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Travel to Tuscany’s Vino con Vista Wine Regions in Italy

The gallo nero seal of the Consorzio Chianti C...

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Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in ...

Sangiovese vines of Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chianti sub-zone

Chianti sub-zone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A bottle of the Italian wine Chianti Classico ...

A bottle of the Italian wine Chianti Classico made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A close-up view of sangiovese grapes ...

English: A close-up view of sangiovese grapes to be made into Chianti at the Colle Lungo vineyard in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuscany is Italy’s quintessential wine region and the birthplace of three important red wines: Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. These wines are made from Sangiovese grapes but have distinctively different flavors in Tuscany’s diverse microclimates.

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of...

Vineyard growing in the Italian wine region of Tuscany, home of the Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine. The photo also demonstrates the viticultural technique of clear (or bare) cultivation that leaves bare soil between the vines and rows with no cover crops. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chianti is produced in seven subzones in Tuscany. The Chianti Classico zone has DOCG status. The other six Chianti subzones are: Chianti Rufina, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Aretini, Colli Senesi, Colline Pisane and Chianti Montalbano. The “Chiantigiana” is the scenic road that twists and turns through the Chianti zones between Florence and Siena.

Brunello is Tuscany’s rarest and most expensive wine. It is produced in the walled medieval village of Montalcino, south of the Chianti Classico zone. The climate is warmer and the hills are steeper. The wine is aged longer and it must be aged in oak barrels.

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 I...

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 Italian wine from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has been made in the town of Montepulciano since Etruscan times. This wine is made from prugnolo grapes a sangiovese clone and was granted DOCG status in 1980.

Here’s Wine Spectator’s detailed overview map of Tuscany . The map includes: Chianti, Bolgheri, Brunello di Montalcino, Maremma and the Montepulciano appellations.

Click here to view the map: http://assets.winespectator.com/wso/Maps/Tuscanymap.pdf

On February 27th, 2014 there was an annual award ceremony for the Best of Wine Tourism 2014 winners at Palazzo Capponi in Florence.

The winners were:

Castello di Gabbiano, San Felice winery, Enotria, Castello di Poppiano, Castello La Leccia, Tenuta di Poggio Casciano from Ruffino, Panzanello winery and Col d’Orcia.

“The stretch of coastline from Livorno to Piombino is known as the Etruscan Coast, the area chosen by the ancient Etruscan people to exploit the huge mining and agricultural resources.  Medieval jewels like the towns of Casale Marittimo and Bolgheri, famous for its Viale dei Cipressi (Cypresses), which gained everlasting fame thanks to the poem “Davanti a San Guido” by Giosuè Carducci, as well as Castagneto Carducci, dominated by the castle of the Gherardesca counts, and Suvereto, a medieval town with charming architectural harmony.

Visit the Etruscan Coast wine trail where you can meet most local wine producers and visit their cellars and vineyards. Here are some helpful links for this area:

To learn more about Italian food and wine read Vino con Vista Travel guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Filed under Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti Classico, Florence, Italian Food, Italian Food and Wine, Italian Wine, Italy, Italy Travel Guides, Sangiovese, Sienna, Travel and Tourism, Tuscany, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites

World’s Best Gelato and Vernaccia Wine in Vino Con Vista San Gimignano Italy

San Gimignano, Tempera on panel, Museo Civico,...
Image via Wikipedia

San Gimignano delle belle Torri’ is 32 miles southwest of Florence in the Val d’Elsa. It is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy and is considered the Manhattan of Tuscany.

Things to do: Visit the Piazza della Cisterna,  climb the Torre Grossa, visit the Civic Museum. Tour the Romanesque Collegiata and the Church of Sant’Agostino with a 15th-century fresco cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli, head over to the torture museum for some cool selfies.

Here’s a good link: San Gimignano 1 day itinerary

The town experienced a period of economic wealth and flourished artistically in the mid-1300s from merchants and pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena.

The majestic skyline of noble Medieval towers are enclosed in a 13th century wall that was built for defensive purposes. The towers were built as a symbol of status and wealth by s wealthy families. The family with the highest tower, attempted to exhibit the most power.

“According to official decree, no other tower in San Gimignano could surpass that of La Rognosa.” In the year 1300, 70 towers symbolized the 70 wealthy families inhabiting San Gimignano; today, only 13 towers are left from the original 72. The Torre Grossa is still open to the public. Even though only 13 of the original towers have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance.
It is the Tuscany,  UNESCO 1990, proclaimed: “this masterpiece of creative human genius, it is unique testimony to a past civilization, and as an exceptional exemplar of both architectonic complex and landscape, demonstrates significant passages in human history.”

