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Italy Now

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

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Italy Now

Table of Contents ITPC Tips Vacation Secrets revealed by the pros

Italy, a Unique Experience

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Discover Abruzzo Letter of Presentation Magical Abruzzo The Green face of Abruzzo Sea and Ski Abruzzo: A Land to Eat Abruzzo: A land to Celebrate

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Travel Planner Italy in a Nutshell Transportation City Cards Currency Communications Accommodations At the Restaurant Food & Wine For Shoppers Only Arts & Entertainment For the Gambler The Great Outdoors Just for Kids National Holidays and Festivals Religion Useful Addresses Useful Words

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Dear Traveler, Thank you for choosing Italy as your travel destination! Italy in general is known as the country of “Life & Style”, of art and culture, of good food and fashion, and it is the ideal place to spend your vacation: our country offers something special to each of its visitors and is a spectacular destination for all types of travelers. For a vacation full of art and history, come walk into the past by way of Italy’s countless museums, historic monuments and archeological treasures. Marvel in the midst of exquisite paintings and sculptures, explore the sites that antiquity preserved for the modern day and travel back in time envisioning yourself during the age of the Ancient Romans or the birth of Renaissance, just to name a few. For an outdoor vacation, come find adventure by skiing the thrilling mountain slopes or by hiking or biking through an endless horizon of rolling hills and valleys. Come find peace and relaxation from our tranquil seas and lakes and also from our many spas. If a culinary vacation is what you crave, each corner of Italy tempts you with its delicious foods and fantastic wines, appealing to every palate. Come discover what travelers are enjoying more and more: our quaint and charming art towns and villages, where history and tradition remain intact, where the residents are friendly, where home-cooking reigns supreme and where you can purchase typical regional products at reasonable prices. We invite you to begin your journey to Italy through the pages of this informative booklet which will serve as a reference guide to planning the perfect trip. We extend to you our warmest welcome in Italy and will do our very best to make your visit an unforgettable one. Have a wonderful time and pleasant stay!

Riccardo Strano Director Italian Government Tourist Board North America

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The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Italy Now

Italy Now is published by ITPC Italian Travel Promotion Council Chairman Mauro Galli

The Mark of Quality and Reliability Offering peerless experience, dedication and knowledge, Italian Travel Promotion Council (ITPC) member companies represent the top echelon of US Tour Operators promoting a vacation to Italy. Consulting an ITPC professional can turn the ordinary trip into a vacation of a lifetime. ITPC member companies cover the full spectrum of itineraries. You can choose from escorted tours, independent hotel arrangements, sightseeing, villa and apartment rentals, pilgrimage tours, cooking schools, food and wine tours, car rentals, walking, hiking or biking tours, art and music programs, private limousine and a lot more. ITPC members are the undisputed experts for all the aspects of travel to Italy. To better assist you in planning your vacation our members offer an ideal combination of cutting edge technology for fast Web access, together with friendly and responsive office and professional call centers located throughout the United States. Whether traveling with a budget or ”the sky is the limit”, ITPC members are committed to satisfying each traveler’s needs with the utmost dedication and care. Costumer service and satisfaction is a primary goal of the organization. Member Company is chosen on the basis of their longstanding professionalism and service to the travel industry. Qualifications are regularly reviewed and all members must abide by the association’s strict code of ethics. ITPC members are always looking to extend their programs to give the ever more sophisticated American travelers a full range of experience. Therefore this year a new region “ABRUZZO” is being presented as a destination full of natural beauty, food and wine, delicious traditions, enchanting villages and folklore, art and architecture, and above all, authentic and friendly inhabitants which will make your vacation full of emotions. Please use this guide to further whet you appetite for Italy, then call your Travel Agent or a member company for additional information. You will find a directory of ITPC Members in the ITPC Tips section. As always. The ITPC is committed to giving you, the American traveler, the best possible travel experience to Italy. Buon Viaggio Sincerely,

and under the auspices of The Italian Governament Tourism Board of North America Director Mr. Riccardo Strano Produced by Market Gates LLC Publisher Amedeo Angiolillo Executive Editor Natasha Lardera Proofreaders Patrick Clark, Marta Mondelli Special thanks to Mario Scalzi for the editorial advice

Mauro F. Galli ITPC Chairman

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

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Discover Italy by Driving Through it “The best way to see Italy and enjoy its majestic scenery is by driving through it,” says Caroline Healy Estes, Confirmations Supervisor of Auto Europe. Indeed, traveling by train prevents travelers from visiting many of the more suggestive corners of Italy, as trains often go through industrial areas. “Driving from Genoa to Cinque Terre, I am able to stop in Chiavari at a lovely restaurant where I enjoy having lunch,” Caroline continues. “I wouldn’t be able to do that if I went there by train.” Glimpses of Rome slip in and out as you drive along the windy road taking you there from the airport. As you come around the Giuseppe Garibaldi statue on the Passeggiata del Gianicolo and continue across and down the Gianicolo Hill, you see Anita Garibaldi on a rearing horse with a baby in one arm and a pistol in the other. If you come into Rome from the airport by bus or the new intercity train, you miss the beauty of discovering the Eternal City glimpse by glimpse. “General belief is that driving in Italy is rather difficult, but driving along the Autostrada is like driving on American highways,” Caroline explains. “A car is not needed for driving in the city, but for moving from one city to another, it is the best means of transportation.” And getting lost is not always a bad thing – new treasures unmarked on the map can be found just by accident. With a car, you can stop anywhere and discover at your own pace.

CONTACT INFORMATION Call 1-800-223-5555 or visit www.autoeurope.com

Company Profile For more than 50 years, Auto Europe has been the leader in worldwide car rental, chauffeur drive, prestige autos, and sports car rentals.

features more than 30,000 hot els worldwide, business class air packages, coach air and many fly and drive programs.

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Photo courtesy of Davide Vagni.

Its Destination Europe division

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Italy Now

The Italian Mountains – High-Altitude Snow Deserts “Italy is the only Alpine country to encompass the entire Alpine Arc. Together with the 1400kilometer sweep of the Apennines, the Alps make Italy a prime winter sport destination with over 400 resorts, including Cortina d’Ampezzo, Sestriere, Cervinia, Madonna di Campiglio, and Courmayeur,” says April Bargout of BellaVista Tours. “People don’t enjoy the Italian mountains enough.” The region of Aosta is the most mountainous. It is dominated by snowy peaks, glaciers, valley streams, pine forests, and high pasture lands, and is accessed by tunnels at the historic passes of Monte Bianco and Gran San Bernardo. The region, which recognizes both Italian and French as its native tongues, hosts the grand Gran Paradiso National Park, located in the valleys of Cogne, Valsavarenche, and Rhemes. The park is a treasure chest of beautiful vegetation: chestnuts, oaks, and fir trees, as well as wildlife: royal owls, woodpeckers and the alpine finch. “Diverse cultures and languages are characteristic of an area that many don’t actually know,” April continues. “It’s called South Tyrol, where Italian and German lifestyles co-exist. A dramatic Alpine province, rich in rivers and lakes, clusters of mountains and valleys, it is ruled by the mountains themselves.” The height of the peaks ensures year-round sports from skiing and hiking to more extreme activities such as rock climbing, hang-gliding and rafting. For those who enjoy more tranquil activities, it’s always fun to go mushroom or chestnut hunting in the fall. Abruzzo embraces the highest massifs of central Italy, with peaks that are often higher than 2,000 meters, and snow-blanched valleys. It hosts the National Park of Abruzzo, home to species like the Marsican Bear and the Grey Wolf. “Abruzzo is an easy destination,” April concludes, “as it is so close to Rome. So after a few days of sightseeing in the city it’s easy to reach the mountains for a few days of pure fun!”

CONTACT INFORMATION BellaVista Tours 7 Marshall Street Boston, MA 02108

Tel: 617-723-0802 Tel: 877-723-0802 (toll free) Fax: 617-723-0803 Email: info@bellavistatours.com www.bellavistatours.com

Company Profile BellaVista Tours specializes in group and individual travel arrangements to Italy and the Mediterranean, including escorted and semi-escorted tours and independent excursions. Having a thorough knowledge of the destinations and a willingness to provide clients with personalized service, BellaVista Tours arranges any desired itinerary, from budget to deluxe, including the following services: Hotel accommodations throughout all regions of Italy Sightseeing – including private guides if desired Transfers Car rentals Villa rentals Train tickets and rail passes – BellaVista Tours is an authorized U.S. sales agent for Trenitalia Land-only arrangements or with-air service from major U.S. gateway cities to Italy and beyond. Your travel agent can contact us on your behalf to coordinate all the little details so that you will enjoy your time in Italy. Come and experience the world BellaVista style!

Photo courtesy of Valtellina Tourist Office.

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Family Bonding “I have three kids,” explains Carol Dimopoulos of Celtic Tours, “and we are always looking for places to travel together. Two years ago we went to Italy and it welcomed us with open arms. I think it is the most child-friendly country in the world, everybody is so warm, and they love to see families traveling together. They all talk to the kids, explaining their culture, making them laugh, treating them as real people, not just little children. When eating in a restaurant the kids are the focus of the meal, the waiter asks them what they want, or suggests something special to try and enjoy all together…so even a simple meal becomes a wonderful family experience that brings us all together.” Once of Carol’s best experiences in Italy was a cooking class taken during a family stay in a Tuscan villa. “It was just special to be cooking all together; the teacher spoke no English, so we had an interpreter. We didn’t simply cook but we really bonded, we all worked as a team in preparing the delicious food that we later enjoyed together. We tried things we would have never tasted before, such as tripe, and my middle daughter wants to become a chef now. Now everywhere we go we book a cooking class.” Everywhere you turn, Italy unveils something new that to a child becomes a unique and memorable experience. “We sat in a chair where the Pope sat in the 14th century,” Carol continues. “My kids saw a blood orange for the first time and initially they thought the orange had gone bad. Dogs have a certain class and respect for their owners; my youngest child thought that all Italian dogs are former Emperors. Italy stimulates children’s curiosity, their creativity, and really brings you together.”

CONTACT INFORMATION Tel. 800-833-4373 www.celtictours.com

Company Profile Celtic Tours has a rich history of presenting a unique collection of Italian vacations for individual and group travel. Imagine a dream vacation at

vate chauffeur or rail tour or our “Treasures of Italy.”

Specialists in

family vacations. Let us help you realize your Italian dream vacation!

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Photo courtesy of Ella Studio.

an Italian Villa, the “Sicilian Sun,” a pri-

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


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Italy Now

Romantic Italy “More than any other country, Italy offers couples and honeymooners the romantic experience of a lifetime,” says Tom Paris of Club ABC. “Italy has a certain zest and enthusiasm for life shown in its beautiful and poetic landscape and in its daily routine. The best memories one makes there aren’t the big things, but the small intimate moments, like sharing a glass of wine, a breathtaking view, or a walk down Medieval streets,” he continues. Indeed, Italy’s most romantic spots are favored by many as destinations for happy couples who want to make amazing memories. The rolling Tuscan hills, a gondola in Venice, a Renaissance villa in Florence, stunning historic properties, the finest foods and wines and an eye for the smallest things in life make of Italy the best dream brought to life. Romantic Italy beckons lovers of all ages to its magical countryside, but even cities are great destinations. “The Amalfi Coast is a popular honeymoon destination in Italy,” Tom explains. “The views are spectacular, and the hotels are first-rate. The pace of life is slower than in the cities; you can breakfast on a hotel balcony overlooking the sea, or take a leisurely boat trip along the dramatic coastline. Ravello, above Amalfi, is a quiet and romantic location, with beautiful gardens where you can enjoy evening concerts in the summer. The Isle of Capri is a stylish destination that was in vogue even in ancient times; you can stroll, go shopping and simply enjoy being kissed by the sun.” When speaking of romance, we cannot ignore Venice, la Serenissima, Italy’s floating jewel, the destination that comes closest to an incarnation of Romance. It may be a cliché, but few could resist the romantic appeal of a midnight gondola ride, or a wander hand-in-hand over the Bridge of Sighs.

CONTACT INFORMATION 888-TOURS-ABC (868-7722) www.clubabc.com

Company Profile CLUB ABC TOURS® is one of the most successful private travel clubs of its kind in the U.S. Members of the club are world travelers and enjoy the breadth of programs that span 125 cities in 30 countries on six continents. Photo courtesy of Ella Studio.

Since 1966, Club ABC Tours has been offering outstanding vacation values on fully-escorted tours to go-on-your-own packages and cruises. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

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A Toast to Italian Wines

Company Profile Founded in 1994, Distinctive Journeys International (DJI) is a full-service tour

“Experts increasingly rate Italy’s premier wines among the world’s finest, and Distinctive Journeys’ main goal is to provide Italy’s best to our clients,” Anna Pappas-Carroll explains. Many of the noblest wines originate in the more than 300 zones officially classified as DOC or DOCG, and more recently, in areas recognized for typical regional wines under IGT. But a number of special wines carry their own proudly individual identities. Wine drinkers abroad, not always aware of the wealth of types, have not always taken advantage of this unmatchable variety. “My favorite wines are the ones from Veneto,” Anna continues, “they are light and crisp, always enjoyable.” Veneto produces Recioto di Soave DOCG. It is yellow-gold in color with a complex aroma reminiscent of acacia honey with a flowery scent and a well-balanced, fullbodied, and velvety bouquet. It is best served with sweets and dry pastries, but it is also very good served with ripe cheeses. Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC is a refreshing sparkling wine made primarily near the town of Conegliano. Prosecco is the name of the grape that is used to make this sparkling wine and many of the best examples are 100% Prosecco. It has a straw color and small bubbles, a touch of pear and melon in the aroma, a crisp and clean flavor with nice acidity, and has a refreshing dry finish. For lovers of reds, Amarone della Valpollicella DOC is one of those special wines that deserves super-premium qualification. It is velvety, round and soft, well balanced and full of character, while Bardolino DOCG is a pleasant red that graces many Venetian tables. “One of the joys of Italian wine is the endless variety of styles from region to region, so in order to find your favorites it’s advisable to travel a lot.”

operator specializing in deluxe, custom-designed travel for individuals, small groups, and incentives to international destinations. DJI offers a full range of travel services for the discerning traveler as well as personalized documentation including descriptive

CONTACT NFORMATION Tel . 800.922.2060 www.distinctivejourneys.com

itineraries with restaurant recommendations, sightseeing suggestions, driving directions, shopping tips, maps, and other details! The team at DJI is professional, personable, and extreme-

in service and reliability. We look forward to helping you with every step of your trip, from initial planning until your return home.

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Photo courtesy of City of Turin.

ly well traveled, and offers the utmost

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Italy Now

A Land for all Seasons “I’ve had the opportunity to go to almost all areas of Italy,” Kit Burns of Doorways Ltd. says, “and every time I go back I find something that is more beautiful. I got into the travel business simply because I fell in love with it. I left from Chicago where it was snowing and I went to a villa in Tuscany. I opened the window and saw the rolling hills outside…from that moment on I was hooked.” Italy offers different landscapes of unique and intense beauty – from the coexistence of sea and mountains in Abruzzo, to the dry and western look of Maremma. “Southeastern Tuscany remains my favorite,” Kit continues, “the scenery is dramatic but in a peaceful way. Looking at the hills is like looking at waves of different colors that are restful to the eye and refreshing to the spirit.” Each season has something unique to offer. Italy blossoms during the summer, beaches come alive, and you can choose between Rimni and Riccione if you are up to partying, or Sardinia and Sicily for diving and sailing. In the springtime nature bursts with fragrances and colors. The time is ideal to explore art cities or simply sit at a café reading the paper. September marks the breaking of the heat and the return from the holidays. Cities become more vibrant and the countryside blossoms with activities, from grape and olive picking to truffle and mushroom hunting. In the winter, the Alps, the Apennines, and the Dolomites become a real white wonderland for skiers.

CONTACT INFORMATION 800-261-4460 www.villavacations.com

Company Profile Doorways, Ltd, Italian Villa Vacations, offers exquisite villas for vacations in Italy. Choose your dream property from a carefully vetted quality selection to ensure a wonderful experience.

• 300 premier villas, castles, cottages and city apartments

• 125 air-conditioned properties • Professional and experienced staff • Extra attention for families • Special services in the villa (staff, chef, cooking classes) Photo courtesy of Regione Toscana.

• Weddings and honeymoons, special interest groups

• Travel tips, restaurant guides, day trip guides

• Quarterly Newsletter The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

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Natural Therapy Italy is not perceived by many as the ideal destination for nature travel, but Rebekah Cain of European Incoming Services is here to convince us otherwise. “Italy has a lot to offer,” she says, “on many different levels. First wildlife – The Natural Parks of Basilicata and Calabria welcome wolves and in the National Park of Abruzzo wolves coexist peacefully with bears. In the park of Adamello Brenta, brown bears were extinct but were reintroduced by bringing bears from Slovenia, animals with very similar characteristics.” Rebekah continues to explain that the country offers world-class bird watching, as it is on the migration path from north to south. The best spots are in the swamps of Tuscany, at the Po river delta, and in Sardinia. There are places where ancient human settlements were reclaimed by nature, and people live in a symbiotic relationship with nature. In Matera, for example, people settled in caves, homes that look really primitive from the outside but inside have running water and electricity. “The Alps should be explored more by international tourists,” she adds. “They are the home of the via ferrata, a mountain route which is equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. Volcanoes aren’t only majestic and beautiful but are home to natural spas, places to go for therapeutic and pampering reasons.” The Terme di Saturnia are sulphuric thermal baths that for centuries, since the time of the Etruscans, have welcomed to their warm waters people in need to heal their body and mind. Saturnia stands high up on a plateau in the Albenga valley in Tuscany, where it dominates the magical tufa-dotted landscape inland from Grosseto. “These are all different twists on how important nature is in Italy,” Rebekah concludes, “great food and wine are added as a complement.”

CONTACT INFORMATION EIS-European Incoming Services 42 Chauncy Street, Ste. 10 Boston, MA 02111 Toll Free: 800-443-1644 Telephone: 617-227-2910 Fax: 617-227-7251 info@eistoeurope.com www.eistours.com

Company Profile For over 25 years, European Incoming Services (EIS) has specialized in customized travel in the Mediterranean and beyond. We focus

striving to make every trip exceed expectations, help each passenger fall in love with travel and turn the average tour into a glorious event.

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Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

on customization through knowledge,

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Italy Now

Exploring Regional Diversity “Italy has something for everyone…that’s my statement,” says Sandy Cutrone, president of European Connection. “What makes Italian culture and way of life unique is that each region has its own identity and people are eager to share it with you.” Italy’s regions are indeed a symphony of breathtaking contrasts, not only for their diverse landscapes but for the transcendent treasures that they each own. From Lombardy’s rolling plains to the lush Po Delta in Emilia Romagna, to the magnificent Roman ruins preserved at Pompeii, there is always something different to see, to taste, to listen to, to buy, and so on. “Indeed, each region has its own culinary treasure,” Sandy continues, “a signature dish, a particular wine and product, gifts of nature and core of traditions.” Most Italians still live in their town of origin and feel far more strongly about their local area than they do about Italy in general. Tell them how beautiful their town, lake, village, or church is — and possibly add how much you prefer it to Rome, Milan, or another Italian town, and you have made a new friend. The atmosphere is different from place to place. “In Viareggio, elegant and refined Viareggio, one of the most famous coast resorts in Versilia and a tourist destination known all over the world, I get the feeling of being in a Fellini movie, while complete euphoria hits Ivrea during its carnival,” Sandy adds. “This is one of Italy’s most spectacular thanks to one enterprising ingredient, the Battle of the Oranges.” The city’s squares are turned into battle grounds between nine competing teams and 3,000 people…and oranges literally fly. All this diversity makes Italy a favored destination for American travelers, who have had a long-term love affair with it and who keep returning year after year.

CONTACT INFORMATION 800-345-4679 or 516-625-1800 – info@europeanconnection.com www.europeanconnection.com

Company Profile Our award-winning team of Italy Experts will customize your dream trip to Italy from itinerary planning, hotel selection, transportation needs, sightseeing, cooking classes, wine tastings and very special experiences that will make for a most memorable trip.

• Wide selection of contracted hotels from top deluxe to charming country inns

• Rail passes, individual tickets and seat reservations

• Private sightseeing with our excellent local guides

• Shore excursions from all ports • Chauffeur driven and coach services throughout Photo courtesy of City of Viareggio.

• Cooking classes, wine tastings, and

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

special experiences

• Family travel specialists with customized, unique child-friendly discovery tours

• Incentive Travel and Meeting Planning experts.

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Savoring Italy’s Culinary Bounty “As on most of the Christmas Holidays, I go back to Milan to spend time with my family. No matter how the flight goes, the first thing that comes to my mind as soon as I get into the Milan train station is to head, without any further delay, to my own personal center of the Universe, my Greenwich point: “Luini”!, maker of the best Panzerotti in the whole wide world. A Panzerotti, for some of you that might ask, is a light fried dough stuffed with a fresh mozzarella ball, sweet tomato sauce, and bits of prosciutto…heaven on earth.” The person speaking is Yan Moati of Europe at Cost Tours. Today Italian cuisine is highly cherished around the world. Tucked away in a dark alley, between the Duomo and the Galleria, and right after the Rinascente (Italy’s Saks Fifth), you’ll find this culinary temple, where Luini’s family has made the best of the best since the early 50’s. Sicilian immigrants to Milan, they epitomize what is Italy’s economical paradox in strengths and weaknesses: The “mama!” is still at the store 24/7, registering every sale, the daughter at the counter, the father and son in the kitchen. They’ve been at it for 50 years and through several generations. “So here I am, at Milan’s best kept secret, with my oversize bag that occasionally bumps into the customers who wait in line. In Italy, as in most Southern European countries, the concept of personal space is completely foreign. Especially if the goal is to catch the latest batch of oven warm Panzerotti!,” adds Yan. “I was amused to see this hoard of pushy, sophisticated, and decked-out Milanese, giving you strange looks because you’re in jeans and a simple black jacket (a classic NY look), while they all dress like peacocks, still pushing as if you were in a crowded market in Bombay! That, for me, is Italy: Good food, good looks, and stunningly open and funny people that, at a drop of a magician’s hat, make you feel at ease and as if you’ve been friends for life!”

Company Profile

CONTACT INFORMATION EAC - EUROPE AT COST 315, Fifth Avenue, Suite 603 New York, NY 10016 Tel: 800-322-3876 Fax: 212-532-8439 www.europeatcost.com

Founded in 1966, EAC, Europe at Cost©, is one of the oldest leading tour operators to Italy for groups and independent travel, specializing solely in customized ground service arrangements in Italy and Europe. With American offices in New York

offices in Milan, Rome, Nice, and Madrid, they will cover all your needs in Europe!

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Photo courtesy of Barilla.

City and Washington, and European

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Italy Now

Remains to be Seen: the History of Italy “Having been a history buff all of my life, my first trip to Italy was spent in total awe! There is so much history to be found in Italy, and the pure thrill of walking through the ruins of the Forum, the Colosseum, and the Pantheon in Rome cannot even be described.” The person speaking is Sherry Stebbeds of Experience Italy, specialists on travel to Italy. Rome’s greatest amphitheater, the Colosseum, is capable of seating 55,000 spectators. It was used for deadly gladiator combats and ferocious animal fights staged by the emperors and wealthy citizens. The Pantheon is a circular temple, built in 27 B.C., dedicated to all the gods. It is Rome’s most wellpreserved ancient building. “To see and understand the engineering challenges that they faced and the buildings that are still standing centuries later is amazing. Of course there is history throughout the entire country, not just Rome,” Sherry continues. “The ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum (destroyed by Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.), Ostia Antica (a thriving port on the Tiber river), Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples (majestic Greek structures dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries B.C.), and Siracusa, just to name a few. You can spend days just visiting churches and monuments, not to mention museums and art galleries. It is truly a thrill to be standing in the very places you have read about in the history books.” More historic ruins to be seen are Metapontum, an ancient city on the Gulf of Taranto settled by the Greeks around 700 B.C.; Segesta, the first Trojan colony in northwest Sicily; and Matera and its Sassi, an intricate labyrinth of ancient rock dwellings.

CONTACT INFORMATION www.experienceitaly.com

Company Profile Experience Italy caters to discriminating travelers who want to experience the country in a memorable way, whether visiting Italy for business or pleasure. Offering a variety of specialized destinations and customized tours for groups and individuals, Experience Italy provides an expertise based on first-hand experience with the country. All recommended accommodations are personally reviewed, and tour companies and guides are chosen for their knowledge and command of the English language. Specialties: General interest and custom travel to Italy featuring village

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

folklore festivals, tours ranging from

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

wine and cooking to opera, fashion and spa packages. Accommodations include unique historic inns dating to the 12th century and the most centrally located hotels in the major Italian cities.

