Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Authentic Arts: Venice Travel Guide by Laura Morelli - Book Spotlight, Guest Post, and Giveaway

 Authentic Arts: Venice Travel Guide

Every traveler to Venice wants to go home with a special souvenir--a carnival mask, a piece of Murano glass, a handcrafted piece of lace. But selecting which mask or which goblet to buy can be an intimidating experience. How do you know if you're buying something authentic, something made in Venice, something made in a traditional way? How do you gauge how much you should pay, and how do you know if you're being ripped off? How do you determine if you have fallen prey to one of the city's many tourist traps?

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of the city's most traditional arts: Murano glass, carnival masks, gondolas, lace, paper, and more. This indispensable guide includes practical tips for locating the most authentic goods in one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Packed with useful information on pricing, quality, and value, and with a comprehensive resource guide, Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice is the perfect guide for anyone wanting to bring home the unique traditions of Venice.

Artisans of Venice is the companion to Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts: Venice, A Travel Guide to Murano Glass, Carnival Masks, Gondolas, Lace, Paper, & More. Put both books together and you'll be the most knowledgeable traveler in Venice!

Artisans of Venice: Companion to the Travel Guide

Going to Venice? Don't buy anything in Venice until you read this book!

Buyer Beware: Venice is full of tourist traps and mass-produced souvenirs passed off as authentic. Do you know how to tell the treasures from the trash?

In Venice, it's not easy to tell the treasures from the trash. This is true now more than ever before, as increasing numbers of carnival masks, glass, and other souvenirs flood into Venice, imported from overseas and passed off as authentic. There is no substitute for an educated buyer. Laura Morelli helps you locate the city's most authentic artisans--those practicing centuries-old trades of mask making, glass blowing, wood turning, silk spinning, and other traditions. Wouldn't you rather support authentic Venetian master artisans than importers looking to turn a quick profit without any connection to Venice at all?

Venice boasts some of the most accomplished master artisans in the world. Here's how you can find them.

Laura Morelli leads you beyond the souvenir shops for an immersive cultural experience that you won't find in any other guidebook. Artisans of Venice brings you inside the workshops of the most accomplished makers of Venetian fabrics, Murano glass and millefiori, carnival masks and masquerade costumes, gondolas, Burano lace, mirrors, marbleized paper, hand-carved frames, and other treasures. This book leads you to the multi-generational studios of some 75 authentic master artisans. If you're reading on your Kindle device, tablet, or smartphone, you can click directly on their street addresses for an interactive map, and link to their web sites and email addresses directly from the guide. A cross-referenced resource guide also offers listings by neighborhood.

Laura Morelli, an art historian and trusted guide in the world of cultural travel and authentic shopping, leads you to the best of Venice's most traditional arts. Laura Morelli's Authentic Arts series is the only travel guide series on the market that takes you beyond the museums and tourist traps to make you an educated buyer--maybe even a connoisseur--of Florentine leather, ceramics of the Amalfi Coast, Parisian hats, Venetian glass, the handmade quilts of Provence, and more treasures.

Bring Laura Morelli's guides to Venice with you, and you'll be sure to come home with the best of Venice in your suitcase. 

Guest Post by Laura Morelli

Shopping Tips: Venice

Over years of uncovering Venetian artisans following authentic, centuries-old traditions, I have developed a few strategies to help guide you through the minefield of shopping in the world’s most touristy city.

Before you travel to Venice, read up on its handcrafted traditions. What sparks your interest? Carnival masks? Glass? Have you considered handmade paper? Go online or to the library and read up before you go. Even a cursory education will help you avoid impulsive and reckless purchases that you may regret later.

As soon as you arrive in Venice, start with the museums that display collections of authentic traditions such as Burano lace, Murano glass, and other handcrafted works with a long history. I am not suggesting that you should go home with a museum-quality work or an antique. The point of starting with the museums is to train your eye. After spending a short time in the local museums, you will begin to absorb the colors, patterns, styles, and forms that are traditionally Venetian. Most of all, you’ll be better equipped to spot high-quality, traditionally made wares when you begin to hunt for a souvenir. You can find a list of great museum collections of Venetian arts in the Resources section at the back of my Venice guides.

In Venice, stick to Venetian-made objects. In other words, it’s not a good idea to buy Italian goods made elsewhere, like Florentine leather handbags or Roman marble, because those items are neither traditional nor locally made. They may or may not have been made in Italy, and, purchased out of context you will never know.

There are at least two good reasons for buying Venetian works in Venice. The first is that you are more likely to get greater value by buying from the source. The second—even more valuable in my opinion—is that you are more likely to make a connection with the person who made it, and that will become part of an immersive travel experience that you will carry with you forever.
Author's Bio:

Laura Morelli holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, where she was a Bass Writing Fellow and Mellon Doctoral Fellow. She authored a column for National Geographic Traveler called “The Genuine Article” and contributes pieces about authentic travel to national magazines and newspapers. Laura has been featured on CNN Radio, Travel Today with Peter Greenberg, The Frommers Travel Show, and in USA TODAY, Departures, House & Garden Magazine, Traditional Home, the Denver Post, Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, and other media. Recently her art history lesson, “What’s the difference between art and craft?” was produced and distributed by TED-Ed.

