Archive for January, 2011

January 30, 2011

The Venice Biennale Arts Exposition is this summer!!

La Biennale 20112011 is an odd-numbered year, which means that the Venice La Biennale will be underway in a few months.

The origin:
The birth of the Venice Biennale
Headed by its mayor, Riccardo Selvatico, the Venetian City Council passed a resolution on 19th April 1893 to set up a biennial exhibition of Italian art, to be inaugurated on 22nd April 1894. However, the event took place in 1895, two years later than it had been planned. On 30th April, the 1st International Art Exhibition was inaugurated. Learn more >>

The VBA Expo is the celebration of several festivals rolled into one year.  During the Biennale you can enjoy fine arts, architecture, film, music, dance, theater and so much more.

This year will celebrate the 3rd Arsenale della Danza (17th January to 15th May), the 2nd Kids’ Carnival (26th February to 8th March), the 54th International Art Exhibition – ILLUMInations (4th June to 27th November), the 68th Venice International Film Festival (31st August to 10th September), the 55th International Festival of Contemporary Music (24th September to 1st October), and the 41st International Theatre Festival (10th to 16th October).

Visiting Venice can be amazing no matter what time of year you go, however where you choose to stay can have an effect on your overall experience. I have stayed in many different places over the years, but my favorite is…

Hotel Palazzo Stern

Few Steps from Saint Mark’s Square and from Accademia, surrounded by the artistic beauties and by the peacefulness and quitness of an everyday Venice.

A Historical Palace, once home of a known art collector, enhanced by art work of all ages and rich with ancient historical memories.

A unique and unforgettable experience that will bring you back in time. The breathtaking view from the Terrace on the Grand Canal and the peacefulness of the Flat Roof (provided with Jacuzzi) are scenarios of incredible romance and beauty.

Family run, wonderful staff, …in my opinion the best hotel in Venice.

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January 29, 2011

Why do so many people get sick after they fly?

This may seem obvious to those of you who travel frequently, but I read this article and thought it would be in all our best interest to share.  There are many good tips, read more to find them all!

6 Places Germs Breed on Airplanes…

By Douglas Wright
updated 1/20/2011 2:13:00 PM ET

Beware of airplane water, tray tables, seat pockets, pillows, and lavatories.

Flu season is in full swing, so it’s more important than ever to protect yourself against illness. We dug deep to identify the major germ zones on planes (and tips to avoid them). No, you’re not likely to contract meningitis, but better safe than sorry, right?

FOR: E. coli, a common culprit behind stomach cramps

Your plane reaches 30,000 feet, the fasten-seat-belt sign switches off, and the flight attendant comes by to take your drink order: Coffee or tea? Ice water? They seem like innocent offers — until you consider that airplane water has been under review by the EPA for traces of E. coli for six years. A random sampling of 327 unnamed domestic and international aircraft caused a stir in 2004 when some water samples tested positive for E. coli, one strain of which is the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S. Coffee and tea are brewed on board with such water and don’t typically reach hot enough temperatures to kill E. coli. When bottled water runs out, some planes have been known to fill fliers’ glasses from the tank. One British Airways crew member confessed to the London-based Times that, in those cases, the crew first has to wait for any cloudy “floating stuff” to settle out. And onboard tanks are small to limit their weight, so planes sometimes refill at foreign airports, where water standards can be questionable. The encouraging news is that water quality and control are improving: From 2005 to 2008, only 3.6 percent of samples tested positive for coliform bacteria, of which only a small fraction tested positive for E. coli. And in October 2011, the EPA’s Aircraft Drinking Water Rule, with more standardized, stringent disinfection and inspection regulations, will go into effect.

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January 26, 2011

An ecologically sensitive hillside house with sea views…

Find this rental and more at
As part of the many resources I have access to I am affiliated directly with this site and all it’s offerings.

