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Ristoranti Buono – Four in Venezia

Posted by: Giovanna | June 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Ultra touristy San Marco makes finding a good meal in Venice a serious challenge. Here are four restaurants worth your time & money, reviews by Lonely Planet:

>Osteria Trefanti
A: Fondamenta Garzotti, 888; Tel#: +390 41 520 17 89;
Opening hours: noon-2.30pm & 7-10.30pm Tue-Sat, noon-2.45pm Sun
Lonely Planet review: “ La Serenissima’s spice trade lives on at simple, elegant Trefanti, where a vibrant dish of marinated prawns, hazelnuts, berries and caramel might get an intriguing kick from garam masala. Furnished with old pews and recycled copper lamps, it’s the domain of the young and competent Sam Metcalfe and Umberto Slongo, whose passion for quality extends to a small, beautifully curated selection of local and organic wines.
The space is small and deservedly popular, so book ahead, especially later in the week.

> Trattoria Corte Sconta
A: Calle del Pestrin, 3886; Tel#: +390 41 522 70 24
Opening hours; 12.30-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm Tue-Sat, closed Jan & Aug
Lonely Planet review: “Well-informed visitors and celebrating locals seek out this vine-covered corte sconta (hidden courtyard) for its trademark seafood antipasti and imaginative house-made pasta. Inventive flavour pairings transform the classics: clams zing with the hot, citrus-like taste of ginger; prawn and courgette linguine is recast with an earthy dash of saffron; and the roast eel loops like the Brenta River in a drizzle of balsamic reduction. The evolving wine list now features a notable selection of organic and biodynamic wines.

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> Trattoria e Bacaro Da Fiore
A: Calle delle Botteghe, 3461; Tel#: +390 41 523 53 10; W:
Opening hours: 12.30-2.30pm & 7.30-10.30pm Tue-Sat
Lonely Planet review: “Possibly the best bang for your buck in San Marco, this elegant trattoria with its rustic-chic decor serves superlative Venetian dishes composed of carefully selected seasonal ingredients from small Veneto producers. The restaurant is justly famous for its seafood dishes such as seabass with balsamic vinegar, although during the Feast of the Redeemer you shouldn’t pass up the castradino (a sort of Irish stew). Next door, the cicheti (bar snacks) counter serves excellent cicheti at more democratic prices. Hurrah! Here, you can fill a plate with baccala mantecato (creamed cod), octopus-fennel salad, arancini (risotto balls), and Venetian trippa (tripe) to enjoy on a stool at the bar or in the calle.

> Dalla Marisa
A: Fondamenta di San Giobbe 652b, Cannaregio; Tel#: +390 41 72 02 11
Opening hours: noon-3pm daily & 7-11pm Tue & Thu-Sat. No credit cards.
Lonely Planet review: “At this Cannaregio institution, you’ll be seated where there’s room and get no menu – you’ll have whatever Marisa’s cooking. And you’ll like it. Lunches are a bargain at €15 for a first, main, side, wine, water and coffee – pace yourself through prawn risotto to finish steak and grilled zucchini, or Marisa will jokingly scold you over coffee. For dinner, you will be informed whether the absurdly abundant menu is meat- or fish-based when you book (ample house wine is included in the fixed price). Fish night (usually Tuesday) brings hauls of lagoon seafood grilled, fried and perched atop pasta and arugula, while meaty menus often feature Marisa’s fegato alla veneziana (Venetian calf’s liver) to send Venetian regulars into raptures. Advance reservations and pre-meal fasting advised.

Lake Como’s Billionaire-View Suites @The Grand Hotel Tremezzo

Posted by: Laurena | June 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

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“The Hotel Detective was skulking about the fourth-floor corridor of the Hotel Grand Tremezzo, which overlooks Lake Como, trying to look nonchalant. He was waiting for an untrafficed moment to take a picture of the floor plan, which, as in many older European hotels, is posted in the hall. (The Tremezzo was built in 1910.) Just when the camera was poised, the focal length set, and THD bent lightly from the waist, up walked an American woman who inquired, in a fluty voice, “What ever are you doing?’

“Working,” THD responded. To which my interlocutor rightly arched an eyebrow. Upon explaining further, she brightened and said, “Let me show you our room. My husband’s in the shower but that won’t matter. We have a corner view.” Upon opening the door, she hailed her husband. “Honey, I’m with The Hotel Detective. He wants to look at the room.” When honey emerged from the bathroom in a robe, THD explained what he was up to. The gentleman plunked himself in an armchair and made the best of it.

