Best pizza restaurants in Rome

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Although Naples is known as the physical and spiritual home of pizza, Rome has many terrific pizza restaurants.  And having pizza in Rome should be on every visitors to-do list.

 

Roman pizza is thinner and crispier than Neapolitan pizza.  And you’ll find more pizza toppings in Rome than you will in Naples, where there are really only two kinds of pizza – marinara and margherita.  Most Rome pizza restaurants also serve pasta, salads, and antipasto.

 

Capricciosa pizza has artichokes, mushrooms, prosciutto, olives, and whatever else the chef feels like adding.  Quattro Stagioni, which means “four seasons,” is divided into quarters, each with different toppings.  Both are well worth trying.

 

From simple storefronts with communal tables to charming trattorias with table clothes and terraces, Rome’s pizza restaurants offer something for everyone.

 

The following is our list of Rome’s best pizza restaurants:

 

–       Close to Piazza Navona, Da Baffetto is the most popular pizzeria in Rome.  You’ll probably have to wait for a table, and then, you’ll likely share it with others.  But once you’re seated, you won’t have to wait long. And you’ll think the pizza was worth the hassle.  It’s the perfect texture, the toppings are intensely flavorful, and the cheese-to-crust ratio is perfect.  To accommodate all the fans, Da Baffetto opened a second location on Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo.

 

–       Da Vittorio in Trastevere serves Neapolitan pizza with a thicker, chewy crust.  Lots of pizza toppings are available and you can combine them in dozens of ways.  You can nibble an antipasto while you wait, and enjoy a salad on the side. Da Vittorio is always packed, but you can reserve a table, which will reduce, but probably not eliminate, your wait time.  Trastevere is hopping at night, so Da Vittorio is a fun place to start or end an evening.

 

–       Also in Trastevere, Dar Poeta serves traditional Roman pizza, but also offers fancy pizza toppings like Grand Marnier and apples.  Yum. The yeast-free, slow rising dough is made from a secret recipe and you can order either thin or thick crust. They make several kinds of bruschetta, which help take the edge off.  And for dessert, order the Nutella and ricotta-stuffed calzone. Since Dar Poeta doesn’t take reservations, be prepared to wait.

 

–       Opened in the 1930s, Est Est Est is a family-owned place as noted for the hospitality as the pizza.  I remember years ago when I was in Rome with a cold, one of the guys at the hotel where I was staying convinced them to open before dinner so I could get a bowl of chicken soup.  When I returned several nights later, everyone in the place was singing Arrivederci Roma with the waiters. Unlike other Roman pizzas, there’s a thick crust that’s cooked in a pan.  Est Est Est is a fun place with a typical Roman ambience.

 

–       Those staying near the Termini rail station will find La Gallina Bianca convenient.  They’re open for lunch and dinner, which is rare. And they have a wood-burning oven, which turns out perfectly crisp pizzas.  There’s also a nice selection of pastas and traditional trattoria dishes. You can dine inside or out, and there’s a good selection of wine available too.

 

–       The success of Da Baffetto encouraged the daughter to open her own pizzeria, La Montecarlo, around the corner from the original location.  Not only do they serve excellent thin-crust pizzas with the usual Italian pizza toppings, they also serve good wine and delicious home-made desserts.  Expect to wait for a table.

 

–       For the most imaginative pizza toppings in Rome, go to Pizzarium, a carry-out place not far from the Vatican Museums.  The dough used here is left to rise for 72 hours, and the rectangular pizza slices are sold by weight. Organic vegetable pizza toppings like eggplant, potatoes, and asparagus compete with coppa, pancetta, and sausage.  You’ll have to eat your slice standing up, but you can wash it down with a small-batch beer. While you’re there, get a loaf of sourdough bread for your breakfast. If you’re in America though, be sure to check out BC Pizza. They have some of the best recipes in town.

