The north of Italy has an abundance of riches for the visitor, and it’s almost impossible to make a list of top favourites. There’s the sublime beauty of the various lakes, the glories of Venice, and numerous small Renaissance cities to choose from. We’ve spent many wonderful trips exploring these Renaissance gems over decades, and they all have their own unique character and attractions. Recently, we re-visited the beautiful city of Ferrara, a little over 110 kms south of Venice. We hadn’t been there for years, and thought another visit was well overdue.
We revisited Venice a few weeks ago for the first time since COVID shut down the world for travellers. Venice has been one of our top favourite cities for many decades, and this was to be our 4th Biennale, so we were interested to see what changes had occurred to La Serenissima since our last visit. Would it still be magical, or a crowded nightmare now that the world has re-opened for travel? We were keen to find out.
Lying at the southern edge of the Bay of Naples, beyond the Sorrentine peninsula, the rocky island of Capri has been renowned as a holiday destination for about two thousand years. It’s an island of myths, Roman emperors and their infamous orgies, luxury yachts and the occasional A-list celebrity, but above all, the most spectacular vistas imaginable.
Northern Italy offers a wonderful series of lakes, and Lake Como is generally regarded as the most spectacular of them all. Its unmistakable upturned Y shape was carved out of a glacier that was forced to split into two by the mountain that stood in its path. Today, the dramatic Dolomites surround the lake, with often a dusting of snow at the highest peaks visible even in high summer.
This year was the 96th season of opera to be held in the spectacular Roman Arena at Verona. A little older than Rome’s Coliseum, it was built around 30AD during the reign of the Emperor Caligula, and was said to be capable of holding more than 30,000 spectators. Its outstanding acoustics has ensured its popularity for centuries, with the first operatic performances taking place in the 1850s.