Blog Archives

Getaway Guide: Exploring Elba, the Island of Napoleon’s Exile 

Elba is the largest island of the Tuscan archipelago and the third-largest in Italy (behind Sardinia and Sicily). With its beautiful beaches and clear blue water, it is a popular getaway for beach lovers, especially during the summer months, but Isola d’elba offers much more. From hiking, swimming, and watersports, to history and museums to great food and drink, you can find a great mix of experiences whether you’re looking to explore Elba, relax, or do both. Here’s what you need to know to plan a getaway to Elba. The History of Elba Island Understanding the island’s history is the first step in discovering Elba. Elba was first inhabited by Ligures Ilvates, a tribe that lived on the land that is modern-day Italy. Since the early tribes, Elba has been occupied by the Romans, Germans, Italians, Spain, British, and French. That’s […]

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Literary Dublin: Discover These Sites That Celebrate Dublin Writers

Dublin has been home to some of the most influential writers in history, many of whom have helped shape the literary world as we know it today.  Iconic novelists such as James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Bram Stoker once called this Irish capital home. Literary Dublin was also home to Samuel Beckett, known for his theatrical work, and poet William Butler Yates, one of the most prominent figures in 20th-century literature.  Dublin is, unsurprisingly, full of literary attractions, from world-renowned museums to former literary hangouts tucked away in the backstreets. Green with Envy On my recent trip to Dublin, part of a paid partnership with Globus Journeys, I had the opportunity to learn and experience literary Dublin as part of their Choice Touring program. Choice Touring has been designed to provide a general group framework, and within that, options […]

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Your Guide to Pecorino Cheese: Tuscany’s Best Kept Culinary Secret

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that Italy is a food-lovers dream. Italian food is often associated with al fresco dining, sitting on a balcony overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany, and digging into a delightful pasta dish accompanied by a glass of wine. We did plenty of that during our recent two-week stay in Tuscany, where conversation with friends is as much a part of Italian cuisine as the food and wine. One of the tasty treats that we enjoyed during our time in Tuscany was pecorino cheese. We were fortunate to be staying just about half a mile from a local pecorino cheese factory, where it was easy to pick up some delicious aged pecorinos for a fraction of what they’d cost here at home. Plus we could take a look at those hard-working […]

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Best Aperol Spritz: A Complete Guide to the Classic Italian Cocktail (with Recipe)

The history of the renowned Aperol spritz cocktail can be traced back to the mid-1950s, although the hero ingredient was developed some thirty years prior. In this article, you will learn about the history of this refreshing delight, the role it plays in Italian culture, and its ever-increasing popularity around the world. I’ve also got a classic Aperol spritz recipe so you can make it at home, along with a few specialty variations that can be used to change up the classic cocktail and as well as options to make other spritz cocktails. If you’ve never experimented with making Aperol spritz or other forms of spritz cocktails, you will be more than equipped to do so after navigating through this article.  History of Aperol In 1919, two Italian brothers, Luigi and Silvio Barbieri, were on a quest to create a […]

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101 Movies Set in Italy You’ll Love (or Hate)

Even if you can’t travel to Italy right now, you can get your Italian culture fix with these 101 movies set in Italy. This list represents films set in Italy, not necessarily filmed in Italy – we all know that set designers can make a studio backlot look like the meandering streets of Venice or a Tuscany hill town. While most of these movies are in English, no Italy movie list can ignore the many fine sub-titled Italian movies, so I’ve included some of those. I’ve tried to include the memorable, historical, and romantic movies set in Italy, while acknowledging there are a few that are, perhaps, better forgotten. And if you’re planning a first trip to Italy, this is a great list of movies to watch before you go. Any list is subjective. If your favorite movie set in […]

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13 INCREDIBLE Places to Celebrate the Spring Equinox

The spring equinox is the time of year when the sun lies directly above the equator, meaning that the length of day and night are equal. It is also referred to by other names, such as Ostara equinox and the vernal equinox. The Spring Equinox falls on different days each year, although it is usually around the same time. In 2022, it lands on March 20th in the Northern Hemisphere and September 22nd in the Southern Hemisphere. It marks the beginning of spring in the Northern hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. The confusion between spring and fall with the hemispheres is why it’s sometimes easier to just refer to it as the vernal equinox (even though vernal means spring, it sometimes sounds less confusing). For thousands of years, ancient civilizations have held spring equinox celebrations. Spring […]

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Paris Pantheon: Finding Where the Bodies Are Buried

Paris is known for its charming architectural attractions, rich history, bold romantic overtones, exquisite food, and more. On my first visit to France, I visited the Paris Pantheon, a neoclassical church in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and it quickly became one of my favorite places in the city. The Pantheon in Paris was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome and has a domed top similar to the one on Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London. Although the Pantheon was originally an abbey, it now primarily serves as a burial place for famous French heroes, leaders, artists, and writers. The imposing structure is made of stone and marble and supported by 22 Corinthian-inspired pillars. The building’s entrance is headlined by the inscription “AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE” (To great men, the grateful homeland). The interior of the building is decorated with […]

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Planning Your Perfect Trip to Ireland: Easy Tips & Tricks

Start planning your perfect trip to Ireland with these easy tips and tricks. These tried and true recommendations will help make your Ireland vacation full of adventure and memories. While our thoughts to turn Ireland in March because of St. Patrick’s Day, the Emerald Isle is a terrific vacation spot throughout the year. Whether you define Ireland as the Republic (an independent country) or as Northern Ireland (part of the U.K.), we have some tips and recommendations for planning your perfect trip to Ireland. So pour a cuppa (Irish Breakfast Tea, of course), grab some of those delicious shortbread cookies and start planning your perfect Ireland vacation. Are you excited to plan your Ireland vacation? Here are a few other things to keep in mind: The Republic of Ireland uses Euros as its currency, Northern Ireland uses British Pounds. There […]

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5 Tuscan Towns for a Perfect Day Trip

It’s been a while since we’ve traveled to Italy, and it’s time to start making plans for a return visit. Our travel preference is to travel with friends and rent a home in Italy to use as a home base. Having a home base lets us set up a combination of days at leisure to relax and soak up the Italian way of life along with busy days of day trips to see the countryside. There are many things that we love about Italy, especially the hill towns in Tuscany. Here are a few of our favorite Tuscan towns that are perfect as a home base, day trip, or weekend getaway. Castiglione d’Orcia Where it is: In the Siena province in Tuscany. Population around 3,000. What to do: Visit the Castle of Tentennano and the Santi Stefano and Degna to […]

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UNESCO Site: Visiting Malbork Castle, Poland

A visit to Malbork Castle Museum will feature both the historical and artistic aspects. There are also some archaeological activities and research, always looking for ways to add depth to the layers of history of the Teutonic Order and the Castle. The Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, usually referred to as the Teutonic Order, is a Catholic religious order dating back to the 12th century. Although it was originally founded as a German military brotherhood, it’s purpose has changed over the years and since 1929 it has been strictly a religious order, although it harkens back to those early years with the conference of honorary knighthoods. Today the Catholic branch of the Order has about 1,000 members, and while originally no women were permitted, members today include a couple of hundred nuns. The Castle of […]

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