• CONTACT US if you have any problems registering for the forums.

Italy Travel Articles

Travel notes and articles for Italy. Articles posted must be approved by the Admin before they are published.
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, is the perfect holiday destination. It features amazing art, Medieval and Renaissance architecture, hidden churches and monasteries, gorgeous unspoilt and clean countryside, beautiful landscapes, stunning hilltop-towns, artisans that use traditional...
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 station/Piazzale Roma to the center of Venice. Other destinations like the Lido, Murano and Giudecca may have different pricing. Travel by air (Marco Polo airport) For water transport, recent renovations at Maco Polo require that you go to the 2nd level to take...
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 named for the shape that looks like a saddle bag. Caciocavallo podolico from the high Basilicata mountains is one of Italy’s most prized (and priciest!) cheeses. Pecorino. Fresh, aged or ricotta, the pecorino cheese produced here has a fantastic taste...
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 region located at the instep of Italy's boot. There we made a stopover in Matera, which is a UNESCO world heritage site because of the extraordinary cave dwellings, called the "Sassi". The landscape of Puglia is fantastic, very green at that time of...
The National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia is so tightly packed with artistic treasures that, it has been said, if the gallery were located in so popular a city as Rome or Florence, it would be on every tour guide's Top 10 list. That said, it has one, huge gap. Strangely, the National Gallery displays almost no Umbrian textiles, and does not do justice to the few it does show. This is extremely hard to understand, given the great beauty of Umbrian textiles, as well as their millennium-long history which is tightly woven into the artistic, cultural, political, and economic history of the region. A visitor is better off turning to Marta and Clara, the creative forces behind the Giuditta Brozzetti Laboratorio di tessitura a mano - the...
RESTAURANTS Cascinalenuovo Statale Asti Alba, 15 Isola d’Asti A one star Michelin restaurant with very personable chef/owner, Walter Ferretto. Is brother, Roberto, handles the front of the house. They are great friends and it is always a must for visitors from the states. Ristorante I Bologna Via n. Sardi,4 Rocchetta Tanaro One the best restaurants in the area located about 15 kilometers East of Asti going towards Alessandria. They offer a four-course meal with 4 choices of entrees plus a cheese course. The owner is Carlo Bologna with his wife and son in the kitchen Mariuccia and Beppe. He is the brother of the wine maker Giacamo Bologna mentioned in the recommendations for wineries in Piemonte (Braida) therefore if you are going to...
This is a guide for visitors who plan to rent apartments in Venice. It points out what neighborhoods are like in terms of people and life and food shopping rather than major sights (though I have pointed some of those out too.) There are unique features in each location, and hopefully these notes will guide you to one that fits you, and your visit, best. Venice is shaped like a fish, with the tail in the East and the lips in the West, the head in the North and the belly in the South. Remember though, you can get anywhere in Venice by foot or Vaporetto pretty quickly; if you stay in the brain, you can easily visit the tail. Venice is divided into the following districts (called "sestieri"): San Marco (belly), Dorsoduro (fins), San Polo...
Assisi is a small town in central Umbria about 20 minutes east of Perugia. In this article, Letizia, who lives in the countryside near Assisi, tells you how best to see Assisi in one day. The first sight of Assisi, perched halfway up the slopes of Mount Subasio is extraordinary. Virtually untouched by modern architecture, with the soft pink of its medieval buildings shimmering against the greenery of the mountain, Assisi is an experience for the eye and the soul. View of Assisi on the slopes of Mount Subasio The ruined castle looming over the city is the Rocca Maggiore, an imposing fortress rebuilt in the 14th century over an earlier fortification dating back to the time of Charlemagne. The spectacular complex of the Basilica di...
