Category: Parks and Nature

Italy’s One-Legged Cyclist Turned World War I Hero

Enrico Toti statue (from behind), Villa Borghese

Enrico Toti may have the most fascinating World War I story I’ve ever read: Enrico lost his left leg while working for Italian railways, at the age of 24. After his injury he became a cyclist. In 1911, riding on a bicycle with one leg, he cycled to Paris, and then through Belgium, the Netherlands and …

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Rooted in Italy: The World’s First Botanical Gardens

Orto Botanico di Padova

It has been said (too many times) that all roads lead to Rome. But did you know that you could trace botanical medicine and even the environmental movement to 16th century Italy? It was here in the city of Pisa (1544) then Padua (1545) that the world’s first botanical gardens were set up. This month’s …

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Falling For Italy: Three Fun Activities to Put on Your Radar

  This month for the Italy Blogging Roundtable, my colleagues and I decided we would write about “fall.” Not autumn, but fall. So that left me a little bit of room for interpretation. Without doubt, Italy is a wondrous place to be in the fall: leaves are changing, fall fashion is beckoning from store windows and …

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Exploring Italy’s Parks

Fall is a great time to explore Italy’s national and regional parks, what with the beautiful foliage changing colors and the majority of tourists – both Italian and international – having packed up their bags and headed home. Italy currently has 22 national parks – with two more in the process of being established – …

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The Real Pinocchio

Last November, the New York Review of Books released Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio under its NYRB Classics imprint. The tale, as reviewed by Tim Parks in the latest issue, is much darker than the Disneyfied version. After the jump is Parks’ full review. As always, I urge you to subscribe to NYRB; they …

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Ramble On: Tuscany Walking Festival

Tuscany, with its beautiful vistas and thousands of hectares of nature preserves and woodlands, offers numerous opportunities for serious hikers and casual trekkers alike. This is the also the thought of the organizers of the Tuscany Walking Festival, a yearly event that happens goes on roughly between the first days of spring until the end …

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A Peaceful Oasis in Rome

After reading a post about Free Things to Do in Rome from fellow blogger Jessica at Italylogue.com, I couldn’t resist commenting on one of my favorite places – free or not – in all of the Eternal City: the Protestant Cemetery. Then I thought I should also share this tip with Italofile readers, too. The …

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The Ultimate Italian Driving Adventure

If you’re the type of traveler who likes to go it alone and doesn’t mind injecting a little technological know-how into your trip, then a GPS-driven self-guided tour may be the ticket. Information about Zephyr Self-Guided Adventures through Italy just crossed our desks over the weekend. The company offers walks, biking, and driving tours through …

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A Snowy Staycation in Rome

You must be thinking: there are two things wrong with this post. First, it’s too early to be talking about snow. And, second, how can you have a “staycation” in Rome if you don’t even live there? I defer to a recent press release from onthesnow.com. In “The No. 1 Snow Sports Web Site Picks …

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The Pontines, Perhaps

Unlike Greece, Italy isn’t a land of islands. Sure, there’s Sicily, Capri, and the Tuscan Archipelago, which includes Elba. But there is also a small set of islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea between Rome and Naples that, according to Guy Dinmore of The Financial Times, “offer a safer and saner way to travel” for those …

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Swimming in Sardinia

An article today in the New York Times on Swimming Vacations inspired us to see if there were any swim adventure tours in Italy. In fact, one of the companies profiled – Swimtrek (located in London) – offers a one week swim trip around Sardinia’s Maddalena Archipelago. The tour features: Swimming from Maddalena to Spargi. …

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Even More Italian Beaches Get the Blue Flag

There are now 104 beaches in Italy that have been awarded the “blue flag” for clean water and sand. According to Italy Magazine, the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) found that the top beaches in Italy were in Tuscany and the Marches, each of which have 15 blue flag beaches. Liguria and Abruzzo came in …

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Beaches of Lazio

Continuing our series on Italy’s beaches, today we’re highlighting the beaches of Lazio. Most visitors to Lazio, Rome’s region, forget that the Tyrrhenian is as close as half an hour away. In fact, many Roman nightclubs relocate to beaches like Fregene. And, there are also some lovely strands south of Rome in Terracina and Sperlonga. …

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Beaches of Tuscany

With summer on the horizon, we’ve got sun and surf on the brain. So, in the coming weeks and months, we plan to highlight the beaches of Italy. First up is Tuscany, which has some of the most pleasant beaches you’ll find anywhere. While Tuscany’s beaches are hardly a secret – for example, Viareggio and Forte …

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Italian Villas and Their Gardens

Just in time for late spring and summer romps around Italy comes the reissue of Edith Wharton’s 1904 landscaping classic Italian Villas and Their Gardens. According to curators with the New York Society Library’s Green Art collection, “Wharton visited some fifty villas around Rome, Florence, Siena, Genoa, in Lombardy, and the Veneto. Many were closed to …

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What’s Old Is New Again: Rome’s Via Appia Antica

Now that we’ve entered the Holy Season, tourism to Rome is going to start heating up again quite quickly. Of course, you can follow the pilgrimage throngs around the Lenten Station circuit. Or, you can travel outside the city walls to check out the Via Appia Antica. David Farley’s one-day itinerary along the ancient road …

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Walk for a Cause in Italy

As I was preparing to post information about the Italy Breast Cancer Walk 2008, which will take place in September, I learned that registration for the event had closed. At any rate, what a wonderful way to see Italy and raise money for a worthy cause. This year’s walk will be through the region of …

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Coloring the Skies

This weekend, the incredibly picturesque town of Castiglione del Lago, located on the banks of Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, will become even more beautiful. The event is called Coloriamo i Cieli, and it features some of the world’s most interesting kites as well as its most adept kite fliers. Since its inception, in 1982, the …

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