Dooid’s Suggestions for This Weekend in Italy




Are you in Italy this weekend and wondering what events might be going on near you? We have you covered here with lots of ideas in every part of the Bel Paese!

Northern Italy

Central Italy

Southern Italy

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Stay in Lucchesia: discover Lucca and its surrounding area




Have you ever visited the beautiful city of Lucca? Have you ever been there when the camellias are in full bloom? Have you ever dressed up as a ninja with your friends for the famous Lucca Comics event? If not, the time has come for you and a group of friends or family to make unforgettable memories in Lucca. Enjoy this Stay in Lucchesia package!



Cost and Terms & Conditions

Up to 4 guests ( 2 rooms ) € 160,00/per night.

Each additional person is € 25.00 / night. The offer varies according to the number of people.

Minimum stay 4 nights

10% off only with dooid (taxes included) on a minimum of a 7-night stay


Payment Method: by bank transfer

How to Book: read the final paragraph and fill out the form below.

Cancellation policy: free up to 30 days before arrival, after this deadline, 50% of the price of the stay will not be refunded.

An additional security deposit of € 400.00 is required for any damage caused to the property which will be refunded upon check out (after checking the house).

The structure

The house was built around 1784, when it originally housed nuns. In the early 1900’s, however, it was transformed into a small farm.   The building has been finely restored, preserving the stone exterior, and is ready to offer tourists an authentic experience. The structure is located in the neighborhood called vicinato, perhaps because it is isolated, but yet close to the real village. This area is the oldest part of the town and if its walls could only talk!


What to Do and See

Lucchesia, as it’s known in Italianis an area of Tuscany rich in art and culture, but also in various events that attract tourists and enthusiasts from all over Italy and beyond!

The city of Lucca is one of the jewels of Tuscany. The town is protected by walls on which you can take pleasant walks accompanied by the sound of rustling trees. You’ll see the famous towers (Torre delle Ore and Torre del Guinigi) above the rooftops. In the historic center you’ll find the Cathedral: Lucca is nicknamed the “city of a hundred churches” due to the large number of sanctuaries scattered within the city walls.

As you wander along the cobblestone streets of the city and window shop, you’ll make your way to Piazza Napoleone, or Piazza Grande as it’s known by the locals. This is where most of the events, such as Lucca Comics and Games and the otaku event, take place. The piazza is also home to concerts like the Lucca Summer Festival which brings international stars such as Elton John.

Going back towards the village of the camellias, or Pieve and Sant’Andrea di Compito, art and nature come together. Strolling along the streets of these villages, you’ll be able to witness the most spectacular camellias, parks and historic villas. Sant’Andrea di Compito is a charming Tuscan village with narrow streets, stone walls, ancient buildings and even some villas from the 1700s.

Contact Us

If you need additional information or if you’d like to personalize your package, please fill out the contact form below or send us an email at You can also contact us on our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in this offer, contact us for additional information!
Let us organize your stay in Lucchesia:
from your hotel to everything you might need for a pleasant trip!

Package code: 201903141658

Catania package, Sicily: includes hotel, shuttle, meals!




How does a relaxing weekend in CataniaSicily sound? Overlooking the Ionian Sea and Mt. Etna, you’ll discover Catania’s art and natural beauty. With this special Catania package you can enjoy a well-deserved break and indulge in Catania’s amazing cuisine!


Cost and Terms & Conditions

199€ per couple (meat dinner menu)

225€ per couple (fish dinner menu)

Offer Includes:

  • 2 nights in a double deluxe room with breakfast
  • 4-course dinner with wine tasting (3 glasses DOC wine)
  • shuttle service from airport/port/station

Payment Method: Deposit of 99 € required, balance due at check in. You can book at any time, even last minute (subject to availability).

How to Purchase: Read the final paragraph and fill out the form below

Cancellation Policy: Cancellation policy: the deposit amount paid will not be refunded, but you will be given the option of applying it towards a credit for a future reservation (within 6 mos).

Valid During: all year except 3-day weekends and holidays at which point there would be an increase of the offer price.

