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nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Daguerre

on Thu, 02/02/2012 - 09:40

If you like staying in 19th century Parisian buildings with elevators(!), our Daguerre apartment is perfect for you. The Daguerre is in the Montparnasse section of Paris, and is right around the block from the famous Marche Daguerre, a huge market packed with produce, jewelry and chocolates. Did I mention the market's open on Sunday?!

mtaussig's picture

A Recipe from Alsace: Tarte Flambee

on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 09:28

Welcome to February! This month, we feature France and to start, we're celebrating the delicious Tarte Flambée. One legend proposes, early Alsatians created the tarte to test the heat of their wood-fired ovens. At it's proper temperature for baking bread, the oven should be able to bake a tarte flambée so the edges of the tarte's thin crust are nearly burnt...

TravelGirlSam's picture

6 Ways to Travel Like an Untourist in Italy

on Tue, 01/31/2012 - 09:45

Always greet Italians and respond to their greetings. To ignore someone is considered rude, and a simple "Salve" or "Buon giorno" to shopkeepers, bariste, and hotel concierges will keep you in the locals' good graces.  Be respectful by preparing some common phrases, especially if you are visiting smaller towns in Italy where English is not as common.  Unless you are meeting old friends, you should address everyone formally with "Lei" (an Italian phrasebook will elucidate how to use the formal tense).  Make sure your thanks don't go to waste by pronouncing "Grazie" correctly as "Gra-tziay."

nickfortunatus's picture

The Brains Behind Untours Italy

on Mon, 01/30/2012 - 10:29

As we begin to close out January and, subsequently, our daily features on Italy (France is coming in February!), I wanted to take a moment to recognize our Italian dynamic duo, Andi Cancelliere and Andrea Szyper, for all they do to make Untours such a great place and this blog chock full of delectable Italian nuggets.

These women are the brainchildren behind almost all of this month's posts on Italy and handle all things Italy when it comes to booking an Italian Untour. If you've taken an Italian Untour with us, you've worked with either Andi or Andrea and, chances are, you had a wonderful experience.

Between the two of them, they manage 6 Untours regions throughout Italy and are always working toward improving our customers' experiences.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Ashley's Homecoming

on Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:41

Today, we have our first guest blogger: Ashley Fessler, a dynamite young woman, who worked with us at the foundation in 2010.  Ashley spent the year with us leading much of our local work surrounding America’s First Fair Trade Town, Media, PA. We shared the ups and downs of her year as she waited – sometimes patiently! – for her placement with the Peace Corps.  We had our sad goodbyes as she headed off for 27 months in Honduras, but alas, she just returned 15 months early. The Peace Corps closed her program, due to increased violence including the shooting of one of her colleagues.  Ashley is regrouping on all levels and job searching.  We are here to give her a 5 star recommendation, if you have a social justice job you need filled! Enjoy her post!

nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Domenico

on Thu, 01/26/2012 - 09:33

The next time you vacation in Florence, make sure you stay in the Santa Croce section of the city. Here, you'll not only find our lovely Domenico apartment, you'll also find some relaxation - if you want to avoid the hub bub of Florence, while still being close to the action, Santa Croce is the place to stay.

Staying in Santa Croce gives you easy walking access to the great sites of Florence, while offering a more local experience as well.

mtaussig's picture

What kind of coffee do I order?

on Thu, 01/26/2012 - 08:22

Here are the most common coffees you'll find in an Italian bar; most of these should be available no matter where you are in Italy:

  • Caffè In Italy the word “caffè’” naturally implies an espresso. There is no need to specify “espresso” when ordering. Served in a demitasse cup
  • Caffè macchiato:- coffee "stained" with milk, with a bit of foam on top. In Italian, macchiare means to “stain. Caffe macchiato is espresso in a demitasse cup, stained with some hot milk
mtaussig's picture

Coffee culture....Italian style

on Wed, 01/25/2012 - 09:39

It’s no accident that there are few if any Starbucks in Italy. Arguably, Italy (in our humble opinion) invented the concept that Starbucks shoots for. In Italy there often are two or three bars per city block, staffed by a skilled “barista” who knows their customer personally and serves even the quickest, cheapest coffee with manners and panache. Bringing a Starbucks to Italy is truly like bringing coals to Newcastle. The American in Italia Blog says it this way, "Italian bars are a three-minute social club. All day long strangers and regular customers meet and chat. People treat bar-mates as long-lost friends, no alcohol necessary."

nickfortunatus's picture

Travel Takeaway: Our Favorite Hotel in Florence

on Tue, 01/24/2012 - 09:29

While I, and many of our Untourists, recommend you spend at least a week or two in Florence, I realize that such a timeframe doesn't work for everyone, for one reason or another. Because of that, I want to make sure that your brief stay in Florence is at a place that I'd recommend to my own mother. That place is Hotel Pendini.

Hotel Pendini is a quaint hotel in Florence with an excellent location (it's in the historic center, just a short walk away from the Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce and Ponte Vecchio) and superb staff. When our Untourists are looking to add a few days on to their stay in Florence, we always send them to Hotel Pendini because our experience has always been positive there and we hear the same feedback from our Untourists.


nickfortunatus's picture

Untourist of the Week: Metha Hillard

on Mon, 01/23/2012 - 10:47

Our favorite memories of Untours have been the times that we were actually in Tuscany on Mother's Day (same day as ours here in America). During this time of year, the flowers are in full bloom and there are many opportunities to see them on display.

Pienza is my favorite place to see the flowers. There is a flower market where all the local landscapers and nurseries come to town and show off their roses, hydrangeas and geraniums. Although I'm partial to Tuscany in the spring because of the flowers, gardeners would love going in the fall to see all the greenery. It's great all year round, really.