Enjoy scrounging for antiques? Going to Venice? The iMercatino dell'Antiquariato (Antiques Fair) takes place three times annually in the ampo San Maurizio between Piazza San Marco and Campo Santo Stefano. The markets are usually held in early April, mid-September, and the weekend before Christmas. Scores of vendors sell everything from Murano glass to more mundane items. If you’re in town and enjoy antiques, be sure to browse this fascinating market.
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In 1174 a marble foundation was laid to start building the cathedral and bapistry of Pisa. The Tower was finally finished 176 years later – and it was crooked! Due to an abundance of water below the ground, the foundation could only go into the ground 10 feet – hence the tower had a definite southern tilt! . The Leaning Tower of Pisa is located on the Field of Miracles. If you choose to climb the tower, you'll want to purchase your tickets in advance Those who don’t will waste waste hours waiting in line. Your tickets will have a time - don't be late because you will lose your slot. It's 300 steps up and 300 steps back down. Most climbers will find it hard to navigate as you get near the top. Upon descending, It typically takes about 5 minutes to eliminate the dizziness which occurs.
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One of the first thing to decide when planning a trip to Florence, Italy, is whether you'll stay inside the city or at a hotel or villa outside of the city.
If it's your first trip to Florence, I suggest staying in the city itself. There is something wonderful about walking outside your hotel to find this beautiful city just beyond. And, if you stay in the city center, which is what I recommend, it's a short stroll to shops, cafes, art galleries and museums.
So, why would you stay outside the city? Perhaps you've seen many of Florence's attractions and want to be away from the touristy busyness of Florence. Maybe, you wish to be closer to other activities you will pursue - wine tasting and olive oil tasting, culinary classes, visiting the Ferrari Factory and similar pursuits. Perhaps, it's your honeymoon and you want a quiet, romantic vacation. Most of the hotels located outside the city offer a shuttle to/from the city center - some are complimentary and others do charge a fee., If you will stay in a private villa, make sure you know what the local transportation is like - trains and proximity to a train station, a rental car or hiring a private car and driver.
Wherever you stay, you will love the culture and beauty of Florence, Italy's Renaissance city.
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Venice is uniquely famous for local crafts that have been produced here for centuries which you usually won’t find anywhere else. That includes Murano glassware, the lovely, delicate lace from Burano, and the cartapesta (papier-mâché) Carnival masks. You’ll sometimes find artisans creating their beautiful lace creations in local shops. And, on the island of Murano, there are numerous glass companies holding demonstrations on how they create their fascinating pieces of artwork. Visit at least two different factories because they have different specialties and designs.
If you would like to buy an authentic Venetian mask, there are a couple of places to check out. One is the Carta Alta on the island of Giudecca. Another is the Casin dei Nobili showroom which is also on a private island, the Dorsoduro. (NOTE: Please verify names and locations with your hotel concierge before heading out.)
Just for fun, visit the Rolando Segalin shoe store at Calle dei Fuseri. They have a unique selection of shoes, very whimsical and colorful;most are created to wear with Carnival costumes.
Then, you’ll find a selection of stores featuring less expensive souvenirs-to-middle-market-to-upscale items lining the narrow, zigzagging Mercerie running north between Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Market has T-shirts, and touristy type trinkets. Venetians, centuries-old merchants, aren't known for bargaining but you will have a higher chance of getting a bargain if you pay in cash or buy several items. More upscale clothing and gift boutiques are on the Calle Larga XXII Marzo, just west of Piazza San Marco and continues on to the expansive Campo Santo Stefano near the Accademia. And, the narrow Frezzeria,also west of the piazza, offers cafes and a selection of boutiques.
Like antiques? The Mercatino dell'Antiquariato (Antiques Fair) takes place three times annually in the Campo San Maurizio between Piazza San Marco and Campo Santo Stefano. These markets are usually held in early April, mid-September, and the weekend before Christmas. You’ll find vendors selling everything from Murano glass to more mundane items. If you’re in town and enjoy antiques, be sure to browse this fascinating market. Again, your concierge can confirm dates and times and provide directions to the market. (NOTE: Always check the item for its authenticity.)
Italian Ventures, your Virtuoso travel agency in Fresno, CA at Piazza del Fiore.
Please join us at our Piazza del Fiore location from 9am - 2pm on Sat. Jan. 13th. Check out the latest brochures for luxury travel in Europe and beyond. Attend one of our four destination slide shows, enjoy light refreshments, take advantage of booking incentives and win a prize also.
Christmas in Cinque Terre – certainly, a different time to visit this area – much quieter than the crowded, bustling summer crowds. In Manarola, there is a very special nativity, the presepe, which is created with 15,000+ lights. It started in 1961 with one cross by a man who asked his son to re-create an old pilgrim’s cross that once was in the family vineyard;today over 250 figures are scattered over the hillside overlooking the town. It’s also eco-friendly. The lights are usually lit around December 8th every year (complete with a choral selection) and stay up until mid January.
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It started in 1986 as a movement to not allow a McDonald's to be built at the iconic Spanish Steps in Rome. Carlo Petrini's organization evolved into a world wide movement celebrating the preparation and enjoyment of regional cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. (NOTE: Today, there is a McDonald's located across from the Spanish Steps. )
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Cheraso is in the Piedmont region of Italy and has several chocolate shops featuring the well known Baci chocolate kisses (baci means "to kiss" in Italian). These chocolate candies were created to use up extra hazelnuts left over from producing nougats. The Baci are luscious candies made from semi-sweet chocolate and a specific variety of hazel nuts known as “Gentile delle Langhe”.
Italian Ventures, your Virtuoso® travel agency, in Clovis, Fresno, & Visalia, CA
As a teenager, I was charmed by Italy - the "old" women tattng in Rapallo, the picturesque seaside town of Portofino, and the grandeur of Villa d'Este at Lago di Como. Today, as a luxury travel advisor, I love to plan extraordinary vacations for clients venturing to Italy. Whether it's their first visit or their tenth or twentieth time, we strive to create unique itineraries for each traveller. La Dolce Vita!
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