If you really want to see how the Italians in rural Italy live, your best bet is to head to the nearest sagra. A sagra is a festival organized by a community, either an entire town or a smaller subdivision within a larger municipality, which almost always centers around a specific food or dish. Most of these foods or dishes are local specialties, i.e. truffles or wild boar or torta al testo (a type of flat bread), but you can find sagre featuring wild cards like beer or crepes as well. A sagra can be one of the most fun, authentic evenings you'll spend in Italy. Or it can be a frustrating wash-out. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of the experience. Know what to expect Okay, imagine your church youth group organized a...
Umbria hosts over 20 music festivals each year, an astonishing number given this region's tiny size and population. Even more surprising, however, is the world-class quality of the music festival scene - belying the otherwise sleepy, provincial character of these bucolic rolling hills and medieval stone villages. The height of the festival season is the summer, of course, as organizers take advantage of the warm evenings to hold concerts and events in the stunning piazze and gardens across the region, but good listening is to be had even in the dead of winter. Here are some of the best annual music festivals, and why you should take the time to stop by for a listen. Umbria Jazz Where: Perugia When: July Why: Umbria Jazz is the king...
It pains me to admit it, but the times, they are a-changin’, even here in Umbria. When I arrived here in 1993, this is how you did your grocery shopping: You left your house early in the morning with a net bag, and first you headed to the outdoor market in the piazza where you picked up your greens, fruit, flowers, and the local gossip. Then you headed to the butcher’s for your meat, and the local gossip. Then the fish shop for your fish, and a side of gossip. Then the cheese shop, the fresh pasta shop, and the bakery ... where you caught up on the gossip. Then, for your very last stop, you dropped by the little local family-owned store for sundries like toilet paper and raisins and any gossip you may have overlooked. And, if you were...
Instead of picking up your rental car when you arrive at Rome Airport (FCO) after an overnight flight, consider spending a few nights in Rome and picking up your rental car in the city before you leave. This lets you avoid driving when jetlagged and many times your rental rate is lower when you do not pickup at an airport (there is an airport surcharge but it is not applied if only dropping off at the airport). You've all heard the old cliche, "all roads lead to Rome" - and it's absolutely true. Getting out of the city with your rental car is another matter entirely. One-way streets in a maze of chaotic traffic, blasting horns, and swarms of vespas make for a frightful drive. One wrong turn and you're left desperately circling the...
Movie: Roman Holiday, 1953 Starring: Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn Director: William Wyler Rent the movie and watch this charming classic film! Setting the Stage On a visit to Rome a few years ago, my husband Bryan and I spent a day strolling around the city finding the scenes used for the filming of the movie, Roman Holiday; that classic film starring smooth-voiced and handsome Gregory Peck as he cons, entertains and then falls for the beautiful and lively Audrey Hepburn, all amid the beautiful backdrop of Rome. This has long been one of my favorite films, so tracking down the scenes proved to be a fun way to take in some of the sights of Rome in a focused and romantic way. We did complete our tour rather exhausted and with sore feet...
The summer sun-worshipers arrive at Italy's beaches in search of a patch of sand, a splash in the surf, and loads of seafood, though the prime activity in these beach resorts is toasting oneself to a deep brown. Surrounded by coastline, the allure of the sea can prove irresistible. If your trip to Italy includes a visit to the beach, here are a few tips to make the most of it. Buy a bikini Anything other than a two-piece is unheard of here. Regardless of age, body shape, overhanging bellies, saggy boobs, or cellulite backsides … it matters not, bikinis are the choice, so don one and you'll fit right in. As for men's styles, the previously-popular Speedo trend seems to have waned in favor of longer, baggier britches. Bring your own...
Ascoli Piceno is a provincial capital in a pretty setting. Nestled at the foot of a few mountains which encompass two national parks, it has a picturesque valley location surrounded by hills, yet is just a short distance from the sea. Its medieval heart beats proudly and resonantly. View of Ascoli Piceno from San Marco Ascoli is a town that retains grit and graffiti. It hasn't been gussied up to attract visitors. Nowhere to be found are shop-loads of tacky tourist kitsch that are ubiquitous in more well-known towns of this size. There are regional products, of course. But the shops are here to provide services and amusements for the inhabitants. This is a place that is – above all – lived in, and comfortably so. It is a place where...
