Italy

Italy

The Marche region of Italy has a lot to offer in terms of small towns with medieval architecture and perfectly proportioned piazzas. Ascoli Piceno is no exception. We had taken the train from Grottammare to Ascoli Piceno on a Friday morning as students made their way back from the university at Macerata to home for the weekend; some with pets in travel cages, all with a week's worth of laundry in their bags. The train stations were small, many unmanned and usually covered in graffiti as we trundled along the coast before turning inland. From the train station the modern… KEEP READING
In the hills above Grottammare is the town of Ripatransone. With breath-taking views of the Adriatic it is not only a pretty town with museums, churches and art gallery but also home to the claim of narrowest alley in Italy. I must admit that the alleyway was our primary reason for going to Ripatransone, to see whether we could easily walk through a gap between two houses that was no wider than 43 cms (I'd seen videos on Youtube of slim people making the passage with apparent ease - I was not convinced I would do the same). We arrived… KEEP READING
With unerring lack of timing we arrived in Fermo just as everything started to shut. We did manage to slide into the tourist office before the key was turned and ascertained that 3.30pm was re-opening time. Just 3 hours to wait then! Fortunately the winter sun was high in a blue sky, a food market was in evidence and stone benches leaned against the Piazza del Popolo's colonnaded sides.Food from across Italy was on offer - award winning salami, oranges from Sicily, cheeses from Sardinia, olives from all over and fresh from the fryer a local food, olive and meat… KEEP READING
Recently went on a summer break in Northwest Tuscany. That means all the famous sites: Pisa and its leaning tower, Florence, Lucca et al. But also the hills and mountains of the Alps and Appenines, and the intriguing Bagni di Lucca - the local town where we were based. "Bagni di Lucca" means the Baths of Lucca, and was always known for its healing spas. Bagni was a stop on the Grand Tour bar none. The list of luminaries who stayed there in the 19th and 20th centuries reads like a list of the great and good: Byron, Shelley -… KEEP READING
“We can’t go to Poland over Easter…It’s a very Catholic country, and nothing will be open.” I tell my latest travel companion / victim knowingly, as though its reasons other than the cost of flights influencing my decision. “So why then, did you choose Italy?” he says. Religious holidays aside, we continued with our plans to head to Italy. Landing late Good Friday night, we crashed at a cheap airport hostel in Pisa before continuing on to Florence. Our first taste of religious festivities occurred as we queued outside our hostel reception, when a couple of blank-faced pilgrims broke into… KEEP READING
When I was invited to come on a press visit by Borgobianco Resort & Spa, a luxurious hotel in Puglia, I couldn’t believe my luck! While I’d been on numerous photographic assignments this would be my first freelance trip. What a treat! And so when the day came I packed my camera kit, pen and note-book and flew off to Bari airport via Milan feeling excited and, ssh… don’t tell anyone, just a little nervous. At Bari I met up with Sage Russell from Food Pilgrimage and we were greeted by the driver from the hotel. Soon we were on… KEEP READING
Besides being a foodie's dream location, Bologna also offers a wealth of activities where visitors can interact with its gritty, ancient and intellectual history. It is home to one of the oldest Universities in Europe where public autopsies would be held. There doctors, students, intellectuals and citizens would congregate to see the interior bodies of criminals. This room can be visited, as well as the entire University, although it isn't something I would recommend before or after eating. As for me I operate on a more sinister level where I was famished after such a visit, probably due to the… KEEP READING