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Venenice Lagoon and Po River Family Cruise with Uniworld

 

           

Just back from a wonderful adventure in Venice with my 6-year old granddaughter on an amazing Uniworld Family Cruise on board the beautiful River Countess. For those of you who did not follow along on my Facebook posts, here is a brief synopsis of a week full of surprises.

After resting up at the exquisite Londra Palace hotel, we boarded the lovely River Countess at the Port of Venice for a week of incredible discoveries in and around the magical city of Venice.

Along with visiting several of the Venice highlights, including an exclusive after-hours visit to the basilica, and a visit to the Rialto Market with the chef, we and the children were treated to such cultural delights as mussel fishing and dining at a fisherman’s shack on stilts in the lagoon, historical Bologna and a pasta making class, pizza making and visits to the beautiful lagoon islands. River Countess set up a special room on board for the kids complete with legos, all kinds of crafting activities and a playstation with video games. They all had a wonderful time together and dined with each other at a special kids table in the dining room where the waiters (probably all missing their own children back home) all showered them with attention. Guests on board without children all marveled at how well behaved they were and well organized by the special Children’s hosts on the ship.

   

On the island of Torcello while the adults enjoyed a visit to view the amazing mosaics in the church, the kids went on a treasure hunt and climbed the bell tower. In colorful Burano, we dined on fresh calamari and shopped for treasures. And while the adults enjoyed a special wine tasting at a gorgeous vineyard on Mazzorbo, the kids honed their rowing skills on a canal in the Lagoon. Visits to the local market in Chioggia, time at the beach and bike rides, rounded out a week filled with activities. For the older children and adults, excursions to Padua, Ravenna and Verona were also offered. All around fun time for all!!

           

I highly recommend this amazing itierary for all ages. It is an incredible way to see Venice and so much more. Uniworld thought of every little detail to keep clients of all ages happy at all times.

For families with children young and old, this is a fantastic vacation opportunity you may never have considered. Dedicated family cruises are offered on several of their River Cruise itineraries. Ask me about the perfect one for you.

Postcards from La Champagne and Paris


I have just returned from an incredible trip to the amazing region of LaChampagne in France followed by 5 wonderful days in beautiful, sunny Paris.

While I often get asked about a day trip to Reims from Paris (just one hour by train) to visit a champagne cellar, never have I been asked to design an itinerary around a week or so in this spectacular region totally void of tourists. If you have plans to return to France and enjoy a glass of bubbly, this region should be high on your list. With the 3 beautiful cities of Reims, Epernay and Troyes anchoring the area, miles and miles of scenic vineyards and countless, gorgeous stone villages interspersed, there is enough to see and do to keep you busy for days or even weeks. We even squeezed in a visit to Renoir’s House and Studio in Essoyes. Between our educational talks at the International Wine Tourism Conference, and the many visits to world-famous champagne houses such as Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger, Collet and Mercier along with several visits to small independent wineries producing amazing champagnes – some selling for just 15 Euros a bottle – we learned a wealth of facts and figures about this fabulous product. During our stay there, we sampled champagnes paired with all kinds of foods … with the exception of a very rare table wine called Rose de Riceys produced from only certain pinot noir grapes in one small village, the bubbly was served exclusively at every meal. Usually 5 different varieties with 5 different courses. Only very few producers make Rosé des Riceys wines, and in limited quantities, so they are very rarely seen outside France. Stretching from Reims in Marne due east of Paris south to the Aube and the border of Bourgnone (Burgundy), La Champagne covers a large and beautiful area of France that should definitely be on your must-see list!! With the help of all my new found friends in the area, we can design a fantastic itinerary for you!

