Artisans & Antiques: PUGLIA trips 2021

,
At the heel of the Italian boot, Puglia is a land of wild beauty where the stark rocky coastline seems to fall into the sea; a land of ancient olive groves and carpets of flowers,  where the light dazzles against the white of the Southern…

roads less travelled and unique places to stay

,
May 2018.  It is mid afternoon when we pull into the farm hotel.  A deep calm blankets the property and there is no sign of anyone apart from a French couple that pad across the courtyard toward the pool.  The tractors have been shut down…

when in Rome: tips for travelers

,
Since I started writing here back in 2014, I have noticed that readers like information.  So here I am at the start of a new year, and a new decade, with some practical pointers for Rome (and some free opinion). This year I will turn fifty. …

Rome, where to lay your head in the eternal city

,
Alice, where should we stay in Rome? This city has become a jungle of where to sleep options, trickier to navigate than Piazza Venezia at rush hour, so I spend most of my time avoiding this question. Whilst booking, airbnb and co. have…

an Italian reading list

,
Sometimes I think about my final year history teacher, and how nice it would be to bump into him in a random piazza somewhere in Italy. Russel Staiff was one of those stand out teachers who take their students far beyond the standard textbook.…

a rome list for hunters and gatherers

,
I've been asked quite often recently about whether a Roman version of a charity shop actually exists.  The answer is no, kind of, in a way, yes. Charity shops are my idea of the perfect equation.  Old things are handed on, making room in…

Itineraries. Ceramics and the South: a pilgrimage to Grottaglie

, ,
The sun climbs as we leave the soft olive hillsides of the Valle D'Itria, where we are staying, for the red plains of the alto-Salento, and the road cuts through carpets of primitivo vines as it reaches out toward the almost irresistible waters…

itineraries. around the vinyards of alto -Lazio

,
The Greeks that settled in southern Italy during the period between the 8th and the 6th century BC called the fertile land with its happy climate Oenotria; land of the trained vines.  They most probably brought with them cuttings to plant,…

itineraries. treasure hunting in the Tuscia

,
La Tuscia is the ancient land of the Etruscans that stretches between southern Tuscany, northern Lazio and Umbria; a volcanic landscape of rolling hillsides, vines, olives and towns crumbling from their cliff-top perches.  The Etruscans were…

low tech Italian classics to stuff into your suitcase

,
Made in Italy is renowned for shoes and bags, fast cars, alta moda and serious furniture design.  Hiding behind the big names and famous brands are the artisans; leatherworkers, furniture designers, glassblowers, mosaicists, shoemakers; craftsmen…

the paper table cloth guide to dining in Rome

,
A writer I do not know personally, but whose writing I very much like for its directness, recently wrote of a Roman trattoria; why can't we have more of this unpretentious shit in Sydney?  She hit the nail on the proverbial head because Roman…

outdoor museums: shopping in Rome

,
If a city, especially one like Rome, is a great outdoor museum, then shopping is one of the (legitimate) ways of exploring it.  Lexically speaking to do the shopping or fare la spesa is a needs based activity, consisting mainly of a…