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Rome to host Letterature

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People taking Rome tours in late May and early June this year will be in the city as it hosts Letterature, its international literature festival.

This event is traditionally held from mid-May to mid-June in the Basilica di Massenzio in the Italian capital.

While entrance is free, visitors still have to present a token to get in which, according to events website whatsonwhen.com, can be picked up at the box office at Via dei Fori Imperiali.

The festival sees successful authors from all over the world visit Rome to present and discuss their work, including pieces that have been produced specifically for the event.

In past years, the cultural celebration has included participation by the likes of Nick Hornby, Jeffery Deaver, VS Naipaul, Gore Vidal and Salman Rushdie.

Visitors will take part in various talks and readings, many of which will be accompanied by live music.

Rome boasts many other attractions and institutions that will interest people who want to take in some culture and history, including the Capitoline and Villa Borghese museums.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19131500-ADNFCR

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Spain dominates World’s Best Restaurants list

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Travellers taking tours of Barcelona and other Spanish destinations this year may be tempted to visit some of the destinations that feature on this year’s San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Spain dominated the 2009 survey, boasting four of the ten establishments that received the best reviews from more than 800 chefs, critics and industry experts around the world.

At the top of the list is El Bulli in Roses on the Costa Brava, which was named the world’s best restaurant for the fourth year in a row.

Mugaritz and Arzak, both of which are located in the town of San Sebastian on Spain’s north coast, were ranked fourth and eighth respectively, while El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, not far from Barcelona, was fifth.

France was also fairly well represented in the list, with Paris’ Pierre Gagnaire and Bras in Laguiole both appearing in the top ten.

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Berkshire retained the second place that it achieved last year in the 2009 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, while the United States was represented by New York’s Per Se in sixth place and Chicago’s Alinea in tenth.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19131259-ADNFCR

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Check out the World Twenty20 tournament in London

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Sports fans will be booking their London tours this year to coincide with the World Twenty20 cricket tournament, which will be held from June 5th to 21st.

The competition will come to four cricket grounds across England – Lord’s and The Oval in London, Trent Bridge in Nottinghamshire and Taunton in Somerset.

Both men’s and women’s sides representing countries including England, Australia, India, South Africa and the West Indies are due to participate in the competition this year.

Twenty20 cricket, a form of the sport first introduced in England in 2003, sees each team playing a single innings with a maximum of 20 overs, a format that adds an extra element of speed and excitement to the game.

Most matches only last about two-and-a-half hours, meaning that visitors to Twenty20 tournament days will often get the chance to see two games involving four different teams.

Lord’s will be the venue for the semi-final and final rounds of both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

India are the reigning World Twenty20 champions, having beaten Pakistan in the 2007 final in South Africa.

London – Ride the London Eye, visit the Tower of London or take a day out of the city to see Stonehenge.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19129664-ADNFCR

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Get into modern sculpture in Venice

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Travellers will be able to add even more culture to their tours of Venice this summer by paying a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to see an exhibition of modern sculpture.

Robert Rauschenberg: Gluts will be open at the prestigious art gallery in the Dorsoduro area of Venice from May 30th to September 20th.

The exhibition will feature approximately 40 sculptures known as Gluts that Rauschenberg, a prominent American artist, created between the years of 1986 and 1995.

To construct the wall reliefs and free-standing sculptures, Rauschenberg assembled various pieces of metal that he had collected, such as petrol station signs, car components and industrial parts.

The artist’s Gluts period was one of the latter stages of a career that had previously seen him interested in technology-based art and the use of materials including cardboard, paper and fabric.

Art lovers planning Venice tours this year will also be able to visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to see a display of futurist art that includes pieces by Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla and others.

Venice – Fall in love all over again on a Gondola ride on the Grand Canal and lose yourself in the grand St Mark’s Square.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19129076-ADNFCR

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Sunshine ‘a priority’ for many Brits

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Tours in Barcelona, Rome and other sun-soaked destinations could prove a popular option this spring with many British travellers looking to take a break to enjoy some warm weather.

Travel add-ons company Holiday Extras released the results of a survey which showed that 48 per cent of British people want to visit a destination that offers guaranteed sunshine this spring.

Nearly one in three (31 per cent) respondents to the poll said they would be willing to travel overseas this year despite the weakness of the pound, although a fifth (21 per cent) would be happy to stay in the UK.

Some 18 per cent of the people surveyed would brave the exchange rate and visit mainland Europe, while 13 per cent said they would consider a long-haul getaway to destination such as Hong Kong and Sydney.

Mike Whiting of Holiday Extras said: "I’m not surprised that so many people want guaranteed sunshine this spring and while some people will certainly be choosing to holiday closer to home, tourism abroad is still high on the agenda for most."

According to another study released by the travel add-ons company recently, 54 per cent of British people would be happy to go away on holiday with their mothers.

Barcelona – Wonderful Gaudi architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere have made Barcelona Spain’s most popular city.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19128858-ADNFCR

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Joss Stone to perform in the Algarve

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Music fans will be able to incorporate some live entertainment into their Algarve tours this summer when Joss Stone performs in the Portuguese holiday region.

