Author Archives: giratravel

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The Kingdom of Tavolara – You can see it from Villa Bianca

You might already know a lot about Italy, but have you ever heard of the Kingdom of Tavolara?  Located on the beautiful island of Tavolara off the northeastern coast of Sardinia, it is an “imaginary state” that was set up … Continue reading

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Cast an Eye on the Borromean Islands from Villa Camilla

One of the pleasures of staying on Lake Maggiore is a leisurely trip to the Borromean Islands that sit peacefully off the coast of Stresa.  Boats leave throughout the day from Stresa’s docks and travel frequently between the three islands. … Continue reading

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Villa Cetinale – One of Edith Wharton’s favorites

In 1904, Edith Wharton published “Italian Villas and Their Gardens“, on assignment from Century magazine. During her four month visit, she documented her observations of Italy’s most beautiful gardens.  Her book is considered one of the earliest and most important works … Continue reading

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My introduction to Italy’s craft beers

I am not a craft beer expert, but I know what I like.  Living in Denver, it seems like we are at the epicenter of an explosion of creativity and flavor that seems to know no bounds. People here really … Continue reading

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How not to speed in Italy

When you travel on Italy’s super highways and through its small villages, you will notice that electronic speed controls are everywhere.  This is actually a very good thing which has altered driving habits in Italy and improved traffic safety. If … Continue reading

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Thinking back on Il Palazzo di Mantova

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our stay at Il Palazzo di Mantova, and how much we enjoyed visiting the medieval city of Mantova (also called Mantua–you remember, Romeo was ‘banished’ to there.) We had an in-depth personal tour … Continue reading

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Sacre Monte – The Sacred Mount above Lake Orta

We often find ourselves going back to Orta San Giulio, the warm and friendly medieval town on Lake Orta.  There is something artistic about it, to be sure.  But there is also a sacred atmosphere here as well. This year … Continue reading

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Italy’s new tourism tax: What you should know

In March 2011, the Italian legislature passed a decree that created a new tourism tax to be paid by visitors to Italy, and collected by the accommodations where they are staying. The purpose is to raise revenue that municipalities can … Continue reading

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Okay, we’re going. So where do we begin?

This is an excerpt from A Villa of My Own, our guide to selecting and enjoying your Italian vacation rental. Select the link to download a free copy.   Before you start searching for a villa, you’re going to need … Continue reading

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What is a ‘Chiavetta’ and Why Would I Need One?

The Internet is an important part of Italian life, and there are various ways to access it. If you are carrying a smart phone, this will usually have access. If you are carrying a lap top or iPad, it’s possible … Continue reading

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