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Thursday, July 31, 2014

4 Days in Rome - Tips for Trip

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...
Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rome
Rome (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)
English: A 4x4 segment panorama of the Coliseu...
English: A 4x4 segment panorama of the Coliseum at dusk. Taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 50mm f/1.8 lens at f/5.6 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Trevi fountain.
Trevi fountain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By []Alessandro Indelli

How many days do you need to visit Rome? Maybe a whole month! Mmm too much for our savings! Maybe some writer in the nineteenth century could afford it (remember the travels of Lord Byron or Goethe?), maybe some noble during the Dolce Vita could live in a hotel in Via Veneto. Mmmm, no! We have to go back home in a few days (and Via Veneto is very expensive!!!!). In this article, I will try to suggest you a "4 days in Rome" itinerary. Yes, you're right, you can't visit everything in 4 days, but you will have to be content with "the best of Rome". OK Let's Go.

Day 0 - if you arrive in the morning, spend the afternoon in the main town: you can enjoy the magical atmosphere of Rome near Pantheon

Day 1 - Ancient Rome

Rome is known around the world for its history, for the Empire, Julius Caesar and Colosseum. If you travel to Rome from overseas you have to start with the imperial monuments. I do not accept objections! Take the subway and get off at Colosseo, Colosseum is your first "Best in Rome" step. Oh, I forgot, take a picture with the Centurions, but watch your wallet, the area is a bit dangerous for bag snatching. Visit the Colosseum, admire the Arch of Constantine and start your walk through the Roman Forum, it will be an amazing experience! At the end of the Roman Forum, have a fast lunch and visit the Capitoline Hill (it is the seat of the municipality of Rome), the equestrian monument to Marcaurelio and the Capitoline Museum. Mmmm, the visit to the museum takes several hours... What time is it? Maybe it's time to visit the Bocca della Verit�. Sorry you have to choose!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Delights of Italy

Italiano: Collage di varie foto di Firenze
Italiano: Collage di varie foto di Firenze (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: The Rialto Bridge over Venice's Grand...
English: The Rialto Bridge over Venice's Grand Canal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A view at Galleria degli Uffizi from the front...
A view at Galleria degli Uffizi from the front balcony of Palazzo Vecchio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: A vertical panorama of a copy of the ...
English: A vertical panorama of a copy of the statue of David by Michelangelo on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy. Nederlands: Een verticaal panorama van het standbeeld van David door Michelangelo op het Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italië. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By []Karen Cooke

Italy's development and history is as colourful and varied as its cuisine. Over time, Italy has made significant contributions to the cultural and social development of the entire Mediterranean area.

Italy is located in southern Europe and comprises the long, boot-shaped Italian Peninsula, the land between the peninsula and the Alps, and a number of islands including Sicily and Sardinia.

Florence, a Renaissance city in the heart of Tuscany, is home to some of the country's best museums, cathedrals and churches, and therefore perfect for a luxury holiday.

Top of the to-do list is the Piazza della Signoria and Palazzo Vecchio. The Piazza della Signoria is Florence's most famous square, having served as the city's political and cultural centre since the Middle Ages. It also houses a free open-air sculpture exhibit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How to Do Rome in 48hrs

Italiano: Collage di vari immagini di Roma.
Italiano: Collage di vari immagini di Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By []Katy Hyslop

You've just arrived in Rome with a couple of days to kill. How is it possible to see all there is to see in such a short time? This is the guide to get the most out of Rome in the shortest amount of time.

19:00

Roman Forum Near the Colosseum is the Arch of ...
Roman Forum Near the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hopefully check in at the hotel has been fairly straightforward so now it is to venture out in search of a good meal. A meal in the old Trastevere part of the city has several benefits. Firstly there is a multitude of touristy type sidewalk restaurants and pizzerias to choose from and secondly they are within gentle strolling distance of several significant landmarks, including the well preserved Pantheon.

Rome is just as appealing by night as by day, with the heat of a Roman summer, night time walks may just save a few hours of excessive sweating during the day. Any of the little back streets between the Pantheon and the Spanish steps are perfectly placed to allow a generous meal of pasta and a good carafe of wine to be walked off quite easily.

