Top Ten Most Popular Italian Gems in 2016

Here’s a list of the Top Ten Most Popular posts on Italian Gems in 2016, based on online views of this blog. Titles and photos link to articles for more detail:

  1. A glimpse of Christmas Nativity Gems in Rome, Naples and Salerno

This showcase of some of the oldest and most beautiful Christmas cribs in Italy has proven the most popular post on Italian Gems for a second year running. It is checked throughout the year but readership spikes in December.


2. The spellbinding tales of Benevento’s witches and the walnut tree

My post on the enticing stories of the witches of Benevento in southern Italy was viewed almost every day of 2016. It seems that tales of witches and magic could be a very good marketing tool!


3. A day out in the province of Avellino

This post detailing what visitors can discover during a day-tour of the province of Avellino in Campania took third place. It includes tips on the Abbey of Goleto, the town of Calitri, and local wines to try such as Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino.

Avellino view

4. Revealing the gems under Rome’s church of Saints John and Paul

I’m glad one of my favourite places in Rome is proving interesting for others too. Exploring underneath this site is a great opportunity to see the remains of some ancient Roman dwellings and admire some beautiful and well-preserved frescoes from the period.


5. The Villa of Livia: a forgotten Roman treasure

Not many tourists in Rome have heard that they can visit the Villa of Livia – wife of emperor Augustus. This is the place archaeologists found one of the most famous statues of Augustus, and a stunning fresco cycle. Nowadays you can see the garden where they grew the laurel for the emperors’ triumphal wreaths, and the place where Livia kept a medicinal garden.


6. Finding gems along the Aurelian walls, Rome’s ancient ramparts

Walking around this part of Rome’s ancient walls is a lovely way to spend a day in the city, and it is free. This blog reveals some of the jewels to discover on your stroll.


7. Stromboli volcano: a lesson in respect, nature and life

This is one of a few guest features on Italian Gems: photographer Cris Toala Olivares recalls his time spent on Stromboli, and shares his incredible photos of this awesome volcanic island.

A smoking crater of the active Stromboli volcano. In the backdrop we see the islands Panarea, Lipari, Vulcano and further behind Sicily.

8. Getting lost in Donnafugata and its magical gardens

You may be familiar with Donnafugata if you watch the television series about detective Montalbano, as some of the show was filmed there, and the castle is the home of Mafia boss Don Balduccio Sinagra in the series. This post details what it is like touring this fascinating site in southern Sicily


9. Salerno’s Christmas Lights, Brightening up the Dark Nights

Another popular Christmas post, giving readers an idea of what it is like to tour Salerno in the winter time, when it sets up fabulous lights displays.


10. Tales of Trastevere’s poets: Trilussa

In at Number 10 for 2016 is this biography of Roman poet Trilussa and some translations of his best poems. I’m glad more people around the world are discovering this interesting writer!





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