High life in Italy on a budget

Yes, it's possible to enjoy the famed dolche vita on a budget. With a little planning and know-how, you can travel cheaply in Italy without skimping on all the pleasures that Italy has to offer, especially the eating and drinking part. Catch the train - Italy has a cheap and excellent train system, which leaves Australian... Continue Reading →

Passegiata with a ferret

Well, I've seen it all now. In the picture-perfect town of Ascoli Piceno in Italy's eastern Le Marche region, this rather dapper gentleman was taking his ferret for a passegiata. There were no eyebrows raised by the good people of Ascoli Piceno as he strolled around the main square with families, couples, poseurs, old men... Continue Reading →

Lucca for free (or bugger all money)

Lucca is one of Italy’s wealthiest cities. Not too much of Il Crisi for Lucchesi! A mix of Tuscan villa wealth, well-trod English ex-pats, day-tripper distance to both Cinque Terre and Florence will do it. Plus Lucca has plenty of its own many attractions – walled city, medieval towers and alleyways and, being Puccini’s birthplace, lots... Continue Reading →

Arezzo: the “other” Tuscan town

So, you’ve done Florence, Venice, Rome. You’ve even knocked off a few heavy Tuscan hits, Siena, San Gimingnano and Cortona. But have you been to Arezzo? Or even heard of it? Here’s six good reasons to go there: It’s on the major train line between Florence and Rome, so it’s a cinch to get to.... Continue Reading →

Wine Wednesday: the Barolo wars

Welcome to a new segment ... Wine Wednesday! Every Wednesday I'll do my take on some wine I've been sampling lately. My qualifications? I'm Australian (and therefore don't mind a drink!!) I've done a few wine tasting courses over the years and done the rounds of Australian and Kiwi wine countries. And a few overseas ones... Continue Reading →

The Quiet Italian

"You are too noisy", says the proprietor. Say what? This is Italy. The Quiet Italian. There's no such thing. She laughs uproariously then pours the wine. That's better. Italy, noise, confusion, jibes. Finally something I can work with. We are at a co-op restaurant, which doubles as a community centre, crèche and unofficial choir practice... Continue Reading →

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