In: 2009, Cheryl Alexander's Newsletters

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Season Greetings to you all.

Now is the time I begin to think about trips to Italy. for the new year. When I talk to people about this they get very excited, too. I keep running into folks who say I saw The Da Vinci Code or Under The Tuscan Sun or even Roman Holiday, which all conjure up images about this beautiful place. They want to know if Italy really looks like what they see in the films, if they’ve not traveled there before. Or they want to know if I’ve visited some of the spots in the films. Yes, I say, and yes, again. The locations of these movies are very close to where we stay on our tours and sometimes we take day trips to visit these places.

Of course, Rome, the wonderful ancient city that it is, need more than a day to really discover it’s beauty and all it has to offer. But a day will give one the flavor and a sense of what to see when returning. Florence, too needs much more time to explore. It’s a gem of a little city that reminds me of a jewel box chock full of baubles and lovely sparkly things to see.

Places in Tuscany, like Arezzo or Cortona (Where the story of Under the Tuscan Sun was set) are smaller towns that are slow moving with traditional looking scenes, in the countryside. Here is where you can find undiscovered cafe’s or trattoria’s, run by familes for generations, serving dishes made with food from their gardens; wines from their local vineyards.

At this time of the year, there are many Christmas celebrations with beautifully made nativity scenes, multitudes of lights decorating everything and traditional Italian holiday foods. December may be a cold month to visit Italy but the spirit and cheer make it all worth the discomfort. Whatever time of year you decide to visit Italy, you’ll not be disappointed. We’re offering four trips in 2010, in several different regions of the country. Each region having it’s own potent flavor in food, wine, art and history.

Wishing you a healthy, happy, prosperous Holiday Season and New Year,