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"Boot"iful Country: Rome and Beyond for Cheap

July 28, 2004 -- Whether you get yourself to Italy or want to book an air-inclusive package, we have some deals for you again, showing off our inclination to love that "boot" of light and culture almost any time of the year.

Illinois-based TourCrafters, long a specialist on the Mediterranean region, has devised another fantastic package to Rome for the winter season. Costing just $575, the package gives you roundtrip air from New York, Boston, Washington DC or Chicago, four nights of lodging, a daily breakfast and hotel service charges and taxes. The package is good from November 1 through December 9 at the Hotel Contilia and from November 16 through December 9 at the Hotel Brasile. The whole deal starts again after New Year's Day and goes until March 15, 2005. If you want to fly in from Miami, the package costs $75 more.

Both hotels are rated three-star and are in the city center. The Brasile is across the street from the British Embassy, with minibars, TV and direct dial phones in the rooms. The Contilia, fairly near the main train station, has satellite TV, direct dial phone and hair dryers in each unit. The company is also offering good winter packages to Florence, Venice, Naples, Sorrento and Sicily. All prices are per person, double occupancy, and do not include airport taxes and security fees. For more information, contact them at or phone 800/482-5995, e-mail

Italian Deals on the Internet

If you are traveling anywhere on your own, be sure to check out hotel discount web sites such as, which can also be reached at 800/364-0801. Although there are other sites, I like this one because it has plenty of international destinations in addition to the North American cities all sites include.

For instance, on the site on the day of writing, you could find these deals in Italy: In Rome, until August 31, 2004 you could stay at the Grand Hotel Tiberio from $142 per room, at the Hotel Galles from $103 per room. Through September 4, 2004, you could try the Hotel Cristoforo Colombo from only $87 per room. Should you want to visit Florence as well, the Hotel Lorenzo II Magnifico is available from $165 per room until August 31, 2004, and the Framon Hotel Anglo-American from $138 until September 15, 2004.

Rome Redux

Local Rome hotels have their own special prices, even in the high summer season. The four-star Rose Garden Palace, just off the famed Via Veneto, has a weekend shopping package valid all year round for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. You get a double room for one night at a cost of €250 (about $303) plus 10% VAT (Value Added Tax), with best room available, as well as a buffet breakfast, basket of fruit in the room and use of the Oasis fitness center (gym, whirlpool, sauna). Children under 12 are free if they share the room with their parents. (Single rooms cost €150 (about $182) plus 10% VAT.

The Rose Garden Palace is a contemporary hotel with an eclectic style of furnishing, a new restaurant, a crystal cupola and piano bar with live jazz evenings. There are 65 rooms and suites. The management claims that after the heyday of the 1960s when the Via Veneto typified "la dolce vita," then two decades of decline, the neighborhood is fashionable and trendy again, with a Lamborghini gallery, a Brioni Donna shop, and much more. Contact them at or by phoning (in Italy) 06/421-741. Their website is