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It’s winter time … and time to explore Italy!

posted by Home In Italy on November 22nd, 2017

For those who do not mind low temperature, winter can be a great time to discover Italy! Fewer tourists, less crowded museums and shorter lines: during this season, opera, symphony and theaters are in full swing, meaning lots of opportunities for visitors. So take a sweater, a rain jacket, wear a scarf and a winter hat and enjoy your holiday!

Why travel to Italy in winter time?
Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s worth making a trip during the tourist low-season in Italy. First of all, it will be much less crowded at some of the most popular and historic spots than it is during summer time. Secondly, you will find good prices on airfares to almost all Italian airport.

Winter weather in Italy ranges from relatively mild along the coasts of Sardinia, Sicily and the southern mainland to very cold and snowy inland, especially in the northern mountains. Even popular tourist destinations like Venice, Florence, and the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria can get a dusting of snow in winter.

Winter is a good time for cultural events and performances in Italy’s elegant historic theaters. Naples is one of the top cities for Christmas nativities and many people visit Rome for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Early winter sunsets mean more time to enjoy cities after dark. Many cities light their historic monuments at night so strolling through a city after dark can be beautiful and romantic.

There’s a lot to do on a winter vacation in Italy!
When winter comes around and the crowds die down there are some truly extraordinary things you can see and do.
Spending winter in Italy may not be something you’ve previously considered, but the country is just as spectacular at this time of year as it is over summer. So, take a look at some of the wonderful events and experiences you can attend, making your winter break to Italy unforgettable.

Take a cooking class: Italy is famous for its delicious food and fine wine, and taking an authentic cooking class will open your mind and taste buds to some sensational flavours. Take a cooking class from a local chef and learn how to replicate some of the most exquisite Italian dishes at home. This is a great activity to do if the weather isn’t on your side, as you can escape the harsh weather whilst still enjoying your holiday.

Head to the theatre: purchasing a ticket for the theatre in Italy is one of the smartest moves you can make. You will not only escape the cold but will also get the opportunity to view some of the most unique shows in Europe.

Visit a winery: for the self-proclaimed wine enthusiast, visiting a winery may be the perfect winter activity. The grape harvest would have just finished but the cellars are now full of new-born bottles.

Take your time in a museum: visiting a museum can be an extraordinary experience, even more so when in a country with as much cultural heritage and history as Italy.In winter, crowds are considerably reduced making your visit peaceful and relaxed.

Italy is one place you must visit in your lifetime as it is full of rustic charm, delicious food and a fantastic atmosphere, which can be better enjoyed in the winter months. So, it is definitely time to start planning that last-minute winter break!

LUCCA SUMMER FESTIVAL

posted by Home In Italy on March 20th, 2017

If music is your first love and you enjoy rocking out to the sounds of musical legends and current chart favourites alike, the Lucca Summer Festival is a must visit! The mediaeval Tuscan city of Lucca comes alive during the month of July and plays host to stellar line up of international stars.
Take in the city’s array of wonderfully intact historical sites, beautiful renaissance architecture and picturesque greenery as you soak up the sounds of intimate open-air performances from the greats of the music scene.

The Lucca Summer Festival first launched in 1998 with the legend that is Bob Dylan headlining. Since then it has grown in popularity and a whole host of musical megastars have visited the city to perform on the historical stages of Piazza Napoleone, Piazza San Martino and Amphitheatre Square. Past performances from esteemed stars include David Bowie, James Brown, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Alicia Keys to name but a few.

This year, the Lucca Summer Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary and the planned line-up certainly befits that milestone. Robbie Williams, Green Day, Kasabian, Rag n’ Bone Man, Imagine Dragons, LP, Macklemore featuring Ryan Lewis and Il Volo will perform across various dates during July, wowing crowds and filling the streets with excited revellers.

Lucca is obviously extremely busy during the festival, particularly around the dates of headline performances. A great tip if you are travelling as part of a group is to use the festival organisers carpooling option – it will save time, mean that you have less hassle during busy festival days and open up your options for accommodation within areas outside of the city. Although this is a great service and used widely by festival goers, it’s important for us to advise a word of safety – always use this service as part of a group, ideally two of you should travel together at all times.

If seeking accommodation outside of the city appeals to you, there are several great villa options that would work well for groups of friends or families. Villas provide a home from home with everything you need to rest, relax and unwind. With the Summer Festival in mind, they are also a perfect base from which to visit Lucca for the day to catch your favourite performances. Some of our villa recommendations include:

Villa Alibia

This unique five star property is just a 10 minute drive from Lucca and offers a design led, contemporary retreat for a group of up to 10 people. Nestled on white marble rocks, this luxury villa offers a spectacular view of Lucca and the surrounding areas, whilst still offering a peaceful haven for complete relaxation.
http://www.homeinitaly.com/alibia.htm?idv=418

Borgo Benni

Situated in a hamlet tucked away amid the gently folding hills near the town of Lucca, this villa is a grand Tuscan retreat. Originally a hunting lodge in the early 19th century, its modern restoration has accentuated its unique inner courtyards to offer an enchanted silence.
If you’re looking for a time-forgotten atmosphere then this is the perfect option for you.
http://www.homeinitaly.com/borgo+benni.htm?idv=220

Tickets for the Lucca Summer Festival are on sale now at various ticket selling websites. For more information on the Lucca Summer Festival and to purchase tickets visit www.summer-festival.com.

