Snapshots from Certaldo: Tiny Tuscan Hometown of a Literary Giant

It’s a Tuesday morning. Seven young ladies, friends, gather. Hatching a plan. Needing to escape their current circumstances. Presently, they are joined by a few young men. The plan unfolds. They’ll escape together to one of their family’s second homes — thankfully they have this option — safely away from the threats of the city….

Florence’s Orsanmichele: A Storied History

Via Calzaiuoli is a street made for strolling. Along this pedestrian-only thoroughfare, it’s easy to wander between some of Florence’s most sought after sites including the Duomo, Florence’s iconic red-domed cathedral, and the Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in Florence to survive World War II. Tucked in between these two sites is the historic church…

The Meaning of a Morning

When in a strange city I have always been in the habit of roaming its streets in the early morning and watching it wake up. I like to be out before the dust-bins have been emptied and the blinds pulled up, to watch the street cleaners and caretakers arrive, and to see the first wave…

A Wander Through Venice

It is with a bit of a sheepish and heavy heart that I offer sincere apologies to all of those whom I have possibly influenced not to visit Venice. (Younger Son, I’m especially looking at you.) Last summer, after four visits to Italy which deliberately did not include Venice (my first trip there left me…

These 14 Universities in Italy Have Welcomed Students Since the 1400s — or Earlier

As roughly 207 million college students worldwide begin their new fall term, many will attend universities which have been in operation since the 1400s — some since the 1200s. Being a passionate armchair historian, I find that information very enticing. The university as we regard it today —  an educational institution designed for instruction, examination, or…

The Oldest Universities in Italy: A Sneak Peek

Not only is Italy home to the oldest university in all of Europe and nearly the oldest in the world, il bel paese is also home to multiple universities which have been in continual operation for several centuries. Where might one find these educational treasures? And how many might there be still in operation? Here’s…