The Hotel

Casa Provenza

An oasis in the baroque heart of Catania where you’ll enjoy the comforts of personalized rooms, completely renovated spaces, furnishings and colors.

On the fourth floor of the building (equipped with elevator) you will enjoy a 180 ° view from the covered terrace of the most beautiful façade of the city center, in an area with limited evening traffic on weekends.
Ideal for leisure stays, individual or group, or business trips, you will be “pampered” by the managers and the attentive and dedicated staff. Free Wifi, available in all indoor and outdoor areas.

Also available for your leisure: a reading area with seasonal guides and information, tour desk, book-exchange and relaxation room, with refrigerator and drinks, kettle and herbal tea, toaster and microwave.


What to Do and See

Catania is not just a city of art! It overlooks a crystal clear sea just waiting to be discovered! 
The Riviera dei Ciclopi or the Cyclops Riviera is stunning: characterized by black lava that has reached the sea. Equally beautiful and noteworthy are the Grotte di Ulisse or the Ulysses Grotto where you can take a swim in the clear waters. In the fishing village of Acitrezza you can visit the protected area around the Faraglioni and the Lachea Island by pedal boat. And you cannot leave without tasting the best granita and pastries in the area at the Eden Bar!

Admiring Mount Etna, whose prominent outline is the backdrop to the whole city, is obviously a must.

Besides the amazing gifts of Mother Nature, you’ll also want to visit the Cathedral of St. Agnes which dominates the Piazza del Duomo; the town hall and the elephant fountain; the Roman Theater; Via Etnea and so much more!

Contact Us

If you need additional information or if you’d like to personalize your package, please fill out the contact form below or send us an email at You can also contact us on our Facebook page.

If you’re interested in this offer, contact us for additional information!
Let us organize your Catania package:
from your hotel to everything you might need for a pleasant trip!

Package code: 201903081544

Folk Traditions Festival in Petralia

That’s right, folk is not just tradition, but a life style! It’s like a drug; once you go into the tunnel, you can’t come out. You don’t even try to stop, but if for some reason, you distance yourself from it for awhile, you miss it. After awhile you get used to being without it, but as soon as you hear that distinct sound of a cheerful accordion or an upbeat mazurka, you realize that your feet are independent of the rest of your body being commanded by the beat.

The Festival of Popular TraditionsPantomime dance of Cordella in Petralia Sottana (Palermo) is an example. This will be the XXXV Mediterranean Meeting of International Folklore held every year during August in this beautiful location within the Madonie Park. During the typical celebration of the Cordella dance, the ancient peasant traditions are recalled as a sign of hope for a fruitful harvest and married life. The festival lasts for four intense days that are packed with events, workshops and concerts from morning until late evening. There are even signing and dance workshops for children.

petralia-folk-festival-2018The last day is where the real party takes place which consists of the re-enactment of the traditional Sicilian wedding complete with a church ceremony and a wedding procession that from the village parades up to the pine forest above Petralia Sottana. The traditional Cordella dance concludes the festivities in a blaze of colored ribbons woven by twelve pairs of dancers to the rhythm of the cheerful sound of the tambourines.
Over the course of these four days the city changes its appearance, coming alive with people of all ages who fill the streets. Guests will notice the proud faces of children in their traditional garb and locals who participate enthusiastically keeping their island’s folk culture alive. Parades of local folk groups and international guests, cuisine from around the world, book lectures and finally concerts will delight.

But that’s not all. Grab a speaker, connect to a telephone, find a free square, some dancers and start again. Maybe you’ll only start with a few, 6 or 8 people, but as the music goes on, some passerbys stop to look. The energy and enthusiasm soon overwhelms them, and their swept into the growing climax of the dance. 

Folklore-petralia-sottana-eventiIt captures you and overwhelms you in its vortex.
It is an indispensable exchange of energy! You suddenly realize you are very tired, but the energy that your body expended is all returned to you in spirit by your dance partner, the people who dance around you, the music, the joviality of the moment, the desire to dance until exhaustion, to make friends and to fly … you realize that your body  no longer feels tired.