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Following my week in LaChampagne, I traveled by train into Paris where I took time to explore in depth the areas of St. Germain de Pres and the Marais as well as visit some of the lesser known museums, such as the Musee de Cluny, L’Orangerie, and Musee Rodin which were all small and amazing. A visit to Monet’s house and Gardens in Giverny rewarded us with a blaze of color thanks to the incredibly warm weather. Finally a return to the summit of the Eiffel Tower after 45 years! Here despite having the required timed ticket entry, the lines for the elevators to reach the summit took over an hour … and then there are the lines to get down again. BUT I have discovered the secret sauce … how to get up the Eiffel Tower without waiting in the elevator lines! Ask me how for your next trip to Paris.

Stays in two of my favorite Left Bank Hotels, Relais Christine and L’Espirit St. Germain just made our visit very special.

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Definitely missing my glass of champagne today …….

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Culinary Cruise with Chef Jacques Pepin

Calling all foodies … don’t miss this opportunity to sail with celebrity chef, Jaques Pepin, on this wonderful itinerary through the Mediterranean from Lisbon to Rome … and then book the fabulous Culinary Creations experience in Rome following the Cruise. Enjoy special on board culinary presentations and excursions, great pricing and our group bonus of prepaid gratuities and $150 on board credit!! A Food lover’s dream … contact us for more details.Oceania-Jaques Pepin 2015-page-001

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Paris & Normandy - In Celebration of Wine

We have an exclusive extension of the early booking discount until August 31st, 2015. Also we are now able to give you $150 per person on board credit. COME AND JOIN US …. CAN YOU SAY “CHAMPAGNE!!”

Paris & Normandy (wine)_Largay Travel - Trisha Iannazzi VERSION 2-with Holly Howell bio_Page_1

 

 

Regent Voyager Mediterranean Cruise October 23-November 2nd

 
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It is lovely to visit the Mediterranean late in the season when the weather is usually wonderful, there are less crowds everywhere and between summer and the holidays, it is just a nice time to travel. And it is especially lovely to do so on an exquisite luxury ship. Arriving in Rome for two leisurely days in one of our very favorite cities, gave us time to rest up and lose the jet lag before boarding the beautiful Regent Voyager just out of dry dock with a major refurbishment which made her look brand new.

This is a small ship by today’s standards accommodating just 700 passengers in elegant veranda suites of varying sizes. We splurged on a huge Seven Seas suite with 1-1/2 bathrooms and a butler which was pure heaven for our 10-day voyage. The ship is small enough to be intimate and have no crowded spaces or lines anywhere, ever, yet large enough to have various dining and entertainment venues to please everyone.  A lovely touch is Regent’s “block party”, right after muster the first afternoon, all passengers were invited out into their hallways and asked to bring a glass from their bar. And there waiting to greet us were waiters with canapés and bottles of champagne as we greeted our new neighbors and the officers who passed by to greet us.

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Throughout the cruise all the staff were amazingly courteous and efficient, not one staff member ever passed us in the halls without smiling and saying “good morning, afternoon, evening”. We all swore the butlers had hidden cameras in the suites as they appeared out of nowhere with our evening hors d’oeuvres the minute we stepped in!  The food in all the restaurants on board was exceptional at all times as were the free-flowing wines offered throughout the journey. The ship also boasts a magnificent Canyon Ranch Spa for those wishing even more pampering.

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Our journey through the Mediterranean and Aegean seas took us from Rome to Monte Carlo, on to Pisa and Lucca, Sorrento, Taormina, Sicily for wine tasting at a vineyard on the side of Mt. Etna; Corfu, Greece; Kotor, Montenegro – indisputably everyone’s favorite; Dubrovnik, Croatia and back to Italy for visits to Ancona and Venice. It was a dream itinerary revisiting many favorite spots and discovering new ones. The dawn arrival at St. Mark’s Square had everyone up on deck to witness this amazing scene …. One which may not be possible much longer as Venetians are trying to ban the cruise ships passing that way anymore.

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We have been fortunate to travel in Europe by ship from Lisbon to Istanbul over the years visiting just about every port along the way and we never tire of this incredibly civilized and comfortable way to see the world. Try it, we guarantee you will like it!