21:00

Make your way to the Spanish steps to sit and hang out with the locals, while the view from the top of the steps in front of the church Trinita dei Monti offers a great view out over the city. Wander through to the Trevi Fountain and buy dessert in the form of a gelato and try your luck with the change. Throw one coin over your shoulder to come back, two coins to come back and get kissed or three coins to come back and be married.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Favorite Sicilian Restaurants

English: A plate filled with blood oranges
English: A plate filled with blood oranges (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Spaghetti all' arrabbiata
Spaghetti all' arrabbiata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pasta alla Norma
Pasta alla Norma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sicilian buffet
Sicilian buffet (Photo credit: stijn)

By []James Iozia

Sicilian restaurants offer up some of the best cuisine in the world. Italy has always been known for its great food, and Sicilian food is no exception to this. And it isn't only the food that makes eating in a Sicilian restaurant a memorable experience, the leisurely way it is presented has made it into a high art. The approach to Sicilian eating is the grandest of the meeting of the ways between the best folk traditions and the best aristocratic ones. Sicilian cuisine reflects the unique and diverse cultural heritage taken from its history. Sicilian dining is an experience surely to be enjoyed.

Many restaurants in Palermo and other coastal towns focus on the seafood dishes. Although there are cheaper places to be found in the city, Palermo also offers some of the best Sicilian restaurants in the area. In Palermo, notable ones for the tourist to try are:

Il Ristorantino - hailed by Italian critics for its classic and authentic Sicilian and Mediterranean cuisine

La Scuderia - (located about 3 miles north of the city at the foot of Monte Pellegrino) this is dubbed as being Palermo's grandest restaurant with outstanding international and Italian cuisine

Il Mulinazzo - a highly acclaimed Sicilian restaurant offering an exquisite dining experience

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Italian Foods to Try When You Travel to Italy

Melanzane alla Parmigiana, baked aubergines wi...
Melanzane alla Parmigiana, baked aubergines with Parmesan cheese. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
classic spaghetti carbonara
classic spaghetti carbonara (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pi...
English: Picture of an authentic Neapolitan Pizza Margherita )
By []M Ottersen

If you ask us, the best part of traveling to Italy is sampling all the different Italian foods. Every region of Italy has it's own cuisine and local specialties, which you can try everywhere - from street vendors to Michelin-starred restaurants.

The next time you travel to Italy, here are some dishes you should sample:

Roman specialties.

Rome is best known for rustic cooking that's rich, meaty, and comforting on a cold, winter night. Braised beef and roasted suckling pig - porchetta - are very popular. But there's also lots of fresh produce so vegetarians can eat well in Rome too. Artichokes, known in Italy as carciofi, are available everywhere in spring. They're prepared many different ways, and they're absolutely delicious.

Zucchini flowers, zucca, are abundant in late summer and early autumn, when they're stuffed with cheese and anchovies and deep fried. You can sample both by ordering a Fritto Misto or mixed fried appetizer.

Rice croquettes, which are also deep fried, are another good choice for vegetarians. There's often a little square of cheese in the center that melts during frying. Gnocchi made with potatoes or semolina is often made without meat.

Two of Italy's most famous pasta dishes come from Rome - Bucatini All'Amatriciana and Spaghetti alla Carbonara. The first is made with tomatoes, onions, and pancetta, the second with eggs, pancetta, and Parmesan cheese.

Veal Saltimbocca is stuffed with sage leaves, ham, and cheese, then lightly breaded, sautéed, and baked. Adventurous eaters can sample organ meats at traditional Roman restaurants. Whatever you order, save room for the Roman version of cheesecake, Torta di Ricotta.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Valdinievole - Pinocchio's Birthplace and One of Tuscany's Hidden Gems

see filename
see filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pietrabuona
Pietrabuona (Photo credit: kappazeta)
Montecatini Terme
Montecatini Terme (Photo credit: Axel V)
Tuscany fields
Tuscany fields (Photo credit: Yuval Shoshan)
By []Giovanni Balboni

Valdinievole - despite certain claims to fame - is not exactly a red-hot destination among tourists who flock to the region in search of a well-paved, carefully planned holiday to Tuscany. Villas to rent in nearby regions, however, will allow you to explore this tiny hidden gem, which is nestled between the Lucca and Pistoia provinces. Those who do visit the lovely region around Valdinievole are instantly smitten by its low-key, yet memorable charms.

