Tag Archives: italy travel

Italy’s Emilia Romagna

Lambrusco Grapes
Lambrusco Grapes

The region of Emilia Romagna always reminds me of a beautiful woman nestled in the arms of her sultry Italian love. So, as a tribute to a region we hold dear, we wanted to share a few A, B, C’s to get you started dreaming about wandering through cobblestone streets, sipping Lambrusco, and dipping fresh bread into their version of black gold… also known as balsamic vinegar.

Without further ado… the first five letters of the alphabet of Emilia from the top!

  • A for Art: The regions of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Le Marche and Umbria are celebrating the one year anniversary of their collaboration on the Terre di Piero, a unique trail following the work of 15th century painter Piero della Francesca visiting the four regions that inspired his work. The new year will bring two updates to the route. The first is a new exhibit at the San Domenico Museum Complex comparing the works of painters who came after Piero and were inspired by his work. The second will be that restorations to The Resurrection, which has been called the most beautiful painting in the world, are scheduled to be completed in August 2016. The process is currently in progress in a way that allows visitors to still view the masterpiece.
  • B for Black Gold: While balsamic vinegar is often thought of as a dressing, traditional balsamic vinegar is far too rich in flavor with a production process that is time-intensive to use it on salads. In order to receive recognition as a maker of traditional balsamic, the producer must follow a strict set of guidelines and practices. Visitors to the Modena area will find a number of tradition balsamic vinegar producers who are happy to share their knowledge and passion.
  • C for Competition: This year, Emilia Romagna’s Lambrusco Wine Competition showcased over 90 Lambrusco wine producers. Special to Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco grapes create a semi-sweet, fresh and light wine that has been produced since the Roman period. This wine can be found in most Emilian kitchens and consistently enhancing the flavors of any traditional meal. When Lambrusco is not being used to enhance the meal it can be ideal in making a Sangria or Spritz.
  • D for Delicious: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has been a culinary staple for ages to enhance flavor and, of course, top-off our favorite pasta dishes. The process of boiling, stirring and shaping the cow’s milk requires deep concentration to form the perfect block before aging to form the “King of Cheese.” Travelers visiting the Parma area will come across numerous Parmigiano Reggiano farms where they can see first-hand the steps that go into creating this beloved food.
  • E for Eat Up: Emilia Romagna boasts itself as the “breadbasket” of Italy. It is here that many pasta varieties we have all come to know, love and crave were created. From lasagna to tortellini, tagliatelle to ravioli, gnocci and more – Emilian’s throughout history have perfected the art of pasta-making. While visiting the region, sign up for an authentic Italian cooking class and toast these new-found skills!

For more information on places to stay, have a look at: http://www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/where-to-stay

Last Minute Fall Getaways

Rajasthan, India

Looking for some last minute fall getaways? Who isn’t? If you’re anything like me, you’re a workaholic often being told by your colleagues to just ‘get some rest already!’ So, as it’s just around the corner, fall is the ideal time to discover the world, with many destinations around the globe featuring cooler temperatures, colorful panoramas, abundant wildlife and a kaleidoscope of festivals. India, already a vibrant country, explodes in a riot of colors in the fall, when many festivals take place, including Diwali and Pushkar Fair.

Budapest by Night

Budapest, Vienna and Prague are also beautiful during the Fall, along with Berlin, China, and Tanzania.  So, when Abercrombie & Kent sent us a list of their special fall journeys (with added discounts and deals), we wanted to spread the word so that you, too, could experience your dream destination at its best. Solo travellers take note: you can also save up to 96% on the single supplement on: Treasures of Northern India from Oct 7 and Nov 11 and Essence of India from Oct 13 and Nov 17. Remember, Abercrombie & Kent is high-end so you won’t be skimping. This is 5 star all the way with guides that are some of the best in the world. We’re talking life changing travels, baby, and you could use a shift in your continuum, right?

Right.

Though I tend to be more of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda traveller, as I get older and wiser I find that sometimes it’s just easier to have someone in the know do all the legwork for you. At Abercrombie & Kent, the nice thing is that you can also search for tour options like the following:

August through November departures are filling fast so click the link below to see last-minute destinations for fall travel, and reserve a fall getaway now!

