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Spain and Italy

This is a summary of out trip to Spain and Italy and gives details on how we planned the trip. Rory and I travelled to Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Venice and Rome. How did we plan this trip? How many days do you need in each place? How do you get from one city to the next?

these questions and more are answered in the YouTube video below:

Ciao,

 

George

 

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, an Museum, Architecture, B&Bs, Barcelona, Bars, Beaches, BLOG, Bocca della Verità, Cafè, Eating, Europe, Flights, Food, Funicular, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Itinerary, Madrid, Metro Travel, Museums, Orvieto, Pasta, Pizza, Planning a vacation, Romance, Rome, Saint Peter's Basilica, Seville, Sistine Chapel, Spain, Spanish Steps, The holidays in Europe, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Villa Borghese, VLOG, Wine | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Plan a Trip to Europe

Planning a trip to Europe can be expensive and frustrating. In this video I give ideas for saving money, planning and creating a trip that will be fun and memorable. Don’t spend your time running around a city and traveling between cities. Enjoy life in Europe. Be a European while you are there. Make contact with locals, communicate, observe life around you. Enjoy the museums and sites but also savor the food and wine. Watch the Europeans around you. How do they live their lives?

The video below will help you plan a memorable and rewarding trip to Europe. Buon Viaggio…

Ciao,

George

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, Bars, BLOG, Cafè, cornetto, Eating, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Flights, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Hotels, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Itinerary, Metro Travel, Money, Mountain Towns, Museums, Panini, snow, The holidays in Europe, Tour Groups, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Weather in Europe, Wine, YouTube | Leave a comment

How to significantly lower the cost of traveling to Italy

The two highest costs you will encounter are: 1) Airfare and 2) Hotel costs. These two items can be lowered with a little work on your part. Here is how:

Lowering Airfares:

Lowering the cost of hotels:

Let me know in the comments below if you have other tricks…

-George

Categories: Air Fares, Airplanes, B&Bs, Bars, Euro, Europe, General Travel, Hotels, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Money, Pastry, Planning a vacation, Renting a place in Europe, resorts, Small Towns, Towns, Traveling without a tour, Villas, VLOG, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Find Reasonably Priced Hotels in Italy

Next to airfare, hotels will be your biggest cost. If your staying for an extended period of time, they may be the biggest cost of the trip. You first have to decide on:

  • Is it a special occasion like a honeymoon where you want an expensive hotel with nice amenities and views.
  • Are you independently wealthy and the price is of no concern
  • Are you visiting Italy to see the country, the people, etc. In this case you will only be sleeping in your hotel room. The small Italian hotels will work fine and give you more of a sense of being in Italy.

Hotels, like anywhere, change price seasonally and as they become more popular. Shop and see what the prices are. DO NOT PAY EXTRA for breakfast! Breakfast in Italy, as the Italians do it, is the cheapest and easiest meal. Go to the nearest bar (they are everywhere) and order an espresso, cappuccino, latte or coffee Americano and a sweet roll. This will cost you 2 Euros outside the big cities and maybe 5 Euros in the cities. Italians usually choose a cornetto. This is a small roll that can be plain, filled with chocolate, jam or cream.

What ever you choose, enjoy Italy. Do not try to do too much. Be an Italian while you are there. You do not need Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and eggs! Eat like the Italians which is so much more healthy for you.

– George

Categories: Bars, cornetto, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Food, General Travel, Health, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Pastry, Planning a vacation, Renting a place in Europe, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How I would See Italy

People always ask me, “What order would you see places in Italy?” All of Italy is great! You can not make a bad decision! Everyone that has been there has an opinion. This BLOG/VLOG is mine. I would see the famous big cities first because they are important. So the order would be:

  • Rome
  • Florence
  • Venice
  • Naples

But Milan, Siena, San Gimignano, Positano, Capri … are also important places to see.

The only rules I have are:

  1. Take your time in each place. Don’t rush and try to see all of Italy in a single trip. You will only see the inside of busses and trains.
  2. Sit at outside bars or trattorias and observe the people (non tourists) around you. Begin to understand Italian life.
  3. Try to communicate with locals.
  4. After the big cities, go to small resorts and mountain towns.
  5. Eat where the locals eat. DON’T EAT AT TOURISTY PLACES!
  6. Stay in small Italian hotels.
  7. Go on your own not with large tour groups. If you must use a group, keep it small.

