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Christmas Ideas Italy

Italian Christmas seasonchristmas-in-rome

Christmas season has now become a popular time to travel. And what about you? Are you having trouble deciding where to go? If you are looking for the best place to take a break during the Christmas time, you can find here a list of popular destinations in Italy. Some of Italy’s cities go all out for the holidays, including New Year’s Eve dinners, events, concerts and much more.

Go in Naples if you are looking for Christmas vacation ideas

Naples is one of the most popular spots for Christmas travel in Italy. There are many events and traditional entertainment planned for Christmas Eve or Day there. This city boasts many holiday traditions. As a case in point, Italian-American tradition is on display, which is called the “feast of the seven fishes”. To be more precise, people celebrate Christmas Eve with seafood seven ways. Apart from that, you can find Naples most important Christmas Market in the traditional sense. Shop along Via San Gregorio Armeno to find unique gifts and to experience the Neapolitan Christmas Eve dinner. In addition to having superb shopping, visitors can  watch spectacular fireworks displays. It will probably be the best Christmas vacations you will ever experience.

Try to do a day trip to Rome

Rome at Christmas is a blast with its festivities. Admire 100 nativity scenes on display throughout the city. Get into the church for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at the Vatican. You can watch Pope lives that will get your heart racing, as going at  St. Peter’s Basilica. In the event you’re a fan of things decrepit, you can take the opportunity to shop, where you will find intricately painted tree ornaments. Just go in Piazza Navona for a Christmas market. Rome also offers great food, wine and breathtaking scenery. On the other hand, you can watch street performances. However, transportation during Christmas day in Rome can be tricky, so you could hire a car, just click here. It would also be the best way to discover all the events happening during the season.

Don’t miss out Venice, a true one-stop Christmas destination

Are you taking off on a holiday this Christmas? Head to Venice, which is one of the best resorts in Italy for Christmas holidays. With its narrow canals and ancient palaces, there are part of the history of Venice. There are many Christmas inspired markets where people can sell unique works of art.
On top of all that, this city offers plenty of delightful Christmas concerts. For example, you can attend a classical concert at Teatro La Fenice. But no Christmas in this city would be complete without uncovering the tallest glass Christmas tree in the world, resides in Murano.


Why not make any trip to Tuscany?

Tuscany has something for everyone! All the mesmerizing historic countryside villas and palaces makes it onto every best destinations. You can visit its medieval village in order to enjoy the magical atmosphere of the city. There are lots and lots of music. Tuscany also displays colored lights that illuminate the nights. And you can enjoy events, festivals and delicious food. If you are thinking about renting a hotel or a villa to stay, it is recommended to book it in advance. Moreover, staying in a beautiful villa or hotel would be authentic. By this way, you can spend a unique and unforgettable day during that big day.

Hottest Destination in South Italy


Ostuni South ItlayOur newest South Italy tour destination this year is the less frequently visited south, the regions of Basilicata and Pulia.

We offer these tours with Rome or Sorrento departures for those interested in less trendy and crowded destinations, having already visited the most sought  after Italian regions of Amalfi Coast and Tuscany.

One of the highlights of this tour is Matera with its houses carved in the tufa rock that resemble Cappadocian underground cities. The style of architecture is actually originated from ancient Anatolia and initially imported to Italy by Byzantine monks.

The region has vast fields and palm groves neighboring snow-white towns like Noto or Lecce where you can easily feel getting lost in the maze of side alleys hiding little churches off main squares. Lecce is the Baroque capital of Italy with white washed buildings dating back to the end of the XVI century and the first half of the XVII century with the church of S.Oronzo, the Basilica of Santa Croce, the Celestini Palace being some of the most attractive sites of the city.

An other highlight of the tour is the village of Alberobello with its unique cone-shaped dwellings, a UNESCO World Heritage site or the Greek fishing village of Gallipoli (Kallipolis) on the shores of the Ionian sea at the “heel of  the Italian Boot”, in the region of Pulia.

A quiz…… well do you know Cinque Terre?

Another light-hearted quiz in our summer series. Answers at the bottom of the page but NO CHEATING!

