I recently went back to Italy and visited a town called Pizzo Calabro, which is a quaint coastal town located in Calabria (Southern Italy). It was built on a steep cliff overlooking the crystal clear water of the Gulf of Santa Eufemia. One of the main attractions is the beautiful Aragonese castle known as Castello Murat because the former king of Naples and brother-in-law of Napoleon, Joaquim Murat, spent there his last days as a prisoner.
However, what makes this town the perfect holiday destination is the famous “tartufo di Pizzo”, a delicious ice-cream dessert with a heart of melted chocolate which looks like a truffle (“tartufo”, in Italian).
This ice cream was created over 60 years ago by a pastry maker named Don Pippo de Maria for an aristocratic wedding and soon became extremely popular in town. These days, no trip to Pizzo Calabro should end without tasting this exquisite ice cream whose original recipe is still kept under strict guard by the De Maria descendants. I had a wonderful time... Paola
Thought I would share just a few photos while we are away in Russia. The first photo, I am standing in front of a statue of Peter the Great, in front of the Mikhailovskiy Palace. It is not as famous as the iconic statue - the Bronze Horseman, but still impressive. Like many other European cities, there are palaces everywhere, but Russian architecture is quite specific. I love the pastel colours - they make the city look very vibrant.
The second photo is the Fontanka Canal. Many people don't realize that St Petersburg is often called the Venice of the East. Water is everywhere - a really prominent part of the city. We are staying on the fifth floor in one of the buildings you can see, so we have a great view of the canal. This photo is taken from Nevesky Prospect - the main street or avenue in St Petersburg.
The third photo is in the Summer Gardens - Летние сады. Usually we are here in summer where everything is green. This spring has been cold (it snowed a few days ago) and the trees are still hiding their leaves. However when you look closely, they are all about to burst open and come alive again after winter. It's quite an amazing time. Jo
Italy is a popular tourist destination and a country that has many hidden gems. For the vast majority of visitors the main hubs are the only places they get to. It is often because firstly they do not know about these places, and secondly, because they cannot speak Italian and ask about them to know about them. Here are five places that the Italian language can unlock in Italy.
Montefalco in Italy’s Umbria region, is a sleepy Italian town famous for Sagrantino wine and magnificent scenery. Montefalco is a little off the beaten track, and its peace and tranquillity makes it worth a visit alone. The San Francesco Museum houses some of the best works of art in Italy. Speaking Italian will open up this amazing, less travelled place.
If you are flying on a budget airline to Venice, there is a good chance you will land in Treviso. Treviso is a picturesque walled city, 20 miles outside of Venice. Seemingly untouched over the centuries ,once you enter through the medieval gates, you will twist and turn your way around the city through a maze of narrow cobbled streets. Many of the streets were once water courses, and it is not difficult to picture the town in days gone by. Peaceful, intriguing and somewhere where speaking Italian will open up a whole new world. Treviso is a must.
Lake Como is very much a tourist Mecca, but it has a smaller, less familiar, but equally beautiful smaller sister. Lake Iseo is popular with hikers and Monte Iseo is the smallest lake island in Europe. With no cars and fewer than 2000 residents, Monte Iseo is a place that can only truly be experienced when one speaks Italian. The calm and the quiet make this a truly hidden place in Italy, where the real Italy can be experienced.
Gargano is an Italian national park with the perfect balance of sun soaked, sandy beaches and tranquil pine forests. This is one of the top places for Italians to take a vacation in their own country. In peak season, virtually the only language heard spoken is Italian. If you visit here, speaking Italian is very much essential, but speaking Italian will ensure that you vacation as Italians do. This region is barely known by tourists and is one of the best kept Italian secrets.
The best way to describe Portovenere is the sixth Cinque Terre village, officially, there are five but Portovenere has no railway station. Portovenere is peaceful, not full of tourists and a wonderfully friendly little town by the sea. A number of other, equally tranquil villages are found nearby and when you speak Italian the whole Liguria region opens up in a friendly, colourful bouquet of places to visit and stay.
Speaking a language will always open up a country and allow you to see it, and experience it, in a completely new way.
Speaking Italian will open your eyes to one of the most wonderful countries on earth.
Learn Italian at VLLC before you go and open your eyes to a whole new world!
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.