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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Villa in Viterbo Italy: Where Julia Roberts Stayed While Filming "Eat Pray Love"


In our Eat Pray Love Italy travel guide, we told you about the luxury hotels where movie star Julia Roberts stayed while filming in Rome last August. Yet when filming moved to other parts of Italy and Julia's family and entourage arrived in Italy (husband Danny Moder, her three children, bodyguards and yoga instructor), they took up residence in a luxury villa rental outside of Rome in Viterbo, an area famous in part for its thermal baths.

Why Viterbo? Well, as writer Justine Gregory, wrote in our pages, "If you seek an Italian town with the beauty of Florence, the history of Rome, the waters of Sicily -- but without the tourists of any of the three -- your search is over. Just 60 miles north of Rome, the medieval walled city of Viterbo is a glittering gem that quietly boasts narrow cobblestone streets hiding glorious
fountains, piazzas, churches and inscriptions from the time of Dante Alighieri."

From August 24 to September 13, 2009, Roberts and her posse made in the 16h-century Villa d'Oro their Italian home base. Roberts likely found the villa appealing for its secure and private location set on 15 acres, pool for the kids and proximity to Rome and other filming locations. The property sleeps 20 people in 11 bedrooms. There are seven bathrooms.

You can follow in Roberts' footsteps and rent Villa d'Oro through our friends at Doorways. The price is available upon request. Plus note that our paid newsletter subscribers receive $500 off any Doorways villa rental of $2,000 or more (paid subscribers receive discount codes upon joining). So even if Julia's pad is a bit beyond your means, you can subscribe and take advantage of this special Italy travel discount, among others.

Also, learn the ins an outs of Italy villa rentals with our FREE guide to renting a villa in Italy - get your copy now!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eat Pray Love in Rome Italy


Author Elizabeth Gilbert has charmed many an armchair traveler with her New York Times best-selling memoir, Eat Pray Love. Once achieving what most would call success (a celebrated career, a husband and a lovely home) Gilbert realizes that she has cultivated a life for which she is not completely suited. Gilbert decides to take a year off from her life in New York and truly find herself while spending four months each in three different countries: Italy, India and Indonesia. Julia Roberts plays Gilbert in the screen adaptation of Eat Pray Love. The film which opens in theaters August 13th. Here are a few tidbits about the book and film connections to Rome Italy:

Last August 17th, Julia Roberts was welcomed with open arms into Italy's capital city Rome. Before filming in Naples and then moving on to India and Indonesia, the cast and crew set up shop and filmed in lovely Piazza Navona, Rome's famous shopping street Via Condotti and the lovely Borghese Gardens.

During her working Roman holiday, Roberts did not limit herself to one beautiful set of accommodations, but instead she and her family took up temporary residence in two different and highly acclaimed hotels: the De Russie, and the Hassler. The movie's location scouts who were on the scene months before Roberts, on the other hand, stayed in cozy apartment in central Rome. Il Terrazzo is 10 minutes from either Piazza Navona, Trastevere or the Vatican. The apartment sleeps six and rents for 1,900 euros per week.

If you'd like the full Eat Pray Love experience in Rome, our friends at Nancy Aiello Tours have put together a Roman walking tour based on the movie. The Eat Pray Love Rome Tour follows the path of Gilbert's quest for beauty and Italian food through Rome's Jewish Ghetto and the nearby Tiber Island, Campo de' Fiori with its lively outdoor food market, Piazza Navona decorated with the baroque Four Rivers Fountain, the Pantheon with its 2,000-year-old dome, Sant' Angelo Castle, the beautiful square of Piazza del Popolo and the peaceful Borghese Gardens, stopping along the way to enjoy Italian gelato while discovering Rome street food and traditional dishes like spaghetti cacio e pepe. (Paid Dream of Italy newsletter subscribers receive 10% off any Nancy Aiello Tour - subscribe now and you will be e-mailed the discount code.)

All that walking around will certainly put you in the mood for some fantastic gelato! In keeping with the Eat Pray Love theme, you'll want to visit Gelateria di San Crispino, one of Rome's most famous gelaterias which is featured in Gilbert's book. The Telegraph (U.K.) reports that the gelato shop has been inundated with women travelers carrying copies of the book!

By the way, through August 28th, you can enter to win a trip to Rome for the Italian premiere of Eat Pray Love -- the contest is being sponsored by Kohl's.
-- Shakira Mongul

Read our entire Eat Pray Love in Italy coverage!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

July/August 2010 Issue - Visiting Paestum, News from the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany and Umbria Insider

The July/August 2010 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 access to this issue and nine more over the coming year, online access to nearly 75 back issues and some incredible Italy travel discounts, too! Here is what is in the summer issue:

Paestum: A Must-Visit Site in Campania
Everyone knows about Pompeii, but Paestum is the archaeological park that may wow you even more than Campania s other ruins.

