On turtle watch on the Italian coast

Have you ever noticed strange animal tracks on a Mediterranean beach? Along Italy’s shore, the sightings of sea turtles have become more regular in recent years. Caretta caretta, the protected loggerhead turtle, arrives at night looking for a place in the sand to lay her eggs. After depositing around 100 eggs, she uses her fins to cover the nest with sand. The procedure takes up to three hours. But by the early morning, the turtle is in the water again.

I learnt about this while accompanying a friend on turtle track watch in the Maremma nature park. We left at dawn, as it is easiest to spot the tracks early in the morning. Sea turtle tracks are large and make one think of a motor vehicle first. However, they do not run parallel to the shore but lead out of the water and back into it.

If you find tracks like that, make sure to call the Italian coast guard immediately:

 1530 (24h toll-free number).

The coast guard will ask you to mark your exact position on Google Maps. If possible, wait for them or leave a sign to make sure nobody walks across the presumed hatching ground until a guard, park ranger or WWF can verify the situation.

 

Katharina's Italy

Sneak Peak of our travel app Inside Italy

I am very excited about the launch of our Trust&Travel-Inside Italy app. The travel app takes our blog one step further and allows us to share all the Italy insight we have discovered over the years: the tiny vineyards, unknown artisans, quiet chapels, and family-run restaurants that make this country so special.

Inside Italy is currently available in beta for download from the Apple Store and Google Play.

You can use it on your phone or on your tablet while in Italy or as a resource while preparing your trip. Have a look, try it out and let us know what you think!

The illustrations in the app are by Paolo Fiumi, a dear friend in Florence. You might remember Paolo’s wonderful sketches and interior design from his collaboration with us at Palazzo Ca’nova’s Lipparini apartment.

To start with, the Inside Italy app will be in English only and focus on Venice, the Veneto and Tuscany.

We hope it will make a real difference to your travels in Italy.

 

Katharina's Italy

Cheese & Wine at the ‘Corzano e Paterno’ farm

Halfway between Siena and Florence, there is a little farm that seems to have been sitting on its hill forever. Fattoria Corzano e Paterno produces excellent wine and olive oil, and a variety of Tuscan sheep cheeses that I can never resist.

The history of the farm is interesting. It was founded by the Swiss architect turned farmer Wendel Gelpke in the early ‘70ies. Today Corzano e Paterno is run by two of his daughters, the sisters Sibilla and Arianna, his nephew Aljoscha and their respective families.

I usually stop at the farm shop for the delicious Buccia di Rospo, but never manage to leave without some fresh ricotta and a serving of Rocco, an excellent fresh goat cheese.

FATTORIA CORZANO e PATERNO

The shop is open from Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm, and Saturday 9am to 1pm in summer and from 9am to 1pm during the rest of the year.  Book ahead for tours, wine and cheese tastings and light lunches.

 

Katharina's Italy

Canoeing on a Tuscan river

The Italian coastline does not need an introduction. But have you ever explored one of the country’s rivers? After 30 years in Italy, I finally ventured onto the Ombrone River in Southern Tuscany.

The Ombrone crosses the Parco della Maremma nature reserve before joining the Tyrrhenian sea south of Grosseto. The park is a bird watching paradise, but also a place to spot wild boars and deer, and the local guides are happy to point out all the lesser known fauna and flora.

The canoes – joined together in pairs – are very stable and make for a safe activity for families with children. The Silva cooperative organizes different types of tours at dawn, in the afternoon and during full moon. My favourite one is, of course, the sunset paddle that includes a glass of white wine. The canoes are equipped with an electric motor if your group gets tired of rowing back upstream.

CANOE TOURS in the Maremma Park

Prices range from 20 to 35€ per person depending on activity (reduced rates for children up to 12 years).  Bring a hat, sunscreen and bottled water, and combine it with a bike ride or a swim.

