Architectural Art Deco Gems in South Beach Florida

Beach Bunny in South Beach

English: Ocean Drive, South Beach, Miami, Flor...

English: Ocean Drive, South Beach, Miami, Florida 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ocean Drive on South Beach at night featuring ...

Ocean Drive on South Beach at night featuring The Beacon Hotel, The Colony Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a little square-mile stretch of Beach-Bunny paradise in the southern part of Miami Beach called “South Beach.”  South Beach is east of Downtown Miami, across Biscayne Bay.

English: A photograph taken of Ocean Drive in ...

English: A photograph taken of Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This area has an incredible annual South Beach Food and Wine Festival the last weekend of February. The annual event showcases many of the world’s top chefs, spirits producers, and culinary personalities. The event is hosted by Florida International University‘s (FIU) School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Proceeds from the festival go to the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at FIU.

South Beach Food and Wine Festival 2012

This archtectural district is pretty compact so it’s relatively easy to walk around and be transported to another era. Most of the interesting buildings have been beautifully restored.

Architecture at night - South Beach, Miami, Fl...

Architecture at night – South Beach, Miami, Florida, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miami Beach Architectural District (also known as Old Miami Beach Historic District or the Miami Art Deco District) is a U.S. historic district; designated on May 14, 1979.

Miami Beach Poster

This area is located in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach, Florida. The district is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Sixth Street to the south, Alton Road to the west, the Collins Canal and Dade Boulevard to the north. It contains 960 historic buildings.

South Beach Map

English: Panoramic image of South Beach, the s...

Image via Wikipedia

The Ocean Drive area received Historic District designation thanks to the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman and her fellow Art-Deco loving Miami Design Preservation League activists.

Berkeley Hotel on Collins in South Beach

VIntage Posters in South Beach

The Art Deco era was ushered in with the Paris Exposition of 1925 ; the French name is “Les Arts Decoratifs.

There are two distinctive design principles that characterize the geometric facade of these buildings: (1) the center element is the most dramatic; (2) the sides of the facade are symmetrical. A good example is the Berkeley Shore Hotel shown in the picture above. South Beach has a distinctive Tropical Art Deco Style.

Colony Hotel - South Beach, Miami, Florida, USA.

Colony Hotel – South Beach, Miami, Florida, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “Miami Beach Architectural District embodies the design continuum of the City from its early development Period in the 1910’s to the construction Boom following World War II. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 largely through the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman, founder of the Miami Design Preservation League. Its one square mile area includes over 800 significant structures with the following architectural styles: Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, Streamline Modern and Miami Modern or “MiMo.” The Colony Hotel is the oldest Art Deco Hotel in South Beach!

The Colony Hotel in South Beach

I love South Beach Florida

Art Deco Welcome Center in South Beach

Stop at the Art Deco Welcome Center to pick up a map. Plan a walking tour with a headset. Here are some intersting examples of architectural gems in South Beach on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue :

The Carlyle Hotel at 1250 Ocean Drive in South Beach

There have been many movies filmed in South Beach: the Carlyle Hotel is where the “Birdcage” was filmed starring Robin Williams at 1250 Ocean Drive.

The Carlyle at Night

The Cardozo at 1300 Ocean Drive

Hotels in South Beach Florida

The Edison Hotel in South Beach

The Cardozo Hotel at 1300 Ocean Drive has a sweeping front porch that gracefully curves around the corner and represents “Streamline Style.”

This is where Frank Sinatra filmed “A Hole in the Head” in the 1950’s.

Cover of "A Hole in the Head"The Cardozo hotel was named after the Supreme Court justice and it has been lovingly rehabbed by  Gloria and Emilio Estefan in an Asian Motif. Walk into the hotel to admire the vintage poster collection.

The charming Beacon Hotel is where the movie “Scarface” was filmed with Al Pacino. Check out the photos at the end of this post to see the interior of the Beacon Hotel.

After your walking Tour, have a refreshing Miami Vice with a “Rum Floater” (presented in a test tube) at the Cleavelander Hotel on Ocean Drive as you listen to live music. Everyone loves the Cleavlander!

English: Digital photo taken by Marc Averette....

English: Digital photo taken by Marc Averette. A typical winter day on South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have a Miami Vice at the Cleavlander on Ocean Drive in South Beach

Hotels in South Beach Florida

Lobby at the Beacon in South Beach

Scar Face was filmed at the Beacon in South Beach

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

The Beacon Hotel Poster.The Majestic

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My Glorious Vino con Vista Weekend in South Beach Florida

The Clay Hotel on Española Way and Washington ...

The Clay Hotel on Española Way and Washington Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miami

Miami (Photo credit: Dykes And The City)

Ocean Drive on South Beach at night featuring ...

Ocean Drive on South Beach at night featuring The Beacon Hotel, The Colony Hotel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have a Glorious Vino con Vista Weekend in South Beach Florida. South Beach is a dynamic neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach, Florida. This section of Miami Beach was developed, starting in the 1910s, by Carl G. Fisher, the Lummus Brothers and John S. Collins.

Here’s my South Beach Video with highlights some of my favorite destinations: http://youtu.be/gkS7YxBUYEU

Lummus Park in the City of Miami Beach

Lummus Park in the City of Miami Beach

Here are some great sites to see:

Panoramic image of South Beach, the southern e...

Panoramic image of South Beach, the southern end of Miami Beach in Miami, Florida Español: Imagen panorámica de South Beach, la punta más sur de Miami Beach en Miami, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miami Beach - South Beach: Beach Patrol Headqu...

Miami Beach – South Beach: Beach Patrol Headquarters (Photo credit: wallyg)

1. In front of Ocean Drive, Lummus Park Beach stretches for ten blocks. If you’re a beach bunny like me, you will love this Lummus Park Beach!

English: South Beach Miami lifeguard post 2009

English: South Beach Miami lifeguard post 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

South Beach / Miami Florida

South Beach / Miami Florida (Photo credit: joanna8555)

After a 1992 hurricane destroyed most of the lifeguard stations, colorful replacements were erected. Admire the novel lifeguard stations between 10th and 16th Streets in South Beach.

South Beach - Droid

South Beach – Droid (Photo credit: ehpien)

south beach

south beach (Photo credit: eschipul)

2. Espanola Way is a quaint Spanish Meditteranean Village with plenty of great restaurants and bars. Walk in the footsteps of Desi Arnaz along Espanola Way between Washington Avenue and Drexel in South Beach to see Mediterranean Rivival Style architecture. Desi loved to party in this part of South Beach during the 1940s. He played his bongos and sang his Cubansongs along this charming street. This is where Desi Arnaz created the sultry rumba craze!

