Archive for May, 2012

May 23, 2012

Truffle Hunting in Umbria

“Truffles are the most expensive food in the world.” CBS news

Autumn in Umbria is fabulous in everyway. Why not spend a week on the Todi estate and enjoy a three day preplanned agenda focused on the infamous ‘truffle’. A few more days could be spent around the olive harvest or just day tripping to some of the dozens of fabulous villages in the area.

Friend and colleague Mario Santoro, has put together a very enticing multi-day encounter with ‘the truffle’. Details follow.

On the first day…we will join a professional truffle hunter (cavatore) on his morning hunt with his faithful dogs in the beautiful forests of Umbria. This will be followed by a typical lunch at a farm, tasting the precious tubers just harvested. A delicious truffle meal served with great wines !
In the afternoon, visit to the “Urbani Truffle Academy”, the most important manufacturer of this product, worldwide. There will a guided tour and a presentation about their products ending with a tasting.
In the evening, an unforgettable truffle based menu at TodiCastle.

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May 17, 2012

Giro d’Italia 2012 – Stage 10

Joaquim Rodríguez has taken the overall of the Giro d’Italia after the Spaniard won the 186-kilometre stage from Civitavecchia to Assisi.
For the 33 year-old Rodríguez, it is the first time he has worn the leader’s jersey.Wednesday’s epic 255-kilometre 11th stage from Assisi to Montecatini where Mark Cavendish will be hoping to win his third stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia.

May 16, 2012

Tuscan Sun Festival, this June!

The Tuscan Sun Festival, is considered by some as ‘one of the ten best festivals in Europe’, which has brought together the elite of the music, art and film world. This tenth edition will take place in Florence, June 11th – 18th, 2012. With one of Italy’s most beautiful cities as the new sophisticated backdrop, the Tuscan Sun Festival is delighted to welcome artists such as soprano Angela Gheorghiu, flautist Sir James Galway, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, violinist Nigel Kennedy, cellist Nina Kotova, pianist Valentina Lisitsa, pianist Ivo Pogorelich, actor John Malkovich, directors Gabriele Lavia and Maurizio Scaparro as well as violinist Maxim Vengerov, who will appear in this anniversary edition of the event in venues throughout Florence, including the beautiful Teatro della Pergola.

Crowning nine years of success in its original home in Cortona, the City of Florence will promote the continued growth of the Tuscan Sun Festival from this year forwards. Continuing with the Tuscan Sun Festival’s aim of presenting a multi-disciplinary festival, the musical performances will be enhanced by a literary collaboration with the innovative Palazzo Strozzi, a cinematic partnership with the stunning Odeon Cinehall in Florence as well as a series of gastronomic adventures under the heading of ‘Nuove Tradizioni’.

For tickets, see this link:

May 9, 2012


Italy’s first private high-speed train, launched by Ferrari head Luca di Montezemolo’s company NTV and boasting sleek interiors and a cinema carriage, made its inaugural journey on Friday.
The dark-red 656 foot bullet-shaped train — named “Italo” — set out from Rome’s Termini station, taking just over an hour to reach Naples.
“Italo has arrived, the competition has kicked off… bringing real advantages to all those who travel,” NTV told its first passengers as they admired interiors styled by celebrated design house Italdesign Giugiaro.
The trains have gold edging, panoramic windows, leather seats and wider carriages than the classic French TGV trains. The Italo travels at a top speed of 224 miles per hour.
France’s national rail company SNCF owns a 20-percent stake in NTV, which is led by a group of Italian businessmen including Montezemolo, NTV’s president, and Diego Della Valle, the head of luxury shoemaker Tod’s.

For the first time in Europe and the world, two Italian rail companies will compete on the same high-speed rail track: on April 28 the state-run company Trenitalia will have to come to terms with private-sector Italo. The competition is expected be a good thing for consumers, who should benefit from lower prices. ‘On the Rome-Milan route, there will be a price war between the two rail-service providers. Consumers will reap the benefits until one of the companies gives in,’ predicted Mauro Moretti, president of Trenitalia.
The trains offer three classes, ‘Smart,’ ‘Prima’ and ‘Club,’ with different price tags and amenities. Within each class are two pricing tiers: economy (reservations cannot be changed) and base (reservations can be changed). No matter the class, all seats are leather and Wifi is free. However, there are reclining seats, personal video screens and other amenities only in Prima and Club.

Instead of serving Rome’s Termini station or Milan’s Centrale, Italo will use secondary stations, such as Roma Tiburtina and Milano Rogoreto. For example, Italo will travel from Milano Rogoreto to Roma Tiburtina in 3 hours and 11 minutes, making stops in Florence’s SMN station and Bologna Centrale.

May 8, 2012

The Magnificence of Alaska

Discover Alaska with its endless landscapes of grandeur… the abundance of animals here is nothing short of astonishing- from whales and otters in the sea, to moose, bear, and caribou on land, and majestic eagles circling in the sky. You can stand witness to the best of Alaska’s glaciers and fjords. And not to be missed is Denali National Park, the largest national park in the US. It will leave you breathless!

Juneau, Alaska

Glacier Bay National Park

Eagle- Sitka, Alaska

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

The best way to experience the wonders of Alaska is through a combination of land touring and cruising. Ideally plan to spend 12-14 days sampling this ‘Great Land,’ (Alyeska, as named by native Aleuts).

May 4, 2012

Giro d’Italia Begins Saturday

The 2012 Giro d’Italia begins May 5th. This will be the 95th edition of Giro d’Italia. It will start in the Danish city of Herning, and end in Milan, covering a total of 3500 kilometers over the course fo 21days, from May 5th-27th.
The Italians have claimed the coveted pink jersey 66 of the 94 previous Giro d’Italia events.

Italians Michele Scarponi, Ivan Basso and Damiano Cunego have all been crowned Giro champions and will be looking to stay in contention. This 95th edition has been billed as wide open, which will add to the excitment.

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