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The city of Lucca attracts tourists from around the world to its historic sights. Il Palazzo is just 4 kms from Lucca. As you enter this lovely gated estate, you will observe many century-old trees, immense areas of finely manicured lawns, a lake, and a small wooded area of camellia trees. Il Palazzo, a beautiful villa built in the late 1600's, is set on this historic park. Permanent gardeners maintain the park year around. There is also a private chapel on the grounds.

For the youngsters in the crowd:
Q. What did the ZERO say to the EIGHT?
A. Nice belt!

Calzone (Italian Filled Pizza)

Calzone is a type of closed pizza made with bread dough and is a specialty of Naples where they call it cazune. It provides a very filling meal. Like pizza, it varies from one region to another. They use different fillings as well as different shapes and it can be deep-fried or baked.

Pizza dough:
1 lb plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 oz fresh or 1/2 oz dried yeast
1 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
4 Tbsp olive oil

Sift flour and salt into bowl. Dissolve yeast in part of measured water, together with sugar to activate yeast. When it begins to froth, pour into flour. Add 3 Tbsp oil and just enough water to make a firm dough. Pour in water gradually, mixing first with a wooden spoon, then working with your hands. Knead well for at least 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Pour a drop of oil in the bowl and roll dough in it to prevent dryness. Cover bowl with damp cloth and leave dough to rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in bulk. Punch it down and knead for a few minutes, then roll in remaining oil and let it rise again for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 475 F. Divide the dough into 6 balls and roll each on a floured surface to a circle of 1/2 inch or less thickness. Place on large flat oiled baking sheets.

2 ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs ricotta, crumbled
1 lb mozzarella, shredded
salt and pepper
6 oz ham, cut into strips

Spread the filling on half of each round, leaving a margin of about 1/2 inch around the edge. Moisten this edge with water and fold the other half of the dough over the filling, matching the edges. Press edges firmly together, twisting and pinching if you like. Moisten top of each calzone with a little chopped tomato. Bake in the hottest part of the oven for about 20 minutes until crisp and brown around the edges.
Serve immediately.

My husband is a workaholic, so we hardly see each other. Just to spend some time with him, I climbed onto the roof one day while he was putting up shingles. But after a while, I'd had enough. "We don't do anything fun," I said. "We never go out like other couples."

"What do you mean?" said my husband. Putting down his hammer, he gazed into my eyes and, with as much romance as he could muster, said, "So who did I ask to go to the dump with me this morning?"

- Reader’s Digest

All Roads Lead to Rome Part I

When you visit Rome there is so much to see and do. Be ready to enjoy the rich history of the city, and develop an appreciation of the people and their fierce loyalty to the legacy of the Roman way of life. Here I will attempt to give you an overview of this lovely capital of Italy, taking you through the main sections and briefly stating what each offers.

Ancient Center of Rome:
In the geographical center of Rome you will find reference to the meager village roots of the city. Palatine Hill is where Romulus founded the city in the 8th century B.C. He and his brother Remus were said to have been raised by a she-wolf who found them abandoned in the forest. Later Romulus rose to power after killing his brother. Here you find great museums and palaces including Palazzo Venezio, the Senatorio (the Renaissance seat of the city government), The Temple of Jupiter, Palazzo Nuovo, and much more. The Capitol and the facades of Piazza del Campidoglio were designed by Michelangelo in the 1500's. Below the capitol are the ruins of the Roman Forum, once the center of political, social, legal and commercial life. The Colosseum, Rome's greatest amphitheatre, was built in A.D.72. Deady gladiator combats and wild animal fights were presented here by emperors and wealthy citizens for entertainment. The Colosseum could hold up to 55,000 people, who were seated by rank.

Piazza Navona Area:
This area lies to the northwest of the ancient center, along the eastern banks of the River Tevere. The narrow streets are busy with cafes, restaurants, and coffee houses. This is also the city's financial and political district, home to Parliament, government offices and the stock exchange. Around the Piazza Navona are elegant palaces where throughout the Renaissance and Baroque eras princes, popes and cardinals lived. They commissioned the best artists and artisans to build and adorn their lavish palaces, churches, and fountains.
Piazza Navona itself is considered Rome's most beautiful Baroque Piazza. Its long and narrow shape is patterned after an early stadium used for athletic contests and chariot races. There are fountains at each end, but the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the center of the piazza is Bernini’s most magnificent.

The Pantheon is probably the oldest and best preserved building in Rome, dating from the first century. It was built as a temple to all the gods, and now the walls are lined with tombs, the burial place for Italian monarchs. Many ornate and beautiful churches such as Santa Maria sopra Minerva and Sant'Ignazio di Loyola are worth seeing, and a bustling morning market at Campo de Fiori is one of the largest in Rome. (See Part II in our July Newsletter)

Kathy Hayes, Editor

View the property"We had a lovely time, and the Barone Apartment was wonderful. The Comtessa was very gracious. Thank you again for your help with our vacation. My children were absolutely seduced by Venice!"

- E.S., East Aurora, NY

Dear Travelers,

We have a counter in the office devoted to "active" client files, those who are traveling to VillaNet properties this summer and fall. It's a very long stack at the moment, and we know many of you are already starting to pack for your adventures. How exciting! But for those who have waited, there are still some great opportunities, and even some bargains. Take a look at our site or give us a call.

Cori and I are getting very excited about our June trip to France and Italy, where we'll see lots of new properties.

Have a wonderful summer and keep traveling!

Emmanuel de Ricard, President

A Cost Comparison Between Hotel Stays and Villa Rentals

Our marketing director Cori just finished a fascinating research project. The results are so amazing I'd like to share them with you. We've always known that renting a villa or apartment with VillaNet was a cost-effective choice, but this chart shows just how much savings you can expect when you go with us, and yet have a better, richer experience!

Dining / Food


French Riviera
  Average Savings with Villa Rentals

Parameters: Cori took the mid-season price per week of some of our nicest properties and compared them with an average of seven 3 & 4 star hotel accommodations in the same area. Then she compared purchasing groceries and wine to prepare an evening meal at that same villa or apartment, with eating out at a nice restaurant. This is a full three course meal, including wine. The costs are based on only the one dinner a day, not including breakfast or lunch.

VillaNet Vacation Villas and Apartments ( Copyright 2004 )
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