Discovering Greek Cuisine on a Food Tour of Athens

Food gives you an insight into a place. However cosmopolitan a city may be, with the English language all pervasive and international brands on the high street, food is one thing that remains stubbornly local. You don’t have to wander far off the beaten track to...

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The Church of the Dead: Purgatorio Ad Arco in Naples

You might not expect a grinning bronze skull to be the first thing that greets you as you approach a church. But look more closely at the façade of Purgatorio ad Arco, in the historic centre of Naples, and you will see dozens of stone skulls, and a few crossbones as...

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A Tour Around Literary Athens

My trip to Athens was a time for discovering new things. And The Literary Walk was no exception. This was a tour of the literary heritage of 20th century Athens, and it was full of discoveries, large and small, things I would never have found for myself.     A Hidden...

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Discovering the Early Byzantine Churches of Athens

I’ve always associated Athens with Greek history. Classical Greek history, that is, the sort that took place more than two thousand years ago. But as we stood in Monastiraki Square, Vassilios pointed out the layers of history around us. Ancient Athens was there, in...

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Villa Valmanara ai Nani and the Legend of the Dwarves

High on the slopes of Monte Berico, just outside Vicenza, stands the 17th century Villa Valmanara ai Nani. The first thing you will notice when you approach the villa is the stone dwarves (nani) lined up on the walls outside. And of course there is a legend associated...

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Revisiting Athens: TBEX 2014

I last visited Greece in 2003. The country was busy preparing for the Olympics and I was often disappointed to find sites closed, with a sign that they were renovating and would be reopening the following year. And I only managed a day in Athens, the standard tourist...

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Exploring Palladio’s Vicenza: A World Heritage Site

Even among Italian cities, Vicenza is special. Not just a handful of spectacular buildings, but a whole town of them, many of them designed by one man: Andrea Palladio. As we walked down the main street – called, naturally, Corso Palladio – past palaces designed by...

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Photo Gallery: Ancient Tiryns, Greece

Looking through my pictures of Greece before setting off for Athens tomorrow, I found this one of Ancient Tiryns, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Peloponnese. Less visited than some other sites on the Peloponnese, Ancient Tiryns was a Bronze Age hill fort with a...

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