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About Italy – A Tourist’s Five Minute History of Bella Italia

By Sue Rauch

DSC01524A ROf all the journeys we have ever taken, those romantic vacations to Italy still linger in my mind and heart, resonating magic into my everyday life for months if not years after the fact. Italy’s long and enduring past, her extraordinary history stretching back into antiquity, her volatile geology which in turn has created her dramatic geography, all combine to make Italy a kingdom of storybook landscapes, always ready to be discovered and celebrated anew by this year’s crop of avid t
ourists. In case you will be among them (the avid tourists, that is) in the coming months, and because it’s rude to show up unprepared and uninformed, here’s a little background and history on one of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations.

Probably the most recognizable feature on Europe’s map, Italy’s ever-stylish boot stretches from the Alps in the north, 760 miles south to the Mediterranean. Off the west coast of Italy lies the Tyrrhenian Sea, while the east coast is kissed by the Adriatic. With a population over 58 million, and land mass of 300,000 square kilometers, Italy is the fourth largest country in western Europe and has so much to offer tourists and vacationers you will be spoiled for choice.
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How to Travel to Italy and Keep to a Budget

By Calvin Knowles

Even at a time when the value of the dollar seems to fall against the Euro every day, travel to Italy can be done on a budget. Here are a few tips to help you make that happen.


Rome, Venice and Florence are the top three most popular cities to visit when you travel to Italy. Hotel prices can really strain your budget; since these are small cities, a good way to save on your hotel bills would be to stay somewhere out of the way, in the suburbs. Italian cities have excellent public transportation, and you would just need to get into the city on a local train every morning to see all the attractions.
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I Love Touring Rome, Italy – Spanish Steps District Hotels

Italy Travel Notes presents: By Levi Reiss

The Spanish Steps area is close to the center of Rome. This is a great place to meet old and new friends and then go shopping or hit the cafes. Take lots of photos. Please note that the Spanish Steps themselves were built with French funds early in the Eighteenth Century. But the Spanish Embassy is nearby. The natives call these famous steps La Scalinata (the staircase). Other neighborhood sights to see include the Fifteenth Century Trinita dei Monti Church at the top of the steps and the Keats-Shelly Memorial House where the English poet Keats died. Don’t miss the Palazzetto Zuccari that resembles a monster’s face. Via dei Condotti is a famous shopping street. In spite of a lawsuit, there’s a MacDonald’s in the neighborhood. Make sure to visit Via del Babuino, the street of antiques, and Via Margutta, the street of artists. For your convenience we have listed neighborhood hotels in approximate order of cost, starting with the least expensive. We have personally verified all website addresses making sure that they include English-language pages.


The Panda Hotel is located on a major shopping street near the Spanish Steps. The money that you might save by staying here can easily be spent in this upscale neighborhood. Unlike many other hotels, the Panda defines only two seasons price-wise. Most of the year is high season. There are 20 rooms, 14 of which have a private bath. The rooms have no television. Did you come to the heart of Rome to watch TV? The hotel address is Via della Croce 35 – 00187, Rome.
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Italy Ski Resorts

Italy Travel Notes presents: By Rachel Deutsch

This year’s winter Olympic Games are taking place in Turin; whether you intend to watch the games or not, Italy is a great skiing destination. The Italian Alps are home to many great and famous ski resorts such as Cortina d’Ampezzo and Courmayeur (Remember “The Pink Panther” with Peter Sellers? That’s where it happens). The best ski resorts with the most modern facilities are found in northern Italy, in the Alpine area. However, there are some ski resorts in the south of the country too.

Skiing is a very popular activity in Italy. Many Italians take a week off during winter just to go skiing. It is possible to find a ski resort for anyone in Italy. There are very luxurious resorts, and very affordable ones. Some slopes are only for the well trained, others are moderate enough for beginners or rusty skiers.

The best way to arrive to Italy for a ski vacation is through one of these airports:

Turin, Milan, Bergamo, Verona or Venice Treviso. They are all well served by international flights, and offer the option of taking a city break with your ski vacation.

Turin, this winter’s Olympic Games location, is a good place to arrive to. Going from Turin towards the French border (public transportation is available), there are Sestriere and Sauze D’aulx among other busy ski resorts. Sestreiere is a very modern and fashionable ski resort that offers 20 ski lifts, and ice skating rink and cross country trails.
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