Traveling to Italy is meant to be fun. So enjoy it! Watch our YouTube video below for more tips:

– George Febish

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Capri, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, Il Palio, Italian, Italy, Milan, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pantheon, Pasta, Pastry, Positano, Ravello, Regions of Italy, resorts, Romance, Rome, Saint Francis, San Gimignano, Small Towns, Sorrento, Southern Italy, Traveling without a tour, Trevi Fountain, Trottoria, Tuscany, Uffizi, Umbria, Vatican, Vatican City, Vatican Museum, Venice, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Wonderful Foods of Italy

There is a lot to say about the food of Italy and its all good. Except for very touristy places, the food is fresh, well prepared and delicious. Italians love their food and so does the rest of the world. You may think you know Italian cooking because you eat in Italian restaurants in England or America or your parents were Italian but it is not the same as what is served in Italy.

Italy’s restaurants serve local fresh foods usually organic. The dishes are simple but extremely tasty. It may be a simply cooked meat or fish over a grill fire or a pasta cooked al dente with a wonderful sauce or fresh vegetables. You can eat well in any non touristy ristorante or Trattoria. These places pride themselves in the food they prepare and serve.

Come with us as we talk about the different foods around Italy. It is not just pasta and pizza. Our YouTube video below explores these wonderful foods.

 

– George J Febish

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Assisi, Bars, Beaches, Buffalo Mozzarella, Campania, Capri, Cave Restaurant, Cheese, cornetto, Dolce, Eating, Eating Italian, Espresso, Europe, Fish, Florence, Food, Fruit, Gelato, General Travel, Grotta Palazzese, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Lemoncello, Limoncello, Marina Casal Velino, Naples, Palinuro, Pasta, Pastry, Perugia, Perugina Chocolate, Pizza, Positano, Prosecco, Puglia, Regions of Italy, Risotto, Ristorante, San Gimignano, Southern Italy, Sweets, Traveling without a tour, Trottoria, Truffles, Umbria, Vegetables, VLOG, White Truffles, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Wines of Italy

Italy is known for some of the best wines in the world. Wine in Italy is common. Everyone drinks it and most families make it. You have world-renowned wines like Chianti, Barolo and Brunello. You have Prosecco, Italy’s fantastic sparkling wine. But each region of Italy specializes in different wine grapes and wines. Most small towns make local wine and serve it in restaurants and trattorias by the liter or half litter. Wine is a way of life in Italy.

Come join us as we celebrate the different wines of Italy in this YouTube video:

– George Febish

Categories: Bars, Beaches, Chianti, Enoteca, Europe, General Travel, Italy, Regions of Italy, Small Towns, Traveling without a tour, VLOG, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

How to properly see Italy

I get asked all the time how to see Italy so you don’t miss anything? What should I see on my first trip? How is the food? Is it safe? So this BLOG is to answer these questions and state some rules:

  1. There are no rules
  2. I don’t believe in tours. They take you to the worst restaurants in Italy and move you along from site to site too fast. Most people take tours because they are afraid of getting lost, Can’t speak the language or don’t want to miss anything. Use your smart phones GPS to get around. Search on top things to see.
  3. The big cities are a must but the real Italy is in the small cities. Don’t miss these.
  4. Italy can’t be seen in one trip. Plan several trips and enjoy it more.
  5. If you are seeing 10 cities in 7 days, you have not visited or seen Italy.
  6. The food, outside touristy places is fantastic. Eat with the Italians in small Trattoria.
  7. Museums are important but the art in Italy is all around you everywhere you go.
  8. Stay in small hotels not big American ones. Don’t worry about your points, you are in Italy.
  9. Learn a few key phrases in Italian and use them.

OK you are on your first trip and don’t know where to go. Plan Naples and Rome or Florence and Venice. Spend time in each city. You win nothing by running from site to site and then moving to the next city. In fact you lose a lot! Italy is a country that moves slowly. Sit and observe it. Walk with the Italians at lunch time (la passeggiata). It is not enough to see the famous art and buildings but the people who live here. Communicate as best you can. Use simple 2-year old talk or charades.

Tours normally work against these goals. They force you to eat where they make the most money. They rush you from one site to the next. You see Italy through a bus window. This is not much better than seeing it on TV. If you must take a tour, find a small walking or biking tour. Find something in a van not a huge bus. Make sure you have a few days on your own to explore as you want to. Don’t be afraid to take trains between cities. They go almost everywhere. Within cities the metro is clean and efficient.

