Travel Magazine - The pleasure of traveling | Italy
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Until the coastal road connected Portofino to neighbouring Santa Margherita, crossing the promontory on foot was the only way to reach the harbour by land. Today it’s a National Park, with 80-km of hiking routes winding through sweeping landscapes, while hinting at the cultural heritage of rural Portofino.
Portofino through the trees (Photo: buothz via Flickr/CC BY 2.0)
The belle époque facade of the Kulm Hotel has been guarding the north end of the promontory for over a century. Currently closed, the hotel still makes an excellent starting point for a hike in the National Park, where the view embraces a wide stretch of the Ligurian Riviera and on clear days reaches as far as the Maritime Alps.
It wasn’t the case on my day trip – unsurprising for an afternoon in early January – as thick clouds loomed. Rain would have caught me ill-equipped, but I took my chances and headed for Portofino, roughly 5km away, eager to discover what the harbour looked like when approached from the mountain.
The deep green of the cluster pines greeted me, contrasting the chestnut trees’ bare branches, through which I could glimpse the sea. It took only a short time to become accustomed to the brisk ambience of the woodland, before the track descended gently into a shaded valley.
While most trails are relatively undemanding, others require a more commitment and physical preparation. Two examples are the Pipes Path and the Kiss Pass, the former following an old aqueduct, the latter named after two local Romeo and Juliet who, so the story goes, preferred to jump together off a cliff rather than relinquish their love. Due to their difficulty, however, these trails are only accessible on a guided tour.
The 1907 opening of Kulm Hotel was advertised all over Europe (Photo: Andrea Gambaro)
I deviated from my safe route soon after, onto a narrow sidepath. As I walked on, now uphill, the track gradually faded into a crackling blanket of dead leaves and fallen logs. The sight of the Tigullian and the Paradiso Gulfs on the two sides of the promontory helped me navigate more than once, while Portofino was still hiding in its cove somewhere ahead.
No white patches stained the 610-meter peak of the mountain, towering behind me, but winter snowfall is not unusual. By contrast, 300 meters away, as the crow flies, one might stumble upon species of plant otherwise found only along the North African coast.
Such a complex environment appealed to the early visitors of modern times, namely 18th and 19th century travellers from Northern Europe, who initiated the village’s slide to popularity while seeking refuge during colder months. Often they were artists and intellectuals moved by the spirit of Romanticism, who found among the mountain’s chestnut trees the same atmosphere of the mainland forests, coupled with a more benevolent Mediterranean climate, like Friederich’s ‘Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog’, but without the fog.
By that same token, the grey sky vanished, rewarding my earlier leap of faith. The sun beamed down, dispersing the clouds and unveiling a vivid green slope of woods, grassland, farming terraces and tidily-aligned olive trees. The few houses shoring up the scene were the first I came across since leaving the Kulm behind.
Farming terraces (Photo: Andrea Gambaro)
That was what most of the mountain would have looked like, when Portofino was still living off farming and fishing, until the early 20th century. However the local economy had started to be reshaped by the rise of tourism, which was bringing more winter guests to the village. Traditional employment adapted accordingly; the mountain gradually depopulated and the briar, now scattered all over the upper part of the promontory, began poking its way through the formerly well-tended land.
The closer I got to the sea, the more hamlets I encountered. The church of Nozarego, overlooking Santa Margherita, made me realise I had missed a turn. Rerouting south, a crêuza (the local word for ‘mule track’) ran along the hillside through a typical Ligurian scene: undulating, narrow cobbled pathways, flanked by dry-stone walls and sun-drenched olive trees. Looking down towards the sea, the shore was hidden behind maritime pines and palm trees, while terraces sketched horizontal patterns on the hill slopes.
Further ahead was the Valle dei Mulini (Mills Valley), cut out by one of the few creeks that spring in the area. Of the many medieval mills that used to line the creek, all but one have been reduced to ruins. No longer active as a mill, the Gassetta is now a restaurant, resting spot and eco-museum, after being converted in the early 1970s. By then, deeper transformations had taken place down in the village.
The 1950s and 60s were the backdrop for a radical makeover of day-to-day life in Portofino. Often included in the itinerary of the jet-set, the piazzetta had become an icon of the Italian dolce vita staged by actors, singers, stylists, billionaires and celebrities of any sort, all captured by the paparazzi cameras. Restaurants, bars and boutiques replaced the old warehouses, boosting a transition started a few decades earlier. Fishing boats in the harbour were edged out by yachts and tourist ferries.
