Category Archives: Italy News

Andrea Bocelli in New York City in September

Attention: Andrea Bocelli in New York City in September! We wanted to remind those in the Tour Italy Now community that international opera sensation Andrea Bocelli will be appearing in a free concert in Central Park, New York City, this September 15. Tickets are free. To be in the running to obtain tickets, sign up at the Andrea Bocelli Central Park website. Remember, as we’ve told you here and here, this amazing concert, with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Alan Gilbert, will be in great demand and there will probably be more people who want to attend than ticket availability. But if you are so inclined, if you live in the New York City area or plan to be there in mid-September, give it a try! And check out the terrific video of Andrea Bocelli on the website! If you can’t make the concert, it will be taped and […]

The New Hotel “Bed” Tax: Yes in Florence, Not Yet in Venice

We wanted to update Tour Italy Now readers with the latest on the so-called bed tax that goes into effect in Florence on July 1. The tax is pegged to a hotel’s star rating, one euro per star. The math is simple enough. Two nights in a four-star hotel in Florence will include a tax of eight euro per person. (2 nights X 4 starts X 2 people = 16 euros! And we must point out that it’s more a guest tax than a bed tax!) But pray tell just how will the bed tax in Florence work? Confusion abounds on that point! As Tour Italy Now understands it, the tax will be collected either at check-in or check-out in cash. Yes, cash. We also understand that the tax will be levied on travelers who paid in advance for their hotels, but that point is not perfectly clear. Bottom line: […]

Italy Is The Most Beautiful Country in the World!

Perhaps you have asked yourself this question. We know the answer: a resounding, heartfelt “yes!” Of course, we are not the only ones who believe that Italy is the most beautiful country in the world. Year after year, Italy is judged one of the top places in the world to visit, according to the World Tourism Organization. It consistently ranks in the top five countries that Americans visit in the U.S. Commerce Department’s outbound tourism statistics. And, with 47 altogether, Italy leads the world — yes, the entire world! in UNESCO Heritage Sites, places of significant cultural or natural importance. Just this week, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) named the Longobards, seven clusters of buildings, including fortresses, churches and monastries throughout Italy, built by the Lombards in 6th to 8th centuries. According to UNESCO — and this gets a bit scholarly, but please persevere — these […]

La Notte Rosa Along the Italian Adriatic Riviera

La Notte Rosse (which translates to Pink Night) is a 24 hour event held on the Adriatic Rivera in Emilia Romagna. It is is scheduled for July 5, 2013. Billed as the New Years Eve of the summer, the entire stretch of the Adriatic coast from Comacchio to Cattolica is bathed in pink for 24 festive hours of fun, music and frivolity. It can best be described as New Orleans Mardi Gras meets Brazilian Carnival. Much of the celebrations are centered in Rimini. Rimini is a summer hotspot for beach, sun and nightlife. The Marina Centro, which centuries ago served as a fishermen’s market, is now the towns lively evening heart. Rimini is also the birthplace of eccentric and iconic Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini and home of the prestigious, Liberty style, Grand Hotel. Fellini, probably best know for his Neo-realist masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, featured the Grand Hotel in several […]

Venice and Florence Join Rome With New Bed Hotel Tax

Head’s Up: Rome With New Bed Hotel Tax! Florence and Venice are following Rome’s lead and will start levying visitor taxes on hotel guests starting July 1. Rome introduced the so-called “bed” or “accommodation” tax this past January 1; it applies to all guests, business and leisure travelers, Italians and non-Italians. Tour Italy Now is endeavoring to get accurate details as to how the tax will be implemented. Based on numerous press accounts, we’re confident to assert that the tax will not be identically levied in all three cities. In Rome, each visitor at a 4- or 5-star hotel will be charged a 3 euros, while each visitor at a 1-, 2- or 3-star hotel or at a B&B or an apartment rental will be charged 2 euros apiece. The Florence and Venice “bed” tax, at least during the high season, is pegged to the hotel’s star rating, with 5 […]

