Ravello on the Amalfi coast is one of the most favourite places in Italy if not the most favourite. Perched high on top of a mountain behind the town of Amalfi the views are some of the most spectacular in the world. Breathtaking it is. This is the terrace of one of our fabulous Ravello hotels. If you need a romantic hideaway or a wedding this is the place to go.
The gardens were designed by Vita Sackville West of the Bloomsbury group fame at the turn of the 20th century. The terrace of Infinity in the photo is just that with infinite views as far as the eye can see. If you go to the Amalfi coast this is one spot you have to visit.
Contact Passion for Italy Travel for all details and we can organise it for you.
Passion for Italy has a policy of visiting and checking out our accommodation personally before we send our clients there. Unfortunately the standard of Rome hotels is always disappointing to me. Have seen literally hundreds of hotels, bed and breakfast, and apartments in Rome sometimes I am literally shocked to the eyeballs at the quality.
I feel like saying to them - you expect my clients to pay $400 a night for this pathetic room in which one cannot hardly fit two people??!! I wonder if they notice the look of shock on my face. In other towns of Italy i have a look of shock due to the magnificence and beauty of the rooms but sadly never in Rome.
This is one case in which the world should not do as the Romans do. Yes I know over 20 million tourists pass through Rome each year and the Romans in the hospitality industry are very spoilt. They don't have to work hard for the never ending supply of money that comes their way. The Vatican and their 2000 year old antiquity are literally pots of gold that draw the tourists. Rome is the most visited city out of the whole world in tourism - they have it made - lucky them.
However in saying this their quality of rooms that are on offer is always disappointing to the average tourist from America, Australia and England where the standard of hotels is greatly higher. Some of the four and five star classic double worth over 400€-500€ per night are not better than a superior room at a three star hotel for half the price. Romans are too tight to bother renovating!! Tired old rooms fifty years old with worn carpets are the norm.
What I don't like is the snooty attitude that the staff develop towards guests that almost make one feel that how dare they stay at their hotel. It is almost like they are doing you a favour by allowing you to stay when you are paying through the nose for a bed for the night. There seems to be no value for money concept with the Roman hotels.
I am of the opinion that Rome should come up to the standard of the rest of the world with their standard of hotels or lower their prices are they are an absolute rip off.
Yes I know it is a matter of supply and demand and the tourists demand and the Romans supply - anything and it is accepted due to large amount of bookings needed but still - why does the world accept such low quality. It is because the city is magnificent but the hotels are not.
Out of the hundreds of places in Rome I have seen there are only three places that I can honestly say, are worth the price and the service. One is a very small residence and one is a bed and breakfast with very large suites and one is a hotel that is not in the centre.
The hotels - alas - I must keep searching. I would like one day to be able to walk into a hotel in Rome and think wow this place is magical instead of cringing. I don't like my clients being ripped off. Raise your standards Romans to the level of the magnificence of your city.
We inform you that from February 4th to April 23rd 2013, the Doge’s Apartment will be closed to the public for the preparation of the exhibition MANET. Return to Venice (24.04 – 18.08.2013). We apologize for the inconvenience.
CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL PERUGIA
DATES FOR 2013 – 18th – 27th October 2013
The International Eurochocolate festival of Perugia is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The festival remains as popular as ever, with the Umbrian capital turning into a huge open-air chocolate shop, with exhibitions, workshops, internships, cooking classes, tastings, banquets and celebrations, as well as the coveted Eurochocolate Awards prize.
Each year the festival has a theme. This year is ‘EVERGREEN’ – a nod to sustainability. In previous years themes have included "Prisoners of Chocolate", “City of Chocolate”, “Chokolate Revolution,” and even “Chocolage” (the evolution of chocolate).
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!
Happy New Year to all reading this, to our past clients and to all the people that are going to come into our lives in 2013 from the Passion for Italy Team. Our globe or planet earth is opening up more and more each year as more people travel the world to explore different countries and new experiences with people of a different language.
As i live and work, back and forth between two countries, Italy and Australia, I am never ceased to be surprised by the difference between our cultures in all areas of life. People living in english speaking countries such as American, Australia and England that are not exposed to other languages like Europe is, tend to be unaware that a language shapes a country in more ways than one.
ISTIA D’OMBRONE NEAR GROSSETO
I was spent Christmas in Tuscany with the most wonderful people. I really love spending time in the small villages of Italy as this is where all the traditions are preserved in more ways than one.
As the Italian schools only have a break of two weeks holiday over Christmas New Year so the primary school in the small village of Istia just outside Grosseto Tuscany performed a Christmas nativity play with lovely singing on their last night of school.
