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Italy Travel Articles

Travel notes and articles for Italy. Articles posted must be approved by the Admin before they are published.
 
My list of shops, restaurants and cafes in Turin (Torino). * after the business name indicates this is somewhere I've been to and really loved it strike through on a day, e.g. sun, means closed that day. Markets Main Market, Porta Palazzo (Mon-fri 8:30-1.30pm Sat 8.30-6.30pm) Other daily markets: Piazza Benefica, Corso Palestro, La Crocetta Coffee Shops (Caffe) Baratto e Milano, Piazza Castello 29 (closed Mondays) *Al Bicerin, Piazza della Consolata 5 (closed wed, sat & sun lunch...
 
Following Ancient Roman Roads - The Via Flaminia ran from Rome north to the Adriatic coast. Several parts remain visible. "All roads lead to Rome" was true 2,000 years ago because Rome was the center of the western world and the Romans were road builders. It is true today, at least in Italy, because the modern roads follow the same route as the ancient roads. The Romans built roads from Rome out to their territories. Via Flaminia ran from Rome north through what is now Lazio, Umbria and Le...
 
Monte Oliveto Maggiore Abbey (Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore) is a Benedictine monastery built in the 14th century in the Crete Senesi. Over the entrance arch there is a terracotta Madonna with Child and Two Angels by Della Robbia. Lining the walls of the Great Cloister is a magnficent 15th century fresco series, depicting the life of Saint Benedict, painted by Luca Signorelli and Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (Sodoma). The abbey is still in use and monks do regular Gregorian chants. There is an...
 
Sant'Antimo Abbey (Abbazia di Sant’Antimo) is a 12th century Romanesque church, part of a former Benedictine monastery built in the 9th century. The church includes some of the 9th century buildings. The church has carvings of animals on the portal and inside on top of the columns (some carvings are in Volterra alabaster). The setting of this church, surrounded by olive trees in a picturesque valley, with a lone cypress tree beside the tower, is extraordinary. Sant'Antimo is now used by...
 
Over 2,000 years ago the ancient Etruscans around Pitigliano cut into the volcanic tufa rock to create pathways (Vie Cave which means excavated roads or cuts). These pathways are usually three meters wide and half a kilometer or more in length. The depth varies but many are more than 15 meters deep. Etruscan, Roman and Medieval carvings are found on the sides of the walls. Today you can walk on many of these pathways. Etruscan Pathway near Pitigliano Practical Information Location: Italy...
 
The most popular photos of Tuscany feature a winding road lined by Cypress trees. There are many of these all over Tuscany, but two of the best are south of Pienza. A winding road (SP 88) on a hillside east of Monticchiello. It is visible from Monticcheillo. A winding road on a lane off SP40, west of La Foce. It is visible from the La Foce estate (and the nearby road). Cypress trees were planted along roadsides in Italy to commemorate the dead from the World Wars. There are many other...
 
Piero della Francesca was an Early Renaissance painter from Sansepolcro (1415 - 1492). The Piero della Francesca Trail takes you on a driving trip across north-east Tuscany and into Le Marche to see three frescoes and one small painting. This trail lets you see his artwork in the places where they were painted and where he lived. The trail starts with his best known work, The Legend of the True Cross fresco cycle in Arezzo, and goes on to smaller frescoes in Monterchi (The Pregnant Madonna)...
 
In one of Frances Mayes' books, she suggests that we make art trails, like the Piero della Francesca Trail, for other artists. I made this Perugino Trail for Umbria. There are four frescoes in Umbria that can be visited by car in one day. Visit the fifth in Rome when arriving or leaving. The artist known as Perugino is Pietro Vannucci, 1446-1523, born in Citta della Pieve, Umbria. For this trail, start near the Tuscany/Umbria border and drive east. It ends in Rome, but you could do that at...
 
To an outsider, driving in Italy can appear to be chaotic. To use an overused cliché: it is organized chaos. Many countries in the world have strict driving laws and those laws are voraciously enforced. Despite the overwhelming police presence in Italy, traffic laws are just not a priority. It is not like it is in the States where traffic violations are a major source of income for a community (on a side note – maybe they should be! Could you imagine if Italian cops adopted the small town...
 