The Grand Hotel Tremezzo sits on the west shore of Lake Como just south of Bellagio, where the lake branches into two long arms. THD loves the Tremezzo because it retains just the right amount of old-fashioned starch—a room for reading newspapers, which are hung in cafe-style wood presses from coat-hooks, a billiards room, tu-y-yo chairs in red with white piping in the lobby—but has enlivened the decor with just the right amount of contemporary spritz: The scroll-arm chairs in the Sala Musica (above), the grand public room off the lobby, are done in light, candy-cane-color fabrics. It all says, “not too grand,” which is a smart compromise to get the up-and-coming luxury hotel client who doesn’t want to be immersed in the dentillated past, but rather given a hint of it along with reassurance that the hotel is now.

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THD was not here to see that corner room, but rather the Tremezzo’s new showpieces, the eight Balbaniello suites on the roof (above, Balbaniello Suite 504). They are named for the Villa Balbaniello just down the lake, which served as the hospital in the final scenes of the 2006 Casino Royale, and also made an appearance in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones.

> Source:Forbes

Using an Italian SIM Card When in Italy

Posted by: Claudia | June 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

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“Using your cellphone abroad can be painful. Expensive calls and extortionate data roaming charges mean that many people turn off their mobile data altogether to avoid a nasty bill when they get home. And although some networks offer temporary international add-ons, they don’t always give you the flexibility you need when you’re on vacation, with low data limits unless you can find Wi-Fi hotspots. But there is another way. If you’re travelling to Italy, here’s how to get yourselves some Italian SIM cards to keep you all connected and to save you a fortune!

1. Check your phone before you leave home
If you need mobile phone or internet access in Italy the cheapest option is to use an Italian network paying local rates. And the good news is that you can usually use your existing handset by inserting an Italian SIM card into it when you arrive. There are just a couple of checks you need to make before you leave home to ensure that your phone will be compatible with a different SIM card.

a. Is your phone locked?
The first thing to check is whether your phone is unlocked. What does that mean?
Many networks sell phones that are restricted or “locked” so they won’t work if you replace their original SIM card with one from a different network. It’s how they hold onto your custom and stop you switching, especially before the end of your contract.

Thankfully the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act made unlocking phones much easier and your network can confirm whether yours is locked or unlocked.

b. How do you unlock your phone?
So what do you need to do? It depends on your network but for most, its reasonably simple.
Networks such as Sprint allow you to request an unlock via their website, while others such as Verizon require a call to their customer services line. A quick online search or call will tell you how your particular network works and most are happy to help unless your contract is new.

If you’ve previously unlocked your phone, maybe because you moved networks but kept your handset, then you probably don’t need to worry about doing it again. But if you’re in any doubt, give your network a call from home as calling them from Italy once you’re on vacation could be expensive!
Warning : It is also possible to have a third party unlock your phone – to have it “jailbroken” or “boxbroken.” But for many networks and handset manufacturers this invalidates handset warranties or contracts as it constitutes tampering with your phone. In some cases, it may also stop your phone working altogether so be very, very careful! Plus, its not essential to unlock your phone to access cheaper Italian rates – you can easily buy an Italian pay-as-you-go handset SIM card package instead to avoid any problems.

2. What does a SIM card do?
Once your phone is unlocked, save your contacts to the handset and get yourself a new SIM; it’s the tiny microchip that slides into your phone and holds your phone number plus details of your account credit.
A SIM card comes in 3 different sizes depending on the make and model of your phone so make sure you get the right one whether it’s standard, micro or nano. And once it’s in, you’re ready to make calls and update Facebook till your heart is content!
Top tip : Once you remove your US SIM card make sure you put it somewhere safe as you’ll need to put it back in your phone when you go home!

3. Where to buy Italian SIM cards
SIM cards can be bought from a variety of vendors. And, providing your handset has been unlocked, they’re usually compatible with most models as long as you get the right size.

a. Phone network shop
The obvious place to buy a SIM card is direct from a network outlet. You’ll find most networks including Tim, Tre (3), Wind and Vodafone have shops in the main towns and cities offering SIM only deals or pay as you go handset options ideal for visitors.

b. Tabacchi
Many newsagents or tabacchi also carry pay-as-you-go SIM cards, known as ricaricabile, which literally means rechargeable. And if you need to add extra credit to your SIM account, you can do it at a tabacchi shop too.

c. Online
It’s also possible to buy Italy-ready SIM cards online before you travel. This is especially useful if you have a MiFi personal WiFi dongle, SIM-access iPad and allows you to share WiFi access across a number of devices including phones, tablets and laptops.

4. What should you ask for?
Unless you’re staying in Italy for several months or are likely to be visiting several times in a year, your best option is to ask for a pay-as-you-go SIM to use in your unlocked phone.
Most cards cost around $5-10 and usually come with a little credit already loaded. There’s no contract, no commitment and network rates are lower than international ones.
If you cannot get your normal handset unlocked most network providers offer pay-as-you-go handset SIM card packages. It means that you’d have 2 phones – your American one and an Italian one – but it allows you to use the Italian networks, just topping up as you go along, which often still works out cheaper than using your American network.

