The Colossal Coliseum – the who, what, when, where and why of Rome’s most impressive building

Everyone can recognise Rome’s magnificent Coliseum – even if they can’t spell it at first go. (On the spelling front, you do get two chances however, as Rome’s spectacular architectural wonder can also be spelled ‘Colosseum’, and in Italian, Colosseo.) Whilst you’ve probably seen images of the Coliseum from many different angles, heights and exposures, […]

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From Rags to Riches: Carnivale in Italy (including traditional Italian Carnivale sweet recipe)

Italy’s greatest festival, Carnivale, in 2011 falls on March 8. The date changes annually due to the celebration falling 40 days before Easter. But in true Italian style, there is much fanfare in the leadup. In fact, Carnevale events usually commence some 2 to 3 weeks prior to the actual big day itself. The biggest […]

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The Monstrous George Clooney? Italy’s beloved adopted son to star in new film, The Monster of Florence

From 1968 to 1985, 16 people were savagely killed in Tuscany. The killer became known as the ‘Monster of Florence’, owing to the horrendous way in which the young victims were treated. Several films, television series, documentaries and numerous books – not to mention years’ worth of chatter amongst Italians – has concerned Florence’s most […]

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Florence’s Accademia Museum – what is it and who’s in it?

Florence’s famous Accademia delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of Arts and Design), commonly referred to as simply the Accademia, is home to one of Italy’s much loved heroes, David. Carved by Michelangelo after he won a competition for the marble, David stands ponderously just before (or after – depending on who you ask) his battle […]

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DRUNKEN PASTA: Recipes, rules and regulations of Italy’s most loved food item – with a twist!

  It’s no secret that Italians love their food and wine. In Italian culture, it is tradition that food and alcohol are consumed together. That’s why, for example, pre-dinner drinks (known as ‘aperativo’) involve a drink served with nibbles. In most Italian homes at the conclusion of a typical Italian meal, the wine bottle is […]

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Things to do in Tuscany: Fishing (and the joys of learning Italian) – including Italian seafood recipe

‘Why do we have so much fish juice and no other juice variety left?’, asked the new-comer to Florence in her still-a-little-rough Italian who had found a job working in a coffee shop in Florence’s city centre. ‘Fish juice?’, her colleagues questioned. ‘Yes, this succo di pesce – I have never sold even one bottle!’ […]

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Uffizi Gallery – what it is, what’s in it (and how do you pronounce it)?

The Uffizi Gallery, in the historical centre of Florence, houses what is one of the world’s greatest collections of Renaissance art. Pronounced something like ‘oo-fit-zee’, the building was originally constructed by Cosimo I dei Medici (1519-1574) who was living in the Palazzo Vecchio in the Piazza Signoria. He decided to construct the Uffizi Gallery next […]

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When S stands for Bussola – a delicious Venetian cookie recipe by Tessa Kiros

One Sunday afternoon, some of us Artviva Walking Tours office staff gathered for some cooking in Tuscany. We made delicious Venician biscuits (cookies) using a recipe from Artviva’s good friend Tessa Kiros. Tessa Kiros writes in her fabulous cookbook, ‘Venezia: food & dreams’, that these delicious and simple-to-make cookies will stay fresh for ages because […]

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