Italy – Hidden Secrets

Italy seems to have everything. It’s modern – think Fiat and Olivetti. It’s a leader in world fashion yet also is very traditional. Italy has many hidden secrets. You want to discover? It is almost impossible to be disappointed by Italy.  So… check out the Italian articles below and plan your trip to Italy.
There is, however, a large north-south divide. Northern Italy is a powerhouse of economic dynamism, whereas the South has been somewhat economically deprived. No place is perfect and Italy is becoming economically more integrated. The north, in general, is the most cosmopolitan part of the country. In the south the colorful city of Naples is the beating heart of the region. And close by are the antique wonders of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Italy-Sardinia:

The Aga Khan got his eye on the Costa Smeralda in the 1960’s and spent millions in this unknown area, creating a holiday village for the rich and famous..

The wealthy continue to flock to the posh hotels at Porto Cervo. This is also the place where Princess Diana and Dodi spent their last night together before flying off to Paris.

The waters here really are a deep emerald green. The area is stuffed with sweet-smelling shrubs and trees, and mimosa and oleander shade the walls of the pastel-colored villas that dot the landscape. There’s a Moorish feel to the architecture – perhaps because of the island’s proximity to North Africa. Hedges of rosemary and lavender cluster against huge granite boulders which people have brought down from the hills to use as gate posts or garden sculpture.

A Place of Legends

Sardinia is full of legends about witches and giants, and it’s not hard to see how these came about. The gigantic rocks all around the coast have weathered into strange shapes; ‘hook-nosed witches’, strange ‘birds’ and ‘animals’ gaze down on the white beaches. Some of the cleanest beaches in Italy are in Sardinia and swimming in these clear turquoise waters is heaven.

The Barbagia and the Nuraghe

Sardinia has two faces, one is the coast with its resorts and hotels, the other is the mountainous interior, the Barbagia region which contains around 8,000 strange, ancient structures known as nuraghe, which are found nowhere else in the world.

According to the locals, this is the real Sardinia, full of history, with many small mountain villages and remains of ancient civilizations.

Giant Tombs

The people who built the nuraghe also left behind huge graves, known as Giants’ Tombs. They were originally built as communal graves in which the bones of the dead were piled up. Some were found to contain as many as 100 to 200 skeletons. In time, the locals forgot what their original use was and they became known as Giants’ Tombs, contributing to the many myths that have emerged over the centuries. Some are at least 35-feet long. After traveling through this dramatic landscape, with its high mountains and huge empty spaces dotted with strangely carved rocks which look like, birds, animals and even witches, You might be ready to believe anything.

There’s something a bit surreal about the Barbagia. There are no Tuscany-like medieval hilltop villages. The mountain tops are bare, jagged, and can look menacing when a cloud covers the sun and the peaks suddenly turn dark. It looks like a land in which it would be hard to survive and yet, when you take a second look, the mountain slopes and isolated valleys are groomed and look well cared for. This is entirely because of the constant munching of some of Sardinia’s four million sheep.

Tuscany’s Historic Villages

What other country is as stuffed with art treasures? Tuscany alone has more classified historical monuments than any country in the world and there are reminders of the great Roman Empire everywhere. There are wonderful beaches, great ski resorts and shopping to die for.

Tuscany is known for its beautiful old villages – here are six of the best for you to discover.

The Collective

There are many lovely hill villages in this part of Tuscany but San Gimignano attracts most of the tourist traffic. In order to spread this largesse around a bit a collective of six villages has been formed. They include San Gimignano and all are in the area of Valdelsa. The others are Poggibonsi, Colle Val d’Elsa, Monteriggioni, Radicondoli, and Casole d’Elsa. There’s less than an hour’s drive between each village. Supporting this cooperative venture seemed is a good way to see some places off the beaten track.

Walking on Capri

Explore the island on foot. It’s a paradise of sweet-smelling bay trees, olive groves,lemon trees and hundreds of species of wild flowers – a lush, green, perfumed land.

Pisa

The Leaning Tower is the icon of Pisa. However, it is but one part of a trio of architectural wonders which inhabit the Campo dei Miracoli.

