Tag Archives | Fun Stuff

Become a Museum Reporter for Tuscany

As we reported last week, Tuscany has a brand new tourism website. We have also now learned that the regional tourism board is considering letting visitors weigh in on the Tuscan museum experience. According to the Florentine, the tourism board will be asking visitors in May to become “museum reporters” as part of the Amico Museo 2009 initiative.

Those who choose to become ‘museum reporters’ will be asked to send their photos and thoughts to [email protected]. The best entries will be featured in a virtual album on the region’s official Web site, in the ‘Culture’ subsection.

So here’s your chance to be heard and let others know how impressed (or underwhelmed) you were by a particular museum in Tuscany.

Aerial Views of Ancient Rome

Leave it to Google to continue to make geography cool and engaging.

Yesterday, Google revealed the new Ancient Rome 3D layer, which allows viewers to “fly” over the city as it was during the heyday of the Forum and Colosseum. With this new layer, Google is also encouraging educators to use Ancient Rome 3D in their lesson plans and submit such curricula for a chance to win prizes such as a MacBook, digital camera, or $500 for school supplies from Target or Office Depot. According to the Google LatLong blog, this is the “first time” that Google has “incorporated an ancient city in Google Earth.” So, does that mean that fly-overs of Pompeii are not far on the horizon?

Further endearing Google to me more is the company’s recent release of Street Views for Italy. Again, the LatLong blog provides examples of Italian streetscapes, with many more in the works.

Ah, technology…what a wonderful thing.

If Obama Were Tuscan Wine, What Would He Be?

Have you ever wondered what kind of characteristics Sarah Palin or Barack Obama share with Tuscan wine? No? Neither have I. But here’s a fun little post from On the Wine Trail in Italy comparing the U.S. presidential candidates and their surrogates to various Tuscan vintages. I wonder if there’s a corresponding Facebook quiz…

Sarah Palin is “a Chianti ‘in fiasco’…something fresh and fruity and not too deep.”

Joe Biden is a Chianti Classico in Riserva: “untapped potential and surprise.”

Cindy McCain is a Vernaccia di San Gimignano that “licks, kisses, bites, pinches, and stings. Ask Carol McCain (the 1st wife) about the sting.” Ouch!

Further, Obama and his wife are Super Tuscans, John McCain is a Brunello, and Colin Powell is a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Skip on over to On the Wine Trail in Italy to read more.

A 360-Degree Spin Around Italy

Do you ever feel like you don’t get the whole picture when reading about Italy in guidebooks or on blogs? There are now a couple of websites that go one better than the usual two-dimensional picture.

Expat Peter Ryder, a resident of Sardinia, has two websites that can give you a better picture of the island – www.360sardinia.net and www.360alghero.net. In addition to providing information on where to stay, where to eat, etc., these two sites provide 360° looks at some of the beaches, marinas, and piazze of Sardinia.

Similarly, there’s a newish website called 360travelguide.com that features, according to a press release, the “world’s largest free access panoramic image library.”  For Italy, they offer virtual tours from Amalfi to Verona, as well as user reviews and travel blogs. There’s also an ongoing competition for users who provide reviews to win an iPhone. Ooops…gotta go write a review now…:-)

See Italian Cities in 3-D

This tip comes from Google Earth’s Lat Long Blog, which reports that Italy is one of several European countries to be included in Google Cities in 3D Program. It’s not immediately apparent if any Italian cities have completed the 3D task, though here are models of some buildings and piazze in Florence in the Google 3D warehouse.

Indeed, we’re excited about the tourism potential of the Google Earth tool. Just think – soon you’ll be able to “walk” the streets of Florence from your desktop or reminisce about the routes you followed while on vacation in Rome. Stay tuned to Google Earth for more info.

Walk Off the Pasta Pounds

We all know that a vacation – especially one to Italy – is a good excuse to eat with abandon. But it’s also a great chance to get in shape, what with all the great walks you can do.

Here’s a fantastic new (new to me, anyhow) website where you can learn about various walking routes in Italian towns and elsewhere. The site mapmywalk.com has at this moment 21 user-submitted walks around the city of Rome and 6 for Florence. Users have also submitted walks for Naples, Milan, Venice, Bologna, and the Amalfi Coast for a total of 105 Italy walks so far. Very cool!

Mapmywalk.com also lets you submit a walk, bike ride, or run of your own. So, if you have found an especially pleasant touring trek – and have the wherewithall to write it down – you, too, can share it with others. If you’re keeping a blog of your travels for the folks back home, you can embed your walk in your blog. The site also provides a link to Google Earth so you can see the walk in 3D. (My only problem with the tool that I can see right now is that the names of the walks are not very intuitive, so you have to click “view” on several to find one you may like.)

So, now you have no excuses for getting fit while on vacation or for forgetting that lovely evening stroll through the streets of Rome.

Photo by Tawmas

Kissing in Italy

Inquiring minds want to know: Which Way Do You Kiss in Italy? Jessica at Italylogue wrote this post today and, as an IBM (Italian By Marriage), I’ve always wondered this myself. Even though Italian-Americans typically only kiss once on the cheek (American efficiency?), I’ve always sensed that I’ve leaned the wrong way but I never kept track of just which way seemed the most awkward.

So, if you too are curious, have a gander at Jessica’s funny post which also includes a video on Italian etiquette. Enjoy!

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