Winter in the Valle di Gran San Bernardo

san bernardo carnival

Rachael Martin arrives in Aosta’s ‘cold valley’ just in time for carnival, as well as taking advantage of the snowy weather to explore the region Photos by Rachael Martin unless otherwise stated   It’s carnival time on a cold February morning in the Great St Bernard Valley in northern Italy’s Aosta Valley region. I’m in […]

Drive Italia: The Vespa – Piaggio’s Wasp

Vespa in Italy

Defining every retro Italian holiday snap in ultimate style – let us present the Vespa: trendy, practical and iconic… Photo by Amanda Robinson Before the FIAT 500 appeared on the scene, Italy got about almost exclusively by motor scooter. At one point there were more than 100 different motorbike manufacturers in Italy. After the birth […]

Luci d’Artista in Turin

Lights in Turin Italy

Every winter the streets of Turin come alight with sophisticated electric installations by renowned artists – Joe Gartman investigates… Photos by Patricia Gartman Thomas Edison started it all, of course. Not content with inventing the light bulb, he strung dozens of coloured lamps around his laboratory for the 1880 holiday season. In 1882, his business partner, […]

A Wild Christmas

Krampus festival in a snowy field just outside Castelrotto, South Tyrol, Italy

Each December, the terrifying costumed figures of Krampus paint South Tyrol red with their extravaganza. Marina Spironetti attends a traditional parade of the monsters in Castelrotto Photos by Marina Spironetti   If your idea of a typical Italian Christmas involves getting dressed up as Babbo Natale for the fun of the little ones in the […]

Past Italia: Pasta in Italy

antique picture Italy: Naples, Pasta Factory

This image of a 19th-century factory in Naples illustrates just how fundamental pasta is to Italian cuisine Where or when pasta originated is something we will never know. A lot of the problem lies in what we mean by “pasta”, but the modern Italian pasta we know and love today (ie, that which is made […]

Giotto: the Arena Chapel

Giotto shows the representation of human emotion, injects individuality once again in the people depicted and is interested in conveying a sense of realism. Back in the very early 1300s Padua was a very wealthy merchant city and the Scrovegni family was one of the most wealthy families in the city. Reginaldo Scrovegni had made […]

The Piaggio Ape – Italia! Icons

What the Vespa was to private transport in Italy in the lean years following the Second World War, the Ape would be to commercial transport… When the Second World War ended, Italy was in ruins. Not only had she fought on the losing side but, in the process of losing, much of her infrastructure – […]

Square Coliseum

Called the “Square Coliseum”, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana was intended by Benito Mussolini as the centrepiece of the 1942 Esposizione Universale Roma When I first saw it, in the distance at the far end of a wide avenue, it seemed like a mirage: a bright white cube, made of rows and columns of arches. […]

Top 5 – Italian Castles

Hundreds of fascinating, historic castles decorate the Italian landscape from the tip to the top of the peninsula. We’ve chosen five of our favourites… Castel del Monte Bari, Puglia Emperor Frederick II built this immaculately planned castle near Bari in the 13th century. A masterpiece of architectural achievement, the castle’s octagonal theme is intrinsic to […]

Grotesque Style

The term Grotesque derives from the caves, or grotte, where Renaissance builders unearthed this ancient form The Grotesque style was all the rage during the 1500s for both interiors and exteriors all over Italy. It continued to be so for the following two centuries. Nowadays, when the word is mentioned, negative images of unfortunate distorted […]