March 30, 2015

Classic Films for Armchair Travellers

In a previous post about my favourite movies for armchair travellers I promised another with classic films from the 1950s and 60s. European cities like Paris and Rome were popular settings and the biggest stars of the day were cast in these films: Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck and Cary Grant to name a few. Film production was thriving in Rome but movies set in Paris were often filmed on a Hollywood set. Perhaps that’s why so many of my favourites are those shot in Italian locales. And most films were shot in black and white.

Spanish Steps, Rome

March 23, 2015

Italy from A to Z

Last summer I toured Italy from Rome to Venice with many more unforgettable sights in between: rugged mountains and scenic coastlines; great cities and delightful villages; and the master works of celebrated builders and artists. This diverse land has so much to offer the traveller. And now as April approaches, Italy has also provided me with a topic for each letter of the alphabet.

March 16, 2015

Resort Towns of the Italian Riviera

Spring is just around the corner but the lingering snow has me reminiscing about hot days on the sunny Mediterranean. I love the French Riviera and you needn’t be wealthy to enjoy its delights. (Read my posts on Villefranche-sur-Mer to find out why.) Last summer we visited two resorts on the Italian Riviera, Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino.

Riviera Poster

March 09, 2015

Cinque Terre: the Five Lands

On the rugged northwest coast of Italy there are five small fishing villages: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare. I love saying the names out loud – it makes me feel like I can speak Italian. (I really can’t.) Together these villages are known as the Cinque Terre, the Five Lands. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was once accessible only by sea and untouched by the modern world. Today the villages welcome visitors but retain their old world charm.

March 02, 2015

Porto Venere and the Gulf of Poets

A few years ago I fell in love with Villefranche-sur-Mer on the French Cote d’Azur. Nothing can match the beautiful scenery and casual ambience of a small seaside town. Now I’ve lost my heart to the charming village of Porto Venere on the Ligurian coast of Italy. This stretch of coastline is known as the Riviera di Levante, the coast of the rising sun.

Porto Venere on the Italian Riviera