Desi Arnaz

Cover of Desi Arnaz

Barbara Capitman and her buddies at the Miami Design Preservaton League saved the structures on this alluring street. “The Historic Spanish Village” is modeled after the romantic Mediterranean villages found in France and Spain.

Today it consists of art galleries, restaurants, and quirky shops. See a flamengo dance performance or tour the art galleries and little boutique shops. Check out Havana 1957 for Cuban Cuisine; or the ”Tapas & Tintos” Tapas Bar while you are in the neighborhood. Look into their Flamengo Schedule to see a live performance. Get a refreshing Mojito at the Mojito Lounge. Tour the Clay Hotel on Española Way. Notorious mafia don Al Capone located his gambling ring at The Clay Hotel in the 1930′s. The Clay Hotel’s Old World ambiance is well-suited to the tropical magic of this part of South Beach that runs from Collins Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue.

The hotel dominates the corner of quaint Española Way.  The Clay Hotel is nestled in the historic Art Deco District of Miami Beach characterized by the distinctive 1930′s architecture. Don Johnson, Sylvester Stallone and Elton John have all contributed to experienced the special atmosphere of The Clay Hotel. Movies and music videos have been shot at this hotel; including the pilot for Miami Vice and many episodes of the television show.

Spend the day at the beach or play tennis and racquetball at nearby Flamingo Park’s well maintained courts. Cool off in the olympic size swimming pool.

Top of the Cameo Theater

Over the past few years, the bars and restaurants in this area have increasingly become a gathering place for the large Italian community in Miami. There’s an excellent Italian Restaurant next to the Cameo Theater called Osteria del Teatro.

Try some of their authentic Italian Cuisine

 

Lincoln Road Places

Lincoln Road Places (Photo credit: AshtonColeman)

3. Lincoln Road Mall was designed by legendary architect, Morris Lapidus. Lincoln Road is a between Washington Avenue and Alton Road. Originally built in the 1920’s, it is brimming with shops, restaurants and galleries. Have some sweet treats at the Ice Box Cafe at 1657 Michigan Avenue.

Lincoln Road Mall in South Beach

Lincoln Road Mall in South Beach (Photo credit: Kwong Yee Cheng)

Lincoln Road

Lincoln Road (Photo credit: miamism)

The Art Deco district of South Beach in Miami,...

The Art Deco district of South Beach in Miami, Florida was developed during the 1930s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4. Tour the Deco District in South Beach with outstanding well- preserved buildings. The Miami Beach Architectural District (also known as Old Miami Beach Historic District or the Miami Art Deco District) is a U.S. historic district; designated on May 14, 1979.

The district is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Sixth Street to the south, Alton Road to the west, the Collins Canal and Dade Boulevard to the north. It contains 960 historic buildings.

Vintage T-Bird in front of the Avalon Hotel in South Beach

South Beach Map Above

The Ocean Drive area received Historic District designation thanks to the efforts of Barbara Baer Capitman and her fellow Art-Deco loving Miami Design Preservation League activists.

Berkeley Hotel on Collins in South Beach

You can buy some charming Vintage Posters in South Beach. The Art Deco era was ushered in with the Paris Exposition of 1925 ; the French name is “Les Arts Decoratifs. There are two distinctive design principles that characterize the geometric facade of these buildings: (1) the center element is the most dramatic; (2) the sides of the facade are symmetrical. The Miami Design Preservation League hosts an annual Art Deco Weekend in January. www.mdpl.org.

The Cardozo hotel is another SOuth Beach gem. It was named after the Supreme Court justice and it has been lovingly rehabbed by  Gloria and Emilio Estefan in an Asian Motif. Walk into the hotel to admire the vintage poster collection.

I also love the charming Beacon Hotel is where the movie “Scarface” was filmed with Al Pacino. After your Art Deco walking Tour, have a refreshing Miami Vice with a “Rum Floater” (presented in a test tube) at the Clevelander Hotel on Ocean Drive as you listen to live music. Everyone loves the Clevelander!

Have a Miami Vice at the Clevelander Hotel Outdoor Bar Area on Ocean Drive in South Beach

Hotels in South Beach Florida

Lobby at the Beacon Hotel in South Beach

Scar Face was filmed at the Beacon in South Beach

A Vintage Beacon Hotel Poster.

Marlin Hotel - Art Deco architecture on Collin...

Marlin Hotel – Art Deco architecture on Collins Ave. Miami Beach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ocean Drive night South Beach Miami Florida

Ocean Drive night South Beach Miami Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miami Beach - South Beach: Wolfsonian-FIU

Miami Beach – South Beach: Wolfsonian-FIU (Photo credit: wallyg)

4. Visit the Wolfsonian Museum located at 1001 Washington Street. It  is a 1927 converted storage facility packed with Art-Deco artifacts. www.wolfsonian.org

Wolfsonian-FIU Entry to Galleries

Wolfsonian-FIU Entry to Galleries (Photo credit: steve goddard)

Wolfsonian-FIU Foyer

Wolfsonian-FIU Foyer (Photo credit: steve goddard)

Interior of Miami Holocaust Memorial - Miami B...

Interior of Miami Holocaust Memorial – Miami Beach, Florida, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. The Holocaust Memorial is the home of Kenneth Triester’s magnificent “Sculpture of Love and Anguish” at 1933 Meridean Avenue. Holocaust victims of concentration camps climb a out-stretched hand marked with an Auschwitz tattoo. Along the reflecting pond, learn about the story of the Holocaust

Facade of a parking garage spelling out the ce...

Facade of a parking garage spelling out the center’s name (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bayside Marketplace

Bayside Marketplace (Photo credit: miamism)

6. Go to Bayside Marketplace. It is a sprawling shopping and entertainment complex with some of the best Vino con Vista views in the city. Dine at Bubba Gump while you’re there.

View of Bayside Marketplace looking from north...

View of Bayside Marketplace looking from north to south (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miami Downtown Freedom Tower

Miami Downtown Freedom Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7. Visit the Freedom Tower on Biscayne Boulevard was built in 1925 and modeled after the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain.

The most dramatic building in downtown Miami is located at 600 Biscayne Boulevard. The brick and terra cotta, 17 story structure is 256 feet tall. On September 10, 1979, it entered the National Register of Historic Places.

Go to the galleries and streets of Wynwood for the monthly gallery walk. This is an industrial district that has been converted to an art mecca. There is a gathering of Food Trucks behind the outdoor museum called Wynwood Walls. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/30/TRG91NK8GU.DTL#ixzz1t4V1x5oX

Freedom Tower in Miami Beach

Freedom Tower in Miami Beach

Gianni Versace mansion, South Beach, Miami, Fl...

