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Posts tagged ‘News’

Travel Update | Work begins in Florence

It is always disappointing to find scaffolding over a site you have been dying to see, but it is imperative to keeping these amazing places in tip top shape and preserved for years to come.  I can remember missing Big Ben, the Four Rivers Fountain and The Bridge of Sighs just to name a few.

Work has begun in Florence until 2015.  Thanks to Italy Magazine for the update!

italy travel alert restoration duomo

Photo courtesy of Italy Magazine

Sistine Chapel Closure for Conclave

Sistine Chapel Conclave Closure

Carnival opens in Venice

Carnival began last evening and all of Venice has come to life with color.  Enjoy the video and photos below!

Venice Carnival Canal Water Show

Photos Courtesy of Carnival of Venice

IMG_049[1] Carnevale di Venezia 2013 Carnevale di Venezia 2013 Carnevale di Venezia 2013 IMG_285[1] IMG_0131[1] venice carnival

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Copyright 2013   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Earthquake in Italy | 5.0 near Parma

News is just barely trickling in about an earthquake today near Parma.  I haven’t heard back from friends yet, reports are pretty vague at this time.  I will write more as information comes in.


Link to real time site HERE.

earthquake italy parma

Vatican is Cash Only | Concerns about money laundering

long lines vatican money launderingOh, you heard me right.

The Italian government has grave concerns over the Vatican’s handling of money and its non-compliance with the European Union’s safeguards against money laundering.  As of December 31, 2012 the Bank of Italy is no longer allowed to operate inside the Vatican walls.  It is easy to forget that the Vatican is independent of Italy when the city of Rome has engulfed the area on all sides.  Many times this has proved to be an advantage for the Holy See, although this is not the case currently.

What does this mean for travelers?  Tourists will need to pay for cash for visits to the Vatican Museum, the cafeteria and for any purchases at the gift shops within Vatican City.  The change has brought about a great hassle as unknowing tourist wait in the long lines only to be turned away to find cash.   I suggest all travelers make sure to have enough cash to cover entrance fees and any intended purchases.  ATMs are located on just about every street corner in Rome.  Prices are currently 16 euro/adult and 8 euro/student.

What does this mean for the Vatican?  Obviously, these are huge sources of revenue and in the current economic situation any loss in income will have a greater impact.  I have a feeling that the order for compliance is about to be taken more seriously and once the EU standard safeguards are in place tourists can expect things to return to normal.

The original article can be found here.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

December 21st | Will the Mayans be right?

Earlier this year I wrote about a funny coincidence regarding the crumbling of part of Rome’s coliseum and the impending end of the world.  I guess we are just days away from finding out if those Mayans were on the right track or not!


If the predictions are right, we better live it up because the world is slotted to end this year.

Mayan Calendar

We’ve all heard about 2012 marking the end of the world as we know it, but where did all this dooms daying come from?  We have the Mayan’s to blame this time.  Unlike our cyclic calendar (which can go on infinitely) the Mayan’s followed a long count calendar which consisted of a set number of days.  The completion of the calendar marked the end of one world and the beginning of the next.  According to the Mayan’s, we are living in the fourth world which is the only one that has been successful at all and has sustained humanity.  So when does this glorious reign end?

December 21st, 2012.

The Venerable Bede

Interpretation of this date has brought on all kinds of attention and opinions:  New Age belief in some sort of Spiritual Transformation, Zombie Apocalypse, fire & brimstone and one half way decent blockbuster movie.  I don’t tend to pay too much attention to ruckus of this sort.  I worked night shift New Years Eve when we ushered in 2000 without so much as a hint of a computer meltdown.  Harold Camping (aka that crazy dude swindling people out of ungodly amounts of money) and his third failed prediction last May didn’t even raise my eyebrow.  I have yet to call any 1-800 numbers to find out what the one-thing-that-I-need-to-know-now-to-save-my-finanicial-future-before-it’s-too-late is.  But when I recently read about pieces of the Colosseum falling off and the political troubles already brewing with the scheduled restoration project, I couldn’t help but think of a famous prophecy.  The Colosseum was built approximately 2000 years ago and stands to this day as one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  Not earthquakes, nor fire or civil unrest has brought down this magnificent structure.  Not yet.  The prophecy that came to mind is attributed to the Venerable Bede:

‘While the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall’

Maybe I better pay attention this time and dust off my bucket list.  We’ve got some traveling to do and by my calculations only 340 days left to do it!

