Saturday, November 25, 2006

Holiday Presents

Since here in the US, the holiday shopping season has officially started, I thought I'd offer a few suggestions.

The first is a great present for anyone headed to Italy, especially those going for the first time. Italy: Instructions for Use: The Personal, On-site Assistant for the Enthusiastic but Inexperienced Traveler by Nan McElroy. Nan, according to the book jacket, "has been traveling, eating and living in Italy as often as possible since 1995." (Nan now lives in Venice.)

I have Instructions for Use in front of me as I type this. It's 110 pages of useful information from how do you pronounce things in Italian to shopping and eating. It also has ten tips for the American traveler. My favorite? "Sometimes there's nothing to be done." You can buy the book at or Barnes&

Nan, an American living in Venice, also has a great blog (her latest post describes a pasta-making session).

Can't get enough Venice? Do you really miss it when you're gone? If so, take a look at the photography of Andrea Zanatta (thanks to Nan for turning me onto his work). I agree with the blurb in his book that says he is "one of the most interesting photographers of the young generation in Italy." Put Andrea's book on your Christmas list, or it to your favorite Venice fan. You can buy Andrea's book at

Who says you can't get good food in Venice? That's a common (misguided) complaint I hear about Venice. Chow Venice: Savoring the Food and Wine of La Serenissima, (Second Edition) makes a great gift for people hunting for good meals in Venice. Co-authors Shannon Essa and Ruth Edenbaum only print reviews of restaurants/bars they've eaten in--and enjoyed. The second edition is due on December 15th--plenty of time to wrap. Order from or Barnes& .

Finally, this isn't Venetian, but it's a great taste of Italy. Olio Nuovo, or just crushed olive oil. I can safely post this because my order is already in! If you have never tasted just-crushed olive oil, you're in for a treat. It's like nothing you get in a supermarket! If you'd like to treat yourself or give a really nice gift, check out Casa de Case's website and get your order in fast. [Dec. 13 NOTE: Too late--the olive oil is sold out. And too bad if you missed out because it's wonderful. I've been enjoying mine and I'm not sharing!]

Note: I'm not getting paid by any of these people. I know them (but they don't know I'm posting this) and have enjoyed these things (before I knew them!). I'd be happy to get any of them as a gift and think the Italy/Venice fans in your life would enjoy them too.

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