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Monday, January 31, 2011

Italy Bicycle Tour Retraces Garibaldi's Route

You may have heard that 2011 mark's Italy's 150th birthday. Celebrations are planned throughout the country to mark a century-and-a-half since the initiation of the country's reunification. Tour companies are also planning special itineraries related to the milestone, including Experience Plus! Bicycle Tours.

This Colorado-based bike tour company is offering a 1,400-mile, 28-day Italy 150 Expedition that pedals from Sicily to Rome, north along the Tyrrhenian coast to Tuscany and across the Apennine Mountains to conclude in Turin in the north where in 1861 the unification process was spearheaded. The route through nine Italian regions retraces the steps of Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italy's great unifier.

The expedition takes place May 7 to June 4, 2011. The per person, double occupancy rate is $8,850 and includes use of a 24 - 27 speed high-tech bicycle; 28 nights in comfortable 3- and 4- star hotels and country estates; 28 breakfasts, 17 dinners, some lunches; van support; bilingual tour leaders; and cultural activities. Cyclists will average 60 miles a day, with three rest days factored in. What an amazing way to celebrate and explore Italy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Seeking Editorial and Photo Interns for Spring

Our award-winning subscription travel newsletter Dream of Italy is looking for at least one editorial intern and one photo editing intern for the spring semester. Interns should be current college/grad students or recent college graduates who are passionate about Italy and equally passionate about journalism and online media. Preference will be given to those intern candidates who can speak or understand at least some Italian or who have studied in Italy or traveled there.

Interns can work virtually and set up their own schedules with a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week, for at least 12 weeks. Interns will be paid a small stipend (or we can work with your college for you to get credit). Former interns have gone on to great careers in journalism and public relations and the editor/publisher is very happy to mentor interns in all facets of travel writing, journalism and the publishing industry. Interns will gain an insider’s view of how a travel Web site works.

Overview of Dream of Italy Editorial Intern Tasks:

• Research article ideas, fact- check completed articles.
• Write short articles for print newsletter and e-mail newsletter.
• Locate sources for Italian travel news and write short blog posts.
• Update previously published stories with new information.
• Research events in Italy for our online calendar.
Skills needed for editorial internship: Obviously excellent writing and research skills are essential. Strong Web skills – such as basic knowledge of HTML (and use of Dreamweaver and equivalent) and a basic understanding of search engine optimization – are desirable. Also looking for interns who are not shy about reporting and reaching out to sources. Must be a self-starter who works with minimum supervision.

Overview of Dream of Italy Photo Editing Intern Tasks:

• Source and edit photos to add to 850-plus Web pages.
• Source high-resolution photos for print newsletter and iPhone apps.
• Organize Dream of Italy photos on Flickr and start new groups.
• Assist with running photo contest for readers.
Skills needed for photo editing internship: Strong eye for photography. Strong knowledge of Photoshop and Flickr. Understanding of different requirement for Web photos vs. print photos. Strong understanding of rights and Creative Commons. Must be a self-starter who works with minimum supervision.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume ASAP to Editor and Publisher Kathy McCabe at kathy@dreamofitaly.com For either internship, please detail exactly how your experience matches our needed intern tasks. For the editorial internship, please include links to several writing samples on travel or more specifically Italy. For the photo internship, please include links to your photos or photos you have edited.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What to Know About Spending Money in Italy

So what's the best way to get cash in Italy and spend your money without getting ripped off on transaction fees? This F.A.Q. covers what you need to know about using ATMs in Italy, the fees you will pay for credit cards and why cash is king -- and how that can work to your advantage!

Traveler's checks are passe but the companies who produce them have come up with a cool new card option that gives you similar protections and even some advantages. Read about it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Umbria Villa Rental: Il Casale di Mele

Secluded yet easily accessible, Il Casale di Mele is the perfect setting, providing the tranquility of the countryside but within easy reach of E45 which leasds to many famous hilltowns as well as parts of Tuscany.

Il Casale di Mele is a traditional Umbrian stone farmhouse built with all the modern conveniences that sleeps 6 + 1. Read more about the accommodations.

