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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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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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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The Portici of Monte Berico, Vicenza

I came across the portici of Monte Berico by chance. I've never seen them mentioned in any guidebook and there were no other tourists (or anyone else, for that matter) about. But this 700m covered arcade is a spectacular walk to the top of Monte Berico, just outside...

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Walking Around the Walls of the Vatican City

It’s a familiar dilemma: you want to see some of the world’s most famous artworks but so do hundreds of other people. Do you join the jostling crowds inside, or do you walk away and do something different? We chose the latter when faced with the endless queues for the...

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A Walk Along Rome’s Appian Way

We had had enough of the crowds at the Forum and the Colosseum so it was time to find somewhere quieter. And the Appian Way was the ideal place: a shady cobbled avenue lined with the remains of Roman buildings. All Roads Lead to Rome Back in the 4th century BC it was...

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The Dramatic Scenery of the Alcantara Gorge

One of the many astounding sights on Sicily is the Alcantara Gorge, a massive tree-lined chasm falling 65 metres to the river below, with water tumbling down the cliff side. It is popular with tourists in search of walking, nature or geological interest as well as...

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The Hill Town of Taormina, Sicily

No visit to Sicily would be complete without taking the cable car up to the hill town of Taormina. It may be true that the town is buzzing with tourists, but there is good reason for this: a dazzling mixture of spectacular views, historic buildings, cannoli and ice...

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