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Archive for italy

Italian Island Bans Plastics

By Linda Tancs

Italy is no stranger to banning environmentally bad behavior. Remember the rule in Venice regarding littering? Now comes Capri on a crusade to ban plastics. In May, the island passed a law banning all single-use plastics that are not biodegradable. So, listen up, day trippers: leave your plastic bottles, bags and utensils on the mainland. Scofflaws will pay dearly, up to 500 euros. In the end, however, everyone will benefit from the new rule because the European Parliament approved a law banning a wide range of single-use plastic items by 2021 to curb ocean pollution. Indeed, some reports indicate that plastics make up at least 80% of marine litter.

Italy’s Butterfly Haven

By Linda Tancs

Nestled in the mountains in northeast Italy, Bordano hosts the largest butterfly enclosure in the country, Casa della Farfalle. Thousands of butterflies of every species fly about in greenhouses designed to replicate ecosystems in Africa, the Amazon and Asian and Australian rainforests. The facility is open daily from March to September.

From Tyrol to Italy

By Linda Tancs

From Austria’s highest peak (Grossglockner) to the Adriatic Sea, the Alpe-Adria Trail is a 466-mile trek winding its way through Austria, Slovenia and Italy. Signposted throughout, the trail is divided into a series of stages, each taking about six hours to walk. The hiking season begins in April and ends in October, the whole stretch taking up to six weeks. If you go now, you’ll likely see snow lingering on the high passes in Carinthia and Slovenia.

Capitals of Culture in 2019

By Linda Tancs

Happy New Year! And you know what that means—another set of European Capitals of Culture! This year’s honorees are Matera (Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria). Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with a history dating back to 4,000 B.C. During Roman times, it was a thriving industrial center and remains so today. Its annual International Fair is an epicenter for international business, conducted on fairgrounds representing one of the largest exhibition venues in southeastern Europe. Matera is a city on a rocky outcrop in the region of Basilicata in southern Italy. It includes the Sassi area, a complex of cave dwellings carved into the mountainside. Many of the caves are now hotels, bars, restaurants and homes. Take the train from Bari to Matera and explore the area on foot.

The Green Island

By Linda Tancs

In the heart of the Tyrrhenian Sea sit three islands off the coast of Naples—Procida, Capri and Ischia. Capri may get the glitz, but Ischia is the largest of the cousins. Its abundant pines and lush Mediterranean vegetation earn it the nickname “The Green Island.” Of volcanic origin, the island also boasts a high concentration of thermal springs and a large variety of waters giving way to some 300 spas, making it a haven for relaxation. Poseidon Gardens in Forio is the biggest thermal park on the island with over 20 pools.

Art, Food and Cars

By Linda Tancs

Ninety miles north of Florence, Italy, the city of Modena is noted for its art, food and cars. If the place name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the home of balsamic vinegar. But no less tantalizing is the local tortellini, stuffed with pork, prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Dubbed the land of motors, its automotive heritage includes Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani Automobili, B.G. Engineering, De Tomaso and Bugatti. The Enzo Ferrari Museum captures some of the glitz of the city’s manufacturing history; the facility boasts a semi-professional simulator to allow visitors to experience the exhilaration of driving a Ferrari Formula 1 single-seater. The locale’s industriousness is balanced by its cultural diversity in the nature of old Roman ruins, great masterpieces from the likes of luminaries such as El Greco and Correggio and the cathedral, one of the most beautiful and elegant from the European Romanesque period.

An Etruscan Wonder in Italy

By Linda Tancs

Founded by Etruscans more than 2,500 years ago, the Italian village of Civita di Bagnoregio is one of some 20,000 ghost villages, remnants of a bygone era characterized by isolated living in precariously perched hamlets forged by medieval artisans. Located on a tufa rock hill that can be reached only by crossing a pedestrian bridge, Civita di Bagnoregio’s perch is all the more dramatic considering that large portions of the commune have been reclaimed by the valley due to landslides and other natural disasters. Still, the gorgeous panoramic views make this hilltop enclave a favorite of tourists who gladly pay an entrance fee designed to shore up its crumbling infrastructure. Around 74 miles north of Rome, it’s a popular day trip with tour groups.

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