5. What ID do you need?
Italian law requires you to provide proof of identification, normally via a passport or national identity card. The vendor will normally take a copy of your ID as proof.

6. How do you top it up?
It’s really easy to keep Italian SIM cards topped up, just look out for network shops, tabacchinewsagents or supermarkets displaying the SIM card logo in the window. Tell the assistant how much credit you require and they’ll either add it to your account straight away or hand you a voucher that requires you to put a long code into your handset. You can also top up some cards using dedicated phone lines or even online, although these may be in Italian.
Top tip: Most pay-as-you-go Italian SIM cards expire if left inactive, typically after 3 months, so if you intend to use your card again, check the terms and conditions and keep it topped up with the minimum credit in between trips.

A few last tips
As with any purchase, it’s worth checking things before you buy. Do some market research comparing packages between providers. Make sure you know how much talk time, how many messages and how much data you are getting per top up. Oh and the Italian for cell phone is mobile, pronounced like smile.

Source: Select Italy.

Sailing Bella Italia…

Posted by: Claudia | June 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

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A&B offers unique, over-the-top adventure touring. Sailing thru the Mediterrenean is just one offering…

Sardinia –
The Costa Smeralda is a yachting hub well-known for its beauty and glamour, but Sardinia also features nearly deserted beaches, secluded inlets and tiny villages that see little traffic. This Italian island is an optimal sailing destination thanks to its hundreds of isolated coves, picturesque shorelines and dramatic rock formations.

Sicily’s Aeolian Islands –
Sailing in the Aeolian Islands gives a whole new meaning to the word clarity. Here the Tyrrhenian is deep, yet warm, and has an unbelievable glassy quality. With gorgeous coastlines, active volcanoes and fascinating history, it is a great charter destination. The seven small islands that make up this volcanic archipelago are situated just north of Sicily and are known for the pristine water, that is perfect for diving, and largely untouched land crisscrossed by hiking trails.

The Tuscan Coast –
The archipelago off the coast of Tuscany have been protected as part of a national park since 1966. Elba is the largest of the sister islands with 147 km of coastline and a varied landscape that includes white-sand beaches, small fishing villages and rolling green hills. Gorgona, Capraia, Monte Cristo and Pianosa are relatively uninhabited and known for their wildlife.


Perfect in Puglia: Five Star Masserias

Posted by: Giovanna | May 17th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Lonely Planet:

“ Puglia is Italy’s ascendant region, a place where savvy travellers bored or worn down by the crowds of Campania and Tuscany escape for something a bit less frenetic and manicured. Top of the list for prospective newcomers is the food. Puglia’s cucina povera is about as earthy as Italian cuisine gets without eating it straight out of the soil. Then there’s the exuberant architecture, best summarised by the word ‘baroque’ and exhibited in all its finery in the glittering ‘Florence of the South’, Lecce, and its smaller sibling, Gallipoli.

With the longest coastline of any region in mainland Italy, Puglia is larger than many people realise. In the north, the spur of land sticking out into the Adriatic is occupied by the balmy microclimates of the Gargano peninsula, a kind of miniature Amalfi with fewer poseurs. The Italian boot’s ‘stiletto’ hosts the land of Salento, a dry scrubby region famous for its wines, and bloodthirsty Greek and Turkish history. In between lies the Valle d’Itria, a karstic depression populated by vastly contrasting medieval towns that have little in common apart from their haunting beauty.

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Here are some of the more outstanding five star accommodations in Puglia (aka Apulia):

> Borgo Egnazia
Savelletri di Fasano – 72015 Fasano Brindisi Puglia
T: +39 080 225 5000

> Masseria Torre Maizza
72015 Savelletri di Fasano Brindisi Apulia
T: +39 080.482.78.38
F: +39 080.441.40.59

> Masseria San Domenico / Spa-Thalasso & Golf
A: Strada Proviciale 90 – 72015 Savelletri di Fasano Brindisi
T: 39 080 4827769 –
F: +39 080 4827978

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> Don Ferrante Dimore di Charme
A: Via S. Vito, 27 – Monopoly
T: +39 080.742521

> Masseria Torre Coccaro
A: Coccaro Contrada Coccaro 8 72015 Savelletri di Fasano Brindisi Apulia
T: +39 080.482.93.10

> Mantatelurè
A: Via V. dei Prioli, 42, 73100 Lecce
T: +39 0832 24 28 88

Travel Tips From Rome’s Best Guide

Posted by: admin | May 10th, 2016 | No Comments »

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A&B has been escorting travelers across the Italian Peninsula for over a decade. We have been extremely fortunate to have in Rome one of our highest rated guides: Francesco Miglio. His touring company is a family business with mother, father, and sister all licensed experts in the tourism field. In his own words, Francesco has put this terrific list of essential travel tips.

