A TALL, HANDSOME ITALIAN: Mark down Monday,...


A TALL, HANDSOME ITALIAN: Mark down Monday, 1:15 p.m. That's when the Amerigo Vespucci, considered by many to be one of the world's most elegant tall ships -- it's undeniably one of the largest -- docks in the Inner Harbor for a weeklong visit.

Starting on Tuesday, you can stroll the decks of this full-rigged tall ship and mingle with its crew. The black, brass-trimmed Amerigo Vespucci, which last visited Baltimore in July 1986 to huge crowds, promises to draw big-time again this visit.

The ships will be open for public tours starting Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Inner Harbor's West Wall. The ship is closed to visitors Friday and departs at 9 a.m. Aug. 25.

Built in Castellammare di Stabia, Italy in 1930, it is the oldest ship on duty in the Italian navy and one of the world's oldest sailing ships in the world. Since its commissioning in 1931, its primary mission has been the training of Naval Academy midshipmen and fleet sailors in navigation and seamanship.

Thirty-five officers, 130 cadets and a crew of 290 accompany the 333-foot long ship, which embarks on long summer cruises to ports in the United States, Brazil and Argentina, and shorter cruises in the Mediterranean the rest of the year.

GET TATTOOED: You can see a military Tattoo tomorrow at Fort McHenry (this is a color military ceremony, in case you were wondering).

The Fort McHenry Guard and units of the U.S. Army's "Old Guard," which includes the Fife and Drum Corps, Continental Color Guard and Drill Team, provide the pageantry. This is the third Tattoo ceremony of the 1992 season. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and features early American music and special military drill routines.

The Fort McHenry Guard -- volunteers uniformed as the men who defended Baltimore against the British in the War of 1812 -- will inspect the troops and demonstrate the firing of muskets. Information: 962-4290.

FIND YOUR FORTUNE? About 70 businesses that offer franchise deals -- where you can become almost your own boss -- are showing their wares and deals at the Baltimore Convention Center today and tomorrow.

The Franchise and Business Opportunity Show -- organized by a British-owned firm that works out of Orlando, Fla. -- will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and tomorrow. Pick up literature, attend seminars and get advice for starting your own business. Admission is $5.

EXPERIENCE INDIA: The culture and customs of India come to Festival Hall from noon to 6 p.m. tomorrow at Pratt and Sharp streets. Festival-goers will hear songs, see performances of folk dances by children clad in traditional Indian costumes, attend cooking demonstrations and sample authentic Indian food.

One highlight of the festival is the stick dance, a popular folk dance in which all are invited to participate. Admission is $2. Information: 358-7810 or 752-8632.

PLAN AHEAD: Next Friday, Saturday or Sunday, take part in an American Indian pow-wow. This annual Festival Hall event is sponsored by the Baltimore-American Indian Center. Friday's hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. More details next week.

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