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Friday, October 29, 2010

October 2010 Issue - Special Report: Tuscany's Province of Pisa

The October 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 over 75 back issues, some incredible Italy travel discounts and our NEW BONUS, the 640-page book Tuscany and Umbria: The Collected Traveler! Here is what is in the issue:

An Insider's Guide to Pisa Italy: Where to Eat, What to See, Where to Shop
One of our favorite Pisans shares a priceless list of what to see and do in Pisa. She tells us about her favorite restaurants, pizzeria and best place for a cup of coffee. Looking to buy leather? She has the place. Also visit one of Pisa's up and coming museums and see a mural by Keith Haring.

Exploring the Province of Pisa: San Miniato, Volterra, Lajatico

This corner of Tuscany has much to offer besides the city of Pisa - there's art, history, truffles, vampires and Andrea Bocelli!

Food and Wine Experiences in Tuscany's Province of Pisa
Tour an artisanal pasta producer, considered to make Italy's best pasta. Visit a small, woman-run vineyard outside San Miniato, specializing in Vin Santo and spumante. Meet a young butcher who marries his love of meat with the arts and community.

Where to Stay in the Province of Pisa: Agriturismos, Hotel and Villa Rentals
Our selection of places to stay in the Pisa province of Tuscany includes an agriturismo that's great for families, a honeymooner's paradise in Pisa, a quirky inn, villa rentals in Andrea Bocelli's
hometown and more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stay in The Tuscany Villa Where "Under The Tuscan Sun" Was Filmed


No one put Tuscany on the map quite like Frances Mayes and her book Under The Tuscan Sun. But that was before the film version of the book came out and even more people latched on to the dream of owning a villa in Tuscany OR at least staying in one for a week or two. In the film, the role of Bramasole, Mayes' wreck-turned-dream-home was played by Villa Laura in Cortona. You didn't think Mayes was going to let Diane Lane and crew film in her place, did you?

Villa Laura was purchased in 2006 by the owners of Cline Cellars Winery of Sonoma, California. The new owners have carefully and thoughtfully restored the property and it is now available for rent from our friends at Doorways. The villa is actually a villa plus farmhouse, sleeping a total of 18 people. The bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms and the estate features air-conditioning, swimming pool, hot tub, pond, wood-burning pizza oven and wireless Internet. There's even the "Diane Lane Room" - named for the actress who plays Mayes in the movie - which offers a stunning view of the countryside.

Get your 17 closest friends together because they will all need to chip in to afford the rental fee which ranges from $14, 580 to $21,870 per week, depending on the season. BUT paid Dream of Italy newsletter subscribers can save $500 per week (hey, that pays for a week of wine!) as Doorways offers an exclusive discount to our paid members.

If you're looking to rent a villa in Tuscany (whether it be for $1,000 per week or $10,000), our FREE Italy Villa Rentals Report will get you started with tips and tricks as well as a list of our 50 favorite villa rentals and rental agencies!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New for Christmas 2010: Snowy Palazzo Vecchio Florence Italy Christmas Cards!


Our Italian Christmas cards are a bit hit each and every holiday season. This year we are proud to announce a new Italy Christmas card design....Snowy Palazzo Vecchio in Florence Italy! If you're familiar with our offerings you know that we almost never discount our exquisite and unique Italian holiday cards. But this year, the early bird gets the worm, save $2 per set on all of Italian Christmas cards when you purchase them on or before October 31st!
And if you dream of an Italian Christmas, don't forget to get your free copy of our 35-page Christmas in Italy E-book.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Learn the Italian Language and Italian Christmas Traditions in Milan

There always seems to be a great deal of interest in traveling to Italy for Christmas or enjoying Italian Christmas traditions at home, (That's also what prompted us to create a free e-book on Christmas in Italy!) Well here's a unique opportunity to visit Italy, spend a week learning the Italian language as well learn about Italian Christmas traditions -- and be home in time for Christmas to show your friends and families what you have learned!

The Italian language school "Scuola Leonardo da Vinci" in Milan is offering a special Christmas Tradition and Language Course, December 13 to 17, 2010. The course, which costs 250 euros, includes 7.5 hours of language instruction (tailored to your level), classes on decorating and cooking for an Italian Christmas celebration as well as special holiday field trips to local shops and restaurants. The school offers options for six nights of accommodations starting at 192 euros per person.

What an innovative way to get into the Italian holiday spirit!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Meet Two of My Favorite Italy Travel Experts

Dream of writing about travel to Italy? Dream of buying a home in Italy and living there part-time? My friends Martha Bakerjian and James Martin (they're married) have fulfilled all three of these dreams and it was a pleasure for me to finally meet them in Tuscany several months ago. I've been following the work of these Italy travel experts for years...

Martha has written the Italy travel site on About.com since 2005 and has traveled extensively in Italy for more than 25 years. James has run the About.com Western Europe travel site since 2002. He also blogs at Wandering Italy. The couple owns a home in Piano di Collecchia, between the towns of Aulla and Fivizzano in the Lunigiana region of northern Tuscany. They split their time between Italy and California.

If you're dreaming of building a life in Italy or at least creating the best Italy vacation, read my interview with Martha and James about living, working and traveling in Italy.

Special Offer: Join the Alta Cucina Epicurean Society

Have a special culinary experience and become a member of Alta Cucina Society.

Alta Cucina is an epicurean society for those who want to explore, share, and celebrate premium Italian cuisine and wines. As a member you will receive invitation to exclusive dinners, free tastings and discounts on products and cooking classes.

Alta Cucina membership is $45 annually, but as a Dream of Italy reader, you can become a member for only $40 and you will receive a FREE welcome package that includes pasta, extra virgin olive oil, chocolates and a book.

To become a member of Alta Cucina, join through Dream of Italy and save $5.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Win a Week in Tuscany or A Set of Seven Italy Travel Books


News of two fantastic Italy travel giveaways crossed my desk today and I wanted to let you know about them so you can enter to win. Who couldn't use a week in Tuscany or a stack full of wonderful Italy travel books?

CiaoBambino.com is giving away a week in a two-bedroom apartment at Al Gelso Bianco, a wine and olive producing estate in the heart of Chianti. The estate is set in a superb, much-sought after location for regional sightseeing with easy access to Florence, Siena and San Gimignano. The week is available in April or October 2011. Comment on this Ciao Bambino blog to enter and learn about other ways to increase your chance of winning.


To get ready for that great Tuscan vacation, you will want to do some reading. Enter this contest over at BecomingItalian.com and you could win a set of these seven awesome Italy travel books:

These authors are generously giving away FIVE sets of their books. Buona Fortuna!