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Rome is considered a very safe city as measured against other capitals. You should take obvious precautions, as in any city, such as keeping any bags and possessions under your control and being alert for bag-snatchers and pickpockets in crowded places (for example, the metro and buses).

Italian is a very easy language because is pronounced in the way is written. Italy is composed of 20 regions and in each of them the dialect change. The Roman dilect from the Italians is considered one of the most picturesque and funny of the country. Latin in this language is very important, so don’t forget a little handbook “English-Latin” to understand the many words on the ruins.

Speaking a little Italian goes a long way with the people. You should be able to greet someone, thank someone, acknowledge someone else’s thanks and maybe even say “How are you?”
Italians like most Europeans tend to be a bit more formal than Americans. Italians are very friendly people, but they start out a little more slowly than we do.
“Buon giorno” means “good morning” and “good day.”
“Buon pomeriggio” is used less often. It means “Good afternoon.”
“Buona sera” means “Good evening” as a greeting. “Buona notte” means “Good night” as a departure.
Do not use “Ciao” until you have become acquaintances. Let them say it first, then you know it’s OK to say it to them!
“Grazie” means “Thank you” and “Prego” means “please”, “you’re welcome” or even “after you” (when for example someone opens a door for you and says, “Prego” they are indicating that you should walk through first.
When you walk into a store or other establishment you should as a matter of course greet them with one of those time-dependent greetings. A quick, “Buon giorno, signore/signora/signorina” is the polite thing to say. It is doubtful that you will have to do the “Italian greeting”, but in case you meet someone who wants to, grasp their hands in yours, kiss each cheek lightly and quickly and say, “Ciao” each time.

Try to become familiar with the currency, and don’t be afraid to check your change. In a restaurant don’t be shy of querying the bill, if necessary. Be prepared for cashiers who are reluctant to accept banknotes of €50 and above for small purchases, and for being hassled for fiddly bits of change. Italy is still adjusting to the euro, and cashiers don’t like giving coins in change.
Cashpoints / ATMs are dotted around the city centre, and labelled Bancomat. They are usually, though not always, in good working order, and have menus in English. Check with your bank if you’re concerned about being able to draw money. A four-digit UK PIN code usually works fine, but US visitors can encounter problems. Note that many businesses, shops and restaurants in Italy do not accept credit cards.

The Italians are keen on the most enthusiastic forms of greeting. Hugs, kisses and handshakes are all bestowed upon meeting a friend, or even a mild acquaintance, regardless of sex. Two light kisses on the cheek, first the right and then the left.

In a small-medium sized shop, it’s standard to greet the staff as you enter, not when you approach the counter to pay. A friendly ‘Buongiorno’ or ‘Buonasera’ warms the atmosphere. When paying, we’ve found that staff usually expect you to put coins down on the surface or dish provided, rather than placing money directly into their hands (fear of germs? money-handling etiquette?), and they will do the same when giving you your change (il resto). The advent of the euro has caused problems for the Italians. Most lira transactions were in banknotes, and people are still adjusting to the fact that coins are now of significant denominations and in general use. Don’t be surprised to find the whole issue of change rather perplexing for cashiers, who may try to insist you give them complex combinations of coins and notes rather than simply changing your notes.

To make friends, it’s a good idea to pay some compliments. Most Italians still live in their town of origin and feel far more strongly about their local area than they do about Italy in general. Tell them how beautiful their town/lake/village/church is – and possibly add how much you prefer it to Rome/Milan/other Italian towns. Residents can be founts of knowledge regarding their local monuments and history, and a few questions will often produce interesting stories.

Whole essays can be written about the Italians’ relationships with clothes (maybe a future addition to this site…). Three of the most important observations:
1. Italians are very conformist about clothing; everyone wears the same fashions, from teenagers to grans (this can take some getting used to… see comment 2 below). Don’t be surprised or insulted if you are looked at askance for your ‘eccentricity’ in not wearing the latest customized jeans or fiendishly-pointed boots.
2. It’s important not to judge people in return by their choice of clothing. Styles do not necessarily carry the same connotations in Italy that they would in Britain or some other countries. A woman in fishnets, stilettos, miniskirt and caked makeup at eight in the morning is probably just going to work in a bank. Almost all youths lounge about in skin-tight t-shirts and casually-knotted knitwear (and are very perplexed by the response they get when they take their sense of style and grooming to a less ’sophisticated’ climate).
3. Sometimes clothing rules are written. To visit a church or religious site you will need to cover yourself up; no bare backs, chests, shoulders and sometimes no knees. Sometimes museums and other attractions can also be strict; no bathing costumes, for example. If you want to visit a church or religious site it’s a good idea to take something to cover yourself up with; for example a jumper or large scarf. Some churches supply cover-ups, e.g. sarongs are loaned to men with shorts so that they can modestly conceal their legs. Even where there are no written rules, it’s worth noting that bare chests and large expanses of sunburnt skin aren’t really acceptable away from beaches or sunbathing areas, whatever the temperature.