The town has several masterpieces of 14th and 15th century Italian art. known artists from the Sienese school traveled to San Gimignano to paint: Simone Martini, Lippo Memmi and Puccio Taddeo di Bartolo.

Visit the Romanesque Basilica of the Assumption of Mary. Visit the splendid Chapel of Santa Fina with frescoes by Domenico del Ghirlandaio that depict episodes from her life: “The Annunciation” and “Death of Saint Fina” were painted in 1478 in The Chapel of Santa Fina at the Romanesque Collegiata cathedral.  In the cathedral there are also notable frescos by Bartolo di Fredi and Benozzo Gozzoli. Taddeo di Bartolo’s frescoes including the “Last Judgement” (1393-1396) are amazing.

Saffron and chilled Vernaccia are abundant in San Gimignano. Vernaccia is one of Italy’s finest whites and is often served with fish. It was even the first Italian wine to bear the title Controlled Designation of Origin (D.O.C.) in 1966. The vineyards can be seen along the road from Poggibonsi to San Gimignano. Check out the Museo del Vino della Vernaccia, in the Villa della Rocca di Montestaffoli.
The grape harvest takes place from late September to early October. Vernaccia Normale can be bottled in March, while the Riserva must be aged in the wine cellars for one year.

Climb 175 feet to the top of Museo Civico’s forbidding fortress completed in 1311. Climb to the top of the tower through the museum entrance for a panoramic view. After your climb to the top of the tower,  you have definitely earned the “World’s Best Gelato” at Pluripremiata in the square by the cistern, Piazza della Cisterna. I tried a few of the flavors and loved them all!

To learn more about Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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Filed under ebooks, Florence, Italy, San Gimignano, Tuscany, UNESCO, vino con vista, World Heritage Sites

Top Ten Reasons to Travel to Vino con Vista Italy

Pic taken outside Corropoli, Abruzzo, Italy.
Image via Wikipedia
Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy.

Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Vernazza is i...

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Vernazza is in the cinque terre region. Français : Le village de Vernazza, dans les cinque terre, en Ligurie (Italie). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Ap...

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Apse, Pisa, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Detail of the façade (facade) of the ...

English: Detail of the façade (facade) of the Duomo Santa Maria Cathedral in Pisa (Italy). Nederlands: Detail van de façade (voorkant) van de Duomo Santa Maria Kathedraal in Pisa (Italië). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: The Baptistery of the Pisa Cathedral,...

English: The Baptistery of the Pisa Cathedral, Italy (at night). Français : Vue nocturne du baptistère de la cathédrale de Pise, en Italie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View of the Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo) and Bell...

View of the Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo) and Bell Tower (Campanile) from the southwest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy is one of the world’s most alluring travel destinations. It is brimming with outstanding art, historical buildings and spectacular fountains.

Spanische Treppe in Rom

Spanische Treppe in Rom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are magnificent bridges and churches with sculptures by Bernini and Michelangelo. The Food and Wine is outstanding and there are plenty of enchanting villages for touring and tasting. Italy is a premier wine tourism destination.

English: Rome, the Coloseum, originally known ...

English: Rome, the Coloseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre Italiano: Il Colosseo a Roma, originariamente conosciuto come Anfiteatro Flavio Polski: Rzymskie Koloseum, znane też jako Amfiteatr Flawiuszów (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italiano: Collage di vari immagini di Roma.

Italiano: Collage di vari immagini di Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are the Top Ten Reasons to Travel to Italy:

1. It is the historic and cultural epicenter of the Etruscans, the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pi...

English: Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa), Pisa, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and the Renaissance.

Capo Conca at Conca dei Marini, Almalfi Coast ...

Capo Conca at Conca dei Marini, Almalfi Coast (10/10/2007) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome, the Coloseum, originally known as the Fl...

Rome, the Coloseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre Italiano: Il Colosseo a Roma, originariamente conosciuto come Anfiteatro Flavio Polski: Rzymskie Koloseum, znane też jako Amfiteatr Flawiuszów (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italy  is imbued with superlatives. Italy has more than 47  World Heritage; more sites than any other country in the world. They have sultry fashion and vehicle design, outstanding culinary and entertainment options, spectacular beaches and magnificent art and architecture.

Spagna, Spanish Steps, Spanische Treppe in Rom

Spagna, Spanish Steps, Spanische Treppe in Rom (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari (Photo credit: kenjonbro)

Castel Sant' Angelo, Roma.

Castel Sant’ Angelo, Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the 5 villages known as "Cinque Te...

One of the 5 villages known as “Cinque Terre” in Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enzo Ferrari

Enzo Ferrari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2.  Italy is also a manufacturing juggernaut.  It produces sexy, powerful driving machines.  In 1929, Enzo Ferrari founded the racing team that led to the famous sports car.

