Category: Italy

Europe Through the Windscreen (Part One)

WALES & LOTUS

Wales is home to Tom Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta Jones, the world’s oldest language and more castles per square mile than any other place on Earth. It’s an old and fastidious land of charmed, dreamy landscapes; farmhouses and snug villages tucked away amongst deep woodlands in the most inaccessible lush places.

At Heathrow Airport, Bespokes Car Hire handed me the keys to a Lotus Evora, a 3.5-litre V6 missile. With its …

Five Carnivals Around the World

People from all over the world tend to seek out vacations where they can bask in the sun and enjoy a climate that’s much hotter than then they are used to on a daily basis. But how about you double your pleasure by visiting your chosen destination when they celebrate carnival? Carnival around the world is one of the biggest street parties at any given destination. People flood the city streets in colorful costumes that …

Offbeat Venice

If you come away from Venice thinking, “It’s too crowded and it smells,” you’re doing it wrong. Sure, the labyrinthine city’s glory days are long gone, and many of the palazzos along the Grand Canal have been converted to restaurants or left to rot, their first floors already reclaimed by the sea, but the city is more than just a shadow of its former self. There’s a reason, after all, that the tourists still flock …

Venice 101: Hit the Highlights in One Day

I was lucky enough to take my first trip to Venice at 14 but that early exposure to world travel came with an early exposure to budget travel accommodations as well. We stayed on a campground on the mainland and had to leave the lagoon before sunset to make sure we didn’t miss the last transfer of the night.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, forced to tour the romantic northern Italian city …

This Summer's Unusual Beach Activities

Moonlight Paddleboard Yoga, Greece

The Skiathos Princess: Participants can awaken their senses by performing YOGAqua (Yoga on Stand up Paddle Boards) on the glistening, moonlit waters of Skiathos with stars sparkling overhead – a truly idyllic and unforgettable atmosphere. Days with a full moon are revered in the Ashtanga yoga tradition due to the understanding that the moon affects tidal rhythms. As humans are made up of seventy percent water, the moon is said to have …

Can Upstart .italo Break Trenitalia’s Grip on Italian Rail?

Independent travelers know that train travel is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to get from Points A to B in Europe. For decades, Italy’s Trenitalia has dominated the landscape for anyone looking to get almost anywhere by rail. But in the last two years, a new upstart has been trying to disrupt the Italian rail system, and they just might do it if the Italian government doesn’t exert enough financial pressure to

A Tuscan Dream

Driving from Parma, navigating a winding mountain road to Tuscany, I came across Castello di Compiano, a medieval castle embraced by fortified walls and built atop a rocky outcrop of a mountain village. The castle’s jaw-dropping views across the Taro River and the Apennines mountains make it one of the most spectacular locations in northern Italy.

Its origins are uncertain but archaeologists claim its existence dates back to the first century. In its life Castello …

Lake Como – The Mystical Allure of this Italian Beauty

While driving across the Italian border at night, I was completely captivated by the contrast between the infinite blackness of Lake Como and the sparkling lights of the surrounding towns. This was the beginning of my love affair with the Italian lakes, and it has led me to favor this setting above all of mainland Italy’s other attractions. The Italian peninsula has so much to offer; over the years I have been mesmerized by its panoramic coastal resorts …

Drinking it up in Piedmont

In northwest Italy, Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) is home to some of the country’s best wines. And truffles. And food. Some might say this area bordered on three sides by the Alps is a little slice of heaven. It’s hard to disagree.

View out to one of many hill towns in Piedmont

Encompassing more than 25,000 square kilometers and featuring fantastic foodie towns like Alba (home of the Slow Food Movement) and Turin, Piemonte is …

Italy in the Summer: Creative Ways to Keep Cool

Bale of hay. Photo: author

They’ve told you not to go to Italy in July or August because it’s dreadfully hot. But if it’s the only time you could visit – kids out of school, work is slow, whatever your reason – you’re going to need to do everything possible to keep cool. Here are a few solutions provided by a very warm resident of Florence, Italy.

Italian tradition maintains that a cold breeze …

Cappuccino after Lunch and Other Italy Food No-No’s

Cappuccino - Photo by flickr user jamieanne

Many tourists in Italy make the fatal faux pas of ordering a cappuccino at the end of a meal, like after a pizza at lunchtime (a bit of a no-no in itself). A good waiter will swallow his pride and allow the tourist to swallow all that frothy milk on a full stomach, but as you have likely read elsewhere, it is considered a “rule” in Italy not …

A Regal Home for Cats in Rome

Photo courtesy of Rocco: www.runningronin.com

Rome has many famous historical squares but Largo di Torre Argentina is particularly unique for many reasons. It is probably best known as the spot where Julius Caesar is believed to have been killed in 44 BC. Here lie the remains of the ancient Pompey’s Theatre and several Roman temples, the vestiges of which now lie scattered in a haphazard collection of ruins. All very impressive; but look carefully among …

Putting Art at the Heart of Travel

A replica of Michelangelo’s David – the real one is inside

One of the nicest things about the world’s greatest art galleries is that they tend to be in the world’s greatest cities – which is incredibly convenient. Once you’ve walked through kilometres of galleries and squinted at countless treasures until your arty-farty quotient is exhausted, you can soak up the vibe of the city around you. Theatres, restaurants, pubs, clubs, parks and shops galore …

Italy – An Insider’s Guide to Learning the Language of ‘Amore’!

Italian has long been referred to as the language of love, and many great Italian authors, such as Dante and Petrarca, have taken inspiration from this enchanting land whilst writing their great poems and novels. The learning of this romantic language is therefore an enticing proposition and has encouraged many people across the world to partake in a lesson or two before their annual holiday or a trip to their local ‘ristorante’. However, the easiest …