News

Donna Franca Tours Prepares for the Holiday Season With New Vacation Specials

November 28, 2015
Donna Franca Tours is proud to announce our new partnership with Croisi Europe, specializing in small, intimate cruise itineraries with off the beaten track ports of call.  
To kick off our agreement, we are offering the following Holiday cruises at extremely attractive prices!
 
8 Day Cruise From $2,168
 
6 Day Cruise From $1,367
 
8 Day Trip From $1,863

Donna Franca Tours CYBER MONDAY SPECIALS

November 28, 2015
Donna Franca Tours is giving away special deals on Cyber Monday (November 30th).  Book a reservation using the code I'M ITALY 2015 and SAVE $100 per person on any new vacation reservations.  Offer expires 5:30 PM ET, Nov. 30. 

Here are some our newest vacation packages:
 
4 Day Trip From $529
 
 
4 Day Trip From $409
 
4 Day Trip From $459
 
 
6 Day Trip From $899
 

 

Donna Franca's Top Five Holiday Destinations

November 8, 2015
The Holiday Season is fast approaching, and now is the opportune time to reserve your getaway with Donna Franca Tours.  Here are the very best spots to visit in Italy during Christmas and New Years. 
 
1.  Rome and the Vatican City -  At the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrates Mass at midnight on Christmas Eve.   There's a huge Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square as well as a life-sized Nativity scene in front of the basilica.  Rome is one of the top Italian cities to visit during the Christmas and New Years Holiday Season. The first Christmas Mass was celebrated at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore and the earliest known permanent nativity was created for the Rome Jubilee in 1300.  Piazza del Popolo exhibits over 100 Nativities, and Piazza Navona boasts a colorful outdoor Christmas market.  For a different twist, perhaps join the Christmas Eve Mass in once of the many historic churches throughout the city - including the Pantheon, where you'll also be treated to a Gregorian Chant concert!
 
2.  Naples-  Neapolitan Christmas traditions are well known around the world.  San Gregorio Armeno is the place to be, especially if you want to find that perfect presepe statuette to make it truly unique.The figurines range from the expected holy family and shepherds to the regional pizza makers. They come in all different sizes, including some that are over a foot tall!   Also savor the local pastries such as zeppole, struffoli, or Pasta Reale.
 
3. Sicily- An island famous for her Christmas Traditions and mild temperate weather, Sicilians prepare elaborate Nativities everywhere, from public squares to churches to private homes. Locals dress up and re-enact the Nativity daily from Christmas Eve through the Epiphany. On Christmas Eve, you'll also see big bonfires in many towns which mark the start of the holiday feasting as well as to help guide the way for the Christ Child! 
 
4.  Cortina- Looking for a different White Christmas?  Perhaps visit this famous world class ski resort located in the Southern Dolomites or Alps in Northern Italy. It features 3 ski areas, 38 lift facilities serving 120 km of trails  and 95 percent coverage of snowmaking facilities.
 
5. Venice-  Venetians know how to ward off the chill with hot spiced wine and other holiday treats found in the local Christmas Markets. No matter your age, you're bound to be charmed by the figure of Father Christmas arriving by gondola to distribute goodies, and the New Years Festivities of Venice are bound to keep you smiling for the entire year ahead!
 

 

3 Reasons to Visit Italy Off Season

November 8, 2015
1.  No Crowds so easy access to major attractions
 
The Big 3 - Rome, Florence and Venice - become different cities, especially in January and February.  In a way you can even say that they are returned to their residents, the large crowds have all but disappeared.  One of the main reasons is due to the weather.  Most people equate blue skies and dazzling sunshine with Italy.  However, with cooler temperatures, rain and grey clouds don't coincide with many people's conception of Italy - it also makes for an experience that is unique and yet just as wonderful, if not more so.  You can still find clear blue skies and sunny days in winter, but walking in Rome's center on a crisp winter evening, under the golden glow of its street lights, her monuments wrapped in a misty fog,  makes for some great memories and moody photographs.  Thanks to the lack of crowds, the sights, smells, and tastes are much easier to appreciate. You can truly experience the magic of the off season!
 
2.  Lower airfares and hotel prices so your dollar goes further
 
Airlines and hotels have lower prices during this time of the year, and during particularly slow periods additional discounts may become available.  In the summer it can be difficult to find air space, as well as a challenge to find a place to stay within your budget.  If you are traveling without firm plans, hoping to book as you go, you'll waste a lot of time trying to find something last minute.  In the winter, many beautiful resorts often have space available at incredible savings. Check out our winter rates on our vacation page.
 
3.  Holiday Festivities
Christmas time isn't necessarily the off season, especially in the major cities, but it is still a great time to visit Italy. Explore the different Christmas markets such as the O Bej o Bej in Milan, the Santa Croce Market in Florence or Baroque Piazza Navona in Rome! Enjoy the creative decorations, ornate church mangers, beautiful masses and processions held throughout Italy during the Christmas season. Afterwards, of course, is the Epiphany. Celebrated on January 6 as the day the three wise men finally reached the baby Jesus, its more secular side is known as "La Befana" after the "Old Witch" who comes to bring children candies and gifts. 
 
The week between New Years to La Befana is considered a major vacation week, and the atmosphere is festive!  Late February and early March bring carnival celebrations.  Opera season is in full swing. Winter is packed with activities, and is the perfect time to soak up the culture of "La Dolce Vita"!
 

Donna Franca Appears on Rachael Ray Show

November 8, 2015
It has been an exciting fall season for Donna Franca!  On Sept. 25, 2015 Donna Franca was honored with the Mayor Thomas Menino Award  for her outstanding contribution to the Italian American Community.  Angela Menino, the former Mayor's wife, presented her with this prestigious award in front of a large audience during the recent "Italianissimo!"  Gala event held at the Museum of Science in Cambridge, Ma..   

A few weeks later, Donna Franca appeared on the Rachael Ray Show on Tuesday, Oct. 20 2015.   Donna Franca, who has a passion for Italian cuisine, prepared a thirty minute meal on this popular cooking show and gave away a vacation package.   

Click here to watch her appearance here.

Donna Franca's Hotel of the Month: Certosa di Maggiano

September 9, 2015
he Hotel Certosa di Maggiano is an intimate luxury hotel located just 1 km from Siena with its world famous Piazza del Campo. 
 
A former monastery, the Certosa di Maggiano offers you the unique privilege to live the tranquil  Tuscan countryside lifestyle, only a few minutes away from the medieval city center.
 
The hotel is an enchanting setting bathed in natural light and masterfully interpreted by the famous architect and interior designer, Renzo Mongiardino.  The interiors are embellished with impalpable silks, ornamental paintings & skillfully integrated within the natural and Tuscan panorama. Desiring to invite you to explore and experience the authentic Tuscan life style, at the Certosa di Maggiano, the hotel offer you a wide range of services & activities that cater to a variety of interests, such as; nature & cultural exploration, multi-sport adventures as well as fitness and well-being. 
 
 

To book your stay here, contact one of our sales agents.  

Please visit our hotels page for more details.

 

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!

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