English: Autodromo Dino and Enzo Ferrari in Im...

English: Autodromo Dino and Enzo Ferrari in Imola in Italy. Start of an inline-skater competition. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The legendary Ferrari auto company recently  built a new museum in Ferrari’s hometown of Modena.

Tour the museum here: http://www.businessinsider.com/take-a-look-inside-the-ferrari-museum-2012-8?op=1#ixzz24r0pztPS.

Prestigious nameplates like Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati thrill car enthusiasts around the world.

Ferrari 308

Ferrari 308 (Photo credit: dave_7)

orange enzo ferrari

Ilario Bandini and Enzo Ferrari in Forlì in 1964.

Ilario Bandini and Enzo Ferrari in Forlì in 1964. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italian design prowess spills over into the motorcycle industry.  The sleek curves of Ducati, Cagiva, Aprilia and Motoguzzi offer exciting, desirable rides.  Even the country’s Fiats and Vespas are alluring. The cacophony of Italy’s motorcycless can be heard throughout the world.

English: Castel Sant'Angelo/St. Angelo and Pon...

English: Castel Sant’Angelo/St. Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo (Rome) Français : Pont Sant’Angelo, Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mount Etna seen from the town of Taormina.

Mount Etna seen from the town of Taormina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3.  Captivating panoramic vistas of the peninsula’s majestic mountains, volcanoes and glistening seas enhance Italy’s timeless charm.  The fascinating array of sights and travel experiences includes glorious cityscapes overflowing with art and architectural masterpieces in the Vatican City are captivating! Churches and museums are repositories of magnificent art. Saint Peter’s Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums contain the most spectacular art collection in the world. The Uffizi in Florence has more masterpieces per square foot than any other art museum in the world.

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome seen from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo. Location: Rome Taken: September 2004 Source: Wikipedia Commons Photographer: Wolfgang Stuck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The left half of the entire ceiling, after res...

The left half of the entire ceiling, after restoration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sicily 2009

Sicily 2009 (Photo credit: mad_76)

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 I...

Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino 2003 Italian wine from Tuscany made from Sangiovese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

4.  Italy’s historic cities are surrounded by dreamy landscapes coveted and replicated by Renaissance artists.  Rolling hills are carpeted with vineyards and olive and citrus groves.  The micro climates of wine regions from Piedmont to Sicily provide the Italian wine producers with resources and endless opportunities to produce highly-regarded local wines. Sangiovese, Trebbiano,  Barbera and Nebbiolo grapes become estate wines that ultimately stock wine cellars throughout Italy. Italy supplies the world with the finest Barolo, Brunello, Amarone and Chianti wines. There are more than 300 varietals that are cultivated in many locations: by the sea, on the foothills of the magnificent mountains and in the southern-most volcanic islands.

World-wide Italian wine sales in 2011 were 13 billion euros with 700,000 wine estates and 30,000 bottlers. Outstanding wines earn accolades like “Three Glasses” (Tre Bicchieri) from Gamberro Rosso.  In 2012, from over 20,000 wines tasted by Gambero Rosso panels, only 375 labels attained the “Tre Bicchieri” status. By the way, Italy also has outstanding olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Italian Food & Wine

Italian Olive Oil

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia

Montalcino, Toscana, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Logo of the United Nations Educational, Scient...

Logo of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5.  In 1972, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed the World Heritage Convention.  This International Treaty was designed to preserve the world’s greatest cultural and natural sites. Italy has a wide array of the designated World Heritage Sites.  The sites range from archeological ruins to distinctive city centers like Rome, Florence and Venice. Sicily has incredible Greek Theaters and Temples.

Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taormina 05

Taormina 05 (Photo credit: Giovy.it)

6. Italy’s reputation as Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” destination is enhanced by the availability of superb accommodations.  Italians have mastered the art of seaside lounging; many hotels offer rejuvenating spas, rooftop observatories and infinity pools.

English: Plaque to Federico Fellini on the Via...

English: Plaque to Federico Fellini on the Via Veneto, Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historic monasteries and villas have been converted into luxuriously appointed five-star hotel properties that meet the discriminating needs of sophisticated sojourners.

If you go to Rome, stay at the Hotel Majestic Roma on the Via Venato. This is one of my favorite properties. The historic architect Gaetano Koch catered to the luxury crowd and the hotel served as a backdrop for Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”. I love the panoramic views from the balconies of the newly renovated restaurant overlooking the Via Venato.

