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:

A Mountain Getaway in Friuli

Mother Nature, hiking in the mountains and skiing in Friuli Venezia Giulia‘s white, fluffy snow. A high-altitude breeze that refreshes the mind and regenerates the lungs and soul. The warm sunlight guides your steps as you snowshoe across the trails with your expert guide. This is winter in the mountains of Friuli!


Snow has begun to fall and now is the time to take advantage of pre-ordering your ski passes and other guided excursions organized by the FVG tourist agencies and the local ski schools. If you didn’t get the chance to get away last winter, now’s the time! Invigorating physical activity outdoors, the gorgeous landscape, and the alpine culture and cuisine of Friuli’s mountain villages await you! 

Friuli offers cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, mountaineering, snowboarding, mushing, a snowpark, curling, and the list of activities and possibilities for all ages goes and abilities go on!


For more information, visit the region’s official tourism website



Photo credits:

San Miniato Along the Via Francigena in Tuscany

The lovely hilltop town of San Miniato along the Via Francigena is a Tuscan treasure. Its location, characteristic medieval borgo, and cuisine make it a must-see destination during any visit to Tuscany.

Located exactly halfway between Florence and Pisa along the SGC highway that connects Florence, Pisa, and Livorno, it is easily accessible by both car and train. Perched upon the rolling green hills that surround the Elsa and Egola Valleys, the most striking feature from afar is definitely its tower.


What to See

The tower, known as la Rocca by the locals, was built by Frederick II around the year 1220 AD. During World War II it was destroyed, but fortunately, for today’s visitors, it was later reconstructed in the late 1950s and can be visited today. The climb to the top is well worth the spectacular view that overlooks the entire Arno Valley. On clear days, you can even see the Tyrrhenian Sea towards Pisa. 

Near the Rocca, you won’t want to miss the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio which has both Romanesque and Gothic elements. Right next to the Cathedral, you’ll also find the Diocesan Museum which contains works by Filippo Lippi, Jacopo Chimenti, Neri di Bicci, Fra Bartolomeo, Frederico Cardi (known as Cigoli), and Verrocchio

If you are an art buff, you’ll also want to see the Church of San Domenico which contains terracotta works by Luca della Robbia, a fresco attributed to Masolino da Panicale, and a burial monument sculpted by Donatello

Other important sights are the Palazzo dei Vicari, Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), and the Convent of San Francesco said to have been founded by St. Francis when he visited San Miniato.


Beyond the Sights

San Miniato is the quintessential Tuscan medieval village. It was voted one of the twenty most beautiful towns in all of Italy by in 2018. It is easily visited in a single day, but if you want to truly appreciate its art and feel, an overnight stay or longer would be ideal. If you do decide to stay overnight, you’ll join the likes of greats such as Michelangelo, Pope Clement VII, Napoleon, and countless others. As you’re wandering through the narrow streets, make sure to stop and appreciate the beauty that this town offers from virtually every vantage point. 

The White Truffle

If you visit in the autumn months, you can enjoy the bounties of the season such as the famous white truffle (tartufo bianco) and possibly even catch the festival that takes place every November. This pungent tuber is considered a true delicacy and you’ll find lots of shops offering precious oils and sauces for you to take home. Make sure and try at least one pasta dish such as tagliolini al tartufo paired with a robust, local red wine. Other favorites include mushroom dishes and wild game such as boar, hare, and pheasant. 

There really is no “bad” season to visit since there is always an event of some kind. This charming city and surrounding hills are stunning in all kinds of weather. 




International White Truffle Fair of Alba

Every weekend from October 9th to December 5th, 2021, the city of Alba in northern Italy’s Piedmont region will once again host the International White Truffle Fair which unites culture, the territory, sensory and gastronomic experiences.

With over 600 thousand visitors, the International White Truffle Fair of Alba is the epicenter of excellent food and wine, and a major tourist attraction drawing visitors from all over Italy, Europe, and beyond.

