48 Hours in Siena
Siena is a popular day trip from Florence, but if you have a wee bit more time & can spend a couple of days you'll get a better feel for the city (and enjoy it more in the evenings after the day trippers leave). Here's an itinerary for two days in Siena.
Italian sagre: traditional and local festivals
This is by no means a comprehensive list of the food festivals that take place in Italy through the year, but it does include some of the larger ones. (via @MyMelange on Twitter)
Elba and Napoleon: an unlikely history
Napoleon was "banished" to the Italian island of Elba in 1814 as a punishment, but he didn't just sit around and sulk. In fact, the work he did for the island during his time there was so appreciated that there's still a Mass held every year for him.
Palio di Siena – vittorie
With the 2011 edition in the history books, we can now congratulate the Oca (goose) contrada of Siena for their July win and the Giraffa (giraffe) contrada for their August win.
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Italian women ‘the unhappiest in Europe’
According to this new study, about 50% of the women in Italy regret getting married, 2/3s regret having kids, and more than 3/4s of Italian housewives are "dissatisfied with their lives." This may not be shocking in a country governed by a misogynist, but it's still sad.
Ultimate Romantic Splurges and Steals
Venice makes an appearance on this list under "private jacuzzis" – there's a rooftop jacuzzi at the Bauer Il Palazzo. Yes, it's on the "splurge" end of the scale.
Italian minister attacks ‘spoilt’ footballers for refusing austerity tax
An Italian minister reacted to reports that soccer players in Italy were complaining about a "solidarity tax" being imposed on the country's highest earners, saying that they should be taxed twice as a result. A representative of the players' union, however, says that no player has protested the tax – probably because most of them have contracts that say their employers (the clubs) pay their taxes. (via @LifeinSicily on Twitter)
Mediterranean Dream Trip Higher-Lights
After NY Times' Frugal Traveler spent 10 weeks hopping around the Mediterranean, he posted this list of some of his favorite moments. Not surprisingly, his "best meal" was in Naples. Yes, this makes me crazy happy…
Italian Lifestyle: the “caffe’ pagato” (paid coffee) Custom
I love this description of the "caffe' pagato" custom – essentially, "paying it forward" by buying a few extra coffees for customers who'll come in after you.
US tourist dies in Italy by falling from cliff
A young American traveler apparently fell to her death from a high window in Vernazza in the Cinque Terre. Her travel companion said they had been out earlier in the evening drinking, but that she was already asleep when the young woman evidently got up into the window – perhaps to sit and look at the view – and then fell 80 feet to the ground below. (via @italofileblog on Twitter)
How Not to Get Ripped Off Eating in Italy
This is an EXCELLENT article full of tips for eating out in Italy without paying more than you should. This is one worth printing or saving to your smartphone and bringing with you!