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Category Archives: Italy

Italy’s Wine Country

  There was an article recently in the New York Times talking about how wine is a joy. There is nowhere where this is more true than in Italy. Italy produces more wine than any other country.  From the Alpine provinces of the far north to sun baked Sicily, Italy’s wine country regions produce some of the worlds finest bottles. The Italian peninsula and her Islands have been producing wines since the time of the Etruscans.  When the Greeks arrived in what is now Italy, they brought seeds from across the Adriatic sea and wine production flourished under the Roman empire. Under Roman law, during this time, growing and producing wine outside of the borders of Italy was prohibited     There are nineteen wine producing regions in Italy’s wine country. From North to South  – here is a list. Aosta Valley Piedmont Liguria Lombardy Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol Friuli-Venezia Giulia Veneto [...]

Venice Restoration Projects, Preserving the Magical City of Venice

With Venice Carnival 2012 wrapping this weekend, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on the challenges the city of Venice faces as one of the world’s oldest cities and top tourist destinations. Over 12 million people visit Venice each year; Venice’s location, on a lagoon by the sea, contributes to its structural challenges. The city is, quite literally, slowly sinking. Fortunately, there are efforts on many fronts to preserve and protect Venice. Several non-profits have been working for years on Venice restoration projects. Save Venice, a New-York-City-based organization, is in the final years of restoring the Church of San Sebastiano. We highlighted this important Venice restoration project in a blog post last year about Save Venice. According to its website, Save Venice is at any given time working on a major restoration project. Past Venice restoration projects have included the church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and the [...]

New Years Eve in Italy: Fireworks, Prosecco, Lentils and Red Underpants Too!

New Year’s is fast approaching! With that in mind, here’s a sampling of some of the traditions, gatherings and celebrations unfolding over New Years Eve in Italy. Or, as the Italians call it, cappodano. If you ever get to spend New Years Eve in Italy, deciding which place has the most spectacular celebration will be a challenge. The entire country erupts in fireworks and, in smaller towns and villages, firecrackers. Of course, Italians being Italians, there’s also song, food and drink. There are large celebrations in Rome, Venice and Florence as well as in Rimini and Bologna. There are outdoor concerts in Milan, Naples and Palerma. Ah, New Years Eve in Italy! In Rome, two of the largest gathering points are the Piazza del Popolo and the Via dei Fori Imperiali, with the Colosseum as a backdrop. You can expect throngs — think Times Square, Italian style — so be [...]

Christmas in Italy: A Roundup of Wonderment and Delight

There really isn’t a best time to visit Italy, but if we had to pick the most special time, it would have to be Christmas. Italy is such a family-orientated place that the whole country seems to be bubbling with its traditions for those chilly two weeks between December 25 and January 6. If you are lucky enough to spend Christmas in Italy, you’ll be surrounded by much that is familiar – decorations, lights, gifting, feasting – but also much that is not. The Food and Characters you’ll find during your Christmas in Italy Some of the major differences between American and Italian homes at Christmas time is in the decorations. Sure, there are beautiful lights strung up everywhere—though maybe with less concentration than their American counterparts—especially in the old centers of towns, but Santa Claus and his reindeer are rarely seen in windows or hanging from trees. Instead, in [...]

Italian Christmas Traditions: Piazza Navona Christmas Market 2012

Piazza Navona – the Christmas transformation Every year at the end of November, the caricaturists and painting sellers who usually abound in Rome’s Piazza Navona disappear and the scene transforms into the world famous Christmas market that dominates the piazza for more than a month every year. The Piazza Navona Christmas Market has begun, and for 6 weeks Italian families come from all over Rome and its suburbs to take part in the market festivities. While the market is a hive of activity during the day things really ramp up at night. A visit to the Piazza Navona Christmas Market is a time-honored tradition for many Italian families. Plan your visit to Rome at Christmas and you can join them in discovering the treasures on display in rows of booths along the piazza: Christmas ornaments, toys, decorations, and the traditional nativity scenes known as “presepi” in Italian. Sweet treats at [...]

Italian Soccer, Some of the Best in the World!

Soccer – Calcio in Italian – is very important in Italy. That might be understating it. To be honest, it is closer to a national obsession. On major game days, the streets are empty and shouts of joy and anguish can be heard from open windows. To understand Italy, one must have at least a basic understanding of soccer, it’s importance and it’s passions. Paddy Agnew sums it up well in his book Forza “Historically, the tradition of spectacle has always been important in Italy. It’s a culture where what goes on in public really matters, public perception matters — the idea of bella figura. Spectacle also matters, and by extension football matters because it is a great spectacle. The other thing about football is that it’s a meritocracy. In Italy, a lot of people instinctively feel [suspicious] of a guy who gets named director of the local bank or [...]

Quotes About Italy, Which Ones Inspire You Most?

One of Tour Italy Now’s Facebook followers, one Maurizio Mallo, posted this wonderful quote on Facebook earlier this week: “A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see” – Samuel Johnson (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784) Samuel Johnson articulated this sentiment in the era of the Grand Tour, a journey through Europe that educated young men of means were expected to take to appreciate European history, art and culture, classical Rome and the Renaissance. The itinerary of course was heavy on Italy. From Wikipedia: Once in Italy, the tourist would visit Turin (and, less often, Milan), then might spend a few months in Florence, where there was a considerable Anglo-Italian society accessible to traveling Englishmen “of quality” and where the Tribuna of the Uffizi gallery brought together in one space the [...]

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Which is the Most Beautiful Photo of Italy of Them All?

Italy, for anyone who’s taken an Italy tour knows, or plans to take one will find out, is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. Some of the world’s most beautiful places actually disappoint when you get there in person, because photography exaggerates their beauty. (This happens so often sometimes we’ve asked ourselves how wonderful it would have been to travel in the age before photography.) No so Italy. We’ve culled three of our favorite photographs, each one as stunning as the next, of three very different places, Tuscany, Cinque Terre and Venice, so we could ask the Tour Italy Now community what they think. Do you have a favorite, or is it impossible to choose? Have you visited any of these places? Please comment below. We’re looking forward to your thoughts. TUSCANY CINQUE TERRE VENICE

American Girl in Italy, 60 Years Later

This stunning photograph by Ruth Orkin, of a tall American woman walking down a street in Florence in the early 1950s, is one of the better known photographs of the 20th century. If you’ve never seen it before, you have to agree it’s a work of art, one that generated controversy for the obscene gesture of the man on the left. The photographer, an American named Ruth Orkin, shot the photograph of this American, one Ninalee Craig, one fine day in Florence. The two met each other when they were traveling, separately and on their own, an unusual thing for young women to do at that time. Orkin thought it would be fine to spend the day shooting pictures of the statuaesque Craig. In addition to the street corner moment, she took pictures of Craig in cafes and in a sports car. (See below.) Some people wondered if the American [...]

Tour Italy Now Celebrates Italy’s Stunning Islands

PHOTO: A stunning beach on a gem of an island, Capri. With summer winding down, we’ve been thinking about how we’d hoped to get to the beach more often, not just any beach of course but a beach in Italy … This slide show on CNN.com, right HERE, really gave us a serious case of wanderlust with a fixation on Italy’s islands. Check out these stunning shots of Capri, Sicily, Sardinia and the delightful island of Panarea in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the southwestern coast of Italy. Of course fall is a great time to get to an island in Italy. The weather can be warm enough to take a swim, or loll on one of those striped chaises on the beach. Speaking of Italy islands, here are a few fun facts about them. There are, according to this Wikipedia entry, 60-plus islands in the Mediterranean as well as 20-plus [...]