The mystery and charm of the Pico Tuber magnatum, or the white truffle, will once again take center stage. It has become the symbol of a wealth of collective experiences that unites catering, hospitality and the authentic Italian way of life unique to this area.

Truffle hunting is a practice founded on very concrete bases made up of natural clues, but also on intangible and non-demonstrable events. For truffle hunters, the moon is an integral part of the search. The lunar phases mark a precise time to determine when and where to find truffles.

A Fair That Goes Beyond the Fair

The beauty of the International White Truffle Fair of Alba is that it goes beyond the “traditional” gastronomic event, offering its visitors a vast array of exhibitions, cooking shows, folklore, street events and experiential itineraries.

The combination of high gastronomy and culture is once again present in this 91st edition with large exhibitions, ranging from contemporary to modern art, design projects, but also concerts and literary events.

It’s also a family-friendly event with loads of activities designed specifically for the little ones.



The festive atmosphere throughout the streets, the flowing wine, the aroma of truffles in the air that makes your mouth water- Alba’s Truffle Fair is an absolute must-see event. While you’re in the area, you’ll definitely want to visit nearby Barolo![/caption]


National White Truffle Exhibition in San Miniato

In the heart of Tuscany, in a land of excellence and in an uncontaminated environment, a magical tuber is born: the precious White Truffle of San Miniato. In November, the historic center of San Miniato, with its ancient streets and historic squares, becomes the largest open-air tasting laboratory in Italy where gourmets and visitors meet to appreciate the excellence of food and wine. Welcome to the White Truffle Exhibition and Market in San Miniato!


Precious, rare, expensive: it is the white truffle, the king of its category. The peak period is approaching for the harvesting of one of the most sought-after culinary delicacies in the world

The 50th edition of the San Miniato White Truffle Exhibition and Market will take place over the course of three weekends. On November 13/14, 20/21, and the 27/28, the city of the Rocca (named for its tower) will be the center of a unique enogastronomic event. 

white-truffle-san-miniatoSo, without further ado… let the truffle season begin!


For details, visit the San Miniato Promozione Facebook Page



An Unusual Chapel in Italy’s Barolo Region

This little colored chapel is certainly not the average chapel that you would expect to see as you tour through this amazing land that is the seat of the Catholic Church. Then again, really nothing about Italy is “average”. Like so many places, this tiny chapel has multiple names (which can be highly confusing for tourists): the Cappella del Barolo or the Cappella delle Brunate or if you want to be official, the Cappella di Santissima Madonna delle Grazie. Whew! Now that’s a mouthful!

The Langhe Region of Piedmont



Located in a region much more famous for its wines than for its churches, the Barolo Chapel is located in La Morra in the Cuneo province. Internationally famous varieties like Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Moscato d’Asti, and Asti spumante reign supreme in this area known as Langhe.

Built in 1914 (brand new by Italian standards), the chapel originally served as a shelter from storms for the vineyard workers. It was purchased in 1970 by the Ceretto family along with 6 hectares of vineyards. The chapel was in terrible shape and it wasn’t until 1999 that it was given its current signature appearance.

American artist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) and British sculptor David Tremlett completely transformed it into what is today. Keep in mind that the “chapel” was never actually consecrated by the Church so the Ceretto family was free to approve this original undertaking. LeWitt transformed the exterior and Tremlett the interior, each putting his signature touch on the chapel’s playful theme.

cappella-barolo-la morra


The Barolo Chapel is open from 9 am to 7 pm but the road is closed to cars on Sundays so getting there requires a 20-minute hike that can be considered a bit strenuous. Many people still choose to hike rather than drive and to enjoy the breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding vineyards and Langhe hills. 

So pack a picnic and of course, include a bottle of Barolo wine!