 

Branding Your Company Using the Internet

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Branding Your Company Using the Internet

“Internet Branding is the process of establishing a customer’s viewpoint about a company and its product in an online environment.” Success for this type of online business is measured by how well their Internet branding campaign is managed and how often those who buy their products and services recognize the brand. Building your company’s brand not only attracts customers and builds a reputation of quality in their minds, but it also makes your company more attractive to a variety of potential investors. The message the company wants to communicate to the customer is the same message as they use with traditional branding campaigns, only using an online format (2007).

Using the Internet to help brand your business has several advantages. For instance, you are able to focus on a very narrow target audience (2007). “There are some sections of the population, such as young people and hobbyists, that you cannot reach with conventional media or whom it would be too expensive to reach with TV. The Internet is a good means to seek out niches” (Harvey, 2003). Also, you can use the Internet to initiate dialogue with current and potential customers, collect data, create opportunities for offering special promotions to customers, and it allows you to potentially have an unlimited global reach. However, using the Internet also requires that your company have a solid idea of how online media works and the habits of your targeted audience (2007).

A group of studies were released on July 18, 2001, done by Dynamic Logic, IAB, MSN and DoubleClick. All of these studies said that online advertising can positively affect traditional branding metrics (Meskauskas, 2001). A study done in Germany found that companies who use online advertising gained an additional 16 percent in their audience reach. Additional market research found that out of a group of 2,000 people who kept paper diaries and were asked to recall big-brand media campaigns, 4.7 percent recalled ads they had only seen online. This same group of people recalled 21.7 percent of the ads they had only seen on television. However, this rate rose to 31.2 percent when they recalled advertisement campaigns that they had seen both online and on television (Harvey, 2003).

Using the Internet to help increase awareness of your company’s brand can be done through a new version of direct marketing. This can include an e-mailing campaign, which is considered to be one of the most cost effective methods. It costs less than traditional direct mailing campaigns while still giving the customer the same amount of information. One of the best ways to develop this program is through an opt-in system. This is where the customer signs up to receive emails and updates from a company. This type of program usually results in a much higher participation rate than those campaigns that are totally unsolicited (2007).

The brand awareness of your company may or may not need to be developed on a global level. In most cases, to compete successfully businesses need to identify an appropriate niche market and then establish their brand only within that specific segment. If you are not a global corporation, then you do not need to try to establish a global branding campaign. In this instance, all you need is to have a successful branding campaign, which can be done through partnerships with other companies, direct marketing to the consumer (including email campaigns), an aggressive Internet site and social medias and a very knowledgeable public relations department.

One concern for corporations that decide to use the Internet to brand their company is the lack of brand protection. Companies must relentlessly monitor the Internet for anything that mentions their brand, either in a positive or negative way. An active brand protection system strives to eliminate any belittling activity against the brand or the company that it represents. The issue can be as small as an incorrect link from an unauthorized web source or as severe as one or more massive deceitful rumors among forums, blogs, or product review sites about your brand. No matter what the circumstances, in the Internet world, companies have to be fully conscious that their brands are highly visible and their reputations face risks online (2007).

Promoting your company’s brand using only the Internet poses another set of issues that need to be considered when planning your company’s brand campaign. While the idea behind using the Internet to grow your brand’s awareness has become increasingly popular, it often lacks the focused direction that traditional brand campaigns have had in the past. There is a need to find a professional internet marketing services company, such as SMA, to make sure you’ll have a good result. This new flood of digital branding is often associated with words such as alternative, nontraditional, or ground-breaking. However, most of these web-based branding techniques are simply the same traditional messages given to the customer in an electronic format. They also rely on the customer to actually click on the link or sign into the website, taking the time to participate in the branding campaign (Lasseron, 2006). Many believe that as Internet branding becomes more developed and common in the years to come, there will be a rise in more creative campaigns which will eventually take up a greater share of marketing and advertising dollars within companies’ budgets (Harvey, 2003).

