A Wrinkle in Time

If ever there were a spot to start a time-traveling adventure, it would be here at Polvere di Tempo, via del Moro 59, Trastevere. Globes hang from the ceiling, hourglasses, big and small, line the shelves. You’re at the nexus of space and time. This slideshow requires... read more

Eating Our Way Through Italy

We ate our way through Italy (of course!) Armed with our Bible, the Osterie & Locande D’Italia (a “slow food” guide) and our Lonely Planet guide books and assisted by various taxi drivers and concierges, we had only a couple of misses in 19 days. VENICE First stop: Algiubagio, Cannaregio, 5039, 041-523-6084, algiubagio.net, on Venice’s north shore (where we wish we had stayed because it is so much quieter and Venice is so small that no matter where you are, you’re not very far from wherever you want to go). We started out on their canal-front deck under giant sailcloth umbrellas. But then a tempest stirred up on the lake, winds started gusting and the waiters totally battened down the hatches, folding up the umbrellas (they’d lost four in a similar windstorm a few years earlier) and moved us inside (much to our disappointment; we loved the wind), where we had a dynamite lunch. We meant to go back for more, but never made it. Source: we just stumbled on it and the menu looked so good, we went. Second stop (the girls ate here twice). Osteria da Carla, S.Marco 1535, 0415237855 on a quiet little alley off bustling Frezzeria where whatever I had was so good that I didn’t want to share it or try anyone else’s! Source: Lonely Planet. Top Spot (for me, anyway) Dalla Marisa, Cannaregio 652, 041 720211 We sat right on the canal, watching working barges (including the DHL barge, which we LOVED) go by, and ordered straight from our waitress. No menu, no planning ahead, she just gave us three choices for each... read more

The Power of Perseverance

Enslaved by the ancient Romans, walled in by the city of Rome (but not expelled, at least), deported and murdered by the Nazis, the Jews of Rome remain after 2200 years. This slideshow requires JavaScript. The Great Synagogue of  Rome in the Jewish Ghetto is filled with light. Outside, the ruins of the empire that conquered... read more

These Crazy Italians!

These crazy Italians! We go to Gradola, a cliffside beach club around the corner from the Grotta Azura and everyone is jumping off the cliffs!! And so do we. But then it gets even crazier. At 5:45 p.m., the official tour boats that take people into the grotto leave. And then, everyone heads over to the grotto to swim in on our own! Which is really wonderful-swimming in and seeing the silhouette of your legs against that opalescent blue. But outside, boys are jumping off 30-foot-high cliffs like rain. Boom! Boom! Boom! It’s like depth charges going off. I can’t watch. Most of the time. They’re trying to see how high their splashes go, and how high empty water bottles will go. It all goes pretty high. And it is just... read more

Why I want to be Italian Reason #1

Why do I want to be Italian? It’s the cousin network. Sunday we went an all-day boat ride up the Amalfi Coast–snorkeling, playing in a waterfall and just enjoying each other. But, day’s end, when we left the boat, jumping off to swim in to the beach at our hotel, La Tonnarella, we forgot our Nalgene bottles that I’d bought just for this trip. Never fear, the cousin network saved us. Giovanni, our fearless skipper, who works in a marina that’s about two marinas up from where he picked us up, the Marina Grande, has a cousin who works at the Marina Grande, who has a cousin who works someplace else, who has a cousin who works at La Tonnarella. So between that 6 p.m. leap into the waters off La Tonnarella’s beach to breakfast the next morning, those bottles made it from one cousin’s house to the next and our waiter brought the bottles to us at our the breakfast table in the... read more

Our Favorite Hotel

La Tonnarella, a castle-like hotel perched on a rocky promontory overlooking Sorrento. It could be the setting for an Agatha Christie mystery–except it is too sweet and beautiful. It has its own beach–accessed by a tiny elevator that descends down the cliff. Because it meanders all over the rock, it’s tough to capture in photos. But here are some of its views! This slideshow requires JavaScript.... read more

Naples

We spent just one night–and it was not enough. It has New York energy. And it also seems as though it doesn’t care. It’s sort of, “Here I am, this is me, love me, or don’t.” And we love it.     This slideshow requires... read more

Behind Closed Doors

Wherever we go in places like Venice, I’m fascinated by what lies behind those ornate doors. And, thanks to the Biennale, we get behind a few doors that are normally closed to the public, but whose owners open them up to the public in the name of art. Here’s one, in a massive palazzo on the Grand Canal, some interior shots and some art works,... read more

Tiramisu Outside Plato’s Cave

Remember Plato’s allegory of the cave? What we see usually is just the shadow of the true world, out in the light is the truth. Or something like that. Down this dark alley, I found the tiramisu that is outside the cave. Tiramisu has never been for me. But here at the Osteria da Carla (thank you Lonely Planet!), in this narrow passageway just off the frenzied Frazzeria, we found what it –and a whole lot of other pasta, gnocchi and tapas are supposed to be. It is part of our touring by food quest on this trip. And it is not the only one in Venice. We stumbled onto one great one our very first day, Algiubagio, starting out by dining out on its charming umbrella covered deck, watching all the lagoon traffic (including the ambulance boats) then had to move inside as a small but fierce windstorm sprang up. They battened down the hatches like sailors and we finished our meal inside, stepping out every once in a while to watch the wind. But my favorite was Dalla a Marisa (or something like that, I will doublecheck) at the almost end of the road. Er, since we were in Venice, the canal. There, the DHL barge, garbage barge and every other working barge that in most other parts of this earth, is a truck, floated past us. And we sat in the sun, while our waitress gave us our options, course by course. No planning ahead here. Just sip your slightly fizzy, lightly chilled fresh red wine and indulge. Inside sat all the locals, the barge drivers,... read more

Our Museums in Venice

A good museum, in my book, prompts you to ask more questions–and to search for answers. And two museums in Venice did that for all four of us. The Fortuny Museum and the Jewish Museum in the Ghetto. The Fortuny was just provoking in a wonderful way, but also soothing. As we left, two young men asked me if it was worth it. (I am sure they wanted my 20-year-old to answer). And I said, yes, that it is a museum about being unconventional. It was wonderful. And the Jewish Museum was straight history. The Ghetto in Venice was where the word was invented. And even though the city locked the Jews in at night and made them wear yellow caps to identify themselves, they also were integral to the success of the city. Photos by Gavriela. This slideshow requires... read more

Resist Inertia.

Fight Routine.

Play Hooky.