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Ravenna: a living mosaic of art and nature

Ravenna: a living mosaic of art and nature

Ravenna: A Living Mosaic of Art and Nature

Welcome to Ravenna, a city that unfolds like a captivating story, inviting you to savor its rich history and artistic treasures at a leisurely pace. As you traverse the enchanting landscapes and explore UNESCO-listed monuments dating back to the fifth and sixth centuries, you’ll discover why Ravenna is a living mosaic of art and nature.

A Tapestry of Empires Unveiled in Mosaics

Ravenna proudly wears the crown of being the capital of three empires – the Western Roman Empire, Theodoric King of the Goths, and the Byzantine Empire in Europe. These layers of history are beautifully preserved in the basilicas and baptisteries, home to the world’s richest collection of mosaics from the fifth and sixth centuries. With eight monuments listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, Ravenna stands as a testament to the ages it has witnessed.

It’s worth noting that Dante’s final resting place is not in Florence, as one might expect, but here in Ravenna, underscoring the city’s historical significance.

Mausoleum of Galla Placidia: Hidden Treasures

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, though unassuming on the outside, houses exquisite mosaics dating back to Ravenna’s earliest days. Built by Emperor Onorio in 402 for his sister Galla Placidia, the mausoleum’s mosaics convey the theme of life triumphing over death. However, it’s the celestial depiction of a starry sky on the vault that captures the imagination, even inspiring Cole Porter during his honeymoon in the late ’20s and influencing his iconic composition, “Night and Day.”

San Vitale: An Octagonal Marvel of Early Christian Art

The Basilica of San Vitale, with its octagonal shape and splendid mosaics, stands as one of Italy’s treasures of early Christian art. Beyond the mosaics, a labyrinth on the ground symbolizes the journey from sin to purification, adding a layer of symbolism to the breathtaking artwork.

Sant’Apollinare Nuovo: World’s Largest Mosaic Cycle

Hosting the world’s largest mosaic cycle, the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo narrates the life of Christ, Saints and Prophets, and the famous Palace of Theodoric. The erasure of figures during the transition from Aryan to Catholic cult adds a fascinating historical dimension to the mosaics.

Mausoleum of Theodoric: Myth and Monumentality

Legend envelops the Mausoleum of Theodoric, where a red porphyry basin is said to be the same in which the barbarian emperor met his end. The unique decagonal structure, with a massive stone roof, sets it apart from Ravenna’s traditional brick buildings. According to lore, a black horse emerged from a cross-shaped slit in the roof, casting Theodoric into Etna during a storm.


In Ravenna, the past and present intertwine, creating a living mosaic that beckons explorers to immerse themselves in its richness. As you stroll through the historic streets, cycle along the city’s enchanting paths, and savor its culinary delights, you’ll discover that Ravenna is indeed a masterpiece where art and nature coalesce in harmony


Sant’Apollinare in Classe: Majestic Beauty

Among Ravenna’s basilicas, Sant’Apollinare in Classe stands as the most imposing and majestic. Its mosaics, competing in beauty with others in the city, depict Christ surrounded by the four evangelists against the backdrop of a green paradise landscape. Originally located on the seashore, it now stands 8 km from Ravenna, adjacent to the archaeological site of the ancient city of Classe, the Roman fleet’s seat in the Adriatic Sea.

Culinary Delights in Ravenna

No visit to Ravenna is complete without indulging in its culinary wonders. Start your gastronomic journey with mixed cold cuts and squacquerone cheese, followed by cappelletti and tagliatelle with meat sauce. Continue with meat, fish, or local specialties like eels and frogs, concluding with a delightful mascarpone dessert. Pair your feast with local wines such as Albana, Sangiovese, Trebbiano, or Pagadebit.

Museum Tour Ravenna
Museum Tour
Museum Tour

Franciacorta Art, Nature and Wine

Franciacorta Art, Nature and Wine

Nestled amidst the picturesque hills between Brescia and the southern tip of Lake Iseo lies the enchanting region of Franciacorta. While it’s renowned for its exceptional wines, the area offers more than just vineyards and cellars. Rich in history, medieval towers, ancient palaces, castles, and charming villages, Franciacorta is a treasure trove waiting to be explored—all just an hour away from the bustling city of Milan.

