Longer days, happier campers (and writers)

Last weekend in Italy we set our clocks forward, and oh!, what a difference an hour makes. I’m sure it says something about my simple-mindedness, but my mood improves markedly with the lengthening of the days. For those of us who love to write, perhaps it seems counter-intuitive, but I find these longer days to…

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Milan’s Duomo

I’ve already written about the spectacular views from the roof of Milan’s Duomo, and why you really want to make time to climb up to the top. However, the cathedral itself is definitely worth a visit during your time in the Lombard capital. The Duomo is the most famous monument of the city, and its…

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Authors as Martians, according to Martin Amis

“I think all writers are Martians. They come and say, You haven’t been seeing this place right.” —Martin Amis An interesting take on writers by talented British novelist Martin Amis. I like this imagery of a novelist as a Martian – giving his or her unique take on (perhaps oft visited) subject matter, with the…

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Reason #5388 to love Rome: Sant’Agnese church

I recently returned to visit the beautiful early Christian church of Sant’Agnese, a church I hadn’t been back to in years. Since the Roman metro line has been extended, it’s even easier to get here via the B metro line, where it has its own stop: Sant’Agnese. This 7th century church, designed like a basilica,…

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Discovering the center of Italy – in Rieti

My twelve-year-old son has been running since he was seven. This year, he decided to change coaches and teams. Although he lives and trains in Rome, his competitive new team is from the northern Lazio town of Rieti. This is the northeastern tip of Lazio, extremely close to the regions of Umbria and Abruzzo. In…

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Escaping the city on the ski slopes of Abruzzo

My kids had a week of school vacation in February and they wanted to go skiing, and I was happy to exchange the office for the ski slopes for one glorious week. There’s something special about escaping the city to take temporary residence in the mountains. Our mountain escape of Ovindoli, in the region of…

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Shivers on the slopes: Book reviews

I spent last week skiing with my sons. I always enjoy skiing, but one of the activities I enjoy most after an exhausting day of physical activity is curling up in a warm space with a steaming cup of tea and reading a good novel. When we ski, my kids and I ski from the…

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