Copyright 2012  Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Waterspout off the Coast of Genoa Italy

christmas tree bozeman montanaWeird weather continues everywhere.  Here in Montana we are starting to wonder if it will be a white Christmas or not.  We actually wore our mud boots out on our outing to find a Christmas tree instead of the usual snow boots.

I wanted to share this pretty incredible photo of a dramatic waterspout off the coast of Genoa Italy yesterday.  Click here to read the article on Storm Chasers.

Courtesy of Storm Chaser Movies

Courtesy of Storm Chaser Movies



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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel


Vernazza One Year After The Flood

Courtesy of Students for the Cinque Terre

Just over one year ago a massive flood and mudslide buried one of my special places on earth, Vernazza.  So much has been endured, rebuilt, rethought and rejoiced.

As fate and nature would have it, on the very day an Alert 2 went out to the people of the Cinque Terre but thankful everyone in the area weathered the storm well.

Much is still to be done.  Please keep Save Vernazza in your minds as we move towards the close of this year.

Below is a link to some fabulous people who have been a part of the recovery process as they celebrate Vernazza’s bittersweet anniversary.

Students for the Cinque Terre Commemoration.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Rome Bans Eating Near Monuments

What’s next?  No drinking in Ireland?

Rome’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno has decided to toughen rules about behavior on, around and even near the national monuments.  Apparently after a stroll through his city, Alemanno was horrified to see tourists and locals alike disrespecting places of important.  He swiftly laid down the law, no eating near any treasure.

It’s enforcement is of course drawing criticism.  Confused tourist munching on gelato can no longer stop and linger at the Trevi Fountain (one of my favorite things to do).  Locals on lunch breaks are being shooed off the Spanish Steps.  Many Italians say there are better things for the police to be worrying about and feel that this is just another attempt of the current government to try to grasp control of the city that has been outside their control for some time.

I do think that there are cases, usually when alcohol is involved, that sites like the Spanish Steps are not respected and begin to look more like an international frat party.  I do believe these amazing places need to be preserved and cared for so that they will last for generations to come.  Is making a sweeping law like this the answer?  Part of the soul of Rome is the wandering with a slice of pizza or gelato in hand.  Enjoying everyday like in incredible historic settings.  I also know that laws are made to be broken when it comes to Italians.  I will be watching with great interest to see what will come with this decision.

Rome ban on eating near monuments

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Rock Slide in Cinque Terre Injures 4 Australians | Via dell’Amore Closed

A week of good news followed by bad I am afraid.

This past Monday a group of Australian tourists were caught in a rock slide along the famous and most popular section of trails in the area called Via dell’Amore.  Two of the tourists remain hospitalized, one in serious condition after being swept over the protective barrier and trapped along the hard to access rocky coastline.

What caused this new tragedy?  The mayor of Riomaggiore made a statement earlier blaming the drought and dry weather to cause the boulders to detach from the cliff above the trail.  The incident is incredibly rare and even harder to predict.  The trails in the Cinque Terre are often closed due to land slides.  I always warn my clients to double-check closures before starting out.  With the mudslides from the flooding last winter, most trails have been closed longer than open.  But this is the first time fingers have been pointed to drought as the culprit.  I am sure many are wondering what will happen when the rains begin again this fall.

cinque terre italy

I will keep travelers updated on the conditions of the trails and the situation on Via dell’Amore.  For related articles, click here.

cinque terre italy

Courtesy of Da Paulin Cinque Terre

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel


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