Interior of the Grand Hotel Minerva in Rome Italy

I love the Grand Hotel Mineva in Rome because everytime you walk out of the front door, you get to see Bernini’s famous elephant in Piazza della Minerva.Bernini

Grand Hotel Minerva in Rome Italy

Another one of my favorites is the Hotel de Russie. The 18th century terraced gardens are close to the Popolo churches and they serve a great de Russie Martini with caviar. Near the Spanish Steps, stay at the Hotel Eden near the Via Condotti. They have a fabulous rooftop restaurant called La Teraza. The Hassler is at the top of the Spanish Steps. The 1885 building was reconstructed in 1938. There are fabulous views of the Pantheon, Aventino Hill and the Borghese Gardens through the 6th floor windows. Have lunch at the Palm Court Garden. I must admit that my favorite Vino con Vista hotel in Italy is Villa Cimbrone in Ravello; perched high above the Amalfi Coast.

View from Ravello, Italy, down into the bay.

View from Ravello, Italy, down into the bay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravello Italy coast

Ravello Italy coast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

7.  Government-supported agritourism is growing exponentially across Italy since its inception in 1985.  Agriturismo allows travelers to stay and dine at working farms.  The government offers tax breaks and incentives to farmers who create rooms for tourists.  There were more than 14,000 agriturismi in Italy in 2007; over 3500 in Tuscany and about 600 in Sardinia.

Door of the Cathedral’s Bell Tower in Alghero Sardinia

8.  The nation’s flourishing culinary culture spawns superb cooking schools and gourmet restaurants.  Many detail-obsessed chefs use fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Notable chefs earn sought after Michelin Stars, as well as Italy’s coveted “Tre Forchette” (Three Forks) Awards.

Pasta vongole in Naples, Italy.

Pasta vongole in Naples, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9.  “Buon Ricordo” is an association of gastronomic entrepreneurs founded in 1964 (www.buonricordo.com). The union of member restaurants promotes regional cuisine with specialty entrees, membership cards and charming ceramic collector plates that celebrate local culinary tradition. There are more than 100 Buon Ricordo Restaurants in Italy. Card-carrying Buon Ricordo members are afforded hotel privileges as well. Outstanding Italian restaurateurs are passionately committed to palate-pleasing regional cuisine and wine. They offer extensive wine lists that provide depth and diversity of labels and vintages.  They frequently retain devoted wine directors and sommeliers. By the way, Italy has the best desserts in the world!

Italian Food & Wine

YUMMY!!

Armani is another example of luxury designer c...

Armani is another example of luxury designer clothing label. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

10.  Italy is a shopping paradise.  Designer fashion luminaries grace Italy’s catwalks.  Socialites and celebrities embrace the designs of Italian purveyors like Gucci, Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Armani, Prada, Valentino and Ferragamo.  Italy’s haute couture and ready-to-wear adorn global fashionistas.

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

Rome

Rome (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

English: Map of Italy and its districts.

English: Map of Italy and its districts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angelo

Angelo (Photo credit: aldoaldoz)

 

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Filed under Italy, Rome, Top Ten Reasons to Travel to Italy, Venice, vino con vista, Wine Tourism

Italy’s Vino con Vista Lake District: Lake Como, Garda or Maggiore in Lombardy

View upon the Lake Maggiore from the baroque g...
Image via Wikipedia

The Lake District of Lombardy is breathtaking!!  It rises from the Alpine heights along the Swiss border. The glacial erosion juxtaposed quaint villages and soaring mountains to create idyllic surroundings. Many wealthy Italians built villas on these lakes that have been converted into luxuriously appointed hotels.

(Italian version) Category:Maps of Lombardy Lo...

(Italian version) Category:Maps of Lombardy Lombardy Lombardy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday I met someone who asked me about having a “Vino con Vista” destination wedding in Italy.  I immediately asked if they had considered the Lake District.  This area is the perfect destination for weddings, honeymoons and sophisticated travel enthusiasts.

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Orta...

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Ortasee, near Stresa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The spectacular scenery has been praised as the closest thing to heaven by authors from the time of Virgil to Ernest Hemmingway. This region resembles the beauty of Seattle, considered one of the most scenic cities in the United States.

Italiano: Un calice di Franciacorta Rosé

Italiano: Un calice di Franciacorta Rosé (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take a cruise along one the beautiful lakes. Have the designated driver navigate, as you sip your red Valtellina Sfurzat or Franciacorta and marvel at the elegant panoramic view. This is an incredible place for a “Vino con Vista!!” The region produces dry reds and sparking white wines. This is a great place to sip a Mimosa or a Bellini.

In Brescia, on the western side of Lake Garda visit the Fratelli Berlucchi winery. Lombardy’s vineyards encompass Valtellina Superiore, Sfurat, Franciacorta and Garda Classico Chiaretto. Winery tours can be arranged at Enoteca del Bardolino in Berlucchi and other local wineries near Brescia.

An excellent find: Ca' del Bosco's Terre di Fr...

