Postcards from Italy

So, You Want to Honeymoon in Italy...

We customize trips for all sorts of travelers, from those who have been to Italy before but are set on experiencing the truly authentic side of the Bel Paese that we can help provide this time around, to those who are about embark on their very first trip and want every moment perfectly planned; from large, sprawling families of two or three generations, to small groups of friends, happy to be celebrating their “empty nest” with quieter grown-up trips; from new, slightly timid clients, to return adventurers who know exactly what magic we can make.

wedding-car-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

But of all the trips we love to plan and all the clients we love to work with, there is something special about honeymoons and honeymooners. These can be the classic fresh-from-the-wedding honeymoons, the second wow-we’ve-made-it-this-far honeymoons, the pre-moons (yes, we’ve planned proposal trips), the re-moons, and everything in between. Even after dozens of romantic trips planned and taken, we still get just a little starry-eyed when working with our in-love clients. Read More…

Italy's Bottle of Truth

Winemaking, like all agricultural processes, has a long chain of “moments of truth”. The most satisfying for the imbibing consumer is, of course, the final moment, when corks are popped and the finished product carefully poured and sipped.

grapes-fall-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

But vintners know that this is just one of many important links in the chain. Before the pouring comes the bottling; before the bottling, the aging; before the aging, the fermentation; before the fermentation, the harvest.
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A Michelangelo-Themed Walking Tour in Florence

This year marks the 250th anniversary of the death of Michelangelo Buonarroti, one of the greatest artists, architects, and engineers Italy—indeed, the world—has ever known. The mastery and prodigiousness of his work in a number of different disciplines, including painting, sculpture, and poetry, earned him the title of “Il Divino” during his lifetime, and has been the key to his lasting influence on western art and culture.

Michelango Portrait by Volterra.jpg
"Michelango Portrait by Volterra" di Daniele da Volterra - [1]. Con licenza Public domain tramite Wikimedia Commons.

Though he was born in a small town near Arezzo and many of his most famous works are in Rome, Michelangelo spent most of his youth in Florence where he began his long career with his first apprenticeship (under Il Ghirlandaio) at fourteen. We asked our favorite Florence guide and art historian, Elvira Politi, to suggest a Michelangelo walk to celebrate the life and work of this truly Renaissance Man in the most Renaissance of cities. Read More…

Italy's Most Beautiful Gardens

Though it may seem that summer is the season to visit Italy’s many splendid gardens, in this country’s hot and arid Mediterranean climate, the best times of year to enjoy most of these magnificent grounds are actually the spring and fall. It is during the cooler, damper months that these public and private parks, many of which could be considered works of art rivaling those in Italy’s museums, reach the height of their lushness and color.

villa-lante-italy-cr-brian-dore(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)
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La Trattoria di Famiglia: An Italian Icon

There are many ways in which Italy is, sadly, losing a bit of that “italianità” that has made it such a beloved destination for travelers for centuries. Village centers are struggling as shoppers flock to big discount box stores. Packaged convenience foods are becoming more common and long, home-cooked lunches at home less.

Trattoria(Photo by Damien Oz via Flickr)

One tradition that seems to be stronger than ever is the small, family-owned trattoria. These (often historic) eateries line quiet side streets and piazzas everywhere from the smallest country hamlets to the bustling cities of Rome and Florence, and thrive despite the menacing growth of fast food chains and kebob shops. Read More…

Pasta Primer for Italy

Italy means many different things to many different people. For some, it is the land of their ancestors, a vaguely legendary departure point from which great-great grandparents left for more prosperous shores. For others, it is a cultural paradise, where the highest concentration of the world’s art, architecture, and archaeological sites beckon. For others, it’s the hotbed of chic contemporary design, birthplace of sleek cars and stiletto heels.

Trapani(Photo by Concierge in Umbria via Flickr)

But no matter what your personal iconography may be, there is one symbol of Italy that unites the world: pasta. Read More…