Category Archives: Italy

Italian Christmas Traditions: Piazza Navona Christmas Market 2012

Piazza Navona – the Christmas transformation Every year at the end of November, the caricaturists and painting sellers who usually abound in Rome’s Piazza Navona disappear and the scene transforms into the world famous Christmas market that dominates the piazza for more than a month every year. The Piazza Navona Christmas Market has begun, and for 6 weeks Italian families come from all over Rome and its suburbs to take part in the market festivities. While the market is a hive of activity during the day things really ramp up at night. A visit to the Piazza Navona Christmas Market is a time-honored tradition for many Italian families. Plan your visit to Rome at Christmas and you can join them in discovering the treasures on display in rows of booths along the piazza: Christmas ornaments, toys, decorations, and the traditional nativity scenes known as “presepi” in Italian. Sweet treats at [...]

Italian Soccer, Some of the Best in the World!

Soccer – Calcio in Italian – is very important in Italy. That might be understating it. To be honest, it is closer to a national obsession. On major game days, the streets are empty and shouts of joy and anguish can be heard from open windows. To understand Italy, one must have at least a basic understanding of soccer, it’s importance and it’s passions. Paddy Agnew sums it up well in his book Forza “Historically, the tradition of spectacle has always been important in Italy. It’s a culture where what goes on in public really matters, public perception matters — the idea of bella figura. Spectacle also matters, and by extension football matters because it is a great spectacle. The other thing about football is that it’s a meritocracy. In Italy, a lot of people instinctively feel [suspicious] of a guy who gets named director of the local bank or [...]

Quotes About Italy, Which Ones Inspire You Most?

One of Tour Italy Now’s Facebook followers, one Maurizio Mallo, posted this wonderful quote on Facebook earlier this week: “A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see” – Samuel Johnson (English Poet, Critic and Writer. 1709-1784) Samuel Johnson articulated this sentiment in the era of the Grand Tour, a journey through Europe that educated young men of means were expected to take to appreciate European history, art and culture, classical Rome and the Renaissance. The itinerary of course was heavy on Italy. From Wikipedia: Once in Italy, the tourist would visit Turin (and, less often, Milan), then might spend a few months in Florence, where there was a considerable Anglo-Italian society accessible to traveling Englishmen “of quality” and where the Tribuna of the Uffizi gallery brought together in one space the [...]

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall, Which is the Most Beautiful Photo of Italy of Them All?

Italy, for anyone who’s taken an Italy tour knows, or plans to take one will find out, is considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. Some of the world’s most beautiful places actually disappoint when you get there in person, because photography exaggerates their beauty. (This happens so often sometimes we’ve asked ourselves how wonderful it would have been to travel in the age before photography.) No so Italy. We’ve culled three of our favorite photographs, each one as stunning as the next, of three very different places, Tuscany, Cinque Terre and Venice, so we could ask the Tour Italy Now community what they think. Do you have a favorite, or is it impossible to choose? Have you visited any of these places? Please comment below. We’re looking forward to your thoughts. TUSCANY CINQUE TERRE VENICE

American Girl in Italy, 60 Years Later

This stunning photograph by Ruth Orkin, of a tall American woman walking down a street in Florence in the early 1950s, is one of the better known photographs of the 20th century. If you’ve never seen it before, you have to agree it’s a work of art, one that generated controversy for the obscene gesture of the man on the left. The photographer, an American named Ruth Orkin, shot the photograph of this American, one Ninalee Craig, one fine day in Florence. The two met each other when they were traveling, separately and on their own, an unusual thing for young women to do at that time. Orkin thought it would be fine to spend the day shooting pictures of the statuaesque Craig. In addition to the street corner moment, she took pictures of Craig in cafes and in a sports car. (See below.) Some people wondered if the American [...]