Gianni Versace mansion, South Beach, Miami, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8. The Villa by Barton G at 1114 Ocean Drive is the former Versace Mansion. The Versace Mansion, Casa  Casuarina was the residence of late Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace; founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A. In 1992, couturier Gianni Versace fell in love with Casa Casuarina. When he purchased the property, he went to battle with local preservationists after he announced his plans to tear down a neighboring  hotel so he could build a pool. Versace exquisitely restored, expanded, and embellished the original structure by adding the south wing and pool.

Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Photo by Jim ...

Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach Photo by Jim Rees November 2004 Français : Hôtel File:Fontainebleau Miami Beach Resort.jpg Fontainebleau Hotel à Miami Beach en Floride, architecte Morris Lapidus Photo by Jim Rees November 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ocean Drive in South beach is packed with outdoor restaurants and cafes. You can check out the food displays that line Ocean Drive.

Food Display at outdoor restaruant in South Beach

Food Display at outdoor restaruant in South Beach

Go to Joe’s Stone Crab at 11 Washington. It’s only open from October to May. Another must-do is News Cafe t 800 Ocean Drive. I like Escopazzo for Italian at 1311 Washington or the Forge for steak at 432 Arthur Godfrey Rd. Mango’s Tropical Cafe at 900 Ocean Drive is a Latin live-wire with plenty of music.

Mango in South Beach

Mango in South Beach

Mango in South Beach

Mango in South Beach

Stay and/or dine at the iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel. It is one of my favorite Vino con Vista destinations in Miami Beach! The Fontainebleau is situated on the Atlantic oceanfront at Collins Avenue in the heart of Millionaire’s Row with 12 restaurants and bars; and a 40,000-square-foot spa. It is also the most historic and architecturally significant hotel on Miami Beach.  It was designed by Morris Lapidus and opened in 1954. On December 22, 2008, the Fontainebleau was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

I: Fontainebleau Hotel:

Celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis broke the integration barrier in Miami Beach at this hotel. Jerry Lewis waged his war against Muscular Dystrophy at this hotel with his Labor Day Marathon fund-raising events.
The hotel was also the setting for Jerry Lewis‘s 1960 comedy film, The Bellboy. Here’s a picture of Jerry Lewis on the diving board at the Fontainbleau pool.
Cover of "The Bellboy"Cover of The Bellboy

The hotel and pool were featured in the following films: Scarface, Go for It , Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach and The Bodyguard (1992) with Whitney Houston.

Cover of "The Bodyguard (Special Edition)...Cover of The Bodyguard (Special Edition)
Cover of "Police Academy 5 - Assignment M...Cover via Amazon

I also love the Betsy Ross Hotel at 1440 Ocean Drive in South Beach. It originally opened in 1942 when America was at war and many local hotels became barracks for soldiers who trained on the beaches before being deployed. The hotel under went a total restoration in 2009 and was renamed The Betsy-South Beach. It has the perfect location with a birds-eye view of Lummas Park in the heart of the Art Deco District. It’s across from the beach and it is a member of the “Small Luxury Hotels of the World.” The hotel has Miami’s only fully outdoor Roof Deck Wellness garden that offers spa treatments. Make reservations @ www.thebetsyhotel.com

Lobby of the Betsy Ross Hotel in South Beach

Lobby of the Betsy Ross Hotel in South Beach

Betsy Ross Hotel in South Beach

Betsy Ross Hotel in South Beach

Pool at the Betsy Ross

Pool at the Betsy Ross

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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Casa Casuarina: The Mansion where Gianni Versace Lived and Died in South Beach Florida

Villa Versace

Image via WikipediaIron Gate at the entrance of the Versace Mansion

Red Versace dress of Cindy Crawford

Red Versace dress of Cindy Crawford (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Versace Mansion, Casa  Casuarina was the residence of late Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace; founder of Gianni Versace S.p.A. Gianni Versace. This Italian fashion designer  designed costumes for the theatre and films. He was a friend of many celebrities including: Madonna, Elton John, Cher and Sting.

Versace

Versace (Photo credit: vpickering)

In 1992, couturier Gianni Versace fell in love with Casa Casuarina;  now known as “The Villa By Barton G.”

When he purchased the property, he went to battle with local preservationists after he announced his plans to tear down a neighboring  hotel so he could build a pool. Versace exquisitely restored, expanded, and embellished the original structure by adding the south wing and pool.

For a fabulous Vino con Vista, stretch out on a lounge chair at  “The Thousand Mosaic Pool and Mosaic Garden” area.

The 19,000 square foot Casa Casuarina is now the home of an elegant boutique hotel. The Gianni Versace logo embellishes the ironwork fence and planters. In 1993, Versace was inspired to design a collection devoted to Miami Beach.

Every day, Gianni would stroll over to the News Cafe on Ocean Drive to have coffee and read the Italian-language newspapers and  international periodicals. That was the last place he was seen on the day he was murdered. Versace was murdered on the front steps of his home by Andrew Cunanan on July 15, 1997.

The News Store in South Beach

Detail from Gianni Versace's Mansion, Miami Be...

Image via Wikipedia

Versace logo

.

The Versace Mansion in South Beach Arched entrance of the Versace Mansion

This incredible Mediterranean Rivival stucture is located at Ocean Drive and 11th Street.

The notable  eclectic architecture includes the dome of the private observatory, arched windows and metal ironwork.

It was originally built in 1930 as a getaway for a wealthy oil executive by architect, philanthropist, author and political reformer Alden Freeman. This Mediterranean Revival house was “constructed partially of coral and featured exposed timbers.” The three-story palace was modeled after the  Governor’s House in Santo Domingo; as “an homage to the oldest existing house in the western hemisphere, the “Alcazar de Colon” in Santo Domingo.”

Versace Mansion in South BeachBeautiful Urn in the Courtyard

Upper Level of the Versace Mansion

In 1937, after Freeman’s death, Casa Casuarina was bought by Jacques Amsterdam, who renamed it “The Amsterdam Palace.” He operated the structure as an apartment building and most of the residents were artists.

Fresco in the courtyard

Dome of the Versace Mansion

Versace Mansion Fountain in the Courtyard of the Versace Mansion

Intricate Flooring in the Versace Courtyard

Europe Statue in the Courtyard Africa Statue

Asia Statue

America Statue

I love the statues in the courtyard that represent the continents. Each sculpture has the names of famous people from each region engraved on the face of the statue.

