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Archive for italy

The Foliage Train

By Linda Tancs

The Vigezzina-Centovalli Railway runs 32 miles between Domodossola, Italy, and Locarno, Switzerland, passing over 83 bridges and viaducts. Just the mention of a route like that evokes scenic wonders, so imagine how colorful it gets during autumn. That’s when “the foliage train” operates, promising enchanting views enhanced by autumn’s foliage. Each train is equipped with full-length windows, too, so it’s doubtful that the journey will disappoint. You can reach the International Rail Station of Domodossola with Eurocity, interregionali and regionali trains operated by Trenitalia. On the Swiss side, Locarno can be reached by using the international railway lines Basel-Milano or Zurich-Milano, and the route is fully covered by the Swiss Travel Pass (Flex) and GA travelcard.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Wedded Bliss in Accettura

By Linda Tancs

Call it mat-TREE-mony—that is, a wedding of the arboreal kind. That’s right: a wedding of two trees, an oak and a holly. The unusual union is celebrated this time of year in southern Italy. Il Maggio di Accettura is an ancient pagan wedding festival celebrated in Accettura, a mountain village of about 2,000 people in the region of Basilicata. In case you were wondering, the oak is the groom and the holly is the bride. They’re cut, joined together (by the trunk of the oak and the top of the holly) and hoisted by a pulley over the main square of the town, followed by a procession of women wearing tiered headdresses made of candles and flowers. This centuries-old festival is undoubtedly one of the most unusual you’ll ever experience.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Figure of Eight in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Castel del Monte in southern Italy strikes a perfect octagonal shape. That’s part of what makes it unique, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle. Commissioned around 1240 by German Emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, this fortress on a hill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lauded for its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity, its exterior limestone block is remarkably intact. Located in Andria near Bari, you can easily reach it by bus, train or car.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Rural Life in Piedmont

By Linda Tancs

Parco Naturale Valle del Ticino is a protected area in Ticino and Lake Maggiore in the Piedmont region of Italy. The park is situated in the south of Lake Maggiore, where the Ticino River flows out from the lake and reaches Lombardy. The landscape is primarily rural, dotted with mills and farmhouses. The river valley has seen its share of excitement, however, having been plumbed by gold diggers until just decades ago. These days a popular point of interest is Mulino Vecchio of Bellinzago, the only working watermill in the valley. Rebuilt in 1718, it has become a Regional Center for Environmental Education.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Beneath the Waves in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Baia is a sunken resort town in the vicinity of Naples, Italy. In the ancient Roman world, it was the epitome of hedonism, a playground for the likes of Nero and Cicero. Now one of the world’s few underwater archaeological parks, licensed scuba divers can explore the site, accompanied by one of the registered local dive shops and guides. You can also explore its sunken ruins via a glass canoe excursion that runs from April to October.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Made in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Some things are so much a part of the common experience that you forget it’s special. Take Parmesan cheese, for example, a staple of pizza and pasta dishes. The genuine article is made in Italy, embossed Parmigiano-Reggiano. It hails from Parma, a university city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. Like any well-known product, it has a museum devoted to its history, The Museum of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Located in Soragna in the Province of Parma, the venue showcases the history of the region’s famous cheese. Of course, the gift shop offers genuine Parmesan as well as tasting kits, posters, postcards and themed kitchen objects.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Goethe Slept Here

By Linda Tancs

You can imagine the pride that a tiny resort town would have when a famous writer and statesman like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe drops in for a night. Such was the case for Torbole, Italy. Located on the shore of Lake Garda, the hole-in-the-wall commemorated the illustrious visit in the 1700s with a plaque on the guest house in the town center. Nowadays it’s best remembered, and prized, as an international center for windsurfing and sailing thanks to constant winds hailing from the Monte Baldo mountain range as well as the lake.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Craftwork in Val Gardena

By Linda Tancs

Val Gardena is a valley nestled in the Dolomites in the South Tyrol region of Italy. It may be prized for its pistes in winter, but don’t overlook its long history as a center of artisanal woodcarving. In fact, the tradition has been alive and well since the 17th century, passed on from generation to generation. Sought after worldwide, the bevy of artists there produce everything from simple, utilitarian items to finely detailed figurines and sculptures.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

On-Demand Wine in Florence

By Linda Tancs

The concept of “on-demand” has a long history. Really long. And it has nothing to do with media libraries. We’re talking about on-demand wine, a concept dating to the 16th century in Florence, where wealthy winemakers would earn some easy cash selling wine through a hole in the wall, literally. These wine windows (buchette del vino) were embedded in the doors or walls of Florentine palaces, only after a time to be lost to history and boarded over. But, as the saying goes, everything old is new again. The wine window is making a comeback, with Babae being the first restaurant to embrace the old tradition. You’ll find them in the city’s Santo Spirito neighborhood.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Springtime in Abruzzo

By Linda Tancs

Spring is the best time to visit Italy’s Abruzzo National Park. That’s when the meadows are covered with flora like flowering violets, crocuses, snowbells, gentians, lilies, primroses and buttercups. It’s also when the area’s protected fauna arise from hibernation and migrating birds blanket the sky. Located in the heart of the central Apennines, the park is a refuge for protected species like the Apennine wolf, Abruzzi chamois and Marsican brown bear. Both the park and various towns in its environs organize themed guided tours throughout the year, as well as exhibitions and shows, events and festivals associated with the local heritage.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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