Visiting Tuscania and Tarquinia: Lazio’s Ancient Etruscan Sites

In Lazio’s Viterbo province and in the heart of the ancient Etruscan land of Tuscia, lie two of the civilization’s most important necropolises and tombs: Tuscania and Tarquinia. The two cities are just 25 minutes apart and make an excellent day trip from nearby Lake Bolsena, Saturnia, Viterbo, or the Argentario Coast. Let’s go!


The Etruscan settlements uncovered here (7 in all) date back as far as the 7th century BC. By the 4th century BC, Tuscania was a thriving village connected to Tarquinia. Concentrated within a 10 km radius around the current St. Peter’s hill and church, the necropolises and tombs uncovered today include those of Ara del Tufo, Casa Galeotti, Madonna dell’Olivo, Peschiera, and Pian di Mola. 



Just outside the old city walls, lies the Archeological Museum which is housed in the ex-Franciscan convent and now Church of Santa Maria del Riposo. A significant find was the tombs of Curunas and Vipinana families which includes sarcophagi and furnishings giving us an accurate picture of what life must have been like for the Etruscan aristocracy. There is also a large collection of Roman findings as well. 

The town itself is lovely as well and while you’re here, you’ll want to visit St. Peter’s Basilica which originally dated to the 8th century and the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore also in Romanesque style.

The ancient Etruscan/Roman route, Via Clodia, runs through Tuscania and connected Rome with Etruria. Today, it is a popular trekking destination and portions of it can be done on horseback. 


Just 25 km southwest of Tuscania is the ancient civilization of Tarquinia. The official name of the site is the Monterozzi Necropolis and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. When you visit, it isn’t any wonder why.


By AlMare – Own work, Public Domain,

6,000 graves were discovered here with the oldest dating to the 7th century BC. It is the finest and most complete display of Etruscan frescoes revealing priceless clues into the world of this mysterious civilization. The paintings depict daily rituals including hunting, music, dance, and religious ceremonies. One of the most famous and well-preserved is the stunning Tomb of the Leopards dating to 473 BC.

The National Archeological Museum of Tarquinia located in Palazzo Vitelleschi holds priceless artifacts dating as early as the 9th century BC up until the Roman period. 


Ulrich Mayring, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Just a few kilometers from the necropolis and museum lies another very important Etruscan site that is absolutely worth visiting. The remains of the Ara della Regina Temple dates to the 4th century BC and in its glory, measured 44 by 25 meters. One of the most important Etruscan artifacts ever discovered was found here and is now located in Tarquinia’s museum: the “Winged Horses of Tarquinia”


What are you waiting for?
Book your room at the La Fonte del Cerro Hotel in Saturnia

The Fonte del Cerro Hotel is located in the Tuscan Maremma countryside just steps away from the Saturnia hot springs. You’ll enjoy delicious homemade dishes grown directly on the farm. It is also the perfect location for visiting other beautiful destinations from hilltop villages to the sea. 

From the hotel,  you can visit…

22km away

38km away The Tarot Garden
42km away Monte Amiata
50km away Argentario Coast
52km away Bolsena
65km away Civita di Bagnoregio
65km away Tarquinia






Chestnut Festival in Palazzuolo sul Senio, Florence

The famous chestnut festival in Palazzuolo sul Senio (province of Florence) is back for the 2021 edition. The last date of the festival is October 31st

The Chestnut Festival


This festival is a food and wine event dedicated to the typical products of the Mugello area. Their famous chestnuts have been selected from local producers, and have extraordinary quality and sweetness.

The Mugello Chestnut PGI is at the center of the festival which takes place every Sunday during the month of October. Lots of other autumn flavors will be celebrated as well such as mushrooms, truffles, and berries. A market will be set up in the heart of the medieval village in Piazza IV Novembre and Viale Ubaldini beginning at 11:00 am.

In the main square, you can also find food stands with chestnut products, such as the traditional chestnut cake torta di marroni, Castagnaccio, tortellini and many other desserts.

