A poet at the world’s edge

Statue of Ovid in Sulmona

Ovid was born in Sulmona, in the province of L’Aquila, but was destined to die far from home. Joe Gartman tells his story… Photos by Patricia Gartman unless otherwise stated   In December of the year 8 AD, a Roman citizen named Publius Ovidius Naso left Rome on a long journey. After enduring ferocious storms […]

Past Italia: Piazza della Signoria

Piazza della Signoria, Florence

Florence’s Piazza della Signoria is named after its palazzo, which is now also known as the Palazzo Vecchio Photo by Getty Images The Duomo may be the more famous Florence landmark, but the Piazza della Signoria has at least as much historical importance to the city. The Signoria was the government of Florence at the […]

Past Italia! Catacombs of San Gennaro

Catacombs of San Gennaro, Naples

In Naples, where history is told through layers of earth, an ancient tomb offers a window to the distant past… Deep beneath the streets of northern Naples, on the slopes leading up to Capodimonte, in the area officially known as Rione Sanità, but also sometimes called the ‘Valley of the Dead’, lie le Catacombe di […]

Past Italia: Il Castello di Santa Severa

Castello di Santa Severa, Lazio italy

The medieval castle of Santa Severa faces out to sea on the Lazio coast, just 40 minutes north of Rome The Castle of Saint Severa is named after a young girl whose entire family was martyred. Her father was a Roman military commander who converted to Christianity and was put to death for refusing to renounce […]

Insider’s Rome: The Pantheon

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Proposals to charge entry to the Pantheon remain controversial, after plans were announced to start charging visitors from May this year… Words by Jon Palmer. Image by iStock Up until now, entry to the Pantheon was free, and had been throughout its 2,000 years of continuous use. This January, however, Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, confirmed […]

Insider’s Rome: The Forum

Santi Luca e Martina, Arch of Septimius Severus and the Temple of Saturn at the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

The Forum is where Roman history begins, but when it begins is a question that has recently had to be asked again… According to the story, Rome was founded on 21 April 753 BC, which means this April it was… umm… very old. How do we know the date so precisely? Because it’s just a […]

48 hours in: Ravenna

If you ever find yourself in Emilia-Romagna, Ravenna is an absolute must. It really is a treasure trove of art and culture, writes Sara Scarpa. Above me is depicted a dark blue sky full of golden stars.The many thousands of tiny mosaic tiles set in various inclinations seem to capture and cascade light onto anyone […]

Insider’s Rome: le Terme di Caracalla

Though they are named for the Emperor Caracalla, it was probably his father, Severus, who laid the plans for these huge baths… Most tourists come here by public transport, though the walk from the Forum takes you past a number of sites. Or, if you really liked walking, you could combine the trip with a […]

Insider’s Rome: the Villa Borghese

Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1577-1633) was a patron of Bernini and Caravaggio. The Baroque legacy at his Villa is a wonder to behold… People are often surprised to learn that, at least as far as major European cities go, Rome actually has a very good green space to concrete ratio. It certainly doesn’t feel like that […]

The Worried Warhorse of Fénis Castle

When St George slayed the dragon and rescued the princess, he acted with fearlessness – but his brave horse was never quite so sure that the fight would be won. High in the Alps, in the far northwest of Italy, is the Valle d’Aosta, the smallest of Italy’s official regions, and the most lightly populated. […]