If you’re keen to check out more villa options within the Lucca visit: http://www.homeinitaly.com/search-results.php

From Kandinsky to Pollock. The great art of Guggenheim

posted by Home In Italy on March 18th, 2016

Organized by the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation and the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation in New York and Venice, the art exposition of Peggy and Guggenheim is in Florence, with the European and American art of the 20′s until the 60′s. Within the frame of one of the masterpieces of Florentine Renaissance it is possible to admire works of Kandinsky, Pollock and Green Silver, as the result of an extensive research and the tireless work done by the two real stars of the show. Peggy and Solomon, always looking for the ‘genius’. They allowed the comparison among the European masters and the great personalities of the American art scene.

Through the Guggenheim collections it is possible to retrace the birth of the new avant-garde after World War II and the evolution of artistic movements that have succeeded until the sixties of the twentieth century. Among the artists featured in the exhibition there are: Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Man Ray, Alberto Burri, Emilio Vedova, Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, Jackson Pollock, Marc Rothko, Wilhelm de Kooning, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly.

Where: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
When: From 19th March 2016 to 24th July 2016
More info: www.palazzostrozzi.org online tickets: ticket.ticket.palazzostrozzi.org

What to see in Lucca: ten ideas for a daytrip

posted by Home In Italy on February 23rd, 2016

Extract from the article written by Luca Bonora – Touring club

Lucca is a city of Roman foundation and purely medieval, as it still bears witness to the walls of its beautiful Old Town. It houses several important cultural events, among which the Lucca Comics & Games is the most important event in Europe linked to the world of comics, games, cinema, fantasy literature and science fiction.
The city is a top tourist destination and worth a visit all year around. Lucca is a hospitable city, easy to be explored, with excellent gastronomy and rich natural surroundings and history.
So, here are 10 things to do in Lucca for those who will visit at Lucca Comics & games but also for those who would like to come back to have more time … and less crowds.

1. THE GROVE ON THE TOWER
The best way to see a small city is from the top. This also applies to Lucca, which in the Middle Ages boasted 250 towers, of all shapes and sizes. Today, only two are open to visitors: the Guinigi Tower and the Clock Tower. The Guinigi Tower was commissioned by the Guinigi, rich and powerful family of merchants of Lucca in the fifteenth century. It is 45 meters high and the top has a small garden where, for centuries, grow beautiful trees. This peculiarity makes it unique, and makes even the visual a symbol of the city. The climb, challenging, has 230 steps. Still higher is the Clock Tower, which houses a great mechanical clock of the seventeenth century, still working.

2. THE CATHEDRAL OF SAN MARTINO
Example of Romanesque Renaissance, is one of the places not to be missed.

3. THE ELEGANCE OF SAN MICHELE
A masterpiece of Romanesque Gothic architecture, this church presents a mixture of styles due to its long construction, between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries.

4. THE ART GALLERY
Precious noble house built between the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that has preserved many of the original furnishings and decorations, the palace Mansi (property of the same rich family) is now the most important art gallery of Lucca. A hundred works among which Tintoretto, Beccafumi, Pontormo and many important painters Lucca 800 and 900.

5. THE SQUARE
Uniquely shaped ellipses, square Amphitheatre is one of the most beautiful in Italy. Built starting in 1830 by the architect Nottolini, it resumes the ancient route of the Roman amphitheater.

6. MUSICA MAESTRO
Throughout the year, Lucca hosts the Puccini and his Lucca Festival, the only permanent music festival in the world. Concerts and events are mainly housed in the Basilica of St. John, but also in the square of the Amphitheatre and other places and churches.

7. THE MEDIEVAL WALLS
The walls are another symbol of the city. They are the largest monument of Lucca and one of the largest in Tuscany: a perimeter of 4 km, 30 meters wide and 12 high, made between 1513 and 1645.

8. A COFFEE RICH IN HISTORY
What makes the story of a city is not only palaces, churches and walls, but also the clubs. As the Antico Caffè delle Mura, back to the original splendor and reopened in 2012, with a café, a bistro and a stylish restaurant.

9. THE DEVIL’S BRIDGE
Going up to Barga, passing for Borgo a Mozzano, a small town known for a bridge, commonly known as Devil’s Bridge. Built in the fifteenth century by the Countess Matilde di Canossa, the legend says that the manufacturer, unable to raise the last arch to complete his work, implored the help of the Devil. He signed an alliance with the Devil and sacrificed the fist soul that had crossed the bridge. And the fist one to walk on the bridge was a dog. On Devil’s Bridge every Halloween takes place the most spectacular event linked to this ancient Celtic celebration.

10. HOME OF GIOVANNI PASCOLI
Among the places outside the city, we recommend without any doubt Barga, a town at the center of the middle Serchio valley for centuries Florentine enclave. Near Barga, Castelvecchio Pascoli, is the house where the poet Giovanni Pascoli lived from 1895 to 1912.