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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Ultimate Italy Travel Twitter Guide

Updated August 2009

I know there are many people out there who aren't fully convinced about the value of Twitter. For Dream of Italy -- tweeting as @dreamofitaly -- Twitter has been an amazing tool for business networking, staying on top of travel trends, finding sources for articles, connecting with subscribers and much more. Twitter can be a great tool for gathering information before and during your travels. For more on using Twitter as a travel tool, see @LauraBly 's article from USA TODAY - one of our tweets is quoted.

A few notes about this list. First, I KNOW I must be missing some folks, so please add your suggestions for people to follow in the comments section. Second, we tried to keep this as Italy focused as possible. There are many, many great general travel resources on Twitter but we tried to keep this to the most helpful people to follow for Italy travel information or Italian culture in the U.S. Plus we tried to list only those who treat regularly. Tip: Read the whole list - you may find what you need listed in a different category.

Remember to follow us @dreamofitaly and tweet this list to your followers using this link:
@eurofly - flights from NY to Rome, Naples, Bologna, Palermo

Amalfi Coast
@ciaoamalfi - writer and art historian on the Amalfi Coast
@driveamalfi - private driver and transfers
@AlfonsoFurore - manager of Furore Inn & Resort
@onischia - the great island of Ischia

@CasaDelCipresso - vacation rental in Avellino

Foodies and Cooking Vacations

@divinacucina - writer, foodie and culinary guide
@ciaolaura - culinary vacation planner
@debiff - Italian food lover
@dolcedebbie - culinary director of Savory Adventures
@DiscoverSoriano - food and wine in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio
@thetuscangun - weekly recipes from Tuscany
@fserra - foodie/techie in Italy
@theintlkitchen - The International Kitchen

Emilia Romagna

@ItalySegwayTour -guided bike Segway and bike tours
@HowToBeItalian - Florence native, language teacher and tour guide
@ gelatamo - Florence-based gelateria, yogurteria, creperia
@visitFlorence - guided tours
@flipflorence - videos of Florence
@500touringclub - tours in classic Fiats

@Venere_Hotels - 35,000 hotels worlwide, many in Italy

Italian Riviera
@ Littleparadiso - Texan tour guide in the Italian Riviera
@Liguria360 - panoramic photography

@VIETRI - Italian homewares sold in the U.S.
@ItalAmerGirl - Italian-American blogger
@Italyinsf - everything Italian in the Bay Area
@HowtoBeItalian - cultural ambassador in North Carolina
@ilsentiero - accommodations in Aquapendente
@vallenuova - innkeeper in Urbino
@thehideaway - apartment rentals in the countryside

@rosso - Milan-based writer/photographer
@labellacitta - out and about in Milan
@hotelparkers - 5-star hotel

@DianaBaur - artist and innkeeper in Acqui Terme

@Ostuni -Puglia yoga, cultural exchange, language immersion
@svpuglia travel excursions in the region
@downatheel - Susan Pinna in Casarano
@livinginpuglia - a retiree in Puglia

@hotelsinrome - hotel reservations
@Rome_Shopping -shopping tips and guide
@SaveRome - non-profit institute for Rome's cultural legacy
@Katieparla - tour guide/writer/sommelier
@ItalyTravelista - Nancy Aiello, Rome-based tour guide
@foodinrome - blog on meals in Rome and beyond
@thebeehiverome - stylish budget hotel
@romephotoblog - photos of the Eternal City
@vinoroma - wine tasting in Rome
@wheninrometours - tours in the Eternal City
@romesweethome - apartment rentals

@sardiniavillas - The Sardinia Villa Collection

@thinkSicily - villa rentals
@sicilyguide - Sicily guide for independent travelers
@lovesicily - cooking school in Modica

Travel Agents/Tour Operators Selling Italy

@elitetravelgal - luxury travel planner
@ciaobambino - specializing in travel with children
@smwatk - Sally Watkins, on Travel + Leisure list of best agents
@bellavitaitalia - Megan McCaffrey, Italian vacation organizer
@ciaoitalytours - Ciao Italy and Carrani Tours
@collettetravel - Collette Vacations
@culturalitaly - Italy travel
@selectitaly - Chicago-based travel firm