The Alto Adige

The Alto Adige contains some of the most spectacular scenery in Italy as well as some of the best mountain-walking in Europe. This area of the eastern Italian Alps is the Bolzano province, known officially in Italy as Alto Adige, but to most people as the South Tyrol.

Italy – South Tyrol – Seiseralm

To the east of Bolzano, the capital town of the region, is Europe’s largest area of mountain pastureland – the Seiseralm. It’s a magical place high above the valleys, surrounded by the dramatic Dolomites, where acres of brilliant wild flowers bloom throughout the summer.

Italy – South Tyrol – Castles

Castles are a big feature of the area and walking from castle to castle is a popular activity. There are over 350 of them brooding on hilltops, nestling in vineyards or clinging to rock faces. Most were built in the 12th and 13th centuries and many are still lived in. Some are run as hotels and restaurants.

So don’t delay the trip once all hidden secrets have proverbial to you.

 

Author Bio-

I’m Victoria James, a travel blogger and a writer from London who loves to express her recent journeys. I write articles for blogs and websites during my free time. Currently I am focusing on ESTA which is now useful for all travelers to the USA who plan to enter the country by air or sea. Did you like this post? Contact me at james.victoria92@gmail.com.

 

 


Top 10 Best World Food Markets to Visit

Here are some of the best World Markets to visit:

  1. San Francisco | Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market– Waterfront location.  80 Bay Area purveyors on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  1 Ferry Bldg., The Embarcadero; 415/983-8030; www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com
  2. London | Borough Market – Stalls, pubs, shops, and small restaurants. Come early on Thursday or Friday and avoid the Saturday crowds. 8 South-wark St.; 44-20/7407-1002;  www.boroughmarket.org.uk.
  3. Madrid | Mercado de San Miguel– In a 1916 Beaux-Arts building, San Miguel market stood abandoned for years—until renovated in 2009. Plaza de San Miguel; www.mercadodesanmiguel.es
  4. Paris | Marche des Enfants Rouges– Petite marche in the Marais (one of the oldest in Paris) is the spot for an affordable meal. 39 Rue de Bretagne, Third Arr.
  5. Palermo, Italy | La Vucciria– Palermo’s labyrinth of narrow passageways piled with produce. Between Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Piazza San Domenico.
  6. Istanbul | Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) – Istanbul’s 15th-century bazaar with more than 4,000 shops spread out over 65 covered streets. Between Nuruosmaniye, Mercan, and Beyazit; 90-212/519-1248; www.kapalicarsi.org.tr
  7. Mexico City | Mercado de la Merced – Spans several city blocks and has more than 3,000 vendors from across Mexico. Anillo de Circunvalacion between GeneralAnaya and Adolfo Gurrion; 52-55/5522-7250.
  8. Sao Paulo, Brazil | Mercado Municipal Paulistano– 1930’s market known for its cathedral-worthy stained-glass dioramas. 306 Rua da Cantareira; 55-11/3313-3365; www.mercadomunicipal.com.br
  9. Melbourne | Queen Victoria Market – Open since 1878, “Queen Vic” is an over-l,000-stall melting pot. 513 Elizabeth St.; 61-3/9320-5822; www.qvm.com.au
  10. Singapore | Tiong Bahru Market –Circular 1950’s building, with second-floor hawker center with more than 80 food stalls. 30 SengPoh Rd.

Hot New Places to Visit

There are a number of new places popping up around the world that are quickly becoming travel hot spots.

Jose Ignacio, Uruguay for example.  This is a tiny beach pueblo on the southern coast of Uruguay.  This just may become the next Punta del Este.

What about Trieste, Italy – Many Italia aficionados have been looking for new places to explore.  Trieste has been popular for a long time with the arts crowd, but now it’s found favor with a new generation of travelers looking for a Northern port city to visit.

Hangzhou, China – Yes, the 21st century is the century of China.  About 100 miles southwest of Shanghai, visitors to this ancient city can see Buddhist temples and pagodas.


