Safe and Clean Beaches of Italy

Although Italian beaches are small and overcrowded in July and August when all Italians are vacation, they are safe and well kept. The Foundation for Environmental Education has already inspected Italy’s beaches before the upcoming summer 2008 season. A total of 104 coastal destinations and 56 Italian tourism landings have been awarded a blue flag by the organization this year indicating maximum cleanliness. The greatest number of flags for 2008 were awarded to Tuscany on the west coast and the Le Marche region south of Ravenna and Milano Maritima, with 15 blue flags, followed by Liguria 14, Abruzzo 13 and Campania 11. At the bottom of the list are Friuli Venezia Giulia, Molise and Sardinia with two flags each. The best advice though is to visit the beaches in September when the crowds disappear but the weather is still hot and the seawater pleasantly warm

Ravenna Italy Music Festival 2008

The main theme of the famous Ravenna Music Festival in 2008 is women figures in myth and art. The festival opens with La Traviata, the story one of the most beloved woman figures in opera history. Verdi’s opera will be staged by Cristina Mazzavillani Muti, light designer Vincent Longuemare and conducor Patrick Fournillier. The feminine accent of the Festival theme will be complemented by a series of five “portraits”, especially commissioned to five among the most interesting Italian artists, Romagna, Ermanna Montanari, Elena Bucci, Daniela Piccari, Luisa Cottifogli. The “visions” of Cristina Mazzavillani Muti, a dreamlike encounter between Norma and Medea, gives new life to a series of exceptional women, from Rosvita, a ‘playwriting’ nun of year 1000, to Anita Garibaldi, the Heroine of the Two Worlds. All this within the extraordinary setting of the 15th century Venetian fort of Rocca Brancaleone as a new venue. And more will follow, either borrowed from ancient myth or present-day stages: Salomé to Juliette Greco.
The symphonic selection of the festival offerings is especially rich, with a repertoire ranging from Beethoven to contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima in the interpretation of world-renowned orchestras, the Bolshoi, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino or the Orchestre Nationale de France. Conductors like Yuri Temirkanov, Kurt Masur and Riccardo Muti enhence the musical experience. Also worth-mentioning are the solo role Chiara Muti will play in Sollima’s new composition, inspired by the the Byzantine world, and the great French actor Gérard Depardieu, in the role of Berlioz’s Lélio. The residing festival orchestra, the “Luigi Cherubini” Youth Orchestra, founded by Riccardo Muti will play the leading role in a concert entirely dedicated to Cole Porter and the jazz age. The Ravenna Music Festival tour packages are available to book.

Italy Bologna-New York Direct Flights

Eurofly Meridiana, the Milan-based discounted airline will restart its operations on May 11th, for the third consecutive year, on its Bologna-New York routing three times per week. The airline will depart from Bologna, the city of medieval skyscrapers and the capital of Emilia Romagna on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from May to November. For passengers coming from the United States, the company plans to extend the flight to Pescara, Bari and Lamezia Terme, dedicated to Ethnic and leisure traffic to the seaside resorts of the Adriatic. To underline the connection between the Region and the USA, the airline is organising two educational tours for US journalists over the next few weeks.
Meridiana offers additional good connections to different cities in Europe as well as Sharm el seikh at the Red Sea in Egypt

Italy Travel Tourism

Winter tourism showed a positive trend in Italy’s most famous ski region, in the Province of Bolzano, Alto Adige at the South Tirol region of Italia. The results indicate a growing tendency in terms of visitor overnight, with a 7.1% increase in arrivals and a 7% increase in overnight spending. “We are satisfied with this increase in arrivals and overnights” explained Councillor Thomas Widmann., but if we want to continue this positive trend in the next winter season as well, we must realise that tourists who come to Alto Adige during this period of the year are not just interested in skiing. Beyond the trails the region must be able to guarantee an increasingly rich offer: including cultural activities, excursions, guided visits and shopping “. Bolzano nestled in a valley sourrounded by rolling hills is delightful all year around and is the gateway to the famous Dolomites. The region is frequented year around by mountian climbers, hikers, lovers of flowering Alpine medows and quaint villages.

Gardaland at Lake Garda Italy

Gardaland, Italy’s number one most popular amusement park on the eastern shore of Lake Garda is opening its 23rd year. This year the third most popular theme part in Europe is welcoming visitors with new attractions. “Mammut”, which has just opened, is a ride that spreads out over 5,000 square metres, over a route of approximately 4 minutes, with 16 sudden changes in direction and drops up to 48%: it is the largest family roller coaster in Italy. For 2008 the show Hollywood Dreams will also been shown at the Gardaland Theatre. The growth of Gardaland has been exponential: with 3 million visitors per year it is becoming an increasingly popular tourism destination point. Lake Garda is the warmest of the beautiful Italian lakes and it is the most popular among excursioners ond weekend holiday seekers

Mass Tourism Reaching Sicily

Historic Sicily’s charm is gone. The British Mass tourism giant , Thomas Cook recently purchased the hotel chain Hotels4U with the purpose of turning historic Sicily into a mass tourism site with air and land packages sold to British citizens. The largest British tour conglomerate announced an increase in its presence on the island after having made agreements with 15 Sicilian accommodation structures. According to the ICE office in Palermo, the priority objective is expanding the network of hotels on the largest island in the Mediterranean.

With an aching heart we say goodbye to ambiance, quaintness, and cultural tourism in one of the last unspoiled corners of Italy!

Mass Tourism in Cinque Terre

Liguria is getting more and more popular among mass market cruise passengers of mediocre cruise ships offering “6 country experience in 5 days” along Meditterranean ports. According to statistics of the region of Liguria, these intellectually less demanding tourists who embark or disembark in Genoa, are increasingly interested in staying in the Liguria area for an extra few nights. Cruise passengers are half of all toursist who visit the region and due to their increasing numbers, the region has to update its scarce accommodation facilities. The number of cruise passengers in transit in Liguria is having an increasingly significant impact on the economy of the territory. For this reason the Region has launched a series of collaborative relationships with some cruise companies that operate in the various Ligurian ports. In 2007 more than 1,400,000 cruise passengers were registered in the region with most overnights in Genoa, La Spezia, Portofino and Savona. Is Cinque Terre ready for mass tourism?

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.