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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spring in Venice with Music and Markets

Glorious Venice is the setting for an inspiring week of discovery and music with Music and Markets Tours.

From April 28 to May 4, our days will be filled with the stellar art, glorious music, world-changing architecture, and delicious cuisine of Venice and the Veneto.

Click here for details of this luscious spring trip and join us for an in-depth experience of Venice!
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

February 2012 Issue: Home Food, Italian Libraries, Puglia Resort

The February 2012 issue of Dream of Italy is hot off the presses. If you're NOT a subscriber, become one this week and get $15 OFF a one-year, digital-only subscription and the BONUS BOOK Up at the Villa ($17.95 value), you will also receive access to this issue, online access to more than 87 back issues and subscriber-only discounts! Our paid subscribers (who can log-in here) are reading the following articles this month:
Home Food: Dinner with The LocalsThis culinary cultural association arranges scrumptious, authentic meals in local Italian homes. Read about our dinner in Florence and how you can enjoy the unique Home Food experience. PLUS: Italian Pear Cake Recipe

Visit Europe's First Public Library in Cesena
Exploring Malatestiana Library is made even more remarkable when you learn that despite wars and natural disasters, the building, furnishings and manuscripts have all remained virtually untouched since the structure was built in the middle of the 15th century. PLUS: Other Noteworthy Italian Libraries

News, Tips, Deals and EventsSala Blu Offers Assistance in Italy's Train Stations; A Rare Visit to the Swiss Guards Armory at the Vatican; Take A Mosaics Class in Rome

New Resort in Puglia
This incredible borgo offers a seaside location complete with luxury villas and a golf course as well as Pugliese cuisine and hospitality.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuscany Villa Deal from Villa Vita

If Tuscany is on your Bucket List - you'll want to know about Il Borgo Villa Bossi Pucci

+ Want to stay in a private countryside villa with friendly, professional hosts?
+ Want to enjoy favorite local dishes in charming restaurants each night?
+ Want to drive along the scenic back roads of Chianti without renting a car?
+ Want to visit medieval towns with local guides with plenty of free time, as well?
+ Want to avoid the crowds without missing the best sights and discover hidden gems, too?
+ Want to return each evening to watch the sunset from the tranquility of your terrace in one of the most beautiful regions in the world?

Inclusive Tuscany  at Il Borgo
Making it easy to make it real.

Amazing Vacation "A Perfect Holiday""
"The best trip ever...service unsurpassed!"
"Vacation of a Lifetime"
"Well beyond expectation"
"Il Borgo is spectacular!"

Stay in beautiful, spacious apartments on the hilltop estate of Il Borgo Villa Bossi Pucci, each with its own living room, kitchen and terrace or balcony... surrounded by olive trees and vineyards and a sparkling pool overlooking distant castles.

Spend the days in Florence, San Gimignano, and Lucca... and enjoy vineyard visits, cooking classes and a language lesson, o due.

Dine at favorite local restaurants taking pleasure in the fine food and wine without worry as your friendly professional driver takes you back to your home in Tuscany!


Three different 7-night to suit your vacation style just right - and the flexibility to arrive programs any day of the week!
All Stays Include:
+ Arrival and departure transfers from Florence
+ Seven nights in a private, spacious apartment with breakfast daily
+ Three course dinners with wine at lovely family-owned restaurants
+ Excursions to surrounding places such as Siena, Florence, Lucca, and Wine Country
+ Deluxe air conditioned transportation to all off-site events and dinner venues
+ Genuine Tuscan hospitality


Classic - Our most popular program with 7 dinners and 6 daily tours enjoyed with other guests with plenty of free time to explore on your own.
Deluxe - Our Classic Program with the flexibility and personal attention of a private driver daily and your own guided tours. Great for small groups of family and friends.

Special - A great option for those who wish to enjoy more free time to relax at  Il Borgo including 5 dinners and 4 tours and two days at your leisure. Popular with our returning guests!

Free Tuscan Cooking Lessons for Dream of Italy Readers INCLUDED!
(Please book before March 31st, 2012 to take advantage of this offer)

Programs start at only $2195 per person. Arrivals welcomed from April through November based on availability at time of booking. Airfare additional. Longer or shorter stays can be arranged. Reduced rates for groups of 6 or more guests - please inquire!

