Antipasto, Primo, Secondo

Dining in Italy can be a drawn out affair, especially during dinners. Staring with the Antipasto (appetizer), followed by Primo (first course), Secondo (main course), and a Dolce (dessert). Be it in a Ristorante, a Trattoria, an Osteria, a Tavola Calda or a Pizza Rustica (selling pizza by the slice), there are tons of eating choices. Rome is famous for its thin-crust pizzas and Emma is both an excellent pizzeria and restaurant that serves classic dishes like carbonara, amatriciana and cacio e pepe.   When I was in Rome three years ago, a friend from back home recommended Roscioli Salumeria…

Venice

Ciao Venice! I can’t believe that my last time to this enchanting city was in 2003 – fifteen years ago! I must admit that part of my hesitation to return to Venice is the several news accounts of daunting crowds of tourists outnumbering locals by two to one. I keep reminding myself that one is never more than a bridge or alley away to a more quiet campi (square) or neighbourhood. Venice continues to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.                                …

Biennale: Vatican Chapels

Undoubtedly, the Holy See Pavillion stole the show at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale. The Vatican Chapels, located in the woodland of San Giorgio Maggiore Island, felt more intimate away from the main Giardini and Arsenale grounds. The project consists on ten pavilions by ten different practices from around the globe. The roster of names rangers from heavyweights such as Norman Foster and Eduardo Souto de Moura to Smiljan Radic.                                                            …

La Biennale Di Venezia

So this is the main event for this trip to Italy – to visit the Biennale Archittettura 2018. One of the preeminent cultural events in the world, since its inception in 1895, the Venice Biennale has been of the most important and influential events in international contemporary art. Alternating each year between Art and Architecture, the 16th Venice Biennale of Architecture provides an opportunity for architects and designers to showcase new projects.There are 63 national pavilions this year curated by Grafton Architects with the theme of Free Space.                          …

Torna a Roma

“Back to Rome” after three years – I have returned to the former seat of power of the Roman Empire. This city is overflowing with iconic sights and architectural treasures that earn its name of the Eternal City. I am stopping by for a few days on my way to my main destination in Italy. It is never a chore to be in this living theatre.                                                                    

Mangiare e Dormire

“Eat and Sleep” Good food and good wine are plentiful in Italy. Even a simple pasta dish with just olive oil tastes extraordinary. Here are a few restaurants I tried — mostly recommended by friends and locals.   Osteria Del Cinghiale Bianco (the White Boar) in Florence serves good reliable typical Tuscan cuisine.   Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina is a quaint wine bar located across Palazzo Pitti that also serves traditional and modern Italian cuisine. They specialize in small production, high end wines.   I was at Cibreo Trattoria when I last visited Florence 13 years ago and the experience was…

Musei Vaticani

The astounding Sistine Chapel, the apartments frescoed by Fra Angelico, Raphael, and Pinturicchio, some ten museums that include collections of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities, the renaissance and modern art, and the lush gardens — all make up the magnificent Musei Vaticani. Be prepared to be awestruck!  It will take one at least two hours to see and appreciate many of the works. It is advisable to purchase your ticket online in advance to avoid the queues and it is usually less crowded by mid-afternoon.  

Vatican

The Vatican is the world’s smallest city-state covering just 120 acres and is home to the Pope, the world’s greatest museum, the ornate St. Peter’s Basilica, and the most astounding work of art ever created — Michelangelo‘s Sistine Chapel ceiling (where photography is now strictly prohibited). The Vatican is located in an area of Rome called Trastevere, which literally means “across the Tiber”. Castel Sant Angelo was the papal castle for 1,000 years and has a viaduct from the Vatican which allowed popes a safe passageway in times of crisis. St. Peter’s Basilica is the capital of Christendom and a must-see with its cavernous…

Ciao Roma

The elegant Piazza del Popolo in Rome started as a trapezoidal piazza in 1538 and contains a 3,200 year old obelisk from Heliopolis. Renaissance and Baroque art, architecture and sculpture can be found in the spectacular Santa Maria del Popolo church. Masters from the Early Renaissance (Pinturicchio, Bramante), High Renaissance (Raphael) and Baroque (Caravaggio, Bernini) exercised their genius in all disciplines here. Beyond the city walls is Rome‘s second largest church, the San Paolo fuori le Mura, over the spot where St. Paul was buried. For about 400 years, it was the largest church in Europe.