Rome is a city of architecture and history unlike any other in the world. Naples is old and many Americans came from this area of Italy. Florence is the capital of art and the Renaissance, Here you will find unbelievable art and the beginnings of modern thinking. Venice is the most unusual city in the world. Here you will explore a large city made up of sidewalks and canals. There are no roads or cars. Enjoy these cities but take time to understand the history, the people and the food.

Plan more trips to visit places like Verona, Bologna, Capri, Amalfi Coast and the millions of small wonderful sea port and mountain towns. We love driving south from Rome on the A1 to our home. We see an interesting town high up on a mountain side in the distance. We use our iPhones to identify it and plot a course to it. After exploring the town we have a café at a bar or lunch in a small local restaurant. This is enjoying Italy and getting to know it.

Food and wine are a national pastime in Italy. Everyone is an expert. The truth is most food comes from farms in the vicinity, wines and olive oil are made locally.  The food is made from ancient recipes handed down over time. No-one cooks pasta as good as an Italians mom!

Hotels are for sleeping after a long day touring. You don’t need a resort type hotel. Pick local small hotels. We always prefer a room with its own bath (not all come this way). These small hotels are often family run. You get to know them as friends if you take the time.

Learn how to say some Italian phrases like Buon Giorno (Good day), Buona Sera (Good Evening – at sunset and beyond). Arrivederci (Good Bye) and Ciao (Hello and Good Bye). You might also want to ask How much? (Quanta Costa?). Jo Anne’s favorite is Quanta costa le Scarpe? (How much are the shoes?). Simply saying Buon Giorno to someone you pass will bring a smile and a Buon Giorno in return. Italy is a friendly place.

This brings us to How safe is Italy? Italy is very safe. There is almost no violent crime. There are pick pockets in large cities. Beware of you purses and wallets. Italians drive very fast so beware of cars speeding by you. We are never fearful walking around large cities like Rome. You are in Italy to learn and enjoy life. Just do it and enjoy a gelato.

Italy is the most romantic place on Earth!

Ciao,

George

 

 

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Bologna, Cafè, Capri, Driving in Italy, Eating, Eating Italian, Europe, Florence, Food, Gelato, General Travel, GPS, Italian, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Metro Travel, Mountain Towns, Museums, Naples, Pasta, Regions of Italy, Romance, Rome, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Towns, Trains, Traveling without a tour, Walking, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Casal Velino, Italy

Casal Velino is the sister mountain town of Casal Velino Marina. It is a very small town high up on a mountain. There are some very good restaurants there and a bar with a view of the sea and Casal Velino Marina below. This town has only a few roads and then walkways that are narrow and steep sometimes leading to stairs. The people here have lived here all their lives. This town is in the Cliento National Forest.

Come walk with us in the YouTube video below.

– George

Categories: Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, Campania, Casal Velino, Casal Velino Marina, Driving in Italy, Eating Italian, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Marina Casal Velino, Mountain Towns, Small Towns, Southern Italy, Towns, VLOG | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pisciotta, Italy

Pisciotta is a small mountain town in southern Campania. It is high above its marina on the sea. This town is very small but beautiful with only about 3,000 people living there. The views of the sea are amazing.We walked around this town from the main piazza up the many stairs to see the views. We were rewarded by discovering a wonderful restaurant with the most amazing views. The owner allowed us to come out on their balcony and photograph the sea. Later we returned for a magnificent romantic lunch. The people at the restaurant, I Tre Gufi (the three owls), were so friendly and the food and wine was delicious.

As we entered the town we found a parking garage but there were no ticket machines to pay for parking. We had to leave the garage and go to the main piazza to find a bar that sold parking tickets (biglietto). After placing the biglietto in the car we were free to explore. At lunch we realized our parking tickets were about to expire. As I prepared to go buy another ticket, a man told me not to worry, the police were eating lunch as well and would not be issuing parking tickets. Italy is all about basic human needs like food. We love it.

Click on the YouTube video below and walk around Pisciotta with us. If you enjoy it, LIKE and SUBSCRIBE on YouTube. Thank you…

– George

Categories: Bars, Beach Resorts, Beaches, BLOG, Campania, Driving in Italy, Europe, Food, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mountain Towns, Mountains, Parking Garage, Parking Meters, Passegiata, Pisciotta, Ristorante, Romance, Small Towns, Tyrrhenian Sea, VLOG, Walking, Wine, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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