Alghero: a DiVine Trip

“…L’ Alguer de sempre se vanta
de ésser país català,
la ginqueta me vol recordar,
a mi ella me canta…”

 

There are places where I want to go without knowing why. Alghero, in Northen Sardinia, is one of these. 

It all starts out with an urge to be somewhere that I’m  not. I travel for several reasons, but even just a short vacation to the beach or an unfamiliar city can serve as a  kind of escape.  I often loosen up, allowing for  learning. I push myself forward in new cultures, try new things, get myself into uncomfortable situations, and find out the best part of me. It is easy to get high off the sense of anonymity that can be experienced while travelling. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a weekend  or a year long trip, if nobody knows me, I  often feel free to break out of my  shell.

I remember when I started planning my first trip to Alghero, which is only 40-minutes flight from Pisa on  Ryanair , I had no idea what I was doing! 

I wanted to get lost in Alghero, but at the same time, I didn’t want to miss the most beautiful things of this unique pearl of the “Coral Riviera”. I thought it might be impossible for me to arrange everything  by simply  following  my guidebook for two days! I had to try something different. I searched the Web for information about Alghero. I just needed someone special to hold my hand and show me the way.  That’s why my first choice was Valeria Crabuzza, Managing Director & Founder of  Alghero ConciergeValeria was the first person I turned to for tips and information about Alghero, and she was always prepared to offer help and understanding. Before my departure for Alghero, I contacted Valeria by mail and then by a phone call. Valeria provided me with outstanding concierge services creating my tailor-made holiday in Alghero. She provided me  with  free advice on accommodations, holiday activities, cultural events, archaeology sites and  other services.  Thanks to Valeria, I saved a great deal of time and effort researching and comparing on the net. I simply told Valeria my  preferences and I packed my bags!  Valeria was my Good Angel in Alghero , a paradise just a few steps from home! Valeria made me fall in Love with Alghero . Now I long to return to this enchanting place!

1st Day, Tuesday , 12th June 2018

I landed in Alghero’s Fertilia Airport on the 12th June 2018.  There were only 6 kilometers from Fertilia Airport to the city centre, a short trip of less than 15 minutes drive. The airport is  well connected with the major Italian and European airports with low cost flights the whole year round. If you don’t want to drive or if you don’t want to rent a car, the city has an excellent transport service to and from the airport. 

It was lunchtime and I reached Alghero’s Old Town  where I met Valeria at Alghero Concierge, her  Holiday Counsultancy and Tourist Services Office in the heart of the city. Valeria was my “Welcome to Alghero” , the best a traveller can wish.  Valeria was charming-a true Mediterranean Beauty. The gentle nature of her soul, was reflected in her love for Life and for the History and Tradition of her beautiful Island.  After my arrival in Alghero at midday and my interview with Valeria, I was excited to  uncover and bring to light  what she reserved . It was incredible, and  Valeria did an incredible job to ensure a perfect vacation in Alghero which covered all my requests. First of all it was very easy for me to visit all the best parts of Alghero , because Valeria booked a nice room  for me in  the b&b “Benebenniu” in Via Carlo Alberto,70,  the carrer major of the medieval town: it was a Bed & Breakfast nestled in the heart of Alghero’s Old Town.  It was in a very  central location  in Alghero among its cobblestoned streets (no heels, but comfortable shoes!), few steps away from the picturesque Sea-Front Promenade, the Bastioni and the Towers. Bus station, harbour, city beach, all the best bars and restaurants were all in the immediate proximity.  After having unpacked my bags, I walked around Alghero’s main streets, having all its Beauty around me , just in the area where I stayed.  I took terrific photos of all that drew my attention and sensitivity . I explored each corner  of Alghero , in any direction from the bottom towards the top and the from left to right! I went on strolling till the afternoon, when Valeria picked me up by car , leading me out of Alghero toward a breathless itinerary : from Punta Negra, Bombarde, Lazzaretto, Cala Dragunara to the final and gorgeous destination of  the Protected Area of  Capo Caccia. I enjoyed the awesome scenery and admired the spectacular landscapes of the -North-Western tip of Sardinia. I was enough lucky  to watch the sun dipping down in the blu sea among its impressive cliffs and to hear the seagulls crying out . As soon as I ridiscovered Nature in all its glory,  Valeria remembered it  was time to go away!  On the road back to Alghero, while I was thinking about that dreamy holiday,  Valeria explained the value and the importance of those places and the story of her life!  

Valeria was born her in Alghero  where she spent the first nineteen Years of Her Life before travelling abroad to work in Hospitality.

Initial economic hardships during her childhood didn’t stop Valeria cheerful and strong  temperament, but strengthened her character and  her spirit of adaptabilty. Valeria reflected on  those hard days with a smile, because they made her grow. Valeria has got a brother, Francesco, and a sister Claudia , who eventually became a very well-known Italia songwriter. Claudia Crabuzza won the prestigious Music Award  “Targa Luigi Tenco 2016” (Minority Languages Category) for Best Album in “Algherese” Dialect . She  worked  as author and interpreter with many famous national artists such as the most popular Sardinian ethno-rock band Tazenda, Pippo Pollina, Mirco Menna, Il Parto delle Nuvole Pesanti, and others . Valeria graduated from the professional hotel school of Alghero and started working in the field of tourism in Italy, Switzerland, Egypt and on  Canouan Island (Eastern Caribbean). She was inevitably drawn back to her native land . Valeria  wished to combine her experience, her local knowledge and love of Sardinia, her passion and her positive attitude to best welcome and assist anyone coming to visit Alghero and the north-west coast of Sardinia. On her personal note: she is married and had two wonderful children. The love story with her Egyptian husband  Ehab Rashwan , a pro-active hospitality professional with over 25 years in the hospitality industry , is another incredible and long chapter of her life ! I hope you will have the chance  to listen to it , when you are her guest! 

That one hour drove to Alghero with listening to all  Valeria‘ s tales  astounded me, because it seemed so familiar. 

