Postcards from Italy

Auguri! - CIU Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Exactly ten years ago this week--March 26, 2004—we became “official” by incorporating our new travel business, Concierge in Umbria.

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A Day in Verona

Vibrant Verona seamlessly combines the old-world aesthetic of pink palazzo-lined cobblestone streets and Roman ruins with chic contemporary restaurants and boutiques, giving visitors photo-ops rivaling a hill town enlivened by the cultural sophistication of an Italian capital. Located almost precisely halfway between Milan and Venice, this lovely yet underrated city is a perfect stop-over for those traveling between these two major hubs, or a day trip from the northern lakes or many of the most popular ski resorts in Veneto or Trentino-Alto Adige.

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Unique Train Rides in Italy: International and Gastronomic Routes

Italy recently held the seventh edition of what is quickly becoming one of the most popular events on the annual calendar: La Giornata Nazionale delle Ferrovie Dimenticate (National Forgotten Railways Day). On this day each spring, long-closed and oft-forgotten rail lines are reopened and visitors can travel along the routes either by historic carriage or, on lines now repurposed as trails, on foot, bike or horseback.

Though part of the popularity of this event is surely the pure child-like joy many find in the chugging steam engines of old, there is also a more poignant pull for Italians for whom these abandoned, weed-infested tracks are means of peering into the not-so-distant past of an Italy made up of tiny hamlets connected to the larger world by almost exclusively by these “I-think-I-can” engines and their rugged, no-nonsense cars. Read More…

L’Amatriciana and La Gricia: Pasta’s First Cousins

Two of Rome’s classic (and ubiquitous) pasta dishes hail from Amatrice, the tiny mountain town perched in the Apennine peaks between Lazio and neighboring Abruzzo, and home to centuries of semi-nomadic shepherds.

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Ordering at a Restaurant in Italy: Rules and Exceptions

There are many ordinary tasks and common customs that are daunting for a first time traveler to any country, including Italy. Things as simple as friendly greetings (buongiorno before lunch, buona sera after), purchases (money is placed on the counter, not directly in the hand; the same is true for your change), and business hours (ah, the beloved early afternoon riposo closure) require thought and a bit of getting used to...and as soon as you feel you’ve gotten the hang of it, you run into an exception.


The same is true for eating at a restaurant in Italy. Italian meals are articulated into a number of portate, or courses, and it helps to have a general idea of what each means and how to organize both your order and your meal. And then, of course, how to make an exception. Read More…

Make Your Motto “Be Prepared”: What to Wear in Italy this Spring

Much of the US is still under a disheartening blanket of snow, but that just gives the home-bound more time to prepare for spring travel. If you are surviving these last days of winter by dusting off your suitcases in anticipation of an upcoming visit to Italy, here are a few suggestions of what you should consider packing when it comes time to hop that overseas flight at the first sign of crocuses.

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