Cultural

The Best Time to Visit Sicily: Autumn

I have been running tours in Sicily for years, and there is no doubt in my mind that September through December are the best months to enjoy a visit that focuses on the abundant archaeological and cultural sites of the southern peninsula. Many of the most impressive attractions are situated outdoors: either in the hectic urban centre of Palermo or out at the excavation sites. If the lure of these attractions is what motivates you …

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Flag Throwing in Florence: a medieval spectacular

Italians love a good celebration, even (or especially) if that means commemorating a victory dating back to Medieval times! Special occasions in Florence and Tuscany generally are often marked with street parades featuring flag throwers. The art of flag throwing dates back to Medieval and Renaissance times when military parades would be accompanied by their band of merry musicians and their flag bearers. To add a touch of drama to the parades, the flag bearers would put on …

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Andrea Del Sarto – “The Faultless Painter” in Florence

Great Renaissance artist and Florentine local, Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530), is known as ‘the faultless painter’ due to his exceptional technical abilities, his perfection in capturing each figure and form in his master works. Yet his paintings have never been as greatly appreciated as those of Michelangelo and Rafael whose works were much more revered despite technical ‘flaws’. Del Sarto married the widow, Lucrezia del Fede, who remains known to this day for her incessant …

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VISITING THE PYRAMIDS… OF ROME?

Let’s play a game of word association. We say ‘Gondola’, you would likely say ‘Venice’ . We say ‘Michelangelo’, you may come up with ‘Florence’, ‘David’ or perhaps ‘Sistine Chapel’. But how about ‘Pyramids’? Not many of us would call out ‘Rome’. And yet, Rome was actually the site of two pyramids built as tombs somewhere between 18 and 12 BC. The Pyramid of Cestius (Piramide Cestia or Piramide di Caio Cestio) was built well out of …

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Italy DOs and DON’Ts – pushing in is fine, just don’t touch the apples!

The Uffizi Gallery has just issued a list of rules for visitors to the museum. It got us thinking about etiquette generally in Italy. For instance, when you entre a store, you should ask permission to browse. In Italian you say, ‘Permesso?’ -as in, ‘May I?’-  when you walk into a shop. It is considered rude to touch items in store window displays just as it is also frowned upon to help yourself in some …

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