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 of Italy. One of my favourite aspects of the Veneto … 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

Naples’ Pharmacy of the Incurables: merging science, magic, and art

Naples’ Ospedale degli Incurabili is an old and still-functioning hospital in the centre of the southern Italian city that is linked to a wealth of interesting stories of early medicine, magic and alchemy, religious people and those recognised as saints for dedicating their lives to helping the poor and sick here. Founded around 1520, it … More Naples’ Pharmacy of the Incurables: merging science, magic, and art

Palermo’s Palazzina Cinese: a Bourbon king’s fantasy of China

When visiting Palermo in Sicily, you might be expecting to see a range of cultural influences, including, Norman, Arab and Spanish, but the existence of a palace designed in a Chinese style may come as more of a surprise. As trade with Asia grew in the 17th and 18th centuries, people across Europe started to collect … More Palermo’s Palazzina Cinese: a Bourbon king’s fantasy of China

Stanze al Genio: preserving Italy’s majolica tile treasures

Collector Pio Mellina first took an interest in traditional Italian hand-painted “majolica” floor tiles around the age of 12, when he used to go rummaging around antique markets in Sicily with his art-loving mother. Their bright colours and varied patterns were the initial aspects that intrigued him. These often revealed glimpses of the origin and … More Stanze al Genio: preserving Italy’s majolica tile treasures