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Bid on an Amazing Donna Franca Vacation at the Italianissimo Fundraiser in Boston!

August 28, 2015
Donna Franca Tours is donating a deluxe vacation package for two to the Eternal City of Rome, and to the breathtaking Amalfi Coast valued at $11,050.00!
 
The auction is taking place at an annual fundraiser which will be held on September 25, 2015 at the Museum of Science, Washburn Pavillion.
 
Italianissimo Sotto Le Stelle is a celebration of all things Italian, and the proceeds of the benefit will help build the Italian Cultural Center of Boston.
This luxury vacation package will include:
                                                                                          
  • Six nights accommodation in select centrally located hotels
  • Three nights in a double superior room at the luxurious four star Hotel Barocco located near the Spanish Steps
  • Three nights in a double superior room with balcony overlooking the sea at the stunning five star Le Agavi Hotel
  • Buffet breakfast daily,  2 lunches and 2 dinners with wine
  • Airport transfers by private car and driver Rome & Naples
  • Four-hour private guided sightseeing of Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel by private car, driver and lecturer
  • Three-hour private guided sightseeing of Imperial Rome by private car, driver and lecturer
  • Private car transfer from the Rome hotel to the Positano hotel
  • Private excursion to Pompeii with a two hour private guide/lecturer of the Archaeological Park
  • Wine tasting with lunch at the Sorrentino Winery located on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius
  • Full day private guided excursion to Capri & Anacapri
  • Full day private mini cruise on board a Wellcraft 34 Series Yacht along the Amalfi Coast with drinks and snacks
  • Arrival and departure transfers by private car and English speaking driver in Rome and Naples

To bid on this vacation package,  or to purchase a ticket to  Italianissimo Sotto Le Stelle at http://ficcb.it/en/support.
 

 

Donna Franca's Top 5 Destinations in Southern Italy

August 24, 2015
 
Southern Italy boasts some of the oldest cities in Italy, as well as a number of important archaeological sites from what was once part of  "Magna Grecia".   This colorful part of the Italian Peninsula offers picturesque  ocean views, ancient stone structures and healthy Mediterranean cuisine.  Here is a look at some of the top destinations in Southern Italy:
 
1. Tropea- Once believed to be founded by Hercules, this ancient  town sits among sugar sand beaches and stark cliffs. The town is known for its two most churches- the Santa Maria del'Isola, a medieval church that was built on its own island just off the coast and the cathedral where two unexploded bombs from WWII sitting are still sitting right outside their front door. 
In the Norman cathedral of Tropea there is a picture of Virgin Mary of Romania.
The legend says that a boat coming from the East-Byzantine Empire was driven into the port of Tropea by a storm. After repairing the damage, the captain tried to leave, but the ship still stayed in the harbor. That same night, the Bishop of the city, Ambrogio Cordova, dreamed of the Virgin Mary asking him to stay in Tropea and becoming its Protectress. The dream repeated itself for several nights. Eventually the bishop summoned the senior officials and the citizens, and together they went to the port to take the picture of the Virgin Mary. As soon as the painting was brought to shore the ship departed.  Since then it is believed that The Virgin Mary p saved the city from several earthquakes
 
2.  Paestum-  This ancient Greek city was originally called Poseidonia for the god of the sea.It is home of three Greek temples. The oldest temple is Temple of Hera built around 550 BC by Greek colonists. 
 
 
3. Capri- Capri's most famous natural attraction is the Blue Grotto, a waterfront cave that's accessible by boat when the tide is right. Riding the Seggiovia chair-lift in the city of Anacapri to the summit of Monte Solaro is a favorite activity too. The 15-minute trip offers spectacular views of the island and sea.
 
 
4. Pompeii-  Pompeii is a vast archaeological site in southern Italy's Campania region. Once a thriving  Roman port city, Pompeii was buried under meters of volcanic ash and pumice after the catastrophic eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 B.C. Located near the Bay of Naples, the site features excavated ruins that offers visitors a glimpse into ancient Roman life. 
 
 
5. Amalfi Coast-  Spend your days exploring the shops and galleries of Positano, savoring the famous "Limoncello," a cordial made from locally grown, mouthwatering lemons, and make sure to take in the spectacular panoramic view from the panoramic terraces Villa Rufolo in Ravello.  This patchwork of lush forests, and sheer cliffs over the jewel-toned Mediterranean is stunning and familiar, as it is the backdrop of many a Hollywood classic. There are small towns and villages in which to stay, shop, and eat, and indulge in "La Dolce Vita"!

Majestic Vistas of Tuscany on Sale Now!!

August 17, 2015

Take advantage of our special offer to Tuscany!

Book your vacation before August 31, 2015, and enjoy the Majestic Vistas of Tuscany for only $1199.00 per person, double occupancy.

