Visiting the world’s oldest republic: San Marino

For those who (like me) love Italy, you may be aware that, within its borders, Italy contains two independent countries. One – the Holy See or Vatican – requires little introduction. The second might be less known. San Marino, or, by its romantic sounding full Italian name Serenissima Repubblica di San Marino, is just under…

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Barbarians (and kids) at the gate

The Aurelian Walls of Ancient Rome are still in remarkably good condition in today’s Rome. It isn’t called the Eternal City for nothing. Built between 270- 275 AD under Emperor Aurelius, the Aurelian Walls eventually reached 19 kilometers of defensive walls guarded by Roman soldiers who were vigilalant in ensuring the Barbarians were not capable…

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Sperlonga’s Truglia Tower

Italy’s coastline is dotted by picturesque watchtowers. These have a long history – and were generally constructed to thwart off Ottoman or Saracen invasions. Luckily, today they are merely photogenic spots. One such tower is in the town of Sperlonga – a pretty, medieval beach town south of Rome, on Lazio’s southern coast. I’ve already…

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Relaxing in Viterbo’s Terme dei Papi, Italy

The thermal waters found north of Rome, at the Terme dei Papi (The Thermal Baths of the Popes) were famous well before Papal times. These thermal waters were well known to the Etruscans, well before the birth of Rome. In the 3rd Century B.C., the Roman army, led by Console Quinto Fabio Rulliano, conquered and…

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Stretching my legs with a passeggiata in Sora, Italy

I’ve long been curious to visit the town of Sora, in Italy’s Lazio region and located in the province of Frosinone – just along the border with Abruzzo. Since it’s a little off the beaten trail from the surrounding areas I visit more often (including the wonderful Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo), I’ve never managed to get…

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Emperor Tiberius’ impressive seaside villa, Sperlonga

I’ve already written about how much I love the seaside town of Sperlonga,  and wandering its beautiful, twisting streets. Despite all my visits to this gorgeous beach spot, I only recently made it to the museum and ruins of Ancient Rome’s Emperor Tiberius, who ruled from 14-37 AD. For Tiberius, aside from having a great eye…

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Save time for Orvieto’s Etruscan Museum

There’s so much to see when you’re visiting the medieval Umbrian town of Orvieto, that you may forget to stop by the Fondazione Museo Claudio Faina, but that would be  a mistake. This museum, which houses both the collection of the Faina Counts and Orvieto’s civic collection, is most impressive for its Etruscan objects –…

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Sprinting around the aqueducts of Rome’s Tor Fiscale Park

It’s great raising your kids in another culture and enjoying the differences in their upbringing. I reflect on this a lot as I take my younger son, a track and field and cross-country athlete, to his competitions. For his weekly workouts, he trains, arguably (for others, clearly not for me), at the most beautiful stadium…

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