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Insider travel tips

Food & Wine
Tortona and Timorasso: Home to Intricate and Intellectual White Wines
by Helen Farrell

When we think of Piedmont, truffles, patchwork scenery and arguably the world’s finest red wine, Barolo, come to mind. But in the southeast corner of the region, in the Tortona hills, which stretch as far south as Genoa, a rare grape has been resurrected that yields the intricate and intellectual white wine, Timorasso. 

Art & Culture
Exploring Venice Beyond San Marco
by Nicole Trilivas

With impossibly green canals, crumbling Renaissance palazzi and street lamps that glow pink, Venice can sometimes seem like something out of a movie set — a picture-perfect backdrop for the ultimate social media snap. But for the locals who call it home, La Serenissima is much more than that.

Fabulous foodie guides

Food & Wine
A Wine-Lover’s Guide to Chianti Classico in Tuscany
by Dick Rosano

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.

Food & Wine
Tortona and Timorasso: Home to Intricate and Intellectual White Wines
by Helen Farrell

When we think of Piedmont, truffles, patchwork scenery and arguably the world’s finest red wine, Barolo, come to mind. But in the southeast corner of the region, in the Tortona hills, which stretch as far south as Genoa, a rare grape has been resurrected that yields the intricate and intellectual white wine, Timorasso. 

Italian Language lessons

Art & Culture
Going Over the Present Subjunctive in Italian
by L'Italiano Porticando

All advanced Italian language learners arrive at some point at the dreaded moment of facing the Italian Congiuntivo for the first time. But what is congiuntivo and how do you use it correctly? This article is going to answer these questions and introduce you to Il congiuntivo presente.

Art & Culture
A Guide to Expressing Annoyance in Italian
by L'Italiano Porticando

Language is a perfect instrument made to express ideas, actions and, of course, emotions. Italian, seen as the language of love, art and passion, has quite a wide range of vocabulary to expertly express annoyances, frustration and irritation. 

Art & Culture
Save These Helpful Italian Phrases for Shopping in Italy
by L'Italiano Porticando

We all love to shop while on holiday but we dare say that browsing local wares in Italy is truly special. How can you make the most of this experience and at the same time improve your Italian language skills? Of course, by practicing your Italian language skills!

Exclusive recipes

Dolce
Virgin Cakes: Cassatine di Vergini
by Francine Segan

Almondy shortbread domes filled with custard and topped with icing, these classic Sicilian sweets were first created in the 1800s at the Monastero di Santa Maria dell Vergini in Palermo, a convent that for centuries was noted for the making exquisite pastries and other treats. 

Primo
Pasta with Spring Pea Pesto
by Francine Segan

Italians take peas, the wonderfully flavorful spring vegetable, and puree them to create the base of a pasta sauce. Pea’s pleasant sweetness is accented with creamy ricotta with a pop of aromatic tang from nutmeg and mint.  A totally nut-free pesto, that is ready in minutes, sophisticated, yet simple.

Dolce
Strawberry Pie | Torta di Fragole
by Francine Segan

Unlike most American fruit pies, this specialty of Italy is best served icy cold so it makes a fabulous warm-weather dessert, perfect for strawberry season. The sliced strawberries are flavored with a splash of dessert wine and then mixed with a combination of cream and eggs to make a custardy filling.

Culture Vulture deep dives

Art & Culture
Mona Lisa’s Florence
by Laura Morelli

Nearly everyone on the globe recognizes the woman in Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, whether or not they have seen the iconic portrait in person in the Louvre. But many viewers don’t realize that the portrait probably represents a real woman who lived at the turn of the 16th century in Florence.

Art & Culture
Travel & Living
Villa Valmarana ai Nani: The Curious Legend of the Dwarfs
by Myra Robinson

The Veneto is famed for its fine villas, built by Palladio and his followers as summer retreats from the heat and humidity of Venice. All are beautiful, set in the rolling hills of the Berici, but a few have stories and legends attached which make them even more interesting.

Art & Culture
Fondazione Querini Stampalia: Carlo Scarpa’s Tribute To a Great Venetian Palazzo
by Myra Robinson

As you walk across the Campo Santa Maria Formosa passing the campanile, you come across possibly the ugliest sculpted head in Venice on the keystone of an arched doorway. Certainly Ruskin thought so:

“A head, huge, inhuman, monstrous – leering in bestial degradation, too foul to be either pictured or described, or to be beheld for more than any instant.”

Artisan shopping secrets

Style & Design
Five Fabulous Female Artisans in Florence
by Susan Van Allen

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.

Style & Design
Italian Cameos: A Shopper’s Guide
by Laura Morelli

Since ancient times, residents of the Italian peninsula have pulled coral and seashells from the waters of the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic, using the bounty of the seas to make some of Italy’s most beautiful adornments.

Style & Design
Five Fabulous Venetian Artisans
by Susan Van Allen

The breathtaking beauty of Venice ranges from the dazzling Piazza San Marco to the delicate traditions of its artisans. It’s a pleasure to slow down and wander into a shop to watch a signora making lace or stringing glass beads. The artisans you meet are happy to share their passions with travelers, and a souvenir from the experience will bring back happy memories for a lifetime.