Capitoline Museum: The Story Behind Boy With Thorn

Close-up of the statue of the Boy with Thorn

I had never been to the Capitoline Museum. The first time I saw Boy with Thorn, he was a black and white projection snapping in and out of focus on the classroom wall. It was my senior year of college, and I was fulfilling my Literature and Arts general education requirement with an Italian Art History course. The classroom, a small, dusty room on the third floor of the Harvard Fogg Art Museum, ... Read Full Article

Puglia: Where to Stay on Italy’s Boot

Corte dei Granai bedroom

The most characteristic choice for lodging in Puglia is a trullo, a stone hut topped by a cupola. These peasant dwellings, found only here in this region of Italy, date back to the 13th century, but don’t worry – those that have been turned into luxury hotels or rental properties are of more recent vintage, with all the mod cons an international visitor expects. The problem with trulli, aside ... Read Full Article

Puglia: A Gastro-Blitz on Italy’s Boot

La Cutura cactus garden

Halfway through a four-day gastronomic tour of southern Puglia, we were struggling to digest the experience.  At least I was, as the only one in our group who was not in the food business as a sommelier, restaurateur, or wine journalist. At this point we were in a gently rocking fishing boat off the shore of Gallipoli on the Ionian Sea, perfect weather on a late May morning. “If you want to eat ... Read Full Article

Solomeo Brings a Renaissance Fair and Luxury to Umbria

Ancient crafts are on display for education and acquisition at Solomeo’s Renaissance Fair.

Solomeo, a tiny town 14 km. (about 10.5 miles) southwest of Perugia, in Italy’s Umbria region, brings history to life every summer with its Renaissance Fair. For ten days between late July and the first few days of August the handful of streets in this dollhouse village (population: 500) are crowded with more than 15,000 visitors from elsewhere in Italy and from abroad. Street performers in ... Read Full Article

Genoa on Foot – Cultural Immersion the Quick Way

Port Antico

For many visitors, Genoa is a portal to the Mediterranean. It's the largest seaport in Italy and the first stop for many cruise passengers. In fact, as you step off the plane, a queue seems to form automatically, which funnels passengers from immigration straight to the cruise ships. But if you make time for a short walking tour through Genoa's old town you'll be rewarded with an immersive insight ... Read Full Article

Come to the 2015 Gastronomic Expo in Milan – This is Big!

The French Pavilion bursts with gustatory greens-001

Thoughts of Italy invariably bring to mind thoughts of food. So hard-core foodies don’t need an excuse to make their way here. But they have a special reason to do so this year, when Milan hosts Expo 2015 – the first universal international exposition to be held in Europe in 15 years. The theme of this world’s fair is Feeding the planet, energy for life, a natural complement to the host country’s ... Read Full Article

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

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