The  sunset was unforgettable . The artificial lights of the lamps adorning Alghero transformed this noble city in an elegant living room. The closed shops were making the way for the night-loving people. I felt the infinity poetry which emanated from this peaceful and ordered city, but at a certain moment all that enchantment was suspended by my rumbling tummy that looked forward to the dinner time. Soon after  Valeria and me seated  comfortably on a terrace of   the casual “La Botteghina” restaurant . She said it was the right place for tasting local fresh Food &  Wine and it was true!   A friend of Valeria, Carlo Deffenu, a very polite person did the honours. He was a lovely worker there and an Italian writer as well, who proposed a vast range of pleasures! I had typical Sardinian Food & Wine:  a sparkilng  “Vermentino” called “Sessantaquattro” paired with a mussels soutè,  “fregola “ (it’s a type of semolina-based pasta) with seafood,  and “culurgiones” (pasta filled with boiled potatoes, extra olive oil, pecorino cheese, garlic and  mint ) with tomatos sauce and parmisan, best new dish I ever had in the last period! The night was flowing slowly while Valeria was entertaining me with all her knowledge  about Alghero . I was totally immersed in all those stories: a journey in the past of  Alghero, and an understanding of its present, a multifaceted world of an island within  the island that is trying to grow and to improve despite the cumbersome Italian Political system and the closed-shop mentality of the major part of its  inhabitants. By the way, I realized  that Alghero  is considered one of the most charming towns of Sardinia. Ryainair flies  at least here twice a day. Take this as an opportunity to explore some of the amazing Art the city has to offer. Alghero is the perfect blend of History, Gorgeous Beaches, lovely Food & Wine, Traditions and so much more. The town provides excellent hospitality for a constant flow of tourists, with a range of entertainments, facilities and nightlife that is ideal for young and old alike. 

Alghero was inhabited since prehistoric times, and  was founded by the Genoese in the 11th century. For many years, it was controlled by the dynasty of the Doria family, despite a brief period of Pisan domination in 1283 and 1284. Many different conquerors launched assaults on Alghero  until the Catalans expelled everyone in 1372 and created a home away from home. From then on, the town came to be known as “Barceloneta”, or “Little Barcelona”, and maintains its Catalan identity to this day. Control of Alghero passed to the House of Savoy in 1720 and this marked the start of a long period of steady decline. This continued right up until the Fascist Era which resulted in heavy damage to the town during Italy’s participation in WWII. The removal, from the surrounding countryside, of malaria in the 1950s and the growth in package holidays during the 1960s saw the start of a transformation in the fortunes of Alghero. A large number of hotels and restaurants have been built on the investment in the town and development has spread northwards alongside the city’s sandy beach. Today, tourism has not completely overtaken Alghero and the town still retains its distinctive Catalan identity with the local fishing industry an important contributor to the local economy. 

2nd Day, Wednesday , 13th June 2018

It was late in the night. I opened the window of my room that overlooked one of the main square of Alghero

There was nobody outside, but few tables scattered among cafes and restaurants and a  silhouette of a  bell tower that raised above the rooftops of houses and churches. My thoughts wandered and I couldn’t sleep for the excitement of what it happened, but I was tired and I fall asleep. The following day I woke up late in the morning, and the weather was awful.  I thought it was  perfect to visit Wineries in Alghero.  I sat down at my table for eating something.  I took a look  in blogs and travel forums about  all the Top Wines. In the meanwhile ,  Valeria and her friend Katya attended my breakfast with  a  homemade lemon cake, hot coffee and orange juice. Katya is another fabulous character of this Sardinian Novel. At first sight Katya, so pretty with big green eyes, seemed to be an easy going person. Actually, Katya is a  romantic bohemian, a very deep fellow, a strong worker with the soul of an artist  in sewing technique. She said she was from Pesaro, Marche. She met Valeria on the Caribbean Resort 20 years ago. Since that time they were not only colleagues , but above all close friends. After having travelled a lot,  with a long stay in Peru, that changed her mind placing greater emphasis on the “being” and not on  “having” in this life, Katya wanted to help Valeria in her aim to create something unforgettable in Alghero, with the intent of promoting this area in Italy and abroad. What a marvelous and spiritual conversation! Katya withdrew, bidding me farewell, and saying I was in  a good service with Valeria about my trip in Alghero. Of course she was right! I glanced at the clock on my phone and a last great moment awaited me to complete my journey: visit the best Wineries in Alghero. The weather promised to get worse, far more than I could expect! Never before had I seen so much rain in summer . Before my  appointment with Valeria and with the divine nectar of Sardinia in the early afternoon , I had little time to visit the old churches of the historic core, that provided sufficient protection against rain and wind: “San Francesco Church”, the Alghero’s  Cathedral, and the  “San Michele Church”. The churches were unadorned, the simple churches of a simple  fishing village. I liked these types of churches- built solely as a religious sanctuary for the towns people with no more boisterous intent. Alghero’s Old Town was large enough to be interesting and small enough to tackle in a day of exploring. Walking around Alghero, I didn’t feel like I was in Italy, but in a foreign land with such an atmosphere you had to live. Colorful facades, an almost derelict elegance , all complete with beautiful sea views from any given angle.

It was lunchtime and to my surprise,  Valeria came to take me to a luxury Hotel called “Carlos V” in Alghero to attend a Wine Tasting organized by  “Tenute Delogu “ .  

The  terrace of  the 5 stars Hotel  “Carlos V was magnificent , it  afforded panoramic views that encompassed everything from the Capo Caccia promontory (which has a silhouette resembling a sleeping giant) to the costal road that conceals the town of Bosa. The grey of the sky made visible exceptional views that resembled a Monet canvas,  with a mix of rough and soft colours and sparse and evanescent  brushstrokes. That landscape inebriated my senses just like the Top Wines  did in the tasting room. A  light seafood buffet accompanied the Wine Tasting that included the best labels of the  “Delogu Winery”: “Die”, “Ide”, “Geo”, “Ego”, “Cagnulari”, and  “Chelos”.“Tenute Delogu “ extends across approximately 60 hectares, encasing a modern Winery, vineyards, a prestigious Wine Resort and dining options. Amongst palm and olive trees, the vineyards are immersed in Sardinia’s Mediterranean scrub. This is where the “Tenute Delogu “ arises and from where its Wines derive.  I had the honour of knowing personally the owner of the “Tenute Delogu “ Mr Pietro Delogu. Pietro was present at that event to increase potential with his own customers . He was busy to give interviews to the Japanese press about his Wine production, then he was able to spend a little time  with us. We had lunch in that exclusive hotel and talked about that pleasant moment relaxing over glasses of his bubbles. After a while  Valeria had to go away to  collect her children from the residential home and Pietro invited me to spend a couple of hours at his estate “Tenute Delogu “ . We arrived there after an hour’s drive under that heavy rain! Pietro was very proud of all he did in his life, and this was the feeling I perceived during our conversation before to reach his estate.  Finally we arrived at his  “Tenute Delogu “, and we  had no guided  visit from outside due to the standing rain.  We took  refuge in the estate’s restaurant , where he  made me feel at home. That place was lovely and the grey overcast made us long for drinking good Wines! At the very moment when Pietro was describing last lable of his Wine collection, foreign clients entered the reception despite it being closed. As an Islander and a business man, Pietro opened the door . I helped him with attending to them. He regarded my attitude  as polite, but I explained it was a pleasure for me.  It was also  a way to thank him for his dedicating time to me.  We ended our time in the barrique cellar of his Winery , where I finished my friendly interview writing down as much as I could. Pietro’ s passion and love for his job and land emerged from his words.  Pietro wants to pursuit his dream to get better and better.  If only one day the Italian government , in Sardinia as in the rest of the nation, could provide financial and legislative  support for the development of enterprise policies. Pietro and Valeria are strongly attached to their  native land but open minded by nature . I hope their courageous choice to invest all the necessary efforts in ensuring the implementation of their projects and ideas   will find support in a fair and  effective  policy  at local and national level, as soon as possible.  His was the sort of honesty  speech that does one good and it was lightened with a glass of Canonau . Valeria returned to take me back in Alghero. So, I said goodbye to Pietro, a smart and multi-faced man. I knew that this was not a farewell. 

