Added some pics to our Facebook page, plenty more to follow. If you haven’t given us a like, please do!
Monthly Archives: October 2014
Risotto–It’s What’s For Dinner (I Wish)
As the sun sets on a lovely Saturday afternoon in fall, it makes me wish I was on Burano this afternoon enjoying a plate of Trattoria Da Romano’s timeless, unequaled, and definitive seafood risotto.
It’s a dish made with love, served with precision, and eaten with gusto. Try as I might, I can’t quite replicate it in my home kitchen–you need that Venetian fish broth! Will have it again soon, but you can define life in terms of days spent in Venice, and days not spent in Venice.
Pair it with a brolettino (a fabulous Lugana).
Sweet facts about 5 bitter Italian foods
Bitters–not just for cocktails (although an Aperol or a Campari is a great place to start).
Ristorante Punto. Lucca (II visita)
Lucca is a city often missed by tourists that shouldn’t be. And there is good, reasonably priced food there!
We’re experimenting with a new site layout this week, and so far we’re pretty happy with it. Expect to see image files updated, but the main gist has been making it more straightforward to see what it is we do.
Parting, Such Sweet Sorrow
Always regrettable to leave Venice, but one must remember you’re only feeling that wistful sadness because you’ve had the good fortune to enjoy the wonderment that is La Serenissima. It’s been great to have Leah from Leah Travels experience Venice with us, and we’re looking forward to what she writes about her time there with us and our good friends at the Hotel Giorgione. She got a chance to see Venice off the beaten path, to taste cicchetti at side street winebars, to eat the best seafood meals on the planet at restaurants most tourists miss and most big-bus tour operations haven’t even heard of, and see the REAL Venice as it should be experienced–a time capsule of a bygone era that you can see, touch, taste, and indulge in with your whole being.
We hope to see her again soon, and hope to share the magic with you.
Murano With Leah Travels
Today Doug is conducting a tour of Murano with our friend Leah from www.leahtravels.com. Follow her excellent photography on her Instagram! Tomorrow: Burano and Torcello. Leah has an excellent eye for all things travel related and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with this week in Venice.
Want to travel like Leah? Check out our current special offer!
Deal Alert! Spring 2015 Special (Get It While It Lasts)
We’re offering a great package deal for our Introduction to Italy with Doug Sassi–fun for the experienced traveler who wants to get an artist and art historian’s inputs on “must-see” Italy, and an immersive trip of a lifetime for the first time Italy traveler. For the artistic community, we can include our Drawing From the Masters option–with professional drawing instruction from Raphael Sassi–for a nominal surchage (inquire with group size and dates).
Pricing for this will be based on a departure from PHL, please inquire about departures from other airports as you require.
Arrive in Rome via an overnight flight we’ll book for you. Spend three days and nights in a boutique hotel near the Pantheon, with Doug Sassi’s art and art history expertise guiding you through all of Rome’s captivating attractions, including:
- The Sistine Chapel (Vatican)
- The Rooms of Raphael (Vatican)
- Saint Peter’s Basilica
- Michelangelo’s Pieta and Moses
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Spanish Steps
- Piazza Navona
- Campo dei Fiori
- Arch of Constantine
- Trevi Fountain
- Circus Maximus
- The Coliseum
- And many, many more
Day trip to Siena after checking out in the morning and hopping a train from Rome for an excursion to this lovely Tuscan gem where you’ll see it’s famous Piazza del Campo and Duomo, and have a lovely lunch. After more taking in of Siena’s cultural gems, a train to check in at your hotel in Florence (a centrally located boutique hotel just steps from the Brunelleschi’s Duomo), and then walk off dinner and grappa with an evening walking tour to take the monuments of the Renaissance with Doug Sassi. Sleep well, as the next three days will be filled with Doug’s encyclopedic knowledge of the Fiorentine masters’ works. With Doug, you’ll have an unforgettable viewing of the following and unlimited access to his lifetime of knowledge about The Cradle of the Renaissance:
- Santa Maria del Fiore (the Duomo)
- The David and the Accademia
- The Uffizi
- The Baptistry and its famous doors
- Giotto’s Campanile
- Santa Maria Novella
- Santa Croce
- Palazzo Vecchio
- Ponte Vecchio
- The Leather School
- Piazza della Repubblica
- Piazza della Signoria
- Boboli Gardens and the Palazzo Pitti
- And of course the view from Piazzale Michelangelo (stunning at night and at dusk)
After the fourth night in Florence, you’ll check out for a lovely train ride through the Emiglia Romagna and Veneto country sides to La Serenissima–you’ll arrive in the afternoon in Venice in time for a late lunch of cicchetti at our favorite cicchetti bar near Santi Apostoli and check in at our “home in Venice“. After a quick siesta you’ll take an evening walking tour with Doug along Strada Nuova and then on to a lovely meal (dinner in Venice rarely starts before 730 or 8pm) at a local family run trattoria, and then take in the view from the Rialto at night. You’ll spend three nights in Venice and enjoy Doug’s famous walking tour (when in Italy, his *Italian* friends ask him where to go and what to do in Venice), to include things most tourists and tour groups miss off-the-beaten-path:
- Burano and Mazzorbo
- Torcello’s ancient Basilica
- Piazza San Marco
- San Giorgio Maggiore and the astounding view from her campanile
- the Rialto and the markets nearby
- cicchetti bars
- Squero di San Trovaso (gondola making)
- The Frari
- della Salute
- more cicchetti bars (the best seafood you’ll ever eat!)
- a meal at restaurant Tony Bourdain sort of made famous, but where Doug was a regular 20 years before, that will leave you speechless
- a romantic nighttime vaporetto ride
- a wine tasting at a romantic, hard to find bacari that you’ll remember forever
And much, much more. Three nights in Venice with Sassi Italy Tours will prove an unforgettable experience that, on day four, you’ll be sad to see come to an end. But you’ll be back! This we are quite sure of.
This package includes:
- all hotel accommodations in boutique hotels known for comfort, warmth, and welcoming atmosphere that Sassi Italy Tours has vetted and has established relationships with, guaranteeing you’ll enjoy your stay
- airport transfers from Fiumicino to your hotel in Rome and to Venice Marco Polo via Alilaguna
- vaporetto passes in Venice
- taxis and shuttles as required in Rome
- all museum and historical site entry fees
- trains between cities
- unlimited tour guidance from Doug Sassi himself
- AIRFARE! Our fee includes booking your airfare from PHL to Rome and back to PHL from Venice.
All you have to do is show up at the airport for departure and we handle the rest! This package is $4300 per person for departures from December 2014 through February 2015, and $4600 per person for departures in March and April of 2015. Availability is limited (max group size is 6, 8 people for family groups) and airfares are, as always, subject to change which may impact pricing in the future.
I’ve done some price shopping against the big name tour groups that cram you 50 people at a time onto a bus and give you an impersonal experience, and they’re no cheaper. This is a chance to have your own private Italy expert for ten days and nights in an enchanted country! Don’t miss it.