A Cultural Haven

Each little village or hamlet throughout Valdinievole has a story to tell, as does much of Tuscany. Villas to rent may not be a prevalent as those in more high profile regions, but you'll never have a problem finding somewhere to stay. It is an extremely friendly place and the locals all love to share their stories and traditions, especially with foreigners. The result is a true 'melting pot' of different cultures, beliefs and ideas. The natural scenic beauty of the place-from Montalbane to the Valleriana Mountains-is nothing short of jaw dropping, with rolling meadows and low hills of vineyards and olive groves. It is also home to a fantastic museum: the Museum of Natural Science and Archaeology in Palazzo Obizzi, in the town of Pescia.

Pinocchio's Birthplace

Not many people are aware of this, but Valdinievole is where Carlo Lorenzetti was born-specifically in a little town called Collodi. Lorenzetti was the author of a famous story about a little wooden boy named Pinocchio, whose nose increased in length each time he told a lie. Today in Collodi, there is a theme park dedicated to the story of Pinocchio, which will delight the entire family, not just the children. However, it must be said that for those bringing their children to Tuscany, villas to rent in this area would be a hit!

Nature Activities

Valdinievole is rich with natural bounties and scenic beauty, and the locals certainly make the most of it. For some health-giving relaxation, the way nature intended it to be, you can visit the hot springs of Montecatini Terme, where you can luxuriate and regain focus and plan the day's more exhilarating activities.

For a whirlwind tour of the region, take in the charming towns of Vellano, Buggiano, Marliana and Monsummano. Or, for those who are adventurous in spirit, there are hiking or cycling tours designed to give the visitor a comprehensive exploration of the entire Valdinievole. You can start from Pescia then proceed around the winding roads along the mountainside and through the low valleys, providing a memorable opportunity to enjoy the area's wildlife and the always fantastic scenery of Tuscany. Villas to rent in this fantastic region will open your eyes to the lesser-known beauty of Italy.

Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect [http://www.to-tuscany.com/reach-tuscany/tuscany-villas-to-rent/]Tuscany villas to rent in Chianti as well as selected villas in Umbria and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. All our Tuscan properties are personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the region.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Valdinievole---Pinocchios-Birthplace-and-One-of-Tuscanys-Hidden-Gems&id=8349645] Valdinievole - Pinocchio's Birthplace and One of Tuscany's Hidden Gems
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Explore the Peace and Wonder of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi
St Francis of Assisi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Basilica of St. Francis of Assissi
Basilica of St. Francis of Assissi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Assisi
Assisi (Photo credit: ChrisYunker)
Assisi
Assisi (Photo credit: ChrisYunker)
By []Giovanni Balboni

Take a journey back in time to the medieval hill towns and villas in Umbria. Assisi, one of several little towns that have existed for many centuries, retains all the charm and beauty of times gone by. Visitors come here to stroll down narrow lanes while admiring old stone structures that have myriad historical stories to tell. It is an ideal introduction to the beautiful region for travellers who love the Italian charm and a little mystery to boot.

Assisi's Most Famous Resident

Assisi is a popular destination for visitors who want to stay in any of the lovely villas in Umbria. Many are keen to learn more about Saint Francis, the patron saint of Italy. Saint Francis was born here and also preached his message in Assisi, and was revered by the Catholic Church for his good work. He was buried in the lower church of the Basilica di San Francesco upon his death in 1226, which has since become a spiritual and cultural hub for pilgrims and art lovers alike. Two churches together create the basilica, which now stands as one of the loveliest UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy. The lower building is finished in the spare Roman style, which characterizes the simplicity of life of the Franciscan orders this saint began, while the upper church is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture at its best. The walls are covered with Frescos by Italian masters Giotto and Pietro Lorenzetti.

