Posts filed under ‘Italy’
Similar to the red hop-on, hop-off touristic buses in Rome and other cities, the new Vaparetto dell’Arte in Venice began service on June 1st, 2012 on the Grand Canal. It runs daily from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM and makes eight stops between Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia and San Giorgio. Two additional stops at Arsenale and Giardini will be added during the Architecture Biennale, August 29th to November 25th, 2012.
Vaparetto dell’Arte has 80 seats and space for 20 additional passengers to stand. The seats are equipped with multi-language audio visual systems. Each passenger receives a welcome kit which includes disposable earphones, a map and special offers from partners like Punta della Dogana and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
A 24-hour pass costs 24 Euros for adults and 15 Euros for children. If you’re renting an apartment in Venice, it’s a better value to purchase the Vaporetto dell’Arte pass in conjuction with a time-limited ACTV (the public vaparetto) Moving in Venice tourist ticket, which come in 12, 24, 36, 48, 72-hour, 7-day, and 3-day youth card denominations; purchasing one of these tickets brings the Vaporetto dell’Arte ticket down to 10 Euros.
All of these tickets are available for advance purchase through Venice Connected up to a minimum of four days prior to use.
If you want to truly live like a local in Europe, go shopping! Join the natives buying their daily produce, cheese, bread, fish, fowl, and meat and you’ll get an authentic glimpse of people living life well and enjoying a sense of community. Here are three of our favorite markets in Europe—plus villa picks nearby.
Barcelona – Mercat de la Boqueria
The historic Mercat de San Josep de la Boqueria market is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district. Truly a feast for the senses, la Boqueria offers all varieties of produce, from fruits and vegetables, to candy and pastries. It has an entrance from Las Ramblas, a long tree-lined pedestrian mall between the Barrio Gótico (Barcelona’s 14th century Gothic quarter) and El Raval. There are hundreds of vendors and a handful of unassuming (but delicious) food stalls for a quick bite. It’s open everyday, 8 AM – 8:30 PM.
Villa Pick – Pedrera
Located in the elegant Passieg de Gracia neighborhood, Pedrera is a 2-bedroom apartment within walking distance of the Gothic Quarter (Las Ramblas and La Boqueria). Access to bus and metro lines is 100 meters away. French doors open onto a small terrace—a perfect spot for breakfast or an aperitif.
Rome – Campo dei Fiori
The daily Campo dei Fiori market (held everyday except Sunday in the center of Piazza Campo dei Fiori) is Rome’s oldest. There has been a market in this location for centuries. It offers the best fish and bread in the city, as well as picturesque piles of fruits and vegetables, flowers, and fragrant ethnic spices. You can also find kitchen wares, linens, and toys. We suggest you visit early (the market opens at 6:00 AM), before most tourists are out and about and the majority of customers are Romans.
Villa Pick – Campo dei Fiori – Antonius
Piazza Campo dei Fiori is just a 2-minute walk away from Antonius, a 2-bedroom apartment (sleeps 4-6) in a restored 18th century building. Imagine taking a pre-breakfast stroll to the market for fresh fruit and bread! Also within convenient walking distance are the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain.
Aix-en-Provence – Plâce Richelme
The daily market on Plâce Richelme overflows with the abundance of the Provençal countryside. For locals, shopping at the market is a daily ritual. As with all farmers’ markets, plan on visiting early when selection is at its best and your fellow shoppers are natives, not tourists. The Plâce Richelme offers beautiful, locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as cheese, bread, cured meats, and some of the best olives you will ever taste.
Villa Pick - Maison Perspicace
Maison Perspicace is just 5 km from Aix-en-Provence in the village of Les Milles. It has 4 bedrooms (sleeps 7-9) and a beautiful swimming pool—ideal after a full day trip to Marseille (30 km ) or Avignon (90 km).
