I just received this email and had to share it with you all:
This is a great price for flights to Italy. I haven't seen many flights lower than this in a while, and Emirates is a great airline. It was recently awarded Center for Aviation Airline of the Year award for the third time.
It makes me want to go back for a weekend in December to go Christmas shopping!
In case you missed our update about their new route in the June newsletter, Middle Eastern airline Emirates entered the U.S.-Italy market with a bang, offering nearly twice as many seats per day as the airlines currently servicing the route.
Beginning October 1, it also became the only airline to offer a true luxury flight experience between NYC and Milan. Each of its 777-300s planes has 12 first-class suites and 42 lie-flat business class seats.
Sweetening the pot even further, if the Emirates sale doesn't work for you for some reason, domestic carriers have created interesting offers to try to match their new competition.
Delta has matched Emirates prices (even going a bit lower in some cases) and offered extra frequent flyer miles on this route.
If you've been waiting for the right time to book flights, we won't see a fare face-off like this again for years.
This month, I headed to the Veneto, the region surrounding Venice, for the Buy Venice show, an excellent place to find stunning, artisanally-made Italian products.
While I have certainly found many new items for my “Things I Love” column in the newsletter, especially these Le Furlane hand-made slippers sold under the Rialto, I have to tell you about something even better than a new pair of earrings or gourmet food to tuck in your luggage:
I’m getting ready to head to Italy twice next month, first to the Buy Veneto show and then for two weeks of research in Piedmont, Tuscany, and Rome.
Though I’m familiar with Katie Parla’s stunning Rome app (photo above), I’ve never had a chance to look into the increasingly wide world of travel apps. But the landscape has changed significantly from the early Italian travel apps, which were little more than shrunken guidebooks.
Today your phone can ask questions for you in Italian or provide a whole set of situation specific vocabulary all while offline. You can find out if the train is on time and translate menus just by snapping a picture with your phone.
Some of these apps are iPhone only, but many are available for a variety of operating systems, including Android and Windows mobile.
Apps that Help You Navigate Italy
- Word Lens – snap a picture of an Italian word on a sign, menu, or reservation and the app translates it
- Rail Europe – browse schedules, buy train tickets, and find information on luggage storage and other train station services
- Pronto Treno – connecting to the Italian national rail network, this app allows you to check whether your train is on time and whether there’s an upcoming strike scheduled
- Italo Treno - with information on the newest high speed train system that links major cities in Italy
Italian Language Apps
- The Lonely Planet Phrasebook – type in a phrase in English and the app translates and speaks the phrase for you in Italian
- Talking Italian Phrasebook – sponsored by the Fiat 500, this app allows you to search by category to find the vocab for the situation you need, whether shopping, checking into your hotel, or getting directions
- WorldNomads Italian-English Translator – prepared phrases available offline that allow you to practice your budding Italian in any travel situation
City/Region Specific Apps
- Tuscany for Foodies – recommended by SlowItaly, this app catalogs the culinary artisans of Tuscany that keep ancient traditions alive and the restaurants that serve their food
- Rick Steves’ Ancient Rome Tour – an interactive guide with audio and video to help create your own walking tour of Rome’s ancient sites
- Katie Parla’s Rome – an elegant, well-styled compendium of impeccably curated picks for eating, shopping, and exploring Rome
- Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome - highlighting all the good stuff in Italy. Elizabeth has apps for Rome, Florence and Venice, plus her instagram sends are a glimpse of what we are missing daily
Italian Food Apps
- Foodies by Gambero Rosso – from the publisher of the Italian equivalent of the French Michelin guide, Gambero Rosso’s comprehensive listing of the best eateries—from pizzarias to gourmet temples—includes GoogleMaps directions and itineraries
- Italian Menu Decoder – a food-focused dictionary that includes nearly every ingredient, dish, and food festival you’ll come across in Italy, no matter where in the country you are
- Olive Oil IQ – a guide to the differences between olive oil varieties and uses in different parts of Italy, as well as background on olive oil history and production
Fall in Italy is when food gets serious.
Both in terms of work load—it’s wine harvest time!—and in terms of flavors.
The richest produce that comes out of Italy, from olive oil to truffles to figs to the deep purple grapes that flavor schiacciata, makes its appearance in the fall.
So it’s little surprise that some of the most important food festivals on the Italian calendar fall at the same time.
Image © Italian Concierge
If you’ve seen the flyer for our upcoming Puglia and Basilicata tour in May 2014, you know that in addition to custom travel planning, the Italian Concierge also runs luxury walking tours.
With fall and la vendemmia (the harvest), nearly upon us, I’ve been reminiscing about visiting my favorite wineries in Italy.
One of the best ways to do that is to walk through Piedmont, stopping in castles for lunch, visiting the wine archives, and tasting the other rich bounties of Piedmont’s famous soil, like truffles.