Super yachts regularly seen in Portofino during the summer (Photo: Fabrizio via Flickr / CC BY 2.0
The winter refuge for stationary guests soon turned into a VIP summer resort visited by ‘hit-and-run’ crowds of tourists, a state that to a large extent still applies nowadays. If the sudden, worldwide fame won the village unprecedented wealth, inflated prices and the erosion of the traditional economy didn’t benefit the whole local community. In fact, Portofino’s population has since more than halved, today amounting to roughly 400, and the trend doesn’t seem to be reversing.
The trail past the mill became a long, steep run towards the harbour; the open sea was now close enough to spot a solitary boat floating on the calm water. As I walked past one of the many villas left empty during low season, two bricklayers cleared some tools from the path to let me through and carried on working on the uphill facade. On the other side, a small door left ajar onto a panoramic garden was too tempting to ignore; nobody was around after all, and by the clattering of picks and pulleys I could tell the bricklayers weren’t disturbed.
A few steps into the garden and the brief trespassing proved worthwhile: there lay Portofino, making me wonder if it was from a similar spot that Friedrich Nietzsche described the area as “an island in the Hellenic archipelagos, on which mountains and forests alternate capriciously, that one day, for who knows what phenomenon, you’ve navigated towards land and there you anchor and never leave”.
That viewpoint highlighted the blessed location of the Portofino harbour, sheltered by the south end of the promontory. Castello Brown was perched there over the sea. I hoped to get that far, and at the very least visit Saint George Church, said to contain the relics of its namesake since the age of the Crusades.
Local devotion to the ‘dragon slayer’ is renewed every year by a ritual whose origins go as far back as pagan times. On 23 April, a propitiatory bonfire burns in the piazzetta, and relics are paraded through the village. Being busy even on Saint George’s Day, fishermen in the old times used to join the celebration when nothing but glowing embers were left of the bonfire, on top of which they would place platters made of slate in order to cook some of the day’s catch. In sciä ciàppa (‘on the slate’) became the local way of cooking fish.
Castle Brown and Saint George Church overlook the harbour (Photo: Andrea Gambaro)
As I walked down an empty Via Roma, heading for the marina, fashion brands and lowered shutters frustrated any effort of imagination to picture those premises as they used to be, packed with salt-corroded floats and covered with dripping fishing nets.
An elderly couple were all alone in the waterfront piazzetta, enjoying the fading winter daylight, while a handful of locals gathered at the only open café. The three or four tourists in sight walked sluggishly along the dock. As for the few small boats moored in the harbour, they seemed serenely resigned to do without bigger spit-polished companions, maybe for another month or two.
It had gotten dark enough for me to postpone the last part of the itinerary for another visit. I stayed a little longer by the shore, thinking that in such a semi-deserted backdrop, unaware of high-season crowds, the image of Portofino may well appear as timeless as Nietzsche’s Hellenic island lost in the Mediterranean.
One should not be fooled though, for the arched row of houses along the shore surely took the place of a previous landscape, and yet another will follow one day. Above it, the mountain sits as perhaps the only enduring witness.
Portofino is a pretty little former fishing village (Photo: Fangfei Shen via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)
Naples is one of the jewels in Italy’s crown. Nestled on the Bay of Naples, it is a popular stopping off point for Mediterranean cruises and a launching pad for trips to Pompeii. The historic centre of Napoli is an officially designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and the entire city is a veritable gold mine of significant art and architecture, some of which dates back 4,000 years.
View over the Bay of Naples to Mt. Vesuvius (Photo: Andrea Schaffer via Flickr)
From the fertile, ash-strewn slopes of the infamous and still active volcano Mt. Vesuvius, to the higgledy-piggledy twists and turns of Naples Old Town, there is a healthy selection of experiences that are unique to the city of Naples. While trying to see everything could keep an itinerary packed for weeks, here are some of the more unusual sights that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.
Visit former cities frozen in time by a volcanic eruption
It’s safe to say that Pompeii and Herculaneum are two of the most unique places on Earth. While Pompeii is the larger and better known archaeological site, Herculaneum was remarkably preserved, with some original wood surviving the almost 2 millennia since the 79AD eruption of Vesuvius, which brought an abrupt halt to both cities. Frescoes, paintings, houses and even skeletons were frozen in time, covered by pyroclastic flows during the eruption, creating one of the most unfortunate but also exquisitely preserved geological tragedies in recorded history.
