roads less travelled and unique places to stay

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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

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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

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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

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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.…

Itineraries. Ceramics and the South: a pilgrimage to Grottaglie

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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

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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

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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…

the paper table cloth guide to dining in Rome

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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…

trains and sandy feet: santa marinella & and a pot of mussels

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If a football stadium is a kind of open air temple to human passion; a place where barriers come down and for 90 minutes everyman is united, then so too are beaches arenas to the egalitarian gods of sun and sea.  In and old issue of Great…

when in Venice

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What is there not to say about Venice?  After meandering a few hours away amongst the tight streets and crooked bridges, following the famous arrows that lead - or to the train station, or to Rialto - it dawned upon me.  The silence.…

fresh air and unsalted bread: Lubriano

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I first came to look at a house here in Lubriano on the basis of an entry in the Slow Food Guide Osteria d'Italia.  My reasoning being that it is always good to have one really good restaurant a town, especially for when special people like…

mini city guide: Milan

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When I lived in Sydney I used to think that her architecture reflected the desire to look out: to gaze upon the drunken beauty of the harbour.  While Melbourne, being more geographically staid, was more inward looking, turning back towards…