Tag Archives | contests and giveaways

Win the 2014 DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Italy

DK Eyewitness Guide to Italy

Dorling Kindersley has asked me to help them give away a set of their 2014 Eyewitness Travel guides. Included in the 4-pack are the guides to Italy, New York City, Paris, and London.

I have been toting around DK guides since the first time I visited Rome and I think they are hands-down the best travel guides for visual learners who love art, architecture, and maps. Yes, yes–I know everyone uses fancy smartphone apps now. But there’s something comforting about thumbing through a guidebook before and during one’s travels (it also saves you from paying huge data usage fees!)

If you’d like to win the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Italy plus three more titles for your library, visit this post on my personal blog and leave a comment *there* to enter the contest. Comments left on this blog, while appreciated, will not count towards entry to the giveaway.

Navmii Italy iPhone App and Giveaway

Navmii Italy GPS app for the iPhone
Italy is a joy to drive around, but it can be hell if you get lost. With that in mind, Navmii GPS Live, came out with a specialized iPhone app just for Italy. With the launch of Navmii GPS Live Italy in July 2010, Italy became the 10th European country to get a “fully functioning GPS navigation for less than the cost of a paper map.” Thus, for $4.99, you can get dozens of Italy maps as well as enjoy a GPS system for a fraction of the cost of a whole GPS device.

I am writing about Navmii because its developers recently contacted me about reviewing the device and running a contest for my readers (details below!). While I really wanted to try the app out for myself – I’m a glutton for iPhone apps – I knew that I wouldn’t have a chance to do it this fall. Luckily, I found that Navmii had also contacted my friend Alex Roe of Blog From Italy for a review of Navmii Italy, and he gives a very thorough one. Here is Alex’s summary:

Navmii GPS Live for Italy iPhone App

Pros:

  • Very Easy to use – once you are familiar with it.
  • Uncluttered maps, clear graphics.
  • Quick.
  • Clear directions, generally.
  • Useful favourites and recent destinations route memory system for regularly used journeys. Useful on holiday for those hotel to beach and back trips, too.
  • Bargain price – no monthly charges.

Cons:

  • The GPS voice is a little quiet, so the iPhone needs to be integrated into car audio system, if possible.
  • Directions given can be a slightly confusing at times.
  • No ‘fastest route’ or advanced features – but at this price, it’s not to be expected. Navmii got me there!

Navmii GPS Italy Giveaway

As I mentioned above, Navmii has offered to give three of my lucky readers a chance to win their app and try it out on their next vacation to Italy. Alas, dear readers, you must do some investigative work to win this free app!

To win the app, provide the name and URL of one of the top ten most popular posts about driving on Italofile in the comments below. Only one comment per person and only one URL per comment. The first three readers to guess correctly will will receive a code which they can use in the Apple iStore USA.

An Italian Wedding

100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go
June is the classic month in which to schedule wedding, and this holds true in Italy, too. Therefore, with the marriage month fast approaching, I am delighted to be able to provide readers with an excerpt from Susan Van Allen’s wonderful new book 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go.

An Italian Wedding

If you get an invitation to an Italian wedding, don’t waffle about how you’re going to pay for airfare or take time off work. Go for a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable event. Prepare yourself for an extravaganza of delicious food and dancing until the wee hours.

It’ll be a rare invitation. These days Italians say it’s not practical to get married, so most are shacking up together for years, and the statistics for Italian marriages are at a historic low. Along with that, there’s the trend of “mammoni” or mamma’s boys, that is, men living at home and having their mothers cook for them and do their laundry until they’re well into their thirties. It’s inspired the government to step in to get things moving, and beginning in 2008 tax breaks will be offered to those earning low incomes who leave home to live on their own.