One of the most common questions raised in travel forums is how to travel from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) to Venice quickly and cheaply. This posting addresses this issue. Since there is no direct transportation, I break the journey into its two constituent parts: MXP Airport to Milano Centrale train station; and Milano Centrale to Venezia S. Lucia train station. Getting from MXP to Milano Centrale Train Station 1. Airport Train: Aside from a very expensive taxi or private car (cost nearly 100 Euros), there are frequent airport trains and buses. The Malpensa Express train departs from the airport train station (across from the arrivals area) every 30 minutes from 5:43 a.m. to 22:43 (Terminal 1 departures) (there are later trains...
Days in Florence are full and rich in art and history, but in this city of stone it is difficult to find the soothing color of green provided by plants and trees. After a week in Florence you may wish to rent a car and take off for the Chianti Classico Region. Only minutes out of the historic center you will find the first olive groves and vineyards. This is my favorite day in Chianti. You should start out by 9:00am. Leave Florence via Porta Romana. At Porta Romana (traffic circle with “Headache Lady” statue in center) follow “Siena” and “Galluzzo” signs. Once you get to the suburb Galluzzo, follow the signs to “Siena” and “Greve” (sometimes you will see one town named, sometimes both). As you leave Galluzzo, you will see a large...
A Few Introductory Observations 1. There are five "ports of call" on Sardinia which have passenger car ferry service from the Italian mainland: Porto Torres (useful for Sassari and Alghero), Golfo Aranci, Olbia (these two useful for the Costa Smeralda and La Maddalena Archipelago), Arbatax, and Cagliari. 2. The MOST BEAUTIFUL entry port is Cagliari (making a morning arrival exceedingly worthwhile). 3. There are both overnight and (during the tourist season) daylight crossings to Golfo Aranci and Olbia. There are only overnight crossings to Porto Torres, Cagliari and Arbatax. The CHEAPEST transportation is to take "deck passage" ("passaggio ponte") on one of the daylight crossings. 4. The FASTEST crossings are: Piombino/Olbia 4 hrs...
One of the most common complaints of travelers and tourists is the scarcity of DIRECT public transportation connections between Rome Fiumicino (FCO) Airport and Florence. Here is a summary of the current options. DIRECT TRENITALIA FRECCIARGENTO TRAINS Since the end of 2014, Trenitalia has been running TWO DAILY Frecciargento trains from the FCO airport train station at 11:08 and 15:08, making two brief stops at Roma Termini and Roma Tiburtina stations (but not requiring any connection), and arriving in Florence after 2 hours and 14 minutes. For a regular "BASE" fare of 55 Euros per adult ticket (second class), passengers board the train at the FCO airport and get off at the main SMN train station in Florence. This is particularly...
A very common question is how to most efficiently travel from Rome to Sorrento or towns along the Amalfi Coast without spending around 400 Euros for a private transfer. Here I will lay out the alternatives, some of which are seasonal, others year-round. But I will start out from Rome FCO Airport, for the benefit of those travelers going directly from plane arrival in Rome to the area. FROM ROME FCO AIRPORT TO CENTRAL ROME (for onward connection to Sorrento and Amalfi Coast) 1. By airport train: Trenitalia runs an unreserved airport train nonstop from Rome FCO to Roma Termini Station every 15-30 minutes, travel time 32 minutes, 14 Euros, where travelers can connect to frequent high-speed Trenitalia or Italo Treno trains to Naples and...

How to Find Information

Search using the search button in the upper right. Search all forums or current forum by keyword or member. Advanced search gives you more options.

Filter forum threads using the filter pulldown above the threads. Filter by prefix, member, date. Or click on a thread title prefix to see all threads with that prefix.

Recommended Travel Guides

52 Things to See and Do in Basilicata by Valerie Fortney
Italian Food & Life Rules by Ann Reavis
Italian Food Decoder App by Dana Facaros, Michael Pauls
How to Be an American in Italy by Jessica Scott Romano

Share this page

Top