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Italy travel news


Castel Monastero
If you're after somewhere to stay in the Chianti region, Castel Monastero is due to open in July. Although brand new, the resort retains the style and many original features of the 11th century village it's based upon. Once the home of the noble family Chigi Saracini, the hotel is equally grand today- 4 hectares of grounds house numerous facilities including pools, bars, a spa, wellness centre and a chapel perfect for wedding ceremonies- as well as the latest restaurant in the Gordon Ramsay empire. Accommodation spans 76 luxury rooms, suites and a villa- check out

Hotel della Cultura
Innovative accomodation can be a real draw- and Italy is aiming to open 85 quirky new hotels over the next four years. Similar to the Spanish 'Paradors', the Hotel Della Culturas' will include locations as diverse as castles, ex-prisons, historical residences and hospital buildings- something for everyone, then.

Opened on 1 April 2009, this newly built, family-owned hotel is all in keeping with its natural surroundings. The coast is just a 10 minute bicycle ride, or 10 minute drive since there are two different roads from the hotel – by bike the road passes fields and vineyards on either side with the sea straight ahead. hotel is currently in talks to secure their own private beach – this will be finalised in the next couple of months.


Costa cruise ships
Costa Cruises are making the cruise experience ever-more luxurious with the launch of two new ships. The city of Genoa celebrates the launch of Luminosa and Pacifica in style on 5th June, with music, entertainment, and fireworks. Both liners boast a huge range of features, taking in numerous bars, restaurants, pools and spas. There's plenty for kids, too, whilst adults can relax in the stylish surrounds of the top-end Luminosa or the larger, musically-themed Pacifica- where passengers can even try out the on board recording studio. Cruise on over to for more.

Trenitalia rail
Packing in the destinations on a short Italian break has just become a lot easier with the introduction of Trenitalia's new high-speed service. Currently, passengers can make it from Milan to Rome direct in a mere 3 1/2 hours- faster still by December. Want to head elsewhere? You'll be in Bologna in just over an hour, Florence in just over two, and Naples within five hours.


( have added routes from Gatwick and Liverpool direct to Naples to their remit.
From May,  ( will operate services from Leeds/Bradford, Manchester and Edinburgh to Olbia in Sardinia, as well as Edinburgh to Venice. Meanwhile, Lufthansa Italia are running direct flights from Malpensa in Milan to a range of European cities to include London. See individual websites for prices, dates and further details.
Fans of the famed Caldesi cookery school will be pleased to know that Giancarlo and Katie are taking the school with them on their summer holidays this year. Running from 19th July to 1st August, £1,800pp nets a place on this exclusive course in rural Tuscany. Hotel Rotelle is the setting for the five-day residential programme, which will include foodie excursions and a restaurant meal in addition to the daily cookery classes. Interested?

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30 April 2009
By: Zoe Perrett
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