Sexual harassment is not regarded in the same way in Italy as in English-speaking countries. The general atmosphere is pretty unreconstructed, and women should be prepared for attention. However, the tone of this ‘attention’ is generally less aggressive than you may be used to. Men will call out compliments such as ‘bella’ (beautiful) instead of muttering crude suggestions. And culturally, these comments are not seen as insults; if you respond angrily or insultingly everyone will be very surprised. Whereas women of other nationalities may be used to telling strangers (in no uncertain terms) to shut up and go away, in Italy the norm is to ignore the attention. In any case, responding in English or in imperfect Italian will only encourage more attention. It’s best to do as the Italian women do, and sail past with your head held high. If you avoid eye contact and don’t respond, you are extremely unlikely to be pursued or hassled further.

Crossing the road is a hazardous occupation for tourists in Rome, and it pays to stay alert. Where there is a green man indicating that you can cross, be aware that cars may still be entitled to turn onto the road and cross where you are blithely walking. Where there are no lights, crossing places are indicated by white stripes. As a pedestrian you have the right of way here, but drivers are quick to spot a nervous foreigner and are just as likely to accelerate as to stop. You will need to set foot on the road before any vehicle will even consider stopping for you. Make sure that the drivers in approaching cars have seen you and that they have a reasonable stopping distance – and walk. Traffic etiquette in Rome is about survival of the fittest. However aggressive they may seem, drivers are aware that they could pick up penalty points (a recent innovation) or fines from running over pedestrians, and will toe the line if given no choice in the matter. However, you should always remain alert, particularly in wet weather when slippery roads make life even more hair-raising.

Italian banks are open on weekdays from 08:30 or 09:00 to 12:30 or 13:00 and from 14:20 or 15:00 to 16:00. Commercial office hours vary from one industry and sector to another but in general, most will operate somewhere between 08:30 and 18:30, Monday to Friday.

Since January 2005, smoking has been banned in all enclosed public places that do not offer sealed off rooms equipped with smoke extractors. The controversial new law covers bars, restaurants, offices, public buildings, public transport and cinemas. Smokers face fines of up to €275, whilst businesses could be hit for €2,000

Rome is not the most disabled-friendly city largely due to the number of hills, raised pavements and cobbled streets. Buses are wheelchair-friendly whilst remaining public transport in Rome is partially accessible. Leading visitor attractions are a mixed bag: a lift is provided to the top of the Colosseum, whilst the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel is only accessible via the long route through the Vatican museums. General information and assistance is available from A.N.T.H.A.I. (Associazione Nazionale Tutela Handicappati ed Invalidi) at downtown Rome’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele 154, 00186 Roma, tel. 011-39-06-6821-9168; Accessible Italy offers guided tours for disabled travelers. More accessibility information on different types of accommodation, transport and attractions.

Public telephones accept euro coins, tokens and phone cards, sold in tobacconists, newstands and post offices. Many public phones now accept international credit cards.

The military police (carabinieri) and civil police (polizia) are contactable by telephoning 113. For medical help, call the 24-hour, English-speaking Medline on 06 808-0995 or the Rome American Hospital on 06 2885062/4. The fire service can be reached on 115; road assistance on 116. Embassies can assist in the last resort: the American Embassy is located at Via Veneto, 119/a, 00187 Rome, the British Embassy at via XX Settembre 80, 00187 Rome.

Tipping is not mandatory although it is customary, depending on whether or not you feel it is deserved. If so, an amount between 5% and 10% of the bill should be tipped. Some restaurants in Rome include gratuities in the bill, as well as the cover charge.

Eateries in Italy have operating hours that Americans might consider a little… weird. They aren’t open all day, in fact they usually aren’t even open all afternoon. Usually they open for lunch, 11:30 or so to 3 pm. Then they reopen for dinner at 7 or 7:30 pm and close again at midnight.
There are various types of restaurants in Italy; restaurants, pizzerias, osterias, trattorias and tavola caldas, plus bars and cafes. They all serve food but the sorts of food they serve depends on the type of place they are. Restaurants are the fanciest and have the highest prices generally. You get the normal Roman fare in the standard Italian way. Trattorias are restaurants that are generally owned by family members. You can get a good meal with a decent menu choice at a trattoria. An osteria is like a pub or a small restaurant; owned by a family with only 1 or 2 employees. You get really good food at an osteria. A pizzeria is obvious. A tavola calda (which means “hot table”) is a cafeteria style place where you get a filling meal for a very good price. You might have a choice of 2 or 3 main dishes, vegetables, pasta, something to drink.