Additionally, this year there will also be gnocchi and meat, not to mention other typical autumn products such as roast chestnuts and mulled wine

The Sagra del Marrone food festival is an opportunity to spend a relaxing day, surrounded by music, folklore and food stands. 

And while you are in the area, do not miss other attractions in this little village which is listed as one of the “Most Beautiful Villages in Italy”.

*Please note that a Green Pass is required to attend the event

For complete details, please visit the Pro Loco association’s Facebook Page.

To find out more about what to see and do in and around Palazzuolo sul Senio, click here.







Historical Sites in Italy: Aristocratic Villas in Messina

The historic villas of Messina are a little hidden and silent in their majesty. They are the testimony of many different lives, which have been a source of pride for the city. Recently, some of them have been opened to the public, and everyone has been surprised by the elegance, history, and amazing sea view.

villas-messina-residenze-anticheA “historical residence of a historical family”, as the website states, is Villa Cianciafara in Zafferia, in the south of the city center. It is a villa that tells anecdotes of lives jealously guarded and entrusted to the memory of the heir of the noble family, prof. Giuseppe Mallandrino. Son of Pasquale and Nicoletta Cianciafara, he is a perfect host, willing to open his house to visitors. The villa suffered damage in the disastrous earthquake of December 28, 1908, which demolished part of the city.

Professor Mallandrino tells how the terrible event was experienced by his grandfather, Filippo, whose mother lost his life due to the collapse. The moving story of its discovery, which only took place on January 4, is narrated in the book L’ultimo principe sotto il vulcano (The Last Prince Under the Volcano). Cianciafara is a family linked to other well-known names, for example to Count Philip’s cousin Tomasi di Lampedusa, his wedding best man, and author of The Leopard.

Another important name is that of the Filangieri, a family tied to the progenitor Angerio, a clever Norman soldier who arrived in Italy following the Norman king Robert Guiscard. His descendants were first called “Filii Angerii” and later known as Filangieri. The property, in addition to the manor, included a small private chapel, farmhouses and the old oil mill, where the photos, etchings and engravings made by Count Filippo along with the other pieces in the collection belonging to the family are preserved.  historical-sites-villas-messina

Visiting the manor, the value of a second and larger collection cannot go unnoticed: there are various family portraits that testify to both its historical and noble origins; there are the coats of arms of the Filangeri, the Tasca and the Cianciafara families. There are also works of art, such as the portraits of Ferdinand and Maria Carolina, sister of the most famous queen of France, Marie Antoniette of Austria, some engravings by Durer, a Madonna with Child by Antonello da Saliba, and a painting by Giovanni Tommaso Laureti, whose sketch is, instead, displayed at the Louvre.

The style of the wonderful furnishings is that of the 18th century Sicilian villas, with sofas and armchairs in Louis XVI style. On the upper floor, one can find the floral fireplace and chandeliers and, in the music room, a beautiful Austrian stove belonging to the grandmother from Bergamo.

villas-messina-historical-sitesA few minutes away, on via Marco Polo, there is also villa De Pasquale in Liberty style, built by Eugenio De Pasquale, who founded his fortune on 15 hectares of cultivated lands with jasmine and orange blossom, which stretched from the villa to the sea. Today, very little remains of these lands, but the buildings are still preserved.

Villa De Pasquale is a refined example of the taste of its inhabitants. De Pasquale and his wife were fine collectors, one of the reasons why we find both marble sculptures outside and inside the house. 

historical-sites-in-messina-villasIn addition to these, there are paintings, such as those in the boardroom and the music room, while on the upper floor there are books and a large table that housed the numismatic collection, in restoration at the superintendence of cultural heritage of Messina.

The last floor is the top one and has a grand ballroom. How could we not imagine, dreaming, the big parties, the music, wide-swinging skirts in the center of the room, the greetings among the guests, shining in their formal dresses. The room, damaged in the earthquake at the beginning of the century, was rebuilt in 1912, keeping the original ceiling decorated with panels depicting details of Titian’s “Sacred and Profane Love.

