Portugal’s Alluring Azulejos

Portugal is a feast for both the stomach and the eyes. It’s a land of irresistible port wine, trayfuls of crispy and creamy pasteis de nata (custard tarts), and buildings adorned with colorful ceramic tiles called azulejos. When you visit Portugal, you’ll spot azulejos on the outsides and insides of many different types of buildings,Continue reading “Portugal’s Alluring Azulejos”

The Windows of Porto, Portugal

The northwestern Portuguese city of Porto is characterized by hilly streets, buildings covered in multicolored azulejos, and a long history of port wine production. Polished townhouses decked out with flower boxes stand proudly beside dilapidated structures covered in graffiti, making Porto just as pretty as it is rough around the edges.

The Windows of Asti, Piemonte, Italy

Perhaps best known for its annual Palio, a 700-year-old bare-back horse race replete with pageantry and tradition, Asti also has a lot to offer architecturally and gastronomically. The Northern Italian city once had more than 70 towers, which symbolized wealth and power. While there are less of them punctuating Asti’s skyline today, the city also features impressive churchesContinue reading “The Windows of Asti, Piemonte, Italy”

The Door Knockers of Valletta, Malta

The Mediterranean island nation of Malta may be diminutive, but its limestone buildings’ distinctive door knockers and knobs make a big impression. Known as il-habbata in Maltese, the knockers largely feature maritime motifs such as dolphins, sea horses, and fish, but I have also spotted a plethora of Maltese crosses, even delicate brass hands, which reminded me ofContinue reading “The Door Knockers of Valletta, Malta”

The Windows of Bellinzona, Ticino, Switzerland

The city of Bellinzona, Switzerland is perhaps best known for its trio of handsome medieval castles, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2000. Yet, this historic city, which sits at the foot of the Alps, has more to offer than these impressive fortifications. Bellinzona also has an elegant Old Town district, a spot which we explored with ourContinue reading “The Windows of Bellinzona, Ticino, Switzerland”