Past Italia: Brisighella


An unusual clock tower overlooks the land surrounding a small town in the province of Ravenna… What is now the Torre dell’Orologio of Brisighella was originally built in 1290 under the orders of the condottiero Maghinardo Pagani as part of the town’s (nominally) defensive fortifications. Damaged and reconstructed several times, the tower we see today […]

Past Italia: Scilla

Overlooking the Strait of Messina, Scilla is a holiday haven, with a terrible story to tell… Now, don’t let it go spoiling your holiday, because this story isn’t true, but when Odysseus sailed through the Strait of Messina he faced a twin threat: on this side of the water, the Scylla, a sea monster who […]

Past Italia: The Piave River

It looks serene and peaceful today but at the end of the First World War this was the scene of intense fighting between Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces – and that wasn‘t the first time the river had seen conflict… Some would say that the purpose of the First World War (to the extent that it […]

Rotonda a Mare

The Rotonda a Mare stands on the shoreline at Senigallia in Le Marche. It was built between the Wars and was instrumental in the development of Senigallia as a popular tourist resort in the 1930s… The story of Senigallia’s ‘circular pier’ dates to the latter half of the 19th century, when a structure on wooden […]

Sant’ Antimo

Sant’Antimo abbey

If you’re in Montalcino, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the glorious Romanesque Abbey of Sant’ Antimo, sitting in a picturesque valley just a few kilometres south of the town Photo by iStock This charming Tuscan monastery is worth visiting for the beautiful building, its spectacular position and for its long history. Sant’ Antimo is […]

Basilica di Saccargia

The black and white stonework of this Romanesque church, an offspring of the Pisan Romanesque constructions, makes an arresting sight as you approach the northwest corner of Sardinia. The striking Basilica della Santissima Trinità di Saccargia (Basilica of the Holy Trinity of Saccargia) sits on a plain at Codrongianos, south of Sassari, in the northwest […]

Past Italia! Cività di Bagnoregio

Marooned like a tiny island on an outcrop of crumbling volcanic rock, the once-thriving settlement of Cività di Bagnoregio in Lazio clings to a perilous existence When you catch sight of its precarious position today, it is hard to imagine that Cività di Bagnoregio was once a large, thriving Etruscan city situated on a wide […]

La Palazzina di Stupinigi – Past Italia!

In the woods and fields around the Palazzina di Stupinigi, outside Turin, between harvest time and Christmas, no animal big enough to be hunted was safe… The silhouetted figure on top gives a clue as to what this building was designed to be: a hunting lodge, a very grand hunting lodge. There has been a […]

San Giorgio – Past Italia!

If you visit Ascoli Piceno in the heart of Le Marche you’ll find a wealth of incredible religious artworks by a Renaissance artist who fell in love with the region This detail of San Giorgio is part of the stunning polyptych found  in the Holy Sacrament Chapel in the cathedral in Ascoli Piceno. The art is the […]

La Vara di Messina – Past Italia

Every August the people of Messina draw a 40-foot statue through their streets, and they have been doing this for 600 years. The edifice represents the final resting place of the Virgin Mary… The still photograph doesn’t do it justice. Giuseppe Pitre, the revered Sicilian writer, who died 100 years ago this year, witnessed the […]