Ferragosto, or Why Italy Closes in August

by , on
Aug 15, 2019

Part of Italian cultural DNA is to vacate the cities for the month of August and head for the beaches or mountains, with this tradition dating all the way back to 18 B.C.! This was the year Emperor Augustus, after whom the month of August is named (it was his favorite time of year), formally instituted the August ‘vaca’ by connecting various annual festivities celebrating the harvest to create an extended period of rest from the year’s labors. He filled this period with rituals, races, games and FUN. Known then as feriae augusti and today as Ferragosta, it later took on a Christian meaning as well coinciding with the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin into Heaven celebrated on August 15th.  Today, August 15th is a national holiday and much like our 4th of July or Memorial Day culminates in dazzling displays of fireworks filling the night skies.

Good or bad for tourists? … that depends on where you’re headed. There’s a bit more breathing room in major cities, though shops and restaurants may by be closed, with concerts and other activities making up for it. If you’re headed to the beaches, you’ll be sharing the sun, the sea and the sand . . . but even then, there are over 5,000 miles of spectacular coastline to discover and savor.

Photos featured are from Sardinia, Elba, Capri, Lipari, Sicily, Procida, Ischia, and the Amalfi Coast.

 

Puglia . . . The Next Tuscany?

by , on
Jul 6, 2019

Everybody falls in love with Italy. For some, it happens on the streets of Florence or Rome, or on the sun-soaked Amalfi coast, or perhaps over pizza in a small trattoria or on a misty morning in Venice. Once you’re smitten, it then happens over and over and if you haven’t yet discovered the beautiful region of Apulia, Italy’s “heel,” you must, for you will fall ever more deeply in love.

For decades, Puglia has been a popular summer destination for northern Italians and, still thankfully, it remains a place unmistakably by Italians and for Italians. Without the flashy jewelry, La Bella Puglia nonchalantly showcases her unique cultural identity and spectacular coastline bathed by the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Home to the Boot’s most ancient olive groves and the Baroque jewel of a city, Lecce, (deserving of a separate slideshow that’s coming soon!), Puglia basks in Italy’s southern light and is a land of extremes. Deep sapphire waters offset intensely white towns; miles of olive trees cover the horizon, sprinkled with compact villages. With the heat and sun comes the region’s propensity for languid living . . . time seems to pass more slowly, giving one the opportunity to appreciate every detail and richness of la dolce vita. 

[Towns featured here include: Alberobello, Locorotondo, Martina Franca, Ostuni, Gallipoli, Ortranto and Polignano a Mare.]

Seeing with All Your Senses

by , on
Jun 15, 2019

“For one ravishing moment Italy appeared.” – E.M.Forster, Room With a View

No place on the planet can rival Italy’s sensory abundance, cultural richness and passionate people.  There is just something about the “Boot” that entices us, seduces us, romances us and engages every aspect of our being . . . the body, the mind, the heart and the soul. Perhaps this is why, when you step off the plane, your step lightens and your spirits lift . . . and, regardless of one’s ethnicity, your “Inner Italian” blossoms forth.  The “Inner Italian” is that delicious part of all of us that falls in love most easily and is the most expansive, expressive, spontaneous and joyful.

We all need to travel to Italy, whether by boat or plane, or simply in our hearts and imagination. Buon Viaggio!