Gianni Versace

Gianni Versace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a video of the Versace Spring 2012 Collection: http://www.versace.com/en/women-fashion-and-accessories/ss-2012/fashion-show-video

Today, the former home of Gianni Versace on South Beach, is a swanky hotel and restaurant called The Villa By Barton G. Barton G. Weiss is a famous restaurateur who took over the mansion in December 2009.

Menu at the Villa

This elegant boutique luxury hotel also has a restaurant and space for events. There are 10 unique luxury suites that range from 500 to 3,500 square feet at this incredible oasis in the heart of South Beach. You can relax on the Rooftop Lounge, get a poolside spa treatments or request your own personal British-trained butler.

Check it out here: http://www.lhw.com/Hotel/The-Villa-By-Barton-G-Miami-FL

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Bronze Statue in Foyer

This property is a member of “The Leading Small Hotels of the World”

The Villa by Barton G. is located @ 1116 Ocean Drive Miami Beach, Florida (800) 258-7503

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South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2015: Events are Selling Out Fast!

Culinary Students from FIU’s Chaplin mSchool of Hospitality and Tourism ManagementSumptuous Cuisine at Best of the Best SOBE 2012Celebrity Chefs at SOBE 2012

English: Food Network star Guy Fieri introduce...

English: Food Network star Guy Fieri introduces the teams for the Iron Chef BBQ Competition at the Tiki Bar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Calling all foodies and wine enthusiasts. It’s time to uncork and decant your favorite wine and hide your scale so you can indulge in four days of sumptuous cuisine at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2015!

Here’s a link to all of the events: http://www.sobefest.com/events.php?cat_id=All

Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is pleased to announce its upcoming program of events.

WHEN:  The 14th annual Festival, taking place February 19-22, 2015, consists of more than 75 events during the four-day, star-studded gourmet gathering, featuring new parties and talent alongside a noticeable refresh of the Festival’s most signature tastings.  As it has since its inception, the Festival benefits the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management’s Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory and Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at Florida International University.

“This is surely a year that our loyal fans will do a double-take at the program and new attendees will find plenty of events to choose from,” predicts Festival Founder & Director Lee Brian Schrager, who also serves as Vice President of Corporate Communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.  “We have made significant changes to upgrade the experience at our signature Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village and are taking our beloved event, The Q, to the next level by partnering with Meatopia.”

The Festival kicks off on Thursday, February 19 with Ronzoni Pasta’s 100th Anniversary Seaside Spaghetti Soirée sponsored by MIAMI magazine hosted by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, a celebration of pasta and all forms of Italian-American cuisine under the Festival’s signature white tents in the sand behind South Beach’s iconic Delano.  These same sparkling white sands will be the foundation for the brand new version of the Festival’s treasured celebration of all things grilled, braised and barbecued as Meatopia: The Q Revolution presented by Creekstone Farms hosted by Guy Fieri curated by Josh Ozersky on Saturday, February 21.

The Festival is taking significant strides in 2015 to upgrade its landmark Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations.  While enjoying samplings from a seemingly endless variety of restaurants and wine and spirits brands from the Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida portfolio, attendees will notice key advancements to the beachside venue which spans from 10th Street to 13th Street off Ocean Drive.  Changes include more seating and shaded areas, live music and DJs, select ‘park and ride’ offerings (at no additional cost), and the introduction of chef Culinary Captains who will represent cohorts of chefs from various neighborhoods throughout South Florida.

New events taking place throughout the 2015 Festival include:

  • Poolside Paella Party hosted by José Andrés
  • Tacos After Dark hosted by Aarón Sánchez
  • Empanada & Wine Happy Hour
  • A rooftop ice cream and chocolate party with Candace Nelson of the Beverly Hills based Sprinkles Cupcakes, who is known for catching the taste buds of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey
  • Tribute to the resurgence of tiki culture mixology during a late-night, poolside bartender competition hosted by Emeril Lagasse
  • A late-night spiced up soirée centered around Caribbean-jerk hosted by cookbook author, chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay
  • Dessert done South Beach-style by modern day Willy Wonka and Cronut™ inventor Dominique Ansel
  • Plus an unprecedented series of intimate and unique dinner experiences featuring world-renowned culinary talent!

Fan favorite events such as the Amstel Light Burger Bash presented by Schweid & Sons hosted by Rachael Ray, Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best sponsored by Bank of America & Merrill Lynch, Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Goya Kidz Kitchen, YogArt presents Buddhas and Bellinis, Bank of America Lifestyle Seminars, Wine Spectator Wine Seminars, Goya Foods’ Swine & Wine hosted by Marc Forgione, and more will return, sure to satiate every type of budget and palate.

Loews Miami Beach, the Festival’s host hotel, will again host the annual Tribute Dinner sponsored by Bank of America; part of The New York Times Dinner Series. The 2015 Festival will honor Chef Juan Mari Arzak, the acclaimed pioneer of Basque cuisine, and Ted Baseler, president and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

Stay up-to-date with the excitement by following the Festival at www.Facebook.com/SOBEWFF or follow Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager at www.twitter.com/Lee_Schrager.

About the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE

All proceeds from the Festival benefit the students of the Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management who also assist Festival organizers with sponsorship fulfillment, restaurant and exhibitor recruitment, logistics, and inventory as well as working alongside some of the world’s greatest celebrity chefs and winemakers.  To date, the Festival has raised more than $20 million for the School.  In October 2013, BizBash named the Festival the #1 Food & Restaurant Industry event in the United States.

The Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is produced by Florida International University and Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida with the support of the Miami Beach Visitors & Convention Authority and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information about the Festival, visit www.sobefest.com or call 877-762-3933. For more information about Florida International University visit www.fiu.edu, for the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management visit www.hospitality.fiu.edu and for more information about Southern Wine & Spirits visit www.southernwine.com.