Leaning out of the big window in the room, you can see glimpses of the Strait of Messina, that make you realize what kind of view the family and the guests could enjoy. From here, you can also see the small building, called the pantheon, where they used to dry the flowers and make delicate essences.

historical-villas-sites-messinaVilla De Pasquale was certainly not the only one overlooking the sea, because even the English Sandersons, at the end of the nineteenth century, enjoyed such a position. Located on the coast of Messina, in Via Conlare Pompea, Villa Sanderson-Bosurgi (from the name of the successive owners) offers a large garden that covers the entire property along the hill.

Once you are on the way up again, you can admire the other buildings until you reach the top, where a part of one of the villas has been preserved. Next to it, you can find a restored one, which nowadays is used as accommodation for Erasmus students.

The view from there is lovely. Historical-italian-sites-villas-messinaYou can lose yourself by admiring the spectacular panorama right in front of you. Even though it is still the Strait of Messina, the unusual position makes us look at it with new eyes, revealing different details. From this perspective, we can admire the changing colours of the Calabrian Apennines, that the sunlight shapes at every hour of the day, whispering to the soul, always hungry for authentic beauty, that what it is looking for is there, that the amazement it needs is in front of your eyes.

Villa Sanderson-Bosurgi, as well as the Cianciafara and De Pasquale ones, offers these sensations and almost leads to look with envy to those who, at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, could enjoy not only a breathtaking view, but also the magnificence and history that invade these beautiful places.

Copyright photos: Fabiana La Rosa e Gabriele Santoro

The Devil’s Bridge and Castles in Friuli

Whether you happen to be traveling during late October and early November, or any other time of year, Italy’s Friuli region will astound you. The “Devil’s Bridge” and nearby castles are home to mystical worlds of ancient legends and enchanted tales. These unique locations will nourish the spirit with their scenery and unforgettable flavors.

“La Brunelde”



Fagagna, in the province of Udine is a diverse and very hospitable village, rich in culture, tradition, and… unexplained events. “La Brunelde” is a casaforte or a safe-house built in the thirteenth-century on pre-Roman ruins, where Marco D’Arcano-Moruzzo, a nobleman who belonged to an ancient family of Friuli, was beheaded in 1421. It is said his ghost is still there holding its head under its arm watching over its treasure.

Castle of Villalta

Also in Fagagna lies the most important medieval Friulian manor: the Castle of Villalta. It plays host to a piano festival and various events during the year but is apparently still haunted by the ghost of the beautiful Lady Ginevra of Strassoldo.

According to some sources, Ginevra was killed in revenge by Count Federico di Cucagna. Another version claims that after having turned into a statue to ward off the insistent approaches of Count Federico, she forever remained in the castle to wait for her beloved spouse Odorico who had left for war and never returned. It is said that, even now, during the full moon, her harrowing lamentations can still be heard in the halls of the manor.

About 40 kilometers from Fagagna, along State Road 54, you’ll reach the town of Cividale which merits a lengthy stop for its beauty alone. According to tradition, it was founded by Julius Caesar and is historically remarkable for being the Lombard capital of Friuli. Cividale stands on the banks of the Natisone river and boasts countless monuments and places of interest. From noble residences (including Palazzo Conti-Paciani and Villa Di Lenardo) to its churches (Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, next to the Christian Museum) and the Celtic Hypogeum.

The “Devil’s Bridge”



Possibly the most well-known of all its sights is the Devil’s Bridge or il Ponte del Diavolo. Not only does it have a breathtaking view of the river, but also a curious legend.

It is said that the ancient people of Cividale were not able to build their greatly needed bridge due to the challenging terrain. They resorted to asking the devil himself for help who agreed to build the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first person who crossed it. The cunning citizens did not sacrifice one of their own, but instead, they sent a dog to cross it first and fooled the devil. 