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Travel the Land of Faith Religious, or faith-based, travel is going big time. Although most trips are still organized by churches and other religious groups, large tour operators and agencies are entering this niche market. Globus is one of them. According to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, overseas religious and pilgrimage travel attract more than 600,000 American participants a year. From magnificent cathedrals to modest rural chapels, each house of worship in Italy comprises a work of art testifying to the labor, artistry, and devotion of its creators. Thus Italy is a favored destination by travelers, “the Vatican being the most sought after one,” explains Sharon Symons of Globus. “People often request a papal audience and we are happy to accommodate them.” General audiences with the Pope are usually held on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. in Vatican City. They may be inside the basilica itself or in the hall of the Papal Audiences. “Today people need the feeling of safety and trust that they get through spirituality and it is reinforced during their visits in these places of worship,” Sharon continues. “There is such an amazing aura inside Assisi’s cathedral…of peace and love. Despite the catastrophe it went through, it still stands strong.” On September 26, 1997, Assisi was struck by an earthquake. The Basilica was badly damaged and underwent two years of restorations. The lower church has frescos by renowned late-medieval artists Cimabue and Giotto; in the upper church are frescos of scenes in the life of St. Francis by Giotto and his circle. Contrary to common belief, most religions are represented in Italy, from Protestant to Jewish, Anglican and Baptist.

CONTACT INFORMATION Toll-free: 866-755-8581; www.globusfamily.com

Company Profile The Globus family of brands consists of five brands, Globus, Brennan, Cosmos, Monograms and Avalon, and makes up the largest escorted

With an impressive portfolio of nearly 350 vacations to more than 60 countries on six continents, no one knows the world better.

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Photo courtesy of City of Assisi.

travel company in the world.

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Italy Now

The Charm of Italian Nightlife Chatting with Mr. Marc Kazlauskas of Insight Vacations, we agree that nightlife in Italy can be quite different from any other place in the world. Cafés are dotted by people of all age groups, old and young, families and singles, and sometimes even minor children with their parents. Of course all cafés serve alcoholic drinks, but no one actually gets really drunk. Instead, what you’ll find is that people stand around chatting, sometimes nursing the same glass of wine or beer for hours. Nightclubs, restaurants and dancing spots can be found in most of the cities and tourist centers. The restaurants and coffee shops invariably have tables outside, a way to enjoy the colorful street theatre and the wonderful Italian weather. An important part of an Italian’s social life involves meeting up for an aperitivo in the evening after work. Many bars put on a buffet style dinner, an aperitf whereby you pay around 5-6 Euros and you eat as much as you want. “Aperitivi” are usually put on between 6 and 8 p.m. and are becoming more and more sophisticated with people even going home first to get a bit more dressed up! Nowhere on earth are the performing arts celebrated so much as in Italy, so there is always something to see. If your forte is something a little more cultural, Milan has more than enough theatres and cinemas to meet your needs. With a rich history of fine plays, musicals, and motion pictures, nightlife makes Milan a city ablaze with possibilities. For more of the fun and excitement that Italy nightlife offers, try some of the nightclubs that Rome has to offer. While being one of the top destinations for travelers in the world, Rome is a sea of Italian nightlife activity. And you will be surprised that some of the smaller towns have the best spots, places where people drive for miles and miles just to go and have fun.

Company Profile Insight Vacations is the market leader of premium escorted tours to Europe, CONTACT INFORMATION 555 Theodore Fremd Avenue Suite C204 Rye, NY 10580 Reservations 888-680-1241 www.insightvacations.com

USA, Canada, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Insight has built an enviable reputation by providing our guests with business class style comfort through twice as much leg room than on an ordinary touring coaches, smaller group sizes

Photo courtesy of City of Turin.

(a maximum of 40), more included

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

extras, and quality hotels in desirable locations. Insight Vacations is proud to boast a 99% customer recommendation rating

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The Fascination of Getting Lost In the film Under the Tuscan Sun, Diane Lane, a 35-year-old San Francisco writer whose perfect life has just taken an unexpected detour, and who is affected by writer’s block, buys a villa in Tuscany and finds love. It was a huge hit in the US; in the eyes of American women Italian men became even more attractive thanks to the charm and looks of Raoul Bova. Talking to Karen Herbst, President of the International Kitchen, we agreed that Italy is just a great place for solo women travelers. The very idea of it can spark thoughts of romance and passion. Italy is a small country, so it’s easy to get around. Despite the rumors of strikes and delays, the train system is really good, taking you everywhere for a very good fare. If someone has large luggage they may run into some issues, but traveling is not an issue at all. “Plus, Italian people are so friendly and willing to help, especially if you are a woman traveling solo,” Karen adds, “and we must say that yes, Italian men have the reputation of being charming and irresistible – but that’s what 99% of traveling women wish. They have a romanticized image of Italian men and that’s part of the appeal of going to Italy. The only advice is not to take them too seriously or you will get disappointed!” Being there is a cultural experience, as much as going to learn how to cook an Italian meal. You never eat alone in Italy; it’s an important social event. Then you can roam the city alone; even the big ones are easy to navigate. Rome needs to be figured out, and once you understand that it’s divided into parts you can tour it without any missteps. “My favorite city is Venice.” Karen admits. “It is a place where it’s actually recommended to get lost, no matter where you go you will always find something beautiful.” Or even an attractive personal tour guide!

CONTACT INFORMATION www.theinternationalkitchen.com info@theinternationalkitchen.com 1-800-945-8606

Company Profile Thirteen years ago The International Kitchen pioneered the “cooking school vacation” concept. Today, we are the premier culinary travel company for Italy, France, and Spain, offering 90 program choices and many daily

unique experience: hands-on cooking classes, charming properties, meals, wine and olive oil tastings, excursions and much more.

16

Photo courtesy of Ella Studio.

options. Join us for an authentic and

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


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Italy Now

Fun Things to Do with Your Kids Every year, groups of families head off to Italy for travel and fun programs for all. Indeed the country offers many points of interest for everyone, from big cities to small towns. “Italy has about 4,000 kilometers of beaches,” Gianni Miradoli, Senior Executive VP of Maiellano explains. “Some are not as well known as others, but they all are ideal spots for a fun vacation together.” Although being on the beach can be a lot of fun, there are other places that can be enjoyed with your kids. A good alternative, for example, are agriturismos, farm holidays where the smaller ones can play with animals, enjoy nature’s gifts, eat healthy and fresh food, and just breathe in unpolluted air. “Well, kids who are into history and adventure,” Mr. Miradoli continues, “definitely find in Italy the perfect destination as there are so many places that will literally make you travel back in time. Sicily is rich in these archeological sites, such as Segesta and Selinunte. There is a small island by the name of Mozia located between Trapani and Marsala. The island is linked to the mainland by an underwater road that is still there.” Mozia was once the home of a Phoenician colony and nowadays is owned and operated by a foundation established by the American winemaking Whitaker family. It has a remarkable museum and the ruins of an equally remarkable civilization, complete with a harbor and cemetery. But there is much more – from the fun parks of Gardaland and Collodi, to marvelous caves for young and older explorers, and National Parks where nature can be enjoyed at its best.

CONTACT INFORMATION Maiellano Auto International Company of Central Holidays Travel Group Tel.: 201-228-5299 Fax.: 201-228-5298 Toll free: 800-223-1616 www.maiellano.com

Company Profile Since 1969, Maiellano’s rental car and fly/drive programs to Italy have been bestsellers among clients looking for independent packages at value prices. Whether you prefer a bargain car

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

rental or deluxe limousine service, a quaint villa rental or a full-service hotel, our experienced staff has the knowledge and ability to accommodate every desire. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

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Italy Now

ITPC Secrets

What Do You Love Most About Italy? The people! By all means, the people. “When we stop to look at present day Italians, their amazing heritage is openly visible on their faces,” says Mario Scalzi, President of Parker Villas. “While Italy is nowadays officially one country, it still remains an ancient melting pot of competing city states and tiny principalities inhabited by a mix of people whose origins are lost in the mist of time. First and foremost among them, the Abruzzesi stun us with physical good looks, dark hair, and light eyes. They are perhaps the friendliest, most generous people on the peninsula. At first encounter they are filled with questions that often lead to laughter and kinship regardless of the language barrier you may pose. The fun-loving Romans live next door to the Abruzzesi and are the descendants of an empire. Nothing you can say or do shocks this jovial bunch; after all, they ruled the world, have seen it all, and tomorrow is another day. In Naples, everyone seems to be related to one another, so its no mystery that on arrival they strive to make a connection, however fanciful, that will make you part of their family. The dark complected, island dwelling Sicilians, sprinkled with six-foot tall Norman-era redheads, seem the most respectful lot on earth. This may be due to Sicily being the most invaded place in Europe, or maybe it stems from having to deal with Homer’s Cyclops, Vulcan’s Forge buried deep within Mt. Etna, or the host of other deities that long ago called this Garden of Eden home — it makes good sense never to anger the gods. Sicilians also resemble their wines. Like a Marsala, they are filled with sweetness and warmth. All the way north, at the foot of the Alps, are the Piemontesi. Just like their wines — Barolo, the king of wines and the wine of kings — they are big, robust and intense. Give them time to open up and the effects are worth the wait. The Tuscans, on the other hand, are the marketeers of Italy. They are both famous and complex. Like their Super Tuscan wines, each one holding a secret variety of grapes, it is often impossible to know what brews behind those intelligent Tuscan eyes until you really get to know them. Speaking of Tuscans, go to Voltera and walk along the 3000 year old walls of the city filled with carvings of angular Etruscan faces whose ears, like those of Spock on Star Trek, seem a bit too pointy. Now look at some of the people walking by… Observing and getting to know today’s Italians will add untold dimension to all the monuments, art, and architecture of those who have preceded them. Combine this with their food, wine, and love of life, and you may never leave.

Company Profile Founded in 1993, Parker Villas has raised the standards of the villa rental industry year after year. Returning guests cite unparalleled dedication to customer satisfaction, detailed and accurate descriptions and photography, the ground support through Parker’s offices

rates as their top reasons for coming back and selecting from Parker’s exclusive collection of homes, villas,and apartments for rent throughout Italy.

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Photo courtesy of Parker Villas.

in Genova, and affordable weekly

CONTACT INFORMATION To obtain a free color catalog and learn more about how Parker can turn your dreams of Italy into an unforgettable experience, call 800 280 2811 or visit www.parkervillas.com

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


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Italy Now

Florence - The Art of the City Built by the Romans and immortalized by the Renaissance, Florence affords an unforgettable voyage through timeless art and architecture. From the groomed perfection of the Boboli Gardens, a famous park that is home to a distinguished collection of sculptures dating from the 16th through the 18th centuries, to the unique style of Brunelleschi’s bold, red-tiled Duomo and Giotto’s 14th-century Bell Tower in red, white and green marble, Florence is a favorite of many art lovers, and the favorite destination of Steve Perillo of Perillo Tours. “Florence is a very charming and quaint city where getting around its narrow street from Medieval times is incredibly easy. You can learn Florence in one day and never get lost,” he says, “My favorite spot is Piazzale Michelangelo, from which you can see the entire city.” Piazzale Michelangelo is on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River, designed in 1869 by Poggi. It is a very popular tourist destination as from there you can see everything, from Santa Croce and Templo Israelitico to the north, to the three bridges, Ponte Vecchio, Ponte Santa Trinita, and Ponte Alla Carraia, and down the Arno to the west. In this artistic paradise, priceless works by Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, and Da Vinci fill the Uffizi Gallery. On the Ponte Vecchio, the latest generation of craftsmen fashion unique art to wear. But in Florence art is everywhere, “even in the kitchen of Camillo Restaurant near Piazza del Duomo,” Perillo adds. “It offers all the staples of Florentine cuisine at their best – from pappa al pomodoro (bread soup), to ribollita (soup made with black-leaf kale), and crostini with liver spread.” Tuscany has other favorites of Mr. Perillo, all cities that everybody should see at least once in their lifetime – Siena and its magnificent square, Lucca and its medieval buildings, Viareggio and its fun beaches, and Montalcino, home of Brunello wine.

CONTACT INFORMATION Perillo Tours 1-800-431-1515 www.perillotours.com

Company Profile Founded in 1945, Perillo Tours is America’s largest and oldest tour company to Italy. The three-generation, family-owned company specializes in first class

Photo courtesy of Regione Toscana.

escorted tours from the Alps to Sicily,

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

from the big art cities to the quaint villages off the beaten path. Ask for our hi-definition Italy DVD and catalogue.

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Italy Now

ITPC Secrets

Small Town Wonders There is a trend among modern-day travelers to favor the smaller towns over the big cities as a destination. Out in the country, in the small towns, there is a feeling that you are eating real food, meeting real people, experiencing the “real Italy.” Truth is, nothing really makes these people more Italian than the ones who live in the big cities, but they certainly are more available. “A small town is a little microcosm,” says Huseyin Ozyurtcu, President of Picasso Travel. “Every town has its restaurant, bar, café, butcher, bakery, and so on. You will have more opportunityto chat with people for a few moments while you sip espresso or scoop up gelato.” Every small town has its own character; the towns are hidden among clumps of trees, sitting on a hilltop, or perched on the rocks. They are real life postcards of a disappearing cultural quality of life. Most hill towns have kept faithful to their original character, because their locations made it impossible for them to expand. “Greve in Chianti is one of my favorites,” Huseyin Ozyurtcu declares. “It even has a movie theater!” Greve is a town in the province of Florence, named after the small, fast-flowing river that runs through it. The Franciscan monastery is still at the heart of the old part of the city, as is the triangular main piazza, where a market has been running more or less continuously for centuries serving the nearby castle communities and hamlets. In the main piazza you will find numerous medieval buildings, small bars that serve local specialties, wine shops, and even more commercial souvenir stores. “What’s fun is that you can even see local people simply tanning while sitting in front of the bar,” Huseyin Ozyurtcu adds.

CONTACT INFORMATION www.picassotravel.net www.picassotours.com Tel. 800-995-7997

Company Profile Splendida Italia by Picasso Travel, with over 27 years of experience in European travel, offers an array of preplanned FIT itineraries, escorted tours, villa stays in beautiful Tuscany, and

lar Art Cities to the charming Amalfi Coast, we feature a wide range of properties to suit every budget, and sightseeing for every interest.

20

Photo courtesy of Natasha Lardera.

custom city packages. From the popu-

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


ITPC Secrets

Italy Now

The Living Past Few countries can claim as extensive a heritage of artistic expression as Italy. The country is a living museum whose public structures comprise vivid, visible art and architecture that stand as testament to the country’s history and culture. Unesco declared that Italy owns 60% of artistic treasures in the whole world. “When tourists travel to Italy they need to stay at least ten days to see only a fraction of what this marvelous country has to offer,” declared Mauro Galli, President of TourCrafters and of ITPC, “and they need to keep coming back. Rome, for example, has about 200 museums, the favorites of American tourists being the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. But there also are so many amazing museums that are less known. In Ferrara, the duke of Este built the Palazzo Schifanoia (the name Schifanoia is thought to originate from schivar la noia meaning literally to “escape from boredom”); this is a Renaissance palace rich with unbelievable frescos. People don’t know about it and I am sure in the U.S. they would build a Museum around it.” The Roman and Greek empires influenced early Italian design with their mighty temples and impressive amphitheaters, while Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic design later played important parts in inspiring both architects and artists in the centuries to come. “Italy has always evolved through art,” Mr. Galli continues. “What is amazing is the diversity of what you find. The architecture of Venice is different from every other city. It has its own identity and expression.” Venice is a feast of magnificent churches, lavish palazzi, and stately bridges, all built upon a labyrinth of waterways and streets that are works of art themselves. “Volterra,” Mr. Galli says, “has many Etruscan treasures that you cannot see anywhere else.” Before the days of ancient Rome’s greatness, Italy was the home of Etruscans. We know about them through their buildings, monuments, vast tombs, and the objects they left behind, notably bronze and terracotta sculptures and polychrome ceramics. We should mention military architecture, which plays an important role in the look of the Abruzzo region, home of the magnificent Borbonic fort of Civitella del Tronto. This fort was the outpost of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and it protects the ancient hill town. We could keep going forever, going back and back hundreds of times and still there will be something amazing to see.

CONTACT INFORMATION TourCrafters 1-800-621-2259 1-800-482-5995 1-847-816-6510 fax 1-847-816-6717 1-847-816-9410 E-mail info@tourcrafters.com Web tourcrafters.com

Company Profile TourCrafters, a family-owned tour operator with offices in Chicago and Rome, has been offering quality vacations to Italy and Europe for over 27 years, including independent packages, hosted and escorted tours in Italy, as well as transportation, hotel

Photo courtesy of City of Volterra.

reservations, villa and apartment rentals and more. We are specialists to Italy for both FIT and group travel. Now offering numerous private services. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

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Italy Now

ITPC Secrets

Slow Travel – Tour Italy with a Senior According to Mr. John Severini of Trafalgar Tours, Italy is the ideal destination for senior travelers who find in it a variety of destinations equally special and unique. When traveling with a senior parent, relative or friend there are some unwritten rules that should be applied: Time is relative as the pace of the vacation is dictated by physical and emotional needs. Make simple plans, such as a visit to the market, followed by a rest in a café and maybe a nap in the hotel. It’s difficult to run from one museum to another, and then go shopping downtown. Renting is the easiest bet, as in hotels you must respect a meal schedule while in your own apartment or villa you have more freedom. Renting a car makes it easier to move around, not only within the city but also if you want to take short day trips. Visits to museums and other tourist attractions must be carefully planned ahead. There may be many flights of stairs to climb to get to the exhibits. Check the websites of any museums on your list to see if there are elevators available. And private tours are preferred to group tours where keeping up with the pace may become an issue. Wheelchair accessibility is not difficult as one might expect. Sometimes things are astonishingly accessible, like the Colosseum; at other sites, the barriers are impossible to overcome, such as the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, where Bernini’s the Ecstasy of St. Theresa is located. Pack light, especially if you are staying in more than one place. In each location, find an English-speaking doctor and 24-hour pharmacy. Most of all, enjoy the beautiful sights and your time together.

Company Profile For 60 years, Trafalgar has been providing unrivalled experience in

CONTACT INFORMATION Tel. 866-544-4434 www.trafalgartours.com

hosting first class escorted vacations to the world’s favorite travel destinations – Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China and South America. Trafalgar offers fabulous sightseeing, superb first class hotels, delicious menus, luxury transportation, fascinating travel companions and the knowledge of your Tour Director. With over 60 carefully designed Italian itineraries, Photo courtesy of City of Turin.

1000s of year-round departure dates, unique touring styles to fit your travel needs, Trafalgar will turn your dream vacation into a reality. Dream. Pack. And leave the rest to us.

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The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


ITPC Secrets

Italy Now

Welcome to a Shopper’s Wonderland “There is a street in Rome, Via Cola di Rienzo, that has a store for everybody,” Barbara Crawford of Visit Italy Tours confides. “I run when I’m there so that in very little time I can find everything I need. There are stores specializing in scarves, blouses, men’s clothing, perfumes, linens, candy, flowers, and more.” That’s why Italy is a shopper’s Paradise: there is something for all tastes. For bargains it’s advisable to go in January and in July when sale season is in bloom, but everything is so beautiful in Italy that paying a little more is worth the price any time. “I realize,” Barbara continues, “that Italian fashion is two years ahead of American, so when I buy something there I can definitely wear it for more than one season here in the U.S. What’s also special about Italian clothing is the quality, which is impeccable, the out of the ordinary design, and the unique colors.” When planning your trip to Italy, set aside some time between visits to monuments and museums to do a little shopping and look for local treasures. “There is a small shop on the Rialto Bridge in Venice,” Barbara says, “where I always buy Murano jewelry, both for myself and for presents. It’s not the cheapest place, but the designs are so nice and unique that they will definitely make a strong impression.” Many towns are known for particular products. Some examples are: Como (Lombardy) for silk, Deruta (Umbria) and Faenza (Emilia-Romagna) for pottery, Empoli (Tuscany) for the production of bottles and glasses in green glass, and Prato (Tuscany) for textiles. Alghero (Sardinia) and Torre Annunziata (Campania) are centers for crafts made from coral; every town has something unique to offer.

Company Profile

CONTACT INFORMATION Tel 800 255 3535 Fax 310 649 6880 www.visititalytours.com info@visititalytours.com

Visit Italy Tours is Italy’s finest tour operator, specializing in custom designed tours for individuals and special interest groups. With offices and representatives throughout Italy, you are assured the best quality service,

Photo courtesy of Natasha Lardera.

including car rental, chauffeur driven

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

limousines, hotel accommodations, sightseeing, and special interest tours. “If you haven’t been to Italy with us, you haven’t been to Italy.”

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Italy Now

Abruzzo Ussita

Visso Sellano

Comunanza

Montefortino

Offida

Porto d’Ascoli

MARCHE

Martinsicuro

ASCOLI PICENO

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65

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175

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Z

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24

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A24

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A24

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LAZIO

Atri

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Montorio al Vomano

Pietracamela Castelli Prati di Tivo Isola d. Gr. Sasso d’l. Gra n Sa sso d’Italia CAMPO IMPERATORE

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S. Gregorio da Sassola GallicanoBOLOGNA n. Lazio

Notaresco S. CLEMENTE Villa Vomano

Campotosto

L. di Campotosto

A24

Roseto d. Abruzzi

A14

TERAMO

GRAN SASSO

Poggio Cancelli

Leonessa

Licenza

Bellante Campli

Amatrice Cittareale

Poggio Moiano

Giulianova

Imposte

DEL Ceppo

Monteleone di Spoleto

Tortoreto Lido

Civitella d. Tronto Valle Castellana

PARCO NAZ.

Cascia

Nereto S. Egidio alla Vibrata

Colle S. Marco

to

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Acquasanta Terme

Arquata d. Tronto

Serravalle Piedipaterno

S. Giovanni Reatino

Alba Adriatica

Balzo

Castel Villetta di Sangro Barrea Barrea Alfedena

S. Donato Val di Comino

LAZIO E MOLISE The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Rionero Sannitico


Abruzzo

Italy Now

M AR A DR I ATICO

silvano Marina

PESCARA Francavilla al Mare Lido Riccio

HIETI

Ortona

Tollo

A14

Marina S. Vito S. Vito Chietino

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Fossacesia Marina

Lanciano

ro ng

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Sa

Z

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O

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o

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Sin

Atessa

Casoli

S. Salvo

Casalanguida

IELLA

Bomba

L. di Bomba

Furci

Gissi S. Buono Montazzoli

Villa S. Maria

Mafalda

Pizzoferrato

gn Tri

o

Carovilli

Pescolanciano

MOL ISE

Palata

Castelmauro Guardialfiera

Lucito

Bagnoli d. Trigno Civitanova d. Sannio

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Torella d. Sannio

Major four - or two - line road

Other road Main railway lines

Larino

Civitacampomarano S. Biase

Highway with single carriageway

Minor four - or two - line road

Montefalcone n. Sannio

Bif

Carunchio Pescopennataro Castiglione S. Angelo Messer M. Tonebruna d. Pesco eta Capracotta Schiavi di Abr. Agnone Pietrabbondante Vastogirardi Forli d. S.

