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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September 2011 - Art in Venice, Villa d'Este's International Ambassador

The September 2011 issue of Dream of Italy is hot off the presses. If you're NOT a subscriber, become one today and save $15 on our regular subscription rates and receive access to this issue and more than 85 back issues! Our paid subscribers (who can log-in here) will be reading the following articles:

Meet Jean Salvadore -- an Italian woman who has lead a most evenful life -- from a volunteer to help American troops in Rome in World War II to international ambassador for one of the world's most exclusive hotels, Villa d'Este on Lake Como.

Sleuthing for Art in Venice - Part 1 and Part 2
Just how much art can you see in one vacation in Venice? Our writer plots her art hunt through Venice's churches and museums to its most beguiling treasures.

Details on the Venice Choral Pass, Venice Connected Cards, walking tours of Venice's art and artisans and artful hotels in Venice.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall Deals on Amalfi Coast and Sicily Hotels

Ragosta Hotels is offering discounted fall rates through November 30, 2011 starting at 150€ to 250€ per night for Hotel Raito and Relais Paradiso on the Amalfi Coast and La Plage Resort in Taormina, Sicily.

This is quite the deal since rooms at Relais Paradiso usually start at 500€. There are only 22 rooms here, with stunning views of the Amalfi Coast, and room rates include a welcome cocktail and personal car transfer to Vietri sul Mare (perfect for ceramics shopping). The nearby Hotel Raito is larger and has the exclusive Seiren Floor in its own wing - Seiren guests enjoy a private reception and entrance to the spa.

Fall is the perfect time to visit Sicily. Why? Not so hot and still so beautiful. The La Plage Resort (pictured above) combines the best of two worlds as it is near the charming town of Taormina where there is plenty to do but it is also steps away from Sicily's natural island preserve Isola Bella.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New Florence Card for Museums and Transportation

If you're headed to Florence, you should know that the city now offers the Firenze Card -- but due to its price it is really for the most ardent and ambitious museum-goer and tourist. The Firenze Card offers admission to more than 33 participating museums, villas, and gardens -- as well as unlimited public transportation -- over three days for 50€ per person.

Firenze CardBudget Travel Magazine recently did an analysis and calculated that you would need to visit three sites per day for three days or use the equivalent of 17€ in admissions and transportation to make the card pay.

The card does include admission to any special exhibitions and the website says you can avoid lines and booking fees (but doesn't say exactly how to do that - there may be a special line at the most popular museums).

You can see if the card is for you by checking this breakdown of the entrance fees of participating sites. Entrance to the Uffizi starts at 6.50€ as does entrance to the Accademia -- but that's not figuring in booking fees and special exhibitions.

In the past, we've also written about the Friends of the Uffizi membership (Amici degli Uffizi) which is a bit more than the Firenze Card but is good for a year.