Posts Tagged ‘Itinerary planning Italy’

There are very few small travel organizations in Italy who are part of the KM “Zero” movement. KM Zero Tours, owned and operated by Alessio and Arianna, established their company upon this philosophy: “…we would love to invite you to discover Tuscany from a different perspective, following its slow rhythms, meeting local, passionate producers and being inspired by their sustainable, authentic lifestyle.”

Alessio and Arianna of Km Zero Tours

Alessio and Arianna of KM Zero Tours

Private Italy Tours LTD does not partner with a large number of other such passionate owners in Italy. Our philosophy of travel melds seamlessly with KM Zero Tours and we very pleased to share true Italian cultural experiences with them.

It was thanks to their generous partnership that we visited the Villa del Cigliano, a private family owned and operated estate in the Chianti Area of Tuscany. The owners and managers of the estate, Anna Macaferri Montecchi and her husband inherited the estate from her mother. The estate was established in the 16th Century by the Antinori family and it has been in the care of that extended family ever since. Anna’s son, Niccolo’, cares for the grape and the production of wine. The long list of honors bestowed upon the wines created there speak to his loving and careful care of the production.

The video link below, though in Italian, shares both Anna and Niccolo’s passion for their work. Their spirit and enthusiasm come through, regardless of the language, though Italian is such a sensuous and beautiful language you can, if you don’t speak Italian, understand what they are saying.


While private tours and tastings can be arranged directly with the estate, my strong recommendation is to contact Arianna and Alessio at KM Zero tours so that they can share with you “their” Tuscany. The relationship that they have with Anna and Niccolo’ are unique and only through the partnership of the two passions will you truly experience all the Villa del Cigliano offers.

Km Zero Tours

Villa del Cigliano Via Cigliano 17 – 50026
San Casciano Val di Pesa
Firenze – Italy   tel +39.055.820033

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Exhausted? Looking for the best possible way to relax in bella Italia? Come experience the professional services of Private Italy Tours LTD.


Imagine your own Italian villa with garden

Contact us about our 2017 tours in Italy. We offer completely care free weeks in villas, cooks for your meals, daily easy guide-lead explorations to known, and many less known, corners of the country. Four select itineraries are offered to provide you with exceptional opportunities to experience the Italian culture.


A villa pool and view

Over 725 guests have traveled with us since our company began offering unforgettable travel experiences. Their testimonials add an additional perspective to the quality of our services.

Traveling on your own and wish to have the itinerary planning services of a professional and knowledgeable team of experts based in Italy? Our Itinerary Planning Services offer inclusive services so that you can travel with no worries as you explore the country on your own.

Experience a world of stress free travel, where the worries of the day fade in to the beauty of golden veiled skies, rustling olive leaves and luxurious accommodation.

Experience Private Italy Tours LTD.



Your breakfast table in Italy

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Libreria Aqua Alta Entrance

Down one of the more typical walkways of Venice, in the heart of the Castello Sestieri (neighborhood), and in the shadow of the gorgeous Cathedral of San Giovanni e Paolo, is an unexpected treasure of Venice, the Bookstore of High Water (Libreria Aqua Alta). Please refer to the map link below for detailed location information.

Any self-respecting lover of books MUST visit, if only for the memorable curiosities contained within: a gondola (yes, a real gondola) full of books, room after room of volumes stacked, in most cases, to the ceiling, another small boat filled with hard and soft covers and, as a final treat, an outdoor set of stairs built from tomes that afford you a view of the canal behind the shop.


The Infamous 3-D Artwork

As you enter the store, be prepared for the friendly and outgoing owner, Luigi Frizzo, to greet you. Along with his pointing out a certain three dimensional painting of Venetian palazzi, showcased near the check out counter (right), one of any number of well fed cats may stare you down, might stretch and resettle or could even meow a hello.

I have visited this libreria numerous times over the years. Each visit, I wonder how Luigi keeps the bookstore, literally and figuratively, afloat.

When you are next in Venice, make sure you add a short easy break at the “High Water”. You will not be disappointed.

Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa (Corte Senza Nome)

5176/B – Castello, 30122 Venice

Tel: +39 041 296 08 41

Daily Hours: 9:00AM – 8:00PM


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Angelo Cavalieri-General Manager at Le Menagere

Not far from the famous San Lorenzo Market (Mercato Nuovo) which recently opened a huge space offering the best of Tuscan food products, La Ménagére offers a warm and sincere welcome.

During a recent trip to Florence I had the great good fortune of meeting Angelo Cavalieri, the General Manager at this gorgeous new Florentine restaurant. His welcome and the food (!) will bring me back every trip from now on.

Once home to a famous Florentine housewares store, this creative new space incorporates a tribute to the origins by offering beautifully designed Italian housewares and flowers…but the real draw here is the food and atmosphere. And did I fail to mention the wine list?