This month we profile Summer in Italy, an Italian-owned vacation rental agency that serves a mostly English-speaking clientele. They are best known for their wide selection of rentals in southern Italy, along the popular Amalfi Coast and the lesser-known Cilento Coast further south, making them the ideal agency for a seaside vacation. By popular demand they expanded into other areas of Italy - Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, Lake Como, and Venice. Summer in Italy really cares about their clients and...
 
For this month's profile we talked to Nico Pannevis, owner of Sant'Antonio Country Resort, an estate in the heart of Tuscany, near Montepulciano, with villas, cottages and apartments. Nico and Elena Pannevis It was a roundabout route that brought Nico Pannevis to Tuscany by way of Africa and England. He lived in Kenya, Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Seychelles, before moving to Great Britain to attend university. One constant through those years was the annual trips to...
 
For this month's profile we talked to Giulia Savini whose family owns Valle Nuova, B&B and vacation rentals in Le Marche. Le Marche occupies an enviable position, kissed by the Adriatic Sea and cuddled up against three of Italy's most popular regions, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio. It enjoys the lovely landscapes and Renaissance splendor of its neighbors, but despite its central locale is still relatively unknown. The low-key region has been quietly gaining a loyal following, attracted to its...
 
One of the things I find fascinating about Europe and especially Italy are the castles. Real Castles! I take every opportunity in our travels to visit them whenever possible. Our small mountain village does not have a castle but that does not mean you will not find them in our home region of Basilicata. Some of them date back to the time of the Lombards, but my favorites are those connected to southern Italy’s most famous ruler - Federico II. Frederick II (26 December 1194 – 13 December...
 
Why Automatic? Italy and other European countries are often new and confusing driving experiences. Even if you know how to drive cars with manual transmissions there are good reasons to select cars with automatic transmissions. Between navigation, foreign driving rules, and learning a new vehicle, the less distractions the better. Booking an automatic transmission car rental for a trip to Europe helps you focus on the road and enjoy your surroundings. It also makes it easier to enjoy a...
 
Have you heard about Urbino or Le Marche but you are not sure that there will be enough to keep you happy for a whole holiday? Are you looking for an unspoilt part of Italy, but you want to be sure to have enough beautiful things to see and do during your holidays? Most people think of Urbino just as a good destination for a daytrip from their Umbria or Tuscany holiday rental or b&b, but Urbino (and Northern Le Marche) is much more than that! Northern Le Marche, the area around Urbino...
 
Each time I visit Venice I evaluate options for how to get from my arrival point to where I am staying. Depending on a number of factors (my arrival/departure points, where I am staying, how much I want to spend, what the weather will be like on travel days) I choose my method or combination of methods of transport. Here is a summary of the options I typically consider with information on where you can book online. Prices are as of January 2019 and are from the airport/train...
 
TASTES The region’s most iconic foods – Bread. The bread is made with semola flour, often cooked in a wood oven. Crunchy on the outside, firm but tender on the inside and delectable, it’s what bread ought to be! Peperoni Cruschi. Long, thin sweet peppers that are dried in the sun then fried in olive oil, they’re eaten as is or crumbled on top of cavatelli pasta. They’re found only in Basilicata. Caciocavallo. A cheese made from cow’s milk, most notably the local Podolica breed, it’s...
 
This is a list of vacation rental agencies and resources for Italy. I start with agencies that represent several regions in Italy. Then I list local agencies by region. At the end are resources for farm stays - agritourism. Notes: Agency is based in Italy unless otherwise noted. See this page for larger agencies that represent several countries in Europe. Vacation Rental Agencies These agencies have vacation rentals in several regions of Italy. Summer in Italy - Vacation rentals and...
 
Italy is a popular travel destination with North Americans and people from Northern Europe. Brits, Scandinavians, Dutch and Germans flock to Italy for milder weather and sunshine. There are many vacation rentals in Italy - apartments in cities and towns, houses and villas in the countryside, apartments/houses on farms. Terms The Italian word Agriturismo (Agritourism in English) refers to rentals in the countryside (it is an official government program to promote vacation rentals on farms)...
 
This travel note was written in 2005. We have updated it and checked all hotels and restaurants (February 2018). Puglia is a region in southern Italy, at the "heel" of the boot. Puglia is sometimes called "Apulia". We visited Puglia in the last half of January 2005. The region is very large and we did not manage to see all we wanted, even though we skipped the seaside resorts (e.g. Gargano area) as they would have been deserted in the winter. On our way back we drove into Basilicata, the...

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