Romantic getaway in Tuscany

San Gimignano is probably the most popular medieval town in Italy,perfect place for a romantic getaway in one of the best areas of Tuscany.This charming hotel in Tuscany, L’Antico Pozzo, enjoys a strategic position in town being located in the heart of San Gimignano,in the historical central street San Matteo ,few steps from the People’s palace and the Collegiata .The building, now completely restored,preserves the original style of the 15th century, although the earliest part dates back to the middle ages and the founding of the town itself: traces remain of the well and the area around it. Hotel in San Gimignano L’Antico Pozzo offers a perfect balance with comfort and style. San Gimignano Booking: San Gimignano, located in the Chianti area, is the best location to choose for Travelling to Tuscany and explore sourrandings and art cities such as Florence, Pisa,Lucca,Siena, Monteriggioni, Certaldo, or as your preference to enjoy unforgettable scenaries in the countryside. This site is a great resource if you are looking for accommodation in Tuscany. It includes trip tips such as hotels and historical accommodation. Each page describes lots of informations to . You can also find a list of places to visit with information on history and geography.

San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers. Once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the “Via Francigena” the trading and pilgrim’s route that crossed it. Such prosperity lead to the flourishing of works of art to adorn the churches and monasteries. In 1199 it became a free municipality and fought against the Bishops of Volterra and the surrounding municipalities. Due to internal power struggles it eventually divided into two factions one headed by the Ardinghelli family (Guelphs) and the other by the Salvucci family (Ghibellines). On the 8th May 1300 Dante Alighieri came to San Gimignano as the Ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany. In 1348 San Gimignano’s population was drastically reduced by the Black Death Plague throwing the city into a serious crisis which eventually led to its submission to Florence in 1353. In the following centuries San Gimignano overcame its decline and isolation when its beauty and cultural importance together with its agricultural heritage were rediscovered. The construction of the towers dates back to the 11th and 13th centuries. The architecture of the city was influenced by Pisa, Siena and Florence. There are 14th century paintings of the Sienese School to be seen and 15th century paintings of the Florentine School.


Visiting the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy – Try a Hike

Thinking of the Amalfi Coast (Costiera Amalfitana) in Southern Italy evokes many images of romance … seaside activities and sunny beaches. But there are other aspects of visiting this beautiful region of Italy. Small resort towns of Positano and Amalfi have much to offer, including culture, shopping, boating, fine dining, and 5 star hotels. But, for nature lovers, there is another less-explored side to Amalfi. Situated at the foot of rugged mountain peaks that form the Sorrentine peninsula, the hillside villages along the Amalfi coast are perfect starting points for nature walks and hikes.

There are hikes and trails that have been mapped out, at varying degrees of difficulty. If you prefer a leisurely walk through forests overlooking the sea, this area is for you. There are also more difficult trails leading to the peaks and between towns for the more adventurous.

Here’s an example of one of our favorite Amalfi Coast hikes, which leads from the town square of the town of Amalfi to the small hilltown of Pogerola. From the main square in front of the Cathedral of St. Andrew, ascend the main street for 500 yards, until the road goes through an archway under a block of houses. Then take the side road to the left (Via Casamare). Follow this around a hairpin bend to it’s end. The path starts here with steps climbing the hillside, and ultimately leading directly to the main square in Pogerola.

This path provide an attractive route to or from the hilltop village of Pogerola. The easily graded and exceptionally well-built path is unusual in that it goes through light woodland rather than farmed terraces with ever wider views as you gain altitude. The path winds its way towards the mountains, climbing the northern flank of a side spur of the main Amalfi Valley.

Walking time: approximately 1 hour.

Search and book accommodation in Amalfi and Sorrento.


Italy’s folk dance: the Tarantella

Italy

‘s lively and graceful folk dance, the Tarantella, grew out of tarantism – the hysteria that appeared in 15th – 17th century Italy, and was prevalent in Galatina in

Southern Italy. Alleged victims of the tarantula spider’s bite could supposedly cure themselves through frenzied dancing, which sweated out the poison. The dance is characterized by light, quick steps and a “teasing” flirt. The strange private ritual takes place annually on June 29th at 6am at the celebrations for the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul in Galatina, the only place on theSalentinePeninsula where tarantism has survived.

Source: Eyewitness Travel Guide – Italy 2005