Subject: Re: Next trip to Paris/quick summary of Italy trip
Hi Diana,

I admire your gusto. I would opt for October. So much of Paris is closed in August, and they have been having a very hot summer so far. Also, October weeds out many of the tourists, and the lines that go with them. I have had great luck with package trips from Go-today.com. I have used them the past two years for one week trips to Paris in the last week of May. The prices are great, and they deliver what they say.

I just returned from nearly two weeks in Italy, where we stayed in four different agriturismos. Besides the old standbyes of Malvarina, and Fenice (Positano), I tried out two other Karen Brown recommendations. Ombricola, which is a little south of Orvieto and quite close to the magnificent Civita di Bagnoregio, was a nice stopover in an that is rich with things to do, and happily, lacking in tourists. The house was impressive, the host, delightfully eccentric, and the food was quite good. They have only four rooms, but I would highly recommend it. Casolare Libbiano, just outside of San Gigmignano was even more spectacular, in a way similar to Malvarina, for those of you who are familiar with it. Great food, home made wine and oil, a delicious pool, mountain bikes, and seemingly endless areas to hike and bike, made up for all of the tourists in San Gimignano and the rest of Tuscany. Best of all, the hosts, Berta and Andrea are overwhelmingly helpful and warm. Malvarina was as good as I remember it to be, and we had three wonderful nights of music at the Umbria Jazz festival in Perugia. Finally, this was by far and away the hottest that I ever remember the summer to be in Italy. I hear that the grape harvests are in danger of serious problems.

best wishes, Jonathan Chimene NY