 

Here’s a list of the hotels:

 

Albion Hotel

1650 James Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Deluxe Petite Room $239.00
Deluxe King $287.00
Deluxe Queen/Queen $299.00

Dream Hotel

1111 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Deluxe Rooms $249.00 – $339.00

Catalina

1732 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Living Large Room $295.00

Delano

1685 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Deluxe $529.00
Alcove $649.00
Ocean Front KG $709

Fontainebleau

4441 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL 33140

Oceanview $499.00
Deluxe Balcony $529.00
Sorrento One Bedroom Suite $899.00

Gale Hotel

1690 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL 33140

Signature Rooms $329.00
Kaskades Suites $525.00  Double/Double $365.00

James Hotel

1545 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL 33139

Run of House $439.00
Deluxe Double $599.00
2 Bedroom Apartment $859.00

Kimpton Surfcomber

1717 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Run of House $389.00

Loews Miami Beach Hotel

1601 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Run of House $479.00
Luxury $499.00

The National Hotel

1677 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Art Deco Room $379.00
Ocean View Room $429.00
Pool Side King of Queen $579.00

The Ritz-Carlton South Beach

One Lincoln Road
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Interior Room Views $559.00
Partial Ocean View Rooms $669.00
Lanai Pool View Rooms with Balcony $669.00

Thompson Hotel

4041 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Deluxe $359.00

Riviera South Beach

2000 Liberty Avenue
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Balcony Room $325.00

Shore Club

1901 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Run of House King $349.00
Double Double $399.00

W South Beach

2201 Collins Ave
Miami Beach FL, 33139

Wonderful King $589.00
Oasis Suite $809.00

Reservations: In order to receive these special festival rates please contact Carol Press at 786.206.2717 (Please do not call hotels directly).

Guidelines: All rooms and rates available on a first come, first serve basis. Rates do not include taxes, gratuity, parking, porterage, or incidentals. 3-night minimum on some reservations. Rates based on single or double occupancy. A valid credit card number and expiration date must be provided for every booking.

 

TICKETS: www.sobefest.com

Raise Your Glass to the Philanthropic Celebrity Chefs and Sponsors at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival for generating over $17 million for FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism management. The Food Network, Southern Wine & Spirtis of Florida and FOOD & WINE Magazine presented a series of culinary events led by world-renown chefs and world-class spirits and wine companies at the annual Foodie Event of the Year.

Florida International University - School of H...

Florida International University – School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Center in Tianjin, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Celebrity Chefs at SOBE 2012

Wine and Swine Event at SOBE 2012

Hundreds of food and wine festivals are held in the U.S. each year. Some  are decades-old events and others are new kids on the block.

A typical food and wine festival  feature tastings, pairings, demonstrations and “dine-arounds” held at local restaurants. Some even have cookbook signings by celebrity chefs.

These events are generally about philanthrophy. In South Beach, sponsors collaborated with Celebrity Chefs, culinary students and over 11,000 team members raise money for culinary students. The South Beach Food and Wine Festival 2013 was one of the best food and wine festivals in the country!

Celebrity Chefs at SOBE 2012

The 14th edition of the annual fund-raiser for Florida International University‘s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management worked to generate over $17 milllion since the inception of the Festival eleven years ago. Nearly 1000 students volunteered thousands of hours preparing for this incredible 4-day wine, spirits and culinary extravaganza. The students are preparing to walk in the footsteps of the Celebrity Chefs to become future leaders in these exciting industries.

Emeril Lagasse at SOBE 2012

There were dozens of exciting events including: late-night parties, special dinners, signature food and wine tastings and culinary demonstrations led by Rock Star celebrity chefs. For the full list of events visit www.sobefest.com so you can save the date for next year’s extravaganza!

Bobby Deen at SOBE 2012

Nadia G at SOBE 2012

Rachel Ray at SOBE 2012

 

Wine Auction at Best of the Best Sobe 2012

Best of the Best at the Fontainebleau Miami 2012

 

SOBE Bites 2012

Tasty bites at SOBE 2012

I was sipping plenty of wine from around the world and tasting the unbridled flavors of signature bites from famous restaurants around the country.

Sumptuous Cuisine at Best of the Best SOBE 2012

Grand Tasting Village Entrance at SOBE 2012

Over $17 million has been generated in the past to fund state-of-the-art facilities including: the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center, the Hilton Training Kitchen, a teaching restaurant, dining room and wine cellar and the Angostura Culinary Lecture/Demonstration Classroom. For more information on this extraordinary program visit  www.hospitality.fiu.edu

Follow my blog to learn about Wine and Food Festivals that are held all over the country.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Gina and Pat Neely at SOBE 2012

SOBE 2012

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Buon Natale and Christmas: The Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception in Rome

Colonna dell'Immacolata
Image by asw909 via Flickr

December 8th is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception. In Rome, there is an annual papal procession near the Spanish Steps. The Pope pays hommage to the Virgin Mary with a procession led by the Order of the Knights of Malta to Piazza Mignanelli at the Colonna dell’Immacolata in the southeastern section of the square. The 40 foot ancient column was found in 1777 under a monestery and was erected in this location in 1856 and a statue of Mary was placed at the summit of the column.

Marian Column in front of Santa Maria Maggiori in Rome

Listen to Luciano Pavarotti singing  “Ave Maria” by Schubert  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPvAQxZsgpQ.

At the annual ceremony, the reigning Pope honors Mary at this location. Listen to what Pope Benedict XVI said: http://bit.ly/fdDphS.  After the prayers, the choir sings and one lucky Roman fireman gets to place a wreath of  flowers at the top of the column on the Statue of Mary usually on her extended arm. This is a great opportunity to see the Pope in Rome.  The Holy Father blesses a basket of roses that are placed at the base of the column. The Mayor of Romeand other civic department heads follow suit.

The Immaculate Conception

Image via Wikipedia

There is an evening concert at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli on Capitoline Hill. December 8th is a Holy Day of Obligation and a national holiday in Italy. There are celebrations throughout Italy and churches hold special masses to honor Mary. Look for bagpipes throughout Italy today as the Zampognari play “Quando Nascette Ninno” (When the Child was Born).

Visit the renovated frescoes at the “Immaculate Conception Room” at the Vatican Museums painted by Francesco Podesti. The frescoes are an artistic representation of the Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception declared by Pope Pius IX.

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Krampus and Other Holiday Events in Trentino-Alto Adige

Larix decidua forest, Dolomites, San Genesio A...
Image via Wikipedia

This mountainous region of northeastern Italy is characterized by the unparalleled beauty of majestic mountains and lovely scenic lakes. It is divided by the Adige River.  Trentino is Italian-speaking and Alto-Adige, the German-speaking area is known as the South Tyrol. Alto-Adige was part of Austria until after World War I. Cortina is home to many fashion juggernauts including Bulgari, Gucci, Benneton and Geox. Trentino is the home of Cavit’s wine empire.

English: Maria Himmelfahrt, Bolzano. Deutsch: ...

English: Maria Himmelfahrt, Bolzano. Deutsch: Dom Maria Himmelfahrt, Bozen. Italiano: Duomo di Bolzano. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 1960’s Provincial Road #14 was transformed into the Winestrasse (Wine Trail).  The South Tyrol Wine Road in Alto Adige runs along the right bank of the Adige River between Salorno and Bolzano. It is one of the most scenic roads in Italy. Pristine vineyards carpet lush Alpine valleys. Stop at the wineries for a “Vino con Vista.” This region produces grappa.

