The Medieval Borgo of Certaldo in FL, Tuscany, Italy

2017 has been declared l’Anno dei Borghi – the year of ancient villages – by the Italian Government Culture Minister, coinciding with the UN’s Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. We visited one of Tuscany’s many hilltop borghi, a borgo named Certaldo. 

Salvador Daliance in Pietrasanta of the Apuan Alps in Tuscany, Italy

Local folklore has it that the elite population of Pietrasanta has always spent their summer mornings luxuriating on the golden beaches of Marina di Pietrasanta (on Italy’s west coast near Viareggio) and their afternoons steeped in culture in the town of Pietrasanta (located 3 km inland in the last foothills of the marble-rich Apuan Alps)….

At the edge of the Alps in Rota D’imagna, Lombardy, Italy

Clean mountain air and stunning vistas out over the Imagna Valley are two of the best things about a visit to Hotel Miramonte in Rota D’imagna. The wonderful restaurant and fantastic spa don’t hurt either! We spent 3 glorious nights at this family-run hotel and can highly recommend it.

City on high: Città Alta, Bergamo in Lombardy, Italy

The upper city of Bergamo, Città Alta is a UNESCO world heritage site located in the foothills of the Alps northeast of Milan. It’s surrounded by 16th century Venetian Walls and beautiful views beyond that. Well worth a visit!

The beasts of Fiesole, Firenze, Italy

High in the hills on the northeastern edge of Florence is the scenic Etruscan town of Fiesole. Conquered by Romans in 283 BC, it was once a powerful independant town that rivaled Firenze. Their skirmishes led Dante to reference “the beasts of Fiesole” in his Divine Comedy.

The wines of Castiglione Falletto and Barolo, Piemonte, Italy

The beautiful hilly landscape south of Turin is home to vineyards that produce some of the finest wines in Italy (and the world). Spending a couple nights in Castiglione Falletto and tasting the local varieties is perhaps the truest embodiment of “La Vita Dolce” one can experience – delizioso! Piemonte’s wine country is also a…

Boat ride to Portovenere, Italy

One of the great things about the Italian Rivièra is the opportunity to visit neighbouring villages and islands by sea. Bosco’s first boat ride was the ferry from Lerici to Portovenere. Yes, dogs are allowed on ferries too and it takes about 20 minutes. From there, one can continue on to the Cinque Terre or…

A “marbelous” time in Colonnata, Carrara, Italy

High in the Carraran marble mountains (the Apuan Alps) lies Colonnata, a historic hamlet well worth a visit. The marble quarries are as active as ever, so the scenery is both beautiful and intriguing. There are marble statues everywhere and main piazza is even paved with marble.                …

Hilltop town of San Gimignano

The hilltop town of San Gimignano features 12th century towers encircled by a 13th century wall -mostly unchanged after the town was wiped out by plague, and now revitalized as a popular tourist destination.