The whole historical center turned into the town of Bethlahem except they called it “Istialem”! The parents of the children dressed up in costume and made stalls that exhibited goods from the time of Jesus.
There was the carpenter and the grain sellers and the food stalls. People opened their doorways and spread the paths with Turkish style carpets and muslims.
Large drums filled with lit fires warmed us on a cold winter night two days before Christmas accompanied by the music sung by the children, warm sangria and Tuscan sausages, Bolognese sauce and lots more.
It was lovely and the parents worked all day to decorate the village – there is such community spirit and everyone knows everyone. I love this.
If you are thinking about spending Christmas next year in Italy, I highly recommend spending it in one of the little villages where the churches and homes are filled with homemade presepe - the nativity scenes. The midnight mass is very traditional with baby Jesus taking centerpiece on the altar.
I had to laugh though as in the large church nativity scene, the cow had its horns and ears missing and it looked like a hippopotamus which made me start giggling in mass – a bad habit left over from childhood!!
I recommend booking your Italian Christmas now so you are guaranteed places in our beautiful boutique apartments as all the relations return home to Italy for the holiday season so best to book ahead.
See our villas and apartments in Tuscany here
In Tuscany the nativity scenes in their homes are handmade by each family anew every year. It is a creative activity each christmas to make it a little bit special or different. I love the individual touches and the little ones especially enjoy this. Such a beautiful tradition. They use a special moss that grows in the mountains to make the grass for the scene and they are filled with lights that the Italians do so well.
Also in the different regions of Italy the statues are crafted out of different geological material - whatever the local area offered. In this local village in Maremma they were crafted out of chalk in the past and then painted. The antique statues are very beautiful and are collector items now.
ODE TO SHARP KNIVES WHILE RENTING AN APARTMENT IN ITALY
In Rome about 10 years ago, I heard this man squawking a funny little horn outside and I put my head out the window and I saw this little truck travelling slowly around the streets on day with a man calling out his wares. It was a knife sharpening man and all the housewives and people came running out with their kitchen knives and chatted to him while he sharpened and cleaned their beloved utensils.
What a great idea – a knife sharpening man travelling around – just like the old fruit truck, milkman and bread man of the old days. I have not seen that man since. He also sharpened scissors, axes and whatever was needed (oh no not the axe!). A great idea – bring him back I say to park outside all those holiday apartment that are sadly lacking!!
This is a little reminder to all travellers to Italy or to those that have a dream to buy a house in Italy - that most Italians do not speak English!!. English tourists tend to have a mindset that the whole world now speaks English!! Guess what -they don’t!! The only people who speak English in Italy, are those involved in tourism and perhaps some of the young people who have studied English at university.
Nothing offends me more than hearing tourists shouting at the Italian people as if raising the volume will make them understand. If someone shouted at you in Italian would you understand it more?
TIME TO GET OFF THE TREADMILL AND SMELL THE ROSES
One of the best things about working in Italy is that one is never lonely. All you have to do is exit from the office and go down to the local bar for an expresso and people will talk to you. Except I go down and talk to Pepe who is often out the front of his fruit shop having a smoke and joking with everyone who walks by. This is the best part of being in a small village. Everyone knows everyone else and one gets introduced.
Pepe is one of those special people who has a generosity of spirit so much so that it makes me emotional because it seems to be so rare these days. In Australia and England and America we are always in a hurry to get who knows where that we seem to have lost the sense of the most important thing – that of time with people. We can’t stop and chat as we have that very important meeting to get to otherwise we might get fired.
A YEAR AFTER THE FLOODS
THE LATEST ABOUT THE CINQUE TERRE WALKING TRAILS.
After the devistating floods of Oct 2011 the Ligurians have been working hard to restore their beloved lands to what they once were. However there are still a lot of paths that are closed and unsafe. For the most recent update please see this english translation HERE
ROME INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2012 is commencing in Rome Nov 17, 2012 showing the latest in Italian films and featuring 59 world premieres.
The Australian family comedy Mental by director PJ Hogan will also be shown at the festival.
GRAND RETURN TO MILAN OF PABLO PICASSO
Masterpieces from the National Picasso Museum of Paris
An exhibition of over 250 amazing paintings and works of Pablo Picasso that are normally housed in the National Picasso Museum of Paris.
Curator Anne Baldessari, one of the most important scholars of Pablo Picasso and curator of the National Picasso Museum in Paris.
20 Sept 2012 - 6 Jan 2013