The Romans loved to lounge in hot water, so it’s no surprise that Italy today is littered with the remains of ancient bath complexes and mosaic-covered pools. One of their most revered respites was Saturnia, in modern Tuscany. Roman mythology says that Saturn, the wielder of lightning, threw down one of his bolts here and caused the hot water to ﬂow. It hasn’t stopped since.
As I walk across the sunny piazza I think how easy it is to feel at home in Ascoli Piceno. I’m still blurry-eyed when I arrive at the coffee bar, but without my having to say a word, a frothy cappuccino is placed before me, followed by a cornetto filled with a dab of sweet almond paste. The barista, Giuliano, smiles broadly and then chats about the happenings in the neighborhood.
With so much to see in Italy, many travelers overlook the country’s beautiful gardens and lose out on a special experience as a result. For these are no ordinary, peaceful patches of green; they are often reflections of artistic expression with exotic designs and formal layouts. The best-known gardens are the elegant, noble estates of Villa d’Este near Rome, the Royal Palace of Caserta close to Naples, and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, but there are other—secret—gardens to explore…
Arlene Gibbs was on-set in Toronto, working on a movie in production, when she realized she needed a life change. The two months she spent on location was the longest period she had been away from Los Angeles since she began working there 10 years previously. “Everything in L.A. was about ‘The Business’,” she says. “Everyone I interacted with at work…at the cafes…even at the gym was involved in the movie industry.”
You have visions of rolling hills dotted with stone farmhouses, sunny piazzas and la dolce vita. A new life in Italy is alluring. That’s why I moved here eight years ago. But before you can start enjoying those sidewalk cafés and open-air markets, there are a few bureaucratic hurdles you’ll need to jump to live legally in Italy.
We arrived at our rented villa just in time to see the sun slipping down toward the liquid-blue horizon. Perched on the terrace, we sipped rosé wine bought in a winery down the road and watched as nature splashed a rosy hue across the western sky. Fishermen returning with their catch left a silvery wake in the waning light. One hour in Cilento and we were smitten.
Italians have been throwing good parties since before the Romans perfected the opulent banquet. Every village, town, and city district finds its own reason to celebrate, and with a few millennia of culture, history, and legends to draw on, there are plenty of nation-wide events, too. To help you decide which ones you should really experience, we’ve put together a list of the five most unusual ones from around the country.
You’ve made plans, set tentative dates…you’re almost ready to take off on your three- or six-month European tour…the next step is a roof over your head. But the short-term rentals offered online can be sickeningly expensive. Fully furnished and ready to go they may be, but with prices often multiples of those you’ll find on the ground, there are better ways to look.
When I tell people that I bought a house in Italy, the usual response is, “How fantastic!” When I tell them it’s located in Basilicata, they get a blank look and ask, “Where?”
There’s a lot more to Italy’s underworld than old re-runs of The Godfather. This country is rich in a real underworld: caverns, grottoes and underground cities. Here are three of my favorite places for subterranean history and natural splendor.