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The Pope's Summer Palace Now Open for Tours

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/25/2016, 4:00 AM

For the first time ever, the centuries-old residence intended as a summer retreat for popes has been opened for public viewing. The Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, located along Lake Albano about 25 kilometers (16 mi) outside of Rome, has 20 rooms you can tour, including a library, study, chapel, and bedroom, all set aside for the use of the Catholic leader while he's on vacation. ...

Barter for a Free B&B Stay in Italy

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/20/2016, 4:00 AM

Here's a chance to stay in any of a multitude of B&Bs in Italy without spending a penny—though you do have to pay. From November 14 to 20, the country's Barter Week—or, if you prefer, La Settimana del Baratto—lets visitors exchange various goods and services for accommodations at thousands of participating inns.  You can either enter what you have to offer on the event's website, o...

Fountain Dispensing Free Wine Unveiled in Italy

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/17/2016, 4:00 AM

There's a new contender for the title of Best Fountain in Italy.  It's located in the town of Ortona in the Abruzzo region, and it will dispense free wine 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Dora Sarchese is the name of the generous winery that has set up this marvel—a stone basin situated under button-operated taps housed in a giant wine barrel. It's situated along the Cammino di San ...

Luxury Travel Service Offers Chance to Meet Pope Francis—for $25,000

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/24/2016, 4:00 AM

Pope Francis (photo: Aleteia Image Department/Flickr) There are vacation packages that come with free WiFi and water-park tickets. And then there are apparently vacation packages that include a meet-and-greet with Pope Francis. That's the highlight of a showstopping offering from luxury travel service If Only—part of a trip to Italy that will set you back $25,000 (well, actually, ...

Italy Fining Beachgoers for Reserving Spots with Towels and Chairs

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/09/2016, 1:15 PM

The Italian coastguard has had it with people leaving towels, chairs, and umbrellas on Italy's beaches overnight in order to save prime spots for the next day.  Along the coast from Tuscany to Sardinia, authorities have begun seizing gear left unattended in the early morning hours and fining those responsible to the tune of 200 euros (about $222), as part of an initiative called Operation ...

Rome Cracking Down on Fountain Swimmers

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/29/2016, 12:15 PM

Authorities in Rome have started cracking down on those who engage in a supposedly romantic yet entirely illegal activity: climbing into and splashing around in the city's fountains. A pair of tourists from California were fined 450 euros (equivalent to about $500) for trying to recreate the Trevi Fountain scene in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita. Other recent offenders include a 22-year-...

Cruise Lines Continue to Cancel Stops in Turkey

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 07/20/2016, 12:00 PM

Cruise lines—including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises—continue to cancel stops in Istanbul and other Turkish cities, substituting days at sea or calls at Mediterranean spots in Greece and Italy. The latest moves come in response to a failed military coup intended to overthrow Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Previous cancelations have been prompted by terror...

An Excess of Tourism Has Now Eliminated Much of the Appeal that the Medieval Cinque Terre Once Possessed

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/24/2016, 8:00 PM

      If you're like me, you have spoken to a great many friends on their eve of a trip to Italy, who have made a point of saying that they would include the "Cinque Terre" in their itinerary. And when you have asked them why they were planning a detour to these out-of-the-way, cliffside towns on the northwest coast of Italy, they have responded somewhat sheepishly that the Cinque Terre w...

Today's Eurail Pass: A Conversation on What Travelers Need to Know

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 06/24/2016, 4:30 PM

The Eurail Pass is not new, but it’s still not as well known among first-time travelers to Europe as it should be. The pass, which has a number of different iterations, allows vacationers to hop on and hop off European trains within a set number of days each month, for one reasonable rate. It allows those who wish to see a number of different destinations on the continent to do so in a conveni...

Walking-on-Water Artwork Hugely Popular in Italy

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/23/2016, 10:45 PM

The latest large-scale installation by conceptual artist Christo is a 2-mile long walkway covered in saffron-colored fabric and connecting two islands in Northern Italy's Lake Iseo to each other and the mainland. Called "The Floating Piers," it's designed to make you feel like you're walking on water. Attracted by this prospect as well as the fact that the temporary installation is free to the...

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