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5 Great Places To Spend Christmas In Italy

posted by Home In Italy on December 19th, 2017

Visiting Italy during the Christmas season offers two bonuses: you’ll avoid the high summer season tourist crowds and you’ll get to see the country decked out in all its holiday finery. You’ll find a festive atmosphere in every corner of the country. There are a few areas, however, that seem to take the holidays to another level. Here are a few suggestions for the best places to spend Christmas in Italy.

Rome & Vatican City

Heading for Rome over Christmas is probably the most best choice: in addition to the festivities in Rome itself, you also have Vatican City‘s celebrations. It’s like getting two cities’ worth of holiday in one spot.
At the Vatican, the Pope delivers a Christmas Eve midnight mass (book tickets well in advance if you want to sit in St. Peter’s), there’s a huge Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square and a life-sized Nativity scene in front of the basilica.

Venice

Even if you’re not lucky enough to witness snow falling on the canals and gondolas, Venetians know how to ward off the chill with hot spiced wine and other holiday treats, sold in the Christmas markets. No matter your age, you’re bound to be charmed by the figure of Santa Claus arriving by gondola to distribute goodies, and Christmas Eve mass held in St. Mark’s Basilica is enough to make any trip to Venice worth it.

Naples

Naples is home to a street that can rightfully be called “Christmas Alley” year-round. This city is the epicenter of Italy’s Nativity scene tradition, and the shops along Via San Gregorio Armeno that make both the detailed structures and the myriad figurines that inhabit them work (and sell) all year long.
The figurines range from the expected (holy family and shepherds) to the regional (pizza makers) to the topical (current political or sports personalities).

Sicily

For a location with loads of Italian Christmas traditions but with much milder weather, head south to Sicily. Second only to the Neapolitans in terms of their affection for the Nativity scene, Sicilians erect elaborate Nativities everywhere (from public squares to churches to private homes), including a living Nativity in a cave near Trapani. In other words, locals dress up and re-enact the Nativity daily from Christmas Eve through the Epiphany.

Trentino-Alto Adige

Spend Christmas in the Trentino-Alto Adige and you’ll have snowy winter scenery straight out of a postcard while you sip mulled wine in the market squares.
This area is also a good base if you want to take day-trips into Venice or Verona.

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

ED SHEERAN AND HIS LOVE FOR UMBRIA: “I SAW A VINEYARD, I FELL IN LOVE: I WAS THERE DURING THE EARTHQUAKE”

posted by Home In Italy on March 15th, 2017

The British singer-songwriter and his house in Umbria.
During an interview to an Italian newspaper Ed Sheeran declares: “Yes, I was there during the last earthquake in Umbria, and I felt the earth trembling even if I was far from where the disaster happened. My parents spent their honeymoon in Italy and I am very attached to your country, I often came as a child.”

To another newspaper he states that “I saw a vineyard in Umbria, I fell in love with that place and I bought a house. I was there during the last earthquake and I felt the earth tremble.”

To the question of another Italian journalist: “Is it true that you bought a house in Umbria?” Ed Sheeran answers:
“Top secret, I can say it is in the center of Italy and it is not Tuscany because it is too crowded with British people. There is a vineyard, and as soon as I saw it I decided I had to buy that place. My parents came to Italy on their honeymoon, you have history, culture, food. I can not wait to take my kids here, it will be nice to learn Italian together. I’m not a Hollywood villa person. However I certainly am a Umbrian house lover.

By clicking on the link here you will find a great selection of villas in Umbria.