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Hiking in the Dolomites: A Brief Guide

If the Alps splay across northern Italy like a crown atop a queen, then the Dolomites in the northeast are the crown jewels.   They’re known in the news for the difficult WWI battles described in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, for the caveman recently found frozen in its glaciers and for the challenging via ferrata, an iron spiked path guiding intrepid hikers… Read more »

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Where to Travel in Italy If You’re on a Budget

“Look at this crostata!” Marco was gesticulating wildly to a piece of nutella pie, or crostata in Italian. Sure it looked good, but not enough to scream across the small Italian cafè. “It only costs 1.50!” Then I understood. See, in Lombardia, things aren’t cheap. The region produces about a fifth of all of Italy’s GDP. It’s one of… Read more »

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Driving in Italy: How to Take An Italian Roadtrip

There’s nothing like a road trip in summer.  Though a road trip is typically thought of as a classic American institution, a road trip in Italy can be just as great. Yet I’ve noticed that most travelers to Italy do anything possible to avoid driving in Italy. I understand; the roads are small, the traffic dense and the… Read more »

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How to Drive Like an Italian

You’re in Italy, you’ve got your rental car and you’re ready to go. Seatbelt buckled, car in gear, you begin to slowly ease into the traffic when seven cars zoom past you. Two turn even though you have the right of way, others begin to swerve into your lane with nary a signal. Welcome to… Read more »

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Opera in the Verona Arena

Princess Aida raised her hands in the air, voice sounding out as scores of dancers, soldiers and dancing soldiers framed her, their bright white gowns and hand-held torches blazing in the night. Her voice climbed higher. The music grew louder. The passion was palpable as the sky exploded with flashes of purple light. The ominous heat lightening… Read more »

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A Guide to Bergamo Alta

Bergamo is a city with two unique city centers. There’s lower Bergamo or Città Bassa and upper Bergamo, or Città Alta.  In general, Città Bassa is the commercial heart of Bergamo and Città Alta is the touristy centro storico. Bergamo Alta is the oldest part of the city, dating from the Middle Ages, with 16th-century Venetian walls fortifying the… Read more »

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A Timeline of Trieste: The Story of a Border

Trieste is a striking city. Though I only had a few hours to explore it, it was enough to hook me. Unlike any other Italian city I’ve ever visited, I knew it was a city I had to get to know more. Trieste’s history oozes out of the gray stone buildings, fills its enormous Austrian-style… Read more »

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The Beautiful Botanic Gardens of Villa Carlotta

Lake Como is surrounded by ville. White, yellow and rose-colored mansions perch on the hills around the lake, perfectly complemented by their extravagant, well-manicured gardens. This time I visited the extravagant, well-manicured Villa Carlotta. Last year I decided that I’d had enough of visiting ancient palaces. I was over paying to tour rich dead people’s homes. Their gardens,… Read more »

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20 Things Americans Find Crazy About Italy

Every experience in a new culture comes with a heavy dose of judgement. Some more politically correct than me wouldn’t admit to such a thing, but we all know it’s true. Read: 50 Things Americans First Think About Italy As humans we need to tackle novelty and mold it into a shape that makes sense to… Read more »

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How to Avoid The Crowds in Italy

There are a few dirty truths about Italy. One is that it really isn’t as clean and efficient as photos and films might make it seem. The other is that with 47 million visitors every year, it’s perpetually crowded. My least favorite experiences in Italy involve fighting the crowds. I’ve been trapped on the bridges of Venice in… Read more »