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Entries in Italy (12)



New Years Eve in Italy is commonly known as ‘La Festa di San Silvestro’ and is marked by the observation of various traditional Italian rituals, as well as the more widely known celebrations and parties.

Most famous is the Italian tradition to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve to bring good luck in the New Year. It is also commonplace to throw old belongings out of the window at midnight to symbolize readiness to accept the New Year.

As with most Italian festivals, 31 December is also very much focused on friends, family and food. A lentil stew with zampone (stuffed pigs trotter) is commonly eaten when the bell tolls midnight to encourage good fortune; the round lentils are said to represent coins whilst the pork symbolises the richness of life in the coming year.

As the clock turns 12 elaborate fireworks displays light up the skies above some of Italy’s most iconic cities and prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, is often used to toast the New Year in street parties across the country. The combination of the friendly locals, fantastic food, stunning fireworks and an electric atmosphere makes for a truly memorable New Year’s Eve not to be missed.

Citalia, the leading Italian specialist, has selected some of its most popular New Year’s Eve breaks, providing the perfect opportunity to celebrate the New Year in style and explore an iconic Italian city at the same time.


Rome comes alive over Christmas and New Year and its historic monuments serve as a breathtaking backdrop to the fireworks and festivities. Rome’s traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations are centered in the Piazza del Popolo where large crowds of locals and tourists celebrate with music, dancing and fireworks well into the night. On New Year’s Day, the square is filled by circus performers and acrobats to entertain children. Alternatively, head to Via dei Fori Imperiali, by the famous Colosseum, to enjoy a local Italian meal and celebrate the turn of the year with live music performances.

Citalia has a four night New Year’s break to Rome from just £545 per person. Departing 30 December 2013, the offer includes four nights B&B at the three star Hotel San Remo and return flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet.


The iconic St Mark’s Square in Venice plays host to a huge New Year’s Eve celebration with music, a large fireworks display and a group kiss at midnight. The countdown is marked by the bell of St Mark’s Campanile, the imposing bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica. For those who want to avoid the crowds of the square but still take in the stunning views and fireworks, the Punta della Dogana is a recommended spot for a panoramic view from across the water. For those looking to enjoy the famous Italian cuisine, many restaurants in Venice offer huge feasts on New Year’s Eve, starting at nine in the evening and lasting until midnight with many courses and lots of wine.  On New Year’s Day many bathers take a dip in the chilly waters of Venice’s Lido Beach to recover from the night before.

Citalia has a four night New Year’s break to Venice from just £629 per person. Departing 30 December 2013, the offer includes four nights B&B at the three star Hotel Ca Fortuny and return flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet.


The stunning city of Florence is renowned for its extravagant meals on New Year’s Eve and Italian families commonly get together to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine and wines and celebrate the New Year. Numerous fireworks displays light up the city and can best be viewed from the bridges on the Arno. For those wishing to celebrate well into the night, Florence usually holds public concerts in Piazza della Signoria and Piazza della Repubblica and the city is known for its nightclubs which often hold large New Years Eve parties.

Citalia has a four night New Year’s break to Florence from just £575 per person. Departing 30 December 2013, the offer includes four nights B&B at the three star Hotel San Giorgio and return flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet.

For more information on Citalia’s Italy holidays call 0844 415 1956 or visit



Preferred Golf

Show your kids why you love golf with Preferred Golf who have a program that incorporates education and vacation to go hand-in-hand for club-in-hand for traveling families.