The newcomers can initially be skeptical, embarrassed because they do not know the steps or people with whom you dance; it’s normal. The Circassian circle loosens tension, loosens the body, confuses you, amuses you. You are inexorably involved. When the music starts, the dancers frantically run in search of a partner. There are never enough men. You search through the crowd looking for a volunteer. You can not find one. You draw one against his will. Resistance. You hastily reassure him that the steps are easy and that he will learn them in a few rounds, at each change of partner. It begins. He’s tense and embarrassed. He hesitates and his steps are uncertain. He continuously makes mistakes, again and again until finally, he’s having fun. He’s passionate and alive.

There is no age. Everyone is dancing with everyone. It is pure magic.

For more exciting ideas in the Palermo area, read our other articles: HimeraPorticello


photo copyrights:

Artigianato Vivo Festival in Cison di Valmarino


Cison di Valmarino

ArtigianatoVivo is an artisan festival held from 5 to 15 August in Cison di Valmarino in the province of Treviso, between Follina and Vittorio Veneto. It has steadily and increasingly attracted thousands of tourists from far and wide since 1980. There is talk of a turnout of 400,000 people this year.

The town of Cison – which has recently been inducted into the exclusive “club” of Borghi Più Belli d’Italia (Most Beautiful Villages of Italy)– comes to the forefront of excellent artisan craftsmanship that Italy truly does best.

200 exhibitors will present their unique products made strictly by hand at stands throughout the village. These types of festivals keep the Italian tradition and the art of “know-how” alive in this technological era in which craftsmanship is slowly dying.

In conjunction with the event, the Proloco organizes a series of side events such as concerts, animation shows, exhibitions and literary meetings.


Castle Brandolini


As I said, the tourist turnout is very high, and the whole territory merits a holiday of at least a few days. The artisan festival is a great opportunity to explore this beautiful area.

Cison di Valmarino is located in Valmareno, a valley dominated by the fortifications of the XII century Brandolini Castle which has been converted into a luxury hotel.

The Brandolini Counts were men of arms in feudal times and later became gentlemen dedicated to the economy, leaving an indelible imprint throughout the village.

The heart of the historic center is Piazza Roma which is dominated by Palazzo Marcello. It was the ancient Venetian villa of the Venetian doges Marcello, famous winners of the battle of Lepanto and the Loggia.

You will notice while walking through Cison that almost all the old houses have red or maroon shutters; a red that in these parts is called Rosso Brandolini.


Antiche Cantine Brandolini

Another example of the restoration of feudal buildings is the Antiche Cantine Brandolini. The building already appeared, as a basic structure, in fifteenth century maps. It has always been a particularly important place for the life of the village: built by the Brandolini family, it was initially used as a stable and then adapted to the wine production and conservation of agricultural products. It’s proof that the viticulture industry was already present in this area in distant times due to the high demand from Venice and the entire Veneto region.

As early as 1440, Valmareno already specialized in the cultivation of vines … and even today the entrire economy of the area is based on the production of wine, especially Prosecco.

Needless to say, this is an area where food and wine tastings are among the top tourist attractions. 

Cison-artigianato-vivo-2018-rolleRolle of Cison di Valmarino

You can not go to visit Cison di Valmarino without going through Rolle, a very small town surrounded by Prosecco vineyards. The poet Andrea Zanzotto defined it as “a postcard sent by the gods”. Beautiful all year through, the most fascinating season to visit Rolle is undoubtedly in autumn when the hills glow red.


Copyright photo The most beautiful village in Italy + Antiche Case Brandolini + Rolle: Carla La Rocca

Copyright photo Palazzo Marcello:

Copyright photo Castelbrando from above:

The Otzi the iceman exhibit from Bolzano is available online

If we can’t physically go to a museum then the next best thing is to use today’s modern technology and experience it from the comfort of our own home! So many museums have gotten on board to make their exhibitions available online and one of these is Otzi, the Iceman in Bolzano


© Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige

Who Was Ötzi?

