October in Rome can be so pleasant weather-wise, with the likelihood of sunny days and warm temperatures, that the Romans have a name for it: ottobrata romana. Originally, with the phrase ‘ottobrate romane’, people referred to the Sunday trips out to the countryside surrounding Rome that the Romans used to go on until the first decades of the 20thc...

Most hands do not go up when I ask my audiences, “Who is an opera fan?” It’s as if I had asked, “Who is a big fan of brussels sprouts?” Yes, there will be a few enthusiasts, but most faces go neutral, some almost grimacing.  While it’s true that it is the most expensive performance art form in the world, opera’s power lies in the most human of expe...

Pasta al pomodoro is arguably Italian cuisine’s most pedestrian dish. So when I see “pasta with tomato” featured on the menu of three-Michelin-starred Reale, the remote monastery turned restaurant in Abruzzo run by chef Niko Romito and his sister Cristiana, I am deeply skeptical. Here we go again, I think, another classic tricked up and ruined by o...

A hilly patchwork of yellow and green Umbrian fields unfolded on both sides of the road as I zipped around hairpin turns in my little red Fiat, feeling every bit the race car driver. Of course, this being Italy, what I thought was death-defying speed wasn't fast enough for drivers coming up behind me. They barely hesitated, passing me on blind curv...

Ask a claustrophobic to descend a dark, 1100m-long tunnel excavated inside a mountain and the most likely reaction will be a look of horrified panic. This scene played out recently during my vacation. I had joined a group tour for a one-week trek in the Dolomites, the famous mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, a beloved hikers’ playground....

Often neglected on travel itineraries in favour of Italy's more famous hotspots, Bologna nevertheless has plenty to offer tourists, from food to art to hidden secrets. Here are nine reasons you should visit at least once in your lifetime. 1. The food - Bologna is known as 'la dotta, la rossa e la grassa' - that's 'the educated' in a nod to its univ...

"So what part of America are you from? Cleveland? I know it well! I have a good friend with a restaurant there, Aldo's - do you know it?" Yes, we knew it.  And so an ocean away from Cleveland, in the small Italian mountain village of Castel di Sangro, my family and I ended up eating at an Italian bistro owned by someone whose good friend owns a res...

Granted, Rome has so much to see that you may disregard any day trips outside of the city for, well, the next time. In reality, there are many great places of interest within easy reach of Italy's capital, and it may be nice to escape the crowds and noise of the big city for a few hours in charming, less frequented, history-rich small towns. Viterb...

It's never a bad time for an Italian holiday, but autumn is when the country really comes into its own. Read on for the top reasons you should book a trip here now. 1. The Colours - Whether it's the autumn sunshine illuminating reddish city buildings, the changing hues of leaves in the countryside, or glistening reflections in one of the country's...

Italy has produced many explorers of international fame, with one of the most famous being Marco Polo (1254 – 1324), the man responsible for epic voyages to China and the Far East. Polo is remembered also for his friendship with Kublai Khan, the subject of the 1797 classic poem that bears his name by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Also the world over kno...