Archive for August, 2013

August 19, 2013

Travel+Leisure Magazine A-List 2013

A-List_Logo[10][4][1][2]Last week Travel+Leisure magazine announced their annual A-List of Top Travel Agents in the world for 2013. I am honored to be included in that list for the second year in a row. My recognition is for my destination expertise in Italy. It gives me great pleasure to assure my clients a memorable travel experience, always returning home as better citizens of the world because of their immersion in another culture.

Though I have been traveling to Italy regularly for over 25 years, I never tire of the remarkable history, art, architecture, scenery, people, cuisine and culture of Bella Italia!

Be sure to pick up a copy of the October issue of Travel+Leisure magazine or visit now for the complete list of A-List Travel Agents.

August 16, 2013

Gelato Anyone?

gelatoThe “modern” history of gelato begins in the Renaissance with alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri, who is credited with creating the first gelato flavor at the court of the Medici family in Florence, the fior di latte. Gelato and sorbets were food for the rich because ice and salt were expensive and, therefore, only served in private residences.
The Sicilian Francesco Procopio Cutò made gelato available to all when he opened Café Le Procope in Paris in 1686 and started selling it to the public. In the 19th century, the Neapolitan doctor Filippo Baldini wrote a treatise where he stated that gelato and sorbets are good both for the body and mind. Welcome news for many of us…surely it’s still true!

The origins of gelato go back 12,000 years when, in Mesopotamia, slave runners traveled up to 100 kilometers to collect ice and snow used to cool drinks served during royal banquets and religious ceremonies. During the 11th century, the Arabs developed shrb, “sugar syrup”, a base for making fruit sorbets, medical herbs, spices and flowers. Shrb was the predecessor of sorbet, which became very popular in Sicily when it was under Arab rule; the Arabs grew in fact as many as 400 different types of flowers to flavor their sorbets.

Well, thanks to the early culinary artists….”I scream, you scream, we all scream for gelato !” ..and our demand is granted !

August 7, 2013

Un poco Italian

photo5I always recommend that my Italy bound clients learn a few basic Italian words and phrases. Although English is spoken in most tourist parts of Italy, knowing a little bit of Italian will definitely improve your experience. Italian’s genuinely appreciate the visitor who ‘makes the effort’, even if it is just your greeting “Buongiorno” or “Arrivederci”.

Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World’s Most Enchanting Language says, “I’ve spent more than 25 years learning as much Italian as I possibly can, but the question I’m often asked is ‘What do I need just to get by in Italy?'”
Here Dianne shares her recommendations for the least Italian you should know:
•Greetings. Know how to say “buongiorno” (bwohn-JOR-noh) for “Good morning” or “Good Day”; “buona sera” (BWOH-nah-SAY-ra) for “Good evening”; and “arrivederci” (ah-ree-vay-DEHR-chee) for goodbye (obligatory when you leave a shop or restaurant).
•Disclosure. Say up front, “Non parlo italiano” (nohn PAR-loh ee-tah-leeAH-non) for “I don’t speak Italian.” A good follow-up question: Parla inglese? (PAR-lah een-GLAY-zay) Do you speak English?
•Courtesy. Please, thank you, and you’re welcome are the most important phrases in any language. The Italian phrases are “per favore” (pehr fah-VOH-ray); grazie (GRAHT-zee-ay) and prego (PRAY-goh).
•Personal preferences. Wherever you go, someone will ask, “Va bene?” (VAH BAY-ne): “Is it going well? Is everything okay?” If it is, you can reply “Si, bene!” (see BEHN-nay) for yes, all is well. “Mi piace” (mee pee-AH-chay) means “I like”; non mi piace, “I don’t like it.”
•Prices. Bottom line, you’re going to be buying food, tickets, souvenirs and other irresistible things. Before you do, you’ll want to know, “Quanto costa?” (KWAHN-toh KOH-sta): How much does it cost?

Buon viaggio! Have a good trip.

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