Montenero di Bisaccia Guglionesi

Trig no

Torricella Peligna ena

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ern o

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oro

Torino di Sangro Marina

Fossacesia

Major airport Abbey or isolated chapel

Casacalenda

Morrone Petrella d. Sannio Tifernina

Ruins or archeological site Campsite, youth hostel National or regional park Regional border Provincial border

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Italy Now

Dear American Traveler, I am here to talk about my favorite subject – my land, Abruzzo, Europe’s green heart. Only a few words are needed to describe this region, which is rightly considered a splendid national park. Nature is maybe the main wealth of a territory that even now seems to stand uncontaminated from the big and contagious industrial nightmares of urban sprawl. The landscape goes from excessive to majestic. Vast green fields are stretched out as far as the eye can see, creating a panorama that is never the same. Abruzzo is considered, in Italy and abroad, a clean and pure heaven, but most of all a livable paradise. These are the strengths of our territory and also what set it apart from the rest of the country. It goes straight to the heart with its suggestive scenery, beautiful beaches fully equipped with all comforts, a bustling day and night life that takes away the stress of the city and brings freshness and enthusiasm. Hilltops in blossom and rolling hills go as far as the rocky massif, at times severe and rugged, at times extraordinarily harmonious. In the background of this marvelous route inhabited by bears, chamois, and wolves, one can admire the picturesque lakes that reflect the outlines of mountains such as Maiella and Gran Sasso. Nature, untouched areas, and a balanced urban development represent the main appeals of this region, which is also a land of history and tradition. This is where the region’s excellence is recognized unanimously: from the uncontaminated medieval villages to the monumental complexes where you can still read the signs of a great and noble history, besides the peculiarity of the popular traditions with unique events capable of attracting the attention of the world’s greatest anthropologists. A trip through the provinces, the cities, and the ever-surprising nature is accompanied by strong sensations that will stay with you forever. Tourism and hospitality are important features of Abruzzo. With these credentials, recognized by everybody and reinforced by time, the region introduces itself to the national and international tourist market with all its charms. Only a few weeks ago, a scientific study on the region Abruzzo appeared in the international press that certified the highest approval rating among all the Italian regions. In a word, to the international press, Abruzzo is considered a top region, where it is possible to find the best conditions of restoration and hospitality. It is now on the same level as central Italian regions like Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria. All these elements make of Abruzzo the unique place that we are about to present, an authentic region, perhaps the last of the Bella Italia. Enrico Paolini Deputy Governor and Minister of Tourism of the Abruzzo Region

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The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Magical Abruzzo

Italy Now

Magical Abruzzo A great open-air museum

L’AQUILA — Built on a slope to the left of the river Aterno, L’Aquila is located on the main route between Naples and Florence, known as the Via degli Abruzzi. At the highest part of the town is the massive fortress Forte Spagnolo, erected by the Spanish viceroy Don Pedro de Toledo in 1534. It is currently home to the National Museum of Abruzzo. The Cathedral (Duomo) was built in the 13th century, but fell during the 1703 earthquake. The current façade is from the 19th century. The church of San Bernardino di Siena (1472) has a fine Renaissance façade by Nicolò Filotesio (commonly called Cola dell’Amatrice), and contains the monumental tomb of the Saint, decorated with sculptures done by Silvestro Ariscola in 1480. The town also has palaces and a museum, with a collection of Roman inscriptions and some illuminated service books. The Palazzi Dragonetti and Persichetti hold private art collections. Outside the town is the Fontana delle novantanove cannelle, a fountain with ninetynine jets distributed along three walls, constructed in 1272. The source of the fountain is still unknown. The surrounding area boasts Roman ruins (the important Roman city of Amiternum), ancient monasteries, and numerous castles. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

The combination of an outstanding natural environment and different cultures has produced a unique heritage.

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

A

remote region often overlooked by tourists, Abruzzo is a special place of spectacular natural scenery, castles and medieval villages, monasteries, and Roman ruins. Artistic crafts, pastoral traditions, and exquisite food specialties abound. Two-thirds of the land is mountainous; the rest is hills and coast. One-third of the area is designated as a national park. The region is bordered by the Marche region to the north, Lazio to the west, Molise to the south, and the Adriatic Sea to the east. The combination of an outstanding natural environment and different cultures (the Romans, the Longobards, the Normans and the Spanish all have left their mark) has produced a unique heritage made up of archeology, architecture and tradition, as illustrated by the ancient necropolises of Fossa, the Roman settlements of Alba Fucens, and Romanesque churches.

CHIETI — Chieti lies on a crest along the Pescara river with the high bell tower of San Giustino looming against the sky, just a few miles from the Adriatic Sea, with the Majella and Gran Sasso in the background. A Roman

COME TO ABRUZZO Abruzzo’s airport in Pescara currently has direct flights to and from Rome, Milan, Turin, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Toronto, and Tirana. Driving to Abruzzo is easy by taking the A14 (Bologna/Bari highway), A25 (Rome/Pescara), or A24 (Rome/L’Aquila/Teramo). It can also be reached by train, bus, and ferry. Once there, a must see is the Park Train, an historic train that runs on an ancient railway track through the heart of the region. The Valley Train winds its way from the Adriatic Sea to the Maiella through breathtaking scenery, old towns, lakes, and castles.

town, Teate (founded by Achilles and named after his mother Tetis), was an important medieval center. Walking through the city you see Roman and medieval ruins side by side. PESCARA — The sea, mountains, rivers, valleys, history, art and culture — the province of Pescara offers all of this to those who come to this area nestled between the blue Adriatic and the green Apennine mountains. This is a predominantly modern city with two hearts: that of the ancient Pescara (now Portanuova) south of the port, and that of Castallamare Adriatico to the north. TERAMO — This is a very old city, founded in pre-Roman times, though with a more modern feel, due to many 19th- and 20thcentury buildings. Two great monuments, not far from one another, could be the symbols of the town and its history: the majestic Cathedral, built in 1158 by Guido II, and the Roman theater, built about 30 B.C., where sports and cultural events still take place.

Abruzzo’s 1000 castles Over the centuries, hundreds of castles were built to protect the cities and communication routes. These castles and castle-type defense

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Italy Now

Magical Abruzzo

View of Celano, in the province of L’Aquila.

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

structures, which range from simple, archaic towers to mighty fortresses, are spread out around the region, making it a permanent open-air museum. From the Rocca Calascio fortress, which has a square plan with four circular towers, to the Celano castle, which has a rectangular shape and a wide inner court, Abruzzo offers treasures of military art. THE FORTRESS OF CIVITELLA DEL TRONTO The majestic Fortezza, the medieval fortified borough towering above the village and surrounded by walls, is a unique example of medieval military architecture in Abruzzo, and one of the largest in Europe. From the top of the Citadel it is possible to enjoy a spectacular view encompassing the Montagna dei Fiori, Campli, Monte Ascensione and the Adriatic. THE CASTLE OF CELANO This castle is rectangular and has three floors. In the courtyard you see a double row of galleries and in the center there is a well which collects rain water in the underground cistern. On the loggia of the piano nobile there is the excellent chapel portal of Saint Andrea (fifteenth century) which bears the coat of arms of the Piccolomini family. Today the castle is the seat of the Museo di Arte Sacra (Museum of Sacred Art) of the Marsica region. Some castles have been turned into residences and hotels, such as the Chiola castle in Loreto Aprutino. The distant origins of Chiola Castle date back as far as 864, and it is now luxuriously refurbished. A hotel and conference center of highest quality, it nevertheless still preserves its charm, its mystery and its architectural signifigance.

Abruzzo is a special place of spectacular natural scenery, castles and medieval villages, monasteries, and Roman ruins.

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The Green Face of Abruzzo

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The Green Face of Abruzzo Nature parks and protected areas

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n Abruzzo, bears and chamois, rocky cliffs and forests, gentle rolling hills, and stunning sandy beaches set between the towering peaks of the Gran Sasso, Majella, and Velino mountains abound. Abruzzo has diverse and charming natural riches in every season. The lushness and wide variety of the natural landscape make Abruzzo a trove of ecological and environmental treasures. The towering peaks of the Apennines running down to the sea, low population density, a heritage of biodiversity paired with the ideal habitat for protected species, combine to make Abruzzo a haven for enviromentalists. The pride of the region are two species saved from extinction: the Marsican Bear and the Apennine Wolf. Abruzzo’s wild countryside, the wolves’ protected status, and the local people’s age-old relationship with these wild animal have guaranteed their survival. Excursions can be organized to view the wolves. Bears, who prefer to live in isolation, can seldom be seen. They live on the Majella, the Gran Sasso, and the Simbruini mountains. Otters and lynxes are rare but have been spotted. The Apennine chamois is often seen in the Val di Rose and on Mount Amaro, in the National Park. Boars, introduced to the woods for hunting purposes, are everywhere. Reptiles are numerous, as are some special amphibians, such as the emerald toad. These beautiful animals thrive in the vegetation to which they are indigenous. Beech trees are

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Waterfalls found inside the National Park of Abruzzo.

SCIENCE Abruzzo has several centers for scientific research and technological development. The Astronomical Observatory at Campo Imperatore is near the hotel where Mussolini was imprisoned, and the village also boasts the highest Botanical gardens in the Apennines. The National Institute for Nuclear Physics is housed under the Gran Sasso mountain.

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the kings of Abruzzo, along with silver firs, black pines, hazels, turkey oaks, and cherry trees. Wonderful wildflowers abound; between spring and summer, gentians, wild orchids, peonies, cyclamens, buttercups, and violets bloom and add color to the idyllic landscapes.

These unique landscapes have brought the creation of many National Parks that form a close network of regional and state-controlled nature reserves, real life oases that ensure that the natural world of Abruzzo is well protected and can be enjoyed by all.

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Italy Now

The Green Face of Abruzzo

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Abruzzo is a haven for enviromentalists and animal lovers.

The National Park of Abruzzo was established by Royal decree on January 2, 1923. Its present-day area of 44,000 hectares, which is the result of several enlargements, includes 22 towns in the provinces of L’Aquila, Frosinone and Isernia. The oldest in the Apennines, with an important role in the preservation of species such as the wolf, chamois and brown bear, the park is roughly two thirds beech forest, though many other trees grow in the area, including the Silver Birch and Black and Mountain pines. The highest mountain peaks within the park are Mount Petroso (2247 m) and Mount Marsicano (2242 m). The Sangro River rises near the Devil’s Pass, and runs south-east through the artificial Lake of Barrea before leaving the park and turning to the north-east. The park is ideal for excursions on foot or on horseback, trekking, natural photography, bird watching by the lakes, canoeing, windsurf-

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ing, biking, animal spotting or skiing on the mountains.

Wonderful wildflowers abound, adding color to the idyllic landscapes.

The Majella National Park was founded in 1993. It extends for 86,000 hectares in the provinces of Pescara, Chieti, and L’Aquila, comprising 39 communes. The rounded massif of the Majella is very characteristic; similar to a magnificent, elliptical dome, it dominates the Abruzzo countryside rising up between the sea and the Apennine range. In addition to the main mountain, Mont Amaro, there are another thirty peaks. The charm of the Majella is increased by deep valleys, real and true “canyons” and by vast plateaux. The vegetation consists of 1700 species, among which the icon is the wolf. There also are bears, golden eagles and lanner falcons. The Gran Sasso-Monti della Laga National Park is the largest national park in The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


The Green Face of Abruzzo

Italy Now

The vegetation of the Majella National Park.

CAVES

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Caves abound in the Vileno-Sirente Regional Park, but perhaps none is as interesting as the one at Stiffe, near San Demetrio ne’ Vestini. For about onethird of a mile, visitors follow the course of an underground river, with unusual rock formations, gigantic stalactites and stalagmites and subterranean waterfalls. Openings in the cave walls create dramatic natural lighting effects, while subtle artificial lights illuminate lakes, canyons and rapids. The walk ends as beautifully as it begins, when visitors emerge to face the outdoor waterfall that is the underground river’s final destination. The caves are easily located on the road from L’Aquila to Molina Aterno. The caves of Cavallone, made famous by Gabriele D’annunzio, are equally stunning, and the cave of Beatrice Cenci is full of stalactites ad stalagmites.

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the Abruzzo area, and one of the largest in Italy (368,018 acres). Founded in 1995, it is a truly impressive environmental preserve. Its landscape of mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls is enlivened – particularly in autumn – by the region’s clear light and the vibrant colors of the forests and fields. With its fair share of castles, hermitages and stone villages, it is as captivating as all the other parks. The land is divided into two zones: an internal area which is strictly protected because of its special environmental and cultural importance; and a

busier area which has a greater number of towns and amenities. Three mountain groups define the entire park: the Monti Gemelli chain in the north of the park, and the central Monti della Laga range which connects with the vast Gran Sasso massif, itself dominating the remainder of the territory. The Sirente-Velino Regional Park is located in the heart of the Abruzzo mountains. Set up in 1989, it hosts the Cratere del Sirente, the only meteor crater in Italy. The

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Italy Now

The Green Face of Abruzzo

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

The Apennine chamois is often seen in the Val di Rose and on Mount Amaro.

The parks are ideal for excursions on foot or on horseback.

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

ARCHEOLOGY

great variety of environments characterizing the Park give the area a richness of floral species. Among the most common is the narcissus, which covers the plateaux of the Rocche during the late spring. There are also many medicinal plants, fruits, mushrooms, and truffles. There are numerous projects underway, including the creation of museums.

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In 1979 the regional protected areas policy brought about the creation of 15 nature reserves, 7 parks with facilities, 2 protected biotopes, and the WWF owns six protected areas. All these oases are not just fenced-off areas but exceptionally powerful habitats to safeguard with commitment. The community of Abruzzo has acknowledged this fact and protects its riches with ambition and pride.

Romanesque churches and castles, ancient necropolises and museums, hermitages, and old fortifies centers bloom among the nature of Abruzzo’s protected areas. Some sites are wellknown, such as the Basilica of S. Maria di Collemaggio, the ancient streets of Scanno, and the Archeology Museum of Chieti. But there are numerous less famous wonders spread around the region. Every year the number of attractions increases as new and diverse sites are renovated and improved. In Aielli, Italic walls circle the summit of Mount Secino, in Amiternum, just a few miles from L’Aquila, there are the ruins of this Sabine city that was conquered by Rome in 293 BC, while in the heart of old Teramo, the imposing ruins of the Roman theater stand out. The possibilities are endless, and each corner has something unique to offer.

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Sea and Ski

Italy Now

Sea and Ski Sandy beaches vs. snowy mountains

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Abruzzo owns exactly 133 kilometers of golden beaches, bays, and cliffs running along a sparkling coast.

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bruzzo makes everybody happy – no matter what your favorite sporting activity, this land can offer it to you. Though Italians and international travelers alike traditionally think of Abruzzo as a remote, mountainous region, its eastern border is marked by vast sandy beaches stretching along the Adriatic Sea north and south of Pescara. They are exactly 133 kilometers of golden beaches, bays, and cliffs running along a sparkling coast lined with pine forests, dotted with towns, and backed by green hills. From the mouth of the Tronto River on the border with Marche, to the mouth of the Foro River just below Pescara, the coast is a succession of beautiful beaches graced by crystal clear water. All coastal resorts offer windsurfing, canoeing, fishing, diving and other water sports. On the beaches, outdoor gyms, swimming pools, and water parks give visitors the chance to meet people and have fun in the warm sun. Many entertaining events, such as open-air markets, and craft and food festivals take place in or around these seaside villages, so The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

there is always something to do. The province of Teramo boasts hundreds of hotels and beach establishments, but its best features are the warm shallow water of the sea and the beautiful vegetation. This area is considered ideal for children, as it is safe and fun, with many parks created just for kids. One of the most popular and well-loves seaside areas in the region is Roseto degli Abruzzi. Set between the mouths of the Tordino and Volmano Rivers, it offers miles of golden sand and some interesting destinations, such as the medieval church of S. Maria di Propezzano. Old Pescara offers a nice day on the beach and a fun night in its taverns, wine bars, and restaurants. It is known as the home of the Dolce Vita, as it was the birthplace of Flaiano, the writer of Fellini’s famous work. On the Pescara coast there are many hotels, campsites, agriturismos, and other major facilities, such as sailing clubs. Linked to Pescara by a road that hugs the coast, Montesilvano Marina is one of the most popular beaches with the locals as it is easy to

reach and is close to the city. Lying at the foot of the Atri hills, we find Silvi Marina, a busy beach resort close to Silvi Paese, a lovely town with a beautiful 14th century church. Famous for its history and for its historic monuments (the Aragonese castle is a mustsee), Ortona is one of the best-loved resorts on the Chieti coast. Its commercial port is the most important in Abruzzo and it can be seen from the Passeggiata Orientale (the promenade), an impressive scenic road. There are the wide, curved, sandy white beaches of Lido Riccio and of Lido Saraceni, and the rougher rocky stretches and amazing inlets that are ideal for canoeing. So many beautiful places to see, the list is endless. They are so close to each other that the best bet is to have a car and just drive around. Driving along one can see small towns that like precious jewels dot the spectacular countryside. Abruzzo has been nominated the region with “the prettiest villages in Italy,” from Anversa degli Abruzzi, the village described by Gabriele d’Annunzio, to Carunchio, perched on a hill top like a

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Italy Now

Sea and Ski

All coastal resorts offer windsurfing, canoeing, fishing, diving and other water sports.

ITINERARY

mirage, to Guardiagrele, with its splendid Cathedral, and to Pacentro and its cave paintings. As we continue driving we arrive at the ski resorts, where the sun still reigns but the blue of the sea is substituted by the pure white of soft snow. The Gran Sasso, the Majella, VelinoSirente, the mountains of the National Park, the Cinque Miglia plateau, the Carseolani, and the Simbruini Mountains form a dense network of ski resorts that are well equipped and cater to all the needs of snow lovers. The slopes of Mount Piselli wind down along the trail that divides Abruzzo from Marche, and near Corno Grande, the highest peak of Gran Sasso and of the Apennine range, Campo Imperatore reigns as the highest ski resort in the region. Sculpted by an

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ancient glacier, Campo Imperatore is home to one of Italy’s oldest ski resorts, which began commercial operation in the 1920s and continues to thrive. The considerable altitude ensures good snow for most of the winter and the location is ideal for crosscountry skiing. In addition, Campo Imperatore has been popular with filmmakers, a location used in more than twenty major films, among them The Name of the Rose, starring Sean Connery. Right below, there is the Monte Cristo basin, equally beautiful and fun for snow sports. In the province of L’Aquila stands Abruzzo’s most famous resort, Roccaraso. After the extensive destruction in WWII bombings, the small center is today completely modern, except for the district called

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Here’s an example of a fun crosscountry ski route: Departing from Cesacastina, the skier follows the road that climbs toward the mountain, then crosses to the Macchie Piane Plateau where there is a great view of the Gran Sasso. From there the road leads to Fosso dell Acero and a stretch of trail along the slope with yet more splendid views, bringing the skier to the Baleverde Refuge, a good spot to take a break. Here the route carries into the woods, crosses the deep ravine of the Fosso di Ricognolo, then climbs again towards the Colle della Pietra Pass where there is another refuge. The trail ends here and it’s time to return home for a welldeserved evening of relaxation.

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Sea and Ski

Italy Now

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

No matter what, all over Abruzzo, at the seaside, in the mountains, in the hills and even beyond the protected areas, nature is always the protagonist.

Abruzzo’s mountains form a dense network of ski resorts that are well equipped and cater to all the needs of snow lovers.

EXTREME In addition to traditional winter sports, the Abruzzo mountains are ideal for all sorts of adventures and new snow activities. There are snow parks for snow boarders (www.snowboradplanet.it), a ski school for the blind (www.roccaraso.net), and an amazing cross-country marathon (www.marciacampoimperatore.com). The quality of the rock makes of Abruzzo an ideal location for climbing, especially on Gran Sasso. There are several airfields ideal for gliding (www.aeroclubaquila.it) and areas suitable for hang-gliding.

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Terra Vecchia (the ancient fortified borough). The whole ski area offers many miles of slopes of varying difficulty, and modern sports facilities. The flatter areas have challenging cross-country routes. At the foot of the western slope of the Majella, the lifts of Campo Giove go up to the Tavola Rotonda, the highest point in Abruzzo reachable by mechanical means. Furthermore, there are smaller skiing destinations, hundreds of routes, possible excursions, and endless possibilities for fun. No matter what, all over Abruzzo, at the seaside, in the mountains, in the hills and even beyond the protected areas, nature is always the protagonist. The sandy shores of the north coast contrast with the rocks and cliffs along the southern coast, while the unbroken rows of nearby hills conceal holiday farm centers and art towns full of authentic masterpieces. All of this is protected by its mountains, the highest summits of Apennines.

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Italy Now

Abruzzo: a Land to Eat

Abruzzo: a Land to Eat A taste of local cuisine

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Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

here are oils, cheeses, meats, cured meats, honeys, wines and liquors, and many more delicacies that come from the pristine and uncontaminated mountains, lakes, and hills of Abruzzo. All these ingredients are fresh and healthy and savored in a simple yet wholesome cuisine, which is also varied and refined. Pasta, vegetables, and meat (especially lamb and pork) are the staples of local cuisine, and many delicious lamb dishes and aromatic cheeses, such as Pecorino and Scamorza, are rooted in the everyday life of the region’s shepherds. The hills of the provinces of Teramo, Pescara, and Chieti produce a flavorful olive oil that complements the regional dishes. Generally speaking, this oil is lighter compared to others made in most parts of the country, but it is equally good. Olio santo is a concoction that originally was only homemade but now can be found in restaurants and stores. This is a first press oil in which hot chillies are left to marinate and spice things up. Almost everywhere around the region it is possible to buy fresh pasta, which is unique because of one special ingredient: extra pure

mountain water. The abundance of pork contributes to the production of several kinds of cured meats – from sausages to hams and mortadella. Sheep breeding is even more widespread, thus allowing a large production of cheeses – from pecorino to sheep ricotta, and cacio marcetto (it literally means rotten cheese and it consists of Pecorino fermented in sheep’s milk). Cheeses are also made with cow’s milk, often mixed with goat milk in the production of scamorza (called mozzarella in Abruzzo). The region’s fertile lands yield excellent fruit and vegetables such as cherries from Raiano, grapes from Ortona, potatoes, carrots, fennel, and lentils from Santo Stefano di Sessanio, chestnuts from the Roveto Valley, wild asparagus, and much more. The areas of Marsica and Teramo are rich in truffle production, mostly of black truffles that are used locally but also sold around the country and exported worldwide. Last but not least, the most fruitful traditional crops of Abruzzo are in the Navelli plateau between the Gran Sasso and Sirente massifs. The area produces precious saffron that is used in many local dishes (such as in scapece). The most interesting culinary tradition is la panarda, a multi-course feast of gargantuan

proportions. The meal consists of 35 to 50 courses and lasts all night, enabling guests to partake of every dish at a leisurely pace. The mountain town of Villavallelonga has preserved its panarda traditions more fervently than others, and local families still host the feast on an annual basis. SOME OF THE MOST LOVED SPECIALTIES ARE: Agnello alle olive: Lamb cooked in an earthenware pot with olive oil, black olives, lemon, oregano, and hot peppers. Cicoria, cacio e uova: Soup of wild chicory with pork in chicken broth thickened with eggs and grated pecorino. Coda di rospo alla cacciatora: monkfish cooked with garlic, rosemary, anchovies, and peppers. Maccheroni alla chitarra: Pasta served with a ragout of lamb stewed in wine and olive oil with tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, and peppers. The name is due to the tool used to make the pasta called la chitarra, a wooden loom with thin steel threads. Ragù all’Abruzzese: Sauce made with beef, pork, mutton, and duck ground meat. Indocca: Stew of pork ribs, feet, ears, and

Bruschetta made with red garlic.

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Abruzzo: a Land to Eat

Italy Now

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

Garlic is a staple of the cuisine of Abruzzo.

rind with rosemary, bay leaf, peppers, and vinegar. Pizza rustica: Pie of pork sausage, mozzarella, eggs, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Polpi in purgatorio: Octopus cooked with tomato, garlic, parsley, and diavolicchio hot peppers. Scapece di Vasto: Pieces of raw fish preserved in earthenware vases with vinegar, salt, chili peppers, and saffron. Scrippelle ‘mbusse or ‘nfusse: Fried crepes coated or filled with pecorino and served in chicken broth. Timballo di crespelle: Crepes layered with spinach, artichokes, ground meat, chicken giblets, mozzarella, and grated Parmigiano Reggiano baked in an elaborate mold. Zuppa di cardi: soup of giant cardoons from L’Aquila with tomatoes and salt pork. Zuppa di lenticchie e castagne: tiny mountain lentils and fresh chestnuts in a soup with tomatoes, salt pork, and herbs.

Food Festivals in Abruzzo INTERNATIONAL CHEFS’ FESTIVAL OF SANGRO, 2nd Sunday of October The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

The Val di Sangro, a mountain valley in the province of Chieti, is renowned for producing generations of chefs, who have turned Abruzzo’s simple yet sophisticated regional foods into culinary wonders. In celebration, this festival draws chefs from all over the world to share their expertise and sample the delicacies of local restaurants from special stands lined up along the village’s main street. BEANS FESTIVAL OF POLLUTRI, 5th and 6th of December Pollutri, in the province of Chieti, holds this yearly festival, during which beans are boiled all night long in nine large cauldrons that line the streets of the town. Among the many other foods celebrated with special annual festivals in Abruzzo are cherries (Raiano, first Sunday of June); sweet chestnuts (Carsoli, first Sunday of October); grapes and wine (Vittorio, a Sunday in October); prosciutto (Basciano, second Sunday in August); Pecorino cheese (Macchia da Sole); chick peas and saffron (Navelli, first Sunday after August 15), truffles (Casoli and Acciano, July), mutton (San Vincenzo Valle

Roveto), and porchetta, (Fresagrandinaria).

or

roast

pig

The Wines Abruzzo produces one DOCG and three DOC wines that have won many international awards and are served in the best restaurants around the world. These four wines are: Controguerra, Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane (DOCG). The best production areas are the Pescara valley, between Popoli and Pescara and the Teramo, Pescara, and Chieti hills. In the official classification of Italian DOC wines, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is in sixth place, behind Chianti, Asti, Oltrepò Pavese, Soave, and Valpolicella. Montepulciano d’Abruzzo is made almost exclusively with grapes from vines of the same name, with the possible small addition of other grapes from recommended and/or authorized red grape vines (up to 10% Sangiovese is permitted to be added to the blend). The top of the range has a brilliant ruby red color and a dry, mellow, pungent, slightly tannic taste. It is a robust wine that

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Italy Now

Abruzzo: a Land to Eat

The products of the land and sea are key ingredients of traditional local cuisine.

ditional wines and the more modern varieties that are the key, nowadays, to success on the international market. The IGT denominations are: Terre di Chieti, Colline Teatine, Colline Frentane, Colli del Sangro and del Vastese o Histonium in the province of Chieti; Colline Pescaresi in the province of Pescara; Colli Aprutini in the province of Teramo; and Alto Tirino and Valle Peligna in the province of L’Aquila. They cover a range of colors and styles from white, pink and red through sparkling, “novello” and “passito.” Monovarietal red or white wines have the option of using the name of the grape variety on the label.