An excellent find: Ca’ del Bosco’s Terre di Franciacorta (Photo credit: Sifu Renka)

1. Lake Como is north of Milan and is shaped like a wishbone. The chic towns of Bellagio and Cernobbio are on Lake Como.  Stay at Villa D’Este in Lake Como www.villadeste.com a sister property of Villa La Massa in Tuscany www.villalamassa.com

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy.

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Lake Garda is the largest lake and is located on the eastern edge of Lombardy. Lake Garda is 60 miles east of Milan and is surrounded by four noteworthy cities: Verona to the east, Mantua to the south, Trento is northeast and Brescia to the west. Ferries and hydrofoils transport exuberant tourists around the lakes between Easter and September. Lake Garda is 32 miles long and is arguably the most beautiful Italian Lake in the region. Stay at Grand Hotel Villa Feltinelli in Lake Garda www.villafeltrinelli.com or Hotel du Lac et du Park in Lake Garda www.hoteldulac-riva.it.

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy.

Lake Garda, Brescia, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are gondola races on Lake Garda in the summer on Saturdays thru mid-August.

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Orta...

Mount Mottarone between Lake Maggiore and Ortasee, near Stresa Français : Montagne Mottarone entre le lac majeur et le lac d’Orta près de Stresa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Lake Maggiore is 25 miles north of Milan and stretches into Switzerland. On the western side of Lake Maggiore, visit the town of Stresa where you can board a cable-car to the snow-capped peak of Monte Mottarone to experience spectacular views. When you return from this scenic ride, visit the Borromean islands near Stresa. Isola Bella houses the 17th century Palazzo Borromeo with six grotto rooms that are worth visiting.

Stresa - Air View (Postcard)

Stresa – Air View (Postcard) (Photo credit: roger4336)

Take a boat ride from Stresa to visit 50 acres of Botanical Gardens at Villa Taranto near Pallanza. Stay at Grand Hotel Majestic in Lake Maggiori in Verbania www.slh.com/majestic for beautiful views of the lake, mountains and the Borromini Islands or consider Hotel Villa Aminta in Lake Maggiori or Regina Palace in Lake Maggiori www.regina-palace.it

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, View...

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, View of the park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Overlooking the Lake Maggiore, you can find the Sacred Mountain of Ghiffa. This is a Roman Catholic devotional complex in the comune of Ghiffa in Piedmont located in northern-western Italy. It is one of the nine Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included in UNESCO World Heritage list.

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa. Figure

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa. Figure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, The ...

Sacro Monte di Ghiffa, (Verbania), Italy, The St. John the Baptist Chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Northern Italy and great places in Italy visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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Cefalu is Sicily’s Best Kept Vino con Vista Secret

The Christ Pantokrator.

The Christ Pantokrator. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: girolame)

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalù, Sicily

Cefalù, Sicily (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

is especially noteworthy

is especially noteworthy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The façade of the Duomo.

The façade of the Duomo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my recent trip to Italy, my bus driver was from Cefalu in Sicily.  I spent alot of time talking to him about how this delightful town located about 55 minutes east of Palermo exceeded my expectations. The Palermo-Messina trains stop in this charming town.

Christ Pantokrator in the apse of the Cathedra...

Christ Pantokrator in the apse of the Cathedral of Cefalù, Sicily, Italy. Mosaic in Byzantine style. Italiano: Cristo Pantocratore nell’abside della Cattedrale della città siciliana Cefalù (Italia). Mosaico in stile bizantino. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cefalu is a charming sea-side resort town nestled between the mountains and the glistening cobalt water of the sea. It is a short train ride from Palermo on the northern Tyrrhenian coast with outstanding beaches and a beautiful Norman cathedral with splendid mosaics.

Walk along the sea wall to La Calura and admire the ancient rocks named Tallarita, Baranello and Passarello. The Italians love to name the rock formations. The Temple of Diana is visible atop the mountains overlooking Cefalu.

Cefalu-bjs2007-03

Cefalu-bjs2007-03 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The magnificent twin-towers and the Norman Cathedral were built in 1131 by Roger II following his shipwreck along the coastline of Cefalu. The structural and architectural trappings of the cathedral are similar to Monreale.  It is adorned with lancet windows.

Cathedral of Cefalù (Italy), front view

Cathedral of Cefalù (Italy), front view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 20th century stained glass replacement windows are covered with abstract designs created by Michelle Canzoneri. The Duomo has spectacular mosaics and houses a magnificent Christ as Pantocrator. In the square, enjoy some delightful marzapan treats with your coffee.

English: Cefalu, Sicily, apsis & choir of Norm...

