WINTERSVILLE - The Sparkling Moments Bridal Show is right around the corner. The third-annual event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 27 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.
Activities will include a champagne luncheon, vendors, door prizes, the fashion show and taste testing. Brides will be admitted into the event free of charge and will be given goody bags, lunch and door prizes.
As in the past, one lucky bride will win a trip courtesy of Todd Piergallini, owner of Piergallini Catering a sponsor of the show, but this year's winner will have a choice - a trip to Italy and a stay in Rome and a mountain villa, or a trip to Cocoa Beach, Fla.
ROMAN HONEYMOON — Michelle Eitel and her husband, Sean, were the 2011 winners of the Sparkling Moments Bridal Show grand prize – a trip to Italy. The pair traveled to Navelli and Rome in October for a two-week honeymoon. The trip was provided by Todd Piergallini, owner of Piergallini Catering. -- Contributed
The villa in Italy is located in the small town of Navelli, located in Abruzzo, Italy, in the Appenine mountain range.
"This is a true Italian experience. The villa, built in 1600 A.D., sits in a medieval village and was remodeled seven years ago," Piergallini said.
The Appenine mountain region is home to some of the world's greatest saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, and Navelli is just an hour away from the Adriatic Sea and its beaches, as well as 90 minutes from Rome.
"The lucky couple will be able to experience true Abruzzo cuisine," Piergallini explained. "The local restaurants serve the dishes of the region which include pork, lamb, saffron and garbanzo beans."
The two-story casa sits in the tranquil and relaxing setting of Navelli, Piergallini said. In addition, the winner will have a two-night stay in Rome, also courtesy of Piergallini.
"Rome is a much different experience than they will have in Navelli," he stated. "While Navelli is quaint and personal, Rome is more of a tourist attraction. The hotel is within walking distance of all of the major sights like the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and everywhere else. There are so many shops, and it's just a great place to walk through."
If the winner chooses the trip to Florida, she will find accommodations that are located in a quiet, relaxing atmosphere about two blocks from the beach. Cocoa Beach is located on Florida's Atlantic Coast, just south of Cape Canaveral and near the Kennedy Space Center.
The area offers air boats, deep sea fishing, surfing and bicycling.
And, if the winner would like to extend her stay, Carnival and Disney cruise lines dock just a few miles from the house, making the area a great starting point for a cruise that could be purchased at the winner's expense.
Michelle Eitel, the 2011 winner, and her husband, Shawn, traveled to Italy in October for a two-week stay.
"We first stayed in Navelli and is was very beautiful," she said. "It was very tranquil and peaceful and we enjoyed walking around the city and taking in the sights. We also talked to the owner of the Abruzzo Bed and Breakfast, Jimmy, who is a friend of Todd Piergallini. He invited us down for breakfast and we were able to spend some time with him.
"We also enjoyed spending quality time at the casa, which was so beautiful," she added. "The casa had a little kitchen and living area, and a spiral staircase up to the master bedroom and bath and there was an old-style door. It was like something you would see out of a movie."
The couple then traveled to Rome for a two-night stay in the city.
"Rome was really nice," Eitel stated. "Todd scheduled us into a hotel he had used before and it was in the center of everything. It was really neat to just explore and we were able to visit all of the sights the city has to offer. Instead of taking tours, we walked around the city on our own. We did, however, take a private Vatican tour, which was amazing. You are able to get right in and they explain the history of the Vatican."
"We booked a train ride ourselves to Venice and stayed at Hotel Georgio," she said. "It was a great hotel and we just walked through the city and took a private gondola ride. It was so cool because their streets are all water and everything is done by boat. They don't have any cars or buses."
"We also went to Pianella, where my dad's family is originally from, and we spoke to a few of the historians and took a few pictures of the Italian civil war wall where my family's name was. It was neat to see where my family is from."
Mariette Glover was the lucky winner during the 2012 bridal show. She and her husband, Robert, took a nine-day trip to Italy in August.
"We first went to Rome for two nights and stayed at the hotel Todd had booked for us," she explained. We went sightseeing and tried to take in everything that was there. We got to see the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Pantheon and everything Rome has to offer.
"From Rome we traveled to Navelli and Secinaro during the next seven days," she said. "I still have family in Secinaro, so we were able to visit with them. We met up with some of my cousins, stayed in their houses and got to meet family that we had never met before. We ate and drank a lot during our time there and it was cool to see where my family was from, where my uncles were born and the house that my mother's parents lived in. It made the trip even better.
"We stayed at Todd's casa in Navelli and it was wonderful," she continued. "What he did with it was just beautiful. We would just sit and look out the window at the scenery and it was gorgeous."
Eitel said she and her husband enjoyed a number of different food during their stay.
"The food was really good and we had meals that had three, four, five and even six courses," she noted. "We were full after two courses. They give you an appetizer, pasta, antipasto with meat and dessert at each meal."
Glover and her husband also experienced a new cuisine during their trip.
"We ate sheep at a restaurant that Todd as well as a few local people recommended." she exclaimed. "It was the first time that we have ever eaten sheep and it is something that I never thought I would eat. But it was delicious."
Glover and Eitel offered some advice to the next winner.
"Make sure you take a little extra time than what you think you'll need," Eitel said. "We used AAA to help plan the trip and it made it a little bit easier. The trains and subway systems are pretty easy to navigate. I would suggest taking time to add a trip on Venice or Florence while you are there as well. You might have to pay a little out of pocket but it is definitely worth it."
"There is just so much you can do," Glover added. "Just relax, soak it all in and enjoy each other. Rome was fun but Navelli was relaxing and everyone was so friendly. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and we probably wouldn't have made it to Italy if it wasn't for this trip. We had a great time."
The bridal show, which also is sponsored by the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times, will feature fashion shows by Sorelle Bridal Salon of Washington, Pa., and Anna-Kays Unique Fashions of Steubenville.
For information about becoming a vendor at the show, contact Cindy Kotsch, marketing and special events coordinator at the newspapers, at (740) 283-4711.