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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Catch the Holiday Spirit at Italy's Christmas Markets

At Christmastime, Italians take to the streets to complete their holiday shopping in the seasonal open-air markets found in most cities. The markets offer traditionalfoods, handmade toys and antiques, as well as Christmas ornaments, poinsettia plants and other holiday decorations.

While the major city markets are widely publicized, most small villages and towns also hold similar markets each December. If you’re not going to be near one of the markets listed below, you’re still bound to stumble upon a local Mercato di Natale if you follow your nose toward the characteristic sweet smell of the castagne, or chestnut vendors.

Milan’s famous antiques fair, La Fiera di Sant’Ambrogio, fills the streets from December 7 to 22. In Naples, artisans set up shop on via San Gregorio Armeno to sell prespi (nativity scenes) and figurines. Romans spend the weeks before Christmas shopping for toys, sweets and holiday decorations at the Mercato di Natale held in Piazza Navona from December 8 through January 6.

Perugia holds the Mercatino delle Strenne (literally, Little Market of Presents) on Via del Circo (in the historic city center) from December 4 to 24. Florence’s Mercato di Natale caters only to last-minute shoppers, as it begins on December 23, but Florentines can spend their vacation days shopping in Piazza Santissima Annunziata until Epiphany on January 6. - Shauna Maher

November Issue - Special Report: Turin and Piedmont

Thinking of attending the Winter Olympics in Turin? Don't do anything else until you read the November issue of Dream of Italy, where we give you the latest 411 on securing hotel rooms and event tickets. Also find out what's still available at bargain rates!

Also in this special report:
  • Piedmont is Wine Country: Three Vineyards to Visit
  • On the White Truffle Trail
  • Native Son: Nutella
  • Turin's Grand Hotel Sitea
  • A Turin Tour for Every Passion

Friday, November 25, 2005

Our November Sponsors

The following companies have made the current issue of Dream of Italy possible:

Amalfi Life - trip planning for "The Insider's Amalfi Coast"
Chiantionline - olive oil from the heart of 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
Sally Watkins - Travel + Leisure has named her own the nation's best travel agents!
Zurer Travel - plan your next trip with Jim Zurer, a passionate Italy specialist

Friday, November 11, 2005

New Web Site, Special Offer

We haven't been blogging because we have been working on our revised Web site. Buy a new newsletter subscription or gift subscription and receive a FREE 2-DVD set of the PBS documentary Inside the Tuscan Hills!