A great way to discover these former cities and unlock many of the stories surrounding their fatal demise is on a tour. For a good list of options, check out the tours listed on Viator here.
Pompeii – Via Villa dei Misteri; daily 9am-7.30pm
Herculaneum (Ercolano) – Corso Resina; daily 8.30am-6pm
A street in Pompeii (Photo: Andrea Schaffer via Flickr)
See thousands of skeletons at Fontanelle Cemetery Caves
Combining natural caves, tufa mines, and ancient Greek and Roman tunnels, the Cimitero Fontanelle is best known for the assortment of human skulls that are contained within. The history behind the 30,000 square metre ossuary is best outlined by expert guides who run regular tours, but essentially the story goes like this: centuries ago the site was used as a place to “offload” remains due to overcrowding in traditional burial sites such as churches. For a price, undertakers either pretended to bury the dead overground or would dig up old remains, put them in a sack and throw them into Fontanelle or other caves in the area. Tumultuous events, such as the plague of 1656, meant that these numbers stacked up over the years, resulting in the skull and skeleton-laden site we know today. The caves reopened to the public in 2006 after being moth-balled for several decades due to concerns that it was being misused by religious cultists. Today it is one of Naples’ most fascinating and unique places of interest.
Via Fontanelle; Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm
Spooky skulls inside the Fontanelle Cemetery Caves (Photo: Jeffrey Clayton via Flickr)
Witness sick and broken dolls being nursed back to health
In Naples, there are only so many souvenir shops and leather boutiques you can peruse before the urge for something a little more quirky awakens your retail radar. And for quirkiness, there’s nothing quite like the Ospedale delle Bambole, a ‘dolls hospital’ that is both a shop and a museum. Filled with dolls, figurines, and traditional toys for sale, the shop is also somewhere people can bring their broken dolls to be fixed. The idea dates back to a time when dolls were made of porcelain and easily breakable. A local marionette maker called Luigi Grassi was often asked to fix the dolls and due to the high demand he continued with this tradition, passing his skills to future generations, eventually resulting in the opening of the now-famous Naples doll’s hospital.
Via San Biagio Dei Librai; Mon-Sat 10am-3.30pm
Take a tour of the Naples Underground
Beneath the city of Naples is a fascinating network of tunnels that have been excavated over the last two and a half thousand years. These tunnels of Naples Underground have been put to many different purposes by a succession of empires and rulers. See Emperor Nero’s dressing room below the theatre, the WWII-era cars that were stashed down there when the tunnels became an air raid shelter, and the more conventional former uses like as sewers and aqueducts that have created a veritable subterranean city waiting to be explored. The tunnels are best experienced over the course of half a day.
Toys left behind in underground Naples during WWII (Photo: Show In My Eyes via Flickr)
Brave the National Archaeological Museum’s “Secret Cabinet”
Not for the prudish, Naples’ National Archaeological Museum is home to an erotically-charged collection of Roman artefacts that recall a time when concepts of sexuality were weighed down with taboos and puritanical social mores. Featuring everything from erotic frescoes to penis-shaped wind chimes, the collection, which was unearthed during excavation of Pompeii and Herculaneum, has remained encased in a Gabinetto Segreto (or ‘secret cabinet’) since 1849 to keep it away from the innocent, corruptible eyes of women, children and the general public at large. It was finally opened to the public in 2000 and can be observed by all.
Piazza Museo; Weds-Mon 9am-7.30pm
Shop for seasonal gifts along Via San Gregorio Armeno
A brief glance at the bric-a-brac on display along Via San Gregorio Armeno may give the impression of a conventional street market – but closer inspection reveals something altogether more distinctive. That’s because the shops along this bustling avenue in the heart of Naples are dedicated exclusively to the Christmas Nativity. Inevitably, Christmas sees the street engorged by a heaving mass of people, but throughout the year visitors come to marvel at the myriad miniature figurines on display. You can even watch the artisans at work as they hand-craft their delicate creations.