The Dream Interview: Tuscany and Umbria Insider Barrie Kerper
Looking for an authentic meal in Florence, great places to take the kids in Tuscany, the best private tour guides in these two regions? Our expert, author Barrie Kerper, has great Italian travel advice.

Star-Struck at a New Amalfi Coast Hotel

This new luxury hotel on the Amalfi Coast takes its inspiration from Hollywood. Plus we include a short review of another new property in Maiori.

Get Schooled in Gelato on Your Next Italy Trip
Want to learn how to make Italian ice cream? Two gelato schools in Italy teach you how to do it whether for fun or in order to open your own gelateria!

CitySightseeing Offers a New Way Around the Amalfi Coast

This new bus service makes it easy to explore the towns of the Amalfi Coast, affordably and in comfort.

Subscribe to Dream of Italy NOW and receive access to 75 back issues including THIS
ISSUE!

Eat Pray Love in Naples Italy: Especially Eating!


Author Elizabeth Gilbert has charmed many an armchair traveler with her New York Times best-selling memoir, Eat Pray Love. Once achieving what most would call success (a celebrated career, a husband and a lovely home) Gilbert realizes that she has cultivated a life for which she is not completely suited. Gilbert decides to take a year off from her life in New York and truly find herself while spending four months each in three different countries: Italy, India and Indonesia. Julia Roberts plays Gilbert in the screen adaptation of Eat Pray Love. The film which opens in theaters August 13th. Here are a few tidbits about filming in Naples Italy:

The Eat Pray Love cast and crew set out for Naples to film one of Gilbert’s most memorable moments, eating a double mozzarella pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele, one of the most famous pizzerias in Naples. Once settled in the southern Italian city, Murphy and other members of the Eat Pray Love team were so touched and inspired by the warmth of the Neapolitan environment that they actually added a scene in Naples. The new scene takes place in one of Naples’ most beautiful churches, Pio Monte della Misericordia.

While on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Julia Roberts gives insight into her personal connection to Gilbert's story and her experience working on the film. She explains that she felt a relation to the story, ‘It's the way that [Liz] wrote this book,’ she notes. ‘It's like a bell that just keeps ringing.’ Roberts also dishes on her love affair with Italian food:

Well, the permission to eat, I think, is a gift. For someone to say: 'Just eat it. Eat all of it,'" she says. "It always had to be the gusto. Like by the seventh plate of pasta, the gusto became a little more of: 'Give me a minute. I'm going to look like I like it in just a minute.

In an interview with the U.K.’s Daily Record, Roberts confesses to gaining seven pizza-and-pasta pounds thanks to shooting so many takes:

I've always been a friend of food. I probably put on about seven pounds in Rome when we were shooting. I ate a lot of pizzas in Naples. It was just great. But it was hard on take 10 on a giant plate of pasta...It is a challenge and I love a good meal. Someone suggested I had a spit bucket but I can't do that because it makes me gag. It just grosses me out.

-- Shakira Mongul

Read our entire Eat Pray Love in Italy coverage!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Book Your Italy Vacation Through Owenoak

One of the pleasures of running Dream of Italy is the opportunity to form relationships with our readers and newsletter subscribers. One of the longtime subscribers I have gotten to know is Carla Mantiglia.

Carla studied and lived in Florence, speaks Italian and shares my passion for all things Italy-related. Carla has me beat in that she has traveled to Italy over 100 times! (I think I'm up to about 25 times.) She's an Italy travel expert - with 25 years in the business - and president of Owenoak International, a Norwalk, Connecticut based travel company. Her specialty is Italy, of course.

Whether you're planning your first trip to Italy or have already been many times and are planning another vacation with friends or family; a wedding or honeymoon; a golf outing or romantic getaway, Carla and her staff can help make it special because they know so many of the authentic places to see and new things to do!

Here's a sample of what Carla can help arrange for you:

Wine tasting tours and cooking schools
Museum tours and painting/pottery classes
Golf vacations ( there are many good courses in Italy)
Visits to the Amalfi Coast, including for the Ravello Music Festival
Shopping (great outlets)
Skiing in Cortina and Courmayeur
Religious tours including private after-hours tours of the Vatican
A special experience - the Venice Regatta on the Grand Canal
Tickets to the Palio horse race in Siena
Beach vacations in Sicily and Sardinia
Truffle hunting

There are very few destinations, hotels or resorts where Carla hasn't been or about which she doesn't have intimate knowledge.

If you are planning to visit Italy, please call Carla directly at 1 800 426 4498 or -email her at carla (at) owenoa (dot) com She and her staff will personally work with you to plan a special, memorable trip to Italy.

And be sure to tell her that I sent you.

A presto-

Kathy McCabe
Editor and Publisher
Dream of Italy

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