Tour Italy Now Celebrates Italy’s Stunning Islands

PHOTO: A stunning beach on a gem of an island, Capri. With summer winding down, we’ve been thinking about how we’d hoped to get to the beach more often, not just any beach of course but a beach in Italy … This slide show on CNN.com, right HERE, really gave us a serious case of wanderlust with a fixation on Italy’s islands. Check out these stunning shots of Capri, Sicily, Sardinia and the delightful island of Panarea in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the southwestern coast of Italy. Of course fall is a great time to get to an island in Italy. The weather can be warm enough to take a swim, or loll on one of those striped chaises on the beach. Speaking of Italy islands, here are a few fun facts about them. There are, according to this Wikipedia entry, 60-plus islands in the Mediterranean as well as 20-plus [...]

In Vino Veritas: Celebrating Italian Wines

Everyone at Tour Italy Now loves Italian wine — no surprise there! — whether it’s a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio from the northeastern region of Italy; a glass of smooth Barbaresco from the Piedmont; or any of the other varieties produced by Italian vintners, we love exploring the Italian wine country! With that in mind, we decided to conduct an informal survey on Facebook. It was an experiment, to be sure, since Facebook’s survey function is a bit clunky and doesn’t always show all possible responses. Unfortunately this skews results in favor of the ones at top. Not surprisingly then, our results followed the order in which the wines were listed. First on the list, with 26 votes was Pinot Grigio, while two red wines, Diablo and Chianti Classico, scored 12 votes and 10 respectively. The remainder of the choices earned anywhere from zero to four, with four votes [...]

Tour Italy Now Hearts This Slide Show of Venice

Venice is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, as this photographic slideshow by Glenda Kapsalis attests. Step in to Piazza San Marco—the only piazza in Venice—and it’s impossible not to be immediately awed by the spired facade of the Basilica di San Marco and the impossibly beautiful view out over the lagoon. Since you’ve come all this way, why not treat yourself to a cappuccino at a table in one of the cafés that sprawl under the sun. If you’re on the hunt for picturesque scenes then look no farther than a walk around Venice’s charming streets, especially the ones that jog along canals then cross them on quaint and dainty bridges. We couldn’t think of a better day spent than getting lost in Venice, stopping for a pasta, getting lost again, stopping for a pastry, then getting lost again. With so many wonderfully monuments of architecture [...]

Tour Italy Now’s “High Five!” Top Five Italy Tweeters

In the coming weeks, Tour Italy Now will be unveiling new features here on the blog and on the website, too. Stay tuned for what should prove to be an exciting time for Tour Italy Now and its growing, passionate and loyal community. Today, we’re introducing Tour Italy Now’s “High 5″ Top Five Italy Tweeters — five Italy tweeters of note. We’ve been monitoring the Italy twittersphere for the past six months, culling the best of this exciting social media community. Please note, this is not our absolute top five list, it’s a list of five tweeters we find particularly noteworthy. There are many more, to be sure! Which means we’ll put together more Tour Italy Now “High 5″ Top Five Italy Tweeters down the road. We’ll be doing the same with Italy bloggers, too. Remember, for its part, Tour Italy Now tweets as @TourItalyNow. If you’re into Twitter, or [...]

The Dogs of Venice, Past and Present

Did you know that besides ornate masks and colorful pasta and endless canals and gondolas, Venice’s got dogs galore? This is one of those charming details that sometimes gets lost in the wonderful story that is Venice. But it’s true, dogs are part of Venice’s cityscape, if you’ve been, you’ve surely seen them at play along side streets or gazing out of a window. We were reminded of this today we noticed a lovely blog post, The Dogs That Run Venice, on the lovely shelter site Apartment Therapy. The post notes that there are statues of Saint Roch, San Rocco in Italian, the patron saint of dogs, throughout Venice. And at the Guggenheim Museum along the Grand Canal, the arts patroness Peggy Guggenheim is buried next to here beloved 14 dogs. For more on Peggy Guggenheim and her dogs, click HERE. A little clicking around reminded us that the Scuola [...]