Bressanone

Bressanone (Photo credit: davideoneclick)

In 2009, UNESCO added the snow-clad Dolomites on the east side of the Province to Italy’s World Heritage List. This area has frequent landslides, floods and avalanches and UNESCO hoped to secure more rigourous defense and preservation of this area. The Dolomites are Italy’s most distinctive mountains and were formed 200 million years ago from the Primeval ocean. Their majestic mineralized coral forms magical spires, pinnacles and rock walls. The mountains include 18 majestic peaks with interesting rock formations that are perfect for skiing. The “Cinque Torri” rock formations include five towers that soar to heights of 7,762 feet.

 

Comprensorios del Tirol del Sur (Italia).

Comprensorios del Tirol del Sur (Italia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holiday Events  with Germanic traditions and Italian flavors 

During the Christmas period the towns of Bolzano, Merano, Bressanone, Vipiteno, and Brunjco offer Holiday markets. The Christmas tree (Christbaum) and the Nativity scenes are common themes in this region. There are ancient nativity rituals in Bressanone and the Gries Abbey during Advent.

In Passo dell Stelvio, the first Saturday in December celebrates “Festa dei Klosen” dedicated to Santa Claus. Locals dressed in costumes wander the streets until the Church bells ring and everyone unites in prayer

In the historic center of Arco attend “Festa d’Immacolota” on December 7th for fireworks from the castle and a Christmas market with local delicacies like apple brule, cheeses and honey until December 23rd in the historic center of town.

In Bolzano attend “Christkindlmarkt” in Piazza Walter until December 23 with delicious Germanic sweets like “zelten,” a sweet from Bolzano, based on dried figs, almonds, and candied fruit. Local tradition  provides crowns made of fir branches interwoven with ribbons and four candles. In Bolzano, they light one candle each Sunday for the four weeks of Advent.

Vintage Christmas Krampus Postcard with St. Ni...

Vintage Christmas Krampus Postcard with St. Nicholas in window (Photo credit: riptheskull)

On December 5th Bolzano celebrates the arrival of Saint Nikolaus, protector of children. During this traditional celebration, Nikolaus  is accompanied by angels and he is bearing gifts for good children. The festivities juxtapose this symbol of Good  flanked by Evil, personified by “Krampus.”  Krampus is a two-horned furry demon.  In Brunico, 150 of these “Krampus” demons parade, armed with chains and whips.

In Bressanone visit the “Il Presepe” exhibit at the Episcopal Palace until January 6th and the “Weihnachtsmarkt” Alpine Christmas Market until January 8th at the Piazza Duomo. Vin brule is distributed after the concerts and mass at the cathedral.

The 18th Annual Merano Christmas Market where most of the historic center is transformed into an outdoor market until January 7th.

Tastes of Valsugana in Levico in Parco della Terme until January 6th with Hapsburg-style horse drawn carriage rides.

In Trento attend the Christmas Market until December 23 in Piazza Fiera

In Cavalese attend the “Trial of the Witches” the first week of January.

In Cortina d’Ampezzo on Christmas Eve there is a torchlight parade of skiiers. There will also be a “EuroChocolate Ski” Event in this upscale Dolomite ski resort between December 16th and 19th.

Order a book and Buon Natale basket for your favorite Italophiles at www.vino-con-vista.info. To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista Travel Guides.

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Holiday Traditions and Celebrations in Rome

Krippe1
Image via Wikipedia

Italians embrace the holiday season with many seasonal market, events and festivals. There are many religious holidays between December and January.  The festivities generally begin on December 6th with “La Festa di San Nicola” to honor St. Nicholas, the patron Saint of the Sheperds and end on January 6 with “La Festa dell’ Epifania” ( The Epiphany).  After Emperor Constantine adopted Christianity, instead of ending the holiday at the New Year, it was extended to the Epiphany. The Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men gave gifts to Baby Jesus. December 8th is the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, a national holiday. Rome celebrates with floral wreaths and a ceremony at the Spanish Steps by the Pope.

Get a “Vino con Vista” tour of Rome while you listen to Dean Martin singing “Arrevederci Roma” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlqTwYGCW8A

English: Nativity scene

English: Nativity scene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The primary symbol of the Christmas season is the “presepio”, the nativity scene.  They depict the birth of Christ. It is believed that in the 13th century, St. Francis, a modest monk, created the first replica of the scene by portraying the child born in Bethlehem. He placed an ox and a donkey next to a manger near the hermitage he built in Greccio, near the town of Assisi.

By the 18th century, the patronage of King Charles elevated the status of  “Il Precepio” to stratosperic levels. During the reign of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, famous artists like Giuesspe Sanmartino were even commissioned to create the figures. Most of the prized figures made of terra cotta and wood are produced in the workshops of Naples on Via Gregorio Armeno.

Today, elaborate scenes are set up in churches throughout Italy. In some towns, living nativity scenes are usually staged when costumed participants wander through the streets.The first Christmas mass was conducted at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and the earliest known permanent Nativity Scene was created for the Rome Jubilee of 1300.

Vatican City erects a huge presepe in St. Peter’s Square for Christmas and is usually unveiled on Christmas Eve. A Christmas Eve mass is held in St. Peter’s square, usually at 10 pm.

In Rome, some of the biggest and most elaborate presepi are erected in Piazza del Poplo with 100 presepi on display from November 26th to January 6th www.presepi.it. Piazza Euclide, Santa Maria in Trastevere and Santa Maria D’Aracoeli on Capitoline Hill also host elaborate displays. A life-sized nativity scene is set up in Piazza Navona with a large Christmas Market from November 26th to January 6th with a Mercato della Bufana. The Church of Saints Cosma e Damiano has a large nativity scene from Naples on display all year long. It is located by the main entrance of the Roman Forum. Il Museo Tipologico is under the Church of Saints Quirico e Giulitta and has over 3000 figurines from all over the world. It is open each afternoon between December 24th to January 6th.

English: The three wise men, Santa Maria in Tr...