Sardinia is an island that strikes its visitors with natural contrasts, the lights and colors of a region that boasts old traditions and a wild and pure nature.  Sardinia is a land full of archaic Wine Traditions.  Sardinia offers fascinating Wines, it merits to be considered as one of Italy´s most unique wine regions.  There are international varieties and  indigenous grapes, such as Bovale, CagnulariMonicaCarignano, and others. All this  makes it worth to go for a Wine-Discovery tour as I did  at “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” .

“Tenuta Sella & Mosca” was a nice place to visit, they offered a free tour in their estate and I liked it a lot despite the rain. “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” was  founded in 1899 and it is the second largest contiguous vineyard in Italy and one of the largest wineries in Europe – it is a 1,600-acre property with more than 1,200 acres of Wines. From vibrant whites to nuanced reds, “Tenuta Sella & Mosca” has a Wine for every mood and meal. My favourite one is Torbato: a grape originally from Spain with only about 200 acres left in the world. Torbato produces refreshing, pale-straw wine marked by white flowers and hints of sea minerals. The sparkling version is a must as an aperitif but there are also still versions–ranging from gentle, mid-low body to richer, creamier versions. All are definitely worth trying with light fish appetizers, oysters, and clam spaghetti! 

 

For my last night in Alghero , I spend long hours meditating the goods things in Life with Valeria, then after a drink  and an appetizer in a bar , I went to bed .

When the alarm clock rang at 5 o’clock in the morning, I realized I had to leave Alghero. Before to get the airport, I relaxed at the harbor edge while I was investigating  the best picture angles for my  last photos. As I sat on the bench gazing at the rocky faced hills across the harbor, a local fisherman jumped down from his boat and strolled past. His nutty brown skin indicated a life on the sea, his complete lack of self  consciousness as he sang aloud. I lapsed into a fantasy of a  simple  village life. Give me a week here, and I’m quite sure I’d sing along!

I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s safe to say this city far , exceeded my expectations. 

Ti amo Alghero.

Enjoy it !

Stefania

Thanks to the  travel writer Paula Cullison for her precious help

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanià, Crete

I know Greece as that ‘postcard perfect’ destination where all travellers dream to go to at least once in their life. 

But there’s quite a lot more to it. Greece is actually at the intersection of Europe, Asia and Africa. While it is popular for its stunning beaches and shorelines, it is important to note that Greece is 80% mountainous and semi – mountainous, so there’s much more to see in this country than just beaches and clear blue water. I was in the charming city of Chanià for a weekend in May 2018 , which boasts a unique charm to its visitors.  It is beautiful – that is to say much of the Chanià you will want to see is clustered close to the harbour – old buildings, museums, churches and crafts shops (some with genuinely interesting and sometimes local, products on offer).  Chanià is also surrounded by numerous rich options for sightseeing, exploration and discovery . The atmosphere has a touch of Florence and Venice (a few years ago when those cities still had some room to walk), combined with the culture and character of Cretan people and traditions . Chanià is  known to be the multicultural place in Crete as the Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Venetians, Ottomans and a whole lot more came here and left their own piece of culture behind. 

Chanià, can be reached by air as it has an international airport. The airport is situated northeast of the city,there’s one small and simple terminal. The distance from Chania Airport to the centre of Chanià is 15 kilometres

There are two transfer options to get from Chanià airport to its city centre: taxi or bus. The bus –Chania Airport transportation-is the cheapest but slowest transfer option. It costs only 2.50€ for a one way ticket, but it takes 90 minutes, including waiting time. Taking a Crete airport taxi will only take 25 minutes, but costs a flat rate fee of 30€. It’s easy to fall in love with Chanià. This Cretan harbour town has a lot going for it: small local shops, waterside restaurants and lots of little alleys to get lost in. The best part is the historical old town as most of the sights are located there.

Not convinced? Here are a few things to do in Chanià:

  • Visit the Maritime Museum of Crete: the Nautical Museum of Crete exhibits just about anything related to life at sea from the bronze age until the present. The collection includes ship models, nautical instruments and photographs, among other things. It’s housed in the Firkas Fortress, on the opposite end of the harbour from the Venetian Lighthouse;
  • Go shopping at the market hall:  if you’d like to try out some more typical Cretan food, head to the Market Hall. Here you’ll find olives, meat and typical Cretan pastries like ‘kalitsounia’, a salty or sweet cheese pie;
  • Visit Tabakaria a district with old leather processing houses found on the rocky eastern side of the city of Chania; 
  • Visit the Greek Orthodox Cathedral: the Greek Orthodox Cathedral at Plateia Mitropoleos was built on the same spot where a Venetian church used to be. When the Ottoman Turks invaded Chanià,, they’d turned that churched into a soap factory. Nothing was saved, except for one statue of the Virgin Mary. It may have been karma or not, but the factory went out of business. When it did, the owner decided to give the building back to the city of Chanià, and a new church was built, holding the Mary statue from the original church. The Cathedral is also known as the Panagia Trimartiri because it has three aisles, one dedicated to the Virgin Mary, one to Saint Nicholas and one to the Three Cappadocian Fathers; 
  • Walk along the Venetian Harbour: the Venetian Harbour was built by the Venetians between 1320 and 1356. It doesn’t serve as a port for the large ships anymore now, you will find only fishing boats, yachts and sailing boats. There are many restaurants and cafes around the harbour where you can sit and enjoy the breathtaking sunset; 
  • For beautiful photos: it’s best to walk to the other end of the harbour, from where you have a great view of the Venetian Lighthouse;
  • What to buy: for local food products like cheese, honey, olives and olive oil (Crete is famous for its olive oil) you can pay a visit to the market hall. From the numerous shops around the alleys, you can buy traditional local products like pottery, Raki (traditional alcoholic drink), leather goods and knives (many shops can engrave whatever you want in your traditional Cretan knife) and any kind. of souvenir.
  • Where to eat in Chanià
    • Arismari Cretan Creative: best greek breakast I have ever had in front of a deep blu sea with cofee, orange juice, fresh bread and local honey and marmelade! You will find it at Akti Kountourioti 55
    • Tamam :  nice restaurant squeezed in an alley behind the Venetian port serving traditional food from Micra Asia and Crete. You will find it at Zampeliou 49
    • Enetikon Restaurant: beautiful atmosphere and above all excellent grilled octopus with Whan ite Greek Wine, at  57 Zampeliou Str
  • Where to sleep: there are different kind of accomodation in Chanià, the easisest way to find the best one that fits your need is to book on booking.com. There are lots of nice hotels in the Old Town, that is the best area where to stay because you have all around

