I always try to give to my clients a selection of tours that will cater for varying tastes as everyone is so different and not all people love art or architecture etc, although when travelling in Italy one should really go to see the creations of genius to marvel at just that – the genius of creation done by human beings – what people can do. I was just watching the lighting show performed on the sails of the Sydney Opera house and I just marveled at the incredible creativity but it would have taken millions of dollars to commission such spectacular design.
All roads lead to St. Peter's Basilica Rome on sunday April 27 2014 for the canonisation of two previous popes, Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II. Passion for Italy Travel recommends that you either come to Rome for the ceremony or if you are not interested in this event, we would suggest that you plan to stay out of Roma for that weekend as travel in the city will be a nightmare and every hotel will be booked up. Contact us for help with your itinerary.
If you are interested in booking a group tour to be in Rome for the canonisation, please contact us as soon as possible as all tours are booking fast. There are a number of pilgrimage tours still available.
It is very difficult when you are the only foreigner in a town and you do not know many people and those that you do know you can’t understand their dialect…!! I must say it has been a challenging week in this area but what I love about life is just when it is all getting a bit too much, serendipity pops up and gives you a bit of bliss.
I have been living in a small village, in the south of Italy in Campania and it is the same as all small towns throughout the world, full of gossip and things happening around the place with the people, wonderful food and a sea and view on the gulf of Napoli to die for.
However there is one big drawback for me… most people in the shops and on the street where you stop to chat, don’t speak Italian to each other. Italians love chatting and are very friendly, in fact they never shut up….!! But in this village they don’t speak Italian they don’t even speak Napolitanno, they speak another language - Puteolano, that even the Napolitanni don’t understand whereas myself… I don’t have a hope in Hades, Italian being my second language. Three languages here!...
It is a shocking thing when one has a small business that one has to be a captain of all things. However one of my favourite things is writing about Italy and I have been here in Italy for four months this time now and have not blogged.
Now this is both a tragedy for me as I love sharing my joys about this country but it is also a bonus for my clients as I have worked so hard to service them and have not had one second to blog. See everything in life has a positive and a negative. The same with this country and all other countries in the world as far as countries go.
I have recounted a lot of joys about Italy over the years and now I am going to write about a negative thing that could happen and then..... The thing to do... when these things happen in Italy, is to go with the flow. Oh - the train has broken down and does not show - well guess what!! - you might just meet the most fabulous people while waiting with all the other people on the station.
It is terrible to not have the time to blog. I would love to be able to have the time to write like Francis Mayes from "Under the Tuscan Sun" fame and other books about Tuscany. Frances and her husband restored a ruin to a magnificent villa near Cortona with amazing style and wrote a book about her experiences which was made into a romantic film.
Passion for Italy Travel is having a very busy Italian summer organising our clients holidays in Italy so I will leave it up to Frances to promote Tuscany for me as she lives there and knows it well. This is an excellent interview and not the usual commercial fare - very good in fact - watch Frances talk about the Italian ways.
I have been in Paris for a week with my children. I was last in Paris when the now 19 year old was only 4 months old and he goo gooed all down the Avenue des Champs d’Elysees in the pram. This time he walked beside me and showed me around and is now fluent in French after a family exchange in Provence for three months.
It was so nice to return with him all those years later – who knows - perhaps it was the man on the metro who sang opera to him as a baby that inspired his love of French. However he is also determined to learn Italian as well to satisfy his mother’s whims…!!
BOOK A ROMANTIC FOUR DAY WEEKEND IN ITALY FOR ST. VALENTINE'S DAY
To celebrate the patron saint of lovers on February 14 who was beheaded for marrying Christians in secret why not spend a long weekend in Verona the celebrated town of lovers Romeo and Juliet or Romeo e Giuletta. If you live in Europe why not take a four day long weekend to celebrate the most romantic day of the year - St. Valentine's day with your beloved.
The Feast of the Epiphany is a Catholic feast day which celebrates the journey of the three wise men to pay homage to baby Jesus in the stable. January 6 is a public holiday in Italy and on the night of January 5 the witch Befana (originating from the word 'Epiphana") flies on her broomstick to give presents to the good children and a lump of coal to the bad.
The day marks the last day of the 12 days of christmas. Work and school usually commence in Italy on the following Monday. Befana also leaves her gifts at grandparents' houses and uncles' and aunties' houses for the children so most Italian children are feeling quite sick by the end of the day!
A wonderful 7 weeks in Italy, organised and orchestrated by the knowledgeable, and ever helpful Gemma!
One of the cornerstones of our trip was to experience the great opera houses of Italy – La Fenice, La Scala, the Verdi Festival and Teatro Regio in Parma, San Carlo – and we saw great performances in them all! All of the tickets were pre-arranged – heaven!
The tours and guides that Gemma and her colleagues arranged were outstanding. I was amazed at the knowledge of the guides and their capacity to communicate and inspire.
We were early at the Vatican (with a surprise visit to a part not normally visited), a small intimate group for the Vasari corridor in Florence, the Doges’ Palace in Venice, the catacombs in Rome, beautiful and surprising Naples, not to mention amazing Pompei….it was all so beautiful and easy. There is nothing like experience, knowledge and a passion for the country!
The places we stayed at were works of art themselves with beautiful views (Montepulciano, pictured) and wonderful staff.
What memories! We will have to go back. We will be in touch, Gemma!
Ifor and Catherine Sept Oct 2012