In the spirit of training the next generation of Italian restaurateurs, the owner partners with a local hospitality school in providing internships for students who wish to learn the real world of running a restaurant. Your servers will, most likely, be participating in this unique program. Angelo and the other staff keep a close, trained, eye on each and every one.

Dinner, culled from their incredible winter seasonal menu, was Orecchiette with broccoli and clams followed by Maialino, mela arrostita, topinambur e salsa arancione (Pugliese special pasta with broccoli and clams followed by a perfectly prepared pork cutlet served with roasted apples, Jerusalem artichokes-a first for me-and orange sauce). Eat your heart out!:) For dessert? A unique twist on a traditional dolce: White chocolate mousse with Shezuan pepper and apple sorbet. Incredible.

Here are links to the Winter Menu (in English and Italian) along with their Wine List.

Winter Menu La Ménagére

Wine List – La Ménagére


During the restoration, the owners made the wise decision to keep the space bright. Daylight enters the back of the space through skylights and stunning Italian lighting adds to the creative design of the place.


The Bistro, right, offers flavorful pastries and panini throughout the day and well into the night. The large ‘farm to table’ inspired dining table welcomes foodies and passionate wine enthusiasts alike to enjoy meals together.

There are two separate areas off of the dining space, one with small tables and, for those truly passionate about Italian food, chef’s tables.

After Hours? How about live jazz in the cantina restored below the main dining and bistro levels of the restaurant. A marvelous and unique corner of bella Firenze.

The meals enjoyed in this space, the warm welcome by staff and the creative, modernist concept of the space, makes it all more than well worth the trip for lunch, an aperativo, dinner or late night.

In a word? GO! Enjoy! Buon Appetito!




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It is difficult to imagine a more spectacular surprise on the outskirts of Naples, amidst the “architettura fascista” of the cities notoriously ugly preferia (suburbs), than the Reggia (Royal Palace) of Caserta.

Facade Reggia di Caserta

Reggia di Caserta

Though Charles VII initiated construction on the palace, he was never to spend one night in the structure. In 1759 he abdicated to become the King of Spain. It was left to Charles’s third son, Ferdinand IV of Naples, to bring the palace to its near completion. Vanvitelli’s original plan included two large colonnades, never realized, comparable in size to Bernini’s monumental installation surrounding St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

Following Luigi Vanvitelli’s death in 1773, his son Carlo assumed responsibility for the project. It was during the sons’ oversight that a garden of over 300 acres was designed and installed. The water garden extends nearly one half mile where, in 1780, an English Garden was designed and installed by Johann Graefer, a German born, English trained landscape architect. The garden design is also complimented by a floral garden on the east side of the palace.

The design and scale of the beautiful and complex water features and garden have been compared to those of Peter the Great’s palace, Peterhof, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

 Visits to the palace offer a number of tour itineraries and options. Visit the web site (see IF YOU GO below) for further details. The most important rooms in the palace are the King’s Theater, modeled after the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Throne Room, Staircase of Honor and Palatine Chapel. The most impressive exterior view of the Palace and estate is from a high point in the gardens.

View Gardens Reggia di Caserta

Gardens Reggia di Caserta

Visitors can easily reach the main entrance at the Palace using the regional train system from Napoli Centrale to Caserta. The grand approach to the palace is directly across the Sottovia Carlo Vanvitelli from Caserta’s station.

 Stunning. Breathtaking. Unbelievable. These are words that somehow inadequately describe this palace of unforgettable beauty. If you are planning a trip to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, I highly recommend at least a half-day visit to the Reggia di Caserta and gardens.


Train service from Napoli Centrale begins very early during the week (5:09AM) and trains run approximately every forty minutes. The trip takes approximately fifty minutes each way. For further schedule details refer to: www.virail.com or www.trenitalia.it.

Reggia di Caserta

Web: Reggia di Caserta

Entrance to both Palace and Gardens: Euro 10.80 per person

Palace Open:

8:30 to 7:30PM daily

(Closed Tuesdays, January 1, Easter Monday, May 1 and 25 December)

 Garden Park:

 Open daily 8:30AM

Closings: January, February, November and December at 3:30PM, March at 4:00PM, April at 5:00PM, May at 5:30PM, June – August at 6:00PM, September at 6:30PM, October at 5:30PM


Map  Reggia di Caserta

Reggia di Caserta






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Mantua?Palazzo Te View

Yes, Mantua.

Yet another of Italy’s surprises await those willing to get off the beaten path and visit one of the country’s little-known treasures, the Palazzo Te. The city is only eighteen miles south of Verona, easily reached by way of the E45 Autostrada.

Mantua was established on the banks of the Mincio River, a tributary of the Po River. At that time, the town was surrounded by mosquito infested marsh and swamp.

During the 12th Century, the river was widened and the flow controlled so that four lakes were created. Three of those original lakes remain to this day.

