Have you ever been a flying witch?

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | January 05, 2012

As everybody here in the US starts the New Year and resumes their usual pace, the Christmas break extends a bit longer in Italy. Schools are still out and kids and adults alike still have one big holiday to look forward to: January 6th.

January 6th is the Catholic holiday of the Epiphany celebrating the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem bringing gifts to the newly born baby Jesus.

But leave it to the Italians to mix sacred and profane and create the tradition of La Befana.

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An Affordable Italian Luxury

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | January 01, 2012

Judging from my most recent trip to Italy, the custom-made shirt market is exploding.  I was pleased to see the number of small boutiques specializing in this handicraft. To be sure, this tradition has never completely disappeared in Italy. However, the past few years, wearing tailor-made shirts has become the new “trend”. The sophisticated professional and the Gen Yer alike are now flocking to their favorite Camiceria su misura (“Made to measure shirts maker”).

And here is how they choose their perfect shirt:

Step 1: Choosing the fabric
Start creating your own shirt by choosing the fabric. The quality of the fabric drives the price of your shirt.

Step 2: Choosing the sleeve
The kind of sleeve influences the style and freshness of a shirt. In Italy the shirts are mostly with long sleeves, while short sleeves are considered best suited for a very casual style.

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Red is the color of The New Year

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle, Travel | December 28, 2011

Superstition is a characteristic Italian trait. Most Italians would deny they were superstitious and believe in “old wives-tales”. Yet they often follow some interesting “traditions”.

A few years back, my husband and I spent New Year’s in the Basque Country of Northern Spain and on New Year’s Eve were guests at a dear friend’s aunt house. Amid wonderful food and delightful company, I could observe some of the local traditions (or superstitions) and compare them with mine.

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Wine in Heaven

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | December 14, 2011

If you have ever come across a postcard from Tuscany or a Tuscany Calendar, chances are you’ve seen Chianti.

This not clearly marked area extending between the cities of Florence and Siena, offers a unique landscape, with green, gentle hills covered with wide fields of vineyards and olive groves.

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Italian Style “Fashion Bingo”

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | December 07, 2011

Italians are keen on fashion and the average Italian goes to a great deal of troubles to keep up with the latest trends. This is hardly a news flash!

However, fashion trends – especially in terms of shapes, cuts and colors – literally dictate what you will find in clothing stores in any particular season all around Italy.

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Colosseum opens new areas

Posted by in Travel | December 06, 2011

Heading to Rome soon? Plan a stop at the Colosseum. After more than 40 years, 2 more areas are now open to visitors. More info here.


Posted by in Food and Restaurants | December 06, 2011

PASTE DI MELIGA are cornmeal butter cookies local to Piedmont and specifically to the charming province of Cuneo. They are a typical example of regional specialities for which Italian cuisine is so famous. So far, I could only taste them when visiting my friend Elena and her family in Mondovi’ (CN)……….. well…….. not anymore! If you live or are planning a trip to New York City, you can find them at EATITALY (200 Fifth Avenue). Not as fresh as the ones from the Pasticceria Comino in Mondovi’, but quite close!

Explore your Inner Contessa in Tuscany

Posted by in Travel | December 06, 2011

strong>Give yourself the luxury of a retreat to luscious Tuscany, for women only!

This extraordinary week is for you, if you want to…

…. reclaim your power, step up and uplevel your life,
…. take the time to reconnect to yourself and to your innate confidence,
….find a new relationship to your femininity and your leadership,
…. be luxuriously pampered while soaking in the sensual Tuscan hills,
…. enjoy glorious food, fragrant wines and Italian hospitality,
…. have fun exploring medieval towns and Italian fashion, making gelato,
…. experience life as an Italian Contessa!

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Home-Made Tortellini.

Posted by in Food and Restaurants, Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | December 01, 2011

Despite what most people think, Cuisine is a regional affair in Italy and often a family matter. 
Providing a quintessential  “ Italian Christmas Dish” is therefore impossible, so I thought I’d go with the “piece de resistance” on my mom’s Christmas Day menu: home-made tortellini.

For us, making tortellini for our Christmas celebration is really a family effort: my mom is the Queen of filling and dough making; my father and my husband are the Kings of “closing” (giving the tortellini the traditional “priest’s hat” shape); my brother, sister-in-law and I are the little elfs who cut the dough stripes and place the filling on each square. 

In our household, the tortellini are served at Christmas cooked in chicken broth (tortellini in brodo), and as I will be taking my first bite on December 25th, I’ll be thinking of you all and wishing you were there. Enjoy!

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Dining al fresco in the heart of Tuscany

Posted by in Food and Restaurants | November 01, 2011

Cives Urbe has the pleasure of maintaining a strong, personal relationship with wonderful partners in Italy to offer you an experience of a lifetime. During my June trip to the Chianti region I treated myself to an al fresco lunch and chat with Stefano Meucci, General Manager of Villa Dievole, Hotel & Wine Resort.

Stefano, tell us about Villa Dievole and its history
Deep in the heart of Tuscany is the picturesque Villa Dievole.  Once home to Florentine aristocracy, you reach it via a white winding dirt road filled with centuries old cypress trees.  This early 1700’ estate covers 400 hectares  of vineyards and olive groves with a central focal point: Villa Dievole and its outbuildings, sitting majestic on the highest hill. Over the last two centuries, the men and the women of Dievole, inspired by Lady Ildegonda Camaiori, the last lady of Dievole, have worked relentlessly to make this estate a world-renown producer of Chianti Classico wine, and a oasis of tranquility and peace where guests come to indulge in the dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).

So, Stefano, what makes Villa Dievole unique?

The ability to make you dream…… be the protagonist of a Tuscany dream, surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards as far as your eyes can see; savorying enticing Tuscanian fare as sipping nectars like ‘Chianti Novecento riserva’ or ‘Vin Santo di Caratello’. At Dievole you’ll discover that farming doesn’t only mean pruning, seeding, and harvesting, but most of all bring Heaven and Hearth together as one.

What can Cives Urbe’s clients expect at Villa Dievole?
The highest quality of service; the attention to every detail, and the deepest care we infuse in our products and in our hospitality. But Villa Dievole is so much more than this…… here you’re free to dream, to discover ancient traditions, to savor earthy dishes cooked with love and pride, and taste the best Chianti Classico, created here today the same way they did in 1700’.

Ready to book your trip to Chianti? Click here