The Internet has been around for many years. However, using the Internet to build your company’s brand or increase your brand awareness is still fairly new. It offers businesses new means to reach current and prospective customers at a reasonable cost. On the other hand, there are still several drawbacks to utilizing the Internet as your only means of brand promotion. This forum puts the integrity of the company at risk, since much of the Internet is not regulated, requires active participation from consumers, and can cost a small company more money if they are not electronically savvy. Nevertheless, the Internet has opened doors for brand campaigns that may not have been available in years past.

 

Horizontal Badge Holders to Protect your ID Cards

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IDs are almost always mandatory for any employee. Whatever your standing is in your company, you’re always required to have an ID on you. Have you ever seen a meeting between CEOs and other top dogs of various companies? Did you notice that all of them are wearing their IDs too? Even security guards who always nag you about your ID also wear IDs on their neck or arm.

Let’s face it – IDs are really important and you have no other choice but to wear them. In order to make your life easier though, badge holders or lanyard ID holder were invented. You can easily place your ID inside the ID holder and it will be protected from any external forces such as rain and dirt. This means that you should be doing something to protect your ID. A good way to do that is by getting horizontal badge holders.

Badge holders or ID holders have become a necessity when it comes to the office or school environment. People who wear IDs often use horizontal badge holders in order to make sure that their IDs are secure at all times.

Using a horizontal badge holder template has become the norm. It’s not a secret that there are a lot of other choices to choose from when it comes to ID holders. There’s the clear vinyl badge holders, and even the armband badge holders that are being utilized by those who have physically demanding jobs. But when it comes to a typical office or school setting, a horizontal ID holder is enough to do the trick.

You can choose between vertical and horizontal ID holders. It’s really up to you! Whether you prefer a vertical or horizontal one is your choice to make. There are pros and cons in both ID holders, so it’s up to your personal preference.

No matter what you choose, the purpose of a badge holder remains the same. It is for your personal ID and other cards. Having them secured in a horizontal ID holder is a much better option than having all your IDs and cards on your pocket or wallet. If worse comes to worse and your wallet gets stolen, your ID and important cards will be gone. There’s no way for you to get those back. But if you had your ID and other cards around your neck (inside a badge holder), no thief would bother stealing that away from you! All they want is your money – and obviously your money is inside your wallet. It’s funny if you think about it – but it’s really more serious when you analyze it. You can literally save your identification and personal belongings by opting for a horizontal badge holder.

The worst thing that can happen to you is getting your identity stolen. There are a lot of hackers nowadays who can hack into your personal accounts and even bank accounts! All they need is your personal info and they will get instant access into your LIFE in no time. This may happen if your ID gets stolen since all your personal details are in your ID.

It’s very important to take care of your ID. Going for badge holders is just one way of protecting yourself. You have nothing to lose anyway so why not get a horizontal badge holder? It’s affordable and the best part is that it is very useful. It’s about time that you buy something that will be of good use for you. Don’t be cheap and start investing in things that can actually benefit you!

 

Romantic Gifts For Newlyweds

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Even though the honeymoon is over and the newlyweds are back home, does not mean the romance has to end. The right romantic gift now and then will keep the passion strong for a long time. Gifts that help to fan the flames are relatively easy to find, and help make those first months of marriage all the more memorable. Here are three ideas for simple but effective romantic gifts for newlyweds.

The vast majority of newlywed couples share one characteristic: they want to be alone. The gift that gives them an excuse to be alone will be appreciated a great deal. Try putting together a gift basket loaded with items designed to promote intimacy. Bubble baths, exotic massage oils, and maybe even a toy or two can be the perfect excuse to stay in for an evening.

If the idea of a naughty gift basket is not necessarily right for your newlywed couple, go with something that is likely to still afford them some private time alone. Arrange for the couple to enjoy a candlelight dinner at one of their favorite local restaurants. Prepay for the meal so all they have to do is show up and enjoy themselves. You may even want to arrange for a car and driver to take them to and from the bistro, providing them with even more time to pay undivided attention to one another.