English: The three wise men, Santa Maria in Trastevere, in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gifts are exchanged on the day of the Epiphany. Children hang up their stockings on the evening of January 5th awaiting a visit from “La Befana” a legendary old woman who flys around on a broom bearing gifts. According to legend, the Three Wise Men asked La Befana for directions to Bethlehem but she declined. It took an unusually bright light and a band of angels to convince La Befana that she must join the Wise Men, but she was too late. She never found the Christ child and has been looking for him ever since. So on the January 5th, she goes out on her broom delivering treats to the sleeping children of Italy. The Santa figure in Italy is called “Babbo Natale”, Father Christmas. Charlemagne’s coronation took place in Rome on Christmas day in 800 AD.

Tropenmuseum Amsterdam Crucifix with a christm...

Tropenmuseum Amsterdam Crucifix with a christmas scene, Peru, c. 1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vatican Christmas Tree

Vatican Christmas Tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A trip to the Vatican City for Christmas is very exciting. The Vatican City erects a huge presepi in St. Peter’s Square and it is usually unveiled on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, the Pope celebrates midnight mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. On Christmas day in St. Peter’s Square at noon the Pope gives his blessing from the window of his apartment overlooking the Square to the crowds gathered at the Vatican. On December 8th, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, the Pope leads a procession to honor the Virgin Mary near the Spanish Steps.

Stay in Rome for the New Year Parade on January 1st and the Epiphany tradition when hundreds of people in medieval costumes walk along the wide avenue leading up to the Vatican, carrying symbollic gifts for the Pope. The Pope says a morning mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to commemorate the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for Jesus.

In Rome, the traditional dish of Christmas Eve is “Capitone”, a big female eel that is roasted, baked or fried. Common Italian Christmas sweets are Panettone (a cake filled with candied fruit), torrone (nougat), and panforte (gingerbread).

Christmas in Italy includes Nativity Scenes and other Christmas Celebrations.

Happy Holidays from Vino con Vista

Buon Natale and Happy Holidays from www.vino-con-vista.com

Nativity scene on the 2001 Christkindlmarket i...

Nativity scene on the 2001 Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Holiday Events in Genoa Italy

Genova, Via Garibaldi Palazzo Rosso
Image via Wikipedia

In northwestern Italy, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the 16th and 17th century “New Streets” of Genoa can be found in the historic city center. Le Strada Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli became an inscribed UNESCO site in 2006. The elaborate Renaissance and Baroque palaces are located on Via Balbi and Via Garibaldi and present an excellent “Buon Natale” holiday experience.

The area around the Cathedral of San Lorenzo is medieval, but the 12th century Duomo is Romanesque. Genoa is Italy’s most important commercial port.  The “Lanterna” lighthouse is a vestige of Genoa’s medieval glory.  Genoa has the largest aquarium in Europe located in Porto Antico www.portoantico.it. Porto Antico also has a Childrens’ Museum with a lovely waterfront Promenade and shops. The restaurants offer outstanding “Vino con Vista” oppotunities.

According to legend, this may have been the childhood home of Christopher Columbus whose memory permeates the town. Genoa’s historically impressive “urban development projects represent plans by the public authority to parcel out a system of lodging based upon legislation.” UNESCO

On Via Garibaldi, Genoa’s most beautiful street, the 16th century Palazzo Bianco houses an outstanding collection of Ligurian art from 1400 to 1700 including works by Luca Cambiaso, Bernardo Strozzi and Giovanni Benedetto.  At the Palazzo Bianco, one of my favorite Caravaggio’s paintings “Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man of Sorrows) can be viewed; as well as frescoes by de Ferrari and Domenico Piola. The Gallery of Palazzo Rosso has a fine collection of furniture, ceramics and Chinese pottery. The Museum of Oriental Art houses treasures brought to Genoa by her famous navigators.

Genova, Via Garibaldi Palazzo Carrega Cataldi ...

Genova, Via Garibaldi Palazzo Carrega Cataldi – interno (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The “Rolli” palaces were patrician residences built by the wealthiest and most powerful aristocratic families of the Republic of Genoa.  These dwellings were built at the height of Genoa’s seafaring prowess.  Palaces are generally three to four stories high and feature spectacular staircases, courtyards, and loggias overlooking gardens.  The owners of these palazzi were obligated to host official visits of State as decreed by the Senate in 1576.  These formal visits contributed to the dissemination of their architectural model, which attracted famous artists like Peter Paul Rubens.

Italiano: Genova, Via Garibaldi; Palazzo Podes...

Image via Wikipedia

Holiday Events in Genoa:

Christmas Market “Mercatino di Natale di Porto Siberia” at Porto Antico until January 9th

18th Century Navity Scene in Palazzo Rosso Museum until February 6th

St. Nicholas Market in Piazza Picca Pietra where vendors will be dressed in Medieval costumes December 5-23

“Natalidea” Festival at the Fiera di Genoa from December 7-19

“Pontedecimo Nativity” wIth outdoor Christmas stalls and Nativity Scenes at the Villa Serra di Comago on VIa Carlo Levi in Genoa Pontedecimo

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.comTravel Guides.

Genova, Via Garibaldi Palazzo Podestà

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Feast of Saint Ambrose and Holiday Events in Milan Italy

Skull of Saint Ambrose, archbishop of Milan, i...
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Milan was founded by the Gauls in the early 4th century B.C. and grew rapidly following the Roman conquest in 222 B.C.  By 1277, Archbishop Otto Visconti imposed hegemony over the city and 130 years of Visconti rule ensued. Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402) was a generous patron of the arts and initiated the construction of the magnificent Gothic Duomo made of white marble with 135 spires www.duomomilano.it.

December 7th is the Feast Day of Saint Ambrose, the Patron Saint of Milan. He was born in 339 and consecrated as the Bishop of Milan on December 7, 374. He served as the Bishop until his death in 397. This eloquent bishop was instrumental in spreading

Crypt of bishop Ambrose and two marthyrs, Sain...

Crypt of bishop Ambrose and two marthyrs, Saints Gervase and Protase. Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, Milan. (bodies aren’t totally sharp because they are behind a bad quality sheet glass) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christianity and you can visit his mortal remains in the crypt of the Basilica of Sant’Ambroglio.

Drawing based on a statue of St. Ambrose

Drawing based on a statue of St. Ambrose (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He is also the Patron Saint of Bologna. St. Ambrose is one of my favorites because he is the Patron Saint of learning and students., The “Honey-Tongued Doctor” is portrayed with a beehive and bees in his iconography which symbolizes wisdom. He is also the patron saint of  candle-makers and bee keepers.

The “Fiera di Sant’Ambroglio” is the city’s antique fair and takes place in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio from December 7-22. This event coincides with “The Fiera degli Oh Bej-Oh Bej.”  This is a traditional annual outdoor street market held in Milan to honor Saint Ambrose from December 5th to the 8th. For 400 years it was held in front of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, built by Ambrose between 379-386 which is one of the oldest churches in Milan.