Alto Adige’s Archeologic Museum in Bolzano has had a permanent exhibition dedicated to Otzi since 1998. It was in the year 1991 when a couple hiking through the mountains discovered the mummified iceman in Val Senales. Along with his body, there were also tools and clothing that would reveal the mysteries of the Copper Age in the Neolithic Period. The discovery has given us a rare glimpse into the life of our fairly recent ancestors who lived over 5,000 years ago.

What’s Available Online

If you haven’t had the opportunity to personally visit the exhibition, now is the time to take advantage of modern technology and enjoy Otzi from your home. As of March 26, 2020, the museum has made the entire database available online. This is a comprehensive wealth of information on Otzi collected thus far. 

What’s more, the database is available in English, German, and Italian and in two versions: scientific and one in layman’s terms and easily comprehensible. 

The multimedia audio guide app is downloadable as well for just 4 euro and offers a behind the scenes look at over 23 different key commentary points for a total of 45 minutes. A children’s version is available for free.


© Museo Archeologico dell’Alto Adige /EURAC/Samadelli/Staschitz



Rocca Calascio: a Film Set in Central Italy’s Abruzzo

What do Ladyhawke, The Name of the Rose and The American have in common besides being three fantastic films? They were all shot in Rocca Calascio in Italy’s central Abruzzo region.


Rocca Calascio

The road that leads to this medieval wonder, although not very easy, offers a view that will be well worth the effort. To reach the castle you’ll need to climb up to an elevation of 1,460 meters, where a breathtaking panorama of the Tirino valley and the Navelli plateau await you. The scene that unfolds before you is straight out of a postcard with the blue sky merging with the intense shades of green and brown of the underlying valley.

Rocca Calascio’s castle, with its white, perfectly-shaped bricks, acquired its present appearance thanks to Antonio Piccolomini who provided the defensive wall and four towers that blend into the surrounding mountain as if they were natural extensions.

The fortress which dates back to the year 1000 became increasingly more important over the years since it also served the purpose of monitoring the pastoral migration of the sheep herds. Eventually, this led to the creation of a small village situated at the foothills at the base of the castle. Throughout history, the village was abandoned at one point and also destroyed by a series of earthquakes. The last and most devastating seismic event, dating back to 1703, caused considerable damage to the structure of the castle, which was abandoned until the early 20th century.


It was only at the end of the 1980s that the castle came back into the limelight when it began to be used as a setting for films set in medieval times.   

The castle, which in the movie Ladyhawke houses the monk’s refuge, is accessible via a wooden ramp and can be visited entirely free of charge.    

Rocca Calascio is a must-see location where time seems to have stopped. A treasure guarded by the great Gran Sasso mountain that even the National Geographic mentions as among the 15 most beautiful castles in the world


Article and photos by: A. Falasca

Visiting Cosenza in Calabria: a City Rich in History and Tradition

Cosenza is one of the most beautiful and important cities in Italy’s southern region of Calabria. Ancient traditions and rich in history, let’s find out more about this magnificent place!


What to See in Cosenza

Cosenza is known for its unique ancient village located in the upper part of the city. You can start your tour from Piazza dei Valdesi and head towards Corso Telesio. This main via is intersected by many narrow streets that climb up the hill where you can admire beautiful, old buildings and small houses.

All along Corso Telesio, you’ll find ancient craft shops and you’ll come to the famous Piazza delle Uova and Piazza dei Pesci. These two squares were once where the egg market and fish market were held. If you continue uphill, you will arrive in Piazza Duomo also known as Piazza Grande.

The Duomo, or the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, was built in 1222 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has different architectural styles, given its millennial history.

Near the Duomo is the Civic Library, one of the most important monuments of the city. Its architectural complex extends over two buildings: one older and the other dating back to the fascist era. The building overlooks the central Piazza XV Marzo, near the Rendano Theater and is flanked by a series of ancient buildings that surround the most beautiful square in the city in a semicircle. In the center is the monument of the philosopher and scientist Bernardino Telesio.

In front of the Rendano Theater is the Prefecture building and, next to it, the entrance to the municipal villa where you can take a pleasant break in the greenery. Above this area is the Porta Piana district with the church of St. John the Baptist dating back to the 11th century, located at the foot of the Swabian Castle, which dominates the city from above.