Travel Bloggers, Media, Writers
@ajcspqr - How to Tour Italy radio show
@italylogue - BootsnAll Italy travel guide
@mymelange - Italophile blogger
@wanderingitaly - James Martin, lives part-time in Tuscany
@Moscerina Fodor’s Italy editor
@italytutto - compiles best of Italy travel blogs
@italofileblog - news and tidbits
@ARoadRetraveled - travel video series
@theitalianshow - Denver-based talk radio show on Italy
@ItalyMagazine - focus on Italian real estate
@michellefabio - American blogging from Calabria
@MissExpatria - American expat who lives in Italy and France
@mybellavita - American writer in Calabria
@MaryAnnHemphill - travel writer
@ItalyTravel - Italy travel tips and photos
@tweetaly - factoids about Italy
@AKNickerson - author of Michelangelo's Italy
@travelwithjulie - Italy-loving blogger
@ItaliaNews - daily news feed from Italy
@leifpetterson - author of Lonely Planet guides incl. Tuscany
@vespadiaries - Italy from the back of a Vespa
- Italian culture explained

@MaremmaGuide - guide to this special region of Tuscany
@tuscany_advisor – agriturismo in Chianti
@VillaiBossi - historic bed & breakfast
@utuscany- customized Tuscany tours
@tuscanapart - Tuscan accommodations
@TuscanyTourism - official tourism Web site
@ThriftyTuscany - how to save money in Tuscany
@casinadirosa - villa rental
@TuscanTraveler - Tuscany travel expert
@ToscanaMia - cooking lessons
@petsinitaly - helping needy Italian animals
@italyworkshop - Tuscany photo workshop
- apartment rental in Viareggio
@ItsTuscany - villa rental agency
@palazzocervini - estate vacation rentals
- cookbook author + B&B owner

@MadonnaDP - Alla Madonna del Piatto B&B and cooking school
@sanpotente - villa rentals
@loveumbria - Umbria tours
@VecchiaCasa - holiday rental in Umbria
@umbriandream - villa rental
@villainumbria - villa and apartment rentals
@poderevigliano - farmhouse for rent

Walking Tours
@contexttravel - walking seminars in Venice, Florence, Rome

@italianwineguy - Alfonso Cevola, Italian wine writer
@robbin_g - Robbin Gheesling of Vineyard Adventures
@DiscoverSoriano - food and wine in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio
@dobianchi - keeping the world save for Italian wine

@seindal - Venice Kayak tours
@Monicacesarato - Venice-native, Italian and English tutor
@livingvenice - travel writer, documentary producer
@cgtravels - self-described Veneto-phile

@sloweurope - Pauline Kenny, guest editor of our villa rentals report
@slowtrav - good source of info. on vacation rentals
@Italy_Accom - 700 properties throughout Italy
@villas_in_italy - villa rentals in Central Italy
@facingthestreet - DOI contributor who writes about living like a local

Help us make this list complete! Please add your suggestions for Italy travel people to follow in the comments section below...

Exclusive Discount on Tuscany Business Retreat

Wow...what a call last night! I interviewed Phil Dyer, Conscious Business Revolutionary and Strategic Business Coach about his Total Business Transformation Experience Italy Retreat and Coaching Support program and did I ever come away impressed. Phil has created an incredible program designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners overcome their business and money blocks to create the business to support their ideal life and the best part is that it includes a week-long retreat at an amazing villa in Tuscany. I have been involved in several coaching programs in the past and can say without hesitation that Phil "gets it" and has put together a program that offers incredible value, including:
  • Pre-retreat assessment and strategic coaching session to help you identify your unique personal brilliance zone
  • Week-long all-inclusive strategic retreat from October 4-11, 2009 at the amazing www.torredeltartufo.com in Tuscany with concierge service from start to finish. Airfare is not included, but you do get to bring a guest at no extra charge, provided they share your room!
  • 6-month coaching support program with group mastermind call, private one-one-one coaching calls and expert information calls
  • Capstone retreat in Baltimore, MD on March 5-6, 2010 which includes a celebration dinner

Phil is offering an incredibly generous $3,000 fast action scholarship to Dream of Italy readers...but this offer expires at Midnight EST on Monday, June 1, 2009...so don't miss out!

