Surprise Sunshine and Serendipity

The snow and ice got Brian and Maria reminiscing about one of their last, unexpectedly balmy days in Italy, while traveling through Puglia’s Salento peninsula this past fall. Read More...

48 Hours: Lago di Como (Lake Como)

Though the Amalfi Coast is often considered the most spectacular combination of water, mountain, and fishing village scenery Italy has to offer, the placid glacial depths of Lake Como--ringed by lush, tumbling slopes and the distant peaks of the snow-capped Alps—gives the Costiera Amalfitana a run for its money.

Old-world elegance (Como is home to a number of historic villas), modern luxury (this is where George Clooney famously owns a holiday retreat), and traditional charm (despite the villas and A-listers, Como remains a land of tiny towns and humble polenta) combine to attract visitors who revel in the romance and beauty of this breathtaking lake. Read More...

Italy’s Best Charcuterie: From Prosciutto Crudo to ‘Nduja

Of Italy’s iconic foods—pasta, olive oil, truffles, and wine come to mind—perhaps the most humble yet noblest among them are gli affettati, the vast array of cured pork charcuterie that unite everyone from gruff workman, pausing mid-morning to revive themselves with towering pane e prosciutto sandwiches, to chic urbanites, relaxing over an evening aperitivo accompanied by the same prosciutto elegantly wound around thin grissini breadsticks. Read More...

Puglia’s Castel del Monte

If, while in Puglia, you can pull yourself away from this southern region’s whitewashed villages, turquoise sea, and heaping plates of orecchiette a cime di rape, consider a visit to Castel del Monte. Read More...

Behind Closed Doors: Visiting Private Museums and Artwork in Italy

Italy is saturated with art, and not only in the big ticket cities like Rome, Florence, or Venice. Virtually every hamlet and hilltown in Italy boasts at least one masterpiece tucked away in the local parish church or dusty municipal gallery which, if it were housed in any city in the New World, would be the crown jewel of a lavish dedicated museum and marketed to its last dab of tempera.

But if your head swims at the thought of the incredible volume of art displayed publicly in Italy, consider the treasures that hide behind closed doors. Centuries of noble families amassing sumptuous private collections mean that there are untold Stendhal moments tucked away in the elegant apartments of Italy’s private palazzi and castles. Many of these are off-limits to visitors outside the family’s close circle, but many others can be quietly and privately seen...if you just know how. Read More...

Piero della Francesca Trail

Italy is so dense with history, art, and—most importantly—incredible food that it’s a gratifying country to simply wander guided by serendipity (and an expert travel planner) rather than an overly precise game plan. That said, themed itineraries organized around a specific artist, food, or historical period are an excellent way to both give a bit of structure and context to your meanders and discover memorable hidden spots that probably wouldn’t have made the A-list classic tour.

One favorite is the Piero della Francesca trail, winding through some of the prettiest towns on the Tuscany-Le Marche border where this Renaissance painter and mathematician lived and worked during the second half of the 1400s. Read More...