Learning Italian in Bologna

Bologna's famous porticoes

Learning Italian in Italy can take you out of your comfort zone, but it definitely has its perks. One such perk involved having a lesson in a wine cellar, which I found did wonders for my fluency. “We have a saying in Italy,” said our teacher Giordana. “He who doesn’t drink in company is either a thief or a spy.” Giordana's announcement was greeted with smiles and raised glasses. The ... Read Full Article

Florence: Powering Through Five Museums in a Day

The restored Niobe room, in the Uffizi, represents Roman copies of late Hellenistic art.

Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and the city is packed with museums. But on a trip with our two middle schoolers, for whom Renaissance art meant very little, we settled on a model any visitor can use to achieve maximum museum exposure with minimum time, with or without kids. The secret is threefold: a small and walkable city, advance planning, and judicious application of ... Read Full Article

On the Road From Athens to Corinth

Corinthian Columns

The road from Athens to the Peloponnese traverses the coastline past factories and shipyards then climbs high above the sea rewarding us with panoramic views of the sparkling blue Saronic Gulf. My friends and I on our way to visit Corinth, the ancient city that was once a strong rival of Athens. As we descend the pass, we reach a low, flat barren track of land known as the Isthmus that connects ... Read Full Article

Valencia, a City in Seven Markets

Fruits and vegetables in Benimaclet

If you’ve been to Spain, you’ll know that life there is lived by night: evening strolls, late dinners and drinks in the cafés, tapas bars and nightclubs. To feel the real spirit of Spain, you must stay out late. However, there is one thing that gets even the latest night owls out of bed before noon: the street markets. Spain is renowned for its bustling mercadillos; stalls set up in the streets ... Read Full Article

Greek Food: A Taste of the Ancient Past

Typical Greek Fish dinner

Did you know that when you sit down to a hearty meal of Greek food that you are often eating exactly the same dishes their ancestors did in ancient times? The first cookbook was written by a Greek, Archestrolus, in 350 BC suggesting that food was always an important part of Greek life. Some of these ancient dishes include dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and many of the same fruits, vegetables and ... Read Full Article

My Favorite Foods of Europe

Yummy Stroopwafels

To travel is to taste the world. And Europe presents a particularly eclectic hotchpotch of flavours. From the strange to the sublime, I’ve sampled various dishes and foodstuffs throughout my jaunts across the continent and here (in no particular order) are some of my personal favourites: Gran Canaria Though the Atlantic archipelago presents a popular European mix of English, German and Italian ... Read Full Article

Five Movies to Watch before your Next European Vacation

Beautiful Austria

If you’re planning your next holiday in Europe but don’t know how you’ll get through the time before you leave, it’s a good idea to get settled on the couch with a travel-based film. Make some popcorn, put your comfy pants on, and indulge in a weekend movie marathon — only those shot in Europe though, of course! There have been dozens of great films set in European countries over the years, so it ... Read Full Article

Ghosts, Legends and a Glimpse of Atlantis in Santorini

Distant cliff view Santorini

On Santorini, the village folk tell stories of ghosts. Old men sipping ouzo in the tavernas say they’ve heard the music of Pan’s pipes and the clicking of little hooves in the branches of the plane trees. There is a feeling that something mysterious lingered behind after the great explosion that destroyed Santorini during the Bronze Age, and you can’t question the superstitions of the ... Read Full Article

Basilicata, Italy: a Tiny Treasure of Passion and Peppers

A Basilicata landscape

The Basilicata, located at the instep of Italy’s geographic “boot”, is one of the country’s smaller regions, one of its least-densely populated, most mountainous, and most often overlooked. But within its 3,869 square miles (slightly under 10,000 square km) are: a UNESCO World Heritage site (Matera) Italy’s largest national park (Parco Nazionale del Pollino) the longest ... Read Full Article

Savoring September at a Snail’s Pace in the Piedmont

Mercato con Arco nu

Half an hour from the industrial bustle of Turin lies southern Piedmont, a renowned eden for epicurians. Each community has its own claim to fame: the truffles of Alba, the sparkling wines of Asti, the sausage and cheeses of Bra, the world-class wines of Barolo. The landscapes of the Langhe, of Roero and Monferrato, seduce you slowly, with the intricate -- and regionally appropriate -- ... Read Full Article