A Sparkling Gem in the Tuscan Archipelago

Until a few years ago, when we happened to be sojourning, my family and I, in the Maremma, an excursion on the Isle of Giglio used to be one of our favourite day-trip options.

Then, after the Costa Concordia ship disaster in 2012 – which took place off Giglio Porto, the tiny harbour of the island, – we abstained from visiting this beautiful gem of the Tuscan Archipelago. Ferries leaving from Porto Santo Stefano began to take hordes of snoopy tourists to the shipwreck area and affect the surroundings with unpleasant congestion, especially during the high season.

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Trasimeno Lake Dream

I have never tired of the view… During the day, the waters of the majestic lake are often peaceful and turquoise blue, and in the distance stands out the hieratic Isola Maggiore, the island where Saint Francis of Assisi spent forty days as a hermit in the early 13th century. Continue Reading →

A Cool Place to Visit this Summer

The Leaning Tower of Pisa… Who has not seen it, at least in pictures, and tried to imagine what it feels like to be at its top, precariously tilting some 50 meters above ground?!… The prospect of such a thrill will definitely make your children pull you by the arm: “Mum, Dad, let’s climb up there!”

But in the high season, when you’re assailed with the hot spells and sightseeing hordes, even the most magnetic landmarks get a lot less attractive – to youngsters and grown-ups alike! So it’s always nice to have in store satisfactory alternatives.

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A Nice Little Mess in Montisi

A few weeks ago, under clear blue skies, I was on my way from Montalcino to Perugia when the fancy of a good Italian coffee insidiously took me. I decided to make a stop in Montisi, a lovely village which I hadn’t visited in ages.

I was strolling down Montisi’s main street, heading towards the bar I had made out from a distance, when I got sidetracked by a little shop on my right. Atop the entrance I could read the words Macelleria Casini – “macelleria” being the Italian word for “butcher’s shop”. Not a single chunk of fresh meat was displayed in the window, though; just a colourful kaleidoscope of printed textiles.

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East or West? All at Sea in the Discussion…

I was recently having a drink with a group of Italian friends, in the Maremma. We were talking about seaside holidays when, at one point, our lovely Simonetta asked us:

“Which would you say are the most beautiful sea fronts and sea views of mainland Italy?
– Oh, the sixty-four thousand dollar question!” some of us replied.
And our expansive Giancarlo went one better:
“Do you know how much coastline Italy has in all, including the islands?”

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The Endless Pizza Puzzle

Are you planning to take a holiday, for the very first time, in an Italian villa or farmhouse? If so, chances are that, at some point during your stay, you will run into a small outbuilding within sniffing distance of your temporary place of abode: an old wood-fired bread oven.

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Venice, an Endangered Species?

I was introduced to Jane da Mosto a few months ago at a social and arts event in Venice. Holder of a zoology degree from the University of Oxford as well as a Masters degree from the Imperial College London, Jane is an environmental scientist and an experienced consultant on sustainable development and climate change.

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Across the Big Blue Sea

By now, dear followers, you are as convinced as I am that Italy is a dreamland, aren’t you? And I think I told you once that the bel paese is the country which boasts the highest number of World Heritage sites on the planet. But did you know that Dante’s homeland has also overtaken Greece as the principal port of entry of migrants trying to reach Europe?

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Architecturally Yours

Are you, dear reader, a candid Instagram addict like me? If so, you must have seen – perhaps even reposted ? – a photograph of an indoor swimming pool which, by now, is probably familiar to millions of people around the world. This picture appears in the “slideshow” just above this article.

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Cosy, Multipurpose and Florentine to the Core

The gradual disappearance of bookshops, especially the small independent ones, is something that has truly saddened me over the past few years. Just in Paris, for instance, close to a hundred book stores have closed down since 2010.

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