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Talking with Frances Mayes About Her Latest Book, 'See You in the Piazza'

By Pauline Frommer

Posted on 05/01/2019, 2:00 PM

Frances Mayes, author of the memoir Under the Tuscan Sun, is to Tuscan travel what ketchup is to Russian dressing.  For tens of thousands of vacationers, her tale—both the book that sat on the New York Times bestseller list for two years, and the Diane Lane film that fictionalized it—was the reason they chose to go this bucolic and beautiful corner of "The Boot." Now Mayes has a new book called...

Venice Has Adopted the Ultimate Means for Reducing Crowds: Admission Fees

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 01/29/2019, 12:00 AM

Just about everyone will agree that the worst current problem in travel is overtourism—the crowded conditions in the world’s most popular cities and destinations.  In places like Barcelona, Dubrovnik, and the Cinque Terre, there are just too many visitors in high season, harming the pleasure of both residents and visitors. But though everyone will agree that overtourism is growing, due to th...

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Is Leaning Less

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/29/2018, 12:00 AM

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is standing a little straighter these days.  Engineers say that the tilt of the Italian icon has reduced by about 4cm (1.6 in.), according to news reports. More significantly, the international group that monitors the tower has deemed it stable, safe, and unlikely to topple over.  For these developments we can thank a restoration process begun in the 1990s, when safety...

New Rules in Rome Target Rowdy, Boozy Tourists

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 11/19/2018, 5:30 PM

Italy has just about had it with your nonsense. Straining under the burden of accommodating endless hordes of tourists and their accompanying noise, litter, rowdiness, and traffic gridlock, the country's most popular cities are rolling out strict behavioral regulations—with hefty fines—aimed at keeping visitors under control. Florence recently banned eating in the streets. Venice has outlawed ev...

This Fall, See Rome, Venice, and Florence by Rail for Less Than $25

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 08/24/2018, 12:00 AM

Traveling by train among Italy's three most popular tourist destinations can be extremely affordable this fall, provided you buy your tickets right now.  European travel booking site GoEuro has joined forces with Italo Treno, an Italian rail service operator, to offer a fare from Rome to Venice to Florence or vice versa for just €19.80 (US$23) one way.  That's an incredible bargain for seeing Ro...

Current Volcanic Eruptions Bring Memories of Vesuvius, Says Arthur Frommer

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 06/27/2018, 12:00 AM

I have found it odd that in all the media coverage of the eruption of Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii, no journalist has drawn a comparison to the eruption of Vesuvius outside Naples in 79 A.D. That may be because Kilauea is a “baby” by comparison with Vesuvius, the latter (pictured above) having become one of the greatest tourist attractions in all of Italy. The cataclysmic eruption of ...

Floating Bike Path Being Built Around Italy's Lake Garda

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 04/27/2018, 8:00 PM

A new cycling route that seems destined to be considered one of the world's most beautiful is under construction in northern Italy.  Encircling the famously crystal-clear Lake Garda, which stretches from the foothills of the Dolomites in the north to vineyards and villas at the southern end, the 87-mile-long, 8.5-foot-wide path will give bicyclists the sensation of floating while pedaling 197 fee...

Play the Casanova at New Museum in Venice

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 03/19/2018, 11:30 PM

Giacomo Casanova belongs to the rare class of historical figures whose names became common nouns. Traitorous World War II-era Norwegian leader Vidkun Quisling and France's lecherous Marquis de Sade (lop off the "e" and add an -ism or an -istic) are in the same crew. It's a curious kind of superstardom where the legend outstrips the life to such an extent that the world often forgets there was ev...

Two New Biographies Are Indispensable for Trips Through Europe or America

By Arthur Frommer

Posted on 12/27/2017, 12:00 AM

Hundreds of thousands of Americans are currently purchasing and avidly reading two monumental biographies in book form about two monumental figures in world and American history.  In position number one on every bestseller list is Walter Isaacson’s 900-page volume on the life and achievements of Leonardo da Vinci (Simon & Schuster). The other, ranked closely behind and almost as large, is R...

Upper Levels of Rome's Colosseum Reopening for Tours

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 10/04/2017, 9:45 PM

The upper tiers of the Colosseum in Rome are reopening to the public for the first time in four decades.  The renowned architectural marvel—which dates to the first century A.D. and is one of the ancient city's most visited sites—is coming off a 5-year, multimillion-dollar restoration paid for by Diego Della Valle, chairman of luxury leather brand Tod's. With public money for major preservation...

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