Greece has a way of capturing my heart! 

Enjoy it ! 

Stefania

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

 

“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”― Plato

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

Paris, 7th Arrondissement

I love French Cheeses and Wines and thanks to them I started a love affair with Paris  !  had dreamed of taking this trip foa long time:  for seeing Paris before I die and for changing my mind about "the snobbish French"  who look down on anybody! I do not  know If that  happened. I need to come back and to spend more than 5 days there ! That's why I realized I have never been to Paris yet!

Paris, 7th Arrondissement: 1st  Day

Last Easter I visited my lovely friend Debby who worked in a delicious restaurant near Notre Dame de Paris called "Il Ristorante di Como".  I landed in Beauvais–Tillé Airport . After 30 minutes by bus I reached my hotel in Rue Daguerre, where I stayed only for a night, because my friend's new apartment, where she had to move the same day I arrived,  wasn't ready to be used. I will remember  my  glass of Poully Fumé (purely Sauvignon Blancforever, my favourite  French White Wine , paired with oysters, but I will forget my stay in that accomodation for its stuffy smell and a shared shower I never reserved it at all ! So average prices in  Paris is not, however, a guarantee of quality! I was sure of being able to recover myself the following day with my friend.

Paris, 7th Arrondissement: 2nd  Day 

My first morning in Paris was nicely framed with a dark coffee , an unforgettable butter croissant and my thought fixed in meeting my friend Debby and relaxing myself  in her flat in the 7th arrondisement late in the evning after my visit at Louvre!

Debby's flat was so messy -previous homeowner's fault-that I kissed my appartament's ground as I was back home! My reward was not only my time with my friends, but Paris as well.  I can’t tell you if Paris , this magic city by the Seine, was hot or cold that day while I was walking towards the desidered goal.  I can’t tell you if it rained. All I know is that I loved it! It made an impression on me. I was thoroughly taken with the big, gothic churches, the wide, tree-lined boulevards, the museums, parks, and brasseries. Definitely, I had the right quantity of energy  for  the Louvre, my favorite museums of all time.  The Louvre Palace  is a former Royal Palace located on the Right Bank of the Seine in Paris, between the Tuileries Gardens and the church of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. Originally a fortress built in the medieval period, it became a royal palace in the 14th century under Charles V  and was used from time to time by the kings of France as their main Paris residence. Its present structure has evolved in stages since the 16th century. In 1793 part of the Louvre became a public museum with an exhibition of 537 works of art. Its collection steadily grew throughout the 18th and 19th century, but ultimately slowed during the World Wars. Luckily, much of the art in the museum was moved and protected during the wars and most of the truly important pieces were saved. In early 1945, after the Liberation of France, the works were moved back to the museum. There are eight categories of art in the Louvre; Egyptian Antiquities, New Eastern Antiquities, Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Islamic Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, Paintings, and Prints and Drawings. The museum is spread out over 60,600 square meters.  I knew the 7 hours I planned to spend there wasn’t going to be nearly enough. But I never thought I’d walk away after seeing something for 7  hours feeling like I saw nothing!  The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world with thousands of square feet of space and millions of exhibits. It houses pieces from classical times to the 19th century. Even with  maps, I got lost wandering the hallways. The museum is just too big!  There are nearly 400,000 objects in the museum, separated into eight different categories that include 35,000 works of Art.

My art interests laid in three places and some must-see works :

There were such  astonishingly beautiful things to see, but just walking the full length of all the galleries, without stopping to look, took me  the best part of the rest of the day!

 

Paris, 7th Arrondissement: 3rd Day, 4th and 5th days

Top 6 things to do in Paris in my last 3 days : 

  • Eiffel Tower : this is without doubt the most iconic landmark in Paris (if not France!), and a visit here is a must for any visit to Paris. There are a number of ways to enjoy Eiffel Tower. First, you can just enjoy the views of the tower, which we think are particularly good from the Trocadero Gardens across the river, or the Champ de Mars gardens behind the Eiffel Tower. You can also go up inside the Eiffel Tower to one of the different floors, for expansive views of the city.
  • Notre Dame:  it is the major Catholic Cathedral in a Seine river cruise. Construction of this magnificent building took nearly two hundred years, and was completed in 1345. Entry to  Notre Dame is free, although you do have to go through security, and lines are sometimes long.
  • Arc de Triomphe: it's a key place of major national eventsWanted by Napoleon in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in 1836 by French king, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire. The Unknown Soldier was buried at the base of the arch in 1921. The flame of remembrance is rekindled every day at 18:30.
  • Montmartre: it is  one of the prettiest parts of Paris, built on a hill on the northern-most extremity of the city,Montmartre stands out from the rest of the capital, visible from afar and topped by the Sacré Cœur basilica. Its winding maze of sloping, cobbled streets and steep staircases give it its own distinct atmosphere and, at nearly every turn, reveal stunning panoramic views of the rest of Paris and lovely expanses of sky.
  • Musée d'Orsay : before you get here, you’re going to take a walk along Paris’s iconic left bank, from Notre Dame to the Musée d'Orsay. This isn’t too far, but you’ll see the booksellers and get a feel for this part of town.
  • Cafè de Flore:  is one of the oldest coffeehouses in Paris celebrated for its famous clientele, which in the past included high-profile writers and philosophers.
  • Night cruise on the river Seine: Treat yourself to an unforgettable night in Paris with a Seine River Cruise.