You can also promote love and romance between the newlyweds by offering to take the kids for a weekend. With so many blended families these days, there is a good chance that one or both of the newlyweds brought a child into the marriage. Giving the newly married couple a couple of days to be free of the responsibilities of parenthood is a gift they will remember and appreciate for many years to come.

One important point to keep in mind is that whatever gift you choose, it should be to the taste of the newlyweds. The fact that you would enjoy the gifts is really not important. Identify potential gifts that will delight the couple and be something they can enjoy together, and your efforts are sure to be a big hit.

Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a House Cleaning Service

Mistake #1: Choosing a cleaning service that is not a member of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International. ARCSI is the only National Professional Association of Owners of Residential Cleaning Services. Membership in this organization demonstrates a commitment to the ethical standards of ARCSI and the most professional services possible.

Mistake #2: Choosing a cleaning service based on the lowest price. Low price can present you with two problems:

1) Low price can be the bait that attracts your phone call, but once the cleaner gets into your home, she pressures you into added services and thus a higher price.

2) Extremely low prices tend to be offered by individual cleaners who may have no insurance, are not bonded, have not been screened for background checks and typically do not have funds to replace an item they damage in your home. If you want to know a great and reliable cleaning service that offers good price, click here.

Mistake #3: Choosing a service that is not owner operated. Having the owner of the company involved increases accountability and ownership on the part of all employees.

Mistake #4: Choosing a cleaning service without asking if the company does personality testing or criminal background checks. The costly investment of personality testing and criminal background checks is only made by cleaning services that are serious about protecting their customers. Cleaning services that perform these forms of screening have a higher caliber of employees working in your home.

Mistake #5: Choosing a cleaning service that pays their cleaning technicians by commission. Ask whether the service pays its employees by the hour. It has been determined that you receive consistent, thorough cleanings when the cleaning technicians are paid an hourly wage.

Mistake #6: Choosing a cleaning service without being crystal clear about your expectations and determining that the service is comprehensive enough to meet all your needs. For example, ask these questions:

  • After the first cleaning, how often do you want to be cleaned on an ongoing basis?
  • Does the company offer the frequency or flexibility you desire? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or the option to just call in for an appointment?
  • What equipment, supplies and cleaning solutions does the company provide?
  • If you are allergic to certain chemicals or if you have medical/health issues, does the company offer green cleaning chemicals?
  • Does the company offer guaranteed satisfaction?
  • Does the company offer other services, such as organizing, power washing, dry cleaning, etc.?

Crisis Control

Every brand’s gone through it. If yours hasn’t, it will sooner or later. I’m talking about a real brand crisis.

Let’s look at an obvious example. How’s the airline industry handling its current crisis? The Emirates’s site, until last week, replaced its home page with a document outlining the airline’s view on the war and its effects on the region.

Emirates may have weathered its crisis, but Hong Kong’s national carrier Cathay Pacific, voted the world’s best airline, is facing a crisis unlike anything the company’s encountered, according to its CEO. In contrast to Emirates’ outspoken response to a war-related crisis, Cathay’s home page does a very lackluster job defining current anxieties. Far from replacing the company’s home page with a full focus on SARS, Cathay Pacific’s site mentions the epidemic only incidentally.

Visit the Singapore Airlines Web site, and you’ll have trouble finding commentary on the SARS outbreak as well. You’ll have to look pretty hard to find a mention. Yet both Cathay and Singapore operate from regions among the most affected by the disease. Singapore Airlines was forced to ground over half its fleet, according to reports.

How should brands handle crises like SARS and military conflict? Crises that more often than not, are unpredictable and as life-threatening for the brands as for their customers? Who’s handled crisis well in the past, and what can today’s brands learn from past experience?

Asian airlines could have taken a lesson from their American counterparts. Following the September 11 attacks, most U.S. carriers hastened to post updated travel information for travelers dealing with security issues at airports and early arrival times, even offering packing advice. Online travel company Orbitz maintains a Travel Watch page with updated security and health advisories for travelers.