Exploring Nature’s Wonders

Franciacorta beckons nature enthusiasts to embark on a leisurely stroll through the Sebino Peat Bog Nature Reserve, a verdant haven comprising reeds and ponds. This expansive reserve is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including 17 bird species that nest and migrate through the region. As you wander along the paths, the melodic chirping of nightingales serenades you, and if luck is on your side, you might spot adorable hares skittering along the trails—a true paradise for birdwatchers.

The reserve, a testament to human intervention, was historically used for peat extraction in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. What was once a bustling industrial site has now transformed into a peaceful sanctuary, offering visitors a tranquil escape surrounded by the wonders of nature.

Abbeys: A Glimpse into History, Art, and Culture

The region’s true gems are its ancient abbeys, repositories of history, art, and culture. Some abbeys, such as the Abbey of San Pietro in Lamosa, date back to 1083 and are recognized as “tied heritage” by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage. This abbey boasts a unique collection of frescoes spanning from the eleventh to the sixteenth century. Initially under the stewardship of Cluniac monks, it transitioned into private ownership in the seventeenth century. Today, the San Pietro in Lamosa Foundation preserves and enhances the historical, artistic, and cultural legacy of the abbey.

Another must-visit is the Abbey of San Nicola in Rodengo Saiano, one of northern Italy’s largest religious complexes. Featuring three cloisters built at different times, the abbey exudes an aura of peace and serenity. Adjacent to it is the fifteenth-century church dedicated to St. Nicholas, adorned with magnificent frescoes. Originally founded before 1050, the abbey later became part of the Benedictine Olivetan order and served as a resting place or pilgrims en route to Rome. Presently, the monastery is home to nine monks, combining work and prayer, and welcomes visitors by appointment daily.

Franciacorta offers a captivating blend of art, nature, and wine – an invitation to explore a region where history, culture, and the allure of vineyards converge against a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes.


Franciacorta Wines: Sparkling Elegance

Franciacorta’s reputation as one of Italy’s premier sparkling wine regions is well-deserved. The wines, produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and the indigenous Erbamat grape, undergo the Metodo Classico, locally known as Metodo Franciacorta. The Franciacorta DOCG sparkling wines are celebrated for their elegance and freshness, gaining recognition not only among Italian enthusiasts but also from critics worldwide. Boasting modern cellars, the region continues to elevate the quality of its sparkling wines, making Franciacorta a destination for wine connoisseurs seeking excellence in every sip.

Museum Tour lake Iseo
Franciacorta Museum Tour

Cinque Terre and its National Park.

Cinque Terre and its National Park.

Exploring the Enchanting Coastal Villages

Nestled along the rugged Ligurian coast, the Cinque Terre is a breathtaking and untouched natural wonder, earning its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Comprising the villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso, this coastal region is not only a visual feast with its colorful cliffside villages but also a cultural landscape that has captivated the world.

Riomaggiore, A Vertical Wonderland

Riomaggiore, resembling a lively crib with its vertically stacked colored houses, showcases a unique architectural feature dating back to the 1500s. The houses boast double entrances, strategically designed for a swift escape during historic Saracen raids. The village marks the beginning of the famous Via dell’Amore, a scenic path carved into the rock, offering an intimate connection with nature and the soothing sounds of waves crashing against the cliffs.

Manarola, Olive Groves and Vineyards

Manarola, a village characterized by olive trees and vineyards, presents a picturesque scene where houses seamlessly blend with the narrow cliffs. The town’s name may harken back to an ancient water mill wheel, and it boasts historical landmarks like the Church of St. Lawrence and the Campanile Bianco. For sea enthusiasts, the descent to the beach unveils paradisiacal corners with breathtaking views.

Corniglia, A Roman Cliffside Haven

Perched on an imposing cliff, Corniglia stands as the only Cinque Terre village nearly inaccessible from the sea. To reach this ancient Roman settlement, visitors must conquer the Lardarina, a strenuous brick staircase with 377 steps or traverse a carriage road leading from the railway. The village, with its narrow streets and pebble beach called Spiaggione, offers an idyllic escape with crystal-clear waters.


The Cinque Terre, with its rugged coastline, charming villages, and rich cultural heritage, stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of nature and human history. Exploring these coastal gems within the protective embrace of the National Park allows visitors to savor the beauty and authenticity of this Italian coastal paradise.


