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

Le Castella: a pearl in the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea

Several of my Calabrian friends had told me about Le Castella, south of Crotone, long before I came to visit. I had looked at pictures of the castle here on its peninsula jutting out into the blue seas, an enticing sight that drew me to this place. But the photos did not compare to actually … More Le Castella: a pearl in the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea

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

Tales of Trastevere’s poets: Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

I first came across the Roman poet Giuseppe Gioachino Belli during nights out in Trastevere, when I used to pass his statue in the piazza dedicated to him on my way home. I was curious to discover the work of this man, so beloved in Rome, so I set out to study his dialect poetry. Belli (1791-1863) is … More Tales of Trastevere’s poets: Giuseppe Gioachino Belli

A mystical emerald in Naples: Virgil’s park at Piedigrotta

(This blog was originally posted by ItalianGems. If you are interested in reading more like it, follow me at https://italiangems.wordpress.com/ ) Years ago I read about the park in Naples dedicated to the poet Virgil, on the site where he is supposedly buried. It was just before one of my first trips down to the southern … More A mystical emerald in Naples: Virgil’s park at Piedigrotta