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nickfortunatus's picture

Here come the Unny Awards!

on Sun, 02/23/2014 - 16:03
Untours hosts the first annual Unny Awards, a celebration of the regions it serves

Since I started working here way back in 2011, the Untours regions have been calling on me to give them some attention. Actually, not just attention, but distinction.

Now, I know they are all big enough to speak for themselves. They don't need you to tell them they're great; we all already know that.

What they really need is for you tell them where they excel.

That's why today, a week before the Oscars®, we're introducing the Unny Awards—a way for you to help us celebrate our regions and give them the recognition they truly deserve.

mtaussig's picture

Quickie Quiz:pick your Untour pleasure --Lolling, lingering or 'local-ing'

on Wed, 01/08/2014 - 10:02

Our Untourists of the Week this week, Whitmel and Betty, had three favorite memories that they couldn't choose between. Which of the Swain's favorite memories would be your favorite, on an Italian Untour?  

Vote here


mtaussig's picture

Untourists of the Week: Elsa and Raymond Heald

on Thu, 03/21/2013 - 09:13
Raymond Heald, Untours

1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.

It was a dream vacation: 8 days on the Variety Voyager, the sleek 73-passenger yacht that put us ashore at the fabled ports of Capri, Lipari, Malta, plus 4 ports in Sicily. Then, a train ride to the sparkling Cinque Terre for 4 nights and a heavenly 2 weeks in the fabulous Bonalumi apartment in Locarno, with a breathtaking view of Lake Maggiore.

mtaussig's picture

Book Review: An Untourist Recommends 'An Italian Affair'

on Wed, 03/06/2013 - 09:51

The Book:  The Italian Affair by Laura Frazer

What our recommending Untourist, Whitmel Swain,  says about it: 

Tell us in a sentence or two what it is about?:

When the author's husband leaves her, she goes to Ischia to nurse her wounds & discovers a number o wonderful things including, of course, love

Why did you like it?:

It tells of the human heart and how it can rebound, and for my wife and I, in Italy
In what region or city is this set?: Florence to start then on to the island of Ischia
In what country is this set?: Italy
Can you tell us, briefly, what it captures about the place it
mtaussig's picture

Under the Tuscan Sun; the book and the movie

on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 12:42
under the tuscan sun
Under the Tuscan Sun is  well-known as a book and a movie.  In our recent poll, readers rated Under the Tuscan Sun, the movie, as one they'd like to hear more about.  Since Wednesdays will be our book and movie review day on the blog,today, we thought we'd review both, Under the Tuscan Sun, the book and the movie.  Here are our observations:

About the Book:

1.  The book is NOTHING like the movie.  You could very easily hate one and love the other.  Except for the fact that love of Italy is the central theme, the plot and characters of the movie and book are nearly unrecognizable.

AndiC's picture

Firenze, la bella

on Tue, 01/29/2013 - 16:54
Here's Harriet, Mary Jane and then me!
This is post number 5 of 6 in a series covering my 5 weeks in Greece, Istanbul and Italy. The other posts are linked at the bottom of this post.

Florence has always been one of my favorite stops when in Italy, even before we had an Untour there, even before I started working at Untours. Its beauty, art, architecture and life are compared to no other city in Italy or elsewhere. There is constant movement, always something “on,” always something new. And though this was a brief, three-day stop for me, I had a lot to see and do, as usual.

I arrived on a Thursday, but due to my appointments in

AndiC's picture

My Tuscany

on Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:12
Untours staffer Andi Cancelliere gets a great shot of the rolling hills of Torrenieri, Tuscany, Italy

I was so excited to return to Tuscany. It had been two years since my last visit and this time I was staying on an Untours farm (La Canonica) that I’d never had the opportunity to call home. I started the day early, getting a taxi out to the Rome airport to pick up my car. That in and of itself was fun. It all went smoothly, don’t get me wrong, but the cars were parked so tightly at the Avis garage at the airport that I had to climb in from the passenger’s side, shimmy over the center console and then get settled in the driver’s seat in order to back out and get going. Hahaha! At least I’m pretty limber.

mtaussig's picture

Untourists of the Week: Pat and Jack Cruser

on Wed, 12/12/2012 - 09:44
Untourists, Untours,

How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?

"Practically speaking, taking an Untour means no group travel warnings like “Have your bags in the hall by 0530,” “Breakfast is served from 0630 to 0815,” “Be on the bus by 0745,” and it means no searching for an apartment on line, no harried transport from the airport or train station, and no nervousness from being in a foreign country with or without the language. And it means knowing that should the need arise, the local Untours representative is at hand for any emergency: health problems, accident, locked doors, or stolen passport—only one of which afflicted us, but which we saw involve other Untourists.

An Untour means being free to have late coffee, to stay in comfortable surroundings if the weather is nasty, to shop in markets as the locals do for food without bar codes and, more importantly, to immerse oneself in the local culture as much as any foreigner can. Untourists’ local encounters are not limited to tour guides or tourist hustlers, but provide the chance to meet local residents in their everyday surroundings--in their bistros, museums, galleries, or concerts."

Andrea Szyper's picture

Italy, myth and reality

on Wed, 09/26/2012 - 11:36
Untourist and photographer Glenn McClure took this photo of a man while on an Italian Untour

Italy is so alive in American media. We are a culture obsessed with the Italians, whether in the reality of in-depth cooking and travel shows or the stereotypes of wildly gesticulating movie characters, sexy sirens, mafia dons or Italian mamas insisting we "mangia, mangia!" The name Tuscany is used to brand everything from furniture to processed foods to housing subdivisions. Where does the myth end and the reality begin?

While I dare not speak for the Italians, I would like to take a moment to further examine some of our flawed and romantic notions of Italy and Italians...

Andrea Szyper's picture

So You Thought Italians Only Drank Wine: Italian Microbrews

on Wed, 09/19/2012 - 12:04
Who goes to Italy to drink beer? Those in the know.

Italians have long enjoyed beer with their pizza, but refined and complex micro brews have replaced the old Peroni. Indeed birra artiginale (Italian craft beer) is putting Italy on the world brewing map.

Unlike their northern European counterparts, Italian brewers are not bound by an old world beer making tradition. So they can borrow the best from the Germans or Belgians but add their own unconventional twist or look to America for inspiration.