English: Cefalu, Sicily, apsis & choir of Norman cathedral (mosaic “Christus Pantocrator”) Italiano: Cristo Pantocratore nel mosaico della cattedrale di Cefalù (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the fun tourist attractions in and around Cefalu include:

1. The Public Lavatoio that is located in the center of town; precursor to the public Laundromat.

The Wash house in Cefalù (Sicily).

The Wash house in Cefalù (Sicily). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Drive up to the top of the mountain and visit the sanctuary of St. Gibilmanna in Pizzo San Angelo. This was the first church dedicated to the Madonna in Sicily. The monastery belongs to Cappuchin Friars. The sanctuary is located 2600 feet above sea level with a panoramic view of the majestic mountains. 

After visiting the local attractions, dine at LoScoglio Ubriaco overlooking the water. Plan your next day perched on a beach chair that you can rent at Beach Café del Moto. Think about taking a day trip from Cefalu to Sicily’s other exotic locations like Taormina or the Aeolian islands.

For a great Vino con Vista visit Filippino on Piazza Municipio.  E Pulera on via Isabella Conti Vainicher and the Kasbah Café on via Maurolico 25 offer outstanding food with pleasant outdoor seating. Purchase some local wine and cheese at Enoteca Le Petit Tonneau after you stroll along the water front and appreciate the natural beauty that this charming town exudes. In August, the town has an annual festival called Madonna della Luce which includes an evening boat procession along the coastline.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy.

Cefalù

Cefalù (Photo credit: Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho)

To learn more about Sicily visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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Travel to the Amalfi Coast and Visit Vino con Vista Ravello in Italy

Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy.
Image via Wikipedia
English: Ravello: Villa Cimbrone Gardens

English: Ravello: Villa Cimbrone Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravello

Ravello (Photo credit: The Consortium)

English: Ravello: Villa Cimbrone Entrance

English: Ravello: Villa Cimbrone Entrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The courtyard

The courtyard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Ravello: Villa Cimbrone Gardens

English: Ravello: Villa Cimbrone Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ravello is the perfect “Vino con Vista” destination because it is perched high upon the mountain overlooking the villages of Atrani and Minori. It was once part of the Republic of Amalfi.

Amalfi is the coast’s largest town, but Ravello is the undisputed aristocrat of the Amalfi Coast. Ravello is an enchanting stretch of paradise, perched 1500 feet above the Gulf of Salerno on a high cliff above the town of Amalfi.  It commands awe-inspiring views of the coastline, citrus groves and vineyards http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYenddABq8Q&feature=related. Visit the cathedral, the beautiful gardens of Villa Ruffalo and Villa Cimbrone pictured in this post.

Deutsch: Die Terrazza dell'Infinito der Villa ...

Deutsch: Die Terrazza dell’Infinito der Villa Cimbrone in Ravello (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The impressive Duomo ( Chiesa de San Giovanni del Toro) was founded in 1086 and has the relics of St. Barbara (www.chiesaravello.com). The 12th century Santa Maria a Gradillo church is also noteworthy.

English: Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy.

English: Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Richard Wagner was inspired to compose classical music in Ravello. The town hosts a spectacular annual summer music festival. Classical music concerts are held in July in the gardens of Villa Ruffalo.

082 - Villa Ruffalo, Ravello

082 – Villa Ruffalo, Ravello (Photo credit: Mark Abel)

Wealthy residents of the Maritime Republic of Amalfi made a fortune trading with Sicily, Spain, Asia and Africa. These wealthy merchants built palatial estates and villas in Ravello with prime scenic vantage points.

Villa Cimbrone

Villa Cimbrone (Photo credit: ishane)

Ravello-Villa Cimbrone Pavillon

Ravello-Villa Cimbrone Pavillon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Villa Cimbrone was built by Lord Grimthorpe and has been converted into a luxuriously appointed hotel. Hadrian IV’s Villa Ruffalo’s belvedere offers a great view of the Moorish cupolas of Annuziata’s Church founded in 1281. Piazzo Vescovado is the hub of most of Ravello’s attractions.  The Villa Ruffolo was built in the 13th century and was the residence of several popes. In Ravello, you can attend Mamma Agata’s Cooking School.  She cooked for Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor.  Learn how to make the fabulous lemon cake. (www.mammaagata.com)

Here are some UNESCO photos of the Amalfi Coast: http://www.ourplaceworldheritage.com/custom.cfm?&action=site&regionid=9&site_country=ITALY&site_name=Costiera Amalfitana&siteid=332

To learn more about the Amalfi Coast visit www.vino-con-vista.com. Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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What’s Cookin’ in Siena Italy?

Scene of the race on the Piazza del Campo
Image via Wikipedia
Piazza del Campo with Palazzo Pubblico and Tor...

Piazza del Campo with Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia, town of Siena, Tuscany/Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Loggia of the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del C...

Loggia of the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Loggia of the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del C...

