Piedmont, Italy: The Wine Landscapes of the Langhe

In the vineyard-dressed landscape of the Langhe, in Italy’s Piedmont region, hillsides rise steeply on one side, then drop off more gradually on the other. The name ‘Langhe’ is believed to have Celtic roots, meaning ‘tongues of land,’ alluding to these steep hillsides, and the area’s raised valleys. Our host, Marco Scaglione, from Meet Piemonte, described it thisContinue reading “Piedmont, Italy: The Wine Landscapes of the Langhe”

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 Renaissance of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard in Milan

“The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for mankind than the discovery of a new star.” Leonardo da vinci In 1482, Leonardo da Vinci moved to Milan, where he would work for the ruling Sforza family doing engineering, sculpting, and architectural projects, and most famously, painting his mural masterpiece, The Last Supper. What’s less known, though, is that theContinue reading “The Renaissance of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vineyard in Milan”

Pastoral Piedmont: An Agriturismo & Epicurean Experience in Italy

When you think of Italy, it’s likely that home-cooked pasta, verdant agricultural landscapes, and gourmet food products like Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and traditional balsamic vinegar come to mind. A lesser-known concept is that of the agriturismo — a compound noun that marries the Italian words for ‘agriculture’ and ‘tourism.’ As the name implies, an agriturismo is a place where visitors canContinue reading “Pastoral Piedmont: An Agriturismo & Epicurean Experience in Italy”

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”

Piedmont, Italy: Monferrato’s Slow Food, Wine & Truffles

Motoring through Italy’s Piemonte or Piedmont region, I sometimes felt as though I’d been whisked back in time a few decades, perhaps even centuries. The dramatic hills of the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato districts were wrapped with rows of grapevines and orchards, crowned with handsome fortresses, and dotted with villages wearing terra-cotta rooftops. Large-scale industry was largely absent from this swathe of the Northern ItalianContinue reading “Piedmont, Italy: Monferrato’s Slow Food, Wine & Truffles”

A Valley Ablaze: The König-Ludwig-Feuer in Oberammergau, Germany

Paying homage to Bavaria’s beloved King Ludwig II with bonfires, processions, and revelry.

The Windows of Moldova

Viewed from afar, Moldova’s villages resemble a cluster of gingerbread houses. The plaster adornments framing the windows and doorways look as though they were made by the steady hand of a pastry maker piping on frosting, and the wooden cut-outs gracing gables reminded me of the lacy paper snowflakes that I used to make as a child. The catchContinue reading “The Windows of Moldova”