The Cinque Terre villages are : Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and….?
a) Veneto al Mare
b) Riomaggiore
c) Pescatore Vila
d) Dimenticarsi

In the Cinque Terre, houses are painted in many colours. Why?
a) To make the neighbours jealous
b) To identify individual houses from the sea
c) To encourage foreign tourists
d) In poor years, there was only one paint colour available each year

In October 25, 2011, how many were killed in the famous floods?
a) Nobody
b) 9
c) 90
d) 900
e) Two dogs, sixty rats, seven cats, a three-legged mule and a budgerigar

The villages grew under the military and political supremacy of?
a) Amalfi
b) Genoa
c) Sorrento
d) Little Italy

The ‘Sentiero Azzurro’ is?
a) A brand of beer
b) A dirty old man
c) A footpath
d) A statue of St Mark

Monterosso has a local specialty designated with a Protected Designation of Origin status from the European Union for what?
a) Pecorino cheese
b) Goat’s milk butter
c) Anchovies
d) Razor clams
e) Tripe casserole

Grappa, a local liqueur, is made from?
a) Lark’s vomit
b) Lemon juice
c) A footpath
d) Worms that inhabit the wormwood bark
e) The ‘rubbish’ left after grape pressing

Cinque Terre is, from Turin?
a) North
b) South
c) East
d) West

“Miele di Corniglia,” is?
a) An ice-cream
b) A cake
c) A make of washing machine
d) A pastry cornet stuffed with anchovy cream

Pesto — a local sauce, is made from basil leaves, garlic, salt, olive oil, pecorino cheese and?
a) Tomato
b) Pine nuts
c) Rodents
d) Squash flowers

Possibly the prettiest group of villages in Europe, Cinque Terre needs to be on your ‘bucket list’. Have a look at:
Answers: Riomaggiore/ To identify individual houses from the sea/9/Genoa/ A footpath/Anchovies/ The ‘rubbish’ left after grape pressing/south and east/Honey ice-cream/Pine nuts

Italian architecture…… a new photo quiz

Some are easy, some a little more difficult but how many of the following well known Italian travel destinations can you identify? A clue is given with each picture. Answers at the bottom of the page but NO CHEATING!

Originally the Flavian Amphitheatre, capable of seating 50,000 spectators.

The oldest important building in the world with its original roof intact, albeit with a large hole!

Once the home of some rather ‘dodgy’ dukes……

Italy travel quiz…. palazzi e castelli

Another in our series of lighthearted travel quizzes.

How well do you know Italy? Here are ten well known Italian palaces or castles. Can you identify them? A clue is given with each and the answers are at the bottom of the page.


Some ‘dodgy’ dukes lived here?


The Pope has an underground escape tunnel to this one?


Decorated by da Vinci, now a series of museums, the original owners never shopped in the local Prada or Armani?


….with a Spanish name and situated on a pretty island?

castello scal

Goethe was arrested here, on Lake Garda, for ‘suspicious-sketching’…….?

cast ovo

The name of comes from a legend that Virgil put a magical egg into the castle’s foundations?

Het Palazzo Vecchio vanaf de buitenkant.

The symbol of the power of Florence?


The ‘wedding cake’, loved by tourists, hated by Romans!


Built for the Bourbons, the largest palace in Europe built in the 18th century?


It’s so well known, it stars on the reverse of the Italian one euro coin?


Castles and palaces in Italy?  Book an unlimited return ticket to see them all…… However if you want to see the best and you haven’t got years to spare, have a look at for the very best choice and price on Italian tours and vacations.



Doge’s Palaces, Venice/Castel Sant’ Angelo, Rome/Sforzesco Castle, Milan/Castello Aragonese, Ischia/Castello Scaligero, Sirmione/Castel dell’Ovo, Naples/doges/Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome/Royal Palace of Caserta/Castel del Monte, Puglia,


Is Pasta Good for You?

Is Pasta REALLY GOOD FOR YOU?Pasta cooking classes tour

Staples of Italian cuisine, pasta dishes are favored by most of us due to their comforting and mind calming effect, their affordability and the variety of innovative ways to prepare them fast.

Most health and weight conscious people however, try to stay away from pastas due to their high glycemic index and gluten content with increasing number of people developing some kind of recognizable gluten sensitivity nowadays.

Surprisingly however, according to some of the latest research, pasta diet is actually good for you.

The IRCCS (Istituo Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed) analyzed more than 23 thousand people from different Italian regions. Their result established, (though hard to believe), that eating pasta on the regular basis is actually good for you. Men and women alike who enjoyed pasta as part of a regular Mediterranean diet with fresh vegetables like tomatoes and onions, legumes, seafood, and olive oil, had a lower body mass index, smaller waist circumference, and lower waist-to-hip ratio.

According to the research team: “Our analysis of data from two different Mediterranean populations supports that pasta intake is negatively associated with both indexes of obesity status and prevalence of overweight and obesity.”

So with that in mind you might be interested in learning the secrets of Italian cooking on customized cooking tours offered year round in Sicily or other parts of Italy.

