Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let's Get Ready To Travel!

6 Months Before You Travel to Europe
Click the link above to see what you should be doing six months before your vacation. Here's the basics of travel planning we'll help you with:
•Choosing a destination - the big task this month!
•European Guidebooks
•Renting a vacation house
•Learning a language
This is the time to start to choose where you'd like to go, and maybe start thinking about guidebooks. We'll discuss an option for your European vacation that you probably haven't considered, but one which will save money, especially for families--renting a vacation house for a week. We'll also consider learning a language, or at least learning the "polite" words which usually open doors--as if by magic!--for the independent traveler.

3 Months Before You Travel to Europe
Three months before you go is the right time to get serious about your European Vacation Planning:
•Finding the Best Airfare
•Apply for a Passport if you haven't already
•Start thinking about walking shoes!
At this point you'll still be doing some things from three months ago. That's ok, but we're going to add some things, like finding airfares, and getting a passport if you don't already have one. And you'll be walking a lot in Europe, so it's time to think about good, solid walking shoes that you can wear to a good restaurant. There's nothing worse than to have to lug around many shoes, believe me.

2 Months Before You Travel to Europe
A couple months or so before you go you'll need to figure out where to stay and how to get around:
•Hotel Reservations
•Train or Car - Time to choose your main transportation
•Car? Rent or Lease?
•Train? Rail Pass or Point to Point tickets?

1 Month Before You Travel to Europe
Think STUFF! One month before you to, it's time to get your stuff together:
•Travel Insurance
Yes, by now you've got a route, reservations, a way to get around Europe--so it's time to think off all the stuff you're going to bring, including the all-important money.

Right Before You Travel to Europe - Final Checklist!
Time for those last minute checks before boarding the plane for that European vacation!
•Call Your Credit Card Companies
•Got Meds? Write Down the Details
•Pack Light. Pack Right.
•Final Check - Packing List and Department of State Travel Warnings

Map Out Your Italy Trip! your travel planning with this interactive map of Western Europe

How to Use the European Travel Planning Map

Place your mouse cursor over a country with map and traveler essential coverage and it'll turn orange. Click it and you'll be whisked off to that country's map and essentials page, listing all the resources on this site for that country, including tourist destinations, pictures, rail maps, and information that tourists need to be informed: languages, eating out, tipping, weather, and transportation.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monte Carlo and Nearby Hotel Reviews

Hotels in Monte Carlo and surrounding areas, catch a train from Lake Como to Monaco via Milan.  Four Hour drive, or 6 to 8 hour train ride.  If you plan to see Monte Carlo after Bellagio, flying out of Nice would be the easiest way back to New York and the States. Updated Train info after the January 1st.  See Monte Carlo before or after Bellagio Week.  During the week may waste up to two days.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How did Italy Get It's Name?

It's a long story! Italy as a geographical area was mentioned as far back as during the age of the highly civilized Etruscan people, as is borne out by the manuscripts kept in some museums, especially in Tuscany and Latium. These in fact were the regions where most Etruscan settlements are found, although they also populated Umbria, Campania and some zones of what is now Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.
Then came the Romans who, starting from the 3rd century BC, unified the whole peninsula under their dominion (and indeed most of Europe in general).
The word Italia appears on a coin dating back to the 1st century BC which was minted by the confederation of the Italic peoples who rose up against Rome. The coin was found in the region of Abruzzo in Corfinio, the ancient Corfinium, capital of the confederation with the name of Italica. The long Roman domination (from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD) has left an indelible mark in Italy with its roads, aqueducts, temples, monuments, towns and cities, bridges, theatres and so on - all relics and memories of a past that is remote and yet also very present, a past that can be seen in every part of the country. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Italy was invaded and dominated for centuries by foreign populations, especially in the south and Sicily. Thanks to the success of independent city states in the Centre and North such as Venice, Florence, Siena, Genoa, and Milan, Italy nevertheless became a flourishing and civilised country of trade and the arts. Later however, the small independent states could not hold out against the invasions of the great states of Spain and Austria. Only the small kingdom of Piedmont remained independent and after the interlude of Napoleon's occupation it became the "driving force" behind il Risorgimento, the great movement that led to the unification of Italy in 1870 under the Royal House of Savoia.

How to Eat An Italian Roast Beef Sandwich!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bellamo, on the Shores of Lake Como

Bellano located on the eastern shore of Lake Como is a small, intimate but extremely well serviced town.

Bellano is located on the eastern shore of Lake Como. This small town, has escaped mass tourism and is is surrounded by a lovely landscape characterized by beautiful lakeside walks. The old town centre is characterized by interesting tight alleys with medieval houses, arches that date back to the 17th century and Baroque courts.
From the old town centre go up until you find the spot where the Pioverna stream forms the Orrido, a gorge dug in the rocks, formed more than 15 million years ago and in the past used to exploit to iron. Today it can be visited passing through narrow hanging passages.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Telling Time In Italy!

Photo: Ancient Mass Graves of Soldiers, w/bottles of Mike Colonna's Famous Limoncello!

Archeologists have uncovered thousands of graves holding the remains of fifth-century BC soldiers near the ancient Greek colony of Himera, in Italy.

Also included in the burials were arrowheads, amphorae, and infants with baby bottles-like vessels. Researchers think the adult skeletons are from soldiers who died fighting the Carthaginians in a famous 480 BC battle described by Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus.

Grand Hotel, Bellagio

Diners feast on local seafood along the terrace of the Grand Hotel in Bellagio, the "pearl of the lake." The resort of Bellagio commands one of Italy's most scenic vistas of Lake Como, whose glorious setting has inspired the likes of Verdi, Liszt, and Shelley.