Figurines on display at a shop on Via San Gregorio Armeno<(Photo: Gérard JAWORSKI via Flickr)
Commute through stations converted into art installations
Naples’ metro system is nothing out of the ordinary – until, that is, you venture into a particular phalanx of stations that have been transformed into a vibrant arts project. During the construction and expansion of several of the city’s metro lines, the municipality of Naples instigated the Stazione dell’Arte (Stations of Art) programme, which gave contemporary artists and architects blank canvasses on which to create unique and unusual artistic designs, from wall art to full blown installations, inside a number of the network’s stations. Distributed along the lines 1 and 6 are more than 180 pieces of art by roughly 90 artists, who each bring their own individualistic styles, and the result is both beautiful and in harmony with its environment, adding a whole new dimension to the normally humdrum experience of riding a city metro.
Via Toledo Metro Station in Naples (Photo: Marco Miele via Flickr)
Donate some coffee to the less fortunate
In Italy there is said to be one coffee bar for every 490 Italians, and nowhere is coffee imbibed with more enthusiasm and regularity than in Naples. But for those who consider it an indulgence there is a time-honoured tradition that will add a sense of altruism to your addiction. This tradition is called caffè sospeso, or suspended coffee, and is a simple, anonymous act of generosity whereby customers toss receipts in an unused coffee pot on the counter, so that those who cannot afford to buy their own can pull them out and use them. Alternatively, customers can pay in advance for an extra coffee, and the cafe keeps a list or hangs the receipts in the shop window. The tradition was popularised in Naples during World War II and has found a revival in recent years during hard economic times, even spreading across the rest of Italy. But for a truly authentic caffè sospeso experience, you must come to Naples.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
There are a wide number of hotels dotted across Naples, from budget to luxury accommodation. Many of these can be found near the airport, while the main train station is a popular spot for more affordable options. For something more upscale, the city’s historic centre and the Lungomare/Bayfront areas are both worth checking out. If you’re looking for a cheap room in Naples, check out our editor’s selection, which you can read here.
Known as the ‘Old Lady of Turin’, Juventus are one of Europe’s most illustrious football clubs. Located in the Vallette borough of the city, the club’s Allianz Stadium was built in 2011 on the site of the old Stadio delle Alpi and has a capacity of just over 41,500. Despite Juventus’ global appeal, with a fan base stretching from Turin to Calcutta, they have often struggled to attract large crowds to their games. Happily, this leaves plenty of tickets available for those keen to tick watching the Old Lady off their bucket list.
A view of Juventus’s Allianz Stadium (Photo: EA SPORTS FIFA via Flickr)
The Serie A season begins in August and ends in May, with a 16-day winter break each year. Juventus play 19 home matches a season, with domestic cup games (and often European games too) adding to that figure. If you’re keen to attend a game at the Allianz Stadium, you can see fixture lists for the remainder of the season on the club’s official website and elsewhere online.
Our match ticket search results
As previously mentioned, match-day attendance at Juventus games have ebbed and flowed over the years – a trend that has been reflected across Italian football. Consequently, it is pretty easy for tourists to find tickets for the majority of games and there are plenty of options available for how to do so. We’ve picked out three of the best and presented our findings below.
If you’re considering attending a Juventus game during your visit to Turin, but would rather not commit until you get there, StubHub are the ideal solution. The online ticket exchange platform often sells ticket all the way up to kick-off, and you can meet the seller outside the stadium, meaning you can be as spontaneous as you like. Users set the price of tickets, and prospective buyers can then decide whether they’re willing to pay it. Inevitably, this can often mean tickets are priced some way above face value – although good deals can often be found too, especially as kick-off approaches. As a reference point, when we searched for tickets for up-coming Juventus games, we found prices varying between £65 and £200, depending on the prestige of the game. VIP tickets are often available too.
Another global online platform, Viagogo is a ticket service used by people ranging from individual sellers with spare tickets to flog through to established events companies. To search for tickets, you can pick your preferred language and the website also informs you about the number of tickets are remaining for individual events. When we searched for games at the Allianz Stadium, there was availability for all of the games scheduled for the coming weeks and months. As a general guide, tickets were available for as little as £36, and on the whole the rates seemed to be more affordable than with Ticketbis. Another benefit comes if you’re travelling as a large group, as Viagogo allows you to book up to 14 tickets per game, while for some clubs they also offer downloadable e-tickets for convenience.
Season ticket holders are guaranteed a seat for Juventus home games and the next priority goes to official members. However, there are always tickets left over that go on general sale on the official website around 2-4 weeks before the game (this is because the exact date and kick off time are often not confirmed until fairly late in Italy). When booking, a full layout of the stadium is given so you can choose your preferred seat. Tickets can then either be sent to you directly in the post or picked up from the stadium, either prior to or on the day of the game.