Enrich your experience further with optional classes at Il Borgo:
Cooking - Wine Production and Appreciation - Ceramic Painting- Renaissance Art and
History - The Italian Language - Watercolor Painting - Photography

Add a few days in Rome, Venice, the Lakes or on the coast for a complete immersion nto the best of Italy!

Inclusive Tuscany - Unsurpassed value and service in one of the at Il Borgo Villa Bossi Pucci.

Or call now toll free U.S. and Canada 1-866-590-8181 or from elsewhere +1-623-680-0853
email Gina Ruggiero at gina@villavita.net for more information...

It's time to make it to Tuscany!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Italy Travel Seminar March 4th at The New York Times Travel Show

Join me (Dream of Italy Editor Kathy McCabe) and a distinguished panel of Italy travel experts Sunday, March 4th at 11:15 a.m. at The New York Times Travel Show for the travel seminar Make Your Italian Dreams Come True. The seminar is open to the public attending the travel show.

Along with Susan Van Allen, author 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go; Gina Ruggiero, Villa Vita International; Tom Paris, Club ABC Tours; Yannis Moati, Europe at Cost, we will share secrets so you can turn your Italian fantasy vacation into a reality. Whether you want to travel solo or with a group, to sleep in a country villa or city apartment, explore ancient ruins or contemporary fashion, don't miss our insider travel advice, especially if you are planning a trip to Italy this year or next.

Special Deal at Palazzo Sasso on The Amalfi Coast

One of the most incredible hotel stays I have had in my life was at Palazzo Sasso on Italy's Amalfi Coast. The hotel, perched on a thousand-foot seaside cliff in Ravello, is often lauded as one of the world's best hotels. From the impeccable service to the absolutely-dream-like setting to the exquisite food, Palazzo offers that once-in-a-lifetime (but hope to make it twice by returning) experience so many of us seek when visiting Italy.

When I'm offering Italy travel consultations and someone proposes visiting Ravello or wants a luxury stay on the Amalfi Coast, I often say, "If you can afford it, I'd seriously consider Palazzo Sasso." This is especially true when it is a honeymoon or anniversary.

I was happy to discover Palazzo Sasso has a nice offer for the shoulder seasons in 2012 - making a stay here slightly more in reach. "Pay 3, Stay 4" gives a 4th night free to those who stay three nights between  April 01, 2012 through May 14, 2012 and from October 01, 2012 through October 20, 2012, excluding Easter Week.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Study Film in Italy with Director Steven McCurdy

Our friend film director Steven McCurdy, producer of Postcards from Italy and Bringing Home Sardinia, is offering an intensive 25-day film workshop in Italy, approximately June 20 to July 12, 2012. The hands-on cultural documentary program is entitled “Conversations of Italy” and McCurdy is accepting four applicants to join him. This is the third film workshop program McCurdy has conducted in Italy (see this video and this video from the 2010 workshop) but the first allowing the participants to work collaboratively on short films directed, edited and produced by McCurdy.

The program will begin on the island of Sicily, where during the first few days participants will familiarize themselves with the film production equipment and the working methods used by Mr. McCurdy. During the next four weeks, in McCurdy's unique “follow his heart,” synchronistic style you and he will follow the "travel and documentary muses" where they lead. There is no set itinerary. From the island of Sicily to Naples, Rome or a dozen other places, ending in Venice, the group will criss-cross the country in search of the heart and soul of Italy.

Participants will discover those one-of-a-kind experiences that make up Steve's other Italian films. This is a chance of lifetime to experience the real Italy, the Italy rarely seen by tourists and the Italy that so romantically and magically presents itself whenever Steven brings out his camera. The cost is $3,500, plus airfare. Those interested in applying should contact McCurdy through his website. All applicants must complete an application and a letter of interest including a creative statement on why you want to participate, what you hope to accomplish from the experience, and what talents and work experience you believe can contribute to this creative experience

McCurdy (this is one lucky guy to be spending so much time in Italy!) is also co-hosting a retreat in Umbria this June. The HeartLife Retreat To Spoleto, Italy & Beyond features yoga, meditation, healthy eating and daily excursions throughout the Umbria countryside.