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

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

Undiscovered Italy: Food and Lodging in Polesine

Part of lunch buffet at Agriturismo Corte Carezzabella

In my recent article, Polesine Italy: Two Rivers Run Through it, I told you about a series of attractions in Polesine, an area of northeast Italy which is sadly overlooked and seriously overshadowed by neighboring Venice. Two attractions not mentioned in the previous article are covered here: food and lodging. They are inter-connected in that many of the appealing places to stay are agritourism ... Read Full Article

A Perfect Day in Venice

Venice bridges

There’s nowhere in the world quite like Venice with its winding canals and teeny-tiny bridges, age-old churches, and local artisan shops that sell everything from delicate antiques to colorful papier-mâché masks. It’s an easy city to fall in love with, and an even easier one to get lost in; turn down one topsy-turvy alley too early and land somewhere entirely unexpected, which isn’t necessarily a ... Read Full Article

Polesine, Italy: Two Rivers Run Through it

Along a bicycle path in Polesine

You don’t have to drive Apollo’s sun chariot to find yourself in close proximity to the Po River of Northern Italy. Phaeton did it the hard way when he lost control of his father's horses, and was struck down by Zeus. According to mythology, the mortal fell and drowned in the Po River not far from Crespino, a small town about 37 miles (60 kilometers) southwest of Venice. Today Crespino’s main ... Read Full Article

Sardinia for the Rest of Us

Typical landscape of the Maddalena archipelago

Among the first things you hear when you arrive in Sardinia is a local exclaiming: “Look at our beaches. Look at our water. More beautiful than the Caribbean!” Usually the claim is made by someone who has never set foot on a Caribbean island so its validity is questionable, but you can understand why the assertion was made. The waters surrounding the second largest island in the ... Read Full Article