Youthful and vibrant, Catania is the main city in the eastern half of Sicily. Its top attractions will keep you busy during your visit, but there will be also time for some more peculiar things to do.
Piazza Duomo, the core of Catania (Photo: Luca Aless via Wikipedia)
As Mount Etna overlooks from a distance, Catania welcomes the visitor with a mix of shabbiness and marvellous architecture. Its history goes back 2,700 years, its UNESCO-listed historical centre is pure baroque splendour, and the food culture is irresistible. All enhanced by the joys of the Mediterranean coast. But the city and its surroundings also offer lesser-known attractions and experiences. Here’s our list of seven unique things to do when you are in Catania.
Attend the biggest craft beer festival in Southern Italy
Beer Catania launched in 2015 to bring craft beer culture to the south of Italy. As visitor numbers increased from 5,000 to 20,000 in the space of two years, we can fairly assume that mission has been accomplished. It now runs twice a year, in late May and in late November. In addition to local and international breweries, the festival features food stands, culinary workshops, courses, tasting sessions and live music during the spring edition. Beer Catania is also an occasion to discover hidden locations of the city. The entrance is free.
Spring – Via Etnea 595, Catania 95125
Winter – Via Forcile, San Giuseppe La Rena (Catania) 95121
Beer Catania at Istituto Ardizzone Gioieni (Photo: Beer Catania)
Visit the Butterfly House
Walk among hundreds of butterflies at Casa delle Farfalle Monteserra. This tropical conservatory is home to species from all over the world as well as rare, native butterflies that are hardly seen anywhere else. Visitors are invited to observe them at close range and learn all about their connection to the surrounding habitat. Its blessed location in Monte Serra Natural Park, between Catania and Mount Etna, makes the Butterfly House an excellent stopover during a day trip to the volcano. The entrance to the conservatory is free, although it is closed during the winter season.
Via Umberto I 244, Viagrande (Catania) 95029
Aurora dell’Etna, one species protected by Casa delle Farfalle Monteserra (Photo: Martin Wachsmann)
Shop at a concept store where design meets Sicilian tradition
Folk and Friends showcases homeware and accessories made of marble, ceramic, lava stone, and other materials rooted in Sicilian traditions. It is run by Magda Masano, whose family has been working in the marble industry for decades. Magda’s brand, Folk, is an original encounter between ancient handicraft and modern design, where the Sicilian way gets a young and creative twist. The collections displayed include jewellery, clothes, tableware, pottery and décor. There is also a ‘marble-à-porter’ collection, if you’re looking for something easy to carry.
Via San Michele 17/19, Catania 95131
Folk and Friends concept store (Photo: Folk)
Savour street food with the locals
Street food in Catania is a centuries-old tradition that is best explored with the locals. Catania Street Food Tour will guide you through the best places to savour classics of the local cuisine like arancini and cannoli, as well as lesser-known specialities. These include horse-meat meatballs, fried fish and cipollata (spring onions wrapped with bacon). The three-hour walking tour also offers an overview of the city’s main sights and historical landmarks. Catania Street Food is only one of the tours operated by Sicilying across the whole island.
Meeting point – Piazza Duomo 18, Catania 95124
Tasting anchovies with Catania Street Food (Photo: Sicilying)
Experience Sicilian hospitality
Donna Carmela is a boutique resort surrounded by lush Mediterranean and subtropical greenery. An ancient mansion elegantly restored, it seeks to offer Sicilian hospitality at its best, providing high-quality services, fine furniture, modern art details and precious materials. The accommodations include classic and comfortable rooms, lodges and an imperial suite. The restaurant and wine cellar are also of the highest quality, while the lava-stone courtyard, the swimming pool, the ancient well, and over 5,000 species of flowers and bushes make the setting even more unique. A 30-minute drive away from the centre of Catania, Donna Carmela will be an unforgettable stay at the foot of Mount Etna.
Contrada Grotte 5, Carruba (Catania) 95018
This is one of your options at Donna Carmela (Photo: Donna Carmela)
Sip wine next to an underground river
A natural lava grotto revealing an underground river is the perfect backdrop for a glass of wine. You’ll find it at A Putia dell’Ostello, a wine bar and restaurant located in the historical centre and part of the Agorà Hostel. The restaurant menu is also worth checking out, with the pizzas enjoying an excellent reputation. After being buried by an Etna eruption in 1669, the Amenano river can be seen only in a handful of places across Catania.