If you want all the details and the application for this powerful program, please visit the Total Business Transformation Web site.

Follow this link to a replay of my interview call with Phil.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hot, New Hotels in Italy

As I've said many times before, I love me some great luxury hotels! The major travel magazines are out with their selections of 2009's best new hotels and I will summarize the Italy picks for you -

Two Italy properties made Travel +Leisure's It List of Best New Hotels:

Eight Italy hotels are featured on Conde Nast Traveler's 2009 Hot List:

Check out Dream of Italy's coverage of new hotels in Italy

Great Travels: Share in Piedmont's Harvest

Come to the less-traveled Italy where tables are piled high with truffles, artisan cheeses, local delicacies...where goblets shimmer with the ruby glow of Barbaresco, Barolo and Dulcetto...where festivals bring new friends together. You'll find an Italy untouched by mass tourism. And you'll get real value for your travel dollar.

Join our small group tour to sample all of Piedmont's pleasures, Sept. 12 to 23, 2009.

Prefer to travel on your own? We can also put together a custom Italy trip.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 2009 Issue - The Italian Language, Tuscan Cooking

The May 2009 issue of Dream of Italy is out! Paid subscribers can login to see the PDF version (or read the articles on Web pages). Become a subscriber today (you'll get immediate online access to over 60 back issues and our Rome e-book too) and this will be your first issue...

Secrets of the Italian Language
Dianne Hales, author of the new book La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with the World's Most Enchanting Language says, "Italian, handcrafted by poets and wordsmiths, embodies its native speakers' greatest genius: the ability to transform anything--from marble to melody, from the humble noodle to life itself--into a joyous art." Learn everything from the history of the language, to why there are so many past tenses and to what the language of Italian food says about the culture.

Author Dianne Hales: My Favorites in Italy
The author taps her three decades of Italian travel experience to share her favorite places to stay, eat and play in Florence, Rome and Tuscany. She also recommends where to learn the Italian language in the U.S. and Italy.

The Dream Interview: Catching Up With the Diva of Tuscan Cooking
We catch up with our friend - the diva of Tuscan cooking, chef, cooking school owner, culinary tour guide and now cookbook author - Judy Witts Francini. She shares the secrets of Tuscan cooking and her favorites places to eat in Florence and Tuscany. Plus she shares her recipe for Naked Ravioli!

Get Your Own Perfume Created in Florence
This Tuscan master of perfume making will you your own custom scent during a consultation at his Florence shop.

Tour Venice in a New Way with Venice Kayak

"When we paddle around Venice, we're away and separate from the crowd on land. They don't matter to us, and we're just another weird thing to photograph," says René Seindal, co-founder of Venice Kayak.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Entrepreneurs: Revitalize Your Business in Tuscany

Attention Italy-loving entrepreneurs!
  • Are you stuck in the "overwhelm" that so many entrepreneurs seem to be facing in today's challenging economy?

  • Are you working way too hard, becoming disconnected from family and friends and spending too much time on tasks you really don't like?

  • Do you feel like your business is running you and draining your energy?

  • Do you wake up some mornings and find it difficult to remember why you even started your business?
My good friend Phil Dyer knows exactly how you feel.

A successful entrepreneur with 24 years of military, Fortune 500, non-profit and small business experience, Phil started his most recent business in 2002. After achieving 50% annual growth for 5 straight years, he hit the "time and money" wall. Despite working 60-70 hours weeks and taking on more and more projects and clients, he was dismayed to discover his income growth stagnating while his quality of life suffered significantly.

Determined to re-engineer his business to support his ideal life instead of the other way around, Phil discovered a set of simple success principles that allowed him to move to the multiple six-figure level in a very short time, support his passion for experiential international travel and spend much more quality time with his wife and two young children.

