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
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?
Crunchy and tooth-wrenching on the outside, fluffy as a cloud inside, ciabatta is Italy’s most famous bread and Britain’s most middle-class sandwich foundation. With its mishapen, rustic appearance you could be fooled into thinking it has nestled beside the fresh buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes still dusted with soil on a farmer’s table since the Renaissance.… Read More Italy’s Challenge to the Baguette
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
The wonders of Italian cuisine generally don’t extend to breakfast time, but autumn colours and flavours can inspire some delicious spiced up (literally) versions of Italian breakfast classics, from a delicately aromatic maple syrup cappuccino to a rich nutty pastry. Spiced Up Cappuccino Autumn mornings start chilly here in the North, and a hearty caffeinated… Read More Warming Autumn Breakfasts
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 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
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