Villa Palagonia: the enchanted mansion of monsters

At a first glance, Villa Palagonia in Bagheria, to the east of Palermo, could be a villa like any other. But walk further into its gardens, and you will enter into the strange and mysterious world of Francesco Ferdinando Gravina II, the eccentric 18th century Prince of Palagonia. The villa was constructed on behalf of … More Villa Palagonia: the enchanted mansion of monsters

Pentedattilo: one of the last great myths of the world

Pentedattilo, on the southern tip of Calabria, is the first true “ghost town” I have ever visited. Inhabited as far back as the Greek era in the 7th century BC, most of it is now just an empty shell, though local artisans are starting to open up workshops and trinket stores in some of the … More Pentedattilo: one of the last great myths of the world

Calabria in the footsteps of the poet Edward Lear: Stilo

I first read about Stilo in the English poet and landscape painter Edward Lear’s account of his journeys throughout Calabria in 1847, which brought him to this hilltop town. Lear, who is best known for his nonsense poems including “The Owl and the Pussycat” spent part of that year walking across this southern Italian region … More Calabria in the footsteps of the poet Edward Lear: Stilo

Finding the treasures of the goddess Hera at Capo Colonna

With modern life increasingly dominated by technology, holidays are becoming one of the rare chances to spend time immersed in nature, when we can try to look at the world around us rather than computer screens. Calabria, with its wild landscapes and panoramic views of the sea, is an ideal place to reestablish a connection … More Finding the treasures of the goddess Hera at Capo Colonna

Exploring the depths of Procida’s Abbey of Saint Michael

I visited Procida in the bay of Naples earlier this year and after a delicious fish meal by the shore, I prepared to explore the most intriguing corner of the island: the Abbey of Saint Michael the Archangel. It’s perched on the highest point of Procida, in the “Terra Murata” surrounded by fortified walls built in the … More Exploring the depths of Procida’s Abbey of Saint Michael