(This is an ad.)

Whether or Not to Rent a Car in Italy

Everyone seems to have an opinion about driving in Italy. Some people love the chaos. Others who have rented a car to drive through the country swear they will never do it again. If you're traveling through the countryside, renting a car is often the best option for some people.

There are four factors to consider when deciding whether to rent a car or drive in Italy for the first time OR if this is the best transportation option for the type of trip you're planning. Check out the F.A.Q. for a reminder of the ONE document you should have with you when driving and a special Dream of Italy DISCOUNT CODE for renting with Auto Europe!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How to Participate in the First #Italychat on Twitter

UPDATE: The first #italychat transcript includes great Rome travel advice.

Dream of Italy
(@dreamofitaly) is hosting the first #italychat on Twitter today, Wednesday, January 19th at 3p.m. ET.

Today's special guest is Erica Firpo (@NG_guide) and the topic for the hour-long chat is Rome - anything and everything about traveling to Rome and living there as an expat. Erica's personal blog is Moscerina and she is the Rome blogger for Nile Guide. Erica is both Italian and American. Her mother is from Rome. Erica and her husband Darius Arya, archaeologist and classics professor, and their children have been living full-time in Rome since 2003. Erica has also worked at the Guggenheim in Venice.

If you would like to participate by reading the chat and hopefully asking and answering questions (we know many of you are experienced Italy travelers!), here are some tips:
  • Be sure to use the hashtag #italychat within your Tweet so everyone can see your question, answer, contribution, etc.
  • Whether or not you have a free Twitter account, you can follow #italychat LIVE here OR here or you can come back to these links later to read the chat in full.
  • @dreamofitaly will tweet out all questions using "Q" and a number-
    Sample tweet from @dreamofitaly: "Q1: What if you favorite street in Rome? #italychat"
  • Our special guest @ng_rome will tweet her answer using same number -
    Sample tweet from @ng_rome: "A1: I love Via Corso for the great shopping #italychat"
  • Anyone else on Twitter including YOU can answer the question too using A+number as this is all about sharing great experiences and Italy travel information.
    Sample tweet from YOU: "A1: Via Condotti is my favorite for the designer shops #italychat"
  • If you want to ask Erica or the crowd a Rome question, start your tweet with @dreamofitaly followed by the question and I will put it in the queue and give it a number (example - "Q6") and tweet it out when ready.
    Sample tweet from YOU: "@dreamofitaly What is the best kid-friendly museum in Rome?"
  • Erica Firpo has a few questions she would love ask YOU the crowd about your Rome experiences after the half-hour mark and I will put those in the queue and we would love your participation.
  • One #italychat participant will be randomly selected to win an online subscription to Dream of Italy ($79 value). You will be entered by using the hashtag between 3pm and 4pm ET today on Twitter.
We plan to host #italychat every other Wednesday at 3pm ET. The next #italychat will be Wed, February 2nd with special guest @vinoroma. The topic will be Italian wines and wine tourism in Italy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free Italy Travel Consultation with Subscription

I did a lot of thinking and planning for 2011 over the holidays. The questions I asked myself were: How could I bring more value to a Dream of Italy subscription? How could I serve our readers and subscribers better? Well, here is one way

All paid Dream of Italy newsletter subscribers will be entitled to a 15-minute personal travel consultation with me during the month of February -- a $50 value.
  • Yes, I realize it appears I have lost my mind.
  • Yes, I know I will be doing consultations and only consultations for the month of February!(I've done the math).
  • Yes, the author of the book The 4-Hour Work Week would certainly have me committed.
  • No, I will probably never offer this again.
Here's my chance to use my FIFTEEN YEARS of intense Italy travel experience to be of personal service to our paid newsletter subscribers and encourage those who are interested in subscribing to finally take the leap by giving my most valuable assets (time and knowledge) to you!

