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The Riviera di Ponente, Liguria’s Overlooked Coastline

Liguria is a boomerang-shaped region hugging Italy’s Mediterranean coast in the north.  Occupying the strip of land between the sea and the Maritime Alps, Liguria has colorful seaside villages, lush, flower-filled vegetation and richly salty food.  Its capital city, Genoa, was a large maritime republic, wealthy and powerful thanks to its port and trade. Today, the region’s historic… Read more »

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Your Sicily Starter-Kit: What to Know Before You Go

Sicily is a big island with a big history and a big personality. It deserves some planning and it deserves some time, but it won’t be offended if you don’t have either. Here time runs slower and the days longer. And though the stereotypes of carefree islanders doesn’t always work here – unemployment and corruption… Read more »

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The Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

If you only see one thing in Ravenna, make it the Basilica di San Vitale. On the outside it’s an unassuming brick structure. On the inside it’s a jaw-dropping work of genius. In a country awash in churches, it’s easy to get church-fatigue. The cross-shaped naves, dark paintings, tiny windows and ceiling frescos begin to blur… Read more »

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The Mosaics of Ravenna

We had one long weekend, a bad weather forecast and a demanding toddler, but I planned a trip anyway. A popular holiday weekend in Italy, flights were prohibitive, trains nearly as much so and long-distance car trips with a car-sick prone baby less than attractive. So I knew we had to stay close to home. We’ve… Read more »

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A Guide to Ravenna, Mosaics and More

A small city in Emilia Romagna near the Adriatic coast, Ravenna glitters like a jewel. It’s richness isn’t jewels, however, but the glass and gold-plated stones used to create most of the city’s magnificent 5th-century mosaics. Once the capital of the Western Roman Empire and then of Byzantine Italy until the 8th century, today that period is visible in… Read more »

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Photo Essay: The Curated Beauty of Isola Bella and Isola Madre

Isola Madre and Isola Bella are apart of the Borromean islands on Lago Maggiore in Northern Italy. Originally created for the Borromeo family, the islands along with much of the tourist attractions in the Gulf of Borromeo are owned to this day by the family. Originally rocky outposts, over the course of nearly five centuries… Read more »

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The Churches of Florence

There’s so much to see in Florence that it can be hard to know what you’re even looking at. While touring the small, packed city, you’ll stumble upon world class church after world class church. It’s easy to get church fatigue, but with a little bit of background knowledge you can choose which ones interest you… Read more »

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The Tuscan Islands: Escape to Pianosa Prison

The engine rumbled as the ship backed away from the dock slowly, as if trying to quietly escape. It aimed its bow away from Marina di Campo bay and toward a still invisible line on the horizon.    I was going to Pianosa Island, an isolated island just 14 km from Isola d’Elba, the largest and most popular of the Tuscan islands.   As the ship churned closer, the thin line of land grew more visible, if… Read more »

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Snapshots of Ivrea: What to See, Do and Drink During Carnevale

Snapshots of Ivrea, Italy: Everyday moments during a not-so-everyday celebration. Ivrea, in Piedmont, was essentially founded after a canal was built to supply water to the surrounding rice fields. It was the home of the first Olivetti headquarters, one of the first tech companies in Italy, which supplied jobs for most of the town. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage… Read more »

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Snapshots of Gubbio

Snapshots of Gubbio, Umbria: A glimpse of one of the oldest towns in Umbria. Perhaps one of the most characteristic towns in Umbria, Gubbio sits in the 21st-century with a firm hold onto its ancient past. Also known as the “city of fools,” there’s a lot to explore in this Medieval town, but its true beauty is… Read more »