This was a great choice! I  think that was  the perfect amount of things not to miss giving me the chance to see many of the top sights and attractions of Paris and really got a feel for the city. Of course, if you have longer, that’s even better, but 5  days is certainly enough to see a lot!

Enjoy it! 

Stefania 

Top 10 things to do in Pisa

Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Although Pisa is known worldwide for its Leaning tower (the Bell Tower of the City’s Cathedral), the city of over 88,627 residents (around 200,000 with the metropolitan area) contains more than 20 other historic churches, several palaces and various bridges across the River Arno . Much of the city’s architecture was financed from its history as one of the Italian Maritime Republics. The city is also home of the University of Pisa, which has a history going back to the 12th century and also has the mythic Napoleonic Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies as the best sanctioned Superior Graduate Schools in Italy.

Pisa , The Leaning Tower , what else? Top 10 things !

When Pisa is mentioned, everybody thinks about its tower,  but this impressive “Leaning Bell Tower” it’s just one of the many monuments you can find in this nice Tuscan city.

The beautiful “Piazza del Duomo” collects, in a unique architectural complex in the world, the so called “Campo dei  Miracoli (Miracles Square), the main religious monuments of the city: the Tower,the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the “Campo Santo” (the graveyard).  Pisa, however, it’s not just about this square: it will be enough to move just a little to discover the artistic beauty that make Pisa one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. Buildings, monuments and museums keep alive the memory of a past time during which Pisa was the  Maritime Republic and, for a long time, the undisputed master of the Mediterranean sea . 

1. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: the Leaning Tower of Pisa

Symbol of the city, thanks to its characteristic slope, this tower is the most famous monument of “Piazza del Duomo” and it was built between the XII and the XIV century.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa  leans because the ground gave during its early stage of construction, and since then it has remained in this way. Even if it could looks scaring, you don’t have to worry about it: the vertical axis, passing through its centre of gravity, falls into the support base, so the tower will never fall down, unless the laws of physics should be subverted. We don’t have certain informations about who built this tower, maybe it was the architect Diotisalvi, who in that period was working at the Baptistery. But even if there are several analogies between the two monuments the diatribe about the paternity of the tower is still open.  

2. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa:the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Pisa

The Cathedral of Pisa, dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, is the most significant example of the Pisa Romanesque Art.

The architect Buscheto joined the classical tradition with elements from the Norman, Byzantine, Pre-Christian and Arabic Arts, creating a new style which anticipated the Florentine Renaissance. It testifies the prestige that the Maritime Republic of Pisa reached in its moment of maximum power. Its construction began in 1604, in the same date of the beginning of the works of  the Basilica of San Marco in Venice; probably it was risen a sort of silent competition between the two Republics for who was able to build the most beautiful and sumptuous worship place. The current aspect of the the Cathedral of Pisa is the result of continues restauration works made in different epochs. During the IX century some of the statues has been substituted with copies, the originals are now  in the Museum of Opera del Duomo of Pisa.

3. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: Pisa Baptistery

The Pisa Baptistery too forms the monumental complex of “Piazza del Duomo” (“Cathedral Square” or “Miracle’s Square”). Its construction began in 1153 thanks to the architect Diotisalvi, as an  inscription inside an interior pillar testifies, but a lot of the sculptures on the façade have been made by Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni.

Nicola Pisano made also the pulpit that represents scenes from the Christ’s life and subject that represents the virtues: all masterpieces testify how their creator has been one of the principals precursors of the Renaissance Art. The external dome covers only the first part of columns and probably the lack of money caused it. The dome, in fact,  is made by different materials (red shingles and lead plates); for the same reason there are no frescoes on the ceiling, even if they were on the original plan. 

 

4. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: the monumental Graveyard of Pisa

The last wonder of “Piazza del Duomo”  is the monumental “Graveyard of Pisa”, a sacred place. The crusaders brought there the saint-ground taken on the Golgotha mountain, just outside Jerusalem.

There are buried the most important People of Pisa, and there can be found art works from the Etruscan time passing through the Roman and Medieval era until the last century. Simple white marble walls guards the graves; the most important persons were buried into the garden or in the Roman sarcophagi, while the other were buried under the arcades. In the XIX century “Graveyard of Pisa”, was restructured, the sarcophagi was moved under the arcades to protect them, so currently everything is under them. The mix between celebration of the history and the death made this “Graveyard of Pisa”, one of the most visited place during 1800 until the second world war bombardments caused serious damages to the frescoes. In 1945 started the renovation works and they are  still in progress.

5. Top 10 Things to do in PisaBanks of the Arno

Pisa is also known for its Banks of the Arno: all the streets that go along the Arno are an important point of meeting for young people and reference’s point for the tourists. There are important buildings, dated back to the Middle Age, that during the centuries have been transformed. Towers, bridges and buildings, in spite of their actual Renaissance appearance, have a medieval soul, which can’t be ignored by the eye of an attentive tourist.

Among the great number of the banks of the Arno, the most famous is the Medicean one which hosts a great number of historical buildings, such as:  Palazzo dei Medici, Palazzo Toscanelli and the church of Matteo in Soarta.  On the bank of the Arno Gambacorti there’s a small gothic jewel, the church of “Santa Maria della Spina”. It took this name in 1333 when it hosted  the relic of a spur from Christ’s Crown (now exposed in the church of “Santa Chiara”). If you are in Pisa on 16th June, you cannot miss the illustrations of San Ranieri: the backs of the Arno are illuminated by candle lights enhancing the outlines of all buildings and  creating a play of light and colors.

6. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa:”Piazza dei Cavalieri” –Knights Square in Pisa

 “Piazza dei Cavalieri” owes its name to the presence of the headquarter of the Order of Knights of St. Stephen.  For centuries it has been the site of a national civil power, even though today it’s above all a cultural and study place thanks to the presence of the  Scuola Normale of Pisa, housed in the Palace of the Caravan.

“Piazza dei Cavalieri”  is an example of Renaissance architecture designed by Giorgio Vasari, who decorated it  with allegorical figures and zodiacal signs. Close to it there is the beautiful “Palazzo dell’Orologio” (Clock Palace), medieval building in which it was built the “Torre della Fame” (Tower of Starvation). In the Divine Comedy Dante told the story that  the Count Ugolino della Gherardesca died in 1289, in that tower, with its children and grandchildren. The other buildings in the square are “Canonica”, “Palazzo del Consiglio dei Dodici”, the “Church of Santo Stefano” and the one of  “San Rocco”. At the center of the square stands the statue of Cosimo I as a Grand Master of the Knights.
 

7. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: the Mural made by Keith Haring in Pisa

In 1989, passing through Pisa, Keith Haring left to the city an extraordinary work of art: the mural “Tuttomondo”, painted on the rear façade of the convent of the friars “Servi di  Maria” of the “Church of St. Anthony”.

The “Church of St. Anthony”.is located close to the station, in an urban context in which the artist used to expressed itself at the best. A few months later Haring would die and this mural is one of his last works. He had this idea in  New York after a casual meeting with a Pisa student with whom he talked about world peace. The characters inside the murals are 30, stuck like a puzzle, and each one represents one aspect of a world in  peace: there are “humanized” scissors defeating the evil serpent that was eating the head of the another figure.   Then there is motherhood, represented by the woman with the baby in her arms, the nature with the two men supporting the dolphin and so on.Haring used soft colors, as a form of respect for the beauty of Pisa. He worked on it for a week, with the intention of making a permanent work, in fact, he used the colors specially made by craftsmen of the Caparol Center, tempera and acrylic that could keep intact the quality of color for a long time. After 20 years “Tuttomondo” is still there to remind us the brief and intense life of this extraordinary artist.

8. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: Narrow Borgo and Wide Borgo

If you pass through the old town centre of Pisa probably  you’ll pass through the “Narrow Borgo” (burg), or “the Borgo” as people of Pisa use to call it.

It’s the most typical street of the center, with its colonnades, the shops, the café. Along the way you can see buildings of the XIV and XV centuries that formed the nucleus of the ancient Pisa: here the noble families and merchants competed to build the most beautiful, the tallest and  colorful building. All that splendor can be seen so much today. Going along “Via delle Colonne” you can arrive in “Piazza Vettovaglie”, secular place of the food market, originally “Piazza dei Porci”. Once the arcades of “Narrow Borgo” are finished there is “Piazza del Pozzetto”.

9. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: Marina di Pisa and its Harbour 

 

Marina di Pisa and Its Tourist Harbour  (also called simply “Marina”) is a seaside town located just 12 km from Pisa and, unlikely the majority of the Tuscan cities, its foundation is rather recent.

In 1606, Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1587 to 1609, decided to reclaim the area by moving the River Arno mouth as he believed that the south-west wind could block the normal flow of the Arno River, increasing the risk of flooding in Pisa. On the left bank there was an hexagonal building surrounded by a moat, called “the Fort”, which was the custom for the river traffic. Probably the first houses of fishermen were built around this structure, but the official foundation of the town dates back to 1872, when the municipality of Pisa drew up a plan of a grid-pattern town divided by three squares connected to Pisa by a major road, currently known as “D’Annunzio Avenue” (Viale d’Annunzio). On June 23, 1892 a steam railway line from Pisa to Marina di Pisa was inaugurated (later replaced by an electric one, no longer working as well), which contributed to its rapid growth as a tourist destination. The first restaurants were built in this area, as well as beach resorts and inns. Also many beautiful Art Nouveau and Neo-Medieval Villas were built there, therefore many celebrities chose to buy a house in this new coastal town. Gabriele D’Annunzio, a famous Italian writer, poet and journalist, brought an house here and Marina di Pisa  has been a source and inspiration of many of his poems. Marina di Pisa is  a renowned destination for summer tourism, offering many accommodation facilities. Beaches are both sandy or with pebbles, and along the coast there are many bathing facilities and restaurants. In 2013, the “Porto di Pisa” harbor was inaugurated just 10 minutes away from the city and its famous Leaning Tower and its international Airport, Galileo Galilei. It is located in the center of the most extensive nature reserve of Tuscany, the Natural Park of Migliarino, San Rossore and Massaciuccoli, which covers about 24,000 hectares, ensuring that the view from the sea of dune plants is quite unique. The harbor has 354 seats and has been designed to be entirely walkable thus you can walk admiring the sea, the mouth of the Arno, the Apuan Alps and the port itself. Marina di Pisa offers relax and a beach break from the city, we suggest you to enjoy the seafront, a day at the (free) beaches or in a bathing establishment which is a structure with bathrooms, hot/cold showers, changing area, café and sometime restaurant. You can rent an umbrella with chairs for the day/week/month/season and the service is available seven days a week. The harbor is a perfect spot for a walk and you can have a drink or a coffee here.

 

At the end of the day you can watch the sunset by the sea at Sunset Cafè, where to relax and appreciate Food & Wine, good company and the passing of time!

 

10. Top 10 Things to do in Pisa: Night Life in Pisa

Unlike other major European cities, Pisa is far from being the most sparkling venue when it comes to nightlife opportunities.

Gven the fact that Pisa is a university city and that students represent a consistent percentage of the population, a fairly solid buzz takes hold of certain parts of Pisa at night, especially nearby the University. Students, are, as it were, the most reliable barometer as to the places fitted for drinking, making conversation and, why not, dancing and listening to live music. Thus, Pisa hosts a reasonable number of pubs, bars and clubs which yield mild and yet appealing nightlife opportunities. Tourists with a penchant for long conversations, drinking and dancing may find the center of the city to be the best fitted for their nighttime activities. “Via Lungarno” is a thoroughfare in terms of nightlife venues, the old Caffe dell’Ussero (Lungarno Pacinotti 27, Pisa, Italy) being located here for the thrill of visitors and students alike. The nearby Bazeel pub (Lungarno Pacinotti 1, Pisa, Italy) is yet another popular pub on this street, just like  Amaltea (Lungarno Mediceo 49, Pisa, Italy). All these places offer good music, a fine selection of drinks and, why not, quick snacks in the early hours of the evening. Other recommendable venues in the city of Pisa refer to:  Pick a Flower  (Via Della Sapienza 7, Pisa, Italy)  and the Borderline Club (Via G. Vernaccini 7, Pisa, Italy) have to offer.  Teatro Verdi (Via Palestro 40, Pisa, Italy) is yet another option, and this venue hosts both opera and theater representations, which is always a tempting and pleasant manner of spending evenings for enthusiasts of this kind of performances. During summer nighttime buzz seems to shift from Pisa to the nearby Coastline Resorts, such as Tirrenia, Viareggio and Marina di Pisa. If accommodated in Pisa, a trip to one of these resorts is worth making, if for nothing else, than for sampling the wonderful nightlife opportunities they put forward!