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Off to sail on the RSSC Voyager

Packing now to leave in a few days to host over 100 Virtuoso Voyager Club clients on a marvelous voyage from Rome to Venice on the beautiful Regent Seven Seas Voyager. All our guests will be comfortably accommodated in their luxurious suites with verandas, many with the additional luxury of Butler service.
I will keep you updated on our adventures as we sail the Mediterranean and Adriatic on this exciting itinerary.

 

Seven Seas Voyager

Naples Pizza!

For those of you who may not read Saveur Magazine, here is an amazing and exclusive experience I designed for them in conjunction with this month’s issue featuring beautiful Naples and its incredible pizza. It is of course available to all of you. If you would like more details, please let me know.

 

SAVEUR

A WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCE FOR THE SAVEUR READER
A gastronomic trip has been designed for travelers to see and
taste one of Italy’s greatest cities—Naples. Known as the famed
birthplace of pizza, its popularity is resurging in destinations
around the world. After this visit, you’ll be able to bring home the
real, everyday story of Napolitano pizza.
WITH A LOCAL GUIDE YOU’LL ENJOY
•  Authentic tastings throughout neighborhood eateries
•  An intimate pizza making lesson
Other exciting experiences include lunch at Don Alfonso
restaurant, one of Italy’s most prestigious restaurants, and a visit
to Le Peracciole Farm on the Amalfi coast.
BOOK NOW!  Offers are available for a limited time only.
Italy
Foodie: Trisha Iannazzi
Trisha Iannazzi
has traveled the world in
search of authentic and unique
experiences for her clients.
Iannazzi Enterprises
585.624.1285
Pizza
SAVEUR Travel Advisory Board
Virtuoso

Top 10 European Rail Journeys

A&K Destination management company
Top European Rail JourneysRomantic, comfortable and sublimely picturesque, rail travel is one of Europe’s great pleasures.

It is also a fast and relaxing way to combine destinations to create your perfect itinerary.

Meanwhile our outstanding Concierge Rail Service ensures your travel between destinations with the ease and comfort you have come to expect from an us.

For inspiration, take a look at our top 10 European rail journeys.

Top 10 European Rail Journeys

1.    Zermatt to St Moritz
2.    Moscow to Vladivostok
3.    Zurich to Milan
4.    Paris to Barcelona
5.    Amsterdam to Germany
6.    Budapest to Vienna to Prague
7.    London to Edinburgh
8.    Verona to Munich
9.    Santiago di Compostela to León
10.  Fort William to Mallaig

Should you wish to incoroparte any of these fantastic journeys into a European adventure we would love to hear from you.

Your Invitation to Buckingham Palace!


For most Brits it is a lifetime dream to snag an invite to a Buckingham Palace and few will ever realize it. Now here is YOUR chance!!! This very incredible package at the Ritz London includes tickets to the 60th Anniversary Coronation Festival on the grounds of the Palace. Wow!! This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!!!

Celebrate in style with The Ritz at London’s event of the year – the Coronation Festival! 

Festival Fantastic July 2013


 

 

The summer of 2013 heralds the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation and this incredible feat will be marked by a series of celebrations, the pinnacle of which will be the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace from Thursday 11th July until Sunday 14th July 2013. The Coronation Festival, THE event of the summer, will involve an occupation of the gorgeous grounds of Buckingham Palace by Royal Warrant holders – the official suppliers of goods and services to the Royal Households. Royal Warrants have become a mark of quality given the high standards demanded by our Royal Family and so visitors to the Coronation Festival can expect a stellar showcase of everything from haute cuisine to high quality home ware, luxurious automobiles to the finest vestments.

As a proud participant of the Coronation Festival, The Ritz has created the ‘Festival Fantastic’ residential programme offering you the opportunity for ‘Puttin’ on The Ritz’.