Sites for Pilgrims

Although the basilica and St. Francis' tomb are important sites to see, the town of Assisi has much more to offer pilgrims. The Chiesa Nuova is a domed church rumoured to have been built on the spot of St. Francis' childhood home, and it's a wonderful place to visit. The Duomo di San Rufino, a 13th century church decorated with many grotesque and detailed animals, contains the fountain in which St. Francis was baptized. Those who love nature can visit the Eremo delle Carceri-the caves above Assisi that St. Francis utilized as a retreat-or walk in the saint's footsteps down the olive-tree lined Chiesa di San Damiano, where St. Francis first heard the voice of God.

Many More Gems

Among the many stunning sites that pilgrims may enjoy lie other historical gems. Visitors can discover Assisi's ancient past while visiting the partially excavated Roman Forum on the Piazza del Commune. Just across the piazza stands the Tempio di Minerva, the local Roman building dedicated to the goddess of peace, while perched atop of one of the city's hills, the fortress Rocca Maggiore rests. Visitors can climb the winding staircases and explore the many passageways before taking in the spectacular views over the countryside to distant villas in Umbria.

Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect [http://www.to-tuscany.com/reach-tuscany/tuscany-villas-to-rent/]villas in Umbria, Tuscany and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. All our properties are personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the regions.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Explore-the-Peace-and-Wonder-of-Assisi&id=8349564] Explore the Peace and Wonder of Assisi
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Regional Italian Food And Wine Pairings - Sardinia Dishes And White Wine

Vineyards in the Italian wine region of Brache...
Vineyards in the Italian wine region of Brachetto d'Acqui in Piedmont. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Italian wine Moscato d'Asti from the Piedm...
The Italian wine Moscato d'Asti from the Piedmont region (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Olbia (Sardinia - Italy) King prawns ...
English: Olbia (Sardinia - Italy) King prawns cooked with Vernaccia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Spaghetti all' arrabbiata
Spaghetti all' arrabbiata (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sardinia is an island in southern Italy situated to the southwest of Rome. Sardinia's climate is subtropical and more than half of its territory is devoted to pasture land. Culturally this island is decades away from the rest of Italy. Perhaps for this reason Sardinia is a great tourist destination. Surely for other reasons it has become quite popular with the jet set. And now for a discussion of its food and wine.

For starters, if you're not squeamish try Calamari Fritti (Fried Squid). Among the many suggested wine pairings are Nuragus di Cagliari DOC and Vermentino di Gallura DOCG from Sardinia, Trebbiano d'Abruzzo DOC from Abruzzi, and Fiano di Avellino DOCG from Campania. Given my lack of interest in this dish I would go with the Trebbiano, a wine grape that hardly tickles my fancy..

A great first course is Burrida, a fish soup or chowder whose recipe varies from port to port but often includes Shark or Dogfish. You can find a similar but different Burrida in the northern Italian region of Liguria. The recommended wine pairing for the Sardinian Burrida is the star Sardinian white, Vermentino di Gallura DOCG.

If you like Bouillabaisse you should like Cassula, a spicy fish/seafood soup/stew of Spanish origin also called Cassola. Once again you may pair it with Vermentino di Gallura DOCG. Another suggestion is the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from The Marches.

Aragosta arrosto (Roasted Rock Lobster) is just one of the many ways to prepare lobster, an expensive Sardinian specialty. Suggested wine pairings include Vernaccia di Oristano DOC, if you can find it, or an Italian Pinot Grigio, which you can find just about anywhere.

Pasta is popular in Sardinia. If you're feeling flush, why not add some Lobster? Another typical dish is Pasta Bottarga con Fregola (Sardinian Pasta with Cured Fish Roe). This is another dish for which Pinot Grigio is recommended.

One Sardinian specialty is roasting large animals in a wood-lined pit. I'm told that Porceddu (Roast Suckling Pig) works best. I don't think that you will be prepaing this dish at home, which gives you just one more reason to visit the island. See our companion article I Love Touring Italy - Northern Sardinia for a sample menu and more information on Sardinia wines as well as an in-depth examination of the area's tourist attractions. Vermentino di Gallura DOCG is produced in northeastern Sardinia from the local white Vermentino grape. It may be dry or sweet and holds Italy's top wine classification.



Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers trips to Italy and drinking fine Italian wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.
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Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Love Italian Travel - Wine Touring In Calabria

Kouros di Reggio Calabria
Kouros di Reggio Calabria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Cilea Theatre.
Cilea Theatre. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Calabria - Spanish Style Spaghetti, omelette o...
Calabria - Spanish Style Spaghetti, omelette on top (Photo credit: babe_kl)
Italiano: Reggio Calabria: lastra fittile rinv...
Italiano: Reggio Calabria: lastra fittile rinvenuta nel santuario dell'area Griso Laboccetta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So you have decided to go to Calabria, a lovely region situated at the tip of the Italian boot. There's lots to see in Calabria; this is a traditional area of Italy with fishing villages such as Diamante on the western Tyrrhenian coast. But it's a fishing village with a difference; Diamante is quite the artist colony. If you are lucky enough to be there in late summer you'll see clotheslines with red-hot chili peppers called peperoncini that are hung out to dry. In early September the village hosts a Festival de Peperoncini, called "The South's Carnival" that attracts more than one hundred thousand visitors. The calendar of festivals is too long to reproduce here.

You can ski in the Sila, which is a vast forested kilometer high plateau in the Calabrian interior. Reggio di Calabria is home to Museo Nazionale della Magna Grecia (The National Museum of Greater Greece), a major archeological museum. The old city has Greek walls and Roman baths. And the Falcomata promenade by the sea has been called the most beautiful kilometer in Italy. Their best gelateria, Tonino in the Corso, makes a red onion ice cream (as well as others based on squid ink and nduja, the local spicy salami). Somehow I think I'll pass on these special offerings. Do you think they have good old vanilla?

Calabria wine is mostly at the potential state; for the present the agricultural accent is on citrus and olive groves. The best-known wine is Ciro, produced near the city of that name on the coast of the Ionian Sea. This wine may be red, white, or rose; the red and rose come from Calabria's signature Gaglioppo grape. Other popular red varieties include the local Magliocco, Aglianico the pride of the neighboring region Basilicata, and the international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. White varieties include the local Greco, and the almost ubiquitous Trebbiano (Toscano), Malvasia (Bianca), and Chardonnay.

Companies selling wine tours of Calabria include Delicious Italy, Calabria International Tours, and Wine Tour Italia. Calabria wineries that accept visits include Lento in Lamezia Terme, Statti also in Lamezia Terme, Azienda Vinicola Francesco in Ciro Marina, and Vintripodi Cantine in Archi di Reggio Calabria. A few words of warning are in order. Make sure that you check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some places may charge admission; others may expect you to buy some of their products.



Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine with the right foods. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Visiting Unknown Italy - Small Town Piedmont

In the Italian wine region of Piedmont
In the Italian wine region of Piedmont (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi, in Niche...
The Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi, in Nichelino, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Vineyards during winter in the Italian wine re...
Vineyards during winter in the Italian wine region of Asti in the Piedmont. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are looking for a European tourist destination, you should consider the Piedmont region of northern Italy. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. Some parts of Piedmont haven't yet been discovered by tourists. This short article presents Piedmont outside the capital Turin. A companion article presents Turin.

Piedmont means foot of the mountains, and that describes the area perfectly. A large part of the region is surrounded by hills and by mountains such as the Alps. The Piedmont climate is continental especially in the plains.

Stupinigi is a small village southwest of Turin in central Piedmont. Be sure to see the Hunting Lodge and its Museum of Art and Decoration.

The sunny Alpine valley ski resort of Bardonecchia near the French border hosted some events during the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics and includes snowboarding and ski trails for all skill levels. The nearby village of Sestriere was a main venue during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games and the 2006 Winter Paralympics. The resort offers night skiing and, during the summer, Europe's highest altitude eighteen hole golf course.

Alba contains a cathedral and several churches worth seeing and a great Municipal Museum of Archaeology and Natural Science. But most people go to Alba for the wine and the white truffles. Both Barolo and Barbaresco wines are produced within a few kilometers of the city.

Asti has often competed with its neighbor, Alba. Both produce white truffles. And they are both important wine producers. Asti Spumante, now called Asti, was probably the best-known Italian sparkling wine. Every September Asti celebrates its victory in a Middle Ages battle against Alba in a bareback horse race preceded by a medieval pageant. You'll also want to see the city's remaining towers, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta (Saint Mary of Assunte Cathedral), and the Gothic San Secondo Church.

In 1986 in the Piedmont city of Barolo Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food association to protest against the opening of a MacDonald's in Rome. Within twenty years Slow Food has grown to 80,000 members in 100 countries. See our companion article I Love Touring Italy - Small Town Piedmont for a sample menu and more information on Piedmont wines as well as an in-depth examination of the area's tourist attractions. Piedmont is the region of Italy with the most wines in each of the two top classifications.



Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers trips to Italy and drinking fine Italian wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.
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I Love Touring Italy - Molise Carnival Season 2014

Scorcio
Scorcio (Photo credit: kiki follettosa)
Petrella Tifernina (CB - Molise)
Petrella Tifernina (CB - Molise) (Photo credit: fedeabmo)

Molise is a small region of central Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Carnevale here tends to have somber aspects, arguably more so than in much of the rest of Italy. We'll do things a little different here than in most of the other articles in this series. We will focus on the most significant, often the darkest aspect of Carnevale in several villages and small towns.

Castelnuovo del Volturno is a village of some 250 inhabitants. Carnevale here centers around a man in a deer costume, dressed in rough skins whose face is covered in black and sports horns. Deer Man struggles with a masked man known as "Pulcinella" and escapes looking for food. He is caught by a hunter who beats him. In another version Deer Man wreaks havoc among the cattle until stopped by the saintly Friar Martin. He is then resurrected, an act that purifies him and the entire community whose sins he symbolizes. The villages of Carpinone, Forli del Sannio, and Roccasicura celebrate Carnevale by putting on trail a carnival puppet known as "Fantoccio". He is found guilty and burnt at the stake. In the village of Sant'Agapito his smouldering corpse is thrown off a cliff.

In the village of Tufara Carnevale starts with a street festival featuring joyous groups of painted, masked musicans. But storm clouds are gathering with a procession of the devil, the central figure of this Carnevale, accompanied by several figures dressed in white who keep him in chains until the evening's trail. Can you guess how the trial ends? Soldiers actually fire several live shots, just to make sure that this devil gets his due.

A less violent activity is the "cheese game" held in the small town of Vinchiaturo. Competing teams throw large rounds of cheese down the street. Let's hope that nobody gets hurt. Let's also hope that this delicious Italian cheese doesn't go to waste. Another gastronomical event is "La Raviolata". This event features the famous Scapoli ravioli, served to the hungry masses on the last Sunday of Carnevale in the village of that name.

For many Molise villages and towns Carnivale centers around a puppet dressed in black, with flax in his hand and a potato behind with seven chicken feathers attached. He is often suspended from balconies or from wires hanging in the yards. Even if it's after Carnevale don't miss the Good Friday processions in Campodipietra, Ferrazzano, Riccia, and Termoli. No matter where you go and what you do, make sure to taste some fine Molise wine.



Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers trips to Italy and drinking fine Italian wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.
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Visiting Unknown Italy - Milan

Facade of the Milan Cathedral
Facade of the Milan Cathedral (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The world renowned La Scala opera house in Mil...
The world renowned La Scala opera house in Milan, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
English: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider the city of Milan in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Milan is definitely less tourist infested than many other Italian cites. It is Italy's world-class fashion capital. Other Lombardy destinations are described in companion articles in this series.

Over the millennia Lombardy has been invaded by many including the Etruscans, Gauls, Romans, French, Spaniards, and the Lombards. Keep the region's history in mind as you tour this impressive city.

We start at the Gothic Duomo (Cathedral) built from 1386 to 1809. With an estimated capacity of forty thousand it is Italy's largest church after St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. The Duomo's architecture and art are worthy of an extended visit. Let's quote Mark Twain in his famous travelogue Innocents Abroad: "…They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter's at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands."