Things to eat in Pisa

Pisa Gastronomy isn’t very popular, because it isn’t very different from the Tuscany one, even if it’s more spiced and abundant . 

Here below  it is the ultimate list of top 10 Foods you must eat in Tuscany with links to  recipes.

 

Lampredotto sandwich

1. Lampredotto (Street Food)

Crostini toscani

2. Crostini Toscani (Starter)

Panzanella

3. Panzanella  (First Course or Starter)

Lardo di Colonnata

4. Lardo di Colonnata (Cured meet served as Starter)

Ribollita

5. Ribollita (First Course)

Pappa al pomodoro

6. Pappa al Pomodoro (First Course)

Caciucco

7. Cacciucco (Fish Stew)

Bistecca alla fiorentina

8. Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Meat)

Castagnaccio

9. Castagnaccio (Dessert)

oliven oil

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

11. Tuscany Wine 

 

Where to sleep in Pisa

Pisa attracts about 1 million of different tourists: there are many foreigners, Italians who visit for a school weekend, many trips and even a good number of people who commute to the city to take advantage of the excellent local hospitals.

It’s therefore not easy to find a cheap room, especially in high season and during periods of school trips. I suggest, therefore, to book in advance especially if you want three stars midrange hotels in the tourist areas. Hotel prices in the center start from 80 € per night in a double room including breakfast. A good alternative are the hotels and cottages on the outskirts of Pisa. If you are looking for a right accomodation in Pisa, go to Booking.com . There is a big choice  with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. 

Travelers come from all locations of the world to discover the Beauty of Pisa for several reasons: Art, Culture, Friendly People, Wine & Food, extraordinary country side ,  attractive beaches and  weather (spring and late summer are the best times to visit  Pisa)

Click  here Pisa Unica Terra  and discover what you can experience in this Beautiful City!

Enjoy It ! 

Stefania

Vinitaly 2018

 Verona, “The City of Love & Wine”.

There is no world without Verona walls
But purgatory, torture, hell itself.
Hence “banishèd” is banished from the world,
And world’s exile is deat” (Shakespeare, Act III, Scene III
 
 
There are thousands of reasons to visit  Verona : not only for  Juliet’s balcony, but also for Vinitaly
 
During the Vinitaly I spent a weekend in Verona by friends of mine . Of course this “City of Lovers” has much to offer travellers beyond the famous, dramatic love story.  Verona is a beautiful town with great history, and  most of the sights are very close to each other, so it was possible for me to stroll trough almost all of the town’s must-see places. The best way to start exploring Verona was to go to the Piazza Bra, where you can find many restaurants to have lunch or dinner, and then towards  the famous  Arena of Verona, which resembles the Colosseum in Rome. Nowadays this Roman amphitheatre is used like a concert hall. A further must-see step was  Piazza delle Erbe: a Market Square surronded by elegant buildings (the Old Town Hall,  Torre dei Lamberti,  Palazzo Maffei, the Casa dei Mercanti , etc), with the Madonna Verona Fountain in the heart of the square. It is the central and most beautiful square in Verona, so there are always a lot of tourists drinking coffee in cafes and buying souvenirs, vegetables, and fresh fruits at the market. I  went on crossing the bridge Ponte Pietra through the Adige River then I reached the top and stopped in the little garden near the castle Castel San Pietro. From here the right side of Adige River, with the historic centre of Verona, is clearly visible. Here you can enjoy one of the best panoramic views of the town! Of course, I  couldn’t  forget about  Juliet’s House. The balcony from which Juliet supposedly talked to her Romeo is famous all over the world. It is also believed that if you write the declaration of love or leave the lock with your names on the special wall in the yard, your relationship will be happy. Touching the statue of Juliet in the yard is a sign of good fortune as well!
 

From Piemonte to Veneto, from Tuscany to Puglia to Sicily. Let’s explore together what modern Italian Wines are all about!

Located in the unforgettable city of Verona in Northern Italy, in the heart of ValpolicellaVinitaly is the biggest exhibition about wine in Italy and for sure one of the biggest in the world . Thousands of producers and distributors from all 20 regions of Italy  and from  all over the World present their Wines at the trade fair of Verona (Veronafiere). For Wine Lovers, this is an experience not to be missed! Prior to 2018, I had always heard of Vinitaly, but I had never experienced the wonder myself. I attended Vinitaly, in April, 2018, and and I have to admit I liked  what I saw. Vinitaly is an event of international importance, and it is very big  in terms of products, distributers, and actual surface area. I walked kilometers in one day from one hall to the next and It required not only  a strong passion for wine, but even research , planning and money! With over 4200 vendors from all around Italy and other areas of the world, I  realized I couldn’t  scratch the surface of Vinitaly – above all if attending in only  1 day! I feel like I barely tried any Wines! I would have flown into a couple regions of Italian Wine, but I was able only to  try only a few Wines above all from Sicily (my homeland) , the ones I had in my mind since a lot of time. Here below  my tour! 

Castellaro Winery, Lipari . 

As fate would have it, my first stop was “Tenuta di Castellaro” Winery, Lipari, 

The Estate of Castellaro has its headquarters in Quattropiani, the highest village on the island of Lipari. The owner of the estate is Massimo Lentsch, entrepreneur from Bergamo (Milan area), who fell in love with Sicily and Sicilian Wine. Massimo Lentsch was already producing wine in Dubrovnik, but after a holiday in Lipari,  realized the high potential of this terroir and created this new company. The estate consists of several plots scattered all over the island of Lipari: “Vigna” “Maggiore”, “Lisca”, “Lisca Alta”, “Caolino” and “Gelso” are the main. The greater area is located in “Castellaro” and from this vineyard is after named the estate. A very important event was the meeting between Massimo Lentsch and the winemaker Salvo Foti, founder of the Consortium of Vigneri, who has put his great experience to produce wine in the Eolie islands in the service of the new winery. The goal of the Consortium of Vigneri is to produce wines of excellence, in full respect of the nature and island traditions.  In 2013, after four years of work, in Lipari was inaugurated the cellar of the estate, with a solemn ceremony in which, in addition to local authorities, was attended by a delegation of Japanese operators. This is the largest winery of the Eolie Islands, modern with very low environmental impact, all geared to the natural production of wine, where the wine making process takes place by gravity, without the use of pumps, where the musts are fermented on indigenous yeasts. In volcanic soils rich in pumice and obsidian have found an exceptionally habitat grapes varieties such as Malvasia di Lipari, Carricante and Nero d’Avola, and the wines produced, almost a tribute to the nature of the soil, bear the names of stones.

