Chioggia lies south of Venice, protruding from the mainland, and is popularly known as ‘Little Venice’, due to its canals and bridges on a more modest scale than Venice. However, one risks a sharp retort or foul look from a Chioggiotto (person from Chioggia) if that diminutive title is uttered in their presence, as Chioggia’s… Read More Hidden Eateries: A Most Unusual Dinner in Chioggia
Dating from between 1040 and 1151, the Rotonda, or round church, is one of only half a dozen in Italy. This rare gem has survived against the odds. In 1579 the church was closed by order of Guglielmo Gonzaga causing the dome and latern to collapse. It was then steadily enroached and concealed by shops… Read More A Church Hidden for Decades: La Rotonda di San Lorenzo, Mantova
Consider strolling through the streets of Venice (which are seemingly maliciously designed to befuddle tourists) being personally guided by offline mobile apps that provide a mapped route, substantial cultural information and insider recommendations written by locals or expats living in the area. I frequently curl up with a cup of tea and travel vicariously around… Read More An Offline Tour Guide in Your Pocket, and Free Things!
It’s very tempting to use meaningless superlatives to describe places in Italy: Venice is surreal, Tuscany is charming, Sicily’s beaches are stunning, Rome’s architecture is magnificent. I think one of the greatest challenges in travel writing is to describe Venice in an original manner, and I haven’t read many pieces that succeed in capturing its… Read More The Most Enchanting Place in Italy?
In ‘City of Falling Angels’, Berendt writes about a period of La Serenissima when she was in her last golden moments. The ornate palazzi of the Canale Grande were either thrown open for dazzling parties where guests arrived in gondole and light spilled from the windows onto the dark water outside; or were beginning their inevitable decline… Read More Hidden Venice: How to be an (Almost) Exclusive Guest at a Palazzo on the Grand Canal
A visit to the medieval city of Ferrara is well-timed in autumn when the terracotta coloured buildings evoke the colour of the leaves and the cathedral square is filled with stalls selling sizzling piadine or luxurious chocolates. A chilly evening calls for a warming local pasta speciality… Noble Origins The powerful Este family, one of… Read More The Ideal Autumn Pasta: A Complete Guide to Ferrara’s Speciality
A flicker of yellow light from a lantern down an obscure alley, an illuminated painted name board reflecting in the still black water, a vibrant noisy crowd squeezed in a pokey dim interior with a low ceiling of wooden beams – this is the Venetian aperitivo in the traditional bacaro. Most travellers to Italy will… Read More Hidden Venice: Have an Aperitivo like a Venetian
Vipiteno / Sterzing, Trentino-Alto Adige This is one of the most attractive towns in the region trapped in the ‘wrong’ country, i.e. South-Tyrol. This region has a complex and moving history (see A Nationality Trapped in the Wrong Country?) and was once part of a larger German-speaking area. After the war one half was annexed… Read More The Town Left Over the Wrong Border
Scooters whipping past, lilting 50s songs, restaurant serenades, archeological treasures, the home of pizza… pickpockets, stinking rubbish, stifling heat: these are the good, the bad and the ugly that are all associated with Naples. A sprawling metropolis seemingly stuck in the 50s, it can be an intimidating, exhilarating and exhausting place to visit, as described… Read More Hidden Naples: Tile Heaven in Santa Chiara
Amalfi is a jewel on the coast: glittering turquoise sea and pastel houses hugging the cliff-face in vertiginous beauty. But in summer it is also a claustrophobic tourist magnet which, in its desperate attempt to fulfil the filmic fantasy of Italia, conceals real life beneath a shiny facade of artistically arranged tat in souvenir shops… Read More 6 Ways to Experience the OTHER Amalfi