Vernazza, A Medieval Maritime Gem

With an enchanting medieval atmosphere, Vernazza’s labyrinthine alleys are lined with charming red, yellow, and pink houses. Considered one of Italy’s most beautiful villages, Vernazza preserves its seafaring tradition and boasts a picturesque harbor guarded by pastel-colored houses. Arriving by sea enhances the experience of this magical coastal village.

Monterosso al Mare, Eugenio Montale’s Beloved Retreat

Eugenio Montale, the Nobel Prize-winning poet, found solace in Monterosso al Mare, describing it as a “rocky and austere village, a refuge for fishermen and farmers.” Maintaining its fishing village tradition, Monterosso features historical landmarks such as the medieval tower, the Castle with its three round towers, and the Aurora Tower. The town’s narrow alleys reveal a blend of historic charm in the old center and modern amenities in Fegina, along with the largest sandy beach in the Cinque Terre.

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Museum Tour
Museum Tour

Bormio and Stelvio National Park

Bormio and Stelvio National Park

Welcome to the mesmerizing landscape of Stelvio National Park, a sprawling expanse nestled in the heart of the Central Alps, where nature unfolds its breathtaking beauty across 130,700 hectares. Picture this as your canvas, with about three-quarters of the terrain soaring above 2,000 meters, reaching its pinnacle at 3,905 meters atop Ortles.

The geographical heart of this high-altitude mountain park lies in the Ortles-Cevedale group, straddling the borders of Lombardy and Trentino-Alto Adige. As you traverse through its valleys, you’ll be greeted by mowing meadows, gradually giving way to slopes draped in majestic coniferous woods. Ascending further, alpine prairies come into view, sporadic at first, and eventually giving space to isolated specimens that thrive at remarkable altitudes.

For wildlife enthusiasts, Stelvio National Park is a haven, hosting over 260 vertebrate species. From the regal flight of great birds of prey like the golden eagle and lammergeyer to the graceful presence of deer, ibex, marmots, white hares, and ermines, the park stands as a sanctuary for biodiversity.

Yet, this protected sanctuary is more than just a celebration of nature; it’s a living chronicle of history. It bears the scars of the First World War, with remnants of military roads, mule tracks, trenches, and villages in the Braulio Valley, Stelvio Pass, Forni Valley, and Gavia Valley telling tales of the “White War” and the resilience of this region.

Stretching across twenty-three municipalities, each serving as a gateway to Stelvio’s wonders, the park offers a network of 1500 km of paths. These paths lead you through a captivating journey, immersing you in the rich tapestry of the park’s natural and human landscapes.

The captivating blend of natural wonders and historical treasures in Bormio and Stelvio National Park invites adventurers to embark on a memorable journey. Whether you seek the thrill of outdoor exploration or the soothing embrace of thermal baths, this corner of the Alps promises an unforgettable experience, weaving together the tales of time and the symphony of nature.


On the southern border of Stelvio and Valtellina National Park sits the enchanting town of Bormio, a year-round haven famed for its thermal baths and as a premier ski destination. The historical core of Bormio is adorned with cultural gems like Kuerc Square and Bajona Tower. The former, resembling an amphitheater, has been a meeting place for centuries. The latter, also known as “Torre delle Ore,” stands tall as a symbol of Bormio, its large bell once guiding the Major Council and warning of impending events.

Bormio’s charm extends beyond its historical landmarks. The ancient Roman baths, Bagni Vecchi, invite visitors to soak in millenary springs, while the more recent Bagni Nuovi offers thermal paths and a stone pine-covered sauna. The Civic Museum in Palazzo De Simoni unfolds a treasure trove of over 4,000 objects, narrating the region’s culture, crafts, work, folklore, and religious life.

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Museum Tour
Museum Tour

Treviso and Valdobbiadene

Treviso and Valdobbiadene

Discovering the Hidden Charms of Treviso and Valdobbiadene: A Journey Beyond Venice

Italy’s charm extends far beyond the famous canals of Venice, and one such hidden gem waiting to be explored is the enchanting city of Treviso, just a short distance from the bustling tourist hub. Stepping away from the well-trodden paths, Treviso unfolds a unique blend of nature and urbanization, offering a more authentic Italian experience. Let’s delve into the rich tapestry of history, culture, and culinary delights that make Treviso and its nearby treasure, Valdobbiadene, a must-visit for those seeking a genuine Italian adventure.