Loggia of the Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Courtyard

The Courtyard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia in Piazz...

Palazzo Pubblico and Torre del Mangia in Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Vin Santo e Cantucci in Milan, Italy.

English: Vin Santo e Cantucci in Milan, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del Campo in Siena,...

Palazzo Pubblico in Piazza del Campo in Siena, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Façade of the Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) dur...

Façade of the Palazzo Pubblico (town hall) during the Palio days. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thousands of spectators, coming from all the w...

Thousands of spectators, coming from all the world, fill the Piazza del Campo to capacity on the day of the Palio di Siena (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Siena’s yellowish-brown buildings are the embodiment of a gothic medieval city.  Her golden age came to a screeching halt with the plague called the Black Death of 1348.  Enlightened travelers will love this charming city in the heart of the Chianti Classico zone about 21 miles south of Florence.

Siena is the birthplace of Saint Catherine (1347), the patron saint of Italy. She received the stigmata at Pisa and the mortal remains of her head are housed in the Basilica of San Domenico.

The shell-shaped brick Piazza del Campo is one of Italy’s most triumphant piazzas, large enough to feature a medieval semi-annual 350-year-old summer bareback horse race called the “Palio delle Contrade.”  The victor of the Palio celebrates with a massive town dinner (cena). Sometimes the horse wins without a jockey. The piazza’s surface is divided into nine segments by colored paving stones, symbolizing Siena’a original Council of Nine. Their members governed the city in her medieval heyday.  The council met at the Palazzo Pubblico.

Throughout the centuries the residents preserved their city’s gothic appearance, acquired between the 12th and 15th centuries.

Fountain in Siena Italy

Fountain in Siena Italy

Siena Duomo in Italy

Siena Duomo in Italy

Siena Italy

Siena Italy

Recently, I took a cooking class at La Scuola di Cucina di Lella Cesare Ciampoi on Via Fonrebranda, 69.

Lella taught me how to make Cantucci cookies, a Tuscan biscuit that they dunk in Vin Santo. Here’s the recipe:

400 gr. Flour, 250 gr. Sugar, 150 gr. Shelled Almonds, 3 eggs, 3 yolks, Baking Powder, Orange Essence and salt.

Whip 2 eggs and 3 yolks with sugar. Add flour, baking powder, some drops of orange essence and some salt. Lightly roast the almonds and when they cool, add them to the pastry dough. Roll the dough into a log. Place them into a buttered  cookie sheet with a light dusting of flour and brush with whipped egg. Bake for 15 minutes. Cut baked cookie log into biscoti and rebake for 10 minutes.   Enjoy!! To learn more about Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Have a Dynamite Destination Wedding in Capri Italy

Capri harbour, the starting point for UD stude...
Image via Wikipedia

 

Overlooking Capri harbor from the rotunda in V...

Overlooking Capri harbor from the rotunda in Villa San Michele. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Roman emperor Tiberius (14–37 AD). Ma...

English: Roman emperor Tiberius (14–37 AD). Marble, found in Capri, height: 6.8′. Français : Tibère, empereur romain de 14 à 37 ap. J.-C. Marbre, découvert à Capri, hauteur 2 mètres 08. Location: Louvre, Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Denon wing, ground floor, Daru Gallery (Ma 1248) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Capri is Italy’s most famous island. It is probably one of the most romantic places for a destination wedding. There are brides everywhere! The island has plenty of five-star hotels. You can travel to Amalfi, Positano and Ravello very easily from Capri.

Capri borders the southern edge of the Bay of Naples, where dolomite cliffs soar above the tip of the Sorrento peninsula. The Sorrento peninsula is named after its main town, Sorrento and Sorrento is located on the north  coast of the Gulf of Naples. The Amalfi Coast is located on the southern side. The island of Capri lies off the western tip of the peninsula in the Tyrrhenian Sea. This area is an outstanding Vino con Vista destination!

Location of Procida in the Tyrrhenian Sea

Location of Procida in the Tyrrhenian Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

View of Capri

View of Capri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The naughty Roman Emperor Tiberius built 12 villas in Capri and dedicated them to the 12 gods of Olympus. His most impressive residence was his imperial 1st century party villa called Villa Jovis.

The remains of Villa Jovis.

The remains of Villa Jovis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is rumored that the Greeks named Capri after the Greek word for wild goats “kapriae.” Anacapri is another charming town. It is perched high above the town of Capri and is carpeted with vineyards.

The rocky island of Capri has sweeping vistas, caves, limestone houses with terraced roofs and lush Mediterranean gardens. Mount Tiberio and Mount Solaro are the main peaks on the island.

