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Tag Archives: Italy

How It Came to Be: The Origins of the Vatican City

Ask anyone what they know about the Vatican City, and you’re probably going to get some very familiar answers: “It’s the home of the pope,” “it’s the world’s smallest country,” or “it’s where Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Catholic Church’s mother church, is located.” True enough, the origins of the Vatican City, a walled compound within Rome, is where the pope lives, and it is indeed the world’s smallest sovereign state, being only 44 hectares in size – that’s about one-eighth the size of Central Park in New York! But did you know that Saint Peter’s Basilica is not actually the official ecclesiastical seat of the pope, hence it is not the ecumenical mother church of the Catholic hierarchy? This honor belongs to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, which is one of the four major basilicas of the Catholic Church, the others being the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the [...]

Beyond Art: Other Attractions to Experience in Florence

Whenever travel to Italy is mentioned, it is almost inevitable to include the city of Florence in the discussion. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Florence is the capital of the lush region of Tuscany and is considered as the birthplace of the Renaissance. It was also a center of trade during medieval times, and to this day, it remains a major economic center. As one can expect from a city that is steeped in culture and history, almost every street and every corner boasts a historical building or a work of art (because even the door knockers here are sights to behold). However, other than your usual tour of galleries and museums, there are still a myriad other interesting places to see and things to do in beautiful Firenze. Here is [...]

Another Love Story in Verona: Your Ultimate Guide to Vinitaly 2014

Since its first publication in 1597, William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet has inspired romantics the world over. Set in Verona, Italy, this story about two star-crossed lovers’ devotion to each other has such a universal appeal that even today, more than 400 years after it was printed, it still is considered by many as one of the best love stories ever to have been written. The tale has also immortalized Verona, now a place where throngs of passionate couples and hopeless romantics troop to each year, hoping to “feel the love” in the beautiful medieval city. But there is a love story in Verona that is much older than Romeo and Juliet’s. It’s a legend born of an ancient practice involving the tender cultivation of grapevines, the gentle nurturing of their fruits by Italy’s fertile Mediterranean environment, and finally, the refined process of vinification that turns the berries into [...]

The Best of Umbria With Kids: A Few of Our Family’s Favorites

Editor’s note: Umbria is a beautiful region with lots of places to visit especially when you’re traveling with kids. Here’s what Shannon Kenny, our guest author and Editor-in-chief of Italiakids.com recommends.  And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different – deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. – C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia As director of Arte al Sole, my young children have had the great fortune of growing up visiting Umbria every summer. In [...]

I Do! Seven Reasons Why You Should Have Your Wedding in Italy

A wedding is one of the most important days in two people’s lives. It’s that special occasion when you give your most solemn and loving vows to your special someone in front of everyone who has ever mattered to you. Having said that, it’s no wonder that couples go to great lengths to have that one perfect day where everything is beautiful. Of course, making everything beautiful involves choosing the perfect backdrop for your wedding. For those who can afford it, a wedding abroad can more than justify the costs of flying everyone over great distances for a truly special time. Whether it’s the beaches of the Bahamas, the cherry blossom-filled streets of Japan or the great Australian outdoors, an out-of-country wedding guarantees indelible memories for lovers, their families and their friends. However, since most people only get married once, choosing the best location becomes a real dilemma when it [...]

Visiting Venice in Style: Can’t miss Spots and Attractions

Venice is located on the marshy Venetian Lagoon and is made up of 118 small islands separated by a maze of canals and linked by more than 400 bridges. You probably know about some of Venice’s most historic sites like the dazzling Italo-Byzantine style Basilica de San Marco and the nearby Doges Palace.However, there’s so much more to this unique locale than those two landmarks. Here’s a quick guide on visiting Venice in style and it’s easier than you can ever imagine! You’ll surely have a grand time exploring the City of Canals. Favorite Churches Located right on the Grand Canal in the Dosoduro section of town, the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute rises up as a testament to the end of a terrible plague in the early 1600s.Known by the Venetians as simply Salute, this baroque-style church holds works by Titian and Tintoretto. In contrast to the extravagant styles [...]

Enchanted by Florence’s Museums

Ever since I watched the lush and romantic film version of E. M Forster ‘s classic tale of Italian adventure and young love, I, like the chaperoned heroine Lucy Honeychurch “longed to wake up in Florence and fling wide the windows and lean out into the sunshine”. I have been lucky enough to visit the splendid city of Florence and succumb to its so aptly described “pernicious charms” a number of times over the years since I first was enamoured with those beautiful words. Young ladies are no longer chaperoned by maiden aunts and Baedekers have been discarded for smart phone apps and Kindle e-guides, but Florence is a city that still enchants the modern traveler with age-old charms. My favorite place to start is in the Loggia in the stately Piazza della Signoria. The sculptures that sit underneath curved arches cover centuries of artistic history from the Roman to [...]

Seven Dishes You Have to Taste in Rome

Roman food is a hearty, rustic affair with bold flavors and inexpensive ingredients that have their history in a less prosperous time. Despite its meager roots, signature Roman cuisine is renowned the world over for its great taste, filling nature and classy aroma. These are our picks for the seven dishes you have to taste in Rome. Pasta is Italy’s staple food. Estimates are that the average Italian eats roughly 60 pounds of pasta per year. Each region has its own typical shapes and sauces. Pasta in Italy is cooked al dente, which is slightly firmer than you might be used to. 1. Buccatini Amatriciana. Buccatini is a long, hollow spaghetti-like noodle and is usually served with an Amatriciana sauce. This classic Roman pasta sauce is made with tomatoes, onions, pecorino cheese and crispy guanciale, which is similar to bacon. 2. Cacio e Pepe. Cacio e pepe means cheese and [...]

The Art Enthusiast’s Guide to Touring Italy

It’s pretty common knowledge that Italy is one of the world’s top travel destinations from an art appreciation perspective. This entire country is virtually an open air art museum: ancient ruins, natural beauty, stunning architecture and icons of Christendom pop up everywhere you look. If you’re looking to soak up history, culture and art all in one place, look no further than this amazing Southern European nation. Italy is never lacking in artistic attractions. In fact, the Vatican museums alone have enough treasures to literally keep you occupied for months if you take the time to look at the pieces for just a minute each. If you add in all the historical sites, churches, galleries and buildings in other Italian cities, you can stay in the country for years and still not see everything its artists have to offer. Of course, the key to getting a fulfilling art appreciation experience [...]

How to Eat Like an Italian When Touring Italy

Delicious food is one of things that Italy is best known for. Pizza, spaghetti, lasagne and ravioli are just some of the images that come to mind when the words “Italian food” is mentioned. What the average person doesn’t know is that what we refer to as Italians food in the US are actually very Americanized variants of food from Italy. There’s no such thing as “Italian food” over there. Food in Italy follows themes that are reflective of the regions where they come from. For instance, Rome’s specialties include bucatini amatriciana and carciofi Romana. Florence is all about the divine Fiorentina T-bone steaks. Venice, on the other hand, is a seafood lover’s paradise. It’s a place for feasting on squid ink pasta and grilled scallops. Each locale’s cuisine has a distinct character that you may not have expected to be of Italian origin if you didn’t know better. When [...]