In any crisis situation, transparency and accountability are key. No matter what the crisis, your customers need information that’s as swift, direct, and accurate as circumstances permit.

At some point, your company is likely to face a crisis. It may not be as dramatic as war or an epidemic, but it may be serious enough to jeopardize your brand’s well-being.

Do your brand a favor and consider what crises you could reasonably expect to encounter. It’s not an easy set of hypotheses to construct, considering unpredictability is an inherent element of crisis. Yet research shows up to 80 percent of crises can be predicted. Generic issues include product misuse, unhappy associations that result in PR damage, a database error allowing confidential data to be shared with the world, and a hacker intruding on your server and victimizing your customers.

Some years ago, Coca-Cola faced a crisis when hundreds of kids in Belgium were hospitalized by a chemical reaction in the drink. It was rumored the company CEO was in the country, but left Europe for Atlanta when the brand was in dire PR straits. His evacuation from the crisis nerve center left a vacuum. The press could only speculate on why this apparently arrogant departure occurred.

It took Coca-Cola close to four weeks to publish a small item of advice on what consumers should do if affected by the problem. That small item was practically hidden on the Belgian Web site. In the meantime, Coca-Cola was banned in three European countries and the share price plummeted.

Never get too comfortable. Don’t catch yourself thinking, “Thank heavens I’m not Cathay Pacific, Nike, or Coca-Cola,” or any of the other brands that have dealt with image crises. Any day now, you could get a panicked call from your boss, demanding you handle some terrible situation. Your response will determine the life or death of your brand.

Use the time you have now. That calm atmosphere you’re enjoying may mean you’re already in the eye of a storm. Keep an eye on all those companies around the world, the majority of them in fact, that are called upon to handle local crises in their own ways. And ask yourself, as a consumer, how you would feel about their crisis management. Wipe your brow and be once again thankful you are not in the hot seat — yet! And invest in good branding and marketing for your brand!

Last Minute Gift Basket Ideas

Gift baskets are often full of items that can’t be recycled, and wind up in a landfill. The other disadvantage is how impersonal some can be: Full of items that range from loved to detested. Presenting a unique Valentine’s Day gift you made yourself gives you the chance to make every item something cherished or at least, eaten with appreciation. Besides saving time, another advantage is knowing that you’re limiting the amount of non-recyclable material that would go to waste, such as the cellophane wrapping!

Romantic Gift Ideas

To make a gift basket that says “romance” try picking up the following items to put in a nice wicker basket:

  • A Chocolate Lover’s Gift Basket: Pick up your sweetie’s favourite junk food chocolates as well as some high end truffles in flavours you and your sweetie will enjoy. Add a jar of Nutella to be used as an edible body paint (do not try this if either of you have an allergy to nuts.)
  • Sexy Gift Basket: This may be an interesting choice that may not involve you going to a sex shop. some of these ingredients can be found in more progressive drug stores: Favourite brand of condoms, flavoured body oil and/or lubricant (for extra environmentally friendly choices, select a massage oil made from almond oil, but do not use this as a lubricant. Anything that is not water-based can damage the integrity of latex, by dissolving it.) Top up the “sexy gift basket” with some chocolates, or a jar of Nutella as body paint, and your gift basket is complete.
  • Wine Lovers Gift Basket: Go to a “Paint Your Own” ceramic store and personalize some ceramic wine goblets. Doodle names of places you’ve gone on dates to, concert events, or authors you both share a love of. Once they’re are finished and ready to pick up, buy a bottle of wine, to toast your projects’ completion, and throw in a book that the two of you might like.
  • Music Lovers Gift Idea: buy a collection of CDs or old LPs that the two of you like and make it a project to transform them into MP3. If space is an issue, buy some tunes online and load them secretly onto your sweetheart’s player, on a folder labeled “from your Valentine.” This being a virtual gift, it has the lowest carbon footprint of all options.

