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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Solving the Monday in Italy Museum Dilemma

Take a look at your Italy itinerary. How many Mondays will you be spending in Italy? Do you know what you will be doing those days? Monday is a tricky day for touring in Italy. Many restaurants in Italy are closed on Monday. You will find a good number of stores are closed, at least for Monday morning. Most of Italy's museums - notably the state-run ones - are closed on Mondays. But not all of them! Our handy list of which Italian museums are open on Monday will help you plan what to see and do on this tricky day!

Museums open in Venice on Mondays:

Ca' Rezzonico - pictured (Museo del '700 Veneziano; Museum of 18th-Century Venice), Ca' d'Oro (Galleria Giorgio Franchetti), Collezione Peggy Guggenheim, Galleria dell'Accademia, Museo Civico Correr

Museums open in Rome on Mondays:

Vatican Museums, Domus Aurea, Galleria Doria Pamphili, Museo Nazionale di Palazzo Venezia, Museo del Palatino, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Galleria dell'Accademia di San Luca, Museo delle Arti e Tradizioni Popolari, Museo Keats-Shelley, Museo Preistorico Etnografico L. Pigorini

More on Monday Museum Openings in Florence, Milan and Naples

Unusual Italy Museums: Le Marche's Accordion Museum

Duncan Campbell, a freelance writer living in the Le Marche region of Italy, has contributed a number of articles to Dream of Italy on little-known areas of Italy, including his home region of Le Marche as well as the Cilento area of Campania. He has a knack for finding Italy's unusual gems. That's why I was thrilled for him to write a terrific article about five of Le Marche's offbeat and unusual musuems, including the International Accordion Museum:

Civico Museo Internazionale della Fisarmonica

China once again features in the invention of a product that Italy helped to make popular worldwide, this time the accordion. In a town perhaps better known as the site of the last major battle for Italy's unification in 1861, Castelfidardo just two years later saw the establishment of the country's first initiative to manufacture these instruments on a commercial scale.

After receiving an accordion as a gift from an Austrian pilgrim on his way to the Holy House in nearby Loreto, young Paolo Soprani disassembled the instrument and realized that he could easily create similar versions. So started a thriving industry that ultimately made local folk music more accessible due to the portability of the accordion.Over the years it has become synonymous with Italian emigrants, whose most immediate connection with their homeland was often their trusty accordion.

The International Accordion Museum is housed in a 16th-century building, and has over 350 examples of the instrument, including a replica of the first known example from China dating back 4,500 years. There are actually three distinct types of accordion – the diatonic, the chromatic, and the piano – and the list of their constituent parts is quite remarkable, including cashmere, lambskin, rubber, and virgin wax.

Every year in October the town holds an accordion festival attracting artists from all over the globe, their dexterous wizardry producing sounds you'd never have believed could come from this humble instrument.

International Accordion Museum
Via C. Mordini, 1
(39) 071 7808288
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Monday through Sunday, 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Entrance fee: 3 euros, with special discounts available.
--Duncan Campbell

Read about more of Le Marche's interesting museums

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Six Reasons Why This is the BEST Week to Become a Dream of Italy Subscriber

1. Because this is the best summer/year in a decade to go to Italy so you better get planning... In an effort to get seats filled, airlines are pricing their summer and fall fares this summer and fall at about half what they were last year. The same thing is happening with hotels and villa rentals. Smart travelers are taking advantage of the best deals in a decade! Plus with the recession holding others back from traveling, you will enjoy fewer tourist crowds. The information you get from Dream of Italy will help you plan where to go, where to stay, where to eat, what to see, who to show you around, where to shop, and more!

2. Our award-winning print newsletter is NOW in FULL COLOR! The colorful photos literally bring Italy to life on the page and the new look only enhances our fresh, rich travel content. You will receive 10 color issues over the coming year, either via the Internet in PDF format or by postal mail (with online access to the PDFs as well). See a sample issue in color!

