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Wonderful Land Vacation to Italy

April 16, 2012 By Don & Maureen Anderson Owners of the Cruise Store This week's column is written by our travel planner Lisa Herrick. Lisa has 25 years experience in the travel industry, and recently returned from a trip to Italy. No one can deny that Rome is magnificent and Florence is charming, but venture slightly off the Appian Way to visit Tuscany and the charming towns of Perugia and Sienna. The ancient medieval city of Sienna with its walled fortress is vibrant with history and pageantry. The heart of the city is the huge piazza knows as Il Campo, which is not open to motorized vehicles. You can safely wander along the twisting little alleyways while savoring a gelato and great restaurants. Twice a year the Palio is held, which is a horse race through the central square of the walled city. Ten horses compete while over 50,000 spectators pack into the square to cheer them on. A highlight of our visit was The Dome Cathedral of Sienna. While not as imposing as the Duomo in Florence, it allowed me to experience the grandeur built by the faith of generations past. From there we traveled to Perugia, another medieval fortress city. Perugia is home to a large university and is also famous for its Perugina and Baci chocolates. While strolling through the picturesque city you can walk along the Etruscan city wall, a Roman aqueduct, and cobblestone streets lined with shopping, sidewalk cafes, art galleries and all the youthful excitement that is typically found in a college town.I stayed at the 5 star Brufani Palace, a beautiful hotel within walking distance to all the major attractions. The restaurant in the hotel offered a fabulous white glove dining experience and wine flowing generously. As we left Perugia and ventured through the Tuscan countryside, we stopped at Fattoria San Donato, a family vineyard located within a very short drive of San Gimignano and owned by the Fenzi family since 1932. They served up a typical Tuscan lunch consisting of their own or local products including seasoned meats, vegetables, a variety of wines, cheeses, their own extra virgin olive oil, and the best ragu I've every tasted. They served this with a selection of their delicious wines, all named after the daughters of the family. If you are interested in learning more about Italy, visit the Cruise Store and we can help you plan the vacation of lifetime. We are open Monday to Friday 9-5; Saturdays 9:30- 12:30; after hours by appointment. Stop in at 55 Maple St., East Longmeadow and say hi. Drop us an email at anderson@cruisestore.com, or call us at 525-9001. Ciao! Sponsored by The Cruise Store CruiseStore.com 55 Maple Street, East Longmeadow 413-525-9001 Bookmark and Share