In the Surrounding Area

Near Cosenza, the renowned natural area known as Sila offers many leisure opportunities. Starting from walks in the woods, to visits to the most characteristic villages, to shopping for local products. The Sila also has many lakes that are surrounded by a luxuriant and still partly unspoiled nature.


When to Visit

Spring and autumn are the best times, but Cosenza and its surroundings are welcoming all year round. In March, the famous St. Joseph’s Fair is held with an infinite number of stalls throughout the city offering everything from flowers, trees, clothes, and locally-crafted items. 

What to Eat

Typical cured meats (soppressata) and caciocavallo with a good local red wine and stuffed vegetables are certainly the traditional dishes of Cosenza. The cullurielli (fried donuts) sold in Piazza dei Valdesi and the mazzacorde (lamb entrails) are delicious dishes to taste in the typical restaurants of the city. Some favorite spots are Calabria Bella in Piazza Duomo and Vecchia Cosenza near the church of San Gaetano.


Text by Ottavia Rainelli

The Village of Calangianus in Sardinia

In the northeast part of Sardinia, in the area known as Gallura, we find the small village of Calangianus. It is surrounded by cork oak trees which are part of this area’s cultural heritage. Let’s find out more!


Where Is Calangianus?

Calangianus is a village located 560 meters above sea level, in a plateau which is part of the Regional Natural Park of Mount Limbara, occupying an area of ​​13,000 hectares. It is part of the Olbia-Tempio province and is just 35 kilometers from Olbia. In less than half an hour by car, you can reach the most famous beaches and resorts of the Costa Smeralda.

Calangianus’ Historic Center

The historic center is made up of narrow streets and exposed granite buildings. The buildings are generally multi-story and form an irregular road network, typical of the old centers of Gallura. One thing for certain is that Gallura is an ancient land and already existed in the Medieval period. The first document confirming this dates back to 1162.

In a small piazza in the historic center, lies the parish church of Santa Giusta dating back to the 1500s. The oratories of the Rosary and Santa Croce are annexed to the church, where a precious painting of the Assumption by the painter Andrea Lussu is kept. In the oratory of the Rosary, there is an interesting museum of sacred art where among the many objects on display you can admire paintings from the 1700s. A short distance from the parish church is the church of Sant’Anna. Dating back to 1665 and recently restored, this gem was built with exposed granite. In the lower part of the town, a short distance from the main square called Piazza del Popolo, you can admire the church of Santa Maria Degli Angeli, with the adjoining Capuchin convent, dating back to the 1700s.

Calangianus’ Cork

Up until the 1800s, the area survived on agriculture and livestock. Around the year 1800, a wealthy entrepreneur began extracting and processing cork from the local cork oak trees (Quercius suber). Even today, this is still one of the main industries. Everything from wine corks to other artisan crafts is still made here. It’s not by chance that Calangianus has been awarded the title of the “Italian Cork Capital”. There’s even a cork museum located in the eighteenth-century convent. Granite mining and processing has also made the area famous. 

Calangianus is much more than just cork and granite. There are several established wineries in the area that produce excellent wines such as the famous Fermentino di Gallura. Rich soil produces some award-winning results that are becoming known throughout the world. 


Events and Festivals in Calangianus

Throughout the year there are many events in the area that celebrate the local traditions and products. The local cattle are also prized both in Italy and worldwide. Summertime festivals known as sagre attract both locals and international tourists who venture away from the crowded beaches into the heartland of Sardinia. 

Religious and folkloristic festivals fill the town streets with cheer as well. The Feast of the Madonna delle Grazie and of Santa Caterina in April, or Capidanu in September are some of the most popular. These festivals are organized by the Santa Croce Confraternity which after about 60 years has resumed its activity including the festivities surrounding Holy Week.  

During Christmas time, for several years now, the tourist association Contiamoci has organized the living nativity scene. On this occasion, ancient crafts and clothing play an important role. This event which takes place in the historic center attracts thousands of visitors each year. 