Phil is now a Conscious Business Revolutionary and Strategic Business Coach passionately helping entrepreneurs and small business owners just like you reconnect with your unique personal brilliance zone, focus on what you do best and break through the time and money wall to achieve amazing success! In short, he will help you fall in love with your business all over again.

The best part?

His step-by-step success program includes an incredible week-long all-inclusive retreat to an amazing villa in Tuscany, Italy! Imagine creating your business breakthroughs while sipping wine poolside in the tranquility of a private, 500-acre Italian estate!

Please join me on Wednesday, May 27th at 7 PM EST when I will interview Phil about the simple - yet powerful - secrets he has discovered that allow entrepreneurs and small business owners create (or recreate) the business to support their ideal life.

Listen to a F*R*E*E replay of the call.

Phil will also be sharing information on his 2009 Total Business Transformation Experience, which combines a strategic business retreat and coaching support program with an all-inclusive 7-day retreat in Tuscany from October 4-11, 2009. Business breakthroughs with mix with cooking classes with a top chef, wine tasting, a guided tour of Florence and the peace and tranquility of a luxury villa resort.

This unique opportunity is strictly limited to 10 entrepreneurs and three of the slots are already filled, so if this resonates with you, make sure you register! Can't make the live call? Then make sure you sign up anyway, since a mpg3 recording of the call will be sent to all registered attendees.

Listen to a F*R*E*E replay of the call.

Please join me and Phil on Wednesday, May 27th at 7 PM EST for my interview with Phil about entrepreneurial success and how a week in Tuscany can transform your business...you'll be glad you did!

Kathy McCabe
Editor and Publisher
Dream of Italy

P.S. - Want a sneak peak of the venue? You can find it at http://www.torredeltartufo.com/

P.P.S. - Phil's background is small business financial, tax and benefit consulting and he assures me this program is structured to be fully tax deductible for entrepreneurs and small business owners. How often to you get the chance to have Uncle Sam pick up 40% of the tab for a fabulous trip to Italy?

P.P.P.S. - Phil is offering a very special bonus to Dream of Italy readers...don't miss out!

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Travel Angle of Angels & Demons

I'm a total sucker for movie-related travel and love writing about it (see old article I wrote for USA TODAY about traveling to James Bond movie locations). So of course, I knew the premiere of the movie version of Dan Brown's book Angels & Demons would bring oodles of attention, mostly from travel writers, to Rome's role in the flick and how the average traveler could use the story as a lense through which to see the Eternal City. At this point, I haven't seen the film - I will tomorrow. But I've been surfing the Web for various takes on the travel aspects of this book-turned-movie phenom:

  • Of course, Dream of Italy offers our own Rome itinerary for taking in the highlights of the Angels & Demons novel. Susan Sanders, author of Secrets of Angels & Demons: The Unauthorized Guide to The Bestselling Novel, and executive director of Rome's Institute of Design & Culture (where she leads an Angels & Demons city course) wrote an insightful piece for us.

  • When the Vatican prevented movie producers from continuing to film in Rome, director Ron Howard moved the cast and crew to Reggia di Caserta (one of the world's most stunning palaces) south of Rome in Campania. I visited the palace a few years ago and here's my travel article on the Reggia di Caserta. Not many travel articles are picking up on this non-Rome angle.

  • Looking to really dig your teeth into the art and history behind Angels & Demons? Author Angela Nickerson has published a free 40-page Angels & Demons e-book that's an insider's guide to the locations in the move and book.

  • I like how USA TODAY's Chris Gray Faust is on the ground in Rome talking to tourists about how Angels & Demons has affected how they're touring the Eternal City.

  • Reid Bramblett, a terrific travel journalist, who knows Italy well, having lived there and written about it extensively, put together an informative Angels & Demons slide show over at the Travel & Leisure Web site. He uncovers the secrets behind some of the featured sites in the book/movie and delves into historic scandals involving Rome's landmarks.

  • The wonderful Italophile Jessica Speigel at WhyGoItaly outlines a do-it-yourself Angels & Demons tour with a nice map outling all of the sites. If you'd rather have a tour guide for your Angels & Demons adventure, Jessica has also created a nice list of A&D walking tours.