The British soul diva will play at the Monumento Duarte Pacheco in Loule on July 31st as part of Allgarve 09, a series of entertainment and cultural events taking place in the Algarve over the summer.

Stone has plenty of fans who will be willing to make the trip to southern Portugal to see her play, having sold more than ten million albums worldwide during a six-year career.

The sultry singer burst onto the scene in 2003 with The Soul Sessions, which reached number four in the UK album charts, followed by Mind, Body and Soul the next year, which climbed to the top spot.

Algarve visitors interested in checking out some traditional Portuguese music will be able to see fado singer Mariza on August 14th at Vila Real de Santo Antonio as part of this year’s Allgarve season.

The programme will also include a variety of art, dance, sport and gastronomic events.

Why not book the Unspoilt Algarve tour in advance?ADNFCR-1652-ID-19126614-ADNFCR

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Bonger art collection on show in Amsterdam

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The prestigious Bonger art collection is currently on display at an exhibition in Amsterdam.

People with a passion for art should fit a visit to the Van Gogh Museum into their Amsterdam tours before September 20th this year to see the showcase.

Andries Bonger began his collection after being introduced to modern French art by Theo van Gogh, the brother of the great Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.

He amassed a broad collection that included many works by his friends Odilon Redon and Emile Bernard. The Dutch state acquired a large part of the archive in 1996 and gave it to the Van Gogh Museum on a long-term loan.

Visitors to the new exhibition will be able to see more than 80 works including drawings, pastels, prints and pieces of embroidery by Redon and Bernard.

The showcase also includes letters, photographs, documents and paintings by Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.

People interested in learning more about Van Gogh’s art can visit an exhibition dedicated to his representations of the evening and night, which will be open at the Amsterdam museum that bears his name until June 7th.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19126580-ADNFCR

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Stand next to a woolly mammoth in Sydney

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Travellers on Sydney tours will be offered the unusual opportunity of standing toe-to-toe with a woolly mammoth at a special exhibition running over the coming months.

Tourists will be able to visit the When Mammoths Roamed display at the Australian Museum until June 24th.

Visitors can learn all about these fascinating creatures that wandered the icy plains of North America, Europe and Asia over 20,000 years ago.

Arguably the highlight of the exhibition for many people will be the collection of life-sized models of the great animals, which were nearly four metres tall and could weigh up to five tonnes.

The display also includes films, interactive exhibits, pieces of art and much more for visitors to get their teeth into.

People planning Sydney tours before August 1st this year will also be able to visit the Australian Museum to see Up Close and Spineless, an exhibition of photographs of invertebrate animals.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.qADNFCR-1652-ID-19126368-ADNFCR

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Venture behind the scenes on Krakow tours

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People with a passion for theatre will be able to attend an event in Krakow later this year offering a tantalising glimpse of the work that goes on behind the scenes to bring plays and musicals to the stage.

Krakow Theatre Night, which is being held for the third time this year, will take place on June 12th and 13th.

A number of theatres throughout the city will participate in the event, inviting guests to see what a theatrical wardrobe looks like, how scenery is constructed and other elements of the creative process.

One of the most popular aspects of the festival will be the Haunted Night at the Theatre tour, which will include a few spooky surprises as visitors are taken to portions of buildings that are normally inaccessible.

Krakow Theatre Night, which will begin at 17:00 and reach its finale at 02:00 the following day, will offer free entry to all shows and events but seats may need to be reserved at some theatres beforehand.

Music fans will be arranging their Krakow tours for the first week in June this year as the city hosts the Selector festival on June 5th and 6th, which will feature performances by Franz Ferdinand, Orbital, Dizzee Rascal and others.

Krakow – A turbulent and fascinating history and nearby Auschwitz have seen Krakow become a popular tourist destination.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19124356-ADNFCR

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Venice ‘offers fantastic bargains’

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While it may have a reputation for being expensive, Venice offers plenty of accommodation that will suit travellers hoping to stick to a budget, according to a Conde Nast Traveller article.

One of the most affordable options recommended by the magazine is Al Ponte Mocenigo, which is accessible via its own bridge and offers amenities including a Turkish bath on the ground floor.

Travellers willing to spend a little more to add some luxury to their Venice tours may be interested in the Oltre Il Giardino near the Frari church, which combines the feel of a rural retreat with an excellent location in the heart of the city.

Yet another option is the Novecento, which Conde Nast Traveller describes as an "intimate, eclectic, east-meets-west" hotel that has a "welcoming home-from-home" atmosphere.

People who value a good view from their hotel window can stay at La Calcina, which boasts vistas of the Giudecca canal, while those who prize comfort will appreciate the custom-made beds, silk cushions and oriental rugs of Corte 1321.

Conde Nast Traveller also gave Venice its seal of approval in a recent guide to alfresco dining, in which it encouraged travellers to pay a visit to La Terrazza at the Danieli Hotel.

Venice – Fall in love all over again on a Gondola ride on the Grand Canal and lose yourself in the grand St Mark’s Square.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19124310-ADNFCR

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