Perched high above the instep of the Boot in the eastern extreme of the region of Basilica is a city unlike any other in Italy. What makes Matera unique and marks it as a Southern Italian “must see” are its historic, or rather prehistoric, quarters: the sassi. Literally meaning “the rocks,” Matera’s sassi offer the best example of troglodyte (cave-...

Tuscany’s medieval Lucca holds you captivate until you fall in love with this gorgeous walled city near the Ligurian Sea. Using Pisa as a base to explore Tuscany, train travel to Lucca, Florence, and Siena couldn’t be easier. Lucca Lucca’s commanding medieval wall encircles the historic centre and confronts you at its imposing gates. Once within th...

Located in central Italy southeast of Florence, the town of Arezzo has a population of 99,199 as of 2019. The town is the center of agricultural trade in Italy. Its industries include clothing, gold, jewelry and machine. Arezzo has been called home by some very prominent people of history and today, such as the botanist Andrea Cesalpino, Guido of A...

During a recent visit to Sicily I had the occasion to visit the Sanctuary of Gibilmanna. Situated about 2,400 feet above sea level, it is believed to be the first shrine in Italy dedicated to the Blessed Mother. Just outside of the coastal town of Cefalù, in the province of Palermo, our bus driver drove us safely to the summit of the Pizzo Sant’Ang...

The Italian low Renaissance marks a pivotal time in art history when Italy shifted from the Gothic style of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance style that the world is now familiar with. The change in technique was well received by the new ruling class. As Italy began to recover from the economic chaos of the Middle Ages wealthy, independent, city-s...

If Florence is your destination, it's more than likely that you will arrive at the station called Santa Maria Novella, or Firenze SMN for short. It is Florence's main station, built in the Modernist style in 1934, used by 59 million passengers per year, and named after the nearby enormous Dominican church begun in 1246. Normally areas near stations...

Closed since 2012 following a landslide, the Via dell'Amore (Lovers’ Lane), the Cinque Terre’s most famous path, is scheduled to be repaired starting this fall and reopened in 2023, according to a plan presented by the Cinque Terre National Park last week. The scenic trail that connects the villages of Riomaggiore and Manarola, the first two of the...

Sicilian Baroque is a distinctive form of Baroque architecture in Sicily, which flourished after a massive earthquake in 1693 destroyed at least 45 towns in south-eastern Sicily, among them Catania, Ragusa, Modica, Scicli and Ispica. Rebuilding began almost immediately; local architects, many of whom had trained in Rome, were inspired to recreate t...

Steps. Up and down canals, up and down ancient hiking trails, up and down vertical towns … steps. Thousands, maybe a million steps, were not what envisioned when I mapped out a cross-country trip to the picturesque coasts of Italy this summer. I flew into Rome and spent a few days exploring the capital, the Renaissance city of Florence and even too...

My relationship with Piedmontese, the dialect of my region, has always been ambivalent. Growing up in a small rural community, I learned it without even noticing, because everyone around me would speak it. Even my parents, who would always speak in Italian to me, often switched to Piedmontese when chatting to one another. My grandparents used it ex...