Enrico Toti statue (from behind), Villa Borghese

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

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…

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Orto Botanico di Padova

Rooted in Italy: The World’s First Botanical Gardens

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…

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…

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…

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…

Protestant Cemetery, Rome

A Peaceful Oasis in Rome

The Protestant Cemetery, also known as the Non-Catholic Cemetery (Cimitero Acattolico), is located behind the grand pyramid (Piramide), a burial site for Roman magistrate Gaius Cestius who died around 12BC. Surrounded by tall trees, which miraculously drown out the din of…

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…