Visiting Pienza, a Cute Tuscan Town – Things to Do & Travel Guide
I went on a day tour of Tuscan towns and Pienza was on the itinerary. I didn’t know much about it before arriving, but it’s a small Renaissance town with beautiful views of the Tuscan countryside – the Val d’Orcia. We had about 2 hours there and I absolutely loved it. Even though the town is tiny, I would recommend a stay of longer than 2 hours.
The History of Pienza
Pienza’s original name was Corsignano and was established in the early medieval era. But Pienza’s history changed drastically when a man named Enea Silvio Piccolomini – popularly known as … Continue reading
Tags: europe, italy, pienza
A Visit to Assisi, the Home of Saint Francis – Things to Do & Travel Guide
I first visited Assisi when I was 16 and absolutely fell in love with it. Even though rain was pouring down hard, I found the town so charming and loved the sweeping views it had over the Umbrian countryside. So when I returned to Italy as an adult, Assisi made my list of places to return. Not only did I get perfect weather, I had a lot more time to explore and appreciate its extensive history.
The History of Assisi
Assisi dates back to the times of the Romans when it was probably called “Assisium.” Its history is tumulus with … Continue reading
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A Look at Arezzo, City of Frescoes – Things to Do & Travel Guide
There are so many small towns to visit in Italy and it was tough deciding which ones I wanted to visit. Arezzo ultimately caught my attention simply because my friend had studied art there. So, armed with a list of places to visit, I set to spend a few hours exploring this Tuscan town.
A Short History of Arezzo
Arezzo started as a major city for the Etruscans. Like many Etruscan cities, it was conquered by the Romans in the 3rd century BC and was subsequently part of Lombardy and the Holy Roman Empire. The structure changed a lot under … Continue reading
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The Medieval Underground City of Orvieto – Things to do & Travel Guide
Orvieto’s only a train ride away from Rome and I was curious to visit since it dates to Etruscan times. What’s particularly fascinating about Orvieto is its city was underground, and I was eager to see what an underground city was all about. So I hopped on the train and made my way to this gorgeous, unique place. Here’s what I thought of it.
The History of Orvieto
I usually start histories at human inhabitation but it’s important to know that Orvieto is actually on a volcanic rock (called tuffa). Because of this, the rock seeps in moisture (meaning … Continue reading
Tags: europe, italy, orvieto
The Walled Tuscan Town of Lucca, Italy – Things to Do & Travel Guide
Lucca, Italy is said to be one of the most charming places in Tuscany, known for its unique amphitheatre, so I couldn’t help but visit for myself. A lot of people say there isn’t much to do in Lucca but I found a few places to visit and got to see it all for myself. So without further adieu, here’s my report on the beautiful walled town of Lucca.
A History of Lucca, Italy
Modern Lucca started off as a Roman town in 180 BC – not surprisingly, as the site of the amphitheatre is still very prominent today. In … Continue reading
Tags: europe, italy, lucca
Siena, a Beautiful Jewel in Tuscany – Things to Do & Travel Guide
Siena’s one of the most popular places to visit in Tuscany. It’s a beautiful medieval town filled with hills, shopping, and history. I’d been before and absolutely loved it, so I made my way back during my most recent visit to see Siena again.
The Story of Siena
Legend has it that Siena was founded by the sons of Remus, as in the Roman Remus and Romulus. With them they took the statue of the babies suckling off the she-wolf and it thus became a symbol of the town. Of course, it was really just brought by the Romans. Today … Continue reading
Tags: europe, italy, siena
Exploring Rome, Ancient and Modern – Things to Do & Travel Guide
I remember not wanting to go to Rome for some reason during my first trip to Italy at 16. Maybe because I wasn’t a huge fan of ancient history. But I also remember getting to the city and falling in love with it. I threw a coin backwards into Trevi Fountain and over a decade later made it back to Rome. Steeped in history and detail, Rome is a place that absolutely must be experienced.
The Essential Sights of Rome
Let’s start out with the very obvious – the Roman Forum. The Colosseum, a famous icon of the … Continue reading
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Ravenna, Italy: the Stunning City of Mosaics – Things to Do & Travel Guide
If you’ve taken art history then you may be very well aware of the mosaics of Ravenna, Italy. They’re surviving and absolutely stunning remnants of early Christian art. I am absolutely floored by the amount of work that goes into making mosaics, nevertheless the age of those in Ravenna – which are about 1500 years old and older! There’s nothing like this to be seen in the rest of the world, making Ravenna a truly unique destination.
The History of Ravenna
Around the time of Christ, Ravenna and its area Classe were actually important seaports. It’s hard to see now … Continue reading
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Volterra, Italy: a Town from Etruscan Times – Things to Do & Travel Guide
Volterra’s been on my list for a long time. The Tuscan hilltop town that dates from Etruscan times caught my attention years ago and, with a stroke of luck, I was able to visit on my latest trip to Italy. Here’s what I thought and what I recommend (and don’t recommend) doing.
A History of Volterra
It’s believed that Volterra was inhabited since around the 9th century BC and was one of the major cities of the Etruscan world. The town was quite big for the time with 20,000 inhabitants, and it was a major center of trade.
The Romans … Continue reading
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Venice, Italy – Things to Do & Travel Guide (It deserves more than a day trip!)
Venice is one of the must-sees of Italy. There are so many places in the world nicknamed after it – “the Venice of the north,” “the Venice of the east,” “little Venice.” But there’s only one real Venice. It has a mixed reputation of being a magical place and one of the most overrated places in the world. My first trip, I found the city to be absolutely beautiful. No doubt it’s touristy, but on my second trip, I found Venice just as charming.
Most people carve out a day to visit Venice and, after a 2020 cancellation, etc., I … Continue reading
Tags: europe, italy, venice