“The Creator made Italy from designs by Michelangelo.”
– Mark Twain
I call it a veritable open-air museum.
From the impressive Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals of northern and central Italy to the ancient religious architecture in the Southern regions, Italy has it all.
The splendor of Baroque architecture runs throughout the country, in the grandeur of the buildings and the richly decorated churches of Naples and Sicily. The unique and fascinating valley of the Temples in Agrigento, the mysteries of Pompeii and Herculaneum in Campania all the way to the Etruscan civilization around Tuscia in Lazio – the splendid architecture holds me mesmerized in its silken threads.
“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.”
– Giuseppe Verdi
The Wanderers’ flavor has always bordered on being unique and one of a kind. It’s not just about packing in the destination – but about nudging the traveler to explore the far and beyond – unraveling the myriad layers, the exotic culture, the people and more…
It could be as simple as spending a relaxed afternoon sipping wine in a street side cafe outside The Pantheon in Rome or in front of the many piazza’s that form the heart of every city in Italy.
Or moving away from the traditional ‘villas’ and ‘boutique hotels’ – exploring the gorgeous city in a houseboat.
A stay in a farmhouse in the heart of the Tuscan countryside with a spa treatment is what a holiday is all about.
A full day horse riding safari in the hills with a picnic hamper is what picnics are meant to be about.
A trip down the Grand Canal to Mark’s Square in a private boat followed by a Gondola ride followed by a dinner in one of the restaurants on the way back to Venice station or your hotel holds the promise of bringing back the romance.
A drive down the Amalfi Coast; an evening walk through Florence…
And whilst in Florence – climb the soaring cupola of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, or Duomo, for views over red rooftops to Tuscany’s undulating hills beyond.
Captivating is Michelangelo’s David which stands proud behind the doors of the Galleria dell’Accademia, only rivaled in scale and splendor by the Uffizi Gallery where Boticellis, da Vincis and other Italian Old Masters hang out.
Traverse the River Arno via the medieval Ponte Vecchio to picnic beside statues and fountains in the regal Boboli Gardens.
Head out to our favorite Tuscan village: San Gimignano, which I believe, is one of the most splendid examples of medieval towns.
It’s a whole new world which awaits you…
A trip to Italy without immersing yourself in its gastronomy isn’t a trip to Italy! This is a land where food is made out of nothing but pure love – so what better place for lovers to share a meal?
Whether it is the pesto sauce of Genoa or the ‘original’ pizza from Naples, the delicious mozzarella di bufala, or the porcetto in Sardinia, each of the regions have unique cuisines that makes Italy an epicurean’s paradise.
Take up a cooking class – learn how to make Appetizer Sicilian style, Pasta Norma Style (with eggplant, tomato sauce and salted ricotta cheese), Breaded veal rolls or meat-balls Sicilian style, Cassata Siciliana with Mrs Eleonora Consoli in her La Cucina del Sole (The Sun’s Kitchen)
And for your sweet tooth – sample the exotic struffoli from Naples, caggionetti from Abruzzo, and panforte from Siena along with Italy’s Christmas cakes from Milan and Verona – panettone and pandoro.
And how can you ever forget Italy’s love affair with wine and cheese is well known. Amarone from Veneto, Barolo from Piedmont, Chianti Classico from Tuscany are but a few that you must savor on your journey.
Whether its white, rosé or red, this country boasts a huge number of the world’s best wines.
Head out on a wine tasting trip – Visit the cellars and wine tasting in Tenuta San Michele, an ancient estate located on the slopes of the Etna Volcano.
Or simply spend a week in Tuscany to explore the vineyards and savor the rich taste of the wines.
It’s a journey of pleasure – wandering through beauty, discovering gastronomic delights, rediscovering history and more…
– Meenakshi Shankar
Image Credit – Fototeca ENIT (Tourism Italy)