Centerbe

ages well. The DOCG Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Teramane is produced in the hilly territory of Colline Teramane, in the province of Teramo, where the best fruit grows. This limited production, which sets itself apart from the wines produced in other areas of the region thanks to its distinct organoleptic qualities, was crowned with its own D.O.C.G. appellation in 2003. Trebbiano d’Abruzzo is a delicate white wine made from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo grapes (Bombino bianco) and Tuscan Trebbiano as well as some other grapes from the same area. Controguerra, the region’s other DOC, was created in 1996. It applies to a range of reds and whites produced around five villages in the area north of Teramo. These products can compete with both the best tra-

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Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

It literally means “hundreds of herbs.” We are talking about Abruzzo’s favorite digestive liqueur. Made by infusing a variety of medicinal herbs, some say as many as one hundred (such as orange leaves, basil, chamomile, rosemary, sage, juniper, cloves, cinnamon, toasted coffee beans, saffron, mint, lemon leaves, mandarin leaves, thyme blossoms, and marjoram), in alcohol, it has a very high alcoholic content and is an excellent digestive drink. It is mainly made in Tocco da Casuria at the foot of the Majella. Other local liqueurs are genzianella (made with flowers), nocino (walnut liqueur), and ratafià, (made with sour cherries).

Precious saffron that is used in many local dishes (such as in scapece).

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Abruzzo: a Land to Celebrate

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Abruzzo: a Land to Celebrate Tradition flourishes in colorful feasts

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bruzzo is rich in history. Every season has feasts and festivals that make Abruzzo an ideal location for travelers interested in the traditions of folklore and faith. In addition to these special events, piazzas, parks, castles, and beaches in big cities and small towns are the venues of performances all year long.

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Photo courtesy of regione Abruzzo

Lacework from Scanno.

Photo courtesy of regione Abruzzo

JANUARY – January is filled with religious events such as the Nativity Play in Rivisondoli (on the 5th) and The Kiss of Baby Jesus in Lama dei Peligni (on the 6th). During the Nativity Play, all the citizens of Rivisondoli take part, dressed as shepherds, the Three Kings, Roman soldiers, or pilgrims, bring the nativity scene to life. The most sought after role is that of the Virgin Mary, and for the selection of the girl to play the part there are hard-fought contests with strict juries and long, secret conclaves. For the latter, on the evening of the Epiphany, the villagers, especially the children, in costume of 1759, go to the church to kiss the statue of Gesù Bambino, kept inside a precious silver urn. Equally entertaining events are the Panarda in Villalonga, a ritual banquet (on the 17th), and the reenactment of Saint Joseph’s Wedding in San Martino sulla Marrucina (on the 23rd). FEBRUARY – On the 3rd, the town of Taranta Peligna hosts the festival of the Panicelle of San Biagio. Special breads called panicelle are baked in the shape of a four-fingered hand. For carnival, the most fun event is the Fancy Dress Procession in Francavilla al Mare. MARCH – On the 18th and 19th, the town of Monteferrante celebrates the Tables of Saint Joseph, where families set out a feast table, upon which sits the image of St Joseph. This holiday is celebrated in nearby Molise, too. EASTER – Many spectacular events are held for this special holiday: in Vasto, on the Friday before Good Friday, there is the Procession of the Holy Thorn. The relic is said to come from Christ’s thorn crown, and for centuries it was kept in a chapel in Santa Maria Maggiore. On Good Friday the festivities are many, including the reenactment of

Parade of the Giostra Cavalleresca in Sulmona.

the Suffering of Christ in Gessopalena. On Easter day we should mention the celebrations of the Good Day in Panella. APRIL – The festival of the Loads in San Salvo (on the 29th) and the festival of the Splendor of Mary in Giulianova (on the 22nd), are the only non-Easter related events. MAY – This spring month hosts numerous unique events including the scary but

extremely interesting Procession of the Serpari (snake hunters) of Cocullo. During the procession the statue of St. Dominick is covered with live snakes, symbols of unpredictability. In Pretoro, on the first Monday in May, another gathering of snake hunters takes place immediately before the sacred play Lu Lope (The Wolf). On the same day there are the feasts of Mary of the Cross in

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Italy Now

Abruzzo: a Land to Celebrate

LOCAL CRAFTSMANSHIP

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo

Abruzzo abounds with artists of all types, including ceramists, stone-cutters, goldsmiths, engravers, carvers, weavers, and coppersmiths. Their beautiful products are available across the region at very reasonable prices. The saddles from L’Aquila are so well crafted that they are used by the British royal family for all the horses at Buckingham Palace. The abundance of wool in Abruzzo has always encouraged textile art. Tarante are beautifully colorful blankets from Taranta Peligna, and tapestries are produced in Penne. In many places in the region, reeds are collected along the banks of the waterways to be woven into baskets and other wicker objects. The art of jewelry making is common throughout the region. In Pescocostanzo, Scanno and Sulmona, visitors can find beautifully crafted jewels and filigrees. Among the most treasured is the presentosa, a brooch often presented by a man to his fiancé or wife, made of two intertwined silver hearts.

Every season has feasts and festivals that make Abruzzo an ideal location for travelers interested in the traditions of folklore.

Pietranico, Mary of Libera in Pratola Peligna, and Forgiveness in Ortona. JUNE – The Miracle of San Domenico is commemorated on the first Sunday of the month in Palombaro. The month hosts other religious festivals, including the Pilgrimage to the Hermitage of San Onofrio, which starts from Serramosca and climbs upwards. JULY – The Miracle of Santa Margherita is celebrated in Villamagna on the 12th, while the Triumph of Peace is commemorated in Teramo on the 26th. AUGUST – This month hosts events of many kinds – from the beer festival of

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Sant’Omero, to the Pilgrimage from Fornelli to Villalago, to the Festival of Trescatura of Collecorvino, in commemoration of ancient wheat harvesting. SEPTEMBER – On the 23rd, it’s time to dance at the Ballo dell’Insegna in Forcella. Only the men of the town can take part in this event of masculine solidarity. The Insegna is a large flag carried by a medieval bearer who is accompanied by two. The dance involves throwing the flag in the air in loops and catching it before it touches the ground. All the men have a go, and the winner is chosen by common consent.

OCTOBER – October features a Grape Festival in Nocciano, and the delicious Sagra delle Scrippelle (a famous Abruzzese recipe) in San Giovanni Lipioni. NOVEMBER – In Lettomanoppello, the Feast of All Saints lasts four days and ends with a procession in honor of San Rocco. Sant’Egidio alla Vibrata hosts a fun Festival of children’s songs called Fiore d’Oro, and in Scanno, during Le Glorie, high piles of wood are burned in honor of Saint Martino. DECEMBER – In Atri, on the 8th, during the Faugni, fires of dry canes are burned in front of the Cathedral at dawn, while on the 10th in Torino di Sangro, a Night Wake is organized to wait for the birth of the Madonna di Loreto; a procession of torches is held through the night, and songs are sung in the morning. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Italy in a Nutshell

Italy Now

Italy in a Nutshell

I

ts dreamy light and sumptuous countryside seem made for romance, and its three millennia of history, culture and cuisine seduce just about everyone. You can visit Roman ruins, drink in Renaissance art, stay in tiny medieval hill towns, ski the Alps, explore the canals of Venice and stand in awe in beautiful churches. Naturally you can also indulge in the pleasures of la dolce vita: good food, good wine, good shopping, and maybe a little bit of flirting. In Italy everything is possible. Any time of the year is ideal to enjoy Italy’s treasures; history and beauty are always in season. Italy's Time Zone: 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1). Italy is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the U.S. Daylight savings time goes into effect at the end of March and ends in late October. Official Language: Italian. German is spoken in the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige; there are small French-speaking populations in the Valle d'Aosta region to the northwest. Origin of the Name: The first Greek settlers, who arrived in Calabria in Southern Italy from Euboea island in the 8th century B.C., named their new land Vitulia ("land of calves"). This name spread slowly northward, and it was only under Augustus that the whole country adopted the name. Area: 301,323 km2 (116,303 square miles) Population: 58,751,711 (2006), an increase of 0.5% from 2005, mainly supplemented by immigrants, and an increasing life expectancy of 79.81 years. Government: Republic Constitution: Adopted January 1, 1948 National Holiday, Festa della Repubblica: June 2nd. Nickname: Italy is sometimes called Belpaese (Italian for beautiful country) by its inhabitants, due to the beauty and variety of its countryside and for the world's largest artistic heritage. The country is home to the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (40 as of January 1, 2006). Currency: Euro. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Calling Code: +39 Exports: $371.9 billion (f.o.b., 2005 est.): engineering products, textiles and clothing, production machinery, motor vehicles, transportation equipment, chemicals, food, beverages and tobacco, minerals and nonferrous metals. Imports: $369.2 billion (f.o.b., 2005 est.): engineering products, chemicals, transportation equipment, energy products, minerals and nonferrous metals, textiles and clothing, food, beverages and tobacco. Capital: Rome, “The Eternal City” (population 2,553,873, city only), calling code 06. Major Cities: Milan (4,280,820), calling code 02 Turin (902,255), calling code 011 Genoa (620,316), calling code 010 Venice (271,663), calling code 041 Florence (366,488), calling code 055 Naples (4,200,000), calling code 081 Palermo (675,501), calling code 091 The Italian Peninsula is divided into 20 regions, two of which are islands. Each region is host to different customs, traditions, and dialects. Five regions have a Statuto Speciale (special statute): Valle d’Aosta, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Sicily, and Sardinia. The top travel destinations in Italy include the three cities of Rome, Venice, and Florence, the region of Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast.

Turin’s Mole Antonelliana at dusk.

Trentino and Belluno. The highest point in Italy is Mont Blanc, in the Alps, at 15,770 feet. The largest of its many northern lakes is Garda (143 sq mi; 370 sq km); the Po, its principal river, flows from the Alps on Italy's western border and crosses the Lombard plain to the Adriatic Sea. Mount Vesuvius, near Naples, is the only active volcano on the European mainland. Mount Etna, on the island of Sicily, is one of the world's largest volcanoes.

THE TEMPERATURE

The Land The Italian Peninsula is bounded by France, Switzerland, Austria, and Slovenia to the north. Italy juts into the Mediterranean Sea, and is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea on the east, the Ionian Sea on the west, the Tyrrhenian on the west along most of the peninsula, and the Ligurian Sea on the northwest. The Apennine Mountains form the peninsula's backbone, with the Alps on its northern boundary. The Alps are divided into regions called, from west to east the Occidentali, the Centrali, and the Orientali, and they border with France, Austria and Switzerland. The Dolomites, which are really part of the Alps, are located in the regions of South Tyrol,

Photo courtesy of the Turin Tourist Office.

General Information for the detail-oriented

Italy enjoys a predominantly Mediterranean (mild) climate with a colder Alpine climate in the mountains to the north and a hot and dry climate in the south. City

Latitude

Average Average winter summer temperature temperature

Milan

45°28’

3 C–37 F

23 C–73 F

Turin

45°2’

2 C–35 F

22 C–71 F

Genoa

44°25’

8 C–46 F

23 C–73 F

Rome

41°52’

8 C–46 F

24 C–75 F

Palermo 38°5’

11 C–51 F 24 C–75 F

Sassari

9 C–48 F

40°45’

23 C–73 F

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Italy Now

Transportation

Transportation How to get around the Belpaese

A

vacation in Italy is a total sensory and cultural immersion, a series of experiences and memories to last a lifetime. Traveling to and around the country is much easier than one might think. There is a myth that Italian drivers are crazy…untrue! They are certainly aggressive, but they are also very skilled. When you first arrive in Italy everything looks different. The cars are very small, the streets are very narrow, everything looks like it is going at super-fast speed and you are in slow motion. This may happen because of jet-lag but, honestly, things are rather different there.

side of the city, but they offer transportation, shuttle buses and trains, that for a small fee will take you into the city. In Rome the “Leonardo Express” will take you from the airport of Fiumicino to the rail station, Stazione Termini. From there you can take a taxi to your final destination. Airports are filled with signs that will lead you to the shuttle’s station. Tickets can be bought on the premises. The Volainubus Airport Shuttle connects Vespucci Airport to downtown Florence. Tickets are purchased on board and cost 4 Euros. Galileo Galilei, Pisa’s airport, has direct train services to Florence.

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

Italy has 133 airports, all located outside of the major cities.

BERGAMO Milano Orio al Serio; www.sacbo.it TURIN Città di Torino; www.airport.turin.it GENOA Cristoforo Colombo – Sestri; www.airport.genoa.it BOLOGNA Guglielmo Marconi; www.bologna-airport.it VENEZIA Marco Polo; www.veniceairport.it FLORENCE Amerigo Vespucci; www.aereoport.firenze.it PISA Galileo Galilei; www.pisa-airport.it NAPLES Capodichino; www.gesac.it PALERMO Punta Raisi; www.gesap.it

Trains

Once you have arrived at your final destination, you need to decide how you are going to get around.

BUT FIRST LET’S FRESHEN UP ON SOME VOCABULARY: Train Train Station Taxi Bus Subway Car Rental Car Bus Stop Airport

Treno Stazione Ferroviaria Taxi Autobus Metropolitana Macchina Autonoleggio Fermata dell’Autobus Aereoporto

Airports Italy is simply loaded with treasures, so it is not hard to see why Italy is one of the world’s most heavily visited countries. For this reason Italy has many international airports. The country has 133 airports, all located out-

42

The 80 km trip costs around 5 Euros. The best way to get to and from Milan Malpensa airport to the downtown area is by MalpensaExpress Train. The standard fare is 9 Euros. There is also a deluxe bus which leaves every 30 minutes to Milan railway station and downtown Milan. The fare for the bus is 5 Euros per person. Buses are available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Several charter flights arrive in Bergamo instead of Milan. Buses leave regularly and will take you to Milan’s Central Station. Palermo International Airport is on the northern coast of the island of Sicily and is the main air hub for the island. There is one modern and well-equipped terminal that handles international and domestic traffic, and public transport to the city is provided by buses. ROME Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci or Ciampino; www.adr.it MILAN Malpensa or Linate; www.sea-aereoportimilano.it

Trenitalia is the name of the Italian State Railroad which runs a nationwide network at reasonable prices calculated on the distance traveled. There are several categories of trains; each category is differentiated by the level of comfort, the speed, the price, the accessory services offered and the number of stops. The Eurostar is the top category of trains. They are the most costly and the most comfortable. They only stop at the major cities. For instance, between Milan and Naples, Eurostar trains only stop in Bologna, Florence, and Rome. Eurostar trains only travel by day and require a reservation, so the tickets are better bought in advance. Reservation is free and issued with the ticket. Intercity and IntercityPlus trains are quite comfortable and fast, traveling between all major and important Italian towns and cities. Intercity trains stop more often than Eurostar trains, but they still do not stop in small villages and towns. Bar service is available. Intercity Notte trains travel by night. Eurocity and Eurocity Notte trains, similar to Intercity trains, travel on international routes. Espresso trains are the cheapest trains traveling long distances. They have both The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Transportation

Italy Now

PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE: Basic

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

national and international service and usually stop only in the main cities and towns. Interregionale, Regionale and Diretto are trains that travel medium distances, from cities to small towns. Discounts are available for students, disabled, and seniors. Special fares are often applied on national holidays (last summer, for example, traveling on Ferragosto cost only 1 Euro no matter what destination). Trenitalia offers all non-residents a new rail pass, the Trenitalia Pass, which replaces the old Flexicard. Available in both first and sec-

Youth

Days

1 class

2 class

2 class

1 class

2 class

3

140

112

94

119

95

4

158

126

106

134

107

5

176

140

118

149

119

6

194

154

130

164

131

7

212

168

142

179

143

8

230

182

154

194

155

9

248

196

166

209

167

10

266

210

178

224

179

TIP: All train tickets must be validated before boarding the train at those yellow boxes at the entrance of the tracks. If they are not, the tickets are invalid and you will be charged a fee. Smoking onboard is not permitted. www.trenitalia.com

Trenitalia is the name of the Italian State Railroad which runs a nationwide network at reasonable prices.

ond class, this pass allows three to 10, consecutive or not, days of unlimited travel within a two month period. It can be used on any train in Italy, with the exception of the Eurostar Italia, where a small supplement is due. This pass also offers discounts at certain hotels and other special offers. It is available in three versions; Basic, for adults traveling in first and second class; for those under 26 there is a Trenitalia Youth Pass; and a Trenitalia Pass Saver for small groups of two to five people. Passes can be bought at travel agencies and at the rails stations.

Taxis Government-regulated taxis are either white or yellow. Avoid taxis that are not metered and have no official signs. They are private cars that will charge you an expensive fee. Unlike in the States, taxis cannot be hailed on the The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Saver

street, but can be found at specific taxi stands on the street, or they can be called by phone. All charges are listed on a price chart displayed inside the cab. Extra charges are in effect at night, for luggage service, and phone booking. A 10% tip is expected but not mandatory.

Buses Local buses are a great way to get around the city. All Italian cities have a well organized bus and tram system that will take you to most destinations. Prices vary according to the city you are in. Tickets can be purchased at newsstands, tobacco shops and subway stations. All tickets must be time stamped using the machines on board the buses.

Subway In Italy, just a few cities offer subway service. Rome and Milan were the first two, followed

through the years by Naples, Genoa and Catania. On February 4, 2006, subway service was inaugurated in Turin. Milan offers three subway lines, M1 (red), M2 (green), M3 (yellow), and three more lines are in the works. All three lines take you to the city’s landmarks and to different towns on the outskirts. The M1 is the line that will take you to Milan’s spectacular center where you can see the Duomo and the surrounding shopping area, Corso Vittorio Emanuele. A booklet of 20 tickets costs 20 Euros. Upon validation, tickets are valid for 75 minutes. www.atm-mi.it Rome has two subway lines, A (orange) and B (blue). The former cuts through the city on the north-west and south-east sides, while the latter on the north-east and south sides. The A is the line that offers stops at more famous locations such as Piazza di Spagna, Fontana di Trevi, San Pietro and Musei Vaticani. The BTI ticket is offered to visitors, and it is valid for three days after having been validated. It can be used on buses, subway and local trains. It costs 11 Euros. www.atac.roma.it Naples has five lines, all under renovation. The Linea 1 has been renamed Metrò dell’Arte as a permanent display of modern art has been installed at every stop. This line constitutes the central ring of the Neapolitan subway system. Single tickets cost 1 Euro and are valid for 90 minutes. All tickets are valid for buses, funiculars, metro and local railways in Naples and adjacent municipalities (Uniconapoli). Naples also has a suburban train line, the Ferrovia Circumvesuviana, that

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Italy Now

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

Transportation

Highway to Naples.

will get you to Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Sorrento.

signs have a green background, while the state roads use the color blue.

Road

Rental Cars

The Autostrada (AA), the national highway, stretches along the entire peninsula. It has tolls which are applied according to distances and size of motor vehicle. Some stretches are toll-free such as the Salerno-Reggio Calabria and the Palermo-Catania. Payments can be made by credit card if you are short on cash. At the toll station, get into the Via Card lane. Road signs are international and easy to read for all. On major highways, gas stations are open 24 hours. Autogrills are rest stops along the highway. The smaller ones are cafés while the bigger ones are also restaurants that offer delicious snacks and even meals. The larger Autogrills have stores where you will be able to buy all kinds of specialty foods (cheeses, meats, snack foods) and beverages (wine, beer and liquor). They also have travel supplies from drug store items to electronics. Italian law requires that all passengers wear a seat belt, and to respect the speed limit which is 30 mph in urban areas, 55 mph on country roads and 80 mph on highways. Tickets for speeding are high. For vehicle breakdown, dial 116, and the nearest Automobile Club of Italy (ACI) will send assistance. www.autostrade.it www.aci.it If you don’t like paying the tolls on the autostrada, you can usually find a road labeled “ss” on your map, paralleling the autostrada. Those are “strade statali” or state roads. The speed limit is 90-110 km when it’s clear for a stretch, and 30-50 near towns. They are twistier and usually far more scenic. The autostrada

When choosing to rent a car, go with the best car rental companies in Italy. There are many agencies: AutoEurope, Hertz, Avis, Europcar, to name a few. In making your car rental arrangements, consider and compare the following important pricing points: The lowest, all inclusive car rental rates with no hidden charges, just pay for gas Includes all the insurance, including the deductible Over 400 pick up and drop off points in Italy Reliability, late model fleet (rental cars change every six months) 24 hour road side assistance No drop off charges All taxes (Airport and IVA) included Toll-free telephone number in Italy An International Driver’s license is required for driving in Italy, and it’s advisable to get insurance. When you pick up your car, be sure to find out from the rental company which type of gas it takes. Sometimes the larger rental cars are diesel. Diesel gasoline is less expensive, so that makes a larger car more affordable to drive.

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• • • • • • • • •

white is for free parking, blue is for paid parking. There will be a payment machine or a place to buy tickets close by. You get a receipt telling you how long you can stay (the time your parking expires is usually printed on the receipt). Put this receipt in the car window. If parking is free but time limited, you must use a disco orario (a parking disk) to indicate the time you parked. When you rent a car in Italy, they may already have a parking disc. If they do not, you can purchase one at a tobacco store or gas station. They are not expensive.To use the parking disc, set it to indicate the time you parked and place it inside your car in the windshield so it can be seen by the parking police. Some cities offer special Parking Cards, such as Milan. Prices range from 12 to 50 Euros.

Ferries Regular boats and hydrofoil services run to most of the islands, local and international. Service is available to Capri, Ischia, Elba, Sardinia, Sicily, the Aeolian Islands, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Malta, and Corsica. www.ferriesonline.com

The more tourist-oriented towns and cities have large parking lots (a pagamento) with parking rates just outside the historic centers. Street parking is organized and designated with signs and by the color of the lines for the parking spots. The color of the lines on the parking space indicates the type of parking;

San Remo harbor.

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Photo courtesy of Davide Vagni.

Parking 101


City Cards

Italy Now

City Cards

Photo courtesy of the Turin Tourist Office.

No worries...everything is included!

City cards are valid on public transportation and include passes to museums and historic sites.

F

or years now, the companies that run public transportation in the big cities have created some special cards to assist visitors during their stay. The concept behind it is that the visitor arrives and does not have to worry about anything, either where to buy tickets or which fare should be paid. Instead, by purchasing these cards, he can start exploring the city while saving a little money. These cards are valid on all public transportation, and include passes to museums and historic sites. They can be bought at the local tourist offices. Archeologia Card costs 20 •EurosTheandRoma is valid for seven days. It includes the entrance to nine major sites in Rome including the Colosseum, Terme di Caracalla, Terme di Diocleziano and Villa dei Quintili. The card is valid for a week and is available from the attractions themselves and the Visitor Center of Rome Tourist Board (APT). The Appia Antica Card (6 Euros) covers entrance to the Baths of Caracalla, the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and the Villa of the Quintili. The Capitolini Card (9 Euros) gives you access to both Capitoline Museums.

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

The Torino Card, in Turin, is available for •18,00 (2 days), 20,00 (3 days), ms, urban public transportation (except the subway), the elevator in the Mole Antonelliana, and reductions on many shows, concerts, and bicycle rentals. www.turismotorino.org

The Milan Welcome Card allows entry to Milan’s main cultural attractions. The Milan Welcome Card is on sale for 8 Euros at the Information Offices of the Tourist Office in via Marconi, 1. www.milanoinfotourist.it The cheapest way to visit Venice is by pur•chasing the Venice Card. The Venice Card comes in two colors, blue and orange, each available for one, three, or seven days. The Blue card offers unlimited transportation on waterbuses and autobuses. It also provides perks such as discounts at various attractions, shops, restaurants, and cafés, a discount on the Chorus Pass, which offers cheap admission with free audio guides at 15 historic churches, and special rates at the Tronchetto parking garage. The Orange Card includes all of the above plus admission to the Doge’s Palace and other municipal museums. The Venice Card is sold in two versions: Senior (for adults over 30) and Junior (for visitors

from 5 through 29). You’ll need to reserve your card at least 48 hours before arriving in Venice. The easiest and cheapest way buy the Venice Card is to order it online. You then print out your receipt/voucher and use it to claim your card when you arrive in Venice. www.venicecard.com

The Genoa Museum Card permits its holders to visit 22 town, public and private museums in Genoa. It can also be used to purchase discounted tickets for Palazzo Ducale, Acquarium of Genoa, Città dei Bambini e dei Ragazzi (Children’s City), the Bigo, Luzzati Museum at Porta Siberia, Pallavicini Park of Pegli, Villa Durazzo at Santa Margherita Ligure, Palazzo Imperiale, the Carlo Felice Theatre, the Genoese Teatro Stabile, the Teatro della Tosse, the Teatro dell’Archivolto, the Teatro Cargo. The 48 hour Card costs 16 Euros while the 48 hour MUSEUMS+BUS Card is 20 Euros.