Archaeology in Calangianus

In the Calangianus area, there are several nurhag (an ancient stone building), some of which are still intact and others in ruins, that date back to the Bronze Age. In Pascaréddha there is the “Giants’ Tomb” dating back to the pre-Nuragic period and, in the immediate vicinity, you can admire the Funtana di li Paladini dating back to the same period.


The Real Narnia: Narni in Italy’s Umbria Region

If you’re thinking the name Narni reminds you of something, you’re right. The setting of the Chronicles of Narnia is a real city in Umbria with a story to tell.

The History of Narni

Narni is a city in southern Umbria rich in history and natural beauty. Its history dates back to the protohistoric period when this land was inhabited by the people of the Osco Umbri, one of the first Italian populations. It was the last stronghold of Umbria before it fell and was conquered by the Roman Empire.

When it became a Roman colony, its name changed from the Umbrian name of Nequinum to the Roman name of Narnia. Its name made reference to the river Nahar, now called Nera.

British writer C.S. Lewis was inspired by Narni for his famous Chronicles of Narnia and what he describes in his novels beautifully conveys the image of what the landscape looks like. 

…Narnia. The happy land of Narnia- Narnia of the heathery mountains and the thymy downs, Narnia of the many rivers, the plashing glens, the mossy caverns and the deep forests ringing with the hammers of the Dwarfs. Oh the sweet air in Narnia! An hour’s life there is better than a thousand years in Calormen.



Narni Park

And as if you were being welcomed into Narnia by the Faun who guards the forest, you will be welcomed into the enchanted oak forest. This wood takes the name of Cardona after the Roman bridge that is located deep within the trees. Ponte Cardona is the fourth bridge of the Formina Roman aqueduct, an ancient structure inherited by the imperial colonists of these lands. This architectural work is 13 km long, most of which was carved out of the limestone by hand. It supplied the city of Narni with its water up until the 1920s.

A road was constructed just above it which over time became known as the Formina. Over the past 2,000 years, this path was crossed by many illustrious people, but perhaps the most relevant was Francis of Assisi. During one of his spiritual retreats, Francis spent time in a hermitage in a hamlet of Narni, near Caput Acquae, the first of the seven springs that feed the aqueduct. He walked the road of the Formina to reach the Sacro Speco di Sant’Urbano in Narni. Even today, it’s easy to imagine his passage and to understand how important nature was to Saint Francis- especially here where it has remained unchanged even centuries later.

In 2014, a Perugian scholar who was passionate about geography began researching the exact geographical center of Italy. With the help of satellite technology, he discovered that while the exact geographical location is Rome, the peninsular center is Narni. This study proved a theory from the 1990s when Narni’s Cardona bridge was identified as the center since the central meridian of Italy crosses Narni but passes a few kilometers from the bridge.


Art, Culture, and Nature

From the 1990s to 2014, the archaeological area was basically abandoned but recently, a local association began a reconstruction and conservation project that consisted of a 13 kilometer-long stretch along the aqueduct. To date, the association has reopened the first stretch of road that connects the historic center of the city to Cardona bridge- an easily accessible path of 5 km through the woods and along the ancient aqueduct. This is a unique experience where you can appreciate nature and man coexisting in a balanced way.

Within the park, there is also a museum and the Villa Montiello garden, a nineteenth-century residential complex located along the route. Countless activities including outdoor sports, hiking, and events are planned by the local association.

This true center of Italy is a place where man can behold the sacredness of this Earth and where the ancient, forgotten link between man and nature still exists.


Visit the official website for more information (Italian only).

Photo credits:

Articolo di: V. Filippi


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Valtournenche: the Place Closest to My Heart

Valtournenche and Cervinia in the Aosta Valley are the places I hold most dear. I have memories of my first endeavors with a camera under the guidance of my father, who had conquered the Matterhorn from the Swiss side and who loved to photograph it more than anything else in the world. Then, there are the moments spent with my friends at the picnic area during town festivals, the most beautiful conversations of my life thus far- all preserved in the depths of this heart.


©Stefania Grasso

These photographs symbolize the Matterhorn immortalized at the end of the main street of Cervinia on a summer day under an incredibly clear sky. I love photographing this mountain framed by flowers, a symbol of purity, of absolute majesty.

