Category Archives: Italy

Sicily: the crucible of continents (Part 2)

(I’m with a tour group circumnavigating the island of Sicily over nine days, starting in Palermo and ending in Catania. Sicily was the crossroads for ancient Mediterranean cultures from three continents. To read “Sicily: the crucible of continents (Part 1),” … Continue reading

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Sicily: the crucible of continents (Part 1)

In Palermo stands a statue of an ancient king holding a snake. With its fangs bared, the snake suckles at the king’s breast. This unusual image is called Genius of Palermo. (In this instance, genius means protective spirit.) Even though the … Continue reading

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The 433-Step Program

The tiny rail station at Paestum was deserted. Located a few miles outside of town, the building is not much more than a hut in a pasture. No taxis or buses waited outside to transfer me to my hotel. The … Continue reading

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Siren song

The sea between the Amalfi Coast of Italy and the island of Capri was once the haunt of the mythological Sirens. The Greeks depicted them as birds with beautiful human faces; the Romans as mermaids. Their songs of seduction proved … Continue reading

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Cities of wind and stone

The Tuscan hill town of Volterra was labeled a “city of wind and stone” by poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. His description could apply to any Italian hill town, perched as they are on rocky summits. The attraction of hill towns is … Continue reading

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Riding the rails in northern Italy

I have been moving through Europe by different modes: plane, bus, rental car, metro and ferry. Of them all, the train is the easiest and most pleasant way to travel. No check-in or security. No navigating or expensive parking. Before arriving … Continue reading

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Venice: the impractical, seductive fixer-upper

Like an old family home, Venice is too expensive to maintain, yet too special to let go. Its beauty enchants you while its slow disintegration breaks your heart. Tourism may be its only salvation. And so they are selling selfie … Continue reading

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