Italy on a Budget

Have you ever seen those commercials for Perillo Tours to Italy? Aren't they annoying? And doesn't Steve Perillo, not the most attractive of men, at least look a little better now that he's grown a beard and ditched the white suits like his late father wore? Yup, time to step out of the old man's shadow now that he's no longer with us. Anyway, several years ago my mom and aunt went to Italy on a Perillo tour. As part of the conditions of the tour, they had to surrender to the Perillo company the frequent flyer miles they would have earned on their flights to and from Italy, and they were served chicken for dinner every single night under the arrangements the company made with the hotels they stayed at. Doesn't sound like your cup of espresso? There's another way to visit Italy on a budget. Sort of.

Drugstore.com has recently started carrying Cleo, a very reasonably priced line of Italian bath and body products. With prices ranging from $1.95 to $7.95, it's an affordable way to pamper yourself. The shower creams, soaps, body creams, and liquid hand soaps are yogurt-based, so they're ultra-moisturizing. And they smell yummy, with fragrances like red berries, sugar, vanilla, apricot, cherry, and chocolate cream. If Perlier Italian bath and body products (see my previous posts) aren't in your budget right now, then Cleo is an equally satisfying alternative. The packaging may cause some people to not take the products too seriously, but I think the pink and white bottles and jars are cheery, not cheesy. I like to think that I'm using the same products that young, hip, "girls on the go" in Italy are using, right before they hop on the backs of their boyfriends' Vespa scooters and ride around the Trevi fountain in Rome (I have a very active imagination, in case you hadn't noticed).

You can sample terrific Italian bath and body products no matter what your budget is. If Perlier is the American Express Travel Services of Italian bath products, then Cleo is the Perillo Tours — minus the chicken, of course. Cleo can be found at www.drugstore.com. Currently, select Cleo products are 20% off, and given the recent write-up about them in the May issue of Lucky Magazine, they are likely to sell out, as they have in the past.

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