The Napoli Artecard is a ticket valid for 3 days that grants a line-free entrance to the most significant Neapolitan museums and the archaeological area of the Campi Flegrei. It also gives access to public transportation and special discounts. It costs 13 Euros.

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Italy Now

Currency

Currency

Genoa’s stock exchange.

Y

ou will need cash for some things, such as taxis, newspapers, or a quick espresso, but just about everything else can be charged. The Euro is a very strong currency at the moment. The old Italian Lira has been replaced by notes available in bills of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5. While coins are available in denominations of 2 and 1 Euros, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2, and 1 cent. The exchange value is approximately 1 Euro = US $ 1.29, but for current rates check, www.eurochange.com or www.xe.com You can exchange or get money at any bank, ATM machine (Bancomat), exchange office (Ufficio di Cambio) at airports and train stations. When using ATMs, major hotels offer an exchange service but usually for higher fees. There are many Bancomats in the large cities and even in small towns. The machines operate just as they do in the US; at the beginning of the transaction, it prompts the user for the preferred language. Using a credit card, or even better, a debit card or your local bank ATM card is very easy. One must first locate either the Cirrus or BankMate symbol (on the Bancomat and on your card) to insure the card is usable on that particular unit. Cirrus and BankMate are the

two most popular and widespread banking systems in the world so they are the best to have. After discovering the system is compatible, simply withdraw money as you would at home. Be careful though when using credit cards, as many banks are now charging large fees of 2.5% to 4% for cash advances which negate any advantage of using the Bancomat in the first place. One’s best bet is to use your regular ATM card and simply withdraw money from your account just as you would do at your local bank. ATM machines charge a commission fee that varies from 3 to 5%. The bank charges a fee as well, so it’s recommended to take more money at one time and limit the use of the ATM machines. American Express, Mastercard, and Visa are accepted, as well as other cards. Check with your company what fees they apply for international purchases. Many think that it is more convenient to use Travelers Checks, but less and less places accept them. They can be purchased in the US and they should already be in Euros (small amounts) in order to avoid the application of additional exchange rates. Travelers checks can also be purchased at Italian banks.

Photo courtesy of Davide Vagni.

How to handle Euros

SOME USEFUL WORDS WHEN CHANGING MONEY ARE THE FOLLOWING: Where can I exchange some dollars? Dove posso cambiare dei dollari? Is the bank open? E’ aperta la banca? Is there a currency exchange nearby? C’è un ufficio di cambio qui vicino? How much is the dollar worth today? Quanto vale il dollaro oggi?

Banking hours vary from city to city, but in general they are: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. After a lunch break they reopen at 3.00 pm until 4.00 pm. On Saturday they offer limited hours from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They are closed on Sundays. Banks charge a flat fee for exchange services. ITALY’S MAIN BANKS ARE:

• • • • • • • • • • 46

Banca Agricola Banca Carige Banca Carime Banca Cariplo Banca Europea Banca Fineco Banca Intesa Banca Meridiana Banca Popolare Banca Nazionale del Lavoro The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Communications

Italy Now

Communications Phones and other gadgets at your fingertips

I

n the past, staying connected to those back home seemed a daunting task. Prices were high and the coverage in Italy was poor. Nowadays there are options that not only are very inexpensive but are also easy to take advantage of and extremely functional.

Cell phones First and foremost, in Italy, incoming cell phone calls are free. Also, since you can prepay your calls, you can control how much money you want to invest in the outgoing call time without worrying about receiving unexpectedly high bills. You can also continue to receive incoming calls with zero remaining credit. Network operators are Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM, www.tim.it), Vodafone Omnitel (www.vodafone.it), Wind (www.wind.it), and H3G (www.h3g.it). If you want to use your cell phone in Italy, it must be a GSM triband. Check with your cellular carrier to make arrangements before departure. The major nationwide carriers — AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, Nextel, Sprint PCS,T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless — offer international roaming service. This means the companies have partnered with carriers in other countries to provide expanded service to U.S. customers. Please keep in mind that roaming charges can be costly. A cheaper option is to buy a prepaid SIM card at your destination, then swapping it with the card inside your phone. The tiny SIM card is the phone’s life-support system: without it, the handset won’t work. The card is usually located one layer beneath the battery. Pop the battery out and you should see the SIM card seated in a slot. Prepaid SIM cards typically come in per-minute increments. Costs vary, so shop around. Depending on the country you visit, you should be able to find a few phone operators selling prepaid SIM cards. When the amount of money on the card runs out, you have to purchase more time. You can add more time on the phone using your credit card, but in Italy most people buy more time with a “Ricaricard” that can be purchased at a tobacco shop, phone store or media store. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

These cards come in denominations of 25 or 50 Euro (sometimes they are available in smaller amounts). The card costs 5 Euro more than it is worth (service charge). The card is a plastic card with a secret code on the back. Scratch off the silver covering the secret code on the card. Call the provider, select the option to recharge the phone. Enter the secret code, wait for confirmation and you are all set. Keep in mind that if you use an overseas carrier’s SIM card, your phone will no longer answer calls to your usual number — that’s one advantage of paying the higher rates for international roaming with your original SIM card. If you prefer, cellular phones can be rented in Italy with a prepaid amount of usage time. Arrangements can be made directly at the airport. Malpensa, in Milan, has a Rentacell office at Terminal 1. To order Rentacell service before your departure, contact the company by fax,

telephone or email. All information is available on www.rentacell.it Many find it easier to rent a cell phone before leaving the country. Some providers with good deals are www.travelcell.com and www.acetelecom.com

Useful Extras Power Adapter/Converter Kit. This is one of those things that you need to take on an

47


Italy Now

Communications

overseas trip but sometimes forget until you need it. Before you go, purchase a complete kit, such as Belkin’s Business Traveler Converter Kit, which has both converters and tips for several major cell phones and PDAs. It’s an indispensable tool. Spare Battery. If you don’t have a power adapter, packing an extra battery is the next best thing.

Codes and public phones Italy’s country code is 39, so from the US to call Italy you must add the number 39 after 011. Calls to land phones have a zero before each city code: Milan 02 Florence 055 Naples 081 Bologna 051

Rome 06 Turin 011 Venice 041 Genoa 010

The zero is dropped if calling an Italian cellular number. Common codes for cellular numbers are: 335, 347, 337, etc. The outgoing international code to the US is 001, followed by the American city code and the phone number. Public telephones are available throughout Italy. These days most do not accept coins and operate by use of a phone card (Carta Telefonica) which may be purchased at any newsstand, post office, or local tobacco shop. They are available for 5, 10, and 20 Euros.

112 113

Carabinieri Emergency Police Help Number (also ambulance and fire) 115 Fire Department 116 A.C.I. (Italian Automobile Club) road assistance. 118 Medical Assistance 186 Telegrams 4161 Time 4114 Wake-up Call 803116 Automobile Club Road Service 187 Telephone (Telecom) 119 Cellular Telephone (TIM) 190 Cellular Telephone (VODAFONE) 155 Cellular Telephone (WIND)

If you require frequent access to the Internet for more than the occasional email, you may think about bringing your laptop along. Many Internet Points will allow you to tap into their wideband networks through an ethernet connection or wireless nodes. Many hotels also offer these services as well. Ask for their fee beforehand. For a list of locations that offer WiFi hot spots and wireless 802.11b internet access, check out www.Wi-fihotspotlist.com

Internet Internet booths operated by Telecom are available for public access at airports, major hotels and other public places. The term Internet Point is often used in Italy to define a place where access to computers connected to the internet is provided. Usually a per minute or per hour fee is charged. Others require the purchase of a card good for a minimum amount of time. Keep in mind that keyboards in Italy are slightly different and that some letters aren’t anywhere near the places on the keyboard your fingers expect them to be.

Emergency Numbers Simply dial these numbers from anywhere in the country. They are toll free. 12 Telephone Directory Assistance Number 170 Operator for Collect Calls 4176 General International Information

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The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Communications

There are American companies that you can consult before leaving that provide Secured and Managed Internet access to travelers. With your Portable PC, PDA, mobile phone or any Internet enabled device, you will connect to their network through Dialup, ISDN, Toll Free, WiFi and broadband. Technical support is available by phone 24 hours a day in English, Spanish and French. They offer billing as you go, which allows you to control and manage your expenses on a daily basis. www.italy.dialer.net

To hook up the computer modem line one needs to purchase an adaptor in the US designated for Italy. In Italy, electricity is 220 volts, compared to the US 110 volts. You will need a voltage converter. Regardless of voltage, you will need a conThe Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Italy Now

verter anyway as plugs are shaped differently. For more information, www.laptoptravel.com Big cities have several Internet cafes, while in smaller towns access may be less widely available. The local tourist office will have a computer or two for you to use.

Some internet points: FLORENCE Italian Point, Via Ricasoli 19/r, tel. 055.280119 = 30 PC VENICE Net House, Campo S.Stefano, s.Marco 2967, tel. 041.5208128 = 30 PC ROME Rimanet Cafe, v. Portico d’Ottavia 2, tel. 06.68891356 = 20 PC PALERMO Everalways, Corso Tukory 198, tel. 091.217652 = 55 PC NAPLES Multimedia, v.S.Giovanni Maggiore Pignatelli 34, tel. 081.5514708 = 40 PC TURIN Quinta Dimensione, Corso Svizzera 165, tel. 011.2309033 = 70 PC MILAN Mondadori Multicenter, v. Marghera 28, tel. 02.48047311 = 16 PC BOLOGNA Net Arena, v. de’Giudei 3/b, tel. 051.220850 = 13 PC For more information: www.ecs.net/cafe

Post Offices For snail mail, keep in mind that it usually takes from four to seven days for mail to arrive at its destination. Stamps are sold in post offices and in tobacco shops. Post office hours vary but usually are

Weekdays – 8:00 or 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 or 1:30 p.m. 2:00 or 2:30 p.m.. to 5:30 or 6:30 p.m. Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

COMMON EXPRESSIONS USED TO MAKE A TELEPHONE CALL INCLUDE:

Pronto? Chi parla? C’è [Claudia], per favore? ArrivederLa

Hello? Who is speaking? Is [Claudia] in? Good-bye

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Italy Now

Accommodations

Accommodations

First thing you notice when you walk into an Italian hotel is a sign with some stars on it.

A pleasant stay in one of Italy’s hotels

Hotels - the star system First thing you notice when you walk into an Italian hotel, right next to the front door, is a sign with some stars on it. These little stars are an indication of the quality of the hotel you are going to stay at. Most of the ratings, ranging from one-star to five-star, are provided by the government and are a quantitative measure used to determine the price range (and sometimes the tax obligation) of a hotel. The “star system” can be a bit confusing as different European countries, and even Italian cities, have different procedures for

designating how many stars a hotel deserves. A three-star hotel in Milan can be more expensive than a five-star hotel in Assisi, for example. Generally speaking, a four-star hotel will indeed cost more than a one-star in the same city. The four-star hotel will have more services and amenities. The one-star will usually be very basic. In other words, they consist of a bed, and the bathroom might have to be shared. Basic rooms in a two-star hotel offer private baths and most of the time include television, a phone and occasionally even a mini bar. Each mini bar must be accompanied by a price list. Prices tend to be high if compared to those of regular bars and grocery stores. Hotel rates are usually lower during the off-season months – March to November in resort centers and big cities; April to May and September to November at ski resorts. The ITPC has selected hotels that perfectly fit American standards. For more information www.italyhotels.it

by region, that are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., including on festival days. Not all hotels offer air conditioning, check before reserving a room.

Electrical Appliances If you are carrying any electrical appliances, like a hair dryer or a laptop, you should have a transformer because the voltage is different (220). Check the local voltage with the hotel. In addition, plugs have two round-pronged plugs, making an adapter plug necessary.

Extra Services Phone calls, fax and internet service, laundry, and other services, such as money exchange, are available for extra fees. For self-service laundry, a much cheaper option, the site www.ondablu.com lists laundromats, region

Discounts Always check the hotel website for last minute deals and special offers. Some hotels in Rome offer lower weekend rates, while in Venice discounts are given for weekday stays.

Photo courtesy of Is Morus Relais.

I

taly welcomes visitors with a varied range of hotels to fit all needs and budgets – each place is characterized by unmistakable Italian hospitality and warmth. There are thousands of hotels in Italy, more than 40,000 to be exact, without counting Bed & Breakfasts (an officially recognized guest room in a private home) and Agriturismos (farmhouse accommodations). It’s also possible to stay in convents or other religious institutions, castles, villas, youth hostels and even in trulli (a traditional Apulian stone dwelling with a conical roof). When looking for a place to stay, remember that rates include taxes and service fees; the IVA (added-value tax, currently 10%) should be added to the total amount.

There are thousands of hotels in Italy, more than 40,000 to be exact.

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The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


At the Restaurant

Italy Now

At the Restaurant The magic of an Italian meal

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Photo courtesy of Is Morus Relais.

I

taly is rich with fabulous restaurants, some fancy, some modest, some country, some urban. They all have one thing in common: they offer great food. In addition to regular restaurants there are: the autogrill, roadside snack bar; the osteria, an informal place; the trattoria, which is a mediumpriced, often family-run eating establishment; the pizzeria, specializing in pizzas of the region; the paninoteca, where sandwiches and salads are often available, and the tavola calda, which features a buffet of hot or cold dishes to eat in or take out. Enotecas were wine bars years ago, but now they they serve small portions of food (assaggi) along with samplings of local wines. If you just want a sandwich, you can go to a bar. A bar in Italy is similar to a café in the U.S. People go to the bar for their morning coffee and pastry, to grab a sandwich, and even to buy ice cream. Some bars also serve a few pasta or salad selections, so if you just want one course, that’s a good choice. Dinner in Italy is often much later than in the U.S. If you want to eat with the locals, eat late. And the farther south you move the later people eat. Lunch, between noon and two, is sometimes followed by a quick nap. Restaurants close between lunch and dinner. In larger cities, you may find restaurants open all afternoon. Both il servizio (service charge/tip) and il coperto (cover charge for bread and water) are usually included in il conto (the bill). By Italian law, the gratuity is included in the bill, and extra tipping isn’t necessary. If the service deserves it, leave your waiter a little extra. If your budget is tight, consider the prix fixe menu, called menu turistico or prezzo fisso. It usually is a good buy as it often includes at least two courses, cover and service charges. All eating establishments must, by law, post a menu outside. It’s helpful to read it before being seated. Try the daily specials and the house specialties, as they are the best the chef has to offer and they are often made with seasonally fresh ingredients. L’antipasto, which literally means “before the meal” and includes hot and cold appetizers such as crostini, bruschetta, and cold cuts. Il primo, or “first course,” usually consists of pasta, minestrone, risotto, or zuppa

Italian restaurants have one thing in common: they all serve great food.

(soup). Pasta should be cooked Al dente (to the tooth), until it offers a slight resistance when bitten into, but which is not soft or overdone. Il secondo, or “second course,” is a meat, poultry, game, or fish dish. Il contorno, or “side dish” which consists of vegetables such as melanzane (eggplant), spinaci (spinach), or insalata mista (mixed salad), is ordered separately, as it does not come with the second course. Il dolce, or “dessert,” ends the meal. It features favorite sweets such as tiramisù, or panna cotta. La frutta, fresh fruit is often served after dessert. Italians often say Buon appetito! or “Enjoy your meal” when the first course is served, and Salute! or “To your health” when toasting with a drink. A typical Italian meal ends with an espresso, a dark, strong coffee brewed to have a thin layer of creamy, dark beige froth on the coffee’s surface.

More Coffee Terms: Caffè Americano American-style coffee, but stronger; weaker than espresso and served in a large cup. Caffè corretto Coffee “corrected” with a shot of grappa, cognac, or Sambuca. Doppio Espresso Double espresso. Caffè freddo Iced coffee . Caffè Hag Decaffeinated coffee, often

referred to just as Hag. Caffè latte Hot milk mixed with coffee and served in a glass for breakfast. Caffè macchiato Espresso “stained” with a drop of steamed milk. Caffè Ristretto Espresso with less water. Cappuccino Espresso infused with steamed milk and drunk in the morning, but never after lunch or dinner. SOME USEFUL WORDS: Il conto, per favore L’apribottiglia Il bicchiere La bottiglia La caraffa Il cavatappi Il cestino del pane Il coltello Il cucchiaio La forchetta Il macinino del pepe Il piatto Il portapepe Il portasale Le posate La scodella Lo stuzzicadente La tazza La tovaglia Il tovagliolo

Check Please Bottle opener Glass Bottle Carafe Corkscrew Bread basket Knife Spoon Fork Pepper mill Plate Pepper shaker Salt shaker Cutlery Bowl Toothpick Cup Tablecloth Napkin

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Italy Now

Food and Wine

Food and Wine The joys of Italian products

Regional Products & Specialties VALLE D’AOSTA – Fontina cheese, Renette apples, Martin Spec pears, Tegole almond cookies. Vitello alla valdostana, breaded veal cutlet, fried and topped with fontina and ham, then reheated in the oven over a slice of polenta. PIEDMONT – White truffles, Robiola cheese, rice from Vercelli, Gianduiotti chocolates. Bicerin, a blend of coffee, milk, and chocolate, is Turin’s signature drink. LOMBARDY – Bresaola cured beef, Torrone, sweet nougat, ossobuco. Risotto alla Milanese is sauteed rice cooked in broth and saffron. TRENTINO – Speck, smoked ham, Biroldi blood sausages, goat cheeses. Orzetto is a barley soup made with onion, garlic, vegetables, and herbs simmered with speck. FRIULI VENEZIA-GIULIA – San Daniele prosciutto, Montasio cheese. Iota is a traditional soup from Trieste made with beans,

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Spigola, is a specialty from Naples.

potatoes and sauerkraut. VENETO – Pandoro Christmas cake and tiramisu are the region’s favorite sweets. LIGURIA – Focaccia bread, pesto sauce, and olives. Farinata is a thin pancake made with chickpea flour. EMILIA ROMAGNA – Balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, mortadella & Prosciutto di Parma. Tortellini alla Bolognese in brodo are pasta filled with mortadella, prosciutto and veal served in a meat broth. TUSCANY – Bistecca alla Fiorentina is delicious T-bone steak. Other specialties are panzanella, salad made with vegetables and stale bread, and ribollita, vegetable minestrone with black cabbage. UMBRIA – Black truffles, honey and Budellaccio salame are some of the region’s favorites. MARCHE – Some notable products are Porchetta, roasted pork, and Salame di Fabriano. Fossa is amazing cheese aged while buried in a pit. ABRUZZO – Saffron, Confetti di Sulmona, sugar coated almonds, and black lentils. A traditional dish is Maccheroni alla Chitarra, handmade pasta cut in thin strips similar to the strings of a guitar. LAZIO – Puntarelle salad, artichokes, and lamb (a lamb specilty is called Abbacchio

alla Romana). Bucatini all’Amatriciana are long pasta served in a tomato and pork sauce, seasoned with grated pecorino cheese. CAMPANIA – Mozzarella, lemons, fresh seafood. Pizza was born here as well as sfogliatelle, shell pastry filled with ricotta cheese. MOLISE – White celery, pasta filled with ricotta, and Picellati, honey pastries with nuts and grapes. BASILICATA – Diavolicchio chili peppers, Luganiga sausage, Ciaudedda, braised artichokes stuffed with potatoes and stewed in tomatoes. PUGLIA – Orecchiette pasta, Taralli bread ribbons, and Cocomeri cucumbers. CALABRIA – Liquorice, chili peppers, caciocavallo cheese and capocollo, cured pork meat. SICILY – Sea salt from Trapani, eggplant, almond paste known as marzapane, delicate olive oil, and succulent blood oranges. SARDINIA – Pecorino cheese, Fiore sardo cheese, and wild boar. Porcheddu is roasted suckling pig flavored with herbs (myrtle berries) and spices.

Favorite Ingredients Although every region has its own treasures and signature dishes, there are some staple The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

T

oday, Italian cuisine is cherished around the world. It’s no secret that it is incomparable, even though many try to imitate it. Ranging from simple to hearty, sweet to spicy, subtle to strong, each dish is prepared with the freshest and healthiest ingredients…plus a pinch of love. In Italy, food may be a necessity, but it has a higher meaning – it has been a pleasure, a philosophy, and a science since ancient times. Decisions are made around a table set with food, wine, and the people you really care about. The dishes are colorful and flavorful, a real explosion of simplicity and natural ingredients. What is particular about Italian cuisine is that it is regional. Almost every town has something unique, and from one end of a region to the other the specialties can change completely. The reason for this culinary fragmentation is simple. Before WWII, with the exception of the nobility and the clergy, most Italians simply didn’t travel, and as a result, still today, every town and every valley has something different. Neighboring towns and valleys will also share techniques and recipes, and add individual twists.


Food and Wine

Italy Now

What is particular about Italian cuisine is that it is regional.

ingredients that are used throughout the country. These ingredients are unique to Italy in use, quality and quantity. They are imported all over the world and are used in international cuisines as well.

On Olive Oil Italy is covered with olive trees, from the northern regions all the way down to Puglia and Sicily. The pressing of tree-ripened olives extracts a tasty, monounsaturated oil that is good for cooking and for salads. The flavor, color and fragrance of olive oils can vary greatly depending on distinctions such as growing region (oils from southern Italy tend to be more fruity) and the crop’s condition. Olive oils are graded according to the degree of acidity they contain. The best oils are cold-pressed, a chemical-

Photo courtesy of Scata.

In Italy, food may be a necessity, but it has a higher meaning.

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

free process that involves only pressure, which produces a natural level of low acidity. EXTRA VIRGIN OIL is only 1% acid and is the result of the first pressing of the olives. It can range from a crystalline champagne color to greenish-golden to light green. It is the finest and most expensive. There are three categories of extra virgin olive oil: Mild – Light and buttery. Ideal for raw meats, pasta sauces, raw vegetables and fish. Fruity – Slightly stronger, it pairs well with grilled meats, pasta sauces, cooked vegetables and bruschetta. Spicy – Strong taste, perfect for rustic dishes. VIRGIN OLIVE OIL is also a first-press oil, with a slightly higher level of acidity (between 1 and 3%). FINO OLIVE OIL is a blend of extra virgin olive oil and virgin oils. OLIVE OIL is a combination of refined olive oil and virgin or extra virgin olive oil. Always check the label to make certain the oil is estate pressed and bottled, and only buy olive oil in non-opaque glass, which will allow you to see the oil. It should be green, though not too brilliant a green. Be wary, on the other hand, of oil in cans that you cannot see through, and also of very pale oils, or yellow oils. Pale oils have certainly been filtered and may have been cut with other less healthy

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Italy Now

Food and Wine

Uruguayan, Brazilian, and Mexican cuisine.

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

Ingredients: 1 pound of coarsely ground cornmeal 2 quarts boiling water 1ts. of salt

oils, whereas deep yellow oils could well be old. Always check the expiration date; it should be two years after bottling. Olive oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, the acid one also finds in caught (as opposed to raised) oily fish such as salmon, which is important in preventing cardiovascular disease. In addition, olive oil reduces LDL cholesterol — which sticks to the arteries — and raises HDL cholesterol, which is instead beneficial and it is a powerful antioxidant and appears to inhibit colorectal cancer.

On Polenta Polenta, the Italian version of cornmeal, is tasty, extremely versatile, and an ideal accompaniment to many dishes. Formerly a peasant food, polenta has recently become quite upscale, with polenta dishes served in fine restaurants, and prepared polenta is found in supermarkets at rather high prices. Polenta is often cooked in a large copper pot known in Italian as paiolo. In northern Italy there are many different ways to cook polenta. The most famous Lombard polenta dishes are polenta uncia, polenta concia, and polenta e gorgonzola; all are cooked with various cheeses and butter. It can also be cooked with porcini mushrooms, rapini, or other vegetables or meats, as in the Venetian poenta e osei, with little birds. Polenta is popular in also in Savoyard, Swiss, Austrian, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Corsican, Argentine,

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Set the water on the fire in a wide bottomed pot and add the salt. When it comes to a boil, add the cornmeal in a very slow stream (you don’t want the pot to stop boiling), stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to keep lumps from forming. Continue stirring, in the same direction, as the mixture thickens, for about a half-hour (the longer you stir the better the polenta will be); adding boiling water as necessary. SERVES 4. If you like polenta, you should consider purchasing a polenta maker, which is a pot with a motor-driven paddle that takes care of the stirring for you.