Benefattori dell'Ospedale: i Duchi della Milan...

Benefattori dell’Ospedale: i Duchi della Milano quattrocentesca (Francesco Sforza e Bianca Maria Visconti) nell’atto di donare al Papa (Pio II Piccolomini) il bozzetto dell’erigenda Ca’ Granda (Photo credit: renagrisa)

This year the Festival will be held in The Square in front of Castello Sforzesco on Via Dante. Francesco Sforza, husband of Bianca Maria Visconti, became lord of the city in 1450. He ruled from the imposing Castello Sforzesco fortress until 1535. Today, the castle serves as a museum. Francesco Sforza built the present castle where the Visconti castle originally stood. The palace contains several art museums. The Torre del Carmine serves to enclose the fortress of the Visconti family. Michelangelo’s famous “Rondanini Pieta” (1564) can be admired in the Castello Sforzesco.

Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco (Photo credit: viiruone)

Mangia and have a “Vino con Vista” at the festival where you buy interesting gifts from over 400 stalls and can enjoy a porchetta sandwich, cioccolato con panna montala (hot chocolate) and some “Vino Brule” (mulled wine).

Here’s a recipe for Vino Brule

A bottle of red wine

1/3 cup sugar

3 cloves

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 stick of cinnamon

1 lemon peel

Stir wine over medium heat. Add sugar to dissolve. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Salute!!

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, by night

The Teatro alla Scala in Milan, by night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 7th is the official opening of the Opera Season in Milan at Teatro alla Scala which opened in 1778. Visit the Museo Teatrale that features vintage opera posters and a remarkable array of opera costumes. For tickets visit:  www.teatroallascala.org

Attend the Epiphany Parade of the Three Kings from the Duomo to the Church of Sant’Eustorgio on January 6th.

Milano castello sforzesco natale

Milano castello sforzesco natale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milan has an interesting wine bar called La Cantina di Manuela on via Cadore with outdoor tables for people-watching or a nightcap. Try a Rosso della Costa Collina del Milanese or Bianco dell Costa Collina dell Milanese with some Castel Magno cheese. The Lombardy region’s specialty wine is fizzy Franciacorta. Most of the wineries in Lombardy are outside the heavily industrialized city limits in towns located between the Alps and the Apennines including Bergamo, Sondrio, Brescia, Pavia and Mantua.

Milan Duomo

Image by underflowR via Flickr

Bloomingdale’s Christmas Tree

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Buon Natale and Christmas: Interesting Holiday Events in Florence Italy

Piazza Santa Croce
Image via Wikipedia

Florence is the world’s celebrated jewel of Renaissance art and architecture. It is famous for perfect voluptuous domes and  intimate restaurants with perfect steaks and wine. The Uffizi is the perfect art museum and and the Palazzo Pitti has the perfect Royal apartments. The Accademia has the perfect sculptures and the Baptistry has the perfect doors. Even the tombs are perfect at Santa Croce. The leather is perfect, the silk is perfect and the perfume made at Santa Maria Novella is perfect.

Accademia - DSC 1177 ep

Accademia – DSC 1177 ep (Photo credit: Eric.Parker)

Via Tornabuoni is a perfect street  for shopping with  designer powerhouses like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Enrico Coveri, Roberto Cavalli and Emilio Pucci willing to sell you holiday goodies. Even the Piazzas are perfect! Florence is the perfect UNESCO site with many perfect “Vino con Vista” opportunities.

English: Loggia dei Lanzi

English: Loggia dei Lanzi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florence rose to economic and cultural pre-eminence under the mighty Medici dynasty in the 15th and 16th centuries. The churches, galleries and palaces contain the world’s largest concentration of Renaissance art and sculpture.

loggia dei lanzi florence

loggia dei lanzi florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Perseus holding the head of Medusa, b...

English: Perseus holding the head of Medusa, by Benvenuto Cellini, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence; Italie Français : Persée tenant la tête de Méduse, par Benvenuto Cellini, Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palais Pitti, Florence

Palais Pitti, Florence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city was built on the site of an Etruscan settlement, and has 600 years of extraordinary artistic activity. It is an incredibly compact city for walking.  Walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo at sunset for a perfect glimmering moonlit cityscape.  Marvel at Florence’s panoramic glory as the cloak of darkness descends over her dimly lit splendor.

"The Rape of Polyxena", sculpture by...

“The Rape of Polyxena”, sculpture by Pio Fedi (1816-1892), in 1866 : Loggia dei Lanzi, Florence, Italy. Photo by Thermos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Natural and man-made disasters have threatened the city’s wealth of art history and perfection.  In 1966, the Arno River’s devastating flood destroyed or severely damaged Florentine treasures.  In 1993, a mafia bomb exploded near the Uffizi and severely damaged the gallery. The Ponte Vecchio was the only bridge to escape Nazi bombs.

Loggia dei Lanzi.

Loggia dei Lanzi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her glorious past is evident in the monumental grandeur and perfection of her structures:  the 13th-century cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore, the Church of Santa Croce, the Uffizi, Santa Maria Novella, the Galleria dell’Accademia, the Bargello and the Pitti Palace.  Works of art history grace every public building. Landmark cloisters, chapels and refectories are galleries of perfect Renaissance art.

The façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed b...

The façade of Santa Maria Novella, completed by Leon Battista Alberti in 1470. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Loggia dei Lanzi

The Loggia dei Lanzi (Photo credit: **Mary**)

Stroll the Via dei Calzaiuoli, between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Signoria and imagine the creative genius that flourished in this city; evidenced by the works in the Loggia dei Lanzi. The Loggia was originally designed to shelter dignitaries watching civic ceremonies.

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, i...

The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna, in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This elegant, compact city, is bounded on the southern side by the glistening Arno River.  Distinctive works of great masters such as Giotto, Brunelleschi, Botticelli and Michelangelo adorn every nook and cranny of this perfectly majestic city. Visit Florence during the holidays for the perfect vacation.

Perfect Holiday Events in Florence:

German Christmas Market in Piazza Santa Croce from December 1- 19

“Florence Noel” at the Stazione Leopoldo from December 4-12

“Fierucola di Natale”  in Piazza Santo Spirito on December 19th

Christmas Party in Gambassi Terme on December 4-5

Annual “Sagra Antichi Sapori di Toscana” at Lastra a Signa December 3-8

“Sagra del Tartufo e Antichi Sapori del Mugello” in Borgo San Lorenzo December 8-12

Happy Holidays from Vino con Vista

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