The Festival Fantastic Programme includes:

Two nights’ accommodation
English breakfast each morning
Dinner in The Ritz Restaurant on one night
A unique Ritz Coronation Festival gift
Tickets to the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace
Ritz Champagne and Canapés at the Festival
Value Added Tax
Rate from £1,155 for a twin or double room
The programme is available for arrivals from Thursday 11th July to Saturday 13th July 2013.

Please contact IANNAZZI ENTERPRISES for more information and reservations 

Due to the special nature of this event specific terms and conditions apply including full, non-refundable, prepayment.
Bookings and the names of all attendees must be confirmed to The Ritz by 31st May 2013

Portugal-a wine lover's heaven

Any wine aficionado who has taken the trouble to explore the glorious wines of Portugal will be able to confirm that this small country, nestled up against its Iberian neighbour, Spain, can hold its own in the wine stakes with dignity and flair. Perhaps Portugal is a latecomer to internationally acclaimed wines in comparison to, say, France, but there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that their superb viniculture is well up to the mark and deserves a closer look.

Wine is produced throughout Portugal from the Minho region down to the south coast of the Algarve; each region has its own distinctive identity, although perhaps the northern and central regions are the better known and appreciated.

The Origin of Port Wine

Wine Tourism Portugal iwinetc

With a wine trade going back hundreds of years, perhaps the best known of Portugal’s wines has to be Port. Produced in the Upper Douro region of Northern Portugal (which was incidentally the very first wine region in the world to be demarcated) and taken by boat down the Douro River to the coast, this classic, fortified wine was the subject of the first European trade agreement, made between England and Portugal, and became known as Port wine from the connection with Oporto, which was the shipping harbour through which Port was exported to England and later the rest of the world. Port is still one of the most popular drinks, particularly to round off a good meal to perfection, and whether you are on board a cruise ship or tucked away in a gourmet restaurant anywhere in the world, it is a given that you will be able to enjoy a glass or two of this sweet wine.

Vinho Verde – New Vintage Wines

Vinho Verde (green wine) is the Portuguese equivalent to Beaujolais Nouveau and is equally palatable, being available anywhere in Portugal throughout the year. Casal Garcia is perhaps one of the more popular of the vinho verdes, produced by Quinta de Aveleda although Quinta de Azevedo is equally palatable. For the avoidance of any confusion, Portuguese Vinho Verde refers to wine that is less than one year old and may be red, white or rose. By far the best known is the white, but the red is perhaps superior in taste should your personal preference be for reds.

What to Choose

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With so many great wines produced throughout Portugal it would be difficult to definitely state that one region is better than another. However, if you want a good run for your money, the Lisbon region is excellent for whites and a good Bucelas is hard to beat, closely matched by Colares. For a red wine drinker who enjoys a world class wine with a sophisticated bouquet and medium to heavy tannin, Bairrada wines would have to come somewhere at the top of the wine list with Dao a close second. These are definitely wines to store as they will improve with age – if you can resist popping the cork that is.

Of course it would be impossible to sample everything on offer and there are limits to how much you can do during the course of a holiday. One way of maximizing your time in Portugal and enjoying the widest range of wines is to take a food and wine tour or cruise. There are quite a few advantages to choosing to have a gastronomic adventure, apart from the obvious plus of having the luxury of drinking without any driving. On a wine and food cruise, for example, you will be able to visit a number of different regions with an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide who will be able to give you a real insight into the local viniculture. Your tour will include visits to vineyards which you may not ordinarily be able to gain access to; pre-arranged wine tastings will enable you to sample the best of what is available and a broader range of wines than you would have the pleasure of trying on your own. Your wine and food cruise organizer will almost certainly be able to offer you advantageous memberships to wine clubs back home; and last but certainly not least, you will be able to enjoy world class cuisine which will undoubtedly complement the fine wines served with your meals. You can combine this with learning something of the culture and getting to grips with how to prepare some of the local cuisine through the cookery courses and tasting sessions which will form part of the tour. As the Portuguese would say: bom apetite e saúde!

By WINEPLEASURES | Published: APRIL 25, 2013