If you visit Rome and go straight to the Colosseum as many tourist do, you will end up waiting in a really long queue before actually getting to see the interior.
Since the tickets to the Palatine are also valid for the Colosseum, make sure to go there first. The queue is much shorter and when you return to the Colosseum, you will not have to wait to buy a ticket as there is a separate entrance for those already having a ticket.

For what concerns the Vatican, every guide book tells you to go early in the morning….But you are on holiday and you probably don’t want to wake up at 6:30 to be sure to be the first of the 15,000 daily visitors of the Vatican Museums, for this reason we always suggest to visit them at 2 pm, less crowds outside and less inside. Doing a lunch tour of the Vatican you will be in a cool area during the warmest time of the day.

Unfortunately this is the bad part of being one of the most beautiful cities in the world and also one with the most tourist attractions…. Colosseo, Pantheon, Venice Square, Spanish Steps are full of these people that take advantage of families with kids or innocent tourist to charge them 5 to 15 Euros for a picture.

Source: Francesco Miglio, Miles & Miles,

Fendi Suites in Rome

Posted by: Giovanna | May 6th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Fendi Private Suites
A: Via della Fontanella di Borghese, 48, 00186 Roma, Italy
T:+39 06 9779 8080

Another Fendi landmark has been unveiled in Rome. The newly refurbished Palazzo Fendi will reopen as an international destination, as it will comprise the company’s first boutique hotel, the Fendi Private Suites, and Palazzo Privé, an apartment designed by Dimore Studio, as well as a Zuma restaurant.

“The venue reflects Fendi’s aesthetic interpretation of its lifestyle in terms of design and is a symbol of the brand,” chairman and chief executive officer Pietro Beccari told WWD. “There is no other place where you can so easily understand our very precise, very personal vision of luxury. Once people come and see this for themselves, their entire idea of Fendi will change.” Beccari said that this is “a vehicle that is not only commercial but is meant to transmit the sense of our creativity. Customers will be able to go beyond the product.”

The five-story, 17th-century building houses the brand’s largest store in the world, covering almost 10,800 square feet, and is an evolution of Fendi’s Paris and Milan flagships by architect Gwenael Nicolas, with a new area dedicated to Fendi’s in-house fur atelier, for special made-to-order, precious pieces, with eight artisans at work.

“This is the first time that a company gives up so many precious square meters to an atelier, which is not purely decorative or demonstrative — it’s a real customer experience and the artisans will be creating the more sophisticated and difficult furs. It’s a real production atelier,” explained Beccari.
The store will have a soft opening on Dec. 5. A bigger event is planned for next year. The flagship, with a staircase in red marble at the entrance, will be enriched with art pieces and sculptures.

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The Fendi Private Suites will feature dedicated Fendi Casa designs. “Fendi Casa is about the love for design and it will be evident in this location,” noted the executive, adding that guest will be offered “a Roman stay à la Fendi.” The concept is by architect Marco Costanzi, who also conceived Fendi’s new headquarters in Rome’s Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana and the company’s Milan showroom. At the Suites, guests will be offered iPads with maps and soundtracks and a diary with Fendi stamps. As a souvenir and a gift, Fendi will also offer the rooms’ key holders in Selleria in different colors. The Suites will cost between 700 and 1,600 euros, or $754 and $1,722 at current exchange, a night. The hotel will open on Dec. 12. Beccari said the hotel is not part of a global strategy for the time being. “For the moment, it is limited to Rome, but we’ll see how it goes,” he said. Beccari said the Palazzo Privé, which covers 1,080 square feet, includes a kitchenette and allows users to “have some friends over for a meal or for drinks in the heart of the city. It’s an experience money can’t buy.”

Fendi has been raising the bar in terms of quality and luxury, but Beccari said this is a direction set in motion years ago. “We’ve steered a straight course. The price is not an issue for our customers, exotics for example are increasingly more important, but at the same time there is a fun side, with our bag bugs, for example.”

The Japanese award-winning restaurant Zuma, cofounded by Rainer Becker, will be placed on the top floor and roof bar, and is due to open in February. The company has occupied Palazzo Fendi, which is on Largo Carlo Goldoni, strategically located in front of luxury shopping street via Condotti and the Spanish Steps, since 2004 for retail and office purposes. The building was originally one of the residences of the Boncompagni-Ludovisi family, one of Rome’s most ancient aristocratic lines that boasts Pope Gregory XIII among its ancestors.