How to Make Your Own Gift Basket

Presentation can make even the humblest of presentations stand out. This doesn’t have to mean buying cellophane, or shrink-wrap to make your gift look shiny and new. Avoid wrapping your basket or box in anything that is plastic or plastic coated: Even if a gift bag is “re-gifted” to a new person, ultimately that wrapping will wear down, crack or crumple and eventually find its way into a landfill, as plastic coated shiny wrapping paper or gift bags can’t be recycled.

Try wrapping your present in a more sustainable, or more practical option: Consider it even as a part of the gift. For instance, instead of the clear plastic shrink wrap, or opaque wrapping paper, try wrapping the present in a pretty handkerchief, or cloth table napkins. Another option would be making it a container that can be used again, like a ceramic dish with a lid that can be used for storing food; consider a re-usable glass food or storage container that might hold your gift.

 

Unique and Eco-Friendly Gift Basket Alternatives

Consider what you will use to store your gift in. A box or basket should be relative to the size of the gift. Too large and your present will seem too small, to say nothing of potentially breaking if it rolls uselessly around the empty sides. Too small a box or basket, and presentation can be lost, making your gifts seem disorderly and chosen at random if piled haphazardly. Instead of using Styrofoam packing peanuts, try air-popped or even pink candy popcorn; it can protect fragile items, as well as be used as filler for empty gaps. An added bonus: Popcorn can be eaten as a part of the gift, too.

Ask yourself how your container, wrapping and gifts will be used once they are opened and used. Keeping everything sustainable makes for a thoughtful gift that shows your love – for your sweetheart, and the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions About Contact Lenses

Frequently asked questions about contact lensesCommon Questions Asked by New Contact Lens Wearers

While millions of people wear contact lenses all over the world, many have never tried, partly through fear and partly because they simply don’t know whether contact lenses will be right for them. These frequently asked questions are broken down into sections to help alleviate some of those fears.

Contact Lens Comfort

How long does it take to get used to wearing lenses? Depending on the type of lens, it can take from a few days to a couple of weeks. Rigid gas permeable lenses require a minimum of a week, building up wear time gradually; soft contact lenses are comfortable almost immediately.

Does it hurt if a contact lens is inserted inside out? Only soft lenses can be inserted the wrong way round; it doesn’t hurt but it may feel a little strange and the lens usually falls out fairly quickly.

Are lenses comfortable for everyone? Some people experience discomfort wearing any type of soft or rigid contact lens, perhaps, for example, due to an extreme case of astigmatism where the cornea or the lens of the eye is irregularly shaped. Alternatives are reverting to glasses, trying custom made contact lenses or considering laser eye surgery.  In addition, there are contact lenses offering maximum comfort and breathability that can be worn for days in row.

How long should contact lenses be worn? Lenses intended for daily use can be worn for up to 14 hours without discomfort but some wearers like to take them out during the evening if eyes feel tired.

contact lens comfortKeeping Eyes Healthy Wearing Contact Lenses

Can daily disposable lenses be worn for more than one day? In principal, this is possible but not recommended; lenses are much thinner and more likely to tear on removal plus they will not be as comfortable on the second day. Rather than trying to save money by reusing a single-use lens, simply buy 2 weekly disposables instead.

Will eyes be harmed if lenses are accidentally left in overnight? Most contact lens wearers have fallen asleep in their lenses at some point. Provided eyes are left to breathe for a few hours, no harm should be done, although rigid lenses will be more difficult to remove and eyes may feel taut for a while. It’s a good idea to revert to glasses for a day if this happens.

Do contacts that emphasize your eyes’ natural color require a prescription? Even if choosing colored lenses for cosmetic purposes rather than to correct vision, they are still medical devices and require an eye test and a prescription from an eye doctor. Beware of online retailers selling cheap colored lenses without the need for a prescription for fancy dress parties or sports events as they may be harmful to the eyes.

