Staying in Trastevere, the “Other Side” of Rome

Staying in Trastevere, the “Other Side” of Rome

Across the river from the main city, Trastevere is Rome’s “left bank”. A slightly bohemian area of students and artisans, its old narrow streets packed with bars and restaurants. I’d never explored the district before, but on my recent trip to Rome I stayed in an...

The Renaissance Art of the Villa Farnesina, Rome

The Renaissance Art of the Villa Farnesina, Rome

Rome is full of art treasures. Grand buildings from every stage of history, churches full of statues and other artworks, and much, much more. So it would be easy to miss the Villa Farnesina. I discovered it by chance, passing it on an early morning walk. It was a...

New Excavations to Explore at Rome’s Circus Maximus

New Excavations to Explore at Rome’s Circus Maximus

Last time I was in Rome the Circus Maximus was just a vast grassy area. A pleasant place for a walk, or a picnic perhaps, but nothing more. But now excavations at one end of the site have uncovered some of the original brickwork – seating, shops and more. The...

100 Presepi: A Christmas Exhibition in Rome

100 Presepi: A Christmas Exhibition in Rome

I first discovered presepi in Naples a few years ago. These are individually designed nativity scenes, a traditional Christmas decoration in Italian homes, but also found in churches and other public places. I thought of them as a southern Italian custom, but that was...

NEW – Discounts for Readers on LivItaly Tours

NEW – Discounts for Readers on LivItaly Tours

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve teamed up with LivItaly to give my readers a discount on all of their small group tours and activities in Italy. Whatever your tastes you will find something to suit you, whether it’s a food tour, a guided museum visit or a...

Making Sense of Verona’s Walls and Fortifications

Making Sense of Verona’s Walls and Fortifications

Regular readers of this blog will know that I love old walls. I’ve explored walled cities like Girona and Lucca, and I’ve walked the whole 84 miles of England’s Hadrian’s Wall. So I was intrigued to discover that Verona’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site rested...

The Verona Opera Festival: Following in the Roman Tradition

The Verona Opera Festival: Following in the Roman Tradition

People have sought entertainment at the Arena di Verona since Roman times. Two thousand years ago they travelled from across the Empire to watch gladiators and wild animals fighting to the death, or to marvel at slightly less bloody circus acts and equestrian events....

Mantua, Renaissance Home of the Gonzagas

Mantua, Renaissance Home of the Gonzagas

Coming into Mantua from the north, the first thing you notice is the three artificial lakes that surround the city. Today they are a pleasure ground, with boat trips, lakeside walks and picnic areas. But they were originally constructed for a quite different purpose:...

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My novel “Shadow of the Dome”
Now available from Amazon