Source: Women’s Wear Daily

Classic Italian Cocktails: Campari, Negroni & Bellini

Posted by: Claudia | April 23rd, 2016 | No Comments »

The Bellini

The Bellini

> Campari Cocktail
The Campari Cocktail is one of the best drinks featuring the distinct Italian aperitif. It is perfect for serving at dinner parties as a nice introduction before the meal. While Campari and bitters define this popular drink, it is important to choose your vodka wisely. Stick with the top-shelf vodkas that are nice and clean and you will have a great Campari Cocktail. Campari does have a very distinct, bitter taste and it often catches people by surprise at first. However, with a little time and dedication you can develop a palate for it and it may just become a new favorite. If a Campari-forward drink like this is too much, you may try easing into the taste with drinks like the Campari Cosmo, Fresh Squeeze, or Pink Campari.

1 ounce Campari
3/4 ounce vodka
1 dash Angostura bitters
Lemon twist for garnish

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 Cocktail

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes.
Shake well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Negroni

The Negroni

> The Negroni
It’s the original 1:1:1 cocktail (equal parts gin, vermouth, and Campari), but Chiltern Firehouse in London tweaked the ratio on this bittersweet Italian classic. This is part of BA’s Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

1½ ounces gin
1 ounce Carpano Antica Formula vermouth
¾ ounce Campari
1 orange

Stir gin, vermouth, and Campari in an ice-filled mixing glass until very cold, about 30 seconds. Strain cocktail through a Hawthorne strainer or a slotted spoon into an ice-filled rocks glass. 

Using a small serrated knife, remove a 1″ strip of peel from the orange (some white pith is okay); it should be stiff enough to provide some resistance when bent. Twist over drink to express oils; discard. Garnish with 3 very thin orange slices. Source: (from Bon Appetit)

Campari Cocktail

Campari Cocktail

> The Bellini
The Bellini is a popular sparkling wine cocktail and a perfect way to make your favorite wine a little peachy. The recipe is easy and the drink is a lot of fun.
The story behind the Bellini is that is was created in the 1930’s or 40’s at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani. It was named after the Italian renaissance painter, Giovanni Bellini.
Originally, the Bellini used sparkling Italian wine, particularly prosecco, and it is still made that way in Italy. Elsewhere, it is often made with Champagne, though most any sparkling wine will do.
The Bellini is a popular drink for brunch and if you want something a little more innocent, try the Baby Bellini.

2 ounces peach juice, puree, or nectar
4 ounces prosecco or Champagne
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 Cocktail
Pour the peach juice into a Champagne flute.
Slowly top with sparkling wine.
More Tips on Making the Bellini
When it comes to the peach ingredient, you have a few options. Peach juice would be the first choice, though if you cannot find that, I would recommend a peach nectar. If you use a puree, make it as smooth as possible.
Of course, a fresh peach juice from your juicer will make the freshest Bellini, just be sure to remove the pit first.

Fodor’s Restaurant Picks:Taormina

Posted by: Claudia | April 10th, 2016 | No Comments »

Screenshot 2016-04-10 18.47.57

Here are a sampling of restaurants around the classic Sicilian town of Taormina. According to Fodor’s food critics, these 5 eating establishments represent some of the best in Sicilian cuisine.

Table with a View- Bella Blu

Table with a View- Bella Blu

> Bella Blu
A: Via Pirandello 28, Taormina,; Tel#: 0942-24239; W:; Hours: Closed Jan.–Mar.
Fodor’s Review: If you fancy a meal with a view but don’t want to spend a lot, it would be hard to do much better than to come here for the decent €20 three-course prix-fixe meal. Seafood and pizza are the specialties; try the spaghetti with fresh clams and mussels or the pizza alla Norma (with ricotta, eggplant, and tomatoes). You can also opt for the €9 pizza and drink menu. Through giant picture windows you can watch the gondola fly up and down from the beach, with the coastline in the distance. Families will especially enjoy the casual, convivial atmosphere and friendly service.

> L’ Arco dei Cappuccini
A: Via Cappuccini 5A, off Via Costantino Patricio, Taormina; Tel#: 0942-24893; Hours: Closed Wed. and Feb.
Fodor’s Review: Just off Via Costantino Patricio, by the far side of the Cappuccini arch of the name, lies this diminutive restaurant. Outdoor seating and an upstairs kitchen help make room for a few extra tables—a necessity, as locals are well aware that neither the price nor the quality is equaled elsewhere in town. Indulge in the veal cutlet with Etna mushrooms, pasta con le sarde, or a simple slice of grilled pesce spada (swordfish). Reservations are usually essential for more than two people.

> La Giara
A: Vico La Floresta 1, Taormina; Tel#: 0942-23360; W:; Hours: Closed mid-Nov.–mid-Mar. No lunch.
Fodor’s Review: This restaurant, named after a giant vase unearthed under the bar, is famous for being one of Taormina’s oldest restaurants. The food’s not bad, either. The kitchen blends upscale modern techniques with the simple flavors of traditional specialties. It specializes in everything fish: one spectacular dish is the fish cartoccio (wrapped in paper and baked). You can also extend your evening at the popular, if touristy, piano bar, or at the dance club that operates here on Saturday night (and every night in August). There’s a terrace with stunning views, too.

