Posts Tagged ‘italy’
Nestled beneath the Alps in northern Italy’s Lombardy region, the beauty of Lake Maggiore is legendary. Here you’ll find a lakeside getaway filled with flowery villas and gardens, perfect for lazy days of aimless wandering. Boat rides and sunshine are obligatory. Seafood and relaxation mandatory.
We’ve stayed in some pretty darn stylish hotels this year, from urban city retreats to ultra modern design hotels, to charming B&B’s, sleek boutique luxury hotels, swanky 5-star chains, and countryside manor houses. Out of all of them, here are our top 5 choices from 2012:
Staying in an Irish manor house in Ireland is an absolute must if you’re exploring the Irish countryside. One of the quintessential Irish experiences, they can be found speckled throughout the countryside and offer little pockets of homey luxury. I can’t begin to describe how truly beautiful this place is!
Turin (Torino in Italian) is a beautiful city filled with cafes, arched porticoes, bookstores and plenty of museums. With a hint of French flavor, and a pinch of regal charm, this northern capital of Italy’s Piedmont region is refreshingly free of the masses of tourists that populate much of Italy. It’s the perfect place to relax, take it slow, and savor the sights of Italy’s car capital.
As the birthplace of the renaissance, Florence, Italy was home to the likes of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Machiavelli, Dante, Galileo and countless others geniuses. Art lovers will never be bored strolling Florence’s winding streets and admiring the many world class art collections the city has to offer. Here’s a sampling of the best:
Galleria degli Uffizi (Uffizi Gallery)
Not to be missed, the Uffizi houses a phenomenal collection of Italian paintings like Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” and masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Titian, Giotto, Da Vinci and Rubens, among many more. Be sure not to miss the Botticelli room, or the gothic altarpieces. (The Uffizi can get crowded, so it’s best to make a reservation in advance.)
Italy, the land of pizza, pasta and gelato, is a culinary paradise. Every region has its own distinct flavors, and among the best is Tuscany. Here are a few delicious spots to savor la dolce vita in Florence, the heart of Tuscany.
This fantastic pizza and panino joint has a small, simple dining room and adjoining counter centered around a wood burning oven. Located right in the heart of central Florence steps from the Duomo, friendly staff serve up freshly baked meals at reasonable prices to hungry crowds of locals. Honestly, I’ve never had a panino as perfect as the ones at Le Bertucce. Their panini feature mouth-watering combos with cured meats and tuscan staples. The best part is the bread—baked fresh on the spot once you place your order. It’s an unforgettable sensation to bite into a steaming panino with bread pulled straight from the oven!
Le Bertucce | Via Santa Elisabetta 16/r
Florence, known in Italian as Firenze, is in my opinion absolutely the most beautiful city in the world. I fell in love with the city during a blissful year abroad studying art, art history and the Italian language. I hadn’t been back to Florence for over a decade and with such great expectations to live up to, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
An hour north of Milan by train lies a little slice of heaven. As the city recedes out the window, buildings give way to flowers and sweeping mountain peaks. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself gliding along a big expanse of blue, as Lake Como (Lago di Como) sweeps into view.
The Park of Monsters in Italy has also been known as the “Villa of Wonders” and Bosco dei Mostri (“Monsters’ Grove”) over the years. Dating from 1552, the park consists of a garden filled with splendid sculpted monsters engraved with enigmatic Italian verses, as well as a twisted house. Designed by architect Pirro Ligorio, the park fell into disarray until it was restored by the Bettini family.