On Pasta The role of pasta has changed greatly throughout Italy’s culinary history. Once only eaten by Italy’s elite as a handmade specialty, today pasta is enjoyed by all and is the foundation of Italian cuisine both in Italy and around the world. In the days before industrialization, dry pasta made from durum wheat, water, and a pinch of salt (spaghetti, rigatoni, and so on), was easier to make, and therefore more popular, in the South, where warmer temperatures and increased sunlight hastened the drying of the pasta. Central and parts of Northern Italy, especially Emilia Romagna and Piedmont, are instead known for fresh pasta made with eggs, flour, and salt, for example tagliatelle, and pappardelle, both of which are flat forms. The center and north are also known for stuffed pasta, for example ravioli or tortellini, and one can find these kinds of pasta in areas where they didn’t eat much flat or dry pasta until recently, for example Lombardia. Risotto is eaten more in the northern regions. Indeed most of the world’s best short-grained strains of rice, including Arborio, Carnaroli, and Vialone Nano, are Northern Italian.

Types of pasta sauces Aglio, olio e peperoncino Tossed in garlic, olive oil, and hot peppers Burro e salvia With butter and sage Al sugo With tomato sauce Amatriciana Bacon or sausage, with tomatoes, onion, and hot pepper Arrabbiata Spicy tomato sauce Astice Lobster sauce Bolognese Meat sauce, usually with tomato Bucaniera Seafood, tomato, garlic, parsley, and oil Cacciatora Tomato, onion, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, and wine sauce Cacio e Pepe Sheep’s cheese and ground pepper Carbonara Cream, ham or bacon, egg, and parmesan cheese Frutti di Mare Seafood Matriciana Pork and tomato sauce Norma Tomato, eggplant, and salted ricotta cheese Puttanesca Tomatoes, capers, red peppers, anchovies, garlic, and oil Quattro Formaggi With four cheeses Ragù Tomato-based meat sauce In Italy, the pasta shape is an integral part of a meal – its building blocks – serving as the foundation for sauces bursting with each region’s herbs, spices, meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Thicker, flat, long shapes, like fettuccine, pair with extremely robust sauces. While specialty shapes, like shells are great with hearty dairy-based sauces (cheese or béchamel) and vegetable sauces (like beans, lentils, chick peas, pumpkin, or other chunky vegetables). Cooking pasta is easy, but how much water to use, which pot, and the right combination of pasta and sauce must be chosen carefully in order to prepare a perfect pasta meal. Use a tall, large pot filled no more than 3/4 with water. Salt the water. This brings out the natural flavor of the pasta. (Salt must be added once the water has started to boil. Adding salt too early may lengthen the boiling time). Do not add oil to the water. Olive oil does nothing for the taste of pasta and its usage will make the pasta slippery, allowing the sauce to slide off the pasta. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Food and Wine

Italy Now

Ranging from simple to hearty, sweet to spicy, subtle to strong, each dish is prepared with the freshest and healthiest ingredients.

Follow the cooking times on the package. At boiling time, pour in the pasta and increase the heat source to bring the water back to a boil. When the pasta is cooked al dente, there should be a slight resistance in the center when the pasta is chewed. Drain pasta immediately after it is done cooking. Always save a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water; it may be needed to dilute the sauce. Add sauce and serve immediately. To finish the pasta, top with parmesan cheese, a little freshly ground black pepper or olive oil.

On Garlic Italian food has a reputation of being garlicky, and indeed that’s not completely undeserved. Piedmont’s famous dipping sauce Bagna Caoda is made with olive oil, butter, anchovies and lots of garlic, while the Neapolitan Pizza alla Marinara is made with just tomato and sliced garlic (no cheese). However, there are large parts of the peninsula where garlic doesn’t play much of a role, appearing only in moderation and well cooked. When sautéing garlic, take care lest it overcook, because at that point its flavor becomes quite unpleasant.

Outdoor markets offer plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

On Wine

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Photo courtesy of Natasha Lardera.

The diversity of dishes that Italy has to offer is also characteristic of its wines. Italy is home to 2,000 home-grown grape varieties and exports more wine than any other country. North Italy boasts some of the world’s finest wines, from Piedmont’s Nebbiolo and Barbera to Friuli’s whites. Central Italy’s wines are excellent, too, from Tuscany’s Bolgheri and Chianti to the Marche’s Verdicchio. Southern wines are unique, from Campania’s Taurasi and Basilicata’s Aglianico del Vulture to Pantelleria’s Passito. Reading an Italian label is usually straight forward: there’s the winery name, perhaps the vineyard that the grapes came from, the year, and an abbreviation (DOC, DOCG) or a phrase (Vino Da Tavola). These denominations guide consumers in their choice and ensure quality control.

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Food and Wine

Photos courtesy of Regione Campania.

Italy Now

Italy is home to 2,000 home-grown grape varieties and exports more wine than any other country.

VINO A DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE CONTROLLATA (DOC) is the Italian answer to the French AOC. DOC wines are produced in specific well-defined regions, according to specific rules designed to preserve the traditional wine-making practices of the individual regions. Thus, the rules for making Barolo differ markedly from those for making Chianti Classico. The DOC category was introduced in the early 60s with the purpose to improve the quality of wines. VINO A INDICAZIONE GEOGRAFICA (IGT) is a wine produced in a specific area. There’s nothing special about most of it. VINO DA TAVOLA. This is the lowest class of wine, a wine made by the producer as he sees fit to make it. There are few rules, and the result is often insipid, thin, weak, and acidic.

Ramandolo (DOCG) VENETO – Recioto di Soave (DOCG), Bardolino (DOCG), Prosecco di Valdobbiadene (DOC), Tocai (DOC), Amarone della Valpollicella (DOC) LIGURIA – Vermentino (DOC), Pigato (DOC), Sciacchetrà (DOC), Rossese di Dolceacqua (DOC) EMILIA ROMAGNA – Albana di Romagna, (DOCG), Sangiovese di Romagna (DOC), Trebbiano di Romagna (DOC) TUSCANY – Chianti (DOC & DOCG), Brunello di Montalcino (DOC), Vernaccia di San Gimignano (DOC) UMBRIA – Sagrantino (DOCG), Torgiano Rosso Riserva (DOCG), Colli Perugini (DOC) MARCHE – Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (DOC), Rosso Piceno (DOC) ABRUZZO – Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (DOC), Cerasuolo (DOC), Trebbiano (DOC) LAZIO – Frascati (DOC), Montefiasconi Est! Est! Est! (DOC) Torre Ercolana (DOC) CAMPANIA – Lacryma Christi (DOC), Fiano d’Avellino (DOCG), Greco di Tufo (DOCG) MOLISE – Biferno (DOC), Pentro di Isernia (DOC) BASILICATA – Aglianico del Vulture PUGLIA – Primitivo di Manduria (DOC), Aleatico (DOC) CALABRIA – Cirò (DOC), Greco (DOC) SICILY – Nero d’Avola (DOC), Moscato (DOC), Marsala SARDINIA – Cannonau (DOC), Nuragus (DOC), Vermentino (DOC)

Wines from North to South There are four major categories of Italian wines: VINO A DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE CONTROLLATA E GARANTITA (DOCG). These wines are from the wine regions recognized as the finest in the country. DOCG wines must pass an evaluation of a tasting committee before they can be bottled. The nine DOCG regions are: Barbaresco, Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Albana di Romagna, Gattinara, Carmignano, and Torgiano Rosso Riserva.

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VALLE D’AOSTA – Müller Thurgau (DOC) and Torrette Superiore (DOC) PIEDMONT – Barolo (DOCG), Barbaresco (DOCG), Barbera (DOC), Nebbiolo (DOC), Dolcetto (DOC) and Asti Spumante (DOCG) LOMBARDY Franciacorta Spumante (DOCG), Bonarda (DOCG), Lambrusco (DOC), Valtellina Superiore (DOCG) TRENTINO – Marzemino (DOC), Riesling (DOC), Pinot Bianco (DOC), Moscato FRIULI VENEZIA-GIULIA – Tocai Friulano (DOC), Collio Goriziano Cabernet (DOC),

On beer Although wine reigns supreme, production of Italian beer is widespread. The most well known brands are: BIRRA MORETTI Founded in Udine in 1859 by Luigi Moretti. It is particularly known for its Moretti Doppio Malto, an amber lager. BIRRA PERONI, or simply Peroni. Founded in Vigevano in 1846. Its most famous product is Nastro Azzurro, a pilsner-style beer, which is marketed worldwide. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


For Shoppers Only

Italy Now

For Shoppers Only Welcome to shopping wonderland

Y

ou can easily combine a love for travel with a love for shopping in Italy if you know where to look! Plan your trip to give yourself considerable time to navigate your way through the streets (and shops) of the small towns, and extra time to do your bargain hunting. Some excellent purchase options are clothes, especially designer dresses, shoes, gloves, silk ties, shirts; lacework, gold and silver jewelry, leather goods (handbags, gloves, cases, boxes, luggage), ceramics, alabaster, woodwork, embroidery, glass and crystal. Italian products are known for their high quality, innovative design, and impeccable style. Stores are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. They close for a lunch break and reopen at 3:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. In larger cities, stores do not close for lunch and are open later (until 10:00 p.m.). Most shops are closed on Sundays.

Armani, Valentino, and Loro Piana. A Fendi outlet is located in Rignano sull’Arno, in Via Giuseppe di Vittorio 9. www.valdichianaoutlet.it In the small town of Montevarchi, one can find the Prada Outlet, officially named “Space.” The sign on the building is very small; look for the crowd of people waiting to get in. NORTHERN ITALY – Fifty factory stores are located throughout the north with malls in Aosta, Biella, Meda (near Milan), and near Bologna. There’s something for everyone, from a cocktail dress by Cerruti to a kid’s outfit from Trussardi kids. www.fifty.it The Armani Factory Store is in the town of Vertemate, near Como. It’s a shopper’s paradise with three stories of Armani fashions. PROVINCE OF BRESCIA – The Franciacorta Outlet Villane is an high-tech mall featuring an Autogrill food court where all the top fashion brands can be found.

www.franciacortaoutlet.it For more listings visit, www.bestoutlet.it There are some services that upon subscription send a free Spacci Card that gives additional discounts at more than 500 locations. For information, www.guidaspacci.com For serious bargain hunters, the book “Lo Scopri Occasioni,” written by Theodora Van Meurs and published by Editoriale Shopping Italia S.R.L., serves as a guide map to finding the stores you want to visit, listing over 2,000 shops along with directions and what to expect when you get there. This book is printed in both English and bilingual editions.

Sale Season Local authorities set annual sale dates. Normally there are two sale seasons, one in January, right after the holidays, and one in Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

Fashion Sense Italy is famous worldwide for its fashion industry and is always at the forefront of fashion and style. While shopping in Italy, the first thing you need to know is the Italian equivalent of American clothing sizes.

Bargain Hunting - Outlets To keep up with the latest fashion trends at reasonable prices, outlets are the way to go! In warehouses or shopping malls, they offer discounted designer labels from factory surplus or previous seasons. Most of the fashion houses, such as Prada, Fendi, Armani, and Gucci, have outlet stores in or near Milan, Florence, and Turin. All offer a designer shopping environment and friendly, courteous staff who speak a number of different languages. TUSCANY – Valdichiana Outlet Village is a real shopping heaven for designer brands. Located in the heart of Val di Chiana, near Arezzo. www.valdichianaoutlet.it In Leccio Reggello, in the province of Firenze, on Via Europa 8, there are a few outlets for the high fashion lovers: Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Ferragamo, Emanuel Ungaro, Ermenegildo Zegna, Giorgio The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Como produces beautiful and colorful silk.

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For Shoppers Only

THE ITALIAN MATCH FOR YOUR AMERICAN SIZE Women’s Clothing

Women’s Shoes

Men’s Clothing

ITALY

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ITALY

US

ITALY

4

38

5 1⁄2

35

34

6

40

6 1⁄2

36

8

42

7

10

44

7 1⁄2

12

46

8

14

48

ITALY

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ITALY

44

8

411⁄2

15

38

36

46

8 1⁄2

37

38

48

9

38

40

50

9 1⁄2

43

38 1⁄2

42

52

10

43 1⁄2

8 1⁄2

39

44

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10 1⁄2 44

9

40

46

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Beautiful cameos from Torre del Greco.

July, in the middle of summer. During sale season, items are reduced up to 70% off their retail prices. Discount and outlet stores never have sales. Some of the items you’ll find in the outlets are factory seconds or showroom pieces, and you will find garments from the previous years’ collection as well.

Tax Free Shopping (I.V.A. REFUND) The IVA tax is 20% and is included in the purchase price of practically everything sold in Italy. NonEuropean residents can claim a refund on each purchase over 154.94 Euros. Refunds cannot be taken for accommodations, dining or tourist servic-

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Men’s Shirts

US

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

US

Men’s Shoes

42 421⁄2

45

15 1⁄2 39 16

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es. When purchasing items ask for an IVA Refund Form and receive a validation stamp from the Customs Office at the airport upon leaving the country. www.globalrefund.com

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Regional Crafts

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Each Italian region produces unique objects that can be bought locally for good prices. ABRUZZO Jewelry from l’Aquila and Sulmona. Gold has earned Abruzzo a world-wide reputation for fine crafts. Scanno has been a center of gold working and jewelry making since the 17th century. The area is also known for its precious lace work. APULIA The best-known items of Apulian craftsmanship are terracotta pots. The production of terracotta and ceramics dates back three thousand years and remains today the most widespread craft in the region. The heart of terracotta production is the town of Grottaglie, in the province of Taranto, which has used this craft as its main source of wealth for centuries. BASILICATA Among the many artisans of Basilicata are ceramists, woodworkers, and textile craftsmen. Some of the greatest products are carpets of sheep’s wool and enameled cow bells. CALABRIA Smoking pipes, made with the arboreal heather roots of Calabria, are the region’s best-known product. Molding a pipe is hard work which requires ability and patience. Seminara is the most important center for ceramics. It is well-known for its colored masks and for its bottles. CAMPANIA Torre del Greco, a small city near Mt. Vesuvius, south-west of Naples, is well known all around the world for its production of shell cameos. Everything started in the beginning of the 1800s and it has always been a family business, handed down from father to son. Near Torre del Greco are two historical cities, Pompei and Herculanum, which inspired the artists who began the traditional art of carving cameos. Coral is popular as well. Another

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Italy Now

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

SICILY The lively colors of the nature of this region are captured in its crafts: Medieval-style puppets and fancy Sicilian carts. TUSCANY Arezzo, in Tuscany, is renowned for gold chain jewelry. Carrara continues to be the largest producer and exporter of marble in the world, and is responsible for shipping 1.5 million tons of marble annually from its port in the Marina di Carrara. Caves are sprinkled throughout the communes of Massa, Fivizzano and Montignoso, where various types of marble are extracted. Leather goods are produced throughout the entire region. TRENTINO ALTO ADIGE This region offers great copper objects from

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

local art is handmade paper from Amalfi. EMILIA ROMAGNA Ravenna is the center of mosaics. It possesses the world’s richest heritage of 5th and 6th century mosaics, superior in artistic quality and iconological importance to those of any other city of the ancient and classical worlds. Faenza is famous for its ceramics. FRIULI VENEZIA-GIULIA The region’s most popular products are ceramics from Udine and wooden chairs from Manzano. LAZIO In Ciociociaria, production of leatherstrapped sandals, just like the area’s peasants used to wear, still flourishes. LIGURIA The Albisola ceramic is famous, above all, for its characteristic white and blue color. In this region, the history of ceramic production stretches back over six hundred years. Lace and embroidery from Portofino are particularly lovely. LOMBARDY Como produces 80% of Europe’s silk and has been doing so since the 14th century when silk worms were first imported. There are boutiques in the center selling high-quality silk merchandise along with a few factory outlets. Scarves, ties and shirts all make good buys. For all music lovers, a visit to Cremona and its violins is a must. MARCHE In Castelfidardo, state of the art accordions are manufactured by the most experienced artisans. The region also produces great lace pillows. MOLISE Molise offers hand-crocheted pillows from Isernia and steel objects from Campobasso. PIEDMONT Valenza has over 150 years of hand-crafted jewelry tradition and is known for the high level of technical expertise and knowledge. Most of the gold jewelry with precious stones is made in Valenza. Another product is wicker from Alessandria. SARDINIA Filigree jewelry is typical of this sunny region, as is cork production.

Photo courtesy of Natasha Lardera.

Italian products are known for their high quality, innovative design, and impeccable style.

Shopping in Bellagio.

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Cavalese and wrought iron from Malè. UMBRIA The cultural and economic importance of craft activities in Umbria has ancient roots. The region offers a vast collection of crafts: Orvieto lace, pillow lace, Assisi crossstitching, hand-loomed beaten cloth, weapons for hand-to-hand combat, crossbows, ceramics, stone workmanship, terracotta, hand-made tiles, hand-decorated glass and mirrors, inlaid wood and wooden sculptures. VALLE D’AOSTA This region offers rustic products, such as wooden clogs from Val d’Ayas and handwoven wool fabrics from Valgrisenche.

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VENETO Murano is the capital of glassmaking. It is an exporter of traditional products like mirrors and glassware, and its factories produce modern items such as faucet handles, glass lampshades, and electric chandeliers. The glass shops in Murano and Venice showcase countless paperweights, glass beads and necklaces, knickknacks, and items of glass jewelry. While in the area, don’t miss Burano and its lacemaking factories.

Open-Air Markets Shopping for a bargain in Italy is a lot of fun and the country offers many outdoor markets that sell all sorts of products from fresh foods

to handicrafts and used clothing. The markets in Italy, from flea markets to antique and craft ones, hold a variety of objects that never fail to capture the attention of onlookers strolling by. It’s not uncommon to try to make a deal with the seller to get a better price. AREZZO – first weekend of the month – Piazza Grande market A large selection of antiques and secondhand treasures. BOLOGNA – every Friday and Saturday – La Piazzola In Piazza VIII Agosto you get deals on clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories. FLORENCE – daily except Sundays –

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

Italy Now

Shopping for a bargain in Italy is a lot of fun and the country offers many outdoor markets.

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Photo courtesy of Natasha Lardera.

For Shoppers Only

Piazza San Lorenzo Market Shop for souvenirs and leather goods. FLORENCE – daily except Sundays – Mercato Generale An indoor food market a few steps away from Piazza San Lorenzo. GENOA – first Saturday of the month – Palazzo Ducale Serious bargain hunting at the flea market. TURIN – Monday through Saturday – Porta Palazzo A great market where you can find unique food specialties. MILAN – Tuesday and Saturday – Mercato di Papiniano This food market has become more and more popular for being a designer-clothing paradise…and they aren’t knock offs! MILAN – Saturday – Fiera di Senigallia A vintage market set in the Navigli area. ROME – Sunday – Porta Portese Here you will find anything…they really have everything. ROME – daily except Sundays – Campo de’ Fiori Find the city’s best fresh produce and meats. NAPLES – Monday through Saturday – Mercato di Antignano An open-air food and clothing market where you will also find some cool housewares.

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

Local crafts on sale in Val di Mello.

Sugar coated almonds from Sulmona.

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Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment Indulge in your particular passion

I

taly is like a vast living museum. Very few countries have to offer such a rich heritage of artistic creativity and craft. Whether visiting an archeological site, a museum of modern art, or a local craft shop, you will discover the expression of artists and skilled craftsmen throughout the ages. Nowhere on earth are the arts celebrated so joyously – from drama, to film and music, and anything that requires man’s participation. There is something for everyone, no matter what your taste.

For the Opera Lover Italy is rich in beautiful, historic opera houses, many still serving as theaters. Opera fans should try to visit at least one opera house and enjoy a live performance while in Italy. The opera season is generally October through March or April but outdoor performances are held in the summer. Opera houses hold theater and dance performances at other times of the year, as well. Arena di Verona. The fantastic historic •setting for opera par excellence is the Verona Arena. The elliptical Arena was built in light pink marble around the year 100 A.D. and stands in the very middle of town, next to Piazza Brà. Built to accommodate more than 20,000 people, it is in remarkable shape today. The opera season starts in June but there are other performances during the year. Before the show starts, patrons pick up a candle from a box, unmarked, on the stairs. The tradition is to light the candles as the opera begins. www.arena.it Teatro Alla Scala. Milan’s famous opera house, Teatro Alla Scala, reopened in December, 2004, after an extensive renovation. The original opera house, designed by neoclassical architect Giuseppe Piermarini, opened in 1778, and many famous operas were first performed here. La Scala was badly bombed during World War II but reopened in 1946 and quickly regained its reputation as a top Italian opera house. www.lascala.milano.it Teatro La Fenice. La Fenice (the Phoenix) in Venice is one of the most famous theaters

in Europe. La Fenice first opened in 1792 but was twice badly damaged by fire. It has recently been renovated and reopened. www.teatrolafenice.it Teatro San Carlo. The Teatro San Carlo in Naples is the oldest opera house in Italy, founded in 1737. Some of the first ballet productions were also performed here during the opera intermissions. Opera, ballet, and short comic opera are still performed at Teatro San Carlo. A museum is in the planning stage. www.teatrosancarlo.it Teatro Massimo. Teatro Massimo in Palermo is the foremost opera house in Sicily as well as one of the finest in Europe. Its opening in 1897 signaled the beginning of Palermo’s belle epoque. Year-round performances include opera, ballet, and music. www.teatromassimo.it Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Bologna’s opera house is one of the top theaters in Italy. It is a stunning example of 18th century baroque architecture. Located in the heart of Bologna’s historic district, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna holds opera, musical, and symphony performances. www.comunalebologna.it

Regio di Parma - Teatro Verdi. •BuiltTeatro in 1829, Parma’s neo-classical theater holds opera, dance and drama performances as well as concerts and special events. The audience is known to be quite demanding; they even whistled at Pavarotti! www.teatroregioparma.org

For the Film Buff Italy’s cities and villages are the most beautiful movie sets on earth — from the cobblestones of Rome where Audrey Hepburn played a run-away princess to the Tuscan countryside where Diane Lane found solace in a charming villa. Italy is not just a backdrop, but also a country that loves cinema and shows films from all over. Some movie theaters in Italy’s biggest cities offer screening of films in their original language; most films in Italy are still being dubbed. The best way to find out which theaters run movies in English is to check the local newspaper, as listings are updated daily. TURIN – Cinema Nazionale, via Pomba 7 zona Centro Tel. +39. 011 534614

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Photo courtesy of Regione Abruzzo.

Chieti’s majestic Theater.

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Arts & Entertainment

Photo courtesy of the City of Turin.

There are over 4000 museums, archeological sites, and galleries in Italy.

MILAN – Cinema Mexico,Via Savona, 57 Tel. +39. 02.48951802 DVDs and video tapes of films in their original language can be rented at local video stores and are available at public libraries. Newsstands also sell videos: The English Movie Collection is comprised of video and original screenplay.

The Museum of Cinema of Turin, The Mole Antonelliana, houses Italy’s National Cinema Museum, founded by Adriana Prolo. It was designed in 1863 by Alessandro Antonelli. Inside there are five floors of movie memorabilia. Films are continuously being played and you can view them from specially designed lounge chairs with sound built into the headrests. www.museonazionaledelcinema.org Cinecittà – The Cinecittà film studios, on the south-eastern outskirts of Rome, are the largest in Europe. They were founded in 1937, when the Fascists’ power was at its height. Cinema was seen as an important medium for propaganda, and the studios were closely connected with the Istituto Luce, which produced newsreels and docu-

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

mentaries. Almost all Fellini’s films were made at Cinecittà, from Luci del varietà (1950) to La voce della Luna (1990). In recent years, some important international productions have used the studios: Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Gangs of New York, The Passion of Christ, and many others. Nowadays it is the television industry as much as the film industry that operates at Cinecittà. Italian talk shows and Real TV productions are broadcast live, advertising spots are filmed and fiction series are shot for distribution in Italy and abroad. If you come to Rome in the summer, you may be able see inside Cinecittà, which is sometimes open to the public between July and September. www.cinecittà.studios.it

For the Museum Aficionado There are over 4000 museums, archeological sites, and art galleries in Italy, so if art is your weakness you are in for a treat, although choosing which ones to visit is not an easy task. Buy tickets ahead of time. Many major museums and sites in Italy have long lines for ticket sales, especially during the high sea-

son. You can avoid the lines and be sure of getting admission on the day you want by buying tickets ahead of time or buying combination tickets. For example, in Rome, you can buy a combination ticket at the Palatine Hill that also includes admission to the Colosseum, allowing you to avoid all the long lines. If you want to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in Milan or the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, you will need to reserve a month ahead. You can also avoid reservations by signing up for a guided tour of the museum or cathedral you want to visit.

