Forget Florence and pass on Rome…when it comes to food in Italy go straight to the source. The country’s thousand-year-old culinary traditions are best appreciated in the regions, and here, going north to south, are four of the peninsula’s best spots. Founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, the riverside town of Bassano del Grappa is a warren of narrow cobbled streets.
- Live Happily Ever After in the Italian Countryside
Posted on February 6, 2012 by Melissa Ruttanai
Ashley and Jason Bartner were beginning a new phase in their lives. The couple had planned to settle down and buy a home in New York, but during their honeymoon, exploring cozy cafés, cobblestone avenues, and seasonal fruit markets, they fell in love with Italy.
I’m in northern Tuscany’s Lunigiana, the “Land of 100 Castles”. Originally built in the late 12th century, Fosdinovo is one of its best. Crowning a hilltop, it’s a square, fortress-like structure with inner garden courtyards and gorgeous tapestries. Incredibly gruesome stories, too.
Around an hour from Rome, Lago di Bolsena shimmers in the Lazio sunshine like a liquid forget-me-not. Unlike northern Italy’s lakes, Bolsena is almost unknown to foreign visitors. But so too is the Maremma, the old name for northern Lazio and the southernmost reaches of Tuscany.
- Homes for Under $70,000—and Other Glittering Prizes of Uncharted Italy
Posted on August 22, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
The Latin phrase festina lente (make haste slowly) suits the Maremma in Italy. It’s as if the air compels you to slow down and really savor Italy’s sweet life. But why savor it only on vacation? A move-into village house could be yours for $63,000. And consider this: You’d only be a 90-minute drive from Rome.
- Video Postcard: The Golden Beaches of the Etruscan Coast, Italy
Posted on July 27, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
Known as the “Etruscan Coast,” golden beaches fringe the Maremma—the historic name for part of southern Tuscany and northern Lazio. Overlooked by the ancient Etruscan stronghold of Populonia, this beach is on the Golfo di Baratti.
- The Italian City With the Most Murderous Reputation…
Posted on July 5, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
No wonder Pistoia is Tuscany’s least visited city. One guidebook describes it as “gloomy.” The phrase “murderous reputation” also appears with alarming frequency. Obviously I had to go take a look. It sounded like my kind of place.
- Italy Video: Free Bathing in Hot Springs in Southern Tuscany
Posted on June 23, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
In this video, IL’s European editor, Steenie Harvey is bathing in history in Tuscany, Italy. The hot springs near Saturnia in southern Tuscany’s Maremma region were used by both the Romans and the earlier Etruscans.
- Beyond the Tuscan Obvious: Sculpture, Spas, Sand, and Wilderness
Posted on June 20, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
First it was the acrobat tied up in a tree. Then the three-headed woman with a snake slithering from her posterior. Now there’s a naked warrior with a belly big enough for Sumo wrestling… No, not a Tuscan freak show—it’s Piazza Matteoti in the northern Tuscan town of Pietrasanta. And these are only three of the town’s many bronze and marble sculptures.
Many Italian towns have a Bar Michelangelo. But few can claim that the country’s most celebrated artist and sculptor lived and worked there for four years. Pietrasanta can, and you’ll find its Bar Michelangelo on Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral square.
In the heart of Licciana Nardi, the three-bedroom house I’m viewing doesn’t require any work. It has 1,290 square feet of living space, and a cantina for storing those lovely bottles of wine and olive oil. A covered terrace overlooks the town’s old borgo (main laneway).
- The Italy Secret: Rip-off Tuscany Versus Real Tuscany
Posted on May 28, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
There’s a world of difference between Northern Tuscany and Central Tuscany. Most foreign visitors only explore the Chianti villages and the “Golden Triangle” cornered by Pisa, Florence and Siena. But unless you veer away from the well-trodden paths, you’ll never realize how affordable Tuscany can be.
- Tuscany’s “Land of a Hundred Castles” from $57,000
Posted on May 24, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
My nose keeps getting distracted—the air is scented with fresh foccaccia bread and cornetti, Italy’s version of the croissant. As real estate agent Sylvie points out, this house comes with breakfast on the doorstep. A traditional bakery is just across the street.
In this video, IL’s European editor, Steenie Harvey, shows footage of The Devil’s Bridge, in Borgo a Mozzano, Tuscany (Lucca province). There’s a colorful story attached to this bridge—and it’s also a great area to seek out affordable properties.
In this video, IL’s European editor, Steenie Harvey, is in Marina Pietrasanta, one of the most attractive resort towns on Tuscany’s Versilia Riviera in Italy. The backdrop is the Apuan Alps (whose white marble was hewn for Michelangelo).
- The Cost of Living in Tuscany Italy: Where to Live For Less in Tuscany and Beyond
Posted on April 11, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
The cost of living in Italy can admittedly be high. But even in glamorous Tuscany, they can also be affordably low. As always, much depends on your lifestyle—and also your location. Most people have heard of the Tuscan cities of Florence and Siena. But go to a city like Pistoia and your cost of living will be low.
You don’t have to live in Italy to get married here. Although there is quite a lot of legwork and paper chasing involved, countless American citizens have tied the knot in Florence, Rome, and many other cities. If you are thinking of an Italian wedding, check that rules haven’t changed with an Italian Consulate office in the U.S.
In this video, International Living European editor, Steenie Harvey finds something “unusual” at the antiques market in Florence, Italy.
In this video, International Living European editor, Steenie Harvey, tries tripe in a restaurant in Florence, Italy. Although the Italians are renowned for their fantastic pastas and pizzas, Steenie wouldn’t recommend trying tripe!
- Head South for Italy’s Most Affordable City Properties
Posted on March 15, 2011 by Steenie Harvey
An apartment of 50 sq. mts. (537 square feet) in the prime spots of northern Italy’s cities can be expensive–as much as $650,000. But look to its warmer southern regions and property prices in Italy fall dramatically.
A crispness in the air promises Mediterranean winter is on its way. Trees have turned gold, the Tiber is wreathed in early morning mist, and buying cones of hot, roasted chestnuts doesn’t seem a crazy thing to do. Under winter’s pale blue skies, Italy’s capital is back in the keeping of its inhabitants. Back to its ravishing best.
- Where To Go for the Retirement You Dreamed Of But Can’t Afford in the U.S.
Posted on October 26, 2010 by Dan Prescher
International Living’s Annual Retirement Index for 2010 identifies at least 14 places around the world where retirement funds go farther, health care is cheaper, and the lifestyle is healthier than in the U.S.
We wanted hot summers. A more Mediterranean lifestyle, where things are open later and families go out often. A place that felt real and alive, with its own character. We wanted to be townies again, but not in a city. We wanted the sea…