 

Katharina's Italy

DONATELLO, THE RENAISSANCE

In March 2022, the most important Donatello exhibition ever opens its doors in Florence. Over 50 museums from all over the world have lent works by the famous Renaissance master.

The exhibition takes place at Palazzo Strozzi and the Bargello museum, the permanent home of Donatello’s David. Works from Florence’s Basilica di San Lorenzo and Siena’s Cathedral have been moved for the first time and painstakingly restored for this occasion.

From September 2022, the exhibition will be on show in Berlin and in 2023 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. However, the works from Siena Cathedral and Basilica di San Lorenzo will be on show in Italy only.

DONATELLO, The Renaissance – Florence Palazzo Strozzi & Bargello museum, March 19 to July 31, 2022

 

Katharina's Italy

MY SECRET B&B TIP FOR THE MAREMMA

Last autumn, I took a little detour in Maremma. I had been at Il Priorato, one of excellence.villas’ high-end properties in southern Tuscany. Before heading back to Rome, I stopped for a coffee in the hilltop town Pereta.

I took a stroll through the pretty village and noticed a palazzo on the main square. It didn’t have a sign or a bell, but I marveled at its garden and the beautiful view from the town wall. “This type of setting,” I thought, “is exactly the sort of place I would love to call home.”

On the way back to my car, I checked Google Maps and to my surprise found a tag for a B&B with the enticing name “Locanda Sospesa” which could be freely translated to “floating boarding house.” Of course, the next time I was in the area, I booked myself a room there.

This is how I met Johnny and Elizabeth, the wonderful couple behind that secret door. During the first Covid lockdown, they left their corporate jobs in Rome and settled in Pereta, where Johnny had spent his childhood. Their two young daughters now go to the local school and Johnny and Elizabeth opened Locanda Sospesa to build a new life for themselves in the Tuscan countryside.

We had a lovely time and while Pereta’s beautiful palazzo may never be mine, I feel comforted now – it’s in good hands.

LOCANDA SOSPESA, Piazza San Marco 1, Pereta (GR).

 

Katharina's Italy

SUCCESSION IN ITALY

Have you watched Succession yet? The HBO series about the powerful but dysfunctional Roy family has kept many of us up late.

Season 3 has just been released and part of it was filmed in Italy last summer.

If you stayed at la Foce or visited our favourite garden in Tuscany, you’ll have extra fun watching the Succession Chiantishire episode. Insider Information: the team stayed three weeks at La Foce which resulted in 20 minutes in the show!

Readers familiar with our Excellence.Villas catalogue will recognize the scenes filmed on lake Como at Villa Rosa.

It’s just the perfect show to put on your holiday watchlist.

Buone feste and see you in the New Year.

 

Katharina's Italy

Medici Villas and Gardens

Look what I’ve just found! A website about the 14 UNESCO heritage Medici villas and gardens in northern Tuscany. In the past, I visited many of them, but finding these properties required quite a bit of detective work. Thanks to the new Medici villas website, planning a visit has become much easier.

Continue Reading →

ONE OF SIENA’S HIDDEN TREASURES

On October 5 of the year 1554, more than 250 orphans were bluntly expelled from the Republic of Siena. The city had been under siege for 9 months and its government decreed that the best way forward to hold out against the enemy was to get rid of its bocche disutili, its “useless mouths”. And during the following months, another 4000 citizens, mostly children, unmarried women and elderly souls, were sent packing by the same token.

Continue Reading →

A RENAISSANCE VIRTUOSA

Last month, my daughter returned from school one day with an elated heart: “Mummy, I have to write a theme about some artists! Female artists!”

I responded with a big smile and asked my daughter whether she had anybody in mind already. She said she absolutely wanted to talk about Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, whose works were, to some extent, familiar to her. Then she pressed me for suggestions.

Continue Reading →



NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to Katharina´s Italy

Enjoy monthly highlights of the best posts...
Sign up here
© 2012 Katharina´s Italy | Privacy Policy
Site design by InfinVision