Blue grotto in capri arp

Blue grotto in capri arp (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is also home to the Blue Grotto marine cave nestled in the famous Faraglioni sea stacks on the western side of the island. The sea stacks rise from the Tyrrhenian Sea. Faraglioni is the collective name for three stacks located off the island of Capri in the Bay of Naples. The stacks are called: Stella which is still attached to the main island; Mezzo and Scopolo.

The lacerta viridens faraglionesis are the rare blue-tinted lizards that can only be found on the Scopolo sea stack; this is the natural habitat of rare blue lizard.

View from Monte Solaro towards the Faraglioni

View from Monte Solaro towards the Faraglioni (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to legend, the Roman Emperor Tiberius used the grotto as a personal spa. A boat ride around the island from the Marina puts this heavenly destination into perspective.

Natural arch in the Faraglioni di Capri - Italy

Natural arch in the Faraglioni di Capri – Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy available at http://www.vino-con-vista.com

To learn more about Capri click here

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Experience the Amazing Italian Riviera in the Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre
Image by Ronile35 via Flickr

Liguria is thin crescent-shaped coastal strip of land on a mountain range that borders the sea. It is divided into two sections: a western coastline on the French border near San Remo and an eastern coastline that houses the Cinque Terre and Portovenere on the Mare Ligure.

Genoa is the regional capital of Liguria and lies at about the midpoint of these two areas that comprise the Ligurian Riviera. The illustrious Portofino Peninsula is southeast of Genoa, one of the most exclusive coastal resort areas in Italy.

The Genoa Cathedral.

The Genoa Cathedral. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Porto Venere is located on the Ligurian coast of Italy in the province of La Spezia. It comprises the villages of Fezzano, Le Grazie and Porto Venere. There are three islands near Porto Venere: Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto.

Via dell'Amore - Riomaggiore

Via dell’Amore – Riomaggiore (Photo credit: Ciccio Pizzettaro)

Porto Venere

Porto Venere (Photo credit: anroir)

In 1997, Porto Venere and the villages of Cinque Terre were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Here are some UNESCO photos of the Cinque Terre

http://www.ourplaceworldheritage.com/custom.cfm?&action=site&regionid=9&site_country=ITALY&site_name=Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)&siteid=91

Portovenere, Liguria, Italia

Portovenere, Liguria, Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Nederlands: C...

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Nederlands: Cinque Terre: Vernazza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cinque Terre includes “Five lands” that cling to the cliffs of the Riviera di Levante including Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The scenic Ligurian Coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere presents a fascinating landscape.

Riomaggiore, the first village of the Cinque T...

Riomaggiore, the first village of the Cinque Terre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pristine layout of the seaside villages and small towns are characterized by steep mountain slopes that are engulfed by the splendor of the sea. The local residents have overcome the disadvantages of a steep, uneven terrain by creating an agricultural economy using terraced vineyards. These mesmerizing “Five Lands” overlooking the sea provide a seductive walking promenade called the “Via dell’Amore” (Lovers’ Road).  The path is between the cities of Manarola and Riomaggiore.

The cuisine of the Cinque Terre is very flavorful and highly dependent upon fresh local ingredients. Try some regional pasta in pesto sauce or local savory pies like torte di verdure with fresh vegetables or torta di riso with rice. Frittate is very popular in Liguria. The fish soup and stuffed anchovies are delicious.

The Cinque Terre vineyards produce mostly white Cinque Terre wines from Vermentino grapes. The area is home to a number of fine terraced vineyards that are carved into the mountains. The most famous Ligurian wine from this region is a white dessert wine called Sciacchetra that is crushed from partially dried grapes. It was considered the “wine of the gods” in the ancient Roman Empire.

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Vernazza is i...

Vernazza town in Liguria, Italy. Vernazza is in the cinque terre region. Français : Le village de Vernazza, dans les cinque terre, en Ligurie (Italie). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To learn more about Italy read www.vino-con-vista.com Travel Guides and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

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Are the Cows enjoying La Dolce Vita on the Via Venato in Rome?

The Villa Borghese, Rome, houses the Galleria ...
Image via Wikipedia

Strolling along the Via Venato from the entrance to the Villa Borghese to Piazza Barberini you will have an opportunity to view a delightful Cow Exhibition.

Since the Via Venato is all about Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”, this cow was my absolute favorite in front of the elegant Westin Excelsior Hotel. It is a collage composed of famous locations and scenery in Rome.

Federico Fellini Movie La Dolce VIta

La Dolce Vita poster from Fellini's movie

 

La Dolce Vita 

La Dolce Vita

There are cows in front of  many of the glamorous hotels and famous eateries including the Marriott Grand Hotel Flora and Harry’s Bar. These are perfect “Vino con Vista” destinations on the Via Venato.

Cows on the Via venato

To find more “Vino con Vista” spots in Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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