Piazza Curro 6, Catania 95121
The Amenano river has been flowing underground since 1669 (Photo: Agorà Hostel)
Indulge your sweet tooth
While excellent pastry shops are scattered all over the city, two of the most renowned are located in Via Etnea. Opened since 1897, Pasticceria Savia specialises in almond pastries and frutta martorana (fruit-shaped pastries similar to marzipan). Pasticceria Pasubio, on the other hand, is the place to go for a brioche filled with almond or mulberry granita. In both, however, you will also find many other local specialities, of which cannoli and cassate are the most representative. During the February celebrations for Saint Agatha, the city’s patron saint, don’t miss the little cassate called minnuzze di Sant’Agata (literally, “small boobs of Saint’Agatha”).
Pasticceria Savia – Via Etnea 302/304, Catania 95131
Pasticceria Pasubio – Via Etnea 2F, Catania 95129
The holy “minnuzze di Sant’Agata” (Photo: Pasticceria Savia)
The capital city of Italy’s Piedmont region, Turin is one the country’s most important business and cultural centres. Renowned for its elegant architecture and sumptuous cuisine, Turin also enjoys a dramatic setting, with the Alps rising to the northwest of the city. Meanwhile stately baroque buildings and quaint old cafes line the city’s boulevards and grand squares.
When it comes to accommodation, visitors have a wide range of options to choose from. If you’re looking for cheap hotels in Turin, there are several guest houses, bed and breakfasts, or youth hostels, depending on the level of simplicity you’re prepared to tolerate. If you’d happy to spend a touch more, than there are also many affordable 3 and 4 star hotels in the city. Here’s our pick of 7 of the best accommodation options in Turin that won’t break the bank.
FROM €96/ NIGHT
Situated next door to Porta Nuova Train Station in the heart of the city, this affordable hotel is conveniently located for those arriving by train. Comfortable guest rooms come with a private bathroom with a hairdryer and toiletries, and there’s also an LED TV with satellite channels and a minibar. Elsewhere in the hotel, guests can relax and unwind in a bar, while a 24-hour reception offers free daily newspapers. Buffet breakfasts are served each morning and free WiFi is available throughout the property. The airport bus terminal is also moments away and guests will find a wide number of shops and restaurants nearby.
If you’re looking for a sociable place to stay where you can cook and eat with other guests, this basic hostel could well fit the bill. Also just a couple of minutes’ walk from Torino Porta Nuova Train Station, it is close to many of Turin’s most popular sites and attractions, including The Egyptian Museum and the Mole Antonelliana. Guest rooms are air-conditioned to stave off those stifling summer months and some have a private bathroom while others have shared facilities. A shared kitchen and lounge helps create a friendly, convivial atmosphere. Free WiFi is available in all areas of the property.
Located within a former industrial building designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano, this hotel is particularly popular with business travellers thanks to its proximity to Lingotto Exhibition Centre, which is just seconds away. There’s a small communal gym and continental buffet breakfasts are served each morning, while other services include self-service laundry and internet points. All guest rooms come with a private bathroom, free WiFi and a flat-screen TV. Turin’s Porta Nuova Train Station is just under two miles from the hotel and Turin Caselle Airport is 15.5 miles away.
Situated on a peaceful residential street outside the centre of Turin, this affordable 3-star hotel features basic but comfortable guest rooms that come with free WiFi. Hotel amenities include a cosy TV room with satellite channels and a free internet point in the hall area. While a little outside the heart of the city, excellent transport links make it easy to explore. Porta Susa Station is just 2 Metro stops away and there are also bus and tram stations within easy walking distance. Or if you’re arriving by car, there’s also a hotel car park. A number of shops, bars and cafes are all close by.
This quaint and cosy B&B is ideally located for enjoying all that Turin has to offer, with the Egyptian Museum , Mole Antonelliana and Politecnico di Torino all within walking distance. Guest rooms come with a desk, a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. Elsewhere in the hotel there’s shared lounge and traditional Italian breakfasts are served daily. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel, including in guest rooms. Turin Airport is just over 9 miles away.