3. You'll have complete access to best Italy travel library anywhere! As soon as you subscribe, you will choose a username and password to immediate access nearly 65 issues in PDF format including special reports on Venice, the Lakes, Sicily, Tuscan Hideaways, Villa Rentals, Puglia, Florence and more. All of our articles - over 700 in all - are completely searchable once you are subscriber.

4. FREE BONUS: You will receive our Rome e-book - 80 pages of our best recommendations and advice on touring the Eternal City, updated. Dream of Italy's Collected Rome
is valued at $39.

5. Upon purchasing your subscription (on or before July 20th), you will automatically be entered to win a copy of the Rosetta Stone 1-2-3 Italian Language Learning Program. ($499 value!)

6. You'll save $15 to $25 when you subscribe before July 20th. That's when our subscription rates go up to $79 to $109. Before then, you can purchase a subscription for as little as $64.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Villa Rental in Umbria: Fattoria del Gelso

Fattoria del Gelso is one of three Umbria villa rentals profiled in the June 2009 issue of Dream of Italy:

As the owners of Bella Italia, a successful Italian gourmet and ceramics store in Bethesda, Maryland, Suzy and Bill Menard found themselves spending plenty of time in Deruta, Umbria's ceramics capital, sourcing imports for their store. In time it made sense to look for an Umbrian villa to use as for both their own frequent visits and as the centerpiece for the travel services they hoped to add to their store's offerings.

They settled on Fattoria del Gelso, a former agriturismo on 90 acres in the town of the Cannara, just a few minutes from Assisi. For the Menards, its location and size were key selling points. While the fattoria is part of a small farm (growing the famous Cannara onions which are protected by the Slow Food organization), it is also within walking distance of the charming town center. Plus it is perfectly situated for an easy and quick drive to a number of towns including Perugia, Spello, Bevagna and more.

Read the rest of the article

Great App for Pairing Italian Wines and More

I've had my iPhone for many months but have only now just added "apps" or applications and feel like I have entered a whole new world. (Watch this space for more on travel and Italy-related apps - I'm testing a bunch of them out now.)

As a sign that my priorities are clearly in line, my very first app download was one related to wine. I downloaded the Nat Decants Food + Drink Matcher designed by wine expert Natalie Maclean.

Boy did I pick a useful tool as my first iPhone app. When you install an app, you want it to be something that is especially useful when you are away from home and on the go. This app offering a staggering 380,000 food and drink (that's right it pairs more than just wine) pairings. It is perfect to use when you are at the store shopping for wine for dinner or at a restaurant deciding what to eat and drink.

The level of detail is just awesome. When I wanted to select a wine to drink with pizza, I was given 27 choices of pizza from Chicago-style to pesto pizza. Maclean recommends aglianico, chianti, sangiovese or valpolicella wines for Chicago-style pizza and for pesto pizza her selections include ale beer and pinot grigio, primitivo and sauvignon blanc wines.

Here's a great summary of the inner workings and offerings of the Nat Decants Food + Wine Matcher:

Start with either a drink or a dish
Choose Bubbly, White, Red, Rosé, Dessert
Pair beer, spirits, cocktails, liquor, coffee, tea
Select from 292 grapes, wines and blends
219 cheeses and cheese dishes
61 pasta dishes, 118 vegetarian & salads
57 chicken, 59 beef, 41 pork, 112 seafood
27 types of pizza plus other take-out favorites
48 herbs, spices and sauces
94 Asian, Indian and Chinese dishes
123 types of chocolate and desserts
More than 380,000 pairings, with new ones added daily

You can use a free online version of the matcher at http://www.nataliemaclean.com/ or the iPhone and Blackberry apps are $2.99 to download - and well worth-it since this is the kind of info. you want when you're out dining and traveling.
LOVE MORE THAN JUST ITALIAN WINE - BUT LOVE TRAVELING TO ITALY TOO? Don't miss our amazing subscription deal - ending July 20th!