“Streets full of water. Please advise”: Unimpressed Visitors to Venice

Venice throws everything at the visitor – tottering ornate Gothic palazzi, metres of glittering gold mosaic, hours of meandering alleys for the romantic and pompous overpriced cafes for the extravagant. But some visitors remain just a little underwhelmed. Here are some of the greatest Venice cynics. A Moated Imprisonment of a Town Stinking canals, unstable… Read More “Streets full of water. Please advise”: Unimpressed Visitors to Venice

The Elusive Bella Figura and How to Find It

‘La Brutta Figura’ was partly inspired by the desire to communicate to others the gulf of difference between visiting a country, namely Italy, and living there. Italy might be another European country but it’s arbitrary fashion rules, imperative food traditions and relaxed employment regulations could hark from Mars from the expat’s point of view. My… Read More The Elusive Bella Figura and How to Find It

New Year Absurdities and Superstitions in Italy

Celebrating New Year in Italy means unforseen dangers, naughty secrets and disappointing food – ready?! 1.Money, Money, Food Home of sophisticated pesce crudo, handmade pasta and succulent cured meats, for their special New Year dinner Italians choose … lentils. Apparently this¬†flat, round, goldish coloured pulse¬†resembles coins, with a bit of imagination, and so brings prosperity… Read More New Year Absurdities and Superstitions in Italy

The Marathon: The Most Relaxing Way to Visit Venice?

It’s not just about what you see, it’s about how you see it. Starting in the grounds of the magnificent Villa Pisani, the Venice Marathon route passes some of the most elegant leisure palaces of the Venetian nobility along the Brenta River, including the aptly named Villa Malcontenta (discontent), and finishes with 14 tortuous bridges… Read More The Marathon: The Most Relaxing Way to Visit Venice?

The Ideal Autumn Pasta: A Complete Guide to Ferrara’s Speciality

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

Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness: How to Enjoy October in Italy

A sharp crisp morning hazy with mist matures into rich golden afternoon of enduring summer heat, now more cloying as the humidity of Autumn sets in. A light evening breeze brings the scent of roasting chestnuts and produce of market stalls evoke autumn colours before the leaves change – orange pumpkins, pale yellow marrows, deep… Read More Seasons of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness: How to Enjoy October in Italy

(Supernatural?) Trouble Strikes Veneto Church

The recent torrential rain and wind engulfing Italy has been wrecking havoc with tourists’ holidays, particularly of those who only packed shorts and sandals, and the Italians’ precise seasonal changes between clothing. While mid-May should be thin jumper weather, we seem to be experiencing a Scottish summer – temperatures of about 20 degrees and unpredictable… Read More (Supernatural?) Trouble Strikes Veneto Church

Meeting Franco Merlo: Artisan of Musical Instruments

“There is a piece of me in every work” Last weekend I went to fair in Ferrara where I met Franco Merlo, an international award-winning artisan and artist of rare musical instruments. He lovingly handcrafts every piece, and specialises in antique and unusual designs. But he works alone and cannot find apprentices, so his extraordinary… Read More Meeting Franco Merlo: Artisan of Musical Instruments