Hospitality and Cuisine

The distance between Cividale and Fagagna is short, but all along the way, travelers will find numerous family-run trattorias ready to serve and welcome guests with enthusiasm and hospitality. A love of tradition and simple recipes derived from local products are the main ingredients of the tasty cuisine, prestigious wines, and renowned grappa.




Article by: M. Puhar


What to See in Bologna in the Heart of Emilia-Romagna

Bologna is an older city than Rome itself. Its history dates back to the Iron Age and despite its immense culture and its priceless art, Bologna often gets overlooked. Let’s find out what to see in Bologna!

Piazza Maggiore

The beating heart of the capital of Emilia Romagna is definitely Piazza Maggiore (or Piazza Grande). At its center you’ll find the famous Fountain of Neptune. Nicknamed “the Giant”, it was designed and created by a collaboration between Portigiani, Laureti and Giambologna to celebrate the work of Pope Pius IV.

Other important buildings overlook the square. The Palazzo Comunale, dating back to the fourteenth century, the Palazzo dei Banchi, the Basilica of San Petronio and the Palazzo del Podestà are all found here. The buildings bear witness to the immense history of the city.

Piazza Maggiore also holds a legend: according to superstition, one must never cross the square in the center, but instead by walking along the perimeter otherwise Bologna’s students will not complete their degree.


Asinelli Tower

Bologna’s towers are its most distinguishable feature. To date, less than twenty are standing, but in the past, there were many, many more. The towers had a double purpose: they provided protection from possible enemy attacks and gave enormous prestige to the family that commissioned them.

Commissioned by the Asinelli family, the Torre degli Asinelli is one of the best known in the city. The tower is about 98 m high and you can climb to the top for a fantastic view of the city. On clear days you can even see the sea and the Venetian Prealps.

Another important tower is the Garisenda, which unfortunately cannot be visited.


Seven Churches

The triangular piazza of Santo Stefano houses the Church of the Crucifix, the Basilica of the Sepulcher, the Church of San Vitale and Sant’Agricola, the Cortile di Pilato, the Church of the Martyrium, the Medieval Cloister and the Museum of Santo Stefano. The listed buildings date back to different historical periods and make this historical complex one of the most beautiful Romanesque monuments in Bologna and one of the best-preserved. 


Without a doubt, Archiginnasio is the most beautiful building in all of Bologna and one of the most beautiful in all of Italy. The palace includes a marvelous portico with thirty decorated arches and two loggias located on the upper floor. Archiginnasio was commissioned by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo with the aim of giving the prestigious University of Bologna a magnificent and unique venue. The University of Bologna is the oldest and most prestigious in the world. He also gave this city the nickname La Dotta.

Pinacoteca Nazionale 

One of the most important Italian museum collections is kept in the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. Here we find works by Raphael, Carracci, Perugino, Parmigianino, Vasari and many other illustrious names. The Pinacoteca performs an important function of protection, conservation and study of these prestigious works.

Dining in Bologna 

Now that you have an idea of what to see in Bologna, let’s find out what to eat! The Bolognese cook with love and passion. Bolognese sauce, lasagna, tortellini, mortadella (to name a few): these are dishes that have made Bologna famous around the world. They often call it the gastronomic capital of Italy and its cuisine is undoubtedly one of the most varied and delicious in the Bel Paese and beyond!

Read more about the beautiful region of Emilia-Romagna!


What are you waiting for?
Book your stay at the La Torretta Hotel in Castiglione dei Pepoli

This hotel is in the perfect location for visiting art cities while still being immersed in a natural setting! Perfect for families, La Torretta also has a restaurant and bar where guests can enjoy traditional dishes!

From the hotel, you can visit…

17km away

 Boccadirio Sanctuary
18km away  Brasimone Lake 
25km away Rocchetta Mattei Castle
30km away Barberino Outlets
 62km away Firenze
 57km away Bologna
51km away Prato