The Making O’ the Green

On March 17, people the world over will turn their thoughts to all things green. But in Genoa, Liguria, they won’t be thinking about green beer, rather pesto, the home-grown pasta topping made from heaps of basil, olive oil, parmigiana…

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Exploring Etruria

Never underestimate the treasure trove that is your local used bookstore. While browsing idly yesterday, I came across the book Affreschi: Exploring Etruria, the only book I know that focuses on the once Etruscan domain that stretched from Rome to…

Bologna’s Old Cutlery Shop

  In a recent NY Times Foraging column, Melissa Clark profiles Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo, a cutlery shop that dates back to 1783. Clark notes, “If it cuts, rips, tears, nicks, grates, slices, shaves or pricks and is legal to…

Dining Near the Forum

I recently received an e-mail from an Unofficial Guide reader asking about the best places to dine near the Roman Forum. The Forum “complex,” which includes the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Colosseum, and Trajan’s Market (and, to a lesser extent,…

Getting Into the Vatican Museums

It’s getting ever more difficult to get into the Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani), home to some of the world’s most precious and recognizable Western art including Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. The Vatican recently raised prices to €13 (ca. $17) for a…

A Year in Italy

Someone posted a great video on YouTube.com. The video features a rapid-fire slideshow of an entire year’s worth of photos taken in Italy. On the itinerary (at least in the first few minutes) are the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of…

Jazz in January

Winter means the music season for most of Italy. Opera productions and church-sponsored chamber music events are typical fare from Liguria to Lecce, but you’ll also find jazz and blues in the mix. Umbria, which has been home to Umbria Jazz and…