Bernardino, Campiglia Marittima, Livorno

In a house that climbs the hillside it rests on, Bernardino is situated to savour the views of the wide Maremma plain that stretches below the medieval town of Campiglia Marittima and finishes on the horizon at the Mediterranean Sea. An excellent family house and certainly one in which to invite friends, it has terraces off each bedroom, which offer private retreat, yet spacious rooms and outdoor areas in which to gather. Though newly renovated, the house easily harmonizes with its surroundings, thanks to the careful use of local building materials and native vegetation that encircle the house in a varied palette of green. The owners have decided that their house should leave a light footprint on the land and with water and solar collectors and wind generated electricity have rendered it self-sufficient. While modern technology accomplishes these invisible marvels, what remains visible and delightful are the many spots in which one can relax into a memorable holiday.

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January 19, 2011

It’s hard not to enjoy eating wherever you travel, but in Italy it’s an art.

Eating in Italy:
Eating a leisurely Italian meal is one of the pleasures of traveling in Italy. Italians take food very seriously in each region and sometimes even a city will have regional specialities.

If you have never traveled to Italy before there are a few things you should know. A traditional Italian meal will consist of an appetizer (antipasti), first course (primo) and a second course (secondo) with a side dish (contorni). All to be topped off with dessert (dolce), which could be fruit or cheese followed by café and/or an after-dinner drink (digestivo).

When dining out, most Italian families will spend an average of 3 hours eating and socializing. So if you plan on getting in and out quickly you must ask for your bill (il conto) when you are ready.  Generally there will be a small cover charge for bread and linen. Tax and service are usually included in your total.

Tipping is much different too. If you are pleased with your service it is customary to leave a small tip, but nothing like the traditional American tip of 15% to 20%.

Another essential tip to keep in mind, a bar in Italy is not just a place for alcoholic drinks, but rather more of a place to grab a quick morning coffee and pastry, a sandwich for a quick lunch, or a gelato (Italian Ice Cream) treat. If you stand at the bar, your price will be less than half of what you would pay if you choose instead to sit at a table.

These are just a few helpful hints for your next italian adventure.  Hope they help you to be prepared for the italian feasts you will never forget.


January 16, 2011

My Favorite Destination is…

Veneto Trip 2010Though I love so many destinations around the world, when asked which is my favorite….I must say ‘Italy’.  I by no means limit my travels to Italy, but I do visit Italy with more regularity than any other single destination.  I have yet to find anything I don’t like about Italy.  The culture, cuisine, history, architecture, art, sea, mountains, wine, and song all blended together with the incredible genuine  warmth of the people make it a destination that draws people back over and over.

Since we are just a few days into 2011,  and most of us setting goals and making plans for things we wish to accomplish this year …that means decisions need to be made about where you will journey.

Springtime travel to Italy holds many advantages.  Temperatures are warming up, the flowers are blooming (my favorite red poppies in Tuscany), airfares and hotel prices are reasonable, and most of Italy gets less rain in the Spring than the Fall. Italian holidays like Easter, Liberation Day, and the Festa della Republica offer many festive concerts and processions!

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January 15, 2011

Invitation to Tuscany – Featured property: Casa Marta

Casa Marta

Featured Property

Exclusive Villas for rent with pools in Tuscany, Amalfi, Sicily, Italy, Umbria from respected agency. Local knowledge, on-site reps to help.

This is an independent upper floor apartment with tall, airy rooms with Victorian proportions. It is approached from an open fronted courtyard and has a pleasant, walled, furnished garden at the rear with beautiful views of the estate. Living room with wood-burning stove, large eat-in kitchen with dishwasher, ground-floor laundry room. Secluded garden and furnished pergola.

The estate buildings form a small complex with some farmhouses, the villa and agricultural buildings in a beautiful position on top of a hill, with extensive views of the surrounding countryside. Wide, sandy floored cypress lined avenues traverse the forested hills of the estate, often terminating in belvederes at the most impressive viewpoints. Through the tangled woodlands, across the cultivated plain below, one can see Siena and the Chianti hills in the distance, and there is a rare abundance of wild flowers and animals.

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