Italy is a country where people still talk face to face, are not glued all day to their cell phones, and are more concerned with the quality of their food than the quality of their broadband internet. It is anything but high tech. However, there have been a number of recent efforts to usher in high tech solutions to various problems, benefitting citizens, the environment, and upping Italy’s less than stellar tech savvy.
Italy may be known for style and excellence with most of its major brands—Ferrari, Prada, Alessi—but for decades, Alitalia, the national airline, has been somewhere between a laughing stock and a national embarrassment.
When Emirates started its route between Milan and New York, Italian business people were elated to have an appropriately refined option for important business trips. But now another swanky Middle Eastern airline has thrown its hat in the ring: Etihad.
Photo by Flickr user Time Stands Still
Even though cell phones are so ubiquitous in Italy that even the most elegant, old-fashioned grandmother has four in different colors to match every outfit, it can still be difficult, if not expensive to stay in touch with the U.S. while you’re in Italy if you don’t plan ahead.
It is hard to believe that this will be my fifth trip to Italy this year. January- Rome and Firenze , February skiing in the Dolomites, and Venice, May on tour in Puglia and then to Emilia Romagna, early October to Venice and Verona and this week Piemonte and Toscana. With this job, I am always searching for more information to share with all of you, this is the life of a professsional traveler to Italy.
Many people would want to ask, Am I tired of traveling to the same places? But you see, I have not been to the same place this year, and with twenty regions in Italy each one different, one never is bored. This trip I am preped for some glorious foods such as Barolo, Dolcetto, Gianduja, risotto, and Truffles. In Venice the classic pairing is baccala mantecato and Friuliano. Toscana will serve cingale in a hearty red sauce ( and God-awful bread).
En route, the United Premier lounge in Newark airport is a good place to work, and wait until your flight is called. Well worth the Chase Visa Card activation charge. Here are some of the benefits of obtaining this card: specialty lines for check in, specialty lines through security, and of course the lounge benefits such as snacks, drinks, comfy chairs and electric outlets for all the business gear that a working traveler needs to stay connected. Every seat in the lounge is full by the way, however, when checking on my reservation to Milano apparently the plane was not. Whether this had to do with Emirates new discounted fare or the time I year, I do no know. As a reluctant flyer in coach class, I seat surf frequently prior to departure, to see if I can secure a more advantageous position with a tad more space. Rarely, is that the case, especially when flying to Europe during high season months.
On this flight first class was empty when I looked at the screen one last time. Then the offer came blinking in front of me, First Class Upgrade for $859. That sounded pretty good, but I did not take it. After passing security, and having some time to review, a little voice said, Why not try first class? When approaching the agent she had an even better offer. First Class for $550 and 20,000 miles How can one resist?