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Floating Bike Path Being Built Around Italy's Lake Garda

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 04/27/2018, 8:00 PM

A new cycling route that seems destined to be considered one of the world's most beautiful is under construction in northern Italy.  Encircling the famously crystal-clear Lake Garda, which stretches from the foothills of the Dolomites in the north to vineyards and villas at the southern end, the 87-mile-long, 8.5-foot-wide path will give bicyclists the sensation of floating while pedaling 197 fee...

Play the Casanova at New Museum in Venice

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/19/2018, 11:30 PM

Giacomo Casanova belongs to the rare class of historical figures whose names became common nouns. Traitorous World War II-era Norwegian leader Vidkun Quisling and France's lecherous Marquis de Sade (lop off the "e" and add an -ism or an -istic) are in the same crew. It's a curious kind of superstardom where the legend outstrips the life to such an extent that the world often forgets there was ev...

Two New Biographies Are Indispensable for Trips Through Europe or America

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/27/2017, 12:00 AM

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are currently purchasing and avidly reading two monumental biographies in book form about two monumental figures in world and American history.  In position number one on every bestseller list is Walter Isaacson’s 900-page volume on the life and achievements of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster). The other, ranked closely behind and almost as large, is R...

Upper Levels of Rome's Colosseum Reopening for Tours

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/04/2017, 9:45 PM

The upper tiers of the Colosseum in Rome are reopening to the public for the first time in four decades.  The renowned architectural marvel—which dates to the first century A.D. and is one of the ancient city's most visited sites—is coming off a 5-year, multimillion-dollar restoration paid for by Diego Della Valle, chairman of luxury leather brand Tod's. With public money for major preservation...

Italian Airport Relaxes Liquid Ban—for Pesto Only

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 06/26/2017, 4:00 AM

Each year, hundreds of jars of pesto are confiscated at airport security checkpoints in the Italian city of Genoa, where the sauce made from basil, pine nuts, cheese, and olive oil is a local specialty. Apparently, the ban on flying with liquids of more than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) even applies to the most delicious liquids.  Until now. Thanks to the Genoa airport's new "pesto is good"...

Following Earthquakes, Is Italy Travel Still Safe?

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/04/2016, 4:00 AM

The 6.6-magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy on Sunday—the country's largest since 1980—was only the latest in a series of tremors that have shaken Italy since summer.  Just days before the quake in Norcia destroyed historic buildings, left thousands of people homeless, and injured more than a dozen (though no deaths were reported), there were back-to-back earthquakes in Macerata, e...

The Pope's Summer Palace Now Open for Tours

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/25/2016, 4:00 AM

For the first time ever, the centuries-old residence intended as a summer retreat for popes has been opened for public viewing. The Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo, located along Lake Albano about 25 kilometers (16 mi) outside of Rome, has 20 rooms you can tour, including a library, study, chapel, and bedroom, all set aside for the use of the Catholic leader while he's on vacation. ...

Barter for a Free B&B Stay in Italy

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/20/2016, 4:00 AM

Here's a chance to stay in any of a multitude of B&Bs in Italy without spending a penny—though you do have to pay. From November 14 to 20, the country's Barter Week—or, if you prefer, La Settimana del Baratto—lets visitors exchange various goods and services for accommodations at thousands of participating inns.  You can either enter what you have to offer on the event's website, o...

Fountain Dispensing Free Wine Unveiled in Italy

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/17/2016, 4:00 AM

There's a new contender for the title of Best Fountain in Italy.  It's located in the town of Ortona in the Abruzzo region, and it will dispense free wine 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Dora Sarchese is the name of the generous winery that has set up this marvel—a stone basin situated under button-operated taps housed in a giant wine barrel. It's situated along the Cammino di San ...

Luxury Travel Service Offers Chance to Meet Pope Francis—for $25,000

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/24/2016, 4:00 AM

Pope Francis (photo: Aleteia Image Department/Flickr) There are vacation packages that come with free WiFi and water-park tickets. And then there are apparently vacation packages that include a meet-and-greet with Pope Francis. That's the highlight of a showstopping offering from luxury travel service If Only—part of a trip to Italy that will set you back $25,000 (well, actually, ...

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