  • I'm surprised more Rome hotels aren't offering Angels & Demons packages. (If you know of one, add it in the comments.) The Westin Excelsior (home to the largest hotel suite in Europe - I know because I wrote about it) has a movie travel package including an Angels & Demons theme menu at the hotel restaurant and a private or group tour.
  • If after reading the book, watching the movie, you are ready to plan a visit to the Vatican, see it with the absolutely best Vatican tour guide ever! I have no financial interest in you booking a tour with him - I just love to spread the word about how incredible Enrico is. Seeing Rome with him was one of the great travel experiences of my life.

Have any more Angels & Demons travel articles or deals we should know about? Add them in the comments section.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Introducing Tuscany Tours

Tuscany Tours invites you to travel in style, experience extraordinary things, meet amazing people, and enjoy the refined pleasures of Tuscan living. These are not your grandmother's bus tours. Small groups limited to 15 participants. Spring and summer tours are sold out, but we do still have openings for September and October.

Discover us at www.tuscanytours.com, contact us online or call 800-634-3460. Since 1997.

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Five Child-Friendly Activities in Rome + WIN A COPY of THE BOOK "Rome With Kids"!

Special thanks to J.M Pasquesi, author of Rome with Kids: An Insider's Guide for this wonderful guest post.

FOUR LUCKY READERS WILL WIN A COPY OF Rome with Kids! To enter, leave a comment below on your favorite child-friendly place in Rome or where in the Eternal City would like to take your kids. Winners will be randomly selected. Contest runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 17.

Knowledge is power. When visiting a world-class city like Rome, it’s easy to get swept up in the madness of trying to see its plethora of sights, so come to terms right now: it is not possible. Knowing you cannot possibly see everything—especially with children in tow—gives you the freedom to create a lovely and memorable vacation everyone will enjoy. Bravo!

More good news: after settling on your list of must-sees, a slew of fun activities still await you. To make this list of family favorites, the activities or sights must be uniquely Roman (location, view, etc.) and involve an activity or discovery of some kind that makes it fun to search for or arrive at—with or without kids!

1) Piazza Garibaldi at Noon: Get up to this piazza atop the Janiculum hill to watch soldiers shoot a cannon over Rome! Every day, a howitzer is wheeled out from its lair underneath the statue to mark the noon hour (mezzogiorno!). Stand behind the cannon to really feel its blast; younger kids should stand further away to protect tender eardrums. The view from this pretty terrace is spectacular because the Janiculum is higher than any of ancient Rome’s original Seven Hills. Tranquility abounds. No wonder Caesar had a villa here. Don’t forget to pay homage to Garibaldi either! He’s the hero of Italy’s unification and that’s his statue in the center of the piazza.

2) The Orange Garden on the Aventine Hill: For instant adventure, take the secret, walled and cobbled footpath called Roca di Savella, up to the orange garden (immediately on your right as you exit the path onto Via S. Sabina). As soon as you enter the path, you’re in another world, far from the modern city streets, and the garden is a great place to play, picnic, and enjoy a beautiful Roman vista from a serene, citrus-scented perch. You’ll find the path rising from Via Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a few steps from Circus Maximus and the Mouth of Truth, made famous by Audrey Hepburn. From the garden, continue down the street a few blocks more and you’ll discover the Knights of Malta Keyhole! A peek through reveals the cupola of St. Peter’s, perfectly framed by gardens. Keep in mind you’re looking at three independent states (Italy, the Order of Malta, and the Vatican)!

3) Botanical Gardens: Rome’s restorative Orto Botanico is surprisingly convenient, since its walking distance from the picturesque Ponte Sisto. Once home to Queen Cristina, the grounds now house a large collection of palm trees, scented gardens, and enchanted, rose-clad, pathways and fountains. For a Far East effect, serpentine past a magical stand of bamboo and climb all the way up to a mysterious Japanese pagoda with another great view!