Another popular choice with business travellers thanks to its proximity to Turin’s business district, this hotel is housed within a modern building with a distinctive pop art-theme. Air-conditioned guest rooms are decorated with tiled floors and dark colour furnishings, and there’s also a private bathroom with shower, toiletries and hairdryer. Hotel services and amenities include an on-site restaurant and bar, complimentary bike rental and free WiFi. An authentic Italian buffet breakfast is served daily. For football fans, the Stadio Olimpico stadium – home to FC Juventus – is a 35-minute tram ride away.
Situated a short drive from the city centre, Hotel Galimberti is another popular affordable option. Guest rooms are all soundproofed and feature a flat-screen satellite TV and a private bathroom with a crystal-glass shower and hairdryer, plus free WiFi. A breakfast buffet is served each morning, including freshly made pastries. The Stadio Olimpico, the Lingotto Congress Centre and the Oval Lingotto Aren are all easily reachable from the hotel, and for those arriving by train Turin Lingotto Railway Station is also conveniently close by.
Italy’s delicious dishes are popular the world over. The heartlands of the Italy traditionally knead fresh pasta and bake filling pizzas, however Venice’s disconnection from the country and its island like occupation of the sea, means the gastronomy of the city distinctly differs. The cuisine of Venice, unsurprisingly, relies heavily of fish and is usually accompanied by vegetables. Local bars offer up the Venetian answer to tapas: cicchetti, traditionally served with your evening aperitivo.
The Floating City is not short on opportunities to sample local delicacies; therein lies the problem of locating the authentic flavours made from good quality ingredients. Below we’ve highlighted five tours that ensure guests experience the unique dishes and tastes of the city, selected with different budgets, itinerary and sights in mind.
HIDDEN VENICE HALF-DAY WALKING TOUR
FROM: €69/per person
With many of Venice’s sights stacked with tourists, this 3-hour walking tour offers guests the opportunity to get to know the lesser-known quirks of the city. Beginning at Rialto Market, wander through the network of stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood. Stop at a traditional Venetian bar, or osteria, to enjoy a glass of wine and cicchetti before taking up a pew on a gondola and riding across the Grand Canal. Arrivinging in the Cannaregio district, guests will continue on foot and end the tours exploring the San Polo neighbourhood, which features ornate architecture and the 16th-century Palazzo dei Camerlenghi.
This tour is all about enotecas and cicchetti – or wine bars and tapas. The two and half hour walking tour features five bars in different neighbourhoods of the city; each with its own unique history, tastes and character. Starting at Campo de la Maddalena, expect salty tastes of the sea in the local bars, before heading to the Cannaregio district. Here sample the enoteca’s famous meatball dish: polpette, then cross the Grand Canal on the passenger ferry to reach the Rialto Market. You’ll be guided by a culinary enthusiast to a further three bars tasting a variety of the regions wine and prosecco.
Formally known as the Jewish Ghetto, Cannaregio is one of Venice’s most distinctive neighbourhoods. With a rich history and culture to learn about, a local guide will navigate the districts narrow streets on this 4-hour tour. Given its Jewish roots, the district enjoys many culinary traditions and unique tastes: the traditional Jewish-Venetian dishes of Sarde al Saor, sweet and sour sardines, and artichoke bottoms, accompanied by kosher wine. Stopping off at six restaurants, guests will also wander across various bridges, glimpse Gothic churches and visit intimate piazzas. Unique sights include the Rabbi’s house and historic synagogues. Upon reaching the other side of Rialto, classic Italian risotto and pasta will be sampled, before finishing on a sweet note at an old bakery serving Venetian-Jewish biscuits and cakes.
This walking tour takes guests on a two and half hour culinary journey encompassing the flavours of Venice. From the Rialto Market, this short tour packs in many flavours: cicchetti, buranelli biscuits, tramezzini sandwiches, local cheeses and tiramisu. Visitors will get to know the cuisine of the city whilst walking by some of the city’s most spectacular sights; navigating the historic centre where Campo Santa Margherita, the Grand Canal, Basilica dei Frari and San Polo are located.
From the San Zaccaria Church, this short tour takes a small group of visitors on a wine fueled walking tour of Venice. Diverting off of the regularly trodden tourist paths of the city, visitors will discover hidden gems and stop off at wine bars along the way. San Francesco della Vigna cloisters, Arsenale and the art of San Zaccaria feature between stops for the central activity of the tour: sampling wine. Learn about the flavours and specialities of the local bottles, with glasses accompanied by classic appetisers.