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One of my favorite things to do is to give away new travel books or DVDs related to Italy. Well, here we go again…

This month three films by Italy’s Taviani brothers are being released on DVD for the North American market. Don’t know the Tavianis? Well here’s how The New York Times described them: “Before the Coens, the Hugheses, the Quays, the Wachowskis and the Farrellys, there were the Tavianis, Paolo (born in 1931) and Vittorio (born in 1929): the greatest cinematic brother act since Louis and Auguste Lumière, who pretty much invented the movies just over a century ago.”

The Tavianis are truly the greatest Italian filmmakers you may not even know. Their semi-autobiographical film The Night of the Shooting Stars, depicting how beauty emerges in a Tuscan town despite the horrors of World War II, is one of the highest grossing films in Italian cinema history and winner of numerous awards including the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. (The Tavianis also set Fiorile in their native Tuscany. Kaos, the third DVD released this month takes place in Sicily.)

Well, here’s your chance to have your own copy of the Taviani masterpiece The Night of the Shooting Stars for FR*EE! Spend $50 at (not including shipping) on or before this Tuesday, April 22, either in our online store or by purchasing a newsletter subscription or renewal (current subscribers can renew anytime), and I will send a copy of the DVD, priced at $26.95, for FR*EE. (There’s no special coupon code or anything to click, just spend over $50 and you will receive e-mail confirmation that you’re receiving the DVD!)

You might want to break out the popcorn before the DVD arrives however, perhaps right now, because below I’m going to tell you about how Tuscany played a starring role in the Taviani film and a few others, providing some inspiration for your own Tuscan travel plans!