The Gonzaga Family began their rise to political leadership of the city during the latter part of the 15th Century. Fortunes of the family improved as a result of visits by popes and the raising of a family member to the papacy. The family’s male leadership were famous condottieri – paid soldier/leaders. It was one of the desires of the first Grand Duke of Mantua, Duke Federigo II Gonzaga, to build a villa suburbana, on the scale of an ancient roman emperor’s, on a location just outside the city proper. He commissioned Giulio Romano to design and construct the Palazzo Te.

Vault, Sala dei Giganti Palazzo Te, Mantua

Vault, Sala dei Giganti
Palazzo Te, Mantua

Romano, a student of Raphael, designed and supervised the construction of the Palazzo over the course of only eighteen months. It was between 1524 and 1534, after the shell of the structure was completed, that a veritable army of plasterers, frescoists, artists and designers began the ten year task of covering nearly every interior inch of the building in the highest quality flooring, furnishings and paintings.

Sala dei Psychie Palazzo Te, Mantua

Sala dei Psychie
Palazzo Te, Mantua

The most famous of the fresco covered rooms in the Palazzo are the “Sala de Psychie”, a fresco covered room dedicated to the story of Psyche and Cupid and the “Sala dei Giganti”, the Room of the Giants. The frescoes are gorgeous, intricate. In the case of the Sala dei Giganti, the scale of the figures creates a strange and intended effect; you seem smaller once you stand in the chamber. In the vault, The Assembly of Gods cavort and frolic around the throne of Jupiter. Vasari, in one of his numerous writings, referred to this chamber as an ‘oven’ and, in summer, the word seems wholly appropriate.

This is a destination for visitors not to be missed. So, plan a visit off the typical ‘grand tour’ of Italy and discover the treasures of this splendid Palazzo in Manuta!

Sala dei Giganti View Palazzo Te, Manuta

Sala dei Giganti
Palazzo Te, Manuta


The best time to visit the Palazzo is in the cooler months of November through March. Summer months are very warm in Mantua and on the Veneto plain, so comfortable clothing is a necessity if you go during those months.

Train Service

Mantua is served by Trenitalia with easy connections from Bologna, Venice and – for a full day’s excursion – from Florence.

Refer to the Trenitalia web site below for routings, times and pricing:

Web: Trenitalia

Palazzo Te, Manuta

Entrance tickets: Euro 8.00 per person

Web: Palazzo Te


Monday 1:00PM to 6:00PM
Tuesday – Sunday, 9:00 am–6:00 pm
Phone: +39 0376 323266
Address: Viale Te, 13, 46100 Mantova, Italy

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Piegaro, Umbria, Italy

Piegaro, Umbria, Italy

This small walled village holds within its medieval walls, one of the most treasured secrets in the province of Umbria and of Italy; the creation of stained glass.

Situated above the Nestore River in central Umbria, the town became a destination for glass artists from Venice. In 1292, the Venice Proclamation, declared that all glass artisans must move to the island of Murano. Fires from the many glass blowers that had operated in the city for centuries had caused too many fires. The Proclamation was intended to diffuse growing anger and concern among the Venetians that their properties were at risk from those fires. Murano was selected as the site for all future glass makers.

One of the unexpected results of the 1292 edict was the migration of a large number of glass artists from Venice in search of solitude and protection in other cities. Piegaro became the primary location for many of those artisans. The nearby river provided the sand needed for their furnaces, plentiful and easily accessible forests provided fuel.

Glass Mosaic, FranchiFacade Duomo Siena

Glass Mosaic, Franchi
Facade Duomo Siena

The first of four major vetreria, glassworks, were established in 1292. These glassworks continued in use, including several 15th century expansions, until immediately after World War II. From the glorious glass mosaics that cover portions of the facade on Siena’s Duomo to the glass windows in churches and cathedrals in Bologna, Milan and other cities, the vetreria artisans of Piegaro created stunning artistic glass.

Today, the village is the location of one of the largest commercial glass manufacturers in Italy. With a small vetreria museum located along the city walls, the fascinating history of these artisans is available to be enjoyed.


The village of Piegaro is located in the central Italian province of Umbria. Easily reached in less than an hour from the towns of Chiusi, Marsciano and Perugia, the village is a wonderful destination for a relaxing day in the Umbrian countryside.

If you are interested in visiting the Museo del Vetro (the Glass Museum) in the village, it is

Lane, Piegaro, Umbria

Lane, Piegaro, Umbria

best to email them directly, using the email address below, to confirm open hours and other details. You can also contact the local Cultural Office in Piegaro at the numbers and email address listed below:

Museo del Vetro – Comune di Piegaro

Tel. +

Tel. (Cell) +39.333.79.07.764

Email: museodelvetro@comune.piegaro.pg.it

Cultural Office, Piegaro

Ufficio Cultura – Comune di Piegaro

Tel. +

Email: turismo@comune.piegaro.pg.it

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