4) Castel Sant’Angelo’s Park: Sure, the castle’s maze-like interior offers tons of fun—exploring its ramps and ramparts is straight out of Harry Potter—but those in the know head to its moat! Just take the stairs down from street level to enjoy a green break in what is now a lovely city park, complete with playground equipment and plenty of space to relax, share a picnic, or pick up a game of soccer. Castel Sant’Angelo has played many roles—as Hadrian’s mausoleum, a prison, a papal palace, a fort, and, now, your own relaxing sanctuary.

5) Tiberina Island: This charming, boat-shaped island in the middle of the Tiber river has just enough space to house a church, a few restaurants, and a hospital. Grab some fresh-squeezed juice (spremuta di arancia, for orange juice) or gelato and make for the “lower deck.” The terrace is practically at water’s edge, so you can plop down like Tom Sawyer Italian style, and soak up the sun from an unexpected place. The bridges leading to the island are two of Rome’s oldest—and the ruins of a third bridge, the Ponte Rotto, or broken bridge, are in the water downstream (south) of the island.

FOUR LUCKY READERS WILL WIN A COPY OF Rome with Kids! To enter, leave a comment below on your favorite child-friendly place in Rome or where in the Eternal City would like to take your kids. Winners will be randomly selected. Contest runs through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, May 17.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What's New, Hot in Travel to Italy This Week

A few quick notes from your editor on what I'm hearing about this week in terms of travel to Italy. I'd like to start making this a weekly feature. A few quick links about what's on my Italy travel radar. A great way to get this information in real time is to follow me on Twitter! Here's what reading about, researching and writing about this week:

  • I always love to hear about celebrity weddings in Italy mostly because they get married in some of the most amazing venues; Salma Hayek's vows at La Fenice in Venice is one example. A few days ago actors Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard got married in one of my favorite regions - Puglia. They said their vows at an exclusive hideaway (that doesn't even have a Web site) owned by British expats. People.com has the details.
  • Movie fans are getting excited about next week's premiere of the film version of Dan Brown's bestseller Angels & Demons. If you're headed to Rome any time soon and want to visit all of the places mentioned in the book, follow our Angels & Demons tour.

  • This Sunday, May 10, the guards at the Vatican Museums will be donating their salaries to victims of the Abruzzo earthquake.
  • On May 12, Rail Europe will celebrate its 50th anniversay by selling a Eurail pass at the1959 rate: $125 for 5-day, 3-country pass. Quantities are limited and the deal won't be online until Tuesday.
  • On Saturday, May 16, museums across Italy will be staying open late into the night. Check our calendar of events in Italy for more on what's on in Italy during the coming months.

Truly Venice: Apartment Rentals in Venice, Italy

Are you planning a trip to Italy and are unsure what destination to choose? Venice is definitely a place you shouldn't miss! This city is one of the world's most unique group of islands - actually, it is the only inhabited lagoon in the world with an ancient history that dates back to the seventh century. The water of the numerous canals makes this place peaceful and enjoyable.

There is no better way to experience the real Venice and become integral part of this distinctive lifestyle than to rent a charming apartment that makes you feel home away from home, even for a short stay. You have your privacy and personal space, can cook fine meals with the fresh ingredients of the colourful Rialto Market, get together or simply relax on the couch enjoying the view of the gondolas drifting silently on the canal.

We, Truly Venice, specialize in offering holiday homes and apartments in Venice Italy, by days, weeks or months. All our Venice apartments are selected with great care to make your stay as relaxing and comfortable as it can be.We strive to provide you with the best vacation rentals and outstanding service.

This website offers tailor-made search criteria, helping you to find the location, size and atmosphere that best suits your needs and desires. Our apartments are welcoming, well-equipped, functional and looked after.
There are plenty of large up-to-date photographs on our website - there won't be any surprises, you get what you see. We have a wide range of testimonials on our website and comments about the apartments.We are a committed team that ensures comfort through personalized service.

Book your Truly Venice apartment now - a great place to stay will let you make the most of your time in Venice. We are looking forward to welcoming you soon. Please don't hesitate to contact us should you require any assistance in planning your stay.

Yours Sincerely,

Daniela Scarcia
W: http://www.truly-venice.com/
T: +41 61 411 00 22
E-Mail: info@truly-venice.com
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