Our 6 Day 5 Night vacation includes the following:

  • Five nights in a double or triple suite at the Villa La Nottola, a lovely country inn situated in the heart of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wine country
  • Welcome basket of fresh fruit in your room
  • Welcome drink with introduction to the area by your hosts
  • Buffet breakfast daily, hotel taxes and service
  • Three dinners with wine at the Villa
  • Wine, olive oil, and cheese tastings, hosted by a sommelier at the Villa, followed by lunch
  • Hands-on, 2-hour culinary class with English instruction at the Villa La Nottola Restaurant
  • Visit to Enoteca La Fortezza in Montalcino, including a wine tasting of the internationally acclaimed Brunello di Montalcino, with admission to the fortress ramparts offering spectacular views of the Val d'Orcia
  • Category EDMR VW Polo 4 door 5 speed manual shift with air conditioning for six days including the 22% VAT, unlimited free mileage, insurance coverage with zero deductible and 24-hour road assistance to explore the surrounding gems of Montalcino, Pienza, Cortona, Lake Trasimeno, and Citta' della Pieve

    (A private, chauffeur-driven program may also be arranged upon request)

Top 5 Celebrity Vacation Spots in Italy

July 27, 2015

 

When high profile celebrities need  to escape from their admirers and paparazzi, many flock to Italy for some well deserved R+R. Why not join them this summer for a romantic getaway! With the world's most exotic beaches, exclusive nightlife, luxurious resorts, and great cuisine, Italy will pamper and regenerate your body and spirit.   Here are the top 5 vacation spots where celebrities congregate.

 

1. Lake Como. This lake has been a popular retreat for aristocrats and wealthy people since Roman times. George Clooney, Madonna, Donatella Versace and Sir Richard Branson all own or have owned villas on northern Italy's idyllic Lake Como.

2. Venice.The waterfront city is one of the hottest spost for celebrity sightings. Amal and George Clooney got married in Venice last September and spent their wedding night in one of the most luxurious properties in Venice, the 7-star Aman Canal Grand Hotel. Jay-Z and Beyonce celebrated Beyonce's 30th birthday in Venice and Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie own a Venice home.

3. Capri. Famously the favorite destination of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the enchanting island of Capri continues to draw stars like Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mariah Carey, Lindsay Lohan, Tom Cruise, Tommy Hilfiger, and the Ferragamo family.

4. Rome.  When Derek Jeter visited Italy last month with his supermodel girlfriend, Hannah Davis, the couple chose Rome.  With so much to do in the Italian capital, the couple got gelato, shopped at Chanel and Cartier and ate pizza by the Spanish Steps. 

5.   Tuscany.  The Tuscan region is not only wine country, but is where some of the most famous celebrities own property.   Musician Sting, fashion designer Giorgio Armani, opera star Andrea Bocelli, actor Richard Gere and actor Antonio Banderas all own villas under the Tuscan sun.

Contact our Italian Vacation Specialists today at  617-375-9400 or click here to send us an e mail!

Our Top Five Italy Vacations

July 27, 2015

 

1.  ALLURING AMALFI COAST- Spend your days exploring the shops and galleries of Positano, savoring the famous "Limoncello," a cordial made from locally grown, mouthwatering lemons, and make sure to take in the spectacular panoramic view of Naples from the ultimate Caruso rooftop bar and Garden.

2.  ITALIAN FEVER- Featuring The Three Cultural Capitals of Italy.  Rome (3 nights), Florence (3 nights), Venice (2 nights) with visits to Pompeii, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, and Chianti.
 
3. SICILIAN FEVER- Our 9 days/8 nights Sicilian Fever itinerary for 2015 features the cities of Palermo, Agrigento, Syracuse and Taormina, with visits to Mondello, Monreale, Erice, Caltabellotta, Piazza Armerina, Noto, Ragusa, Catania and Mount Etna.
 
4. MAJESTIC VISTAS OF TUSCANY- One of the world's most photographed landscapes is located in the heart of Tuscany, where the "Crete Senesi" and "Val d'Orcia" give birth to majestic cypress trees, fragrant olive groves and breathtaking views. These spectacular vistas are the inspiration for the background scenes in numerous Renaissance paintings by great masters such as Leonardo da Vinci. Experience all the beauty and charm of Tuscany by journeying along her back roads in search of myriad hidden treasures.
 

5. FABLED CINQUE TERRE- The Cinque Terre are five coastal villages in the Province of Le Spezia in the Ligurian Region of Italy. Their names are Monterosso Al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.

Why Visit Italy in the Fall?

July 9, 2015

Autumn is the opportune time to travel to Italy. Mild temperatures, the grape harvest and authentic food festivals are just a few examples of what Italy has to offer. Here are 3 reasons why you need to visit in the Fall.

