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”

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”

Moments to Remember: A Long Weekend in Saint-Émilion, France

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Pavese Taking to Saint-Émilion’s cobbled lanes not long after sunrise, I felt as though I’d gone back in time a few decades, perhaps even a few hundred years. In the early-morning light, the graceful wrought-iron signs appeared in silhouetted form. Though the establishments’ names were inContinue reading “Moments to Remember: A Long Weekend in Saint-Émilion, France”

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”

A Guide to “Losing Your Heart” in Heidelberg, Germany

What to see, do, and eat in Heidelberg, an enchanting university town in southwestern Germany.

The Windows of Plzeň, Czech Republic

Renowned for its Pilsen beer which was first created there nearly 175 years ago, Plzeň is the Czech Republic’s fourth largest city. I’ve taken a tour of the Pilsner Urquell Brewery in Plzeň, culminating in a taste test of the cool beverage on a sizzling summer day. I’ve even researched a branch of my German-Austrian family in the city’sContinue reading “The Windows of Plzeň, Czech Republic”