Wednesday March 5, 2014
Imagine spending a week in a historic family palazzo, or mansion, right on the main square of the small but lively market town of Mercatello sul Metauro in central Italy's le Marche region. Luisa Donati, whose family owns Palazzo Donati, is offering one week stays in Palazzo Donati with guided excursions to visit places and see sights not easily accessible to tourists traveling on their own. Guests will visit artisan workshops and small medieval towns, taste wine, have a cooking class, and tour the famous Frassasi Caves and the Renaissance city of Urbino. A highlight is a dinner prepared by a local fraternity of men dedicated to wine and food, the Accademia del Padlot, an experience not normally available to tourists. This is a great way to have an authentic Italian experience since the arrangements will be made for you and you won't have to worry if you don't speak Italian since you'll have both a hostess and tour guide who speak English.
Le Marche Trip Details: One-week tour packages available in May and September or other dates by special request. See Authentic Italian Experience with Luisa.
Mercatello sul Metauro photo © by Martha Bakerjian
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Visiting a food market anywhere in Italy can be a great experience but the market in Palermo, Sicily, is one of the best. Vucciria Market is one of the top things to see in Palermo and recently National Geographic included it in its list of the world's top 10 Food Markets. The historic Mercato della Vucciria has been around for about 700 years and makes a great introduction to the food, smells, sights, and people of Palermo. You'll find a wide assortment of stalls selling everything from produce, fish, and meat to clothing and crafts. Even if you don't want to buy anything, the market is a good source of free entertainment where you can spend an hour or two wandering through the stalls watching the sellers and buyers. Mercato della Vucciria is in the heart of the old city center, off Piazza San Domenico and Via Roma, open from Monday through Saturday until 2pm.
More Food Markets in Italy: Rome's Food Markets | Florence Central Market | Central Market in Cagliari, Sardinia
Monday March 3, 2014
It's Carnival (also known as mardi gras, carnaval, carnevale, or karnaval) season, a time of colorful and outrageous festivals and parades in many parts of the western world. In 2014, Shrove or Fat Tuesday is March 4. Although many parades are now held the weekend before the actual carnival date, there are still many parades and unique festivals on Tuesday.
Take a look at how carnival and mardi gras are celebrated in Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States with these pictures and articles from our About.com Travel Experts. Let the good times roll!
Pictures of Carnival Parades and Festivals:
Saturday February 22, 2014
While the city of Venice itself is made up of many small islands, there are several bigger islands in the Venetian lagoon that can easily be visited on day trips from Venice. Murano Island, home to glass-making factories, is one of the largest and the most popular for visitors, especially those shopping for glass items or interested in seeing them made. Burano is probably the most colorful island in the lagoon and it's also a good place to shop for handmade lace or learn about the tradition at the Lace Museum. Torcello has a nature reserve and a church with stunning 11th and 12th century Byzantine mosaics.
Find out how to see these and other islands in 5 Islands to Visit in Venice or consider a Two Islands in the Venetian Lagoon guided tour.
Related Venice Travel: Vaporetto Information | Venice Day Trips | Where to Stay in Venice
Burano Island Photo © by James Martin, Europe Travel