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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More News on Italy Fare Sales

A few updates on some of the fare sales we reported on last week:
  • Alitalia has extended its fare sale to September 28. Details below.
  • Delta has extended its fare sale through October 8. We mention a deal to Pisa below, but other routes are on sale, including the convenient non-stop New York to Venice flight.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 2007 Issue of Dream of Italy

The September issue is now out - it is posted online for paid subscribers and postal subscribers will receive their copies next week.

Get Thee to a Nunnery in Rome
With the euro at an all-time high, save money by spending the night at a Roman convent. They charge as little as 42 euros per night and welcome men!

Simple Pursuits in the Mountains of Sicily
Visit the towns of Mussomeli, Ciminna and Mappa and learn more about staying at a Sicilian agriturismo.

An Insider's Tips for Enjoying Your Italian Cooking Vacation
How to make sure you get hands-on experience in the kitchen, keep fit while tasting everything and get the most our of a culinary tour or visit to an Italian cooking school.

Not a subscriber? Click here to subscribe for immediate online access to this issue and 45 back issues!

A Unique Way to Celebrate Columbus Day in Baltimore

My friend Matt Platania, director of the Modern Italian Network, has done it again -- come up with a unique event to celebrate Italy and Italian-American history. He's hosting The 1491 Fusion Dinner on Sunday, October 7, 2007 in Baltimore's Little Italy.

This event will celebrate the land that Columbus discovered by combining native ingredients found in the Western Hemisphere in 1491 - the year prior to Columbus' arrival- with the sophisticated culinary tradition of Italy. Dr. Linda Perry, an Archaeobiologist at the Smithsonian Institution, will speak at the dinner. She will discussing the advanced food cultivation of Native Americans at the time of Columbus' arrival in the Western Hemisphere.

Get a look at the innovative menu:

First Course: Maize in the Americas
Polenta con Funghi (Corn Meal with Wild Mushrooms)
Wine Pairing: Ruffino Libaio Chardonnay

Second Course: Tomatoes Brought from the New World to Italy
Penne al Pomodoro con Granchi del Maryland (Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Maryland Crab Sauce)
Wine Pairing: Falesco Sangiovese

Third Course: A Native American Bird Discovered
Ossobuco Di Tacchino con contorno di Patate Dolci e Fagiolini (Turkey Shanks served with Sweet Potatoes and String Beans)
Wine Pairing: Chiarlo Barbera D'Asti

Fourth Course: Wheat and Sugarcane- Abundant in the Americas
Pastiera di Grano e Baba al Rum Di Puertorico(Wheat, Cheese, and Rum Cake)
Wine Pairing: Zonin Moscato D'Asti

The most amazing thing about the evening might be the price - just $75 per person for all of that food and wine, plus a great speaker. Spaces are filling up, so please contact Matt Platania at mplatania@modernitalian.org to reserve your place. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Add United to Sale Fares for Italy

United is having a sale on winter fares to Rome and Milan; fares start at $494 roundtrip (not including taxes). Travel between: December 1 through March 29, 2008. Deadline for booking: September 27, 11:59 PM ET Other requirements: Departures are valid Monday through Thursday through February 29, 2008. Fares require a Saturday-night stay, and the maximum stay is 30 days.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Roundup: Sale Fares for Flights to Italy

Alitalia has fares starting at $502 roundtrip (including taxes and fees) between U.S. cities and Florence or Rome. Travel between: October 29, 2007 and December 13, 2007 or from January 8 through March 13, 2008. Deadline for booking: September 21. Other requirements: Saturday-night stay; maximum stay is one month.

Delta can get you to Pisa this winter for as little as $538 roundtrip (including taxes and fees). Travel between: October 31, 2007 and January 13, 2008. Deadline for booking: September 25, 11:59 PM ET. Other requirements: Outbound travel Monday through Thursday through December 13, 2007. Fares require a Saturday-night stay, and the maximum stay is one month or until January 13, 2008, whichever comes first.

Smartertravel.com has the 411 on Eurofly's best fall and winter fares. According to the site, "Fares start at $399 round-trip, and destinations include Rome, Bologna, and Naples. The cheapest Rome fares are valid from November 1 through December 15, and again from December 25, 2007, through March 13, 2008. The cheapest fares for the other destinations are valid from November 1 through 18, 2007. Eurofly hasn't listed a booking deadline."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NOW is The Time to Subscribe to Dream of Italy!

Five years ago, I created Dream of Italy to give travelers to Italy and diehard Italophiles exclusive and timely advice on experiencing the authentic Italy -- not the overly touristed alternative -- I so love.

a travel writer, I knew from personal experience that the time between the writing of a guidebook and its delivery to a bookstore was and still is as much as 15 months. Then add on the time it is sitting on the shelves and most people are being guided by information that is at least several years old! And those books seem to ignore what I consider essential -- information on private guides, cooking schools, how to rent a villa, etc. and the places in between the big cities.

Sure the Internet might provide a more timely alternative than books, but who has time to sort through the 215 million pages containing Italy travel information and how do you know you can trust the source?

Five years later, I'm proud that I have accomplished what I set out to do and... I'd like to invite you to share in the celebration by enjoying all five years of Dream of Italy's back issues as well as the coming year of 10 information-packed newsletters for as little as $64 (if you choose an Internet-only subscription) or $74 (if you receive the next 10 issues by mail). That's $15 off our regular subscription price and you get access to a total of 55 issues! (This special price is available for new subscriptions and renewals alike - after all, it IS a celebration!) Whether you're going to Italy next week or next year, every subscriber's full access to our site allows you to search for exactly the articles you need and print them out, creating your own custom guide.
Among the 45 back issues you will have immediate access to once you subscribe, are our special reports on:
The Amalfi Coast
Tuscan Hideaways
Living in Italy
The Lakes
Villa Rentals

Take advantage of our best deal ever -- don't hesitate!

How to Ship Your Purchases Home from Italy

"You have a lot of luggage, madam," the hotel concierge in Rome told me on my last trip to Italy. I didn't think two big suitcases and a smaller bag was a lot, but maybe he was reacting to the face the bellhop was making as he tried to lift one of those suitcases. It was a reminder of a good lesson; when in doubt, ship it home! Laura Morelli, who has written for Dream of Italy, has a good general piece on USATODAY.com about how to mail your purchases home. Morelli mentions several of the large shipping companies but it is worth noting that DHL has the largest presence in Italy. In the Dream of Italy article, "The Shipping News: Getting Your Purchases Back Home," Barrie Kerper details specifics on shipping from Florence and Tuscany. And to give you an idea of costs, I shipped an oversized, framed piece of artwork back from Turin (during the Winter Olympics) for about $75.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mourning Pavarotti

The great Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti succumbed to pancreatic cancer today in his beloved hometown of Modena. The star, who brought opera to the masses, in addition to enjoying massive critical acclaim was 71.

I feel privileged to have been there in person at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Olympics when Pavarotti sang his last aria, the beautiful Nessun Dorma from Turandot. I had tickets to see him on tour in Washington, DC in June of 2006, but it was not to be, due to his cancer diagnosis.