This is the blog for Dream of Italy™, The Insider's Guide to Undiscovered Italy, a paid subscription travel newsletter. Dream of Italy™ (www.dreamofitaly.com) has been recommended by USA TODAY, National Geographic Traveler, U.S. News & World Report and American Way. Editor Kathy McCabe has helped thousands of travelers get the most out of their visits to Italy.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Clooney's Casa on Lake Como

Saw a commercial on ABC today previewing Diane Sawyer's visit to George Clooney's villa on Lake Como. Tune in to PrimetimeLive Thursday night for a peek at George's Italian digs!

September Issue - Special Report: Sicily

The September issue of Dream of Italy is a 12-page special report on one of Italy's hottest destinations -- Sicilia:

  • Sicily's Aeolian Islands Inspire Relaxation
  • Island-By-Island: What to Do in the Aeolians
  • Navigate Palermo Like A Native
  • Get Out of the City: Day Trips From Palermo
  • Down the Rabbit Hole: An Accidental Agriturismo
  • Highlights of Sicily: Agrigento, Caltagirone, Giardini Naxos, Siracusa

Our September Sponsors

Special thanks to the following companies:

Adagio - catered journeys for curious souls
Chiantionline - villa rentals, organic olive oil and information about Chianti
DaVinci Capers - a personal Renaissance journey - sculpt, cook, draw, explore Tuscany
Dream of Italy Designs - fine Venetian glass jewelry created by the masters
Italian Renaissance Travel - illuminating Italy for the sophisticated traveler
Italian Vacation Villas - personalized villa rental service from Italy specialists
La Bella Toscana - apartment and villa rentals in and around San Gimignano in Tuscany PrimaVillas - villa rentals and more, including cooking classes, drivers and language schools Shop Wine and Dine - small group tours and our partner at the 2005 Luxury Travel Show Traveling Tuscany - tours, weddings and cooking classes

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Coming to America: The Bible of Italian Cuisine

For those of us that can’t make it to Italy this season, traditional Italian home cooking will find its way into our English-speaking kitchens with the publication of an Italian cookbook staple, The Silver Spoon.

True, there is certainly no dearth of Italian cookbooks in circulation in America, but nowwe can get our oven-mitted hands on what Italians consider the Bible of cooking. The Italian language version, Il Cucchiaio d’Argento, has provided over 2,000 recipes to the finest Italian chefs and mothers for over half a century. The illustrated cookbook, which has sold over two million copies since its first edition in 1950, has never before been translated.

Considered byItalians as a perfect gift for newlyweds, The Silver Spoon divulges the ingredients for countless Italian dishes, including 80 different sauces and 220 dolci! These secrets on preparing the finest Italian piatti will be available foronline order from the publisher Phaidon beginning October 1, and will hit American bookshelves later in the month at the price of $39.95.

Italian speakers can get a preview on the official site, www.cucchiaio.it, where free registration brings you access to features such as the top 10 viewed recipes, (Penne Gialle –made with saffron - tops the list.)

-- Shauna Maher

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mangia! The Story of Sicily's Pasta alla Norma

In honor of the September issue of Dream of Italy which doubles as a special report on Sicily:

Sicily is world-renowned for its distinctive and delicious cuisine, and one of the most characteristic dishes is pasta alla Norma. This pasta can be found all over the island, and is made with eggplant, fresh basil,and ricotta salata, or “salted ricotta,” a traditional regional cheese that is pressed, dried and aged for at least three months, to give it a nutty, sweet, milky flavor.

Pasta alla Norma has a story almost as great as its taste. The dish is undoubtedly named for Vicenzo Bellini, a native of Catania, and his masterpiece opera, Norma. There are two main stories of how the dish received its name, however. The first is that a Sicilian chef was so moved upon seeing Bellini’s Norma, he immediately returned to his kitchen and created this tasty pasta.

The second, and more probable, states that some of Bellini’s compatriots were so impressed by the opera that they began using the superlative una vera Norma, “a real Norma,” to indicate something exceptional or superior. Years later, when author Nino Martaglio first tasted this traditional Sicilian dish, he praised it by naming it “pasta alla Norma.” The result is a typical, delicious Sicilian dish that is as representative of the local culture as it is of the local cuisine.

Want to make pasta all Norma for the folks at home? Here's a recipe.

-- Cailin Birch

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Visit Us At New York's Luxury Travel Expo

Visit the Dream of Italy booth at the Luxury Travel Expo at the end of this week in New York City. We will be in booth #111, where you can enter to win a FREE trip to Italy!