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Pensione WildnerDid I need a cultural justification for a trip to Venezia? There was a Louise Bourgeois exhibit at the Fondazione Vedova. But it was just an excuse to check out the Pensione Wildner, a reasonably priced hotel, something that's not easy to find in Venezia. I met Luca Fullin (his ...
Don AlfonsoI've always loved Don Alfonso, in Sant'Agata sui due Golfi, on the Sorrento peninsula. I've been going for years and have seen many, many changes. And, after a recent romantic weekend with my husband I think it's better than ever. Don Alfonso is a restaurant, relais, cooking school and more, ...
Outside my front doorThe Left Bank of FlorenceI live in the Oltrarno (beyond the Arno, the un-Duomo side of the river--think Left Bank), near piazza Santo Spirito, my favorite piazza in Florence. Unfortunately, restaurants directly in the piazza are a sad story. Caffe' Ricchi has changed hands and although I still love to ...
The Grand Tour Part 7We began the day at the Cusa quarries in Campobello di Mazara, the source of Selinunte's stonework. A beautiful new museum, totally empty of tourists, answered the question "just how did they manage to quarry those huge columns and get them to Selinunte?". There's also the Museum of Farm Work--tools, ...
The Grand Tour Part 6Our next destination was Sciacca. We simply had to visit the Enchanted Castle, not really a castle and not really enchanted, but the work of outsider artist Filippo Bentivenga. We wandered the cobblestone paths winding through the hillside, admiring heads sculpted of stone and carved into olive trees in a ...
The Grand Tour Part 5The scenery on the way to Licata was uninspiring, fields of plastic greenhouses and a huge refinery outside Gela, which has to be the ugliest city in Sicily. But there was an archeological museum, a worthwhile detour. We strolled through rooms without any tourists and learned about Gela, an important ...
The Grand Tour Part 3My friend Caterina was excited about a mushroom market and fair in Buccheri. We met her in the main piazza, but the mushroom market--a guy with a crate of dirty mushrooms, and the fair, far smaller than the one in Palazzuolo Acreide, wasn't exactly a morning activity so we detoured ...
The Grand Tour Part 2With Vito Santoro behind the wheel, my sister Suzanne and I headed for Sortino. I'd heard about a Sicilian marionette museum and a local specialty, pizzoli, that I had to try. We passed a favorite truck stop, PANE CONDITO, (big sign, big parking lot, on the right hand side of ...
The Grand Tour Part 1I was inspired by a museum in Palazzuolo Acreide about the Grand Tour--young, upper-class Europeans, traveling for months in search of art, culture and the roots of western civilization, mingling with nobles. Only the most adventurous made it to Sicily. Times have changed but travel still isn't easy, and Sicily ...
Le Chiave dOro and Hotel PatioI've got two new reasons to visit Arezzo, as if one of my favorite frescoes in Italy wasn't enough. The restaurant "Le Chiave d'Oro" is in Palazzo De'Bacci, built by the family who commissioned Piero della Francesca's frescoes "The Legend of the True Cross" in 1452 at the church in ...
At the Top in PositanoHotel Sirenuse in Positano.It was love at first sight, years ago, when I first stayed at the hotel Le Sirenuse, in Positano on the Amalfi coast. The core of the hotel had been the Sersale family's summer home in the 18th century. The Sersales converted it to a hotel in ...