Photo of la Boqueria courtesy of Klearchos Kapoutsis @ Flickr
Photo of Campo dei Fiori courtesy of diluvi @ Flickr
Photo of Plâce Richelme market courtesy of anjci @ Flickr
Italy is wonderful for so many reasons, but let’s face it: nothing beats the food and wine! While there’s no such as thing as a bad meal in Italy (well, almost)…it’s nice to know which places are tried and true. Here, a RentVillas customer shares his experience at Villa del Castello and lists some of his favorite restaurants in Umbria (if you get as excited as we do about spaghetti al tartufo nero, you’ll want to take notes):
“We can’t really think of anything you would need to bring. The owners provide cell phones, a TomTom, spices, olive oil – if you plan to cook. We did do our big grocery shopping in Acquapendente which is very close. Great restaurant there. I believe one of our favorite experiences was in Montepulciano in a small restaurant called A Gambe di Gatto. We had a 3 1/2 hour lunch there and it was fabulous. We also enjoyed the town of Pitigliano and lunch at La Magica Torre. We had the Antipasto de la Casa and there was no end to it. Ristorante Cavour in Todi was really good. As you can tell, we ate a lot and we drank a lot of wonderful food and wine. One more place in Orvieto, actually two, La Palomba, which was recommended by many, and Bevipiano. The owner is from Sicily and he plays a mean piano. There is music there on Friday and Saturday. The chef is also from Sicily and the food was great.”
Every RentVillas customer receives a free copy of The Insider’s Guide to Living like a Local in Italy by Suzanne Pidduck. It offers essential tips for your villa or apartment rental experience, including everything from when to go and what to pack, to where to go and what to do. It also covers the nuts and bolts of renting a property in Italy, such as electricity and heating. You can read an online version of the book here.
If you’re renting a villa in Tuscany or Provence in November/December you’ll find fewer crowds, lower rates…and olive oil and truffles! This is the season of l’olio nuovo or l’huile nouvelle (the “green gold” produced in the first olive pressing) and the harvesting of fabulous fungi. Gastronomic festivals in Tuscany and Provence abound.
Renting a villa in Tuscany in summer 2011? See Val d’Orcia by vintage steam train! TrenoNatura, a branch of Ferrovie Turistiche Italiane, runs veteran steam locomotives on beautiful stretches of train line no longer used by the state railway. Departures from Siena and Florence as well as locations in Lombardy.
You probably won’t find the church of Santa Maria del Carmine on the average Florence tourist’s “Top Ten” list. And yet it’s here, in the Brancacci Chapel, that you’ll find one of the greatest masterpieces of the Renaissance. To catch a glimpse (literally), here’s the scoop: Reservations for a 15-minute visiting slot in the Brancacci Chapel are mandatory. The good news is reservations are FREE if you call the chapel directly: 011 39 055 276 8224; English is spoken.
Where can you see the earliest known portraits of writers Dante and Boccaccio AND enjoy a gourmet Tuscan meal? Alle Murate. This Florence ristorante (open since 2006) is located in the Palazzo dell’Arte dei Giudici e Notai, a 13th-century guildhall covered with frescoes. Enjoy a memorable (if pricey) holiday meal while renting San Lorenzo 2 this winter.
Attention, oenophiles! If you’re going to be renting a Florence apartment this winter 2010 or next spring 2011, don’t miss “Vinum Nostrum“, an exhibit at the Museo Galileo, or Institute and Museum of the History of Science, on the origins of European viticulture (through April 30th; 8 Euros). This museum is often missed and is truly on of the city’s gems; put it on your next Florence itinerary!
Looking for a way to explore authentic Italy? Check out The Insider’s Guide to Living Like a Local in Italy on Amazon.com!
Written by RentVillas.com founder Suzanne Pidduck, this little guidebook brings together over two decades of experience renting and traveling in Italy. Learn how to prepare for your trip, where to find the restaurants locals patronize, how and when to drive Italian style, and much, much more. It’s an invaluable companion for any renter!
It’s $7.80 on Amazon.com… or free, if you rent an Italian villa through RentVillas.com!