Next door is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an enormous Nineteenth Century upscale shopping mall named for the first king of united Italy. The Galleria is one great place for shopping and people watching, but bargains are to be found elsewhere.

La Scala Opera House is another cathedral. Its season runs for about six months, and with only 2800 seats you have to scramble for a ticket. La Scala's beauty is matched only by its magnificent acoustics. The performances are top of the line. And make sure to visit the Museo Teatrale alla Scala.

See the Fifteenth Century Saint Mary of the Graces Church and its refectory which houses a recently restored da Vinci masterpiece, Il Cenacolo, better known by its English-language name, The Last Supper. You must reserve well in advance to catch a fifteen-minute glimpse. Make sure to visit the Municipal Natural History Museum with its adjoining planetarium and Public Gardens offering pony rides, merry-go-round, and miniature train.

Of Italy's twenty regions Lombardy trails only Emilia-Romagna in food production. Much of its food originated abroad, for example, the Spanish brought saffron and rice, two major components of Milan's saffron risotto. See our companion article I Love Touring Italy - Milan for a sample menu and more information on Lombardy wines plus an in-depth examination of Milan's tourist attractions. Lombardy produces the sparkling Franciacorta, said to compete with French Champagne and priced accordingly. I recently shared a bottle of rose Franciacorta with my wine tasting group - we were quite disappointed.



Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers trips to Italy and drinking fine Italian wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Visiting Unknown Italy - Campobasso, Molise

Borrello (CH), 2013, I partecipanti al "C...
Borrello (CH), 2013, I partecipanti al "Cammina Molise". (Photo credit: Fiore S. Barbato)
Molise
Molise (Photo credit: PeterBoc)
Isernia (Molise)
Isernia (Molise) (Photo credit: fedeabmo)
Pettoranello del Molise
Pettoranello del Molise (Photo credit: kiki follettosa)
Petrella Tifernina (CB - Molise)
Petrella Tifernina (CB - Molise) (Photo credit: fedeabmo)

If you are looking for a European tourist destination, consider visiting Campobasso, the capital and largest town (only about fifty thousand) of Molise. Located in central Italy, Molise is one of the smallest regions of Italy and only gained regional status in 1963. Campobasso is geographically near Rome, except for the intervening Appenines Mountains. But if you want to visit the real Italy and be a million miles from Rome culturally, consider touring Campobasso. Be sure to read the companion article describing other sites in Molise.

Before I start telling you why you should visit Campobasso, let me state one reason that might, but should definitely not keep you from visiting; namely the weather. This city is almost one-half mile (700 meters) high, making it one of the coolest towns, weather wise, in the southern half of Italy. It snows a lot in the winter, the summer has an average temperature of approximately 22 degrees C (72 degrees F), and the fall is rainy. Actually, the first two can be quite positive. But the rain is still the rain.

You really will want to see the Castello Monforte, located atop of the Sant'Antonio Mountain. This castle was built in the mid-Fifteenth Century and rebuilt after earthquakes, the first one happened only six years later. It is perched on the hilltop that dominates the town. There are still the traces of ancient settlements including Samnite walls, which were built prior to the Christian era. Next to the castle you will find the Eleventh Century Chiesa della Madonna del Monte (Santa Maria Maggiore Church). Make sure that you don't miss the Cathedral, also called the Chiesa della Santissima Trinita (Church of the Holy Trinity), which was first built after the turn of the Sixteenth Century. It was rebuilt in a Neoclassical style after an earthquake destroyed it three centuries later. The city includes many other classical churches.

The Museo Provinciale Sannitico (Archeology Museum ) was recently opened in the Palazzo Mazzarotta. It boasts a fine collection of art and artifacts that are associated with those pre-Roman Samnites. The recently restored Villa de Capoa is a fine garden with statues and quite a wide variety of plant species. The town is also home to the University of Molise which serves ten thousand students, some of whom are at satellite campuses. And remember, wherever you go, whatever you do, be sure to taste some of the fine local wines.



Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers trips to Italy and drinking fine Italian wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel website www.travelitalytravel.com and his global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com featuring weekly bargain wine reviews.
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