Postcards from Italy
THE BLOG OF CIU TRAVEL

Heart-warming Italian Movies for Cold Winter Nights

Temperatures have plummeted across North America (and Europe, for that matter), and the only thing anyone wants to do is curl up in front of the fire with a glass of Italian wine and a movie to match. Ok, we admit that we are partial to all things Italian, but there's no arguing against some of the best movies of the 20th century.

If you're planning a trip to Italy over the next few months, settling in to watch one of these classics will help you brush up on your Italian ahead of time, or at least hone your ear a bit. Not planning a trip? At least you can be transported by the sights and sounds of a film set in Italy!

Here are ten beloved classics old and new to keep you occupied while you wait for the world to thaw:

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Italy for Kids: Step One (Get Psyched)

Forget Disneyland or Las Vegas...if you want the family trip of a lifetime, Italy is your dream destination. With its mix of iconic sights (The Colosseum! The Leaning Tower of Pisa! Venice!), an incredibly kid-friendly culture, and complete lack of judgement about letting your children subsist on pizza and gelato for days on end, the Bel Paese is where you can strike the perfect balance between parent-approved education and kid-friendly fun.

Gelato
(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

Like any family vacation, however, the overall success of the trip is dependent on a bit of advance planning, itinerary tweaking, and realistic compromise. Kids (and adults) can get overwhelmed with a new language, culture, schedule, and menu...the best way to avoid general crankiness or complete meltdowns is to take this into account when planning your trip and gearing up for your departure.

Young travelers at a vineyard, Tuscany(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

We have a number of recommendations to help prepare for a family trip to Italy that we’ll be sharing over the next few months. Here, we begin with one of the most important and, luckily, enjoyable: getting your kids excited about Italy through reading!

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2019: The Year of Leonardo

This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death, and Italy is pulling out all the stops to honor one of the country's greatest luminaries, a polymath whose genius covered everything from engineering to art, with a number of blockbuster shows in major cities and even the town of Vinci, Leonardo's birthplace.

Leonardo da Vinci- Vitruvian Man.JPG
Public Domain, Link

If you're planning a trip to Italy over the next 12 months, consider seeking out one of these blockbuster shows to see original sketches, designs, and artwork from one of the greatest minds of the western world.

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Five Spots in Italy and Switzerland to Put on Your 2019 Radar

Happy New Year! Now is best time to start thinking about travel for 2019, especially if you are hoping to organize a big family trip with multiple generations, have a special occasion to celebrate, or need a last minute gift that has a bit of “wow” factor. Giving yourself a few months of lead time means that you will have an ample choice of hotels and can book the best guides, cooking class instructors, and other professionals and experiences while they still have their spring, summer, and fall calendars relatively free. You also, of course, have something to look forward to during the long, dreary months of January and February when the holidays are over but the first warm days of spring are still far in the future.

Sunset RomeDecember 29, 2018 Sunset Rome (Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

If you'd like to curl up by the fire this winter and start thinking about some unique and unforgettable destinations in Italy and Switzerland, here are a few that are trending right now or that we have quietly fallen in love with over the past few years that you may want to put on your travel wish list for 2019.

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Parma's Festival Verdi

One of our favorite pastimes in Italy is uniting our love of opera with our love of the Bel Paese and exploring new and wonderful ways to see live concerts and performances in everything from small mountain towns to magnificent Roman amphitheaters. We have often enjoyed memorable stagings, stunning theaters, or contagiously enthusiastic audiences...and, on rare fortunate occasions, we have come upon the perfect storm of all three.

Festival Verdi - Parma(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Just such an occasion happened this past fall when we attended the final weekend of Festival Verdi, the annual celebration of one of Italy's most prominent and beloved composers that has been held for the past 18 years in Parma and Busseto, the small town between Parma and Piacenza where Giuseppe Verdi was born and lived for numerous periods of his life. Held each year from late September to mid-October, the festival is a delightful way to experience traditional and contemporary stagings of Verdi's works, sit in on rehearsals, see up-and-coming performers and directors, and mix with opera and classical music aficionados from across the the world.

Festival Verdi - Parma(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Here are a few highlights of our experience, so fellow Verdi fans and opera buffs who are considering attending upcoming editions know what to expect. Remember that the Festival Verdi is held in the very heart of Italy's gastronomic capital, so expect to consume copious amounts of Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma along with the musical fare!

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