Italy Travel

» Kathy McCabe

La Venaria Reale: One of Italy’s Great Royal Palaces
Published on Monday, January 9, 2012 by If your travels take you to the Italian region of Piedmont, don't miss La Venaria Reale. The former country retreat of the House of Savoy is one of the largest royal palaces in the world. It was built in the 17-th century for Duke Charles Emmanuel II who wanted a hunting lodge outside of Turin. The name "La Venaria Reale" derives from the Latin Venatio Regia meaning "...
Matera: Basilicata’s City of Sassi (Cave Shelters)
Published on Monday, January 2, 2012 by One of the most unusual places I have visited in Italy is the city of Matera in the southern region of Basilicata. Matera has a unique landscape made up of sassi, which are ancient cave shelters built into tufa rock. Stacked on top of each other, they almost look like a honeycomb from a distance. The old, weathered look of the sassi and Matera inspired Mel Gibson t...
Bologna Voted “Most Livable” and Turin Voted “Most Sustainable”
Published on Monday, December 26, 2011 by People get into endless debates about the "best" of all the Italian cities. Is Rome better than Florence or Venice better than Milan? It is impossible to pick the best city in Italy but it is definitely possible to categorize them a bit. Two Italian cities have won "best" labels this month - Bologna for livability and Turin for environmental sustainability. A surve...
Why Bread in Tuscany Doesn’t Have Salt
Published on Monday, December 19, 2011 by One of the great joys of eating in Italy is munching on fresh Italian bread. Yet when you bite into your first piece of while visiting Tuscany (and also much of Umbria), you might be surprised at what is missing. It might take a moment to realize that there's no salt! This type of bread is called pane toscano.  So how did the Tuscans miss this key ingredient that y...
Visit Testaccio Market in Rome Before It Changes Forever
Published on Sunday, December 11, 2011 by Foodies in the know say that Testaccio Market (Mercato di Testaccio) is one of the best places in Rome to buy meats, cheeses, fruit, vegetables, seafood and all the key ingredients for cooking an authentic Italian meal. Testaccio  is the city's traditional working class neighborhood (and home to former slaughterhouses) located on on the left bank of the Tiber Rive...
Venice’s Bridge of Sighs Has Been Restored
Published on Sunday, December 4, 2011 by After three years of restoration work, during which time it was covered in advertising billboards, Venice's Bridge of Sighs has been finished and is now visible again to travelers visiting Venice.  The bridge connects the Doge's Palace to a building that was once a prison. The bridge got its name because it was said that prisoners crossing the bridge and catchin...
Christmas in Italy: The Tradition of Italian Nativity Scenes
Published on Sunday, November 20, 2011 by I'm just back from a few weeks in Italy where I saw the first signs of the holidays with Christmas trees in shop windows and a few presepi on display. A presepio is a creche or Nativity scene and  handmade versions by Italian artisans are an integral part of Italian Christmas celebrations.  If you will be in Italy during the holiday season, here are a few places to ...
Celebrating White Truffles in Alba Italy
Published on Tuesday, November 8, 2011 by It is the season for white truffles (tartufi bianchi)  also known in Italy as "white diamonds" for their expensive price of hundreds of dollars for just a hundred grams. One group of these rare gems can be found around Alba in the region of Piedmont and the whole area seems to go truffle crazy in the month of November. There are five kinds of white truffles of...
Limoncello: Italy’s Famous Lemon Liqueur
Published on Sunday, October 23, 2011 by On the terraced hills of Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the Mediterranean sun and ocean air combine with volcanic soil to produce lemons the size of grapefruits. For hundreds of years, southern Italians have used the thick, juicy skins of these Sorrento lemons, named after the nearby town of Sorrento, to create a sweet tangy, liqueur known as limoncello (as the Italian word ...
San Miniato in Tuscany: Truffles on the Via Francigena
Published on Sunday, October 16, 2011 by The town of San Miniato, located halfway between Pisa and Florence, is a must for history lover and foodies alike.  At the end of the 10th century, Otto I made San Miniato an outpost of the Holy Roman Empire.  In medieval times, the town sat on the via Francigena, an important pilgrimage route between northern Europe and Rome, bringing many visitors and invaders. In...