Museums of Ancient and Fine Arts FLORENCE Uffizi Gallery. This is one of the most famous museums of paintings and sculpture in the world. Its collection of Primitive and Renaissance paintings comprises several universally acclaimed masterpieces of all time, including works by Giotto, Simone Martini, Piero della Francesca, Fra Angelico, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Mantegna, Correggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio. German, Dutch, and Flemish masters are also well represented

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The Egyptian Museum of Turin is the most important Egyptian museum in the world after the one in Cairo.

with important works by Dürer, Rembrandt and Rubens. Open Tuesday to Sunday 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Closed Monday, New Year’s Day, May 1st and Christmas Day. www.uffizi.firenze.it Galleria dell’Accademia – The Gallery is particularly famous for its sculptures by Michelangelo: Prisoners, St.Matthew and, especially, the statue of David, which was transferred here to the specially designed court from Piazza della Signoria in 1873. In the adjacent rooms, which were part of two former convents, important works of art were collected in the 19th century from the Academy of Design, the Academy of Fine Arts and from convents. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 8:15 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Closed Monday, New Year’s Day, May 1st, Christmas Day. www.polomeseale.firenze.it The Pitti Palace, which was formerly the residence of the grand-dukes of Tuscany and later of the King of Italy, now houses several important collections of paintings and sculpture, works of art, porcelain and a costume gallery. It is also known for the Boboli Gardens, one of the earliest Italian gardens, famous also for its fountains and grottoes. ROME The Capitoline Museums are a group of art and archeological museums in Piazza del Campidoglio, on top of the famous Capitoline Hill. The museums are contained in three palazzos surrounding a central trapezoidal piazza in a plan conceived by Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536 and built over a period of over 400 years. Some of the works kept here are Boy with a Thorn in his Foot, Dying Gaul, Capitoline She-Wolf, an Etruscan bronze suckling Romulus and Remus (later additions), the original bronze equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius (the one outside is a replica), fragments of a truly gigantic statue of the Emperor Constantine. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. December 24 and 31, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Closed Mondays, January 1, May 1, December 25. www.museicapitolini.org The Vatican Museums comprise the papal apartments of the medieval Apostolic Palace decorated with frescoes during the Renaissance, the Sistine Chapel, the exhibition rooms of the Vatican Apostolic Library,

Photo courtesy of the City of Turin.

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Photo courtesy of the City of Turin.

Arts & Entertainment

Buy tickets ahead of time. Many major museums and sites in Italy have long lines for ticket sales.

and the museums themselves. Each museum has different hours. Closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of each month, unless it falls on Easter, on June 29 (St. Peter and Paul), or on December 25 and 26 (Christmas Holiday). The closed sections in the Museums are indicated at the entrance. Access to the Museums is permitted only to visitors with proper attire. www.mv.vatican.va The Roman Forum is located in a valley that is between the Palatine and the Capitoline Hills. It originally was a marsh, but the Romans drained the area and turned it into a center of political and social activity. The Forum was the marketplace of Rome and also the business district and civic center. It was expanded to include temples, a senate house and law courts. Much of the forum has been destroyed, but columns and stone blocks that formed some of the temples remain. The arch of Titus and the arch of Septimius Severus still stand and are in good shape. www.forumromanum.org NAPLES The Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte was built by Charles III of Bourbon as a hunting retreat, then expanded to house the art collection he inherited from his mother, Elizabeth Farnese. Today, the palace is home to the Museo e Gallerie di Capodimonte, which houses an outstanding collection of Renaissance paintings. Bellini, Caravaggio, Botticelli and El Greco are all represented, along with a couple of Bruegels, an elegant Madonna and Child with

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Angels by Botticelli, and Lippi’s soft, sensitive Annunciation. Open daily (except Monday) 8:30 a.m. to7:30 p.m. www.musis.it National Archeological Museum – This museum has one of the world’s best collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, including mosaics, sculptures, gems, glass and silver, as well as many of the objects from excavations at Pompeii, Herculaneum and other nearby archaeological sites. www.napoli.com VENICE Academy Gallery. The galleries are in the Dorsoduro district and they are an important collection of Venetian paintings from the 14th to 18th century, including masterpieces of the most famous masters such as Bellini, Giorgione, Carpaccio, Tiziano, Tintoretto, Veronese and Tiepolo. TURIN Galleria Sabauda. The collection includes paintings by the Piedmontese artists Macrino d’Alba and Defendente Ferrari, the Venetians Mantegna, Paolo Veronese, Tintoretto, Tiepolo and Canaletto, the Emilians Guido Reni and Guercino, and the Tuscans Beato Angelico, Lorenzo di Credi and Piero Pollaiuolo. www.museitorino.it/galleriasabauda The Egyptian Museum of Turin is the most important Egyptian museum in the world after the one in Cairo. Carlo Felice founded the museum in 1824 after he acquired the collection of Bernardino Drovetti, the French consul in Egypt. Today the museum houses a total of 30,000 ancient

objects. www.museoegizio.org MILAN Pinacoteca di Brera. The gallery opened its doors in 1809 to exhibit the works gathered from secularized religious institutions; since then the museum has acquired many additional works. This gallery has some masterpieces by Caravaggio, Bellini, Rapahel, Mantegna, della Francesca, Tiziano, Tintoretto and the Veronese, among others. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. Closed Mondays, January 1, May 1, December 25. www.brera.beniculturali.it Santa Maria delle Grazie – Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, commissioned to him by Ludovico il Moro in 1496 and completed in 1498, can be found in the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Open Daily, 8:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art VENICE Ca’ Pesaro International Gallery of Modern Art houses important 19th and 20th century collections of paintings and sculptures, among which are masterpieces by Klimt, Chagall, and notable works by Kandinsky and Klee, Matisse and Moore, as well as a rich selection of works by Italian artists and an important graphic design laboratory. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. www.museiciviciveneziani.it

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MART, Museum of Modern and •Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto; www.mart.trento.it MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome; www.macro.roma.museum GAM, Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Turin; www.gamtorino.it Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milan; www.fondazinearnaldopomodoro.it

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Special Interest PISA The Domus Galilæana was founded in 1942 by the philosopher Giovanni Gentile on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Galileo’s death. The Institute holds a specialized library for the history of science, concerned almost exclusively with Galileo and his school. www.domusgalilaeana.it VENICE Mocenigo’s Palace is the center of the history of fabric and costume. It showcases dresses and accessories of marvelous tailoring. www.museiciviciveneziani.it MURANO The Glass Museum follows the history of Murano glass from the 15th century to the current day. TURIN Museo dell’Automobile. Given that Turin is the headquarters of Fiat, it is not surprising to find the Automobile Museum in town. The collection begins with the earliest self-propelled vehicles and carries through to the present. www.museoauto.it MARANELLO Galleria Ferrari. The Galleria Ferrari was officially opened in 1990 at the Maranello Municipal Civic Centre and it is run by the Ferrari team. It holds exhibitions of some of Ferrari’s rarest cars along with displays of historically important artifacts. www.ferrari-enthusiastic.com

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Photo courtesy of Davide Vagni.

Teatro Ariston hosts the Festival of San Remo every year.

PRATO Centro Arte Pecci offers an ample program of temporary exhibits, artistic projects, educational activities, and in-depth cultural analysis. It serves as an important center of information and documentation, exhibitions of shows and multimedia events. The permanent collection groups important works produced in the ’80s and ’90s by Italian and international artists, and today has more than 900 pieces. Hours, Monday, Wednesday,

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Thursday, and Friday 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, and holidays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. www.centroartepecci.prato.it

Other listings: Villa Panza di Biumo in Varese; •www.fondoambiente.it GAM, Gallery of Modern Art of •Bologna; www.galleriadartemoderna.bo.it GAMUD, Gallery of Modern Art of •Udine; www.comune.udine.it

For the Socialite Italians are warm, welcoming people who love to relax, celebrate and socialize with family and friends. And celebration and relaxation usually take place around the table either at home or in a restaurant, where they The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Italy Now

enjoy the traditions of Italian cuisine. Between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m., in some places even until 10, an outing with friends or colleagues is treated with almost a religious fervor; it’s aperitivo time! The idea behind the aperitivo, besides being used as an excuse for a pleasurable social interaction, is that it’s believed to stimulate the appetite and promote digestion. In fact, aperitivos are enjoyed immediately before dinner. An aperitivo doesn’t necessarily have to be alcoholic; there are nonalcoholic drinks, such as the famous Sanbitter by Sanpellegrino, with its unmistakable red color and fresh citrus flavor. For those who want to try something different and not go to a bar, they can enjoy special aperitivos held at the theater before an evening show or at outings organized by singles in search of love. There’s no doubt about it; Milan is considered the Italian capital of the aperitivo; following on its heels, Rome and Turin also are rich in interesting places that offer aperitivos, but we will list some properties in Milan and Turin. MILAN Sheraton Diana Majestic, Viale Piave 42. A historic landmark in the heart of the city center, this hotel is located a few steps from Via Montenapoleone and the Brera district. Intimate, sophisticated, and charming, it is the only hotel in Milan that is immersed in a lovely garden, where the three bars of the Diana Hotel Garden come together. Here, aperitivo time has become the meeting place for Milan’s upscale fashion crowd. It absolutely represents the place to be, a place that you cannot miss while in Milan. The Brera district and the Navigli area are filled with small bars where to meet for aperitivo. www.starwoodhotels.com TURIN Al Bicerin, Piazza della Consolate 5 and Caffe Roberto, Via Po 5. The former is an ancient bar, founded in 1763, very decadent, with delicious drinks, while the latter offers a large buffet of hot and cold snacks for aperitivo.

For the Sweet Tooth After dinner, the streets of Italy come to life as Italians stroll around the piazza to work The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

Arts & Entertainment

Italians are warm, welcoming people who love to relax, celebrate and socialize with family and friends.

off their meal or head off for their evening engagements. A good place to meet is the gelateria for a delicious gelato, which can be the sweet ending to a nice evening with friends or the beginning of a wild night out. It is common practice to pay the cashier first, then present your receipt to the server before placing the order. In smaller places where the cashier is also the server this rule is not really enforced and whatever works for them also works for you. Don’t be daunted by long lines; they usually mean that the gelato is good and worth waiting for. It is common to order two, maximum three flavors, without adding any toppings. The menu often changes, as places like to use seasonal ingredients for certain flavors, especially the fruit-based ones. is a gelato paradise; make sure to •stopROME at Gelateria Giolitti, Via degli Uffici del Vicario 40, and try the panna montata (whipped cream). MILAN’S hot spot is Gelateria Marghera, Via Marghera 33, with its fior di latte. BOLOGNA’S Gianni Gelateria, Via Montegrappa 11/a, offers a hell flavored ice cream made with mysterious ingredients and

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a forgotten fruit flavored ice cream made with cornel berry. The Gelateria di Piazza in SAN GIMIGNANO is known for its saffron and pine nut blend that is truly special, while Pepino, in Turin, offers a delicious “Penguin” – pure vanilla gelato placed on a stick and dipped in rich milk chocolate. The places are so many we just can’t list them all, but we do have a suggestion; a city’s best gelaterias are often in the midst of tourist-friendly areas.

SOME USEFUL WORDS Cono Gusto Coppa Granita Sorbetto Torta Gelata Semifreddo

Tartufo

Cone Flavor Cup Crushed ice drink fla vored with syrup Italian Ice Ice Cream Cake A mixture of gelato and whipped cream, similar to a mousse Ball of chocolate gelato covered in chocolate bits

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For the Gambler

For the Gambler Blackjack or roulette, anyone?

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or some excitement “James Bond” style, there are four cities in Italy that have five legal gambling facilities available. The five gambling facilities consist strictly of casinos. The city with the most casinos is Venice with two casino facilities — Casino Municipale di Venezia (Summer Casino – www.casinovenezia.it) and Casino Municipale di Venezia (Winter Casino). Venice opened the world’s first casino in 1638 and famous lothario Giacomo Casanova chose the casino of Venice as the setting for his romantic exploits. At the casinos, surrounded by elegant Venetian buildings, class and tradition blend to provide excitement as in no other place.

The largest casino in the country is Casino de la Vallee, located in Saint Vincent in the Valle d’Aosta region, 90 km from Turin. Casino de la Vallee has 95 game tables and 512 casino slot machines, video poker games, and other video terminal gaming machines. In this region, the first game at the casino took place on March 29, 1947, at 9 p.m. The roulette wheel spun for three Italian guests, stopping its very first turn on number 9. The Casino at Saint-Vincent has welcomed many famous guests throughout its history, for the gaming as well as the many prestigious events that the casino hosts each year. Actor Sean Connery won 20 million lire betting on lucky 17, which came out three times! Italian movie stars like Federico Fellini

and Vittorio De Sica came to Saint Vincent for the award ceremony of the national Cinema event hosted by the casino, known as the Grolle d’Oro. www.casinodelavallee.it Other casinos are in San Remo, Casino Municipale di Sanremo (www.casinosanremo.it), and in Campione, Casino Municipale di Campione d’Italia (www.casinocampione.it). San Remo’s casino is also known for its annual series of concerts, operas, and plays. Campione is located within Switzerland’s Canton of Ticino, on the shores of Lake Lugano. The casino was founded in 1917, opened in 1933, and is owned by the Italian government. It offers roulette, chemin de fer, baccarat, blackjack, poker, and slot machines.

Photo courtesy of Davide Vagni.

San Remo’s casino is also known for its annual series of concerts, operas, and plays.

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The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors Quench your thirst for adventure

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taly offers astonishingly varied physical beauty – the coves, bays and cliffs of the Riviera, the lush orange groves of Sicily, the snowy peaks of the Alps and the green fields of Tuscany. This is a land that has been written about and preserved in history for over three thousand years; it is not there just for beautiful pictures but also to be enjoyed at its fullest. Thus the pursuit for the great outdoors and activities for the fitness aficionados.

Lakeside golfing — Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, and Lake Como are three large environmental beauties that give Italian golfing a good reputation. They offer flat grounds, very gentle slopes, and small clearings surrounded by trees. One can walk for hours, following the round of the game, in truly fascinating surroundings, so different from the traditional courses. But the lakes know how to enchant you too: a sail-boat or motor-boat ride along the coast, rod fishing, a lively evening in the night-clubs which abound on the shores, are all things to which the golf lover will willingly give in.

Seaside golfing — A seaside golf course is always an immense green balcony reaching out towards splendid panoramas and enchanting beaches. Golf lovers may practice their favorite sport in international vacation spots in which the ancient sea villages blend in perfectly with the new strategies of hospitality. Golfing in the mountains — The Italian •mountains offer you greatly fascinating natuThe Official Guide to Italian Tourism

Golfing in Bellagio.

ral oases. In the mountains, as on the golf courses, walking is part of the game, a sort of rule which cannot be contravened if one wishes to enjoy to the utmost a vacation made of open-air sport and excursions.

Golfing around the art cities — Golfing in places where culture and art have deep roots is to combine two rather irreconcilable requirements: the need to practice a sport, giving in to the sweet mania of the green, and at the same time the possibility of taking time to entertain one’s spirit.

Extreme Sports Rock-climbing, rafting, caving and other extreme sports are increasing in popularity. Friuli, Trentino, Valle d’Aosta, Umbria and Abruzzo are ideal locations for these activities. Snowrafting is usually called “white fear.” It is a descent on steep ground, from the Olympic Ski-jump, on hard-packed snow in a large rubber dinghy, at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. It only lasts a few very, very long seconds. It is one of the many extreme

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

This ancient sport (the Romans used to play a variation of it) has become accessible to all. It’s relaxing, healthy, it doesn’t require a specific training routine (just a bit of stretching before starting), although it requires concentration and a desire to have fun. It allows you to enjoy the surrounding nature and breathe in the fresh air. Italy boasts more than 300 golf courses set in unspoiled landscapes. For a list of courses region by region, visit www.italia-golf.it or www.federgolf.it

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni.

Golf

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The Great Outdoors

Rock-climbing, rafting, caving and other extreme sports are increasing in popularity.

sports that can be enjoyed in Cortina d’Ampezzo, along with extreme skiing down steep narrow gorges, and “Crazy Sledge.”

Sailing and Scuba Diving No matter where you are, Italy’s waters are a paradise for divers and sailors. Some destinations that should not be missed are Portofino, Panarea, Lampedusa, Capri, and Porto Cervo. The itineraries for sailing excursions are endless – from Ischia, famous for its thermal baths and golden beaches, to Capri, with is vibrant social life, located off Sorrento and the beautiful coast of Amalfi, both rich in history and folklore. Only 20 miles from Procida you will find Ventotene, which awaits you in its suggestive old port the Romans excavated in the tufa-stone. In front of Ventotene, there is Santo Stefano, a small island that offers you the magnificence of its extraordinary depths of rare beauty giving you the charge to explore numerous wrecks. And we could go on forever…

Cycling For the amateur cyclist, Italy offers a myriad of fun bike trails, both on and off road. Tuscany, Umbria, and Sicily are just some of the regions that offer the more challenging trails and the best scenery.

Camping

Photo courtesy of Regione Trentino.

Camping in Italy means more than simply saving money. There’s something about the idyllic, open environment of a campground. Nearly all Italian campgrounds are privately owned, so rates can vary rather widely. Practically all Italian camp sites offer hot showers, very clean and modern restroom facilities, and laundry and dish washing rooms. For more information: www.campeggi.com

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Just for Kids

Just for Kids Play, learn, laugh...have lots of fun

ROME Bioparco. Rome’s zoo welcomes a vast array of animals in a natural setting. Bioparco houses 198 animal species that include reptiles, birds, mammals and amphibians, which provide a good opportunity to study animals outside their natural habitat. Indeed they are actively involved in scientific and conserva-

tion education research. Available for private parties. www.bioparco.it PISTOIA Parco Collodi. This fairy tale park, immersed in the Tuscan countryside, is entirely dedicated to Pinocchio and his adventures. The name is in memory of the author of the famous story, Carlo Collodi. In the park, there is an area where all the adventures of the wooden puppet have been depicted in sculpture, scenery and statues, made from various materials and interpreted by several different artists. www.pinocchio.it BERGAMO Minitalia, Fantasy World. This is the place to visit for a stroll around the miniature version of Italy and its regions. The park boasts other attractions as well: hundreds of fish from all over the globe, a gorgeous shell

Photo courtesy of Minitalia.

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ow could we forget the little ones? Travel with kids is more fun when the whole family participates in adventures and mysteries. A vacation is not a real vacation without some fun that ideally is just for the kids but in reality is for the parents too. Here are some incredible locations that are fun for the entire family. (These are just a few; every region is rich with amazing opportunities).

Having fun at Minitalia, Fantasy World.

exhibition, 250 specimens of reptiles (including some of the most fearsome), 200 kinds of parrots, plus a fine variety of farm animals. www.fantasyword.it

Photo courtesy of Bioparco.

Tigers at Rome’s zoo.

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Just for Kids

Photo courtesy of Alessandro Gandolfi.

Travel with kids is more fun when the whole family participates in adventures and mysteries.

the creative genius of Leonardo da Vinci will want to visit this museum, which features his designs of war machines, flying machines, architecture and production that display his incredible foresight. www.museoscienza.org CANNETO SULL’OGLIO (MANTUA) Toy Museum. In 1870, in this beautiful provincial town, Luigi Furga Gornini created the first Italian doll and toy factory known as Furga. Today it’s possible to visit it. www.mantovabox.it MURAZZANO (LANGHE REGION) Safari Park. More than 300 animals are awaiting a visit. The park is accessible by car and it also offers a picnic area, a reptile house, and a small amusement park. www.parcosafari.com LIGNANO SABBIADORO Aquasplash. A spectacular water park with swimming pools, water rides, and other fun activities. www.aquasplash.it SAVIO Mirabilandia. Great amusement park with 36 rides, 14 waterfalls, fireworks, stunt shows, gardens and much more. It includes “Bimbopoli,” a town for the smaller ones. www.mirabilandia.com

LAKE GARDA Gardaland. The largest amusement park in Italy, Gardaland has rides for all tastes. Boasting a fantastic dolphin park along with 38 roller coasters and family attractions, it welcomes over three million visitors every year. The highlight of the park must be the Palablu — a dolphin pool with windows for walls so visitors can see these lithe creatures in action. A replica of the Ancient Egyptian ruins of Abu Simbel, and Blue Tornado, a roller coaster in which you ride suspended as if in a fighter plane, are also featured. www.gardaland.it GENOA Aquarium. The biggest aquarium in Europe features sharks, dolphins and hundreds of other beautiful fish. The Aquarium’s 59 tanks reproduce marine and terrestrial habitats from throughout the world and provide a home for more than 6000 creatures belonging to 600 different species. The Aquarium has a mission to increase public awareness of environmental problems. www.acquario.ge.it RIVOLTA D’ADDA Parco della Preistoria. It’s impossible to say no to an adventure in this park filled with reproductions of dinosaurs. www.parcodellapreistoria.it SIRACUSA Piccolo Teatro dei Pupi. This puppetry show is performed just for the little ones. The Theater recreates the medieval art of Sicilian puppet shows. Available every night during the summer months. www.pupari.com

PERUGIA Città della Domenica. A nature park and zoo with hundreds of exotic animals. There is a reptile house for the most daring and a little train for the kids. The rides include the fantasy world of Pinocchio, Snow White and Little Red Riding-Hood, Fort Apache, the Horse of Troy, and the Castle of Sleeping Beauty. Kids can also jump on the tummy of an inflatable Moby Dick and visit the Space Base. www.cittadelladomenica.it MILAN Leaonardo da Vinci’s Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica. Those interested in

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A vacation is not a real vacation without some fun.

Photo courtesy of Ella Studio.

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National Holidays and Festivals

National Holidays and Festivals

Photo courtesy of Italian Government Tourist Board, N.A.

Inside look at Italy’s greatest celebrations

Rich folklore and music or food festivals are sure to make any trip a special experience.

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talians are known as people who really enjoy life and like to have a good time…no better occasion to do that than on a national holiday. On a national holiday, businesses, offices and schools are closed, or open for limited hours. Public transportation such as buses and trains may be operating on a reduced holiday schedule. If the holiday falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday it is common for people to take the intervening day to “make the bridge” (fare il ponte), for a long weekend. These are days to be spent at home with family and friends celebrating together with a big, scrumptious meal. Generally each holiday has a culinary specialty, which becomes the star of the dining table.

1 New Year’s Day. The begin•ningJanuary of the new year is celebrated with Cotechino sausage and lentils (lentils are supThe Official Guide to Italian Tourism

posed to bring money and prosperity in the new year). People like to go out for dinner to restaurants that offer a special menu …and then on to dancing. January 6 Epiphany. A good witch riding a broom brings sweets to all the good kids and coal to the bad ones. According to the Catholic religion, the Three Kings arrived to pay homage to baby Jesus on this day. Easter Varies each year. The typical dish of the day is roasted lamb followed by Colomba, a sweet bread shaped like a dove. Easter Monday. On the day after Easter, the meeting between the Angel and the women who went to the Sacred Sepulcher, which they found empty, took place. This is not a religious holiday but a social holiday that was added on to extend the Easter break. April 25 Liberation Day. On this day in 1945 Italy regained its freedom from the German occupation and reinstated democracy. May 1 Labor Day. Laborers celebrate this

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day to assert their rights, to obtain new rights, and to improve their working conditions. June 2 Republic Day. On June 2, 1946, Italy became a Republic after a national referendum was held where citizens voted out the monarchy. August 15 Ferragosto, Assumption of the Virgin. Coinciding with the religious feast of the Virgin’s rise to heaven on August 15, Ferragosto is the most important summer holiday in Italy, a time when all Italians get out of the cities and head for the beach. It’s an occasion to get together with friends, enjoy a fine meal and party until dawn. Ferragosto marks the imminent end of the summer holidays. November 1 All Saints’ Day. The Catholic Church honors all its Saints with special Masses. November 2 Day of the Dead. On this day everybody goes to the cemetery to pay

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homage to their deceased loved ones. Ossa dei Morti are hard cookies, made differently according to the region, that are traditionally baked on this day. December 8 Day of Immaculate Conception. A day of celebration for the Virgin Mary and her role in the Catholic Church. December 25 Christmas Day. Menus vary but staples on each table are Panettone, a cake filled with raisins and candied fruit, and Pandoro, a star-shaped sponge cake. December 26 Saint Stephen’s Day. Stephen was the first martyr killed for his faith and actions in promotion of the Gospel. Usually, a special lunch is held, often made of the leftovers from Christmas dinner.