And then when you start to climb towards Valtournenche, the mountain seems to greet you every time, welcoming you into the arms of this immense valley. The mountains so close to my heart seem to welcome me back home.

Find out more about the Aosta Valley region 


Article and photos by: Stefania Grasso

Virtual Museum Tour: Raffaello at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

The largest exhibition dedicated to the artist Raffaello ever organized in the entire world is now available online! The actual exhibition was inaugurated on March 5th at Rome’s Scuderie del Quirinale and for the few days that it was open to the public, it was hugely successful. This is one of the most anticipated events in the year 2020 and it is especially poignant since it celebrates the 500 year anniversary of the artist’s death. 



The Exhibition

The exhibition-event “Raffaello. 1520-1483” is available online on the Scuderie del Quirinale website and on social media. Via their official Youtube channel, visitors can also take a virtual tour. Amazing technology allows virtual visitors to study the various works on display in great detail.

The video story of the exhibition entitled “A walk in the exhibition” will be online beginning March 26 and will accompany visitors on a walk through the life, death, and works of Raphael Sanzio. Spectators will be able to walk among the various rooms of the museum and admire the exhibition.

The virtual tour will include a glimpse into Raffaello’s life which ended early and abruptly at the young age of 37 due to a respiratory illness. His remains and tomb are in the Pantheon in Rome. 

Works on Display

Many of the works on display are on loan from internationally-acclaimed museums such as La Velata from the Uffizi Gallery, the Madonna Alba from the National Gallery in Washington, and the portrait of Baldassarre Castiglione. In total there are 200 works on display (120 by Raffaello) ranging from paintings, drawings, tapestries, and letters. Among the various masterpieces, you’ll also see the Santa Cecilia Altarpiece directly from the Pinacoteca di Bologna.

Many illustrious names have collaborated with the museum in order to ensure an unparalleled event: the Uffizi Gallery, the Borghese Gallery, the Vatican Museums and even the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum. Curated by Maria Faietti and Matteo Lafranconi, with an important contribution from Vincenzo Farinella and Francesco Paolo Di Teodoro.

The museum has done an excellent job of adapting the exhibition to a virtual platform and thanks to technology, the world can still appreciate Raffaello from the comfort of their own homes.

Originally, the exhibition was to end on June 2 and represented an incredible opportunity to be able to admire the works of one of the most famous painters in history. 

Links for the Virtual Tour

Official website:

Social Media Sites:







A Real Garden of Eden Near Pavia: the Oasis of Sant’Alessio

If you love the outdoors and being in touch with nature then the Oasis of Sant’Alessio (l’Oasi di Sant’Alessio) just outside of Pavia is perfect for you! Spend a day immersed in greenery and tranquility with some amazing animals. This protected nature reserve is located in a small town named Sant’Alessio con Vialone and is just 6 km from Pavia and 25 km from Milan. The park entrance is the same as the village’s 14th-century castle entrance. 


Oasis’ History

Antonia and Harry Salamon, who also bought the castle, founded the oasis in 1973. Their idea was to create a wildlife area where animals, especially those species at risk of extinction, could be protected and naturally repopulated. The park was the first center in Italy of its kind and the animals are still closely monitored by a team of specialists.

It was only in 1994, however, that the area was made accessible to visitors thanks to LIPU (Italian League for Bird Protection). Today, we can observe various species of animals, which are allowed to roam freely or are contained in carefully constructed habitats and aviaries. Mammals such as roe deer, beavers, squirrels, and wild horses, as well as reptiles and birds are present.


Visiting the Oasis

Various itineraries can help you make the most of your visit.

The European route

The humid habitats of southern Europe have been reconstructed on this route and are characterized by a large forest. You can primarily see bird species such as hoopoes, storks, herons, and kingfisher, which, for the first time in the world, bred in this park. Aviaries are used for the reproduction of the species which then go on to repopulate various areas of Lombardy and other regions. The white stork, for instance, had not been seen in Italy for five centuries until the repopulation program. You will also find swamps and ponds with cranes and wild flamingos. The Oasis’ staff is restoring a watercourse which will soon be populated by fish from the rivers of the Po Valley. 


Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Along the same route, you can find both hummingbirds and a large variety of colorful butterflies that are bred during the summer thanks to a large number of flowers, plants, and caterpillars. Breeding begins in April and continues until the winter when it stops and resumes the following spring. 

The tropical route

This area is dedicated to aquariums, reptiles and insects. You’ll find interesting species from various tropical habitats across the globe including the chameleon, anteaters, turtles, the bird of paradise and the sloth. 

Other Activities

As you walk through the oasis you will eventually come across the heron nesting area. Hundreds of herons return here to nest every year after returning from Africa.

In addition to visiting all these fantastic animals, the park also offers educational tours for schools and some events, such as falconry shows. If you want to spend the day in the oasis, you can have lunch at the restaurant or have a nice outdoor lunch in the picnic area.

This park is suitable for everyone- adults and children. When the famous director Ermanno Olmi visited, he was so impressed with its beauty that he called it “the Garden of Eden”.

You’ll just have to visit and find out if you agree with him.

Visit the official website (Italian only) for the calendar, hours, and ticket prices. 


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Mercurago Lakes Park Near Lake Maggiore

Not far from Lake Maggiore, there is a lovely park in the Ticino Valley known as the Parco dei Lagoni di Mercurago. Located near the surrounding towns of Arona, Dormelletto and Oleggio Castello, visitors can choose from various entrances into the park. 


At each entrance, you’ll find a parking lot where you can leave your car and take the walking trail into the park. From Arona, you can also take the Comazzi bus line. 

At the entrances, you can pick up a  park map to get you started on your journey. There are four routes which are color-coded: the light blue path for wetlands, the purple path for archaeology (which guides you to historical remains), the red path to indicate the woods and the orange one for various activities that are carried out inside the park.

Once you set foot in the park, you’ll immediately realize how far away you feel from the crowds and hectic city life. Pebbles rustle under your feet and tree branches criss-cross to conceal and then reveal landscapes. The paths are slightly winding but easy enough for all ability levels. Benches are scattered throughout where you can contemplate by the lake or have a picnic. Cycling, horseback riding, and running are all popular within the park.


Useful information

Route length: 8 km

Walking time: 4 hours

Opening hours: 6 am-10:00 pm


In Times Like These, We Could All Use Some Tiramisù!

Almost everyone on earth has tasted, or at least heard of, one of the most famous and delicious desserts on the entire planet: the one, the only- tiramisù. Most people don’t know that the word tiramisù literally means ‘pick me up’. Let’s find out what all the fuss is about.



The origins of tiramisù, like so many recipes, are somewhat up for debate. The two regions that feud over its beginnings border each other in the north- Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto. According to the Academy of Tiramisù, the dessert can be traced back to the city of Treviso as early as the mid-1700s or early 1800s. It is widely agreed that it was used in brothels to re-energize both patrons and mistresses. The combination of ingredients, especially egg yolks and sugar, was also commonly used in the area as a kind of elixir for frail people such as children, pregnant women, and even the elderly. It first appeared on a restaurant menu in the late 1960s at Treviso’s Le Becchiere

In a Class of Its Own

Like all things delicious in Italy, it has been registered as a  prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale (an officially approved, traditional regional specialty). As already mentioned, there is an academy dedicated to it and even a Tiramisù World Cup held every year. Italians are traditionalists when it comes to food, but there is room for change in the special category “Creative Tiramisù” where past winners have included mojito and ginger-cinnamon versions. 

Versions of the Classic

There can be no debate that the classic recipe calls for five basic ingredients: ladyfingers, mascarpone, eggs, coffee, and cocoa powder. The ladyfinger cookies are key because they are just the right texture to absorb the espresso liquid without turning to mush and they are easy to layer. The combination of eggs (fresh and uncooked) and rich, decadent mascarpone cheese provide a whopping amount of calories and protein. Cocoa powder and espresso provide the extra kick of caffeine and flavor. 

So get creative and come up with your own special version of this classic Italian favorite because we could all use a real “pick me up”!