the open-air market at Campo de' Fiori, past Via del Governo Vecchio, with the young fashion designers, and past Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, down the Corso to Piazza del Popolo, where we had an appointment, naturally at a caffé in Rome.

Done with our business we zig zagged back to our apartment.

First to Via dei Condotti, with stops at the stores with the most beautiful handbags, shoes, expensive silk ties, etc..

Then to Campo Marzio, passing bakeries, and the luscious caffés at the Piazza Lucina.

Then to the right past the Church of the Portuese, on Via dei Coronari, neighborhood of the antique dealers, then to Via dei Bianchi Vecchi, a crossover to Via Giuia, celebrating its 500th anniversary, and we arrived at our apartment a neighbor of the Michelangelo arch.

What's your favorite block?.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Rome Italy: Beauty Calls at La Vetrina

We took yesterday to relax and take care of ourselves with the Italian touch. Beard trimmed and I had my hair done at La Vetrina

We also stopped by Campo De' Fiori to see the herb specialist who now thinks he's more important in USA than a president.

And of course always fun to go back to Nabiz to see the last styles and desgins.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Rome Italy: Doing it Twice a Day

Rome Italy - Doing it twice a day... eating pasta that is... no guilt... it's just so damn good.

Of course the portions are reasonable and I am walking 6 or 7 hours a day.

Walking brings me to tomorrow's blog.

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Rome Italy Travel:Trattoria in Rome

We go to our favorite trattoria, neighborhood eating place, in Rome.

Long line as usual. We are recognized and immediately seated. New menus with some upgrading, especially prices.

We are shocked-- their specialty for the past 2 decades, caccio e pepe, is not on the new menu!

Panicky, we asked the waiter what happened to caccio e pepe. He tells ''it's 'available''...


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Italy Travel Train to Rome and Lunch

The train that brought us to Rome was late, empty, and immaculate.

Argument with cab driver over the fare, which I always lose.

Domino effect of late train: our landlord was no where to be seen in the midst of the medieval lanes off Piazza Farnese.

Rome, a spectacular 70-plus degrees (October 10th), blue sky in every direction.

First lunch in Rome at a neighborhood trattoria spilling out onto the lane: caccio e pepe and for me , bucatini all'amatriciana (with some herbs from the Spice Man), accompanied by Rosso di Montalcino 2006.

Their motto is ''l,acua fa malle...er vino fa canta!'' [Water makes you sick -- wine makes you sing.] So we sang all afternoon...

This may be our neighborhood hangout, Trattoria al Balestraria on the lane of the same name. 16th-century Rome at its most authentic.

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Italy Travel - Como and Florence were great - Rome for the weekend

We are half-way through an absoutely beautiful vacation in Italy. Started in Lake Como for five days, followed by the week in Florence.

We are all packed and headed to Rome, just in time for the weekend.

Florence was, as usual, busy. We filmed many restaurants, interviewwed the owners, discovered some new shops and revisited old friends. Wonderful to be back in Florence, tough to leave, but Rome is calling for us so we move onward.

Bella Italia never disappoints. See you in Rome.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Italy Travel - Florence Shopping in Oltrarno

If the glove fits, buy it in Oltrarno

Things seem to be a little less expensive in Oltrarno, the other side of the Arno.

For example, gloves are 19€ to 35€ in Oltrarno. In Florence center, they are 30€ to 70€. Same is true of luggage, shoes, and clothing.

Shops are smaller, some designer-owned, but the things are just as beautiful.

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Italy Travel - Florence Restaurant Mamma Gina

The Other Side of the Arno...Out of this World

Another stop for the locals is Mamma Gina, where the lombarta is a must, among the best that we've had.

The staff is extremely friendly, helpful, and immediately makes you feel welcome.

If we lived in the neighborhood, you'd frequently find us here.

[Proceed across the Ponte Vecchio, take the first right, Borgo San Iacopo, and it's short ways down on the left.]

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Italy Travel: Celestino - Florence Lunch not on Rick Steve's List

Become Part of the Family of Oltrano

After shopping at Casini Leather, dine at Celestino.

Ask for the owner, Bruno Celestino, and tell him you are a Web Vision Italy viewer and a friend of Giorgio at Casini Leather.

Subito, you are a member of the Oltrano family.

This is where the local merchants lunch...need we say more.

Proceed over the Arno at the Ponte Vecchio toward the Pitti Palace. Celestino is about a half a block from the bridge on your left. The Vasari Corridor passes over the restaurant. Casini Leather is across from the Pitti Palace, about 2 blocks and a half after the bridge, on the right.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Italy Travel-Florence-Real Tuscan Food in Florence

Let's be honest. With a million-plus tourists flooding Florence, do you think you are really getting authentic Tuscan food in every restaurant?

Of course you must visit Florence to visit the Uffizi, the Duomo, the Arno, the Baptistry, etc., for jewelry and leather -

BUT for the real secrets of where the locals eat in Florence, follow us (at times it might be a short cab ride, but well worth being served what the Florentines themselves are eating).

Jump aboard, first stop, Oltrarno, Hosteria del Bricco.

Handwritten menu, crostini alla toscano a must, the wine list is a personal escort to the cantina, family run, and very reasonable.

Stay tuned for stop #2. And click here for more video about Italy travel to Florence

Hosteria del Bricco Via di San Niccolo 8r; 055 234 5037, closed Monday.

Italy Travel-Florence-Restaurant October 4 2008

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Italy Travel - Como: It's not just a pit stop on Lake Como

Most tourists come and go through Como on the their way to other destinations on Lake Como. But we think Como itself is worth a day or so. The architecture is beautiful, there are museums and obviously theatre (Turandot was being performed while we were in Como), high fashion without the high price tags, lively caffés and wine bars at night, and chefs very willing to prepare dishes you want for items not on the menu.

Traveller's Tip Repeat -- in early October, a cashmere sweater is a necessity when the brisk wind blows off the lake.

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Lake Como - Italy Fashion 2009 Alert

Fashion update. In Como, an hour or so north of Milan, the fashion capital of the world, everything has turned purple. For women, for men, even for babies in carriages.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Close Encounters of the Como Kind

At our hotel's front door, we caught a bus to Como, with the intentions of renting a car. But after scraping by buildings, trees, other buses, winding around curves, cars backing up to make room, having cars pass our bus on the narrowest ''2''-lane road at speeds too hight to calculate, we decided we weren't driving.

We have driven most everywhere in Italy, but Como, like Capri, is not for the faint of heart.

So we spent the day in Como, a beautiful city on the lake, high-fashion shopping, fantastic museums and churches, and a 10-star lunch of risotto and of veal cutlets alla Milanese.

Then back to Cadenabbia by hydrfoil: no stress, and best of all, without a scratch.

Traveler's Tip -- cashmere scarves saved the day, as the mountain tops around Como received their first snow. Early for snow the locals tell us [October 3rd].

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lake Como Ferry-Go-Round: Bellagio, Menaggio, Varenna, Lenno, Tremezzo

We puchased an all-day ferry pass.

Then we started our ferry-go-round on the central part of Lake Como., beginning at Cadenabbia, where we are staying, on to Bellagio, where we lunched and shopped, then to Varenna, for an espresso, around to Lenno, where we walked, and on to Menaggio, where we shopped again and sipped a local red wine, Sassella. Menaggio captured our hearts.

Our last stop will be Tremezzo for dinner.

Such is day on a ferry-go-round in Lake Como.

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