Laura has taught college-level art history at Trinity College in Rome, as well as at Northeastern University, Merrimack College, St. Joseph College, and the College of Coastal Georgia. Laura has lived in five countries, including four years in Italy and four years in France.

Laura Morelli is the author of the guidebook series that includes Made in Italy, Made in France, and Made in the Southwest, all published by Rizzoli / Universe. The Gondola Maker, a historical coming-of-age story about the heir to a gondola boatyard in 16th-century Venice, is her first work of fiction.

Connect with Laura: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ about.me

Where to buy the book:

Amazon: Venice Travel Guide

Amazon: Artisans of Venice

The baùta or baùtta
The baùta is the quintessential Venetian mask, worn historically not only at Carnival time but any time a Venetian citizen wished to remain anonymous, such as when he may have been involved in important law-making or political processes in the city. The simplest of the traditional Venetian mask types, the baùta is a stark faceplate traditionally paired with a full-length black or red hooded cloak called a tabàro (or tabàrro), and a tricorn hat, as depicted in paintings and prints by the Venetian artist Pietro Longhi. Most baùte were made of waxed papier-mâché and covered most of the face. The most prominent feature is a distinctive aquiline nose and no mouth. The lower part of the mask protruded outward to allow the mask wearer to breathe, talk, and eat while remaining disguised.
In the Commedia dell’Arte, Colombina played the role of maidservant. The Colombina is a half-mask that covers the forehead down to the cheeks, but leaves the mouth revealed. Originally, it would have been held up to the face by a baton in the hand. The Colombina is often decorated with more feminine flourishes, from gilding to gems and feathers, but both men and women may wear it.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: How Not To Fall In Love by Lisa Brown Roberts

How (Not) To Fall In Love
Release Date: 02/03/15
Entangled Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Finding true love on the other side of the tracks was never so much fun in this heartfelt and hilarious contemporary novel.

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Covington doesn't know the difference between a pawn shop and a thrift shop. Even her dog eats gourmet food, so she’s totally unprepared when her car is repossessed from the parking lot of her elite private school. Turns out her father, a semi-famous motivational speaker, has skipped town, abandoning his family while his business collapses. Even David Letterman comes up with ten reasons why her father won’t ever return home.

Desperate to sell her expensive jewelry for much-needed cash, Darcy discovers that her dad’s brother runs a funky thrift shop on a street full of eccentric characters, including a coffee shop owner named Liz and one supremely hot fix-it guy named Lucas.

Darcy finds some solace hanging out with her uncle and Lucas in the thrift shop and working in Liz’s coffee shop, while the rest of her life falls apart. The time she spends with the uber hot Lucas helps takes her mind off her family’s troubles, even though she’s sure he’s only nice to her because he works for her uncle, especially when she meets the cover girl beauty she thinks he’s dating.

Can Darcy find the courage she needs to adapt to the necessary changes brought about by her family’s drastically reduced lifestyle? And will she open her eyes to the amazing realization that Lucas wants much more than friendship from her?

Pre-Order Links:
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About the Author
Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn't recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year. This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life's painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way.

Her almost forever home is Colorado, though she occasionally pines for the days when she lived within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Her house is full of books, boys, several four-legged prima donnas, and lots of laughter. 

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I held the cup to my nose and sniffed. “Hazelnut coffee?” I glanced at Lucas.

“Her call, not mine,” he said. “I would’ve guessed something more complicated for you. Lots of half-caf, low fat, double sprinkles, stuff like that.” His eyes sparked with laughter, but I wasn’t amused.

“You think I’m high-maintenance?”

He lifted a shoulder. I narrowed my eyes. Just because he’d picked me up in my stupid country club house didn’t mean he could make assumptions.

“I would’ve ordered black coffee,” I lied. He didn’t need to know about my strawberries and creme Frappucino obsession. With double sprinkles.

Uncle Charlie pointed to his ancient coffee pot. “I have plenty of that.”

“Um.” I bit my lip and turned away from Lucas’s smirk. “I’m okay with water. And hazelnut.”

Lucas laughed next to me as Toby pinned him with his dog version of a Jedi mind-control stare, willing Lucas to pet him. Lucas caved instantly, leaning over to rub his ears, and

then raised his eyes to mine.

“What are you drinking?” I asked accusingly.

“Cappuccino. Double shot. Extra dry.”

“And you called me high-maintenance?” I never sparred like this with guys, but Lucas pushed my buttons. And I had a feeling he enjoyed doing it.

He grinned and shrugged.

Charlie chuckled from the other side of the counter. “All right, you two, settle down.” He glanced at Lucas. “Darcy needs our help, Lucas.” His words surprised me, and Lucas, too, judging by the expression on his face.

Lucas spun his stool so he faced me. “Do you need something fixed?” He tucked a strand of hair behind his ear. “I’m guessing you’re not here to shop for clothes.”

“Lucas.” Charlie’s “stern warning” voice sounded like every teacher I’ve ever known.

Lucas shrugged, a smile playing at his distracting lips. “I’m just sayin’…”

Just saying what? What did he know about me or my falling-apart life?

“Look,” I said, sighing in frustration, “whatever you think about me, I need some money and I need it fast. This is all I’ve got.” I lifted the lid off the hatbox and slid it toward him. “Can you help me?”