Piazza dei Signori: The Heart of Treviso

The beating heart of Treviso lies at Piazza dei Signori, a historical square surrounded by iconic landmarks such as the Palazzo del Podestà, the Palazzo dei Trecento, and the Torre Civica. Nestled amidst bars, arcades, and historic shops, this square serves as the social nucleus of the city, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its rich history and lively ambiance.

Calmaggiore: Treviso’s Elegant Shopping Haven

Embarking on a journey from Piazza dei Signori, Calmaggiore unfolds as Treviso’s most important shopping street. This elegant alleyway, protected by charming arcades, is lined with boutiques, shops, and historical residences. As you wander, the subtle presence of water, a predominant but discreet element, accompanies your exploration, adding a unique charm to Treviso that sets it apart from its more famous neighbor.

Roman Remnants and the Fountain of Tits on Calmaggiore

Calmaggiore not only offers a shopping haven but also serves as a gateway to Treviso’s rich past. Remnants of the ancient Roman road can be explored through the basement of the shop “Argenteria Marza.” Further along, in the courtyard of Palazzo Zignoli, a reconstruction of the Fountain of Tits awaits, dating back to 1559, providing a unique historical touch to your stroll.

Piazza dei Signori: A Glimpse into Treviso’s Soul

Piazza dei Signori remains the worldly heart and social hub of Treviso, meticulously adorned with elegant arcades, restaurants, bars, and boutiques. The view from this square is dominated by three iconic buildings: the Palazzo del Podestà, the Civic Tower, and the Palazzo dei Trecento. A walk along Calmaggiore from Piazza dei Signori to Piazza Duomo unveils the picturesque charm of narrow alleys and historic houses.

Palazzo dei Trecento: A Romanesque Gem

Built in 1210, Palazzo dei Trecento overlooks Piazza dei Signori and stands as a testament to Romanesque architecture. With its red brick arches, this historical gem hosts city council meetings and showcases 13th-century frescoes during exhibitions. Piazza dei Signori is also home to the Loggia dei Cavalieri, an open arched structure built in 1200 for nobles to engage in board games, a truly unique piece of history.

Palazzo del Podestà and the Tolling Tower Bell

Dominating Piazza dei Signori with its elegant red brick façade, Palazzo del Podestà tells tales of Treviso’s past. Built in the 13th century, this building served as the seat of the Podestà. The tolling of the tower bell every 7th April at 1:00 p.m. serves as a poignant reminder of the bombardment that struck the city in 1944.

Religious Wonders: San Nicolò Church and Piazza Duomo

Despite the neoclassical façade of the Cathedral dominating Piazza Duomo, the Church of San Nicolò steals the spotlight. Built in the 12th century by Dominican friars, this church showcases Treviso’s religious and architectural heritage. Its serene atmosphere invites visitors to explore the treasures within.

Walls, Watercourses, and Tranquility

Treviso’s history is intricately tied to its walls, which have always protected the city. The city’s watercourses offer a picturesque stroll or bike ride, revealing villas with ancient suspended wash-houses, well-kept parks, and an atmosphere of absolute tranquility. A pause on Dante’s bridge allows you to appreciate the poetic union of the Sile and Cagnan rivers.


Treviso and Valdobbiadene, often overshadowed by the grandeur of nearby Venice, beckon travelers to uncover their hidden treasures. Beyond the tourist routes, these Italian gems promise an authentic experience, weaving together history, culture, and the timeless allure of the Italian countryside.

Beyond Radicchio and Prosecco: Culinary Delights

While Treviso is renowned for its radicchio and Prosecco, its culinary offerings extend far beyond these staples. Indulge in the local delicacy of risotto with radicchio and savor the inimitable Prosecco. Treviso’s culinary landscape reflects a rich harmony of lagoon and land flavors, creating substantial, tasty, and unforgettable dishes.

Valdobbiadene: The Exclusive Cradle of Prosecco Superiore DOCG

Venture into the Treviso Prealps, the authentic cradle of Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. The high hills, adorned with vineyards, create a natural amphitheater between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene, offering breathtaking views of the nearby Dolomites. Just an hour’s drive from Venice, this territory embodies the perfect marriage of art, taste, and enoic wisdom.

Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene: A Sparkling Gem

Produced exclusively in the Treviso area, Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene emanates from the Prosecco hills between Vittorio Veneto and Valdobbiadene. Encompassing 15 municipalities, this sparkling gem reflects the skillful transformation of vineyard gifts into unique sparkling wines. In this fortunate land, the magic of wine and flavors weaves a narrative that deeply marks both the landscape and the soul of its people.