Abercrombie & Kent Last Minute Fall Getaways

Tuscany on a Budget

Tuscany in the Spring

There’s no better time to visit Tuscany than springtime.  But then again… there’s no bad time to visit Tuscany. After all, it is Tuscany. That said, Springtime is when the days turn sunny, vineyards sprout their first green, markets display their gorgeous produce and sidewalk cafés and restaurants come to life.

And—difficult as it is to believe—spring is coming. TourCrafters, a tour company specializing in affordable European vacations, has made a spring trip even more appealing with their one-week Florence and Tuscany Countryside package, which starts at $739 from New York and includes round-trip air from New York, three nights at the 4-star Hotel Roma in Florence, three nights at the 4-star Villa Aurea in Cortona, daily buffet breakfast, three days’ car rental, a free spa course (with sauna, Turkish bath and tea) at the Villa Aurea, a free gelato at Florence’s famous Vivoli, service charges and taxes.

Florence, as everyone knows, is the world’s greatest repository of Renaissance art, but it also boasts great restaurants and fabulous shopping (everything from designer shops on via Tornabuoni to the San Lorenzo Market).  Cortona, a hilltop town of steep, narrow streets and the setting for the popular memoir, Under the Tuscan Sun, also has its art and architecture.  Between the two lies the Chianti region with its hillside vineyards, olive groves, medieval towns and picturesque castles—easy enough to explore with a three-day car rental.

All prices are per person, double occupancy, are subject to availability and do not include airport taxes of approximately $115 and a fuel surcharge of approximately $360.  Reservations must be paid for within 72 hours of booking. Add-on air fares are $40 from Boston and Washington, D.C., $135 from Miami and Chicago,  and $250 from Los Angeles.

For additional information about this and other Hot Deals of the Week, visit www.tourcrafters.it

 

Italy’s Latest Villa Escape

Villa Armena: Relais and Beauty Farm

In the 16th century the noble Malavolti family always strived for the perfection.  When it came to the creation of their luxurious country residence in the heart of Tuscany’s Crete Senesi, they turned to one of the best known architects of the Italian Renaissance, Baldassare Peruzzi, who eventually created the residence, Villa Armena.

Thanks to an extensive reconstruction, the villa and its gardens, located just outside of Buonconvento, have been fully restored to once again show-off the original features dating back to the 16th century. The restored villa has been transformed into an exclusive luxury boutique hotel and beauty farm, which has relied on the latest standards of luxury and indulgence to create a unique experience for all of the senses of true connoisseurs of all that is the best.

We love Villa Armena Relais & Beauty Farm for several reasons, but it’s the rooms that really impressed us. We’re talking historic Tuscan romance to a T.

Seamlessly intertwining 21st century comforts and the original elegance of renaissance Italy, the conserved 16th century original features of the villa blend into the paradise setting, while inside the amenities offered represent those available at the most luxurious of today’s hotels. Villa Armena’s traditionally Tuscan rooms and suites, with original features, contain an exquisite selection of art and antique furniture and all rooms enjoy fabulous views of the gardens and the Crete Senesi.

Another Villa Armena Suite

Guests of the renaissance residence – which is going to open in Spring 2011 – will experience the very best of Tuscany, by relaxing in the shade of the “Ancient Fruit Area,” soaking up the gentle Tuscan sun by the swimming pool, or strolling through the fragrant gardens brimming with roses, cypress, maritime pine and olive trees. Alternatively, you can while away the hours in Villa Armena’s beauty farm indulging in a superb range of ancient Roman and Mediterranean spa rituals or enjoying the indoor and outdoor pools. The ‘Sorbo Allegro’ restaurant, a leader in the trend for ‘zero mile cuisine’, also serves up scintillating Italian and regional dishes prepared exclusively with local seasonal products and accompanied by a thoroughly-researched selection of delicious wines, produced by small, independent Italian wineries whose passion for wine goes hand-in-hand with their love and respect of the region in which it is made.

The stunning Tuscan location, of course, make Villa Armena Relais & Beauty Farm the ideal setting for the luxurious wedding of your dreams. The Villa’s professional in-house wedding planner ensures that every aspect of the special day exceeds the bride and groom’s expectations in respect of all aspects of the day. On request, excursions in a hot air balloon or on horseback, regional wine tours, or guided tours can be organized for both the newlyweds and their wedding guests.

So what say you? Shall we go in the Spring or the Summer?

www.villaarmena.com

Prices: from 295€ to 850€/night with buffet breakfast and VAT included