 

Benanti Winery, Catania, Mount Etna.

Last summer I wanted to go to Mount Etna to visit the “Benanti” Winery, but I couldn’t for several reasons and I promised myself to find a way to do it once in my life!

It’s easy to imagine I dashed for this unique Winery at Vinitaly, that gave me the possibility to meet the producers in person. First thing, I was impressed was for their elegance: their manners, their way of thinking, their personality and their kindness to tell me the story of their family. Antonio Benanti, a charming Sicilian entrepreneur, started talking about their Top Red and White Wines. I tasted them and they are stunning. These wines are unique, because they are produced from three local noble grapes variety you cant’t find nowhere in the world: Carricante (white), Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio! They are so special, because they are located in Mount Etna that is an insane place to produce wine: volcanic soil, wildly unpredictable weather and steep slopes. This  is the reason why Etna has become one of Italy’s most exciting wine regions, creating wines with intense minerality and effusive flavors.  I asked Antonio the secret of their success and he answered simply : “passion, hard job and professionality”. Antonio with his brother Salvino belongs to the new generation of ambitious winemakers that are pioneering the potential’s of Etna vineyards focusing on what it does best.  Twin brothers Salvino and Antonio Benanti, 42,  spent their lives side by side: growing up in Sicily, studying at business school, working banking jobs in London and then returning to Sicily to take over the family winery.  In 2012 their father, Giuseppe Benanti, handed them the “Benanti” Winery . Giuseppe Benanti, now 73, is a third-generation Catania pharmacist who built a successful international ophthalmological products company. In the late 1980s Giuseppe began investing in a dream of making great wines in Mount Etna reviving a family old passion with an extensive and selective study of the Etnean soils. But it was with the twins that there was a qualitative leap. In the past  “Benanti” Winery had lost some of its identity, producing too many wines of varying quality. The brothers knew what they wanted to do and wasted no time:  the day after Giuseppe transferred ownership to his sons, they started a revolution!  The brothers sold off vineyards in southeastern Sicily along with mediocre performers on Etna, dramatically slashed the number of bottlings from more than 20 to 8,  and eliminated use of international varieties. Their idea was to invest in their core wines. Those that “Benanti” Winery  does best are its elegant, single-vineyard Etna flagships: including the Etna White Superiore Pietramarina 2012,  made from the ancient native variety Carricante, and two reds—the Etna Rovittello 2012 and Serra della Contessa 2012 made from local grapes Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio. Today the “Benanti” Winery  farms about 30 acres, producing close to 13,000 cases annually. Benanti Wines—which five years ago were exported only to Japan, Norway and one U.S. state—now ship to 30 countries. American distribution has expanded from New York only to 11 other states.  Today Benanti is a prestigious winery and its wines are some of the most awarded in Sicily.

  

Fina Winery, Marsala

Fill your glass with “Kikè” (white,  Traminer and Sauvignon Blanc)  of “Fina” Winery once in your life  ! Can you imagine ?  During a starring summer evening in front of the sea, while having a cosy fish meal somewhere in the Mediterranean! 

It happened to me and finally at the Vinitaly I met Bruno Fina,  the gentle owner of this beautiful and modern winery in Marsala,  who dedicated a little time to me for tasting his gorgeous wines. Fina’s wines are the result of a land in the territory of Marsala that is loved and fought for, they have the taste of the passion and of that grapes that have been wisely turned into wine, thanks to the dedication of the work in the vineyard. They have the familiar warmth and the experience of who has always done wine and has always know how to narrate it. This is how you transmit the hereditary character of the territory and the harmony of the men that search for excellence on a daily basis. Those are the fundamental element of Fina’s winery and for this reason Brunoconsiders his wines as part of his family. Aiming to get the best from the surrounding territory “Fina” Winery has a modern and efficient structure transferring all the passion in rational organization of spaces and processes, in the maximum respect for the integrity of the grapes.

Finally some useful Tips, if you decide to go to Vinitaly next year: 

  • Book Vinitaly tickets in advance on line: they were € 80 per person for a 1 day pass and €145 for all 4 days. If you are affiliated with a Wine-Related Trade (sommelier, restaurant owner, shop owner, blogger, etc.), it is possible to have a discount. If you know someone  who is somehow involved in the Wine Business, they can sign up for a free entrance.  The reason why  Vinitaly is so expensive was because of issues with drunk people in the past.  Lastly, if you are  a journalist, a blogger  and so on, you can request a Free 4-days Pass to Vinitaly;
  • Stay Overnight in Verona: If you have the chance to stay in Verona during the festival, do it! The city comes alive with all sorts of dining and wine events. BUT make sure you make reservations for any dinners in advance, as most restaurants are sure to fill up
  • Stay longer than 1 day:  and figure out a plan; 
  • Go on One of the Last Two Days: If you have to pick a day, pick one of the last two days of the festival. By then, the crowds have died down; 
  • Spend time on Vinitaly’s website:  that offers a plethora of useful information about the philosophy, logistics, and wineries at the festival,  conducting some preliminary research for your visit;
  • Get the Vinitaly App: it lists every single vendor by country, region, and type of wine. the Vinitaly App also has a map of the Event and a location capability that can help you find saved wineries once you arrive; 
  • If you want to get to Vinitaly consider public transport: if you’re coming from outside of Verona. I  caught a train to Verona Porta Nuova (main train station), then immediately hopped on the Vinitaly free shuttle bus. It dropped us off right in front of the event, and it took only 3-4 minutes to drive. There are multiple free shuttles running all over the city. See theVinitaly website for more info; 
  • Go Early: plan to arrive right at 9:30 when the doors open. Your chances of peacefully enjoying some wine are much higher earlier in the day; 
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: I’d recommend choosing somewhere in between from casual to formal dress , but please  comfortable shoes for walking around the event itself!
  • Be smart: this event is huge and there are thousands of wines you can try.  You don’t have to try every single wine from every winery. Another strategy? Sip and spit. Really. You can try WAY more wine if you can manage spitting out much of the wine. That’s literally what the dump buckets are there for. No one will look at you weird!; 
  • Bring lots of Business Cards: If you are in a wine-related business in any way, bring lots of business cards. This event is a wonderful opportunity for networking and getting to know people; 
  • Food brought from home:  there are multiple places you can eat at the event, that means an endless queue and an additional cost . Anyway, there are lots of  cafes around the event in case you need something strong to awake your self from sleep! 

Vinitaly is the Wine-Education Experience of a Life Time: You can get an amazing wine education experience at Vinitaly.

 

Enjoy it! 

Stefania