How safe are extended wear lenses, worn overnight? The FDA has to approve the wear time for all extended wear contact lenses but just as most people would not wear the same underwear for a week/month, many eye doctors will not prescribe extended wear lenses due to the higher risk of protein and dirt build-up which can lead to serious eye infections.

Can lenses be lost behind the eye? No, the membrane between the eye and the eyelid prevents this, although some users rub their eye and move the lens to one side or under the eyelid, making it seem as if the lens is lost. Don’t panic, just gently maneuver the lens back into position.

Open contact lens case and lens solutionCleaning Contact Lenses

Can water or spit be used to clean lenses? To avoid infection, you have to clean your contacts properly using the right solution. Also, you should keep your contact lens solution and case for storing lenses sterile to prevent health problems.  Always carry a small bottle of solution or a spare disposable lens in case of emergency.

Tips for Wearing Contact Lenses

Those new to lenses should take heed of the following contact lens care tips:

  • New wearers should keep fingernails short to avoid scratching the eyeball when taking soft lenses out.
  • Always wear gloves when handling hot chilies. Even if hands are thoroughly washed, it can be a painful experience removing a lens!
  • Struggling to remove contact lenses? Ask your eye doctor for a special device which acts as a suction device to remove the lens.
  • Always apply makeup AFTER putting in lenses and discard old eye makeup frequently to avoid lenses becoming contaminated and causing an eye infection.
  • Remove lenses if eyes feel uncomfortable.

Feel Confident with Contact Lenses

Most wearers quickly get used to wearing contact lenses. Those that experience discomfort or blurred vision should consult their eye care practitioner to discuss possible alternatives.

Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

Authentic 11th Century Pageantry in Nine North American Locations

Inspired by true medieval tradition, the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament has become the number one dinner attraction in North America.

Realistically set in 11th century Spain, attendees are part of a Medieval Times show, representing guests invited by royalty to a festival and feast to watch knights compete on horseback and battle on foot. Royal guests are entertained by a falconry demonstration, an equestrian show and medieval games, all leading up to the main event – an authentic tournament for the Battle of Champion.

Medieval Times Pre Show

Castle doors open 90 minutes prior to the Medieval Times show’s start time, and plenty is offered to keep guests entertained leading up to the show. Within the Hall of Arms waiting area reside gift shop areas, a medieval torture museum, weaponry and artifacts, and bars with specialty and souvenir drinks. Knighting ceremonies take place pre-show as well.

Medieval Times Show

Upon entering the castle, guests are appointed a specific knight to root for – any of six, each representing a different region of medieval Spain – and receive a crown for their knight. Multicolored, stadium-style seating spans out surrounding the central show grounds, in black and white, blue, red and yellow, yellow, red and green knight sections.

Through various authentic dinner courses, royal guests cheer on their knight, as they are taken back to the 11th century with accurate weaponry and costuming, and “Hollywood-caliber” special effects. The characters and storyline change every few years to keep the excitement fresh, but an action-packed show is always a given.

The Medieval Times Dinner

Dinner is an important part of the Medieval Times experience, as the feast was an integral part of the medieval tradition it is based after. Being as true to the 11th century as possible while still producing a great show, no utensils are served with the meal, forcing guests to eat with their hands, medieval style.

The meal starts with a bowl of tomato bisque soup, a slice of garlic bread and a cold beverage. Upon the king’s request to “let the feast begin,” the servers bring out roasted chicken, spare ribs and herb-basted potatoes for guests to enjoy as they watch the show play out in front of them.

For non-meat eaters, a vegetarian option is available and includes a large Portobello mushroom cap stuffed with whole grains, rice and beans; a skewer of roasted vegetables; and hummus served with pita chips. For dessert, each guest receives the “pastry of the castle” and coffee. Alcoholic beverages are available as well.

