JanuaryFlorence Florence is, of course, the cradle of the Renaissance, and it’s the city’s remarkable architecture and art which are the main draw for tourists. This means long queues for several of the key museums and churches at most times of the year. But in January you can enjoy the art and the sights – most of which are indoors – entirely free of crowds. There’s great shopping to be had, too – especially during the January sales – and it’s an excellent time to make the most of the best bars and restaurants. More:The Italian Bucket List: 25 things to do in Italy before you die! FebruaryVenice Always beautiful, always alluring, always romantic and never disappointing: you can’t go wrong with Venice at almost any time of year. But, while it can undoubtedly be chilly, there is a special magic to the city in winter. On clear days, the canals sparkle in the sunlight, and you can see the snow-capped Dolomites on the horizon. In … [Read more...] about 20 greatest destinations in Italy – and the best time to visit each one
Palio horse race
Florence, August 29 - Hollywood poster designer and painter Silvano Campeggi, one of the most important graphic artists in the history of American cinema, has died at the age of 95, his family said Wednesday. Campeggi designed the posters for Gone With The Wind, Casablanca, Singing In The Rain, An American In Paris, West Side Story, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof and Breakfast At Tiffany's among others. Nicknamed "Nano", Campeggi's iconic images are associated with the golden era of Hollywood. His first career breakthrough came with a World War II commission from the American Red Cross to paint the portraits of American soldiers before they returned home, according to his Wikipedia entry. This deepened his understanding of American music, film and culture. After the war he moved to Rome, where he was approached by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for whom he produced the poster for Gone with the Wind, with Clark Gable holding Vivien Leigh in passionate embrace while Atlanta burned in the background. In the … [Read more...] about Iconic Hollywood poster designer Campeggi dies
I've buzzed past the Colosseum on a Vespa, witnessed the Palio in Siena, swum in crystal-clear water off Sardinia. But it was the passeggiata in Siracusa that really brought it home, that made the word 'Italy' one of the few that can instantly erase lines from my forehead. It ain't perfect, of course. Driving in Italy is hairy; the difference between romance and real life in places like Naples and Sicily can be jarring, and tourist crowds are pushing Venice towards crisis. But who wants perfection? That would be boring - one thing Italy could never be. From David to the Dolomites, the Aeolian Islands to the Amalfi Coast, we've tried to capture its essence in our travel pages. Impossible? Absolutely. But it's the perfect excuse to go back... Buon viaggio! - Pól Ó Conghaile 1. Take a Fiat 500 tour in Rome Want to experience the iconic craziness of Italian driving while feeling like you’re starring a 1950s Cinecittà Studios movie? Make those dreams come true with a … [Read more...] about The Italian Bucket List: 25 things to do in Italy before you die!
BIRTHDAYS Mike Watkinson (cricket) - former Lancashire cricket director and England all-rounder, born 1961. Brad Faxon (golf) - two-time American Ryder Cup player, born 1961. Graham Thorpe (cricket) - former England batsman, born 1969. David James (soccer) - former England and Liverpool goalkeeper, currently managing in India, born 1970. Kanu (soccer) - former Nigeria, West Brom and Arsenal striker, born 1976. Andy Blignaut (cricket) - former Zimbabwe international, born 1978. Stephen Hunt (soccer) - former Reading and Republic of Ireland winger, born 1981. Bastian Schweinsteiger (soccer) - Former Germany and Manchester United midfielder, now with Chicago Fire, born 1984. Stuart Holden (soccer) - former United States and Bolton midfielder, born 1985. Lee Wallace (soccer) - Rangers and Scotland left-back, born 1987. Karen Carney (soccer) - Chelsea Ladies and England winger, born 1987 Nemanja Matic (soccer) - Manchester United's Serbian midfielder, born 1988. ON THIS DAY 1716: The oldest … [Read more...] about On This Day, August 1, 2015: McCurry top scores as Tyrone dump out Sligo
When Hunter S Thompson took Welsh artist Ralph Steadman to the Kentucky Derby in 1970, he tried to prepare him for the chaos into which they were descending. “Just pretend you’re visiting a huge outdoor loony bin,” Thompson said. He added, because he was rarely out of character, “If the inmates get out of control we’ll soak them down with Mace.” “Huge outdoor loony bin” is not the most precise description of the Palio di Siena, the thunderous, lawless, bareback, medieval-style horse race held twice each summer in front of tens of thousands of spectators on a track of packed clay laid down in the heart of Siena, in Tuscany. But it will do for the moment. This is a race in which jockeys – they ride for various contrade, or neighbourhoods – feel free to bribe one another, out in the open, before the contest begins. Betrayal is common. Guile is prized. There are no rules but one: a rider may not interfere … [Read more...] about What it’s like to witness the Palio di Siena, possibly the most lawless horse race on Earth