Preferred Golf invites children to learn to golf like a professional alongside their parents. The “Kids Play Free” stay-and-play package includes overnight accommodations at travelers’ choice of 18 world-class independent golf resorts that are also part of the Preferred Family program, and one complimentary round of golf for one child (16 years and younger) when playing with a playing adult after 1pm. This provides children the opportunity to play some of the best courses in the world – including several that have hosted Hollywood and PGA Tour greats, from entertainer Bing Crosby to World Golf Hall of Famer Arnold Palmer – ensuring they’ll learn a new craft and make memories while bonding with their parents.

and don’t forget that everyone who books with Preferred Golf receive membership benefits of 

  • Complimentary golf with two-night stay
  • Daily golf for two or a $75 resort credit in lieu of a round of golf.
  • Room upgrades

Alta Badia

Winter holidays are more than just skiing in Alta Badia, in the heart of the Dolomites, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. “A Taste for Skiing” revolves around typical South Tyrolean products and underscores the successful combination of winter sports and gastronomy, the winning features of this location. Alta Badia wanted to introduce a younger public as well as all gourmets to fine cuisine and quality wines, thus increasing the gastronomic offer at the mountain huts.

After last year’s resounding success of Slope Food, the aperitif on the slope is running once again for the 2013/14 winter season. Slope food is none other than finger or street food on the slopes. Throughout the whole winter season, one can taste scrumptious dishes and aperitifs in fourteen huts across the slopes of Alta Badia, creatively devised by a Michelin-starred chef. This year’s novelty lies in the selection of chefs. They will be equally divided between men and women so as to give a prominence to female Michelin-starred chefs, an element absent in previous event editions: a real cooking competition of sorts! The skier will judge who’s best.

The new feature is the Slope Food Card: purchase this offer to taste three Slope Foods in three different huts at a discounted price during a winter holiday for 30€ whilst each slope food with wine will be 12€ including a glass of wine if bought individually.

Every chef will be assigned one of the 14 participating huts in Alta Badia: the chef will then create a Slope Food. Of course, the DoloMitici chefs just had to participate: Norbert Niederkofler from the St. Hubertus Restaurant (2 Michelin stars), Arturo Spicocchi from La Stüa de Michil (1 Michelin star) and Matteo Metullio from the La Siriola Restaurant.

Other great Michelin-starred male chefs include Emanuele Scarello from the Agli Amici di Godia Restaurant(UD), Nino Di Costanzo from the Il Mosaico di Ischia Restaurant and Oliver Glowig from the Oliver Glowig c/o Aldrovandi Villa Borghese Restaurant (Rome) each holders of 2 Michelin stars awards. Giancarlo Morelli from the Pomiroeu Restaurant in Seregno (MB), 1 Michelin star, completes this list: he is always a welcome and guaranteed presence during Alta Badia’s culinary initiatives!

These chefs are all Italian, whereas we have an international presence for the female chefs, starting with Lanshu Chen, renowned chef at the Le Moût Restaurant in Taichung/Taiwan. We also have Léa Linster, whohas named her restaurant in Frisange in Luxemburg after herself. Slovenia is represented by two chefs, namely Ana Roš from the Hiša FrankoRestaurant (Kobarid) and Ksenija Mahorcic fromthe Gostilna Mahorcic Restaurant (Kozina). Some renowned Italian restaurants are also participating: Cristina Bowerman from the Glass Restaurant in Rome (1 Michelin star) and Valeria Piccini from the Da Caino Restaurant in Montemerano in Tuscany (2 Michelin stars) are taking part for the very first time. This edition sees the return of Fabrizia Meroi from the Laite Restaurant of Sappada (1 Michelin star).

The choice of wine is of the utmost importance: these selected to highlight and show to best the tasty appetizers. The best South Tyrolean wines will be paired with the chefs’ creations, suggested by the chefs themselves, and then handpicked by the best South Tyrolean sommeliers.

This seasons Slope Food will be presented for the first time on Sunday 15th December 2013. Six of the chefs creating Slope Food, will be at their assigned hut in Alta Badia for the day. Skiers can ski from one hut to another and taste the aperitif served by the chefs. Veritable works of art, a feast for the palate and eyes. Meet and greet the chefs personally: who knows, they might just reveal a trade secret. A first winter ‘taste’ for skiing in the true sense! The price of the Gourmet Skisafari will be 48€ (includes 6 appetizers + 6 glasses of wine)

