Monday, January 29, 2007
(Helpful Hint: As I always mention when any new service is offered -- this may be the time to use your frequent flyer miles as the reward seats for the new dates of service have just been released.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
- Italia patterned decoupage window box as the basket ($45 value)
- the brand new (released this week), beautiful guidebook In Love in Italy by Monica Larner ($25 value)
- 2-DVD set of the PBS documentary series Inside the Tuscan Hills ($25 value)
- Dream of Italy's Special Report: Tuscan Hideaways
(March 2006 issue) ($11 value)
- the e-book Dream of Italy's Collected Florence on CD - containing 58 pages of insider reviews and articles ($39 value)
- gift card
Monday, January 22, 2007
2. Plan around a special event. In 2007, the big one is the Venice Biennale, the major contemporary art exhibition held once every two years. There are associated dance, theatre and music festivals but the art exhibition runs the longest, June 10 through November 21.
3. For something different, consider a Mediterranean cruise. Even if you don’t think you’re a cruise person (if you're not try one of the small, elegant ships of Seabourn or Silversea. The cruise lines (even Carnival among them) are adding more unusal Italian ports of call - Princess is stopping at Ravenna this year; Oceania has added La Spezia; and Seabourn now stops at Monopoli and the island of Lipari.
4. Mind your Mondays. Keep in mind that generally the state-run museums are closed on Monday. (There are a number of privately run museums that remain open on Monday - and I'll be compiling a list for the major cities in the future.) Also, most shops and boutiques are closed on Monday morning. Plan accordingly.
5. Don't forget to learn something new. That's one of the joys of Italy. Take a cooking class, learn how to make mosaics, stay at an agriturismo and observe a harvest. The mission of Dream of Italy is to bring you the best of all of these Italian experiences!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
"I'm sure her tomb is in there," Leonardo scholar Giuseppe Pallanti said Thursday. I've pored through thousands of archive pages and I'm convinced the remains of Leonardo's model Lisa Gherardini was buried there." The building is no longer a convent and in very bad condition. According to the article, "most modern scholars have agreed with Pallanti that the Mona Lisa sitter was Lisa del Giocondo (her married name)."
Several years ago, I visited Vignamaggio (a hotel and wine estate; my article is here) where Lisa Gherardini a.k.a Mona Lisa was reportedly born in 1479.
- Travel + Leisure has a Milan fixation lately; granted they do have a correspondent based there. In the January 2007 issue, Valerie Waterhouse introduces readers to three new boutiue hotels -- the affordable Vietnammonamour, the former factory, turned sleek NHow and the new 7-star (which we have mentioned here before) Town House Galleria. In the Feb. issue, Waterhouse checks out Gold, Dolce and Gabanna's new cafe-restaurant.
- Seems Rome is as hot as ever. (DOI just published a special report on the city.) The general theme seems to be "Rome's other neighborhoods." Travel + Leisure says Pigneto is the Eternal City's hot 'hood in the December 2006 issue. In the February 2007 issue, it points to Esquilino and Testaccio as two of the city's most authentic areas in an article entitled "Hidden Rome."
"The pile" is one of the most commented on aspect of my home decor. It is a 5-foot tall pile of magazines in the corner of my living room. I think it is a great way to keep my magazines tidy, others aren't so sure. I have had multiple friends make fun of it and an old boyfriend remark that I should shelac it and sell it as a work of art. I even had a dream one night that "the pile" weighed so much that the floor below it collapsed. Weird. Anyway, I do weed through the pile to give magazines to neighbors or donate them to an organization.
Anyway this whole entry started because I want to tell you what's in the latest magazines and newspapers re: Italy. I have a bunch of those torn out articles sitting right here on my desk. I'll start a new entry and tell you about them. And if you're really good, maybe one day, I will take a photo of "the pile"....
- Reviews of 20 3- to 5-star Florence hotels.
- Reviews of nearly a dozen restaurants, trattorie and cafes.
- Where to take cooking lessons with the pros.
- Strategies for visiting Florence's museums.
- Tips for visiting Florence as a single traveler.
