• #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: NORMANDIE

    1  Mont Saint Michel The only possible number one. Although is closer and more intimately connected to Bretagne, it will be top-of-mind for any escape in Western France. I wrote more about “the wonder” here. 2 Pays de Caux and The Alabaster Coast. La Cote d’Albatre is the French counterpart of the famous white cliffs that are the picture-perfect signature of the English Channel coastline. It makes for a great roadtrip, with its towns and villages of quaint charm and the often striking beauty of the high falaises. Stop in Etretat, Yport, Fecamp, Veules-les-Roses, Dieppe. Etretat has the most beautiful cliffs, Fecamp is a jewel of a town where you…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: ROME

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s not to visit in a day. Follow #vacanzeromane to see how endless and timeless Rome really is, but if you have but a weekend or a few days for the città eterna, this is what to absolutely do and the “grazie, però no”. 1. The Spanish Steps and Trinita dei Monti Piazza di Spagna is high on the must list, but what you are really looking for is the scalinata (the Spanish steps) in fiore, and the classic climb up to Trinita dei Monti. Take your time in the Piazza della Trinita dei Monti and then some more time to visit the…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: VENEZIA

    1. Off-season Venice: by all means, travel outside summer season or Carnival week (unless you have tickets to one of the official balls, then you simply have to throw it all in). Venice is so full of tourists that you can hardly call any time of the year “off season”, but I discovered that La Serenissima is only serene in winter, and maybe some blissful days in early spring or late autumn. Check this out for Venice in winter. The wind in the lagoon may be chilly at times, but you’ll discover a truer, more fascinating face of Venice. 2. A room with a view: definitely look for that when…

  • everydaymagic

    Fall escape: Vendemmia in Toscana

    September is here, so we are slowly getting ready for one of our favorite escapes, the vendemmia in Toscana. And while we’re at it, we save the dates in the calendar – well, the usual wonders: the winetastings, the community harvest and the exploration of the cantine, the local fairs honoring Baccus, the mystery tours and the pranzoni – all the incredible food of the season. This year, due to hot weather and climate particularities, the vendemmia takes place sooner than usual. Forecast says historical low harvest but some extraordinary grapes to be expected in very limited quantities. Heat waves and extreme weather grew smaller, atypical grapes, and quality variations…

  • everydaymagic

    A story about hotdogs

    As we are true fans of #streetfood, one of the pieces de resistance is the hot dog. Foodies may be snobs where hotdogs are concerned, since mass production often spoils the spirit of the perky dog. But there are still brave hot dogs’ creators in the world, proving that any popular food can become a masterpiece, with the right dedication and ingredients. Gourmet hotdogs are on the rise 🙂  A short history of the hot dog Call it Wiener or Frankfurter, the Germans invented this type of sausage, but then it was brought to the United States in the 1800s by immigrants, and quickly it became extremely popular, a working-class food sold at street…

  • everydaymagic

    Eating my way through Bologna

    When it comes to food, Bologna has looots of things to say to the foodie. But if so happens that you only have one day to spend on roaming the city streets, there are two food hubs that you need to pin on google map: Via delle Pescherie Vecchie – right in the city center near Piazza Maggiore, and Via Pratello, near San Francesco Church, known almost exclusively to locals.

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON VERONA

    The city of Romeo and Juliet can become a love story, and not necessarily a tragic one.  Of all the things to love here, the house of Giulietta and the famed balcony are the least lovable, while the tons of heart and Cupid and flashy red souvenirs are maybe the only real tragedy  that happened to this place.  So forget about that story, and bear in mind that Shakespeare wrote two more Verona-related plays: Two Gentlemen of Verona and the wonderful Taming of the Shrew.  I very much  wanted to see the house where Katherina was tamed, but no reference to that, I’m afraid. There is still the house of…

  • fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP,  Uncategorized

    Mont Saint Michel, legend of tides

                Is it a castle or an island? Is that the desert or the sea? Is it Bretagne or Normandie? Each day, this castle becomes an island, then the sea withdraws to leave treacherous sands behind. Meanwhile, a whimsical little river draws the border between the two realms, making Mont St. Michel part of Normandy. The mountain has always been a place of awe; beautiful and inaccessible, it caused many to perish at the mercy of tides. And as it happens with so many places of awe and beauty, it has always been a site of worship. In the early days of Christianity, monks were…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: VALENCIA

    Last day in Valencia and here are the likely and unlikely musts in this gorgeous and happily (and thankfully) underrated city – besides paella and the old city center. ‪Random order, you really have to try them all 1. Bioparc – you can call it a zoo, but you’ll be grossly inaccurate. This is the most wonderful “zooimmersion” you’ve seen. The concept of immersing the visitor into the animals’ habitat – and not the other way round, the way a classical zoo does – is magically re-creating  Africa in Valencia downtown.