Posts tagged ‘travel’

January 31, 2013

Dining with the Mayor of Rome

Dinner with the Mayor of RomeI just returned from a tourism symposium in Rome. The first evening, after a day packed with informative meetings, Mayor Gianni Alemanno of Rome hosted a gala dinner for about 60 of us. The event took place in the Palazzo Esposizioni Museum after hours, which meant we were treated to a private viewing of the ‘On the Silk Road’ exhibition.

Rome never fails to lift my spirits and make me feel priviledged to be there. To walk past ancient structures mingled with the new, the many beautiful piazza’s, fountains, and historic buildings and monuments in this very ‘lived in city’ is a joy.

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December 27, 2012

Ancient Capitals Journey – Israel

Our Middle Eastern Voyage of Discovery continued…. Israel and Palestine, the heart of our Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, docking in Ashdod and Haifa.  We walked in the footsteps of the founders of the worlds great religions, on paths dating back several thousand years. We visited ancient holy places; Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gethsemane, Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, the Way Of  The Cross, Nazareth, and Cana. We boated the ‘David’ for a tour on the Sea of Galilee, and visited churches built at the request of the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s mother in 325AD at the sites  of  the Nativity, the Crucifixion, and the tomb of Jesus.  Lunch in the ‘old city’ near the Via Dolorosa…fascinating architecture.

We experienced the walls that separate the Israeli and Palestinian states, and the difference in the two cultures.  It is truly amazing to see the transformation from a desert region to an oases that has been accomplished by the Israeli people in just over sixty years. In Jerusalem the beautiful architecture, the modern transportation systems, and the wonderful living spaces built along side ancient history with such careful consideration to antiquity is an example for all the world.

December 11, 2012

Brunello di Montalcino

case basse brunello brunelloIn a move to increase wine tourism, the Brunello di Monalcino Consortium recently launched a free app for travelling iPhone and iPad users. Called iBrunello HD, the app features a host of information on the area and its wineries, the different types of wines produced in Montalcino, plus news, events, photo galleries, and more. App users can also personalize a travel itinerary in the area. ‘We’ve launched the tool to meet the needs of the new “smart” tourists and wine lovers, who want to visit an area quickly and easily,’ said Fabrizio Bindocci, president of the consortium.

On a sad note, Wine Spectator covered the story about last week’s vandalism at a Montalcino winery  –  Late at night Dec. 2, someone entered the cellar of Gianfranco Soldera’s Montalcino winery, Azienda Agricola Case Basse, and opened all the spigots on his casks of aging wine. Soldera lost more than 16,500 gallons of wine, his entire production of wines aging in botti, spanning six vintages from 2007 to 2012. Italian authorities are investigating. “You can imagine the damage, because six vintages are involved, but it’s not just the economic damage, the present, it’s the future,” Soldera told Wine Spectator.  Il Poggione’s Alessandro Bindocci, son of Consorzio president Fabrizio Bindocci, expressed solidarity for Soldera on his blog Montalcino Report: “The territory of Montalcino is a small and tranquil territory where many people still leave their doors of their homes unlocked. To find out about these sad events is shocking and it brings forth the spirit of solidarity that distinguishes the producers of Montalcino.”

November 6, 2012

Visit Italy next year.

As the year is winding down, clients are beginning to think about next summer’s holiday.  I admit that I am biased, but I can promise, a visit to Italy would not disappoint anyone in the family.  So many opportunities present themselves that the only problem is narrowing down the itinerary.  Rome has enough to take in, that one could never go too frequently. Tuscany, whose heart is Florence is much the same way….just more easily accessible rural options. A favorite being the medieval hill town of Siena where many of the  buildings and art works date from about 1260-1348 when Siena was one of Europe’s wealthiest cities.  Highlights are the  unusual fan-shaped piazza where the palio horse race is run twice in the summer and its magnificent Gothic duomo.  Lucca is my favorite walled city, west of Florence and we have just added a lovely 3 bedroom rental apartment right in the historic center, ask me about it (invitationtotuscany.com).  Then there is Veneto..with Venice as the crown jewel, Piedmonte, the Lake District, on and on.

Have a look at this brief video – you may get inspired !

October 24, 2012

Alaska …the beautiful!

The most immediate, and dramatic, impression Alaska is likely to make on you comes from its sheer size. Alaska has more than twice the area of Texas, and is rimmed by more coastline than all of the other states combined. No wonder the Aleutian people named it “the Great Land.” MountMcKinley — the tallest peak in North America, at more than 20,000 feet — looms over Denali National Park and Preserve. The park itself is larger than Massachusetts, helping to explain how Alaska contains more than two-thirds of the United States’ total national park acreage.

Not only is Alaska huge, it is magnificent. The unbelievable scenery is what first catches the eye. Row after row of glacier-garbed mountains stretch to the horizon. Some are reflected in the water of lakes dyed a bluish hue by the silt of melting ice and snow.

Braided rivers, which find new routes around ice dams that form during winter, meander through U-shaped valleys that were gouged out eons ago by advancing glaciers. Whether flying over, driving through, walking in, or viewing it from the deck of a ship, the sheer drama of Alaska’s scenery is difficult to express in words.

April 13, 2011

Invitation to Tuscany: Campalfi, Stigliano, Siena

Campalfi, Stigliano, Siena

Three apartments in farm buildings.

Campalfi, set back from the river Merse by about 200 metres, is a group of ancient farm buildings that once had all the necessities for the self-contained life of a small community. It has been converted to provide seven spacious dwellings. There is a central open-sided courtyard entered through an archway, around which are arranged the apartments, and to one side of this is a large dining-room where the English-speaking owner, a renowned chef, serves wonderful meals every Saturday night and on alternate evenings. The old granary has made a delightful cottage with a patio and an outdoor oven; a large ground floor apartment for five people is at right angles to the granary; and on the ground floor below the old tower is a light and airy apartment for two people.

The conversions are a harmonious blend of ancient tradition and modern comforts. All the apartments have a quiet, cool and restrained atmosphere and make excellent use of attractive fabrics and materials including old terra cotta floors, and simple, traditional Tuscan furniture. The hand of the artist owner is seen in the soft colors that grace the apartment walls and in the blossoms that drape arch and pergola alike.

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