1.  Wine Country in Tuscany: 

September is the month of the grape harvest in Tuscany, the vendemmia. Both small and large producers will be working full time to produce their wine, so this is the perfect time to go on a wine tour.  While your in Tuscany, you can't miss the very popular Chianti Classico Wine Festival in Greve. The regions also offer delicious truffles, chestnuts and olive oil so there will be many souvenirs to take home. 

 

2.  Fall Festivals and Culture in Rome:  

Italy has many festivals in the Fall including All Saints Day on Nov. 1, Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, and plenty of music  and food festivals including truffles, chestnuts, mushrooms, grapes (and wine), chocolate, and even torrone.  The best place to be for these festivities is in the Italian capital of Rome.
 
3.  Gorgeous fall colors in Umbria:  

Like New England, regions of Italy get some of the brightest-colored leaves in the world, during the autumn season. The best places to see the fallcolors are in Italy's wooded national parks and through the countryside of Lazio, Umbria or Le Marche is a feast for the eyes. 

 

 

July Hotel of the Month: The Relais Santa Croce

July 1, 2015
A perfect balance between the luxury of a bygone era and modern comforts in the historic centre of Florence, an eighteenth century residence hosts the exclusive, refined Relais Santa Croce, a luxury hotel in Florence.
 
Surrounded by its sumptuous furnishings and frescoed ceilings, you will be assisted by highly professional staff of this hotel in Florence and delighted by the evocative nature of this truly extraordinary location in which luxury and refinement are the predominant features. 
 
To book a stay here, contact our sales agents.  View our hotels page for more details.
 
 

3 Venues to Enjoy in Italy in August

July 1, 2015

In August, many Italians take their summer holidays.  Why not join them in one of these three must visit events.  

The Tuscan Sun Festival, Cortona, Tuscany is one of the best known Italian Summer festivals and includes many renowned musicians and artists from all over Europe travel. The nine day festival is not only about music and art, it also features receptions, cooking lessons and lectures, food stalls and fairs are all part of it. 

La Quintana di Ascoli Piceno, Marche takes place the first weekend of the month and is considered one of the best festivals in the region. It is a typical  Medieval joustling tournament which starts with a large parade. Participants are dressed in 15th century medieval costumes.

Il Palio di Siena, Tuscany is held on July the 2nd and on August the 16th. During the event, the 17 districts  of Siena compete in a horse race event in the central Piazza of the city, Piazza del Campo. (see picture below)

 

Italian Patron Saints By City

June 25, 2015

Every Italian city and town has a patron saint, and when their saint has his or her feast day, locals celebrate in style!  Here is glimpse at three of the biggest celebrations 

Rome - St. Peter & Paul

On June 29th, Rome celebrates its two patron saints, Peter and Paul.  On this day, the Roman skies are set ablaze with colorful fireworks and the streets are bustling with fairs and entertainment. 

Florence - St. John the Baptist

On June 24, Florence celebrates the feast day for its patron saint, St. John the Baptist, considered the "symbol of moral rectitude and political correctness"* on whom medieval Florence aspired to build its economic fortune and good government of the Republic. The image of the saint was even stamped on the city's currency, the florin.   The day is filled with cultural events and end with the magnificent fireworks show, called i fuochi di San Giovanni.

Venice - St Mark the Evangelist

St. Mark's Festival or Festa di San Marco is just another reason to visit Venice in April.  This festival honors the city's patron saint, and is celebrated each year in St. Mark's Square on April 25th. You can participate in various cultural events, live music and a large feast consisting of unique regional delicacies. There is a colorful procession that passes through St. Mark's Square and ends at the basilica.

 

Viva La Festa della Donna!

March 1, 2015

On March 8th, Italy celebrates La Festa della Donna (International Women's Day) with a festival full of bright yellow flowers of the Mimosa to honor women's economic, political and social achievements.

The Mimosa is an emblem of Women's Day, for it generally blossoms at this time of year in Italy, its bright yellow color symbolizes the vitality and joy which women bestow upon us in our daily  lives.

During the festival, it has become a tradition to gift small sprigs of Mimosa Flowers to women of all ages.

An interesting twist is that part of the proceedings support projects related to women's causes, such as breast cancer research, housing for victims of domestic violence, and women's rights movements.

On this day, many Italian restaurants offer a special Festa della Donna menu, and there are often small local festivals or concerts. Some museums and sites even offer free or reduced admission for women. 

Women's Day has its roots in two events that took place outside of Italy. On March 8, 1857 a strike by garment workers in New York, leading to the formation of the first women's union of the United States!  Sixty years later Russian women led a strike calling for "bread and peace" during the twin horrors of World War I and the Russian Revolution. In 1945 the Italian Women's Union declared that March 8, should be set aside to celebrate womanhood across the country.

Some Italians joke that the holiday was created so that men would pay special attention to their spouse once a year, others claim that it was created for commercial purposes.  Some women have "ladies only" parties and Leave the men at home! 

So, why not surprise the women in your life! 

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