What could be better than learning to make fresh pasta from scratch and a Ragu sauce that your friends and family will rave about when you demonstrate your Italian cooking skills back home? Convivio Rome Cooking Holidays offers one, three or six night Italian cooking holidays. Sally Ransom and Guido Santi, owners who are also wife and husband, will be your genial hosts and instructors. When you book, they’ll help you select the perfect accommodations either within Toffia, a medieval hilltop village or in the nearby town just outside the ancient village walls. I recommend staying within the medieval walls, as I did when I attended the program in October 2010. The views are fabulous. Toffia is located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Rome, and accessible by car or train. For more information go to: www.ConvivioRome.com
For years, Joe Brancatelli has been one of the country’s smartest travel columnists and observers. If you fly commercially or stay in hotels frequently, visit this site every week to learn the nuts and bolts of the travel business. In addition, Joe has several colleagues whose columns are worth a peek, as well. You’ll find those on his home page. Tell him Rudy sent you.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is: Should I buy a cell phone to use overseas? Rent one? Rent a chip for my US phone? The answer depends on how much you need a cell phone while on the road. Do you go abroad for only a week or two a year? Or do you travel overseas more often? Do you expect to receive a lot of incoming calls when you’re out of the US or do you just need to make a few calls a week? No matter your answer, the folks at Cellular Abroad can outfit you with the right phone or chip depending on your personal or business requirements. I know, because my public television crew and I use the company for all our cellular needs in Europe and Asia. Whether you need a country-specific chip (which makes all incoming calls free) or a “Talk Abroad” chips that works all over Europe and other countries, talk to Cellular Abroad and get the right equipment at an attractive price. Use the code “MAXA” if you make a purchase at www.cellularabroad.com or tell them Rudy Maxa sent you if you order by phone at 800-287-5072 and receive $10 off a tri-band phone or a “Talk Abroad” chip.
When we shoot our Europe series for public television each summer, we often obtain our cars from europebycar.com. The reason is simple: great cars at a great price. Of particular use for anyone traveling in Europe 17 days or longer is the lease option that allows you to avoid paying the high Value Added Tax that normally applies to rental cars. Not only that, but when you opt for the lease option, you’ll be driving brand new Peugeot and Renault cars that can be picked up and dropped off at hundreds of sites in Western Europe. Europe By Car calls the longer-term rentals the “purchase/re-purchase” or “buy-back” option, but it’s no more complicated than a standard rental. The company also has very competitive prices for standard, short-term rentals. Details: www.europebycar.com or 800-223-1516.