Truffles are one of those foods that tends to get a strong reaction. Like cilantro, Brussels sprouts and blue cheese, you either love ’em or hate ’em!
Truffles are intensely fragrant and hard to find in most places except Italy. They are the underground fruit of ascomycetous fungi. The fruit spores are dispersed though being consumed by fungivores. They are so rare they may be the most expensive ingredient you can indulge in at $1000-$3000/pound. Continue reading Italian Truffles: Pricey, Earthy Gourmet Indulgence
Orvieto is a gem of a town in Italy. Perched high atop an Umbrian hill, it has beautiful spaces, dramatic views, famous art and dramatic history for visitors to enjoy. The old part of the city is a bit of window into the past because it is virtually traffic-free.
Only an hour-and-a-half north of Rome, the walled city of Orvieto is a great place to experience an ancient, important hilltown. It is convenient too, since it is fairly easy to reach from Rome or Florence.
- Easy daytrip from Rome. You can even take the train. Or, for a relaxing outing we can recommend a private driver who will organize a day excursion so you can relax and take in the scenic views along the road.
- Convenient drop-off point for a rental car when traveling to or from Rome, avoiding all traffic around the city…and you can visit the charming town and then hop on the train to Rome.
- Stopping point for trips between southern points and northern ones. Nice to get off the highway and have a delicious lunch in the piazza.
Continue reading Orvieto, Hill Town Jewel, Easy Day Trip from Rome
Once upon a time a group of artists, intellectuals and politicians from a city in the centre of Italy, whose works and ideas would have shaped the future of human civilization. It was the XV-XVI century, and that place was Florence: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raffaello Sanzio among the others, under the reign of the Medici family, indelibly marked the Renaissance era and the history of the whole world.
Continue reading What to See in Three Days in Florence
Growing up in Rome I spent many an hour waiting for the bus at Largo di Torre Argentina, commonly referred to as Largo Argentina. My only thought about Largo Argentina at the time was that it was a convenient central bus hub to get all around Rome. It is and was easy to find because of the central square filled with a bunch of walled-off Roman ruins. It was not until a high school history class at the Overseas School of Rome (thank you Hiram Dewitt) when I learned that, right from my bus stop, I was looking at the site where Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C. by an angry mob of senators who purportedly stabbed him 23 times on March 15, a date on the Roman calendar referred to as the “Ides of March”. Continue reading Rome’s Largo di Torre Argentina Where Cats Sunbathe Amidst Roman History
Packing for a trip can be one of the most daunting aspects of travel planning. We’re often asked for advice on what type of purse to carry. Shoulder, cross body, tote bag, backpack?
My vote is for a small, lightweight backpack. I’ve tried many different types of travel purses. It’s important to get it right especially when I’m on the road for weeks at a time & walking up to 10 miles per day. One year I had the bad idea to bring a stylish straw tote bag to Italy for the summer, it was too bulky to carry long distances, was open at the top so not secure & scratched my arms & legs endlessly. While I might have looked fashionable, it was impractical. My current favorite travel bag is the Longchamp Le Pliage nylon and leather backpack, a gift from my daughter (thank you Tess!) after I kept borrowing hers. It’s light, durable, saves my back and shoulders, holds all my essentials & packs down to nothing if I need to put it inside my carry-on due to airline restrictions. For a small backpack it is surprisingly roomy too, you can fit a sweater or travel umbrella in it too. It has a little internal pocket that fits a passport and phone. Continue reading Italy Packing Tips: My Favorite Purse for Travel is a Backpack