- Tips for shopping for famous for leather and paper AND a full feature on visiting the Prada and Gucci outlets in Tuscany (we tell
you how to get there!)
- A calendar of annual events.
- And much more...
Normally priced at $39, the e-book will be on sale for $24 for the month of January only!
Bonus Updates Guarantee: All those who purchase this e-book (and do not receive it as a free promotion) will automatically receive updates to this e-book for the next four months. If we publish
a new review or article on Florence during the four months after your purchase, you will automatically receive it by e-mail! So no need to worry that you are missing something. This is a unique guarantee and shows how serious Dream of Italy is about providing you with the best, most up-to-date travel information!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
*Prices based on double occupancy and are subject to availability. Single supplement is $700 Depending on departure city, additional fees may apply.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
This spring you'll be able to make that trip for $299 per person round-trip, departing from New York during the short period of April 21 to May 8, aboard an Italian airline called Eurofly. I believe this column contains the first announcement of a promotional airfare that is perhaps the lowest per mile in aviation history.
Eurofly has been operating all throughout the world for more than 15 years, but it did so in the past as a charter airline for Alitalia. Last year, it began flying the Atlantic for the first time as an independent carrier, under its own name, flying back and forth from New York to Rome, Bologna, Naples and Palermo (Sicily).
The $299 round-trip fare, which will be guaranteed to at least 1,000 passengers, is obviously an attempt by the Italian company to make a big splash, impressing its name on the minds of American travelers.
There are conditions, of course. The $299 round-trip fare can be booked only on the airline's Web site, www.euroflyusa.com, and it can be purchased starting Jan. 21 only.
Thanks Arthur! You can bet that I'll be logging on for tickets on the 21st. I'm familiar with Eurofly as I flew their wonderful business-class only service this fall.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Starting this month, museum goers unaccompanied by tour guides will need to wait an extra hour until 10:00 a.m. to enter the Vatican Museums. Since the museums will close at the same time as in 2006, 1:45 p.m. in the winter and 4:45 p.m. in the summer, independent visitors will have one hour and 15 minutes less to visit the collections of the popes.
Only groups who have reserved at least 30 days in advance through an approved agency can enter the museums between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.; other groups will have to wait in line with everyone else (one that can get excruciatingly long). The cost of a ticket will also change in 2007, increasing 1 euro, from 12 to 13 euros (or to 15 euros if reserved in advance). For more information, call (39) 06 69884947 or visit www.vatican.va
Rest Your Head in Rome
Detailed reviews of five Rome hotels from practical to posh, including the brand new Portrait Suites created by the Ferragamo family.
Touring Villa Farnesina
A Rome tour guide introduces us to this fascinating and little-known villa in the heart of Trastevere.
Short Notes on Rome Shopping
We let you in on our favorite paper store as well as where to get hip accessories and age-old potions.
News, Tips, Deals and Events
Learn about changes at the Vatican Museums, new taxi fares from Rome's airport, jogging tours of the Eternal City, the elevator at the Spanish Steps and Rome's meccas for foodies!
Three Casual Roman Eateries
Why Renato e Luisa, Ristorante Montevecchio and Cul de Sac should all be on your Rome itinerary.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
- Renting a car in Italy? Rent from Hertz if you are one of those parents whose kids must have an in-car DVD player. According to Easier Travel, "The Hertz DVD system, set to become the ultimate holiday accessory, is fully transportable, so can also be used in the hotel room, avoiding those expensive film rentals."
- Wantedinrome.com reports that 2007 rail fares in Italy will increase an average of 9% over 2006. It is the first fare increase in five years. "The hikes go from about 5 to 25% depending on the class and the route. For example a one-way, second-class Eurostar ticket from Milan to Rome goes up to €51 from €46.48 (9.7 per cent), from Milan to Florence the new price is €33 instead of €28.92 (14 per cent)..."
- Disney now offers guided tours of Italy for families through Adventures by Disney. A nine-day itinerary covering Rome, Tuscany, Orvieto, Florence and Venice, starts at about $3,300 per person, without airfare.