Alta Badia in the Italian Dolomites is a resort worth shouting about with a superb mix of skiing, stunning scenery and gourmet food. Visit Alta Badia, the small South Tyrolean mountain region in Italy with a big reputation. Friendly and welcoming people in touch with their roots, cherishing their village architecture, unique Ladin language, world-class gastronomy and an exciting calendar of sporting and cultural events. These beautiful mountain valleys offer a wide range of high-quality accommodation and snow-sure skiing in six delightful villages located between 1320m and 1650m. The Dolomiti Superski area serves up 1200 km of piste with 510 lifts across 12 valleys, all covered by a single lift pass.  At its heart is the spectacular 26km Sella Ronda ski circuit linking 4 different valleys (including Alta Badia) with 500km of piste around the Sella Mountain. With most of the skiing above 2000m, and snow-making machines covering 90% of the pistes, snow conditions stay reliable from opening to the end of the season December to April.



Preferred Hotel Group

As new hotspots in remote locales and city centers alike continue to pop up across the world map, we all are expanding our bucket lists with a global perspective. Representing more than 400 independent luxury hotels worldwide, the Preferred Hotels® & Resorts and Preferred Boutique brands recommend the following 13 must-stay hotels in 13 must-visit destinations to help guide 2013 vacation planning. 


Before you go… Join I Prefer & experience the ease of I Prefer Membership. No points to count. No waiting for hotel rewards. We will automatically receive room upgrades (if available), complimentary WIFI, early check in and late check out and as an I Prefer member we receive an amenity, unique to each hotel.  Best of all, membership is free so please register online today!


  • For the Adrenaline Junkie – Queenstown, New Zealand

o   Why go:  As the adventure capital of the world, this resort town offers stunning lake-meets-mountain scenery and exhilarating activities such as canyoning, bungee jumping, and fly-fishing.

o   Where to stay: Azur, a member of Preferred Boutique – Azur provides unparalleled views of Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkables, and Cecil & Walter Peaks. Each of the luxury lodge’s nine villas features a gas fireplace and a private deck with lounge area designed for guests to absorb incredible views and relax between excursions.


  • For the Culture Seeker – Udaipur, India

o   Why go: One of India’s most beautiful and culturally rich cities, Udaipur invites travelers to

visit centuries-old former royal palaces, stroll through famed gardens, and cruise across Lake Pichola.

o   Where to stay: The Leela Palace Udaipur, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts – Nestled on the banks of Lake Pichola, this majestic hotel was designed as an exquisite escape where old-world grandeur meets 21st-century luxuries. Cultural experiences include individual astrological chart readings with the on-site astrologer, cooking classes with Executive Chef Karim Hassene, or visits to  local attractions such as Fateh Prakash Palace and Bagore Ki Haveli.


  • For the Ecotourist – Mata de Sao Joao, Brazil

o   Why go: Home to Brazil’s top ecotourism projects, this fishing village provides opportunities to learn about sea turtle conservation at Tamar Project, trek through the 600-acre Sapiranga Ecological Reserve, and drive down the famed Linha Verde

o   Where to stay: Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts – In the nearby fishing town of Praia do Forte, luxury travel and environmental sustainability merge at the 292-room Tivoli Ecoresort, where guests can connect with the lush surroundings during several ecological tours or relax and enjoy treatments at the on-site Thalasso Spa.   


  • For the History Buff – Querétaro, Mexico

o   Why go: Built from Mexico’s 17th-century silver fortune, this colonial city is a UNESCO World Heritage site that speaks to the country’s rich history with sites including the famed Museo Regional de Querétaro, La Casa de la Marquesa, and the Cerro de las Campanas National Park.

o   Where to stay: Hacienda Jurica, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts – Drawing on the region’s culture and history as a “place of well being”, this 16th-century hacienda is a true retreat, where guestrooms offer a historic look at colonial-style architecture with contemporary amenities, and restaurants present traditional Mexican fare and live music.


