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Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011 Issue - Vicenza, Rome, Montepulciano

The March 2011 issue of Dream of Italy is hot off the presses. Our paid subscribers (who can log-in here) will be reading about Palladio's Vicenza, three Rome hotels and Montepulciano's wine cathedral. If you're NOT a subscriber, become one today and save $15 on our regular subscription rates!

Visiting Palladio's Vicenza
When it comes to the development of Palladio as an architect, there is no better place to explore his modern interpretation of classical design than the city of Vicenza, 40 miles from Venice, and the surrounding province of the same name.

Palladio's Vicenza: What to See, Where to Eat and Stay, A Great Tour Guide
A cheat sheet to the important Palladio buildings to see in Vicenza, a great guide to take you around and where to eat and stay in this charming northern Italian city.

Three Rome Hotels
This month we're back with more Rome hotel reviews including a hideaway on the Spanish Steps, an affordable 4-star with a fascinating history and a blow-the-budget option on the Via Veneto.

Montepulciano's Wine Cathedral
Talk about creating great expectations. If your guide starts a tour by saying, "You are about to visit the most beautiful wine cellar in the world," well, she'd better deliver.

Study Italian at Sorrento Lingue

So you love Italy, you can't wait to visit, but you don't speak a word of Italian! Fancy turning that around? Sorrento Lingue offers Italian language courses for foreigners, cooking courses and even study abroad programs for college and university students! AND if you want a head start you can even do italian online classes in the comfort of your house or office...

(This is an ad.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Join #italychat To Plan Your First Trip to Italy

Dream of Italy (@dreamofitaly) will be hosting another #italychat on Twitter, this Wednesday, April 6th at 3 p.m. ET. The topic will be planning your first trip to Italy and our special guest will be Jessica Spiegel, a.k.a @italylogue on Twitter.

Jessica, the editor of Why Go Italy for the Bootsnall network, is an absolute treasure trove of practical tips on planning a first trip to Italy. She can tell you how many days to spend where, how to get there (I'm always impressed with her detailed articles on Italy's transportation options) and what to do in Italy's most popular destinations. We're so happy to have her with us for this edition of #italychat on Twitter! If you would like to participate by reading the chat and hopefully asking and answering questions, 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 @italylogue: "Q1: What is the minimum number of days you recommend to visit Venice? #italychat"

  • Our special guest @italylogue will tweet her answer using same number - Sample tweet from @italylogue: "A1: You want to plan on at least two days in Venice #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: I only went to Venice for one day and regretted not staying #italychat"

  • If you want to ask Jessica or the crowd an Italy 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 Do I need to rent a car to visit Tuscany? #italychat"

Related Articles:

Tips for the First-Time Visitor to Milan

F.A.Q.: Should I Rent a Car in Italy?

F.A.Q.: What Is the Best Way to Get Euros and Pay for Things in Italy?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rome: New "Made in Italy" Museum and Aquarium

In an effort to boast Rome's prestige and popularity, by enticing new travelers and return visitors, a string of new, modern string of attractions will be opening in the EUR neighborhood of Rome. Esposizione Universale Romana, better known as EUR, is an area in southern Rome known mostly for business and art. Mussolini originally ordered the area built as the location for the 1942 World's Fair, but that idea was abandoned at the onset of the war. A "Made in Italy" Museum as well as an Aquarium are now planned for the neighborhood.

Tourism official Mauro Cutrufo feels the "Made in Italy" Museum is the "something different" visitors are looking for; not another ancient ruin or church but something new, attractive and engaging. The Palazzo Civiltà del Lavoro, one of the most iconic buildings in the EUR since the 1940s, is undergoing renovations and when finished will be the museum's home. All products baring the prestigious label, “Made in Italy” that is synonymous with high fashion, design and production, will be on display.

Also adding to the allure of EUR, in 2012, Mare Nostrum Aquarium is set to open beneath the area's artificial lake. -- Kendra Howard

New Holocaust Museum To Be Built in Rome

There is at least one Holocaust museum or center in 15 countries around the world and soon Italy will be added to the list. The Roman Jewish Diaspora is the second oldest in the world so the museum will serve as an educational vehicle for the Italian people and the world. Under the direction of Marcello Pezzetti and with support from the Roman Stati Generali, the new Holocaust museum will cover both the history of Jews in Italy and in the world.

The location of the museum is set to be at the center of the large and gracious Villa Torlonia, on the outskirts of Rome. This villa, complete with a vast garden, was first seized by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1929 from the Torlonia family and then later abandoned. While under Mussolini's ownership a pair of catacombs, that were once intact, had been discovered.

The burial ground for Jews tells an in-depth history of how Jews lived and died; the colorful frescoes that cover the interior are of the iconographic symbols of Jewish people, the menora and the circumcision knife to name a few. Unfortunately, because of falling rocks and unsafe conditions, the catacombs have since been closed to the public. When the Holocaust museum is unveiled within the next 10 years, the catacombs too will be opened to the public.

The Italian government, with the help of RAI-TV, is sponsoring a television segment that will be played repeatedly through June encouraging Italians to come forward with any relevant records or material for exhibition in the museum. The museum will highlight the positive and negative roles Italy played in the Holocaust and their involvement with the Jewish people; how some Italians helped by providing Jews with fake documents while others assisted the Nazis in their post-war escape to South America. The cost to build three sections of the museum and assemble the library, archives and vast video collection, will cost approximately $30 million. -- Kendra Howard

Article - Touring Rome's Jewish Ghetto
Informative Book - The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What You Need to Know About Pope John Paul's May 1st Beatification

If you're thinking of heading to Rome for the May 1st beatification of Pope John Paul II, you will be in good company as part of an expected crowd of two million pilgrims. People from all over the globe are flocking to the Eternal City to witness this historic and much-anticipated event. With Rome spreading its resources thin in order to accommodate the influx of visitors, there is some important information you should know if you too are planning to experience this historic event firsthand.

Kendra Howard answers all of your beatification travel questions -- from where to find hard-to-get lodging, who is runnning special beatification tours, whether or not you need tickets or the beatifiation mass and how to find out more about related events in Rome that week.

Photo by scot2342, flickr.com

Fun Facts About San Marino - A Country Within Italy

In our February 2011 print newsletter, Sharon Sanders takes us on an intriguing visit to San Marino - the small republic tucked in between the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. Her extensive articles on what to do, where to stay and where to eat in this storybook destination are available to paid subscribers and are an essential resource for adding a visit on to your travels through central Italy. Here are a few fun, fascinating facts to whet your appetite for this tiny jewel:

  • San Marino is about 24 square miles. It is the third smallest country in Europe, after Vatican City and Monaco.
  • San Marino is the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. The official date of its founding is September 3, 301. Yes, that's the year 301.
  • The constitution of San Marino, enacted in 1600, is the world's oldest constitution still in effect.
  • In terms of per capita GDP, San Marino is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It also enjoys a budget surplus and no national debt.
  • 30,000 people live in San Marino - about 1,000 of them are foreigners, mostly Italians.
  • Italian is San Marino's official language and the euro is the official currency.
  • With no border formalities, passage from Italy to San Marino is seamless. Foreign visitors may enter without showing a passport. If you'd like your passport stamped as a souvenir, there's a 5-euro charge.

Photo by Paolo C., flickr.com