Jul
20
2010
0

What’s interesting about Italy?

italy-coliseum-rome-temple-venusRome is Italy’s largest city and its capital. Rome’s many historic sites include the Pantheon (the oldest intact Roman temple), the Temple of Vesta (with its Corinthian columns, and once guarded by the Vestal Virgins), and the Roman Coliseum (known in its heyday as the Flavian Amphitheater after the family name of emperors Vespasian and [&hel[more...]

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Jul
06
2010
0

Which festivals have public food fights?

ivrea-orange-fight-battleEvery year around the world there are bizarre festivals where people celebrate by throwing food. Tomatoes In Buñol, Spain, the festival of La Tomatina is held every summer. A truckload of tomatoes is dispensed, and everyone throws them at each other for an hour. It’s seriously messy, but you can swim in the river afterwards. [&hel[more...]

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Jun
06
2010
0

Whereabouts is the best place to stay when visiting Venice?

lungomare-guglielmo-marconi-lidoIf you are traveling on a backpacker’s budget, there are quite (well, relatively) reasonably priced hostels and B&Bs right in the center of Venice. If you are not a backpacker, there are, of course, hotels for any better filled pocketbook. If you are staying for just one or two nights, you may delight at the [&hel[more...]

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May
28
2010
0

What does a Venetian “ragazzo” do to impress his “ragazza”?

ragazzo-motor-boatEven if you don’t understand any Italian, you probably guessed correctly that a “ragazzo” is a young male and that his “ragazza” could be his girlfriend. One cannot generalize, of course, just as one cannot generalize about what young males elsewhere in the world do to impress girls. In many parts of the world, however, [&hel[more...]

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Jan
19
2010
2

How do you get a taxi in central Siena, Italy?

Siena taxis take a less direct route to the cathedral. (Photo by Gaspa - CC-BY)You may have read that walking is the only way to see historic Siena. It’s true that nothing beats exploring it on foot, and also true that the hilly medieval city has banned most cars from the narrow, uneven streets in the city centre. There is an efficient taxi service though, so if you are [&hel[more...]

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Oct
05
2009
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What can you see and do in Siena?

Siena's central piazza - home of horse races, coffee drinkers, a 400-step tower, and the palace offices of the city council. (Photo by matthewsim - CC-BY)Everyone who visits Siena heads for the Piazza del Campo, the great medieval square where the famous Palio horse races are run in summer. Energetic types can climb the Torre del Mangia (14th century bell-tower in the photo); others admire the medieval architecture from an outdoor café table. Next stop is probably the even older [&hel[more...]

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Aug
04
2009
1

Who were the Etruscans?

Interior Etruscan Tomb in Tarquinia - courtesy ciamabue - CC-BYEtruscan civilization evolved in northern and central Italy about 800 BC.  This era gave way in 7th century BC to an increasingly orientalizing culture that was influenced by Greek traders and Magna Graecia, the Hellenic civilization of southern Italy. The Etruscan civilization flourished in the northern part of what is now Italy, before the arrival [&hel[more...]

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Apr
25
2009
0

What is Florence city profile?

Florence Skyline - courtesy Argenberg - CC-BYFlorence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany. Florence was established by Julius Caesar in 59 BC as a settlement for his military veterans. During World War II the city endured a year long German occupation and was declared an open city. Much of the city was destroyed by the Germans [&hel[more...]

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Apr
14
2009
0

What is the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Leaning Tower of Pisa - courtesy JackVersloot - CC-BYThe Leaning Tower of Pisa is the freestanding bell tower of the cathedral in the Italian city of Pisa. Outside of the city of Rome with its Collosseum and ancient temples, the Leaning Tower of Pisa may be the most famous landmark in Italy. Though it was designed to stand vertically, the tower started to [&hel[more...]

Apr
08
2009
0

What is Rome city profile?

Victor Emmanuel Monument - courtesy Daveness_98 - CC-BYRome is the capital of Italy and the country’s largest city. According to tradition, the City of Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus on 21 April 753 BC.  Rome is alone among cities in having a sovereign nation located entirely within its city limits, the Vatican City, the supreme government of the [&hel[more...]

Jan
03
2009
3

Did Marco Polo really introduce pasta to Italy?

seafood and pasta - courtesy flickr.com, creative commons licenseWell, the short answer is “no”—Marco Polo didn’t introduce pasta to Italy. Pasta is a worldwide comfort food that most of us take for granted. The origins of pasta are as tangled as spaghetti on the plate. It is true that Marco Polo mentioned in his memoirs that in some Chinese provinces the Christians (and [&hel[more...]

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