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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On the west coast of central Italy lies Lazio (Latium), a region that is home to two of the world’s most famed cities: Rome (Roma) and, in it, Vatican City. It is virtually impossible to pinpoint a single destination in Rome as a “must see” because it is a place that appeals to so many people for so many reasons. There is the Vatican in all its religious, artistic and architectural glory. There are the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum for those fascinated with thousands of years worth of history (they don’t call Rome the ‘Eternal City’ for nothing). Art lovers around the world treasure the Capitoline Museums that house an astounding array of ancient art and sculpture (ancient themselves, the museums were founded in 1471). And the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps are gems of Rome that should not be missed.
Trevi Fountain

Though it is the capital of Italy and one of the country’s largest cities, Rome is not the only place worth visiting in Lazio. The Pontine Isles, volcanic islands off Lazio’s coast, are a brilliant reminder of why Italy is often considered one of the most beautiful places in the world. For those overwhelmed by Rome’s intense, so-much-to-see environment, the Pontine Isles provide a much-needed break, an island getaway with breathtakingly stunning surroundings. On Ponza, the Isles’ largest island, “relaxation and leisure have been transformed into a high art,” according to The beauty of Ponza can be seen all along its jagged, colorful and rocky shores, in its numerous seaside coves, and on its secluded, pristine beaches.

For more information on Lazio, two really informative websites to visit are and

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Le Marche

Almost every description of the region of Le Marche (The Marches) depicts it as a place of unspoiled beauty, untainted landscape, and undeniable charm. It is a place where historical centers and farmland replace big cities and green rules the scenery. In the tradition of preserving this untouched landscape, Parco Nazionale dei Monti Sibillini (Sibillini National Park) was created in 1993, as well as a collection of regional parks. The national park spans over 70,000 hectares and promotes the tourist experience by offering horseback riding and climbing, as well as the usual hiking and cycling.

Because Le Marche is not typically a touristy area, it is a great place to get a real feel for Renaissance Italy, away from tourist attractions. In Le Marche, Urbino is a town that is still very much in tune with its Renaissance past. Art from the period is displayed in the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, located in the Palazzo Ducale, a Renaissance work in its own right.

For more information about Le Marche, visit

Monday, July 7, 2008


If you are looking for a place in Italy where the scenery and the history are equally fascinating, Campania might be the region for you. Like much of Italy, Campania has survived the empires of the Greeks, Romans, and Normans, though each has left their distinctive mark on the area.

The third largest city in Italy, Naples (Napoli) was founded in 600 B.C. and was once a Greek trading center. Its name originated from the Greek word Neapolis, meaning “new city.” Towering over Naples is Mount Vesuvius, the still active volcano that destroyed the infamous ancient city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. Some artifacts recovered from Pompeii, as well as other intriguing discoveries like 4th century B.C. tomb paintings, can be viewed at Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Paestum. The bustling, chaotic city of Naples is located on the shores of a beautiful bay and there is no better place to view the picturesque scenery than at the Castel Sant’Elmo, a star-shaped castle atop the area’s largest hill.

For those who crave to be surrounded with such beauty, Capri is quite literally an island paradise. Though accommodation there can be considerably pricey, the natural wonders visitors experience make it worth the cost. For over 2,500 years, tourists have been making their way to the island, including Julius and Tiberious Caesar, who had summer villas built there. Capri is rife with splendor. Of all its wonderful natural attractions, be sure not to miss Grotta Azzura (Blue Grotto). The Blue Grotto makes for a charming excursion; after entering (the entrance is only about 3 feet high), travelers will observe the brilliantly unique way that light refracts on the water, creating a display of colors and silvery reflections.

For more information about these and more destinations in Campania, a great site to visit is