Home Sweet Home: Aphrodite Statue Returns to Sicily

This is a fascinating story that spans centuries and continents. The famous Aphrodite statue is now on display in Aidone, Sicily, after a decades-long odyssey involving the J. Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles and Italian prosecutors. The statue of Aphrodite, the ancient goddess of love, was taken from the archeology-rich region of Morgantina, near Enna, 30 years ago, in an illegal excavation, acquired by the Getty and, after a criminal investigation, repatriated to Italy in the spring of 2012. The story is the subject of a  book, “Chasing Aphrodite,” by Los Angeles Times reporters Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino. For the article and podcast, click HERE. Experts now believe the returned statue represents the goddess Persephone or her mother, Demeter, who were worshipped in the ancient city, Morgantina. Persephone and Hades are closely associated in Greek mythology. Hades abducted Persephone at Largo Pergusa, not far from Morgantina, and required […]

Italian Trains: They Run on Time, They Strike on Time, Too

The message from Trenitalia to Tour Italy Now last week was to the point. We would like to inform that an Italian trains strike is planned from 9.00 pm on April 14th to 9.00 pm on April 15th, 2011. Trains may be subjected to changes and/or cancellations. That’s right, Italy’s bracing for yet another train strike. Strikes are much more common in Italy and much of Europe than in the U.S. The last time I was in Italy, I had to stay in Bologna an extra day before heading to Rome. Hardly a hardship, that! We missed a day in Rome, but got an extra day in Bologna. A great source, one I did not have at the time, is the website Easy Travel Report. It gives updates on strikes and other possibly disruptive events all over Europe. Here’s what Easy Travel Report is saying about the Italy train strike […]

Tenor Andrea Bocelli to Perform in New York City’s Central Park

Breaking: Andrea Bocelli to perform in New York City’s Central Park! For those of you lucky enough to live near or be in New York City this September 15, here is an amazing opportunity to hear Andrea Bocelli, the great Italian tenor, perform live in Central Park, with the New York Philharmonic. Tickets are required. You can sign up for email updates on the BocelliCentralPark.com website, they will explain how to get tickets. There is a short video, one in English, the other in Italian, with Bocello talking about how performing in New York was always a dream. If you can’t make the live performance, PBS will be airing a taped version, one of its Great Performances shows, in the late fall of 2011. This above YouTube clip of him singing Con te Partiro at a concert in Tuscany gives me goosebumps. This is definitely safe for work. But you […]

Where Oh Where: Jersey Shore in Italy!

UPDATE Friday March 25, 2011: MTV News just posted this article with video of the cast practicing their Italian. Whatever you think of the reality show Jersey Shore, it is nothing short of wild that the program is going to Italy for Season 4. Folks are wondering where. The exact location has yet to be announced. Something tells me it will not be Venice or Milan. (Just a hunch!) Maybe Naples? Or Brindisi? Is Rome big enough for this gang? Where oh where? When the news breaks, the Internet is going to go insane with reaction! Tour Italy Now will be on top of it, of course. We hope you’ll chime in. For starters, what do you think about the idea of doing a season in Italy? To give you a sense of the first round of reaction, here’s a piece that ran on the Wall Street Journal’s blog. (Talk […]

Here’s to the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification!

Are you celebrating the Unification of Italy today? (In between sips of green beer?) Did you know that today is a most important day in Italian history: The 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy as a single state. Here are three things, large and small, you may not know about the unification of Italy and the celebration around it: 1. ) Ferrari’s 2011 Formula One car is called the F150 in honor of the reunification. (The Ferrari factory in Modena is a very popular stop with Tour Italy Now clients.) The racing season started in Bahrain earlier this week. Go, F150! 2.) In Rome today, Air Force jets flew over the city, emitting plumes the colors of Italy’s flag, green, orange and white, as Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi attended various ceremonies. There were celebrations around the country, including Turin, Italy’s first capital. 3.) Yesterday, […]