Sand, sun, sports (and Roman poets) in Formia

I had never been to Formia – in southern Lazio, very close to the border with Campagna – before dropping my son off there for a track and field camp. The seaside town of about 38 000 people is in a dramatic spot, developed along the sea with Mount Altino rising dramatically just behind it.…

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More than steel in Piombino, Tuscany

When my husband and I went to the Tuscan island of Elba a couple of years ago for a wedding (see my earlier post about Napoleon’s former Empire), we took the ferry over from the town of Piombino, a small town on the Tyrrhenian Sea of the Mediterranean. This area has been inhabited ever since…

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The winding streets of Nice’s old town

The French Riviera city of Nice is a beautiful place to visit. I especially loved wandering Vieux Nice, where I could be forgiven for thinking I was back in Italy. The old quarter used to have  a reputation for being dangerous, but today it’s a beautiful area to wander and enjoy the views into the…

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Visiting coastal Latina, Italy

I’ve already written about the interesting (short) history of Latina, Italy. Once the breeding grounds of mosquitoes that carried malaria, those mosquitoes were the true cause of the so-called Roman Fever that was romanticized in 19th century literature. The swampland was drained under Mussolini, and Latina was founded as a model fascist city. I visited the…

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Admiring dramatic sunsets in Athens

I went to Athens with my family this past December, and we lucked out with sunny skies and balmy temperatures – I even returned to Rome slight suntanned. : ) Athens is a great city to explore, and the Acropolis is perched at a dramatic high point where it can be enjoyed across the entire city…

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Enjoying sunrises and sunsets on Albania’s coast

I was just in the Albanian coastal city of Durres, Albania for work. To be fair, there’s not that much to see in this city that served briefly (from 1913 to 1920) as the Albanian capital following Albanian independence. Unfortunately, the modern city  seems to have forsaken any pretense of urban planning. It’s  been built, quite…

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Five ‘must-sees’ on your Tunisia visit

The north African country of Tunisia is tiny, but has so much to offer visitors. We were last there just before the Arab Spring, when it was a popular destination for European tourists wanting to explore its beaches and deserts, its cosmopolitan capital city, its ancient desert trading posts, its impressive Roman ruins… Unfortunately, tourism…

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Gaudí’s spectacular Casa Batlló, Barcelona

I’ve already written a post about Antonin Gaudí’s first major commission in Barcelona, Spain – the Palau Güell. The Catalan architect’s work are on prominent display all around Barcelona – and one that should not be missed is the whimsical Casa Batlló. This home, also known locally as the Casa dels ossos (House of Bones) for its bone-like shapes,…

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The Christmas market in Nice, France

Although beautiful Nice, with its wide stretch of beach and lovely blue Mediterranean waters, attracts flocks of tourists in the summertime, this pretty city also makes an ideal winter get-away destination. Enjoy Nice without the crowds as it prepares for the Christmas season with its annual holiday market, set up on Place Massena, just at the edge…

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