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H POTTER
2017 is the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the series. The British Library in London is celebrating with a special Potter exhibition from Oct. 20, 2017 to Feb. 28, 2018 (lots of dragons and magic).
On view will be wizarding books, manuscripts and objects, centuries-old British Library treasures, and original material from Bloomsbury’s and J.K. Rowling’s archives. In May, live orchestra concerts will also pair John Williams’ score with Potter films around the U.K.

Rocketttes at Radio City Music Hall

Rocketttes at Radio City Music Hall on Academy Travel’s “Thanksgiving in New York” tour

THANKSGIVING in NY

The renowned cultural tour company, Academy Travel, is again offering their popular “Thanksgiving in New York: Music, Theatre, Art and Food” tour, to include the performances below and others; VIP museum visits, fine dining, and much more. They sell out, so book now!
♦ Grand Tier seating at Zeffirelli’s legendary production of Puccini’s opera Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera ♦ NY Philharmonic performing Rimsky-Korsakov, Saint-Saëns and Rachmaninov ♦ Broadway musical Bandstand, set in the Swing-era nightclubs of 1945  ♦ Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall ♦ Jazz in the Appel Room at the elegant Jazz at Lincoln Center

JANE AUSTEN

The 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death is being heralded through all of 2017 with 200 events, tours and exhibitions in southern England, including tours of her former home in Chawton in Hampshire, now renamed Jane Austen’s House Museum. Tours also of the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, a frequent setting in her novels; her burial site in Winchester Cathedral; and musical and dance performances throughout Hampshire.

Weavers in Perugia on Insight Vacations tour

Ancient skills of weavers in Perugia on Insight Vacations’ “Luxury Gold” tour of Italy

PERUGIA

Insight Vacations’ “Luxury Gold” tour of Italy guides guests to an exclusive visit to Italy’s most celebrated hand-made textile and weaving workshop, Museo-Laboratorio di Tessitura a Mano Guiditta Brozzetti, where Renaissance-era skills are demonstrated with gold, silver and silken threads. This is just one of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences planned for Insights’ 12-day “Ultimate Italy” itinerary. 

Top 10 Best Guidebooks to LONDON

My favs on this list of guidebooks to London are Rich Steves’ London for common sense advice, especially for the first-timer in the city. I also love Quiet London for discovering those charming, British-cozy hideaways. And you gotta have Walking London, with tons of maps, clear directions and must-see destinations. It’s free to get Anglotopia magazine’s 101 London Travel Tips ebook if you sign up for their newsletter. Not on the list. but don’t forget the iconic culture-oriented London Blue Guide, the ultimate guide to background/history.

An interview here from Forbes, about how the owners of Context Travel built their company into a $5 million business while traveling the world — and, they still do! (with three kids . . . )

Rome Context Travel

A tour of Rome tour by Context Travel. Photo by Context Travel

Context Travel is famous for their insightful, history- and culture-based, one-day walking tours guided by scholars and other experts in the leading cities of the world–just my kind of tour! You learn, you expand your knowledge and appreciation for a place, and you meet a few like-minded travelers. (Rome, Paris, London, Barcelona, Istanbul, New York, Beijing and 30 other cities)

“Our mission from the start has been to improve the experience for travelers by introducing them to eloquent, erudite locals or expats who benefit from sharing their knowledge and love of their home. In practice, this means we arrange a stroll through sinking Venice with a hydrogeologist or a meditation session with a Buddhist monk in Kyoto — among many other experiences. We call this #DeepTravel––the moment when you see yourself growing.”

The Hidden World of the Knights Templar

Knights Templar London

The secretive world of the Knights Templar, in London.

If you loved The DaVinci Code, you must see the Temple Church in London — a lesser-known treasure tucked away just off the Strand. “Here, on tiny Inner Temple Lane, was a hidden world, one that was lovely, leafy and serene, overlooked by graceful Gothic and Victorian buildings and patchworked with gardens and miniature courtyards.” (from an article by Amanda Ruggeri in BBC.com/travel)

Book a guided tour of the Inner Temple, with its medieval hall and 15th century fireplace, in advance: “These tours begin with a cup of tea/coffee and biscuits in one of the Inn’s beautiful reception rooms, followed by a talk about the history and running of the Inn from 400 years ago to the present day.”

Paris Celebrates UNESCO Heritage Site of Palmyra

As you may know, a precious wonder of the world, the ancient Greek and Roman city of Palmyra, in Syria, has been largely decimated by the Islamic State. This is not an easy article to read about the heartbreaking demise of Palmyra, and yet, an exhibit in the Grand Palais in Paris showcases hauntingly beautiful images taken by drone after the historic city was liberated from ISIS fights, who have now reoccupied the site. Included in the 3-D gallery is Bamiyan in Afghanistan, Khorsabad in Iraq, the Umayyad Mosque in Syria, and Kerak Castle in Jordan. The spectacular show was produced by ICONEM, a company that develops digitizing and 3D modeling techniques for cultural heritage, with projects around the world.

Artisans of Venice

The Artisans of Venice, a compendium and guide to shopping in Serenissima.

The Artisans of Venice

As you likely know, Venice is a mess of tourist traps and made-in-China souvenirs, while at the same time it’s one of the world’s top cities for gorgeous, timeless glass, fabrics, clothing, and more wonderful things. By Laura Morelli, The Artisans of Venice is a fabulous new book with inside dope on shopping: authentic Venetian fabrics, Murano glass and Millefiori, carnival masks, gondolas, lace, mirrors, costumes, paper and more, all made by traditional Venetian artisans. The book leads you to the multi-generational studios of some 75 master artisans––exactly where to go and what to expect when you get there. And — it’s only $2.99 !

Stay tuned here for latest news of culture-focused tours,

travel, and historic sites around the world.

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