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Museum Tour

Liguria between sea and sky

Liguria between sea and sky

A Journey through Portofino’s Beauty

Nestled in the western embrace of the Gulf of Tigullio, Portofino emerges as a picturesque fishing village that seamlessly blends the charms of its historical past with the vibrancy of modern nightlife. Join us on a virtual tour as we explore the enchanting tapestry of Liguria, where the sea meets the sky in the captivating village of Portofino.

Nightlife and Historical Splendor

Portofino is renowned not only for its captivating coastal beauty but also for its lively clubs and nightlife, catering to all age groups. Amidst this modern charm, the village proudly showcases its historical and archaeological treasures. Among them, the Oratory of Santa Maria Assunta stands as a testament to exquisite Gothic architecture. As you wander through the village, the Church of San Martino and the Church of San Giorgio invite you on a pleasant walk to their historical embrace. The latter, perched on a promontory, rewards your journey with splendid views and historic buildings such as the 16th-century Brown Castle and the Punta di Capo lighthouse, offering breathtaking panoramas.

Exploring Beyond Portofino

Venture beyond the village, and the paths of Monte di Portofino or a tranquil boat ride will lead you to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. This thousand-year-old sanctuary, in stark contrast to the adjacent beach, exudes peace and silence. For those seeking a day at sea, Paraggi, merely two kilometers from the center, unfolds its VIP-favored “Spiaggia di Portofino,” the only true beach in the vicinity.

Portofino stands as a harmonious blend of history, natural beauty, and culinary excellence. Liguria, with its enchanting village, invites you on a journey where the sea and sky converge, creating an experience that lingers in the heart and soul. Visit Portofino and discover the magic that unfolds between the sea and the sky in this captivating Italian haven

Underwater Wonders and Culinary Delights

Portofino is not just a feast for the eyes but a treat for the taste buds as well. Dive into the underwater realm to discover the renowned Christ of the Abyss, a bronze masterpiece submerged in the bay of San Fruttuoso. Crafted by sculptor Guido Galletti in 1954, this annual attraction draws divers from around the world.

As you traverse the town, savor local delights such as Salsetta Portofino, a sauce with a recipe handed down through generations. Don’t miss the camogline cherries—small, round, and irresistibly flavorful. And, for a taste of the unique, try the limonina apple, characterized by its greenish hue and a hint of sourness reminiscent of a lemon.

Museum Tour portofino
Museum Tour portofino
Museum Tour portofino
Venice and its Lagoon

Venice and its Lagoon

“If I had to find a word that replaces music, I could only think of Venice.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Venturing beyond the iconic landmarks of Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge, and the Grand Canal, Venice unveils a magical and timeless atmosphere that captivates the soul. The city is a melodic masterpiece, an ode to a different era that resonates through its canals and ancient streets.

In the heart of Venice lies a historic center divided into six distinct neighborhoods or sestieri: San Marco, Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Polo, and Santa Croce. While the well-trodden paths of tradition draw tourists to the familiar spots, true exploration awaits in the lively and authentically Venetian districts like Dorsoduro, San Polo, and Santa Croce. Here, the essence of a different Venice unfolds away from the typical tourist routes.

Venice isn’t merely a singular entity but rather an archipelago of islands, each exuding its own unique charm. Beyond the famed Lido, Murano, and Burano, lie hidden gems like Torcello, San Francesco del Deserto, Sant’Erasmo, Mazzorbo, Lazzaretto Nuovo, Certosa, Vignole, Pellestrina, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, and more.

Venice, with its enchanting canals, hidden neighborhoods, and a lagoon teeming with natural wonders, is not just a destination; it’s a symphony waiting to be discovered.


Embark on a journey to these lesser-explored islands, where quiet strolls through ancient villages, visits to offbeat museums, and exploration of lagoon hermitages await. Uncover the untold tales of Venice’s millenary history through archaeological itineraries that trace the city’s origins.

The lagoon of Venice, the first wetland in Italy, harbors not only the city’s charm but also splendid beaches and protected natural areas.

The Ca ‘Roman Reserve, situated at the southern tip of Pellestrina, and the Oasi Dune degli Alberoni, in the southern part of the Lido di Venezia, stand as testament to the city’s commitment to preserving its ecological treasures. Covering vast hectares between the sea and the lagoon, these areas offer a haven for birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

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