> La Piazetta
A: Vico Francesco Paladini, off Corso Umberto, Taormina; Tel#: 0942-626317; W:; Hours: Closed Nov. and 2 wks in Feb. No lunch Mon.–Thurs., June –Sept.
Fodor’s Review: Sheltered from the city’s hustle and bustle, this elegant little eatery exudes a mood of relaxed sophistication. Classic dishes such as risotto ai frutti di mare (with seafood) are competently prepared, the grilled fish is extremely fresh, and the service is informal and friendly. The modest room has simple white walls—you’re not paying for a view.

> Vecchia Taormina
A: Vico Ebrei 3, Taormina; Tel#: 0942-625589; Hours: Closed Wed. and Jan. and Feb.
Fodor’s Review: Warm, inviting, and unassuming, Taormina’s best pizzeria produces deliciously seared crusts topped with fresh, well-balanced ingredients. Try the pizza alla Norma, featuring the classic Sicilian combination of eggplant and ricotta—here, in the province of Messina, it’s made with ricotta al forno (cooked ricotta), while in the province of Catania, it’s made with ricotta salata (uncooked, salted ricotta). The restaurant also offers fresh fish in summer, and there’s a good list of Sicilian wines. Choose between small tables on two levels or on a terrace.

Bologna’s Ristoranti: Fodor’s Best…

Posted by: Giovanna | April 9th, 2016 | No Comments »

Screenshot 2016-04-09 18.04.47

Here are four of Bologna’s better ristoranti…according to Fodor’s:

> Da Cesari
A: Via dei Carbonesi, 8 (South of Piazza Maggiore) W: Hours: Closed Sun., Aug., and 1 wk in Jan. Reservations essential.
Fodor’s Review: “Just off Piazza Maggiore, this one-room restaurant has white tablecloths, dark-wood paneling, and wine bottle–lined walls. Host Paolino Cesari has been presiding over his eatery since 1955, and he and his staff go out of their way to make you feel at home. The food’s terrific—if you love pork products, try anything on the menu with mora romagnola. Paolino has direct contact with the people who raise this breed that nearly became extinct (he calls it “my pig”). The highly flavorful meat makes divine salame, among other things. All the usual Bolognesi classics are here, as well as—in fall and winter—an inspired scaloppa all Petroniano (veal cutlet with prosciutto and fontina) that comes smothered in white truffles.

Screenshot 2016-04-09 17.58.22

> Da Giannini a La Vecia Bulagna
A: Via Clavature 18, Piazza Maggiore; Tel#: 051-229434; Hours: No dinner Sun. Closed Mon; Reservations essential.
Fodor’s Review: “Locals simply call it “da Gianni,” and they fill these two unadorned rooms at lunch and dinner. Though the interior is plain and unremarkable, it doesn’t much matter—this place is all about food. The usual starters such as a tasty tortellini in brodo are on hand, as are daily specials such as gnocchi made with pumpkin, then sauced with melted cheese. Bollito misto (mixed meats boiled in a rich broth) is a fine option here, and the cotechino con purè di patate (a deliciously oily sausage with mashed potatoes) is elevated to sublimity by the accompanying salsa verde.

> Divinis
A: Via Battiebecco, 4/C; Piazza Maggiore; Tel#: 051-2961502; W:; Hours: Closed Sun. Reservations essential.
Fodor’s Review: “Bottles lining the walls on both floors of this spot are a testimony to its commitment to serving fine wines, whether by the glass or by the bottle. The wine list runs to 102 pages—and terrific food accompanies the wines. Cheese and cured meat plates are on offer, as are superlative soups, salads, and secondi on a menu that changes frequently. Special events, such as wine tastings and tango dancing, happen throughout the week. Divinis’s continuous opening hours, a rarity in Italy, are an added plus. You could have a coffee at 11 am or a glass of wine well after midnight.

Screenshot 2016-04-09 18.03.22

> Marco Fadiga Bistrot
A: Via Rialto, 23/C; Tel#: 051-220118; W:; Hours: No lunch; closed Sun. and Mon. Reservations essential.
Fodor’s Review: “If you’re looking for terrific food and something out of the ordinary—an Italian restaurant that also serves non-Italian food—dine at this French-styled bistrot: a warren of brilliantly colored rooms lit by chandelier. Chef Marco Fadiga has spent much time in England and France, and their culinary influences show. What’s on offer each night is written on a blackboard, which is brought to the table. You can have marvelous raw oysters, as well as the plateau (a very un-Italian assortment of raw things from the sea). Traditionalists will thrill to his tortellini in brodo, and adventurous sorts might like the tartare di orata (sea bream tartare) served with fresh and candied fruit.

Source: Fodor’s.