Sicily Steals

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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When we stay with clients in Palermo (the first stop on our Sicily tour) we like to visit historic Palazzo Conte Federico for a private viewing. It’s one of the oldest buildings in Palermo, and  part of it contains the original fortress walls that protected the city. Built in the 12th century, it’s filled with art and antiques and frescoes from all eras. With a history like this, it’s quite the place. But what’s unique about this palazzo is that the original family still inhabits it — it’s really a living museum, and they work to keep it in the family. So many of these grand palaces in Italy get sold and turned into hotels — I mean, can you imagine the cost of upkeep on a place that has 20+ rooms? (Some weeks I can’t even keep my own closet organized.) The private palace does have a small collection of apartments that are available for rent — here’s the link. Airbnb on steroids? Yup! (PS: The photo is of the palace, not the rentals.)

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Tuscany + Alpacas = Heaven On Earth

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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We’ve talked about the volcano that you can see from our breakfast table at the hotel we stay at in the Aeolian Islands during our Sicily tour. Did you know that you can hike right up to its crater? We’re talking red lava spewing into the air right before your eyes. Bucket list item? Oh heeeelll yes! Stromboli has been active pretty much continuously for the last 2000 years, and Volcano Adventures is an outfit that gets you right up close and personal with it. For a really deep dive, sign up for their 9-day From Stromboli to Etna tour, guided by an expert volcanologist!

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And Summer Has Officially Started

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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Aaaand… we’re off! Easter kicked the high season off in Italy, and we can confirm that the tourism floodgates are officially open. Our team in the Cinque Terre tells us that the villages were busy and bustling all weekend long, and that the vibe is positively pre-pandemic. It’s got us in the mood for that same kind of energy, and so we’re pinning a race car to our dreamboard this week, one we plan to test drive via Racing in Italy just outside Milan. They offer a 6-day Race Course Vacation in partnership with Traveling in Italy aimed at young drivers looking to start a racing career or anyone who wants to live the life of a race-car driver for a week, with a team of professional race drivers and mechanics as instructors. Don’t want the full immersion but are itching to test drive a Maserati or Lamborghini? Pencil an afternoon into your itinerary with them, because they do that too

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