Ready, Set, Go! Practical Tips for Trip Planning

There is something extremely invigorating about planning a trip abroad. But with so much information available at our fingertips, the possiblities and choices can be overwhelming. Last year, I planned my two-month “study abroad” trip to Italy on my own, which was equal parts empowering and consuming. In the process, I collected some go-to resources…

14 Places to Escape the Crowds in Florence

The historic center of Florence is just about two miles in size, but throughout the year, this area is host to approximately 10.2 million visitors, all navigating the same narrow lanes and visiting the same handful of sites. When I set up residence for a month last May, I thought I was sneaking into the…

On the Fringe of Florence: The Stibbert Museum

About seven kilometers from the Piazza del Duomo but still in Florence proper is the Stibbert Museum, the stately home of Frederick Stibbert (1838-1906), a man born into wealth to an English father and Italian mother. Stibbert inherited the considerable family wealth at age 21 and began a lifelong passion of collecting military armory and costumes….

Camogli

Up the coast a bit and just a short train ride from Santa Margherita Ligure is the colorful fishing village of Camogli. (Click here for the Italian pronunciation). With a lovely seaside promenade and a large beach area (although rocky, not sandy), this is a popular spot for vacationing Italians. “Lore has it that Camogli,…

Santa Margherita Ligure

The not-too-big, not-too-small seaport town of Santa Margherita Ligure, situated on the sparkling Mediterranean, has proven the ideal home base to start our Italian adventure. An easy two-hour drive from Milan and just 30 minutes from Genoa, Santa Margherita  is connected to nearby towns including Camogli and Rapallo by ferries and a train station. The next town…

Sunshine, Shadows, Lemon Trees, Medici

The peaceful garden of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, in the golden light of a perfect fall day in Florence. Five quick facts about the palazzo: 1. The palazzo was commissioned by Cosimo the Elder — founder of the Medici bank and the patriarch of the political dynasty — in 1444. 2. An early design by…