Medieval Times Tickets and Current Promotions

The Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament take place at nine castles throughout North America, including Kissimmee, Florida; Buena Park, California; Lyndhurst, New Jersey; Schaumburg, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Hanover, Maryland; and Atlanta, Georgia. Regular admission to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament varies depending on the property visited but runs anywhere between about $50 to $60 for adults and about $30 to $35 for children.

Several upgrade options are offered at each location. For an extra $20 per person, the King’s Royalty Package includes VIP first-row, all sections or second-row, center section seating; a framed group entrance photo with King Philippe; a behind the scenes DVD; a commemorative program; and a cheering banner for your assigned knight.

For an extra $10, the Royalty Package gives guests preferred seating in the second and third rows; a cheering banner for your knight; a behind the scenes DVD; and a commemorative program. Lastly, the Celebration Package offers preferred seating in the second or third row; a slice of cake; a framed group photo; a behind the scenes DVD; a commemorative program and a cheering banner for an extra $16 per person.

Discounted promotions are often offered as well. For shows through June 30, 2010, tickets can be purchased for as little as $30 each when four admissions are bought at once. Three admissions can be purchased for $100 total, or two for $75. Through April 18, when one adult ticket is purchased, a second adult or child admission is free. A free upgrade to the Royalty Package is available through March 31 with each full-priced admission.

Year ’round, folks celebrating their birthday can receive free admission with a paid admission if signed up online more than a week prior to their birthdays. Discounts are available for tickets purchased online and over the phone, and cannot be combined. Visit Medieval Times for discount codes and information.

 

Medieval Sacred Drama – the Mystery Plays of England

The great cycles of mystery plays, usually performed at the Feast of Corpus Christi, told the story of mankind from the Creation to the Day of Judgment.

The mystery plays generally date from the High Gothic era, and their high point came in the 14th and 15th centuries. Modern revivals have shown the power that these sacred dramas still retain.

In England, the plays were usually performed by the guilds, from which came the word ‘mystery’ – the Latin word mysterium meaning ‘occupation’, ie. the guilds.

Characteristics of the Mystery Plays

The plays dramatized sacred history from the Creation to the Last Judgment, including along the way Old Testament stories such as the Flood, Nativity plays, and episodes from Christ’s ministry, as well as the passion and resurrection.

All the surviving plays use homely and often outspoken language to make biblical stories real to ordinary people. They often had enormous casts – in York, many hundreds of people took part in performances.

The Surviving Cycles of English Mystery Plays

It is possible that many towns had their own versions of the mystery plays, but only four cycles of mystery plays have survived. The longest is the York cycle, which contains 48 episodes. It probably dates from the last quarter of the 14th century and is therefore probably the earliest cycle, though it has later additions and alterations.

The town of Wakefield, in Yorkshire, had its own cycle of mystery plays, 32 in total, of which five were borrowed from the York cycle and others probably written by a single author, dubbed the ‘Wakefield Master’. Both the York and Wakefield plays share the same robust humor and earthy realism.

The Chester cycle comprised 25 plays, of which only 24 remain. Compared with the two Yorkshire cycles, the Chester plays have a simpler and more austere tone.

The fourth surviving group, consisting of 42 plays, is known as the ‘N-Town’ plays. Originally these were thought to have come from Coventry, but seem in fact to have been probably a touring cycle of East Anglian origin, performed by traveling players who were probably professional actors.

How the Mystery Plays Were Staged

The plays would have been performed on pageant wagons, large wagons with two tiers, with the performance up above and the lower tier used as a dressing room. The wagons would have been hauled from one location to the next.

Often the plays would have been performed in a single day. In York, with its cycle of 48 plays, probably performed at 16 different stations, the plays would have started at first light and continued well after dark. At Chester, however, the plays were probably performed over three days in five different locations.

Modern Revivals of the Mystery Plays

In 1977, to great acclaim, the National Theatre staged The Mysteries, an adaptation of the Wakefield cycle with elements of some of the other cycles, and since then a number of other revivals of these ancient and powerful plays have taken place.