Can you breathe the air in Naples?

The Naples Tourist board has begun to promote Naples due to its major decline in tourist visits. The overpolluted and overcrowded city that has lost its toursim charm, is neglected by tourists who prefer to spend nights and money in nearby Sorrento, scenic Capri or on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. Following the shocking temporary closing of the ‘Caruso’ restaurant, on the panoramic terrace of Hotel Vesuvio, one of the most prestigious five star hotels of Naples and Italy, the city attempts to revive tourism by promoting ‘Easy Napoli’, a package of discounts from 50-55 euros for tourists who spend a weekend in a Neapolitan hotel. The offer is valid until the end of July. Easy Napoli is a kit that includes price reductions on public transportation and taxis and on museum admissions. Big discounts are also being provided on shows and festivals. A massive advertising campaign of one million euros will promote the initiative especially on the Internet, with banners on major tourism websites. Our suggestion: clean up the city first so tourist can breathe the air!

Italy Cultural Tourism is Leading

Despite the US economic crises, tourism to Italy is on the rise again. According to the latest yearly report of Tourism and Culture by The Touring Club Italiano, there is a shift in consumption trends. The 400 page-long publication provides statistics on incoming and local tourism alike. In foreign tourism the reigning region is Veneto (Venice and area) with 56.4 million overnights, followed by Lazio (Rome and area) (47.3 million) and Lombardy, the area of Milan and the Northern Lakes. (46.7 million). There is a decline at the moment in seaside tourism, due to the effects of increased competition with other Mediterranean countries like Greece, Croatia, Spain and Turkey where beaches are less crowded and usually larger. Mountain tourism is growing, with a 14.2 point increase compared to the previous year, but the leading sector, as always, is cultural tourism, which is responsible for 46.5% of incoming tourism income.

Opera Festival in the Arena di Verona

The 86th Arena di Verona Opera Festival will take place this year from June 20th to August 31st 2008. The first perforamance of the 2008 summer season is a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida. This new production of the famous opera is inspired by the very first stage design of Aida in 1913 and directed by Gianfranco De Bosio. Aida has been the most loved and performed opera in the Arena with 48 productions and 517 performances over the years sometimes featuring real elephants.

In a traditional stage design of gold or blue, with obelisks, pyramids and huge statues, Aida keeps to be the most popular opera in the repertoire of the Verona Opera Festival. This success is certainly due to its celebrated arias such as the ‘Marcia Trionfale’ or ‘Celeste Aida’ but above all, to the high drama and to the very light and smart way in which the mix of different styles has been presented. For the first time the Arena’s artistic groups will be directed by Renato Palumbo. The main interpreters will be Micaela Carosi, Amarilli Nizza and Isabelle Kabatu in the role of Aida; Dolora Zajick, Marianne Cornetti and Anna Smirnova in the role of Amneris; Marco Berti, Carlo Ventre, Piero Giuliacci and Walter Fraccaro will alternate in the role of Radames. The role of Amonasro will be played by Ambrogio Maestri, Alberto Mastromarino and Giovanni Meoni.
Aida performances will be held on 28 June, 6, 8, 11, 17, 20, 27 July and on 3, 8, 17, 21, 24, 26, 31 August 2008.

Perugia Italy Exhibitions

The Umbria National Gallery honors the artist Pinturicchio with an exhibition commemorating his birth 550 years ago. For the first time visitors will be able to admire the collection of paintings and drawings never exhibited together before. Pinturicchio is one of the most interesting characters of the Italian Renaissance closely associated with the city of Perugia. This new exhibition represents an initiative to promote the works of the great Umbrian artists and to draw attention to the stunning artistic and cultural heritage of the region. The Perugia Galery has been expanded to enlarge its exhibition spaces. You can also view the artist’s master pieces in nearby Spello, in the Collegiata di Santa Maria Maggiore, where the Capella Baglioni, better known as the Capella Bella, is the location of one of Pintoricchio’s most impressive masterpieces. In the closeby Pinacoteca Civica a temporary educational display is taking place to provide visitors with detailed information about the historical, artistic and iconographic aspects of the paintings and their location.