Still, if you’re in Italy, especially in June (thanks to Juno, Goddess of Marriage), you’ll run into Italian weddings in churches. I spent a week in Palermo one June where almost every church I peeked into had a marriage ceremony going on, with wonderful music and stunning get-ups from the bride on down. You’ll never see a real Italian wedding on a Tuesday or Friday, as that’s considered not a good day to begin any venture. Which is why when I was last visiting Ravello’s Villa Cimbrone on a Friday, the wedding party posing for pictures were Americans from Massachusetts.

Speaking of which, you may be considering getting married in Italy. It’s naturally a great place for a wedding, completely romantic, with locations from castles to vineyards to cliffs overlooking the sea that can satisfy every fairytale fantasy.

A major advantage to getting married in Italy is that you can cut your guest list down to a core group of dearest family and friends, who’ll be thrilled to be in on the adventure. Plus, what
better place is there for a jumping off point for a honeymoon?

As far as the nitty-gritty, it’s better to have a symbolic wedding in Italy rather than an official one, as the paperwork to make things official is complex and time consuming. To help get things set up, here are some companies that specialize in Italian weddings:

Doorways, Ltd.
One of this company’s top “I Do” spots is a sixteenth century villa on the outskirts of Lucca, which sits on 300 acres of vineyards, olive groves, and woodlands. A special perk is a pre-wedding cocktail party exclusively for the bridal couple and all the service people involved in the festivities. Here, according to Doorway’s President Kit Burns, “Everyone becomes a family and the bride’s pre-wedding anxiety vanishes when she’s met everybody who’ll be doing
the work.”

There’s a fantastic frescoed bridal suite at the villa, an arts and crafts workshop area for younger guests, and it’s perfectly located for day trips before the big event, such as a boat ride to the Cinque Terre.

Italy 4 Real
Intimate country weddings in Tuscan and Umbrian agriturismos, are Italy 4 Real’s specialty. The company’s philosophy is for clients to fully experience the environment they’re in, so they bring in local expert chefs and musicians and it’s all very traditional. Marriage ceremonies feature stunning backdrops of vineyards and olive groves. Brides and grooms are whisked off to nearby picturesque hill towns such as San Gimignano or Assisi for photo shoots. The company is owned by Rem Malloy and his Roman-American mother, Deborah de Maio, who Rem made a point of telling me he does not live with.

The Italy Specialists
Silvia Giardin, company founder and Veneto native, has been planning Italian weddings for thirty-three years. “Nothing is impossible” is her motto. I would love to have been invited to just one of the weddings she told me her company put together: a sunrise ceremony on a Venetian dock where the bridal couple wore pajamas and the party continued with a palazzo brunch…an extravagant affair at the Lake Como estate now owned by George Clooney…a wedding in Taoromina, Sicily where the ceremony took place at the Greek amphitheater and was followed by a reception at The Grand Hotel Timeo.

RECOMMENDED READING
Italy, a Love Story edited by Camille Cusumano
In Love in Italy by Monica Larner

“An Italian Wedding” has such excellent tips for a destination wedding in Italy. But it is only one chapter in a book chock full of fun Italy travel suggestions for women. Van Allen also pays homage to must-see works of art, tiny villages, spas, shopping, family-friendly places, and other sights and activities that have either a feminine bent or that hold certain appeal for the female traveler. I especially love that Van Allen has included a calendar of Madonna Holidays and Female Saints’ Feast Days.

If you haven’t figured it out already, 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go is a fantastic gift for the Italy-loving woman in your life.

(Thanks to everyone who participated in the iPhone app giveway! The contest is now closed.)

Want to know another great gift? The ’100 Places’ iPhone App! Publisher Travelers’ Tales has created a lightweight app that you can use as a reference on your trip to Italy or when you simply want to do a little armchair travel while standing in line or sitting in the waiting room. And, I’m offering Italofile readers the chance to win a copy of the iPhone app:

100 Places iPhone App Giveaway
To win the 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go iPhone app, simply comment on the post below or re-tweet this post using the hashtag #100places. Deadline for entering the contest is 11:59pm EDT on June 3, 2010.

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