Studying abroad in Italy for 3 months, I knew I couldn’t leave here without visiting Rome. Rome is home to some of the most important and influential history in the world, the capital of Italy, and a huge city with so much to do and see in general. I finally made the trip last weekend, and it definitely was an eventful one! I’ll give you some advice to squeeze in all of the must-see sights while avoiding lines, tourist traps and ultimately making the most of your weekend.
Summer is coming and with it many interesting concerts around Tuscany .. Here is a selection of those not to be missed:George Michael @ Piazza Santa Croce - 10/9/2011 - Ticket here Arcade Fire @ Lucca Summer Festival - 9/7/2011 - Ticket here Beady Eye @ Teatro Sashall - 8/6/2011 - Ticket here Jamiroquai @Lucca Summer Festival - 24/7/2011 - Ticket here Lou reed @ Pistoia Blues - 10/7/2011 - Ticket here Skunk Anansie @ Pistoia Blues - 8/7/2011 - Ticket Here Goran Bregovic and the wedding funeral band @ La versiliana - Marina di Pietrasanta lucca - 20/7/2011 - Ticket Here
I was doing the unthinkable, on the brink of breaking my new year’s resolution, booking a flight home from Pisa to London, with Ryanair. The reasons for my personal boycott of this particular no frills, no thrills airline were perfectly valid but it was a long time ago since I last flew with them. Surely it couldn’t still be that much of an unpleasant experience? They were still operating, after all.So, at my computer I negotiate my way through the online booking process, lured in by the illuminated strobe candy !!€7 until midnight!! (I think that refers to the price of the snack pack on board, which doesn’t come with a drink by the way. What kind of snack is that?). In the extra cost field I dodged the default priority boarding tab and the automatic travel insurance, backed up the automatic text message alert truck, hurdled across the branded Ryanair luggage purchase (please!) and jumped all over the recommended hotel and car hire bookings…with the skill of the penitent Indiana Jones “kneeling” before God to claim the holy grail.Moment of hesitation: Number of bags to check in? Sod it, Indiana Jones only needed his leather satchel and his hat, I’m not paying to cart around two pairs of extra shoes. I’m taking one pair of shoes, and they’ll be on my feet at check-in. I was only going for 2 nights after all. Laptop can go in my hand luggage next to shoes, a couple of pairs of knickers and socks, a few tops, mandatory chunk of Parmesan cheese for my brother, and off I go…As outbound flights go, this one wasn’t too bad. No one weighed my bag at Pisa airport or seemed to mind me carrying a small handbag in addition to my carry-on case, which I was prepared to put inside the case if necessary - I was playing by the rules. Cabin seatsApart from the roller coaster, get to know your neighbour, bright yellow seats and the ridiculous trumpet sounding on landing celebrating that we were all still alive and Ryanair had managed to land on time (sorry, should we be thanking them for sticking to a timetable?) I arrived at Stansted relatively unfazed.
Italy is a country of extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage. It is a treasure of inestimable value that we have been privileged to receive an inheritance from our ancestors over the centuries. This is even more luck being able to enjoy free of charge for nine days, 9 to 17 April next. That 's what happens during the Culture Week, now in its thirteenth edition, which each year offers free entry to museums, archaeological sites, archives and state libraries, for a great feast spread throughout the country. In Italy, more than 2,500 events including exhibitions, conferences, special openings, workshops, guided tours and concerts make the experience even more special to all Italian and foreign visitors.
With 660 places and 150 places open to the public symbol of the Italian Risorgimento, the "Giornate Fai di Primavera" is presented as a unique event of its kind.Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 will be opened in Florence:Collezione Arnaldo Corsi – Museo Stefano Bardini Via dei Renai, 37Sabato 26 e Domenica 27, ore 11.00 – 16.30Fondazione Spadolini Nuova Antologia: Casa di Giovanni Spadolini Via Pian dei Giullari, 139Sabato 26, ore 13.30 – 16.30; Domenica 27, ore 10.30 – 16.30Castello Sonnino - Via Volterrana nord 6/A; (Montespertoli)Domenica 27, ore 10.00 – 17.00Il Molino dei Conti Galli Tassi e la Pieve di San Vincenzo a Torri: storie di nobili, mugnai e decime Granducali (Luogo del Cuore)Domenica 27, ore 10.30 – 16.30
The thought of drinking red wine at 10am in the morning may not appeal to all…but I say “anything in the name of history and culture!” It is hard to resist an invitation to participate in one of Florence’s Vinaino Tours on a fresh, sunny morning. The streets of the centro storico, which many of us know so well, suddenly becoming unfamiliar, stepping back into a Florence of street merchants, tradesmen and marketplaces, where stealing a bunch of grapes or trying to cut your wine with too much water will deal you a public flogging in Piazza Repubblica…
Viareggio Carnival, celebrating 138 years of life and activity under the sign of a vivid tradition such as the long-established European tradition of Carnival festivals, is no doubt one of the best known events in Italy.Viareggio Carnival, which was born as a popular expression of the town soul, has been acquiring more and more since it was born, a strong tourist value and attracts every year more than one million spectators gathering to attend the magic of the great parades of big floats in papier-maché.In 2011, the usual five carnival masked parades are planned for February 20th , 27th and March 6th- 8th 13th , on the extraordinary Liberty style staging along the seaside avenues of Viareggio. Every evening, there are carnival celebrations in all of the city’s different quarters.Viareggio Carnival’s peculiarity consists in giant, allegorical papier-maché floats - the biggest ones weighing about forty tons each - and expresses nowadays the old knowledge going back to the ancient ‘trionfi’ (war-victory feastings) of the Renaissance, adhering even more to the building techniques of the big sailing ships, a pride of Viareggio traditions.Real travelling theatres - the allegorical papier-maché floats are the product of the unequalled creativity, of the extraordinary sculpture and painting skill of Viareggio ‘magicians’, and are the highest example of this popular art whose language has spread all over the world.The parades take place in a ring-like circuit 2 km. long, on the seaside avenues of Viareggio, best known as La Passeggiata.Here the floats move among the spectators, who can attend the show with no barriers, becoming in turn the protagonists of the parade.During the Carnival period, Viareggio and his Passeggiata change into a true open air Museum where people coming from all over the world meet to enjoy together.The parades also include folkloristic bands and performers with the most original masks, offering excitement, culture and tradition in a wide programme of entertainment and fun for children and adults.