The full list

Here are links to the 100 Italian Gems located, broken down by region from South to North, and by city. This is not an exhaustive list of Italian hidden gems and stand-out sites, but it is a selection based on travel and research between 2010 and 2016, in which priority was given to southern and … More The full list

A walk to St. Francis’ retreat outside Cortona

Le Celle Hermitage is a peaceful retreat within walking distance from the Tuscan hilltop town of Cortona. It is one of the places that Saint Francis, patron saint of animals, the environment, and Italy, chose to spend time in prayer and reflection, reaching it in the early 13th century. According to information at the site, … More A walk to St. Francis’ retreat outside Cortona

Hunting for antique treasures in Cortona and Arezzo

Cortona sits on a hilltop in the province of Arezzo, Tuscany, surrounded by panoramic views of the Valdichiana and the Sienese mountains. With lots of quality local food and wine, an exceptional museum of Etruscan history, a collection of fine art in the Diocesan museum, and many interesting sites to see nearby, it is a … More Hunting for antique treasures in Cortona and Arezzo

A stroll around San Quirico d’Orcia and its public gardens

When I was preparing my trip to Tuscany while working as an English teacher in Rome, I surveyed my Italian students to uncover the best hidden jewels in the area around Siena. One of them I remember immediately suggested San Quirico d’Orcia, a town I had never heard of but that sounded ideal for my … More A stroll around San Quirico d’Orcia and its public gardens

A weekend journey through Valpolicella and Valpantena

Valpolicella in the Veneto, known locally as the “pearl of Verona”, is a hilly and scenic area of Italy where you can tour vineyards, discover the local range of wines from Valpolicella Classico to Amarone, and visit some of the most beautiful and elegant villas in the country. If you are planning a holiday to … More A weekend journey through Valpolicella and Valpantena

Cerveteri’s Banditaccia: the Etruscan kingdom of the afterlife

Cerveteri’s Necropolis of Banditaccia is the greatest example of Etruscan burial traditions and architecture and one of the most significant ancient sites in the Mediterranean. If you are interested in learning more about the Etruscans, who held power in the Italian peninsula before the Romans and strongly influenced its culture, Cerveteri is an essential stop … More Cerveteri’s Banditaccia: the Etruscan kingdom of the afterlife