Italian Breaks with a personalized touch


Author: Jack Hemens

When it comes to organizing holidays, do-it-yourself is now all the rage. Cheap air flights and the advent of the internet have allowed people to do their own research and plan their own customized and bespoke holidays. Yet whilst this approach might work well at the cheaper end of the market there is nothing that can replace an indepth knowledge and experience of a region if you are looking for luxury or that ‘perfect escape. Cristina Swift, is Sicilian by birth but now lives and works in London and has been helping people to organize holidays and trips to her home country for 20 years.

“Italy is such a beautiful and varied country, its almost too hard even to know where to begin,” she says.

Every region has its own distinct features, cuisines, wines and traditions. And many parts of Italy are year-round destinations, with winter activities such as skiing in the Dolomites proving just as popular as the long Tuscan summer evenings. And as the airlines expand their routes it is becoming increasingly practical to consider previously more far-flung areas including Sicily and Sardinia even for short breaks and long weekends.

Cristina’s company Italian Breaks offers the widest range of independently owned properties, across all of Italy, and unlike some other tour operators Cristina has visited every single one personally to guarantee their quality and standard. Ranging from chic city centre apartments to comfortable family villas with outdoor swimming pools, to luxury properties, there are places that will suit every size of group or party and every pocket. More important, however, her personal knowledge of all things Italian will make sure that your holiday can be tailored exactly to suit your needs.

As a founding member of the Association of British Tour Operators in Italy (ABTOI), Italian Breaks is ideally qualified to help you sort through your holiday options according to the time of year, the number of people in your party, whether you want a city centre apartment or a more secluded country villa, whether you want your own swimming pool, tennis courts, and whether you want to sample the local restaurants and nightlife or prefer to try your hand at Italian cooking. Italian Breaks can also advise you on the relative merits and charms of all the different Italian Regions, from old favorites like Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Venice and Rome to more hidden delights such as Apulia, Umbria and the Italian Lakes.

This personal touch has meant that, year after year, people have looked to Cristina for help to explore new regions, re-visit old favorites or simply escape and relax in luxurious comfort. An unforgettable trip is guaranteed!

If you are interested in speaking to an advocate for all things Italian, you can call Italian Breaks for advice on 020 0666 0407 or email

Potential pitfalls when renting villas

**make sure you know what is included in the price and what could be charged extra. Towels and bed linen should be provided, but ask about beach towels

** if there is an open fire, ask what the arrangements are for firewood

**some features – like a very deep swimming pool – might not be suitable for small children. Give your agent as much information as possible about your group

** some holiday apartments don’t have air conditioning – check the temperature and weather for your region and time of year

** make sure you can get flights and connections. The transfer time to your villa could be longer than you think.

**check parking arrangements if you hire a car – is there a garage? Do you need a permit?

** some rural villages don’t have banks or cash points. Find out if you need to make other arrangements for spending money

** Don’t worry too much – you are on holiday, after all!

If you are interested in learning more about Vacation Rentals In Italy, please search our site for more in-depth information and resources.

About the author:

Jack Hemens is an author of; Visit the site ( for more information about Luxury Vacation Villas, Home, Apartment Rentals & Holiday Homes In Italy.

William Dellorusso
Lombardia in Cucina: The Flavours of Lombardy

Milan-style risotto, pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, and pumpkin tortelli to start; casoeula, Milan-style cutlets, frogs stewed in tomato to follow, and to send, a slice of sbrisolona cake or panettone.
Lombardy surprises with the richness of its culinary traditions and natural ingredients, which modernity has barely affected.
"Milano in Cucina" captures this kaleidoscope of flavours, with contributions from some of the most celebrated chefs on the culinary scene, who pay homage to their territory, and whose skill is able to present a modern vision in keeping with the region's progressive spirit.

The Italian Academy of Cuisine
La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars gathered to discuss a problem: how to preserve traditional Italian cooking. They formed the Italian Academy of Cuisine to document classic recipes from every region. The academy’s more than seven thousand associates spread out to villages everywhere, interviewing grandmothers and farmers at their stoves, transcribing their recipes—many of which had never been documented before. This is the culmination of that research, an astounding feat—2,000 recipes that represent the patrimony of Italian country cooking. Each recipe is labeled with its region of origin, and it’s not just the ingredients but also the techniques that change with the geography. Sprinkled throughout are historical recipes that provide fascinating views into the folk culture of the past. There are no fancy flourishes here, and no shortcuts; this is true salt-of-the-earth cooking. The book is an excellent everyday source for easily achievable recipes, with such simple dishes as White Bean and Escarole Soup, Polenta with Tomato Sauce, and Chicken with Lemon and Capers. For ease of use there are four different indexes. La Cucina is an essential reference for every cook’s library.

Milano in Cucina: The Flavours of Milan
The famous Risotto Alla Milanese gets its golden hue from the precious spice saffron. Legend has it that the dish came about when a Milanese painter decided to gild the risotto served at his wedding banquet with a harmless gold-colored dye. In Milan, they traditionally serve Risotto Alla Milanese with ossobuco (braised veal shank).
Traditionally made with raisins and candied citron, or with a creamy cream filling, the light, fluffy brioche-like bread called panettone may be tall or short, covered with chocolate or flavored with various liquors, but it’s always a symbol of the Christmas season.
With its hallmark domed shape, panettone graced Christmas tables in Milan since at least the 15th-century. Common knowledge claims its invention is from Milan. It is the most famous Christmas Lombardia food.

The Pax side of the Moon featuring Cesareo
Lombardia (Dicon tutti che sei mia) Quarantine Version - feat. Cesareo (Quarantine Version)

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