March 20 2015 / Local Interest

The Singing Friar of Assisi

Assisi, Umbria

You’d probably re-think “re-incarnation” if you ever met Frate Alessandro, Assisi’s “singing friar.” Short (St. Francis was about 5’4”) with


March 12 2015 / Food & Wine

More than a Snack, this “Ciancino”

San Macario in Piano, Tuscany

West of Lucca in this nondescript village, you’ll note a rotund wine cask on the right with vino sfuso (wine by


March 2 2015 / Food & Wine

Nocera’s “Gourmet Corner”

Nocera Umbra, Umbria

Just peek into the kitchen and you’ll know you’re in a family-run restaurant: high school student Andrea is studying near


February 23 2015 / Local Interest

Il Bar, il Vero Cuore della Città

Assisi, Umbria

The graceful, stately 1st century BC Roman temple to Minerva reigns in the Assisi town center, surveying town life as


February 13 2015 / Local Interest

Heart and Soul of the Farmhouse Kitchen

Umbria

Winter weather predictions warn: “le irruzioni fredde sull’Italia potranno risultare particolarmente intense” (to sum it up, intense cold due). More


December 23 2014 / Events

Presepe Vivente, Still Alive

Umbria and Lazio

The crib scene comes alive – literally – in the mountain villages surrounding Assisi. After all, San Francesco was the


December 11 2014 / Art & Archaeology

Striking Gold in Lucignano

Lucignano, Tuscany

In the small main piazza, stately fortified towers, soaring like stalwart guards, bear witness to Lucignano’s bellicose past. For centuries contested


November 25 2014 / Events

Celebrating l’Albero del Pane

San Martino, Umbria

Rural people baptized it l’albero del pane (“the bread tree”) for this tree grew on the mountains where wheat would not grow (and if


November 6 2014 / Local Interest

Le Tre Sorelle

Abruzzo

From L’Aquila, we drove east towards majestic Gran Sasso, mountain behemoth, passing medieval hill towns – clinging like lichen to


October 24 2014 / Food & Wine

Gorga – Milking Time!

Gorga, Lazio

A bandana on his head to hold back dripping sweat, Giulio sat on the steps just outside the family caseificio


October 9 2014 / Places

Ventotene Checklist

Ventotene, Lazio

Before you leave for a few days on paradiso, aka the island of Ventotene, you’ll probably want to jot down a


September 26 2014 / Events

A Day of Memory in Assisi

Assisi, Umbria

At 11:42 a.m. today in Assisi, all the bells will solemnly toll reminding all of the devastating earthquake on September


September 17 2014 / Food & Wine

Scheggino Enticements

Scheggino, Umbria

A five-kilometer-long tunnel now links the Valle Umbra Nord (North Umbrian Valley) pastoral landscapes – sweeps of vineyards, silvery olive


September 4 2014 / Events

Picantissima Pila!

Pila, Umbria

According to some scholars, the late Etruscan life-sized bronze sculptural masterpiece, “the Orator” (now in the Museo Nazionale Arcaelogico di


August 7 2014 / Food & Wine

Make it Peachy!

Italy

Back in our “farming years,” we’d ride our old Gilera motorcycle to nearby Bettona for peach-picking in July. I’d rather


July 7 2014 / Places

Talla, Town of Uncertainties

Talla, Tuscany

Pino dubbed Talla, tiny town in the Casentino Valley, “il paese delle incertezze.” Yes, “uncertainties” threaded through our visit there. Where


June 19 2014 / Local Interest

Tracking Down Tuscany’s Last Mill

Loro Ciuffenna, Tuscany

The colorful stuccoed houses of Loro Ciuffenna seem stacked like multi-colored children’s blocks along the gorge flanking the Ciuffenna River


June 6 2014 / Events

A Glorious Festa della Repubblica

Gubbio. Umbria

I wonder if Gubbio’s children realize that their Corsa dei Ceri Piccoli is probably the most unique celebration of la Festa della Repubblica


May 29 2014 / Events

Where Wild Asparagus Reigns

Eggi, Umbria

Eggi (pop. about 400), medieval castle village near Spoleto, is celebrating la Sagra degli Asparagi triumphantly this year: with all the rain,


May 13 2014 / Events

La Grande Passione dei Piccoli

Umbria

Missing out on la passione, means missing the full Italian experience. La passione is in the Italian DNA. And that


April 17 2014 / Places

Poppi: Castles and Falcons

Poppi, Tuscany

Medieval churches and hilltop castles crowning gently curving slopes – emerald green in springtime, sprinkled with wildflowers like confetti –


April 4 2014 / Local Interest

L’Aquila Must Soar again

L'Aquila, Abruzzo

L’Aquila (“the eagle”) must once again take flight: now, its wings are fractured. Graced with medieval churches and elegant Renaissance and