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STORES AND BUSINESSES ARE OPEN ON THE FOLLOWING FEAST DAYS: February 14 Valentine’s Day. The day of all lovers is celebrated with romantic dinners and small presents. March 8 Festa delle Donne. On March 8, all women are honored. There is no culinary specialty but giving a branch of mimosa flowers to all women is a must. March 19 Father’s Day. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of all fathers. May 8 Mother’s Day

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National Holidays and Festivals

but the festival was revived in 1979, in part to draw tourists during the slow winter. Carnevale falls on a set date and every year it has a different theme. ww.carnevale.venezia.it Carnival of Viareggio: This crazy parade is known for its allegorical and satirical floats which depict (and mock) national and international politicians, soccer players, starlets, and other celebrities. The parade is not free of charge. Tickets must be purchased in advance; a regular ticket allows access to the boardwalk; a reserved seat in one of the bleachers will cost an additional sum. www.viareggio.ilcarnevale.com

PATRON SAINTS - In addition to national holidays in Italy, each town has a feast day in celebration of their patron saint. These holidays vary from city to city and town to town. To honor such Saints, the population celebrates in different ways. Following is a selection of a few religious festivals. NAPLES – September 19 – Saint Gennaro. The day of the “blood miracle” is an important feast for the city of Naples and the people celebrate it accordingly. The Cathedral is surrounded by stalls selling sweets and other

Curiosity: Since 2004, October 12 has officially become Columbus Day.

Carnevale

SOME FAMOUS CARNIVALS: Carnival of Venice: It’s a unique, mesmerizing, stirring, and ultimately dazzling experience which attracts people from the four corners of the world. After the fall of the Republic, Venice stopped celebrating it,

Photo courtesy of Natasha Lardera.

Carnevale is celebrated 40 days before Easter, a day of fun before Ash Wednesday and the rigors of Lent; it is a popular festivity, which juxtaposes with the strictness of religious holidays. It’s a celebration of freedom where masks, laughter, and material things have the upper hand. People dress up in elaborate and colorful costumes and go out on the town.

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goods. A procession takes place where holy figures are carried through Spaccanapoli, which is the heart of the historic center. The silver bust of Saint Gennaro leads the procession, followed by others. The Neapolitans like to bet on the sequence of these holy statues, while applauding their favorite saint in the hope that these would get a place at front at the following procession. Afterwards, Saint Gennaro’s silver bust is positioned next to the altar and the ampoule with blood is shown to the faithful. Traditional prayers are then said by the “relatives of San Gennaro,” a group of faithful women sitting in the front row. These prayers heighten ecstatically until the blood liquefies. The wild rejoicing of the faithful is crowned by the sound of the cathedral’s bells ringing. Legend has it that this blood miracle takes place when no disaster is expected in the near future. According to writings, in 1528 the blood miracle didn’t take place. This was the year the pestilence beset Naples. FLORENCE – June 24 – Saint John the Baptist. Special masses are held along with a procession. MILAN – December 7 – Saint Ambrose. Schools and stores are closed on this special day. Locals go to the Fiera degli Obei Obei, an open-air fair where sweets and crafts are sold. Traditionally, on this day the new season at La Scala opera house is inaugurated. ROME – June 29 – Saints Peter and Paul. Special masses are held at the Vatican. VENICE – Third weekend of July Feast of the Redeemer Held every year to commemorate the end of the plague that wiped out a third of the city’s population in 1576. It is tradition to have dinner on boats in St. Mark’s basin, watching fireworks on the lagoon. It all starts off with a line of gondolas roped together, stretching across the canal to the island. At sunset, hundreds of boats decorated with branches and multicolored balloons enter the canal, while large crowds gather on the banks and palace balconies to enjoy this great festival of light and sound.

People gather to eat the specialty of that particular location. The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Italy Now

Photo courtesy of Italian Government Tourist Board, N.A.

National Holidays and Festivals

Competition at the Palio is fierce.

TURIN/GENOA: 24 Jun (St John the Baptist) SIENA: 2 Jul and 16 Aug, Palio horserace VENICE: 25 Apr (St Mark) BOLOGNA: 4 Oct (St Petronius) BARI: 6 Dec (St Nichola). PALERMO: 15 Jul (St Rosalia) TRIESTE: 3 Nov (St Giusto)

Folklore To make things more fun, all Italian cities and towns have many festivals that don’t necessarily have a religious connection. Rich folklore and music or food festivals are sure to make any trip a special experience. These festivals are colorful and fun – people gather to compete, to eat the specialty of that particular location, or simply to see each other, gossip and laugh together. VENICE – First Sunday of October – Historical Regatta A procession of 16th century-style boats, with the famous Buccintoro, the boat representing the Serenissima, at its lead. It is followed by a racing competition. RIMINI – April – Paganello Hundreds of people compete on the beach for the ultimate Frisbee World Cup. GUBBIO – May – The Festival of the Ceri The Race of the Ceri is one of the most popThe Official Guide to Italian Tourism

ular folklore festivals in Italy. The Ceri are large wooden “candles” that weigh about 700 lbs. and are 10 feet tall. They have the statue of a saint surmounted on each cero: St. Ubaldo, protector of construction workers, St. George, protector of businessmen, and St. Anthony, protector of farmers and students. Each wooden structure is fixed on a stretcher-like wooden support, which 10 ceraioli carry on their shoulders. At noon the ceri are carried through the streets of the town center; the race begins at 6:00 p.m. when the ceri are blessed and then carried up the hill to the basilica. FLORENCE – May 25 - Cricket Festival A market is held at the Cascine Park where crickets, believed to bring good luck, are sold in colorful, hand woven cages. According to tradition, if a man decorates his beloved’s doors or windows with flowers and gives her a cricket, he will be lucky in love. On the days leading up to the festival, children hunt for crickets to cage them and on the day of the feast they release them in the park. ASTI – September – Palio of Asti During the Palio, historical events and everyday life in Medieval times are recreated. There is a horse race, a historic procession in medieval attire and spectacular sbandieratori (flag-wavers).

THE PALIO OF SIENA Every year on July 2 and August 16, the beautiful medieval city of Siena comes alive for one of the world’s most breathtaking folk festivals. This isn’t a simple horse race, but a major event that the city works on for an entire year. The 17 districts, contrade — Tortoise, Wave, She-Wolf, Goose, Shell, Porcupine, Dragon, Owl, Snail, Panther, Eagle, Caterpillar, Unicorn, Ram, Giraffe, Forest, and Tower — race against each other frantically. The horses run around the Piazza del Campo at breakneck speed, with or without jockeys on board, and wear the colors and designs of their district. The actual horse race, is brief: a minute and a half, give or take ten seconds. It takes much longer to align all the horses and to all start at the same time. The evening before the race, everybody eats outside, as each neighborhood stages a sumptuous banquet to “rehearse” their expected victory celebration. www.ilpalio.org

Arts & Crafts All crafts have an interesting and unique story to tell. Fit for bargain hunters and collectors alike, these numerous craft festivals and markets have a curious appeal and many unknown gems awaiting to be discovered.

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Photo courtesy of Regione Campania.

Italy Now

National Holidays and Festivals

national wine exhibition for the trade, with more than 4,000 exhibitors from 31 countries and more than 140,000 visitors from around the world, is held in Verona every April. www.vinitaly.com

Music

In Italy the sagra, food or wine festival, is extremely popular.

ROME – December and January – Mercato della Befana Christmas fair held in Piazza Navona. Stalls showcase sweets, toys and small works of art. MILAN – Last Sunday of Every Month – Antique Fair The market is held on Milan’s Naviglio Grande. The area is filled with nice restaurants and cafés where one can stop for a bite or a drink. MONTELUPO (Tuscany) – Last Week of June – Pottery Festival This beautiful Tuscan town is filled with outdoor craft shops where everything is for sale. There are glassblowers plying their trade and all manner of artisans throwing pots, painting, and sculpting. All over town, people set up temporary restaurants in courtyards and empty buildings where good food is available for excellent prices. BOLOGNA – January - Arte Fiera International contemporary art fair showcases works in new galleries, bookstores and institutions. VENICE – June every two years in odd years – The Venice Biennale Major contemporary art exhibition.

Food & Wine In Italy the sagra, food or wine festival, is extremely popular. Each city, and even small towns, have more than one a year, mostly during the warmer months when it’s fun to eat and drink outdoors. They are so many, we can only list a few. For more on Italian Food & Wine Festivals, visit www.prodottitipici.com ALBA – Month of October – White

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Truffle Festival This festival marks the start of the hunt for the Tuber Magnatum Pico, or the white truffle, a luxurious ingredient of Italian cuisine. The streets are filled with an almost carnival atmosphere, stalls sell truffle products for incredible prices, and the live auction, the culminating point of the fair, is extremely entertaining. MERANO – First week of October Grapes Feast Celebration of the harvest with a grape festival and a parade in Tyrolean costumes. ROME – March – Gnocchi Feast The delicious potato dumplings are served in many different recipes for small prices. BRA (Piedmont) – September – Cheese festival It features more than 150 stalls for cheese and cheese products, as well as free tastings with samples from different regions of the country. TEVISO – Second Sunday in December – Radicchio feast The city’s square, Piazza dei Signori, honors long-shaped radicchio in succulent dishes available to all. MODENA – May – Cherry Week Vignola cherries are among the most prized in Italy. BARDOLINO – May - Chiaretto Bardolino Classico festival Delicious wine is tasted on the waterfront of Lake Garda. CORTONA (Tuscany) – August – Steak Feast A steak festival featuring Chianina beef. VINITALY The largest and most comprehensive inter-

To delight both locals and visitors, each Italian region often organizes musical events, official and impromptu. Major symphonic series and recitals are organized at all times during the year. FLORENCE – May – Maggio Musicale Tickets: $14 to $114. Box Office: Teatro Comunale, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, 15 Via Solferino — 50123, Florence, www.maggiofiorentino.com. PESARO – August - Rossini Opera Festival Tickets: $20 to $150. Box office: Rossini Opera Festival, 37 Via Rossini I-61100 Pesaro, www.rossinioperafestival.it. RAVENNA – June – July – Ravenna Festival Renowned conductors leading opera and concert performances in the open-air theater of Rocca Brancaleone are the trademark of Ravenna. Tickets: From $12 to $150. www.ravennafestival.org ROME – July – August - Festa Musica Pro Mundo Uno This festival, previously held only in Orvieto and Assisi, is now based in Rome for concerts in major churches, but some programs will still be presented in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi and the Palazzo Simoncelli-Petrangeli in Orvieto. PERUGIA – July – Umbria Jazz The Umbria Jazz Festival, which has been held annually since 1973, is one of the most important venues for jazz in Europe. www.umbirajazz.com SPOLETO – June – July - Festival of Two Worlds Operas, symphonies and chamber music. Tickets: $6 to $90. www.spoletofestival.it FESTIVAL OF SANREMO The Festival della Canzone Italiana is a popular Italian song contest running since 1951 and held annually in the city of Sanremo, in Liguria. The Festival is transmitted live on TV Rai Uno. www.festivaldisanremo.com The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


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Religion

Photo courtesy of Italian Government Tourist Board, N.A.

Religion Worship is accessible to all

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hile every major religion is represented in Italy, Roman Catholicism remains the country’s dominant faith. From converted pagan temples to grandiose medieval cathedrals and down to the tiniest chapels scattered across the country, Roman Catholic churches offer fascinating repositories of art, architecture and history. Churches typically open early every morning, close around noon for lunch, and reopen mid afternoon until after the last Mass has been said around 8:00 p.m. Major cathedrals and basilicas remain open all day to welcome believers and visitors alike. Wearing tank tops, hot pants or other types of revealing clothing is not allowed within most Catholic churches. Make sure to bring a sweater, shawl or long jacket to cover shoulders and legs, as needed. Flashless photography is permitted in most churches. Food and beverages are not. A PARTIAL LISTING OF CATHOLIC CHURCHES WITH SERVICES IN ENGLISH: Patrick’s, Via Boncompagni 60, Rome • St. Santa Susanna, Via XX Settembre 14 , • Rome (the national church of the USA) • Ssi. Martiri Canadesi, Via G. B. De Rossi 46, Rome (the national church of Canada) • Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence (Saturday service at 5:00 p.m.) of the Hospital of San Giovanni •di Church Dio, Borgo Ognissanti 16, Florence (Sundays and holidays at 10:00 a.m.) Italy’s Jewish heritage – For information •contact the Jewish Community Center; www.jewishitaly.org For all other religions, please consult your local place of worship for locations and times.

St. Peter’s Basilica Immortalized by the welcoming arms of Bernini’s colonnade , St. Peter’s Basilica is the seat of Roman Catholicism and the most noted landmark of Vatican City, an independent country within the city of Rome. Inaugurated in 396 A.D., the basilica was The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

St. Peter’s Basilica is the seat of Roman Catholicism and the most noted landmark of Vatican City.

originally built by Emperor Constantine over the tomb of Saint Peter. Today, the main altar sits directly above the tomb housing Saint Peter’s remains. Construction of the imposing edifice we see today began in 1506 and took 120 years to complete. Numerous Renaissance architects contributed to its construction, Bramante among them. In 1546 Pope Paul III appointed Michelangelo Buonarroti, already in his sixties, as the official architect. Michelangelo’s Greek cross plan of Saint Peter’s was completed by Della Porta, who also designed the dome, and by Carlo Maderno, who built the façade. Saint Peter’s Basilica was finally consecrated on November 18, 1626.

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel The Vatican Museums comprise the papal apartments of the medieval Apostolic Palace decorated with frescoes during the Renaissance, the Sistine Chapel, the exhibition rooms of the Vatican Apostolic Library, and the museums themselves. The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years

ago. The sculpture of Laocoön, the priest who, according to Greek mythology, tried to convince the people of ancient Troy not to accept the Greeks’ “gift” of a hollow horse, was discovered January 14, 1506, in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Julius II sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti, who were working at the Vatican, to check out the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The Pope put the sculpture of Laocoön and his sons in the grips of a sea serpent on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery. Within the Vatican Museums, special permits are required for the Vatican Library Archives and the Raphael Loggia. Hours From April 1 to October 31, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. From November 1 to March 31, 8:45 a.m. to1:45 p.m. Closed Sundays and holidays, except for the last Sunday of each month when admittance to the museum is free of charge. For additional information: www.christusrex.org

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Useful Addresses

Useful Addresses Places to turn to when in need for assistance American Embassy and Consulates in Italy Consult embassies for assistance regarding lost or stolen passports, emergency transfer of funds, doctors and hospitals, and more serious matters. AMERICAN EMBASSY IN ROME Via Veneto, 119/A - 00187 Tel. 06.46741 Fax: 06.46742356 The U.S. Embassy in Rome offers a full range of services for U.S. citizens in the regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria, Abruzzo, and Sardegna AMERICAN CONSULATE IN MILAN Via Principe Amedeo, 2/10 - 20121 Tel. 02.290351 Fax: 02.29001165 The U.S. Consulate General in Milan offers a full range of services for U.S. citizens in the regions of Valle D’Aosta, Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Liguria, EmiliaRomagna (Provinces of Piacenza and Parma only). AMERICAN CONSUALTE IN FLORENCE Via Lungarno Vespucci, 38 - 50123 Tel. 055. 266951 Fax: 055.284088 The U.S. Consulate General in Florence offers a full range of services for U.S. citizens in the regions of Tuscany, and EmiliaRomagna (all except the Provinces of Piacenza and Parma). AMERICAN CONSULATE IN NAPLES Piazza della Repubblica, 2 - 80122 Tel. 081. 5838111 Fax: 081.7611869 The U.S. Consulate General in Naples offers a full range of services for U.S. citizens in the regions of Campania, Molise, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria, and Sicilia. Limited consular services provided in the Consular Agencies of Genoa, Palermo and Venice.

States with a valid passport can stay in Italy up to 90 days. If a longer period is required, you need to apply for a visa. ITALIAN EMBASSY 1601 Fuller St. N.W. Washington, DC 20009 Tel. 202.328.5500/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8 Fax: 202.328.5593

ITALIAN CONSULATE OF HOUSTON 1300 Post Oak Boulevard -Suite 660 Houston - TX 77056 Tel. 713.850.7520 Fax 713.850.9113

ITALIAN CONSULATE OF NEW YORK 690 Park Avenue - New York, NY 10021/5044 Tel. 212.737.9100 and 439.8600 Fax 212.249.4945

Italian Government Tourist Boards in the US

ITALIAN CONSULATE OF BOSTON 100 Boylston Street - Suite 900 - Boston, MA 02116 Tel. 617.542.0483/4 Fax: 617.542.3998

www.italiantourism.com

ITALIAN CONSULATE OF CHICAGO 500 North Michigan Avenue - Suite 1850 - Chicago, IL 60611 Tel. 312.4671550/1/2/3 Fax: 312.467.1335 ITALIAN CONSULATE OF LOS ANGELES 12400 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300 - Los Angeles, CA 90025 Tel. 310.8200622 Fax: 310.820.0727 ITALIAN CONSULATE OF MIAMI 1200 Brickell Avenue - 8th Floor - Miami, FL 33131 Tel. 305.3746322 Fax: 305.374.7945 ITALIAN CONSULATE OF SAN FRANCISCO 2590 Webster Street - San Francisco, CA 94115 Tel. 415.9314924/5 Fax: 415.931.7205 ITALIAN CONSULATE OF DETROIT 535 Griswold - 1840 Buhl Bldg. – Detroit, MI 48226 Tel. 313.963.8560 Fax 313.963.8180

Italian Consulates in the US Consult for special permits, mostly concerning weddings in Italy. Citizens of the United

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Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 - 3470 Tel. 215.592.7329 Fax 215.592.9808

ITALIAN CONSULATE OF PHILADELPHIA 1026, Public Ledger Bldg. 100 South 6th

Consult for travel tips and useful information for your planning of an Italian vacation.

NEW YORK 630 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1565 New York, NY 10111 Tel. 212.245.5618 CHICAGO 500 N Michigan Avenue, Suite 2240 Chicago, IL 60611 Tel. 312.644.0996 LOS ANGELES 12400 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 550 Los Angeles, CA 90025 Tel. 310.820.1898

Tourist Boards in Italy Italy is dotted with public tourist offices, each based around a certain area and all providing general information. ABRUZZO Via Passolanciano, 75 - 65124 Pescara Tel. 085.7671 Fax 085.7672067 E-mail: turismo@profesnet.it; www.regione.abruzzo.it/turismo/ BASILICATA Via Anzio, 44 – 85100 Potenza Tel.0971.448647 www.regione.basilicata.it CALABRIA Via S. Nicola, 8 – 88100 Catanzaro Tel. 0961.720260 E-Mail: turismo@regione.calabria.it; www.turismo.regione.calabria.it The Official Guide to Italian Tourism


Italy Now

Useful Addresses

CAMPANIA Via S. Lucia, 81 – 80132 Napoli Tel. 081.7962034 www.regione.campania.it

SICILY Via E. Notarbartolo, 9 – 90141 Palermo Tel. 091.6968033 www.regione.sicilia.it/turismo

EMILIA-ROMAGNA Viale Aldo Moro, 64 – 40127 Bologna Tel. 051.283353 www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it

TUSCANY Via di Novoli, 26 – 50127 Firenze Tel. 055.4382111 www.turismo.toscana.it

FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA Via Miramare, 19 – 34135 Trieste Tel. 040.3775747 www.turismo.fvg.it

TRENTINO-ALTO ADIGE Via Romagnosi, 9 – 38100 Trento Tel. 0461.496535 www.provincia.tn.it

The toll-free medical emergency telephone number in Italy is 118. You may get an ambulance by calling this number, or if you do not require transport to a hospital, the First Aid Service (Guardia Medica) will be sent. First Aid Service (Pronto Soccorso) is available at airports, ports, railways stations, and hospitals.

Night/Weekend Pharmacies

LAZIO Via R.R. Garibaldi, 7 – 00145 Roma Tel. 06.51681 www.regione.lazio.it/turismo LIGURIA. Via D’Annunzio, 64 – 16121 Genova Tel. 010.5485553 www.turismoliguria.it LOMBARDY. Via Sassetti, 32 – 20124 Milano Tel. 02.67561 www.inlombardia.it MARCHE Via G. Da Fabriano, 9 – 60125 Ancona Tel. 071.8062165 www.le-marche.com MOLISE Via Mazzini, 94 – 86100 Campobasso Tel. 0874.4291 www.regione.molise.it PIEDMONT Via Magenta, 12 – 10128 Torino Tel. 011.43211 www.regione.piemonte.it/turismo APULIA Via Bozzi, 45/c – 70121 Bari Tel. 080.5401111 www.regione.puglia.it SARDINIA Viale Trieste, 105 – 09124 Cagliari Tel. 070.6061 www.regione.sardegna.it The Official Guide to Italian Tourism

UMBRIA Corso Vannucci, 30 – 06100 Perugia Tel. 075.50433676 www.umbria-turismo.it VALLE D’AOSTA Piazza Narbonne, 3 – 11100 Aosta Tel. 0165. 236627 www.regione.vda.it/turismo VENETO Palazzo Balbi-Dorso Duro, 3901 – 30123 Venezia Tel.041.2792832 www.turismo.regione.veneto.it

ROME Primavera (24 hrs) 06.7016971 FLORENCE Farmacia Numero 13, located in the Central Train Station, 055.289435 MILAN Via Boccaccio, 02.4695281 NAPLES Carducci, 081.417283 For minor aches and pains, cold or flu, and “little” non-critical emergencies, your best bet may be to head over to your local Farmacia. You’ll go to a Farmacia for aspirin and even vitamins. Italian pharmacies will often carry homeopathic and herbal remedies as well.

Local Hospitals ROME Fatebene Fratelli, Isola Tiberina 06.6837299; Policlinico Gemelli, Largo A.Gemelli, 06.30151; San Camillo, Circ. Gianicolense, 06.58701 FLORENCE Hospital of S. Maria Nuova, Piazza. S. Maria Nuova, 055.27581; Careggi Hospital, Viale Morgagni 85, 055.4277111 MILAN Fatebenefratelli, 02.63631; Niguarda, 02.64441; Policlinico, 02.55031 NAPLES Anna Rizzoli (Ischia), 081.5079267; Capilupi (Capri), 081.8381111; Cardarelli, 081.7471111

SERVICES FOR THE DISABLED

Ask your tour operator for assistance. A few cities have offices specializing in assistance for the disabled. In Rome you can find the “Rome for Everyone” Information desk (+39.06.57177094). From 9 to 5 information on accessibility for monuments, hotels, museums, restaurants, and movie theaters, are available in Italian, English, French, and Spanish. www.romapertutti.it The telephone line Co.In.Tel. (+39.06.23267695) is open 24 hours a day. www.coinsociale.it

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Italy Now

Useful Phrases and Words

Useful Phrases and Words Become part of a fascinating culture by diving into its language

The Basics Hello Good morning Good afternoon Good evening Good night Nice to meet you Good-bye Please Thank you Excuse me Sir Madam/Mrs Ms Yes/No Where is? I don’t know Here There Near Far Left Right Up Down Morning Afternoon Evening Help Police Police Traffic Police Passport Plane tickets

Ciao Buon giorno Buon pomeriggio Buona sera Buona notte Piacere Arrivederci Per favore Grazie Mi scusi Signore Signora Signorina Si/No Dov’è? Non lo so Qui La Vicino Lontano Sinistra Destra Su Giù Mattina Pomeriggio Sera Aiuto Polizia Carabinieri Vigili Urbani Passaporto Biglietti aerie

Saturday Sunday

Sabato Domenica

Useful Phrases How are you? How do I get to? How far is? Where is the phone? I am allergic Do you have? Do you accept credit cards? May I get through?

Come sta? Come faccio per arrivare a…? Quanto dista da qui...? Dov’è il telefono? Sono allergico/a Avete...? Accettate carte di credito? Permesso

It doesn’t matter See you soon See you later Do you speak English? I don’t speak Italian Please speak slowly Please repeat

Non importa A presto A più tardi Parla inglese? Non parlo italiano Per favore parli più lentamente Per favore ripeta

A question of luck To wish someone good luck, never say auguri (best wishes). This is thought to bring bad luck. Say instead in bocca al lupo (in the mouth of the wolf), and the response must be, crepi il lupo (may the wolf die).

Photo courtesy of Davide Vagni

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talian is a beautiful language full of contradictions. Its roots go back thousands of years, and yet, it has only been the national language of Italy since the nineteenth century. Learning a few words will help you order food with confidence, ask for directions without getting a confused glance in return, and improve your cultural understanding and global communication.

Weekdays Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

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Lunedì Martedì Mercoledì Giovedì Venerdì

Learning a few words will help you order food with confidence, ask for directions, and improve your cultural understanding.

The Official Guide to Italian Tourism



Italy now 2007