  • For the Fashionista – Forte dei Marmi, Italy

o   Why go: As one of Italy’s original beach resort towns, Forte dei Marmi is immensely popular among the glitzy crowd, who flock to this area of northern Tuscany for its pristine beaches, world-class designer discount market at Piazza Marconi, and abundance of boutiques from Europe’s most influential fashion houses, such as Prada, Roberto Cavalli, and Armani.

o   Where to stay: Grand Hotel Imperiale, a member of Preferred Boutique – Situated on a private beach, surrounded by the Apuan Alps, Grand Hotel Imperiale caters to the discerning jetsetter, presenting five-star accommodations and services, ranging from Mediterranean gastronomic delights at Olivo D’Oro to Chinese- and Indian-influenced treatments at the Medical Spa Imperiale.

American Express StayMore: Use your AMEX card to book stays at Opposite House (Beijing, China) and The Leela Palace Udaipur to enjoy rates up to 50% off plus receive a unique amenity, daily breakfast, and a guaranteed room upgrade.

For more information on the Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Boutique collections, please visit Preferred Hotel Group features the best available rates at all of their member hotels, so if we find a lower rate, Preferred Hotel Group will match it, guaranteed!



Villas of Distinction

Villas of Distinction, the world’s premier villa rental company, today announced the extension of its popular “Free Rental Car” promotion in honor of the holiday season. Now through December 31, travelers booking their Villas of Distinction getaway will receive a complimentary rental car throughout their entire trip.  The promotion is valid at any of the company’s 200+ Barbados properties.

As a company, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the comforts of home, minus the hassle,” said Villas of Distinction Concierge, Patti Mason. “Having a free rental car to get around Barbados is just one more convenience Villas of Distinction is adding to maximize travelers’ vacation experiences.” 
In addition to top-notch amenities such as daily maid service and personal laundresses, Villas of Distinction’s Barbados properties feature a staff dedicated to going the extra mile, in order to create a home-away-from-home experience. Villa specialists can fulfill nearly any special holiday travel request and are available to pre-decorate villas for the season– complete with lights and Christmas trees, or private chefs who can prepare customized holiday menus.
With the added benefit of a private rental car, family travelers and multi-generational groups, who so often take holiday trips together – will have freedom to explore while discovering the fascinating culture of Barbados first-hand. Known as “Little England”, this island offers many of the traditions of Colonial Britain, but with a uniquely Caribbean flare. Travelers can sip afternoon tea while watching local Bajans play cricket, or head to one of the many first-class restaurants overlooking the island’s pristine beaches and stunning landscapes. When the sun goes down, the music heats up in Barbados, and villa vacationers can head to St. Lawrence Gap to dance the night away.  
Villas of Distinction’s ”Free Rental Car” promotion is valid on all of its Barbados properties, ranging from one to seven bedroom private homes.  To learn more, visit, call 800-289-0900 or email Mention rate code BDS2012 at time of booking.
About Villas of Distinction:
Villas of Distinction is a premier luxury villa provider that has helped travelers find their perfect vacation home for more than 20 years. Part of World Travel Holdings, the company represents thousands of privately owned villas in 50+ luxurious destinations.  Most Villas of Distinction properties feature private pools, butlers, maids and chefs, making a luxury getaway possible for even the most budget-conscious vacationer.  Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Travel Awards’ 2010 Favorite Villa Company, Villas of Distinction takes pride in offering customized vacations to meet every imaginable need.  The company also recently was named “Best Tour Operator of the Year” by Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency, and received a Gold Magellan Award from Travel Weekly for its unique website,
* Please mention BDS2012 at time of booking. Valid only on new reservations made February 15, 2012 through December 31, 2012. Valid on travel through April 15, 2013. Blackout dates apply: 12/18/12-01/03/13; 03/30/13-04/06/13. 5 night minimum booking. Car rental will be delivered to the villa on day of arrival if before 5pm or the next day for late arrivals. Clients are responsible for 17.5% tax, gas, mandatory liability insurance and Barbados driver’s license. Promotion subject to availability & change. Car will be based on availability. Should economy car type be unavailable, we will cover the base cost of a car rental up to $300/week. No cash value will be provided if rental car is available. Upgrades and additional vehicles are available at an additional cost. The rate for the base car rental on the first vehicle will be deducted from the cost of the upgraded vehicle. May not be combinable with other offers; additional rental car terms and conditions may apply.