To the bottom of Italy’s heel

One of the sandier beaches of Santa Maria di Leuca

We drove down to Santa Maria di Leuca, the town at the southern tip of Puglia and Italy, at the bottom of the heel that goes by the name of the Salento peninsula. It was a peninsula of solar farms, polytunnels, olive groves and vineyards, orchards and fields of vegetables, derelict farm buildings and scattered […]

The magic of Matera

Matera and the gorge

For an ancient Italian town perched on the edge of the Murgia National Park, Matera didn’t look promising when we drove into the suburbs. It was poor, dirty and scruffy. But then came the historic centre and one of the most remarkable places I’ve been to in Europe… We’d driven up from the airport on the […]

Verona: A city with a view

The staircase to the top

I’ve never been a fan of Shakespeare, nor have I immersed myself in his Romeo and Juliet. Verona is the home of the lovers, the Montagues and Capulets. The city milks it too. Tourists descend in their thousands on Juliet’s balcony and tomb, and a bust of Shakespeare is on show in a corner of […]

Verona: A Roman survivor

The Piazza Erbe from above

Italy may change but some things remain resolutely the same. The food is great, the architecture is awe-inspiring and the locals can’t resist a shiny puffer jacket.  On our first evening in Verona, nursing a beer in a touristy but quiet bar in the Piazza Bra, there were plenty of puffer jackets on display. Veronese and […]

Italy: A weekend in Bologna

That terracotta cityscape

Bologna, the capital of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, is home to the oldest university in the Western world, incredible food and a wonderful cityscape of terracotta-roofed buildings. But there are other features of the city that don’t feature so prominently in the guidebooks, not least the amount of graffiti. Perhaps it’s something to do with Bologna’s history […]