Venice Too Crowded?

Some think so (I suspect the cruise ship problem is relevant here).  As long as you’re not there in June, July, August, or September, it’s generally not.  But even if you are, one of the perks of traveling with Doug Sassi is how deftly he can show you the Venice found not just on the Rialto and in Piazza San Marco, but also off the beaten path that takes just a bit of adventuring to find.  It can feel easy to get lost and waste time hunting around there, but we’ll get you where you can see the *real* Venice with ease and avoid the crowds.

Venice Quiet
(Doesn’t look too crowded does it?  And not that far a walk from major tourist attractions you can find quiet romantic corners like this to explore and take in the Venice Venetians know and love, if you know where to look.)

wine – 1999 Piero Talenti Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello. Who’s up for a wine tasting in Italy?


  • 1999 Piero Talenti Brunello di Montalcino – Italy, Tuscany, Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino (8/16/2014)

    Tasted non blind at a wine dinner.

    Garnet to dark garnet color in the glass, clear looking throughout. Nose of dried herbs, berries and cherries. Flavors of berries, cherries and raspberries. Medium acidity, medium tannin, full bodied. Drink or hold. (91 points)

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Siena. Contrada life.

Have you considered adding Siena to an itinerary? Any traveler should consider making a day for an excursion here with Doug Sassi!


Paris has its arrondissements, New York has its blocks, and Siena has its contradas. But a contrada, or district, is not just a geographic designation within the city’s historic walls, it is much, much more serious than that. It is life itself.

Contrada first Contrada first

The UNESCO heritage city of Siena will host the second of her annual Palio horse races this weekend, on Saturday 16th August, but before we can delve into the history of the race, we first need to understand what a contrada is and why passions run so high at the Palio.

The Palio of Siena The Palio of Siena

Siena is divided into three main parts, called the terzi, or thirds. These are Terzo di Camollia, Terzo di Città and Terzo di San Martino. These are then divided further into the 17 contradas, or to be more correct contrade (Italian plural), that sit proudly within the medieval walls. The contrade…

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