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A blog about travelling

Archive for October, 2009

New Year’s Eve in Rome

Piazza del Popolo is the center of Roman celebrations: traditional Fiesta di San Silvestro goings-on cheek by jowl with concerts and fireworks, with celebrating well into the wee hours.’s Guide to Italy has the scoop on all of Italy’s New Year’s Eve haps… read up on Italian new year’s traditions, too. And that red underwear thing? Brings you luck.

There’s always a free concert going on in piazza del popolo and there’s the club La Maison which is just off via governo vecchio in the centro storico which will be putting on the best night in the city. For accommodation try out and Homelidays and  for the best food in Rome, chica boomba again on the via governo vecchio. Their hand made pasta is the best.

When the grown-ups go to bed on 1 January, the New Year’s Eve in Rome celebrations turn to the children with papier-mâché masks, performers on stilts, clowns, acrobats, fire-eaters and all sorts of other attractions.


The 53rd Venice Biennale is officially underway in Venice and signs of it are everywhere, bubbling up out of the canals, blaring from loudspeakers, flapping from the sides of palazzi. Probably the most thematically appropriate — given the shaken state of the art market and the art world as a whole — is the schoolchild’s maxim on a huge sign dangling from a sun-bleached facade near St. Mark’s Square: “I will not make any more boring art.”

When the Venice Biennale began back in the Victorian era, Britain ruled the waves and so ruled the Biennale. Thus the British pavilion is splendidly sited at the top of the large gardens that host the jamboree, while the American pavilion is out on the edges. China doesn’t get into the park at all. If you’re a Brit in Venice in June you can walk tall. This highlight of the art world calendar is a celebration every other year of the most cutting-edge art from all over the world, presented in grandly titled and grand-looking pavilions in the Giardini, acres of gardens a vaporetto ride from St Mark’s Square.

The nations who weren’t doing enough in Victorian times to have a permanent presence in the Giardini find alternative accommodation around Venice. It remains the most political of all art gatherings. In 1974 it was given over entirely to the art of Chile in protest at the Pinochet regime. There is always nostalgic talk of that and of the cultural protests of 1968, just as there is seldom, if ever, talk among our Italian hosts of the 1930s, when the running of the Venice Biennale was directed from the office of Sgnr Mussolini.

Like all good festivals, the Biennale has a fringe, the Aperto, housed in a series of waterside warehouses called the Arsenale. Hats off this year to a group of young London artists who have cheekily confused visitors to Venice by nicking the word “pavilion” to set up the Peckham Pavilion.

Self Catering in Venice

Farm holidays – are they for you?

Staying on a working farm can give town and city children the chance to experience country life, and to take part in activities such as feeding baby lambs and collecting eggs. If you really want to experience farm life then you should choose a working farm. Ask what animals there are and what the arrangements are for visiting them, so you know what to expect.

There are plenty of  interesting things to do: in some cases castles to visit, adventure parks, a dinosaur park, butterfly farm, chocolate farm (very popular), bee farm – where you can actually see honey being made – behind glass of course, goldmines and an iron age settlement, and steam trains all nearby.

Children like to make new friends and in self catering holiday houses they can do that very easily. Occasionally parents and children make friends with another family and they go to the same farm several years running to enjoy their holidays together.

Look at the accommodation provided and see how baby and child-friendly it is. Click on the following link   on self-catering holidays for more information.

Tuscany Style

One of the best if not the best photo book of Tuscany homes. I’ve had the book for several years and still enjoy it as much as the first time I view the exquisite photos. If you want inspiration, buy this book, you will be so inspired you will have to put it down and go tear some old wallpaper to get the Tuscany look! I ordering another copy just in case for the future.Traversing the landscapes, homes, and interiors of this exhilarating region of Italy, this book captures the essence of Tuscany in all its old-world magnificence. Angelika Taschen has contributed to Tuscany Style: Landscapes, Terraces & Houses, Interiors, Details as an editor. Angelika Taschen studied art history and German literature in Heidelberg, gaining her doctorate in 1986. Working for Taschen since 1987, she has published numerous titles on the themes of architecture, photography, design, contemporary art, interiors, and travel. Tuscany Style: Landscapes, Terraces & Houses, Interiors, Details (Icons) has many images (photographs) representative of Tuscany: the countryside, houses, and interiors. It easily fits in a purse or case to take along during shopping trips. Purchase this for its images, however, as the book does not have explanations or instruction/ guidelines. A helpful resource for examples of Tuscan colors and styles.