On Feb. 1, ALL paid subscribers will be e-mailed instructions on how to do a 15-minute consultation with me via e-mail or on the phone. ASK ME ANYTHING about your trip (need the name of a hotel or restaurant? need to know how many days to spend where? need the name of a guide I haven't written about?) and I will answer as much as I can within the time constraints.

But you MUST be a paid subscriber during the month of February to have a consultation, so subscribe or renew now (we're even still offering our BONUS Tuscany/Umbria book and of course you will get online access to 80 back issues as well as 10 issues over the coming year).

If you're traveling to Italy in 2011, you MUST take advantage of this ONE-TIME opportunity!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rome Travel Alert: May 1 Will Be Pope John Paul's Beatification.

If you're planning to travel to Rome this spring OR if you're interested in being in Rome for a very special event, there is some news you should be aware of -

According to the Associated Press, "The pope on Friday signed off on the miracle needed to beatify Pope John Paul II and set May 1 as the date to honor one of the most beloved popes of all times as a model of saintliness for the church. Pope Benedict XVI said in a decree that a French nun's recovery from Parkinson's disease was miraculous, the last step needed for beatification. A second miracle is needed for the Polish-born John Paul to be made a saint. The May 1 ceremony, which Benedict himself will celebrate, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Rome"

So if you're planning to be in Rome on May 1 and haven't booked your accommodations, do so ASAP or if you're interested in honoring Pope John Paul II with a pilgrimage to the Vatican, start planning now. We will have more tips and information as the date draws closer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Italian Wine Education: Prosecco is NOT Italian Champagne

In the December 2010/January 2011 issue of Dream of Italy, I reviewed Vino Roma's wine tasting classes in Rome. I had a terrific afternoon with sommelier Hande Leimer and she taught me much I didn't know about Italian wine, including why I was WRONG (and lots of other folks have been too) to think that Prosecco is the equivalent of Italian champagne. Here she explains:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Italy Celebrates 150th Birthday in 2011

With all the antiquities and ruins to see throughout Italy, it is easy to forget that the actual country of Italy is quite young. For centuries, the Italian peninsula was comprised of independent city-states, the Papal States and other areas controlled by various European kingdoms. The Italy we know today only dates back to 1861 when the modern Italian state was founded following battles by unifier Giuseppe Garibaldi. The movement to unify Italy was called Risorgimento. In 1861, much of northern and southern Italy (with big exceptions including Rome and the Papal States) was united into the newly formed Kingdom of Italy, headed by King Victor Emmanuel and Turin was named the first capital. Despite the fact that Rome didn't join unified Italy until nine years later, Italy is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2011 with events all over the country...

Read more about Italy's 150th birthday celebrations

(Map from WW Norton)

Friday, January 07, 2011

Dec. 2010/Jan. 2011 Issue - Lake Como, Cooking in Emilia-Romagna, Italy's 150th Birthday

The December 2010/January 2011 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 BONUS, the 640-page book Tuscany and Umbria: The Collected Traveler! Here's what is in the issue:

Adrenalin Rush on Lake Como
Biking to a chapel devoted to cyclists, skipping stones on the lake, boating to a delicious restaurant and hiking in the hills above Bellagio.

Casa Artusi: A Living Museum of Italian Home Cooking
A visit to the Emilia-Romagna home of one of Italy's most famous cookbook authors, Pellegrino Artusi.

Vino Roma: Wine Tasting in Rome
Learn about Italian wines before exploring the rest of the country at these fun and informative wine seminars in Rome.

Venice: An Apartment with A View
The Venice you always imagined is right outside the windows this fairly affordable Venice apartment rental.

Italy Celebrates 150 Years in 2011
A guide to events celebrating the beginning of the unification of Italy in 1861.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Huge Sale on Italy Travel DVDs and Books!

Headed to Italy in 2011? Looking for inspiration? Well, we have some deals for you - but you have to act fast as there are only limited quantities. We're clearing out our holiday stock and are reducing some of our most popular Italy travel DVDS and books by 20 to 45%. If you were every going to buy any of these titles, now is the time...and time to start planning your 2011 trip to Italy! Quantities are very, very limited so order now: