Category: Italy

Vin Rouge

How can so many French men and women—statistically speaking, of course—eat all that stinky cheese and goose liver without all the heart attacks of our odor-free, foie-free American ecosystem? The answer has to be… Vin rouge!

Sleepers

We’ve now traveled by sleeper coach train through every major west European country except Spain (including our own version of the Orient Express), and it’s uncanny how the experience has reflected the culture of the train’s country of origin. The French coach was dignified and correct, if a bit […]

Roma

A detail from the Roman victory column, Columna Centenaria Divorum Marci et Faustinae, shows how bloody and gruesome most Roman victories were. This particular structure, from AD 193, honors the old sage and Emperor Marco Aurelio (bearded and dispensing wisdom at top left) for his assiduous repression of […]

Ghetto Novo

The word “ghetto” might have been the name of a pair of foul-smelling foundries located in the outer reaches of Cannaregio, a key Sestiere, or district, of Venice. When the Doge Leonardo Loredan and the Serenissima exiled their 700 Jews there on 29 March, 1516, the moniker stuck. From […]

Tourists

My favorite lame travel joke used to be: “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium.” On the current voyage, the new one is: “If you’ve seen one Acropolis, you’ve seen ’em all.” Except… The Greek word technically refers to the summit of a hill, with or without a […]