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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.

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