Tag: Italy

Italy

Sleepers

We’ve now traveled by sleeper coach train through every major west European country except Spain, and it’s uncanny how the experience has reflected the culture of the train’s country of origin. The French sleeper was dignified and correct, if a bit prim. The Italian was a wonderfully stylish mess. […]

Cucina Italiana

For what it’s worth, our rules for eating out in Italy (unless you’re desperate, of course): 1. Avoid any restaurant large enough to accommodate a busload of gawkers. Especially one with bright lights, huge, curtained windows, and elaborate chandeliers. Gaudy is good—just not that kind of gaudy. 2. […]

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 […]

Venezia

There was a time when the mask business in Venice was more than just a quirky feature of the tourist trade. No one really knows if the original intent was political (for anonymous voting) or social (to disguise your class and identity). But by the 12th century, both […]

Carrara

Our coolest photo shoot ever took us to the Fantiscritti marble fields in the hills above Carrara, in Tuscan Italy, in search of the hole the quarrymen left in 1464 when cutting out the marble for Michelangelo’s David. Within minutes, we were soaked to the bone by the […]