Italy is bursting at the seams with charming hilltop towns and languishing seaside villages. Lesser-known and often overlooked, foothill towns spill down the lower slopes of some of the country’s most dramatic mountain ranges, offering sweeping vistas as far as the eye can see. (And many times, without the crowds such vistas tend to attract.)
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Insider travel tips
Nestled in the Campanian seaside cliffs between astonishing Amalfi and sensational Salerno lies the lesser-known town of Maiori. Home to the longest stretch of beach on the Amalfi Coast, centuries’ worth of religious and cultural history and a gorgeous waterfront promenade, Maiori is the perfect place for a relaxing, romantic getaway.
As you walk from Pavia’s train station towards its historical center, you'll spot a 26-foot-tall woman holding a shield in one hand and a spear in the other, presiding over a traffic circle.
Fabulous foodie guides
by: Jared Ranahan
The rolling hills of Tuscany have drawn hordes of people over the centuries – promising peace of mind, grand art, sumptuous meals, and fine wines. Part of the allure is that the region defies the march of time, somehow merging the blissful comfort of pastoral lands and ancient stories of love and intrigue with the satisfying pleasures of modernity.
Italian Language lessons
In English, as in most languages, when we want to express a request, extend an invitation or even give a direct command, we rely on the imperative:
“Close the window!”
“Don’t fill up on sweets!”
Across most countries where Christmas is widely celebrated — including and especially Italy — the holiday season is often synonymous with riunioni di famiglia (family gatherings) and time spent with friends.
Italian verbs and all their multiple forms may be a real challenge for Italian language learners, but as we have already seen, their conjugation always follows a pattern. That pattern isn't so difficult to memorize, though implementing it readily in speech can be another story! Still, there's always a logic behind their use.
Spaghetti alle vongole is a classic Italian dish that can be made with or without tomatoes, rosso or bianco, red or white. In Italy the dish is traditionally made with vongole veraci, “true clams,” AKA carpet clams, which are small grey clams with especially tasty meat.
Culture Vulture deep dives
The birth of Christ — the Nativity — is one of the central images of Christian iconography and an immensely popular subject for Italian artists through the ages. The Nativity immediately brings to mind Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus in a manger surrounded by animals, angels, and visiting kings.
Olafur Eliasson’s installation in Palazzo Strozzi’s courtyard is dizzying. The 36 x 26 ft flickering moiré pattern of two overlaid grids called Under The Weather hovers over visitors and seems to move with them as they walk. The topsy-turvy experience is a preview of the artist’s most significant exhibition in Italy to date, Nel Tuo Tempo (In Your Time).
Artisan shopping secrets
Milan is one of the world’s design capitals. Brands like Prada and Versace are headquartered in the northern Italian city and the Salone del Mobile (Furniture Fair) attracts thousands of well-heeled visitors from across the globe each year.
The Italian footwear industry is one in which craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology combine to create a product with a distinct style that has no equal in the world. This mastery is especially true in a little town on the Romagna Riviera.
In Florence, city of masterpieces, artisan traditions have flourished for centuries. It’s a joy to discover the abundance of shops where talented workers dedicate themselves to techniques handed down through generations and also bring new ideas to this city where creativity has long been nurtured.