Italian Memorial Day June 2

Memorial day for Italians is June 2nd each year a celebration of the new summer season and the day of remembrance: Republic Day.
 Victor emanuel-monument
The Festa della Repubblica Italiana is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the Italian Republic. On June 2 and 3 1946, following the fall of Fascism and the end of World War II, an institutional referendum was held in which Italians were asked to vote on what form of government they preferred, either a monarchy or a republic. The majority of Italians favored a republic, so the monarchs of the House of Savoy were exiled. On May 27, 1949, lawmakers passed Article 260, cited June 2 as data di fondazione della Repubblica (date of the founding of the Republic) and declared it a national holiday.
Republic Day is a nationwide public holiday in Italy, schools, organizations and businesses are closed. Many Italians attend official ceremonies, military parades or the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, inside the Altare della Patria, part of the Victor Emmanuel Monument, in Rome.
Next time you are in the capital, make sure to pay a visit to this grand memorial to the Italian State – and for now raise your glass to La Repubblica Italiana, its people and varied history

Parma, Verdi’s City and Festival Town

ParmaParma, ancient city of Etruscan origin is not only famous for the Parmesan cheese, prosciutto ham and pumpkin ravioli, but  for its university, theaters, unique looking churches and the composers who once  frequented it. 

The city of Parma, the final residence of Marie Louise of Austria, Duchess of Austria and Empress of France as former wife  of Napoleon was once celebrated by Giuseppe Verdi, written about by Giovannino Guareschi and appeared in films directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. It is a small town that mostly attracts art and music devotees and Pilgrimes to Toscanini’s birthplace. But it is also a popular steeping point for nature lover to its closeness the nearby mountains. The city spreads from the plains to the Appennines mountains offering nearby excursions for hiker in all seasons.

Parma is easy to visit all year round. with each season offering something unique.

In the winter it resembles the capitals of Northern Europe with typical fogs embracing it from November to February. In the mountains, the ski resorts at Schia and Prato Spilla are a favourite destination for all snow lovers.

In the spring the small town’s vicinity to the country side makes it cheerful and tranquil with garden-fresh air, while at the same time offering numerous cultural events theater festivals and street fair events where you can taste the city’s specialty, the  Tortellata di San Giovanni’ on 23

Parmesan from Parma
In the summer the humid climate is eased by soothing breezes coming from the Apennines. Summer evenings are colorful and lively with the numerous village feasts where delicious typical products are offered and and everyone joins the dance.

Verdi festival Pacakges Parma
The fall season is magical, the time for grape harvesting to produce local sparkling Lambrusco in the hills and Fortana in the Emilia region. The climate is cooler, village feasts are ending replaced by more serious more important theater events culminating with the World renowned Verdi Festival in October.

Ten Italian drinks ….. a new photo quiz

Most are easy, some more difficult but how many of these Italian drinks can you identify? A clue is given with each picture.

Answers at the bottom of the page but NO CHEATING!


What type of coffee is this?


What is the meaning of this herbal liqueur’s name?


The traditional lemon liqueur from the Naples area?


Nocino, another liqueur, is made from’?


The most well-known quality Italian champagne alternative and definitely not Asti?


Hemingway’s favourite cocktail, the Bellini, was invented where?


Which is the most ‘bitter’ vermouth, Martini or Cinzano?


Served with floating coffee beans and set alight?


Nastro Azzurro is a Peroni lager. The name “Blue Ribbon” originated?


Barolo, one of the very best red wines, is made from what grape?

Italy, some of the best, if not THE best, food and drink in the world. Come any enjoy our wonderful gastronomy. Have a look at: for the very best choice of tours and vacations.


Cappuccino/Strega(the witch)/Limoncello/walnuts/Prosecco/Harry’s Bar, Venice/Cinzano/Sambuca/ the Blue Riband prize won by Italian ocean liner SS Rex in 1933/Nebbiolo

Ten beautiful Italian islands ….. a new photo quiz.

Most are easy, some a little more difficult but how many of these Italian islands can you identify? A clue is given with each picture. Answers at the bottom of the page but NO CHEATING!


It didn’t hold Napoleon long


Sophisticated and the second largest Mediterranean island


Site of the Aragon Castle in the Bay of Naples


Italy’s most glamorous island, famous for the Grotta Azzurra


The largest Mediterranean island with Europe’s highest volcano


Which is nearer, Africa or Europe?


Black lava beaches and an active volcano


The film setting for “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Il Postino”

Isola Bella Blog 6

The beautiful island off Sicily, not its Lake Maggiore namesake


A ‘Caribbean’ style jewel just north Sardinia


Possibly the most beautiful country in the world, certainly the richest in art and culture, Italy is a superstar destination. Have a look at the great range of tours on offer from THE specialists



Elba/Sardinia/Ischia/Capri/Sicily/Lampedusa/Stromboli/Procida/Isola Bella/La Maddalena

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