HeartRome

My life and times in the eternal city and beyond

Category Travel Italy

Putting Abruzzo on the map

As is the case around most of Abruzzo, the drive into the hamlets and towns of Chieti province can be a bumpy one. Many of the roads around here aren’t really taken care of. Many of the buildings look abandoned or are in need of repair and it’s as though life just keeps passing them by.  Abruzzo from an economic standpoint is one of Italy’s struggling regions. Yes, Italy has

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Italian Lakes and spa day: Sirmione

Thousands of visitors descend on Lake Garda daily especially in the warmer months and it’s not at all hard to understand why. This is Italy’s largest lake and the district evokes a magical sense of Italian dolce vita that’s different from the coast. Located in the province of Brescia, half hours drive from Verona and less than 2 hours from Milan, Sirmione is all you’d want in a lake town and

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The photos that will make you want to visit Chieti Province, Abruzzo right now

You know my parents were born in Abruzzzo right? It’s in my blood; it’s in my heart. And slowly it’s becoming a destination of choice for travellers to Italy who are looking to explore Italy that bit further beneath the surface. From UNESCO heritage sites, lakes, mountains, beach, it really offers it all as a destination (and it’s much cheaper than say a Tuscany or Puglia).  I recently explored the

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Florence: Exploring the Santa Croce Neighbourhood

In a city busting at the seams with tourists, it can be hard in Florence to find an area that seems authentically Florentine. In the heart of the centro storico, the Santa Croce neighbourhood is probably one of the most genuine left in the centre.  Here, you can still see daily glimpses of local Florence life. From the steps of the Santa Croce church which stands tall and proud in the

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The beaches in Italy that only Italians know about

…until now! Before moving to Italy in 2011, I’d been enjoying an Italian summer almost every year for about 10 years. I’ve lived the waves of tourist movements through the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre and parts of Sicily. But after travelling extensively around these areas, I felt the need to continue exploring and wanted to beach with the locals. So Puglia and Sardegna and even Lazio started making my love

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The “Italian” food you won’t find in Italy

Anyone who lives in Italy, has travelled through it extensively or taken slight notice of menus from region to region can tell you, that for the most part, the cuisine has been bastardised the world over. (Which, mind you, to a certain extent, is ok! In most countries where Italian migrants landed, they made do with whatever local produce was available.) Yes – things like pizza and pasta are fair

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8 Things to do in Florence 

Life and work recently took me back to Florence. The city of Michelangelo’s David and the Renaissance is so pretty with its ochre tones, picture perfect piazzas and narrow sidewalks. With so many things to do, it’s hard picking out a select few, but after this short trip, here are 8 unique and tried and tested things to do in lovely Firenze.  DO The Other Side of Florence Food Tour

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30 Places to Travel to in Italy in Summer

Ahh Italy in the summer time! Long hot days, the beach, cocktails under the warm night sky and it’s socially acceptable to eat more than one gelato a day. Sure, Italy can get quite crowded at this time of year, but I actually don’t care!  Growing up in Australia, I’ve always been a beach girl at heart and throughout the summer months in Italy, the smell of the sea and

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Irene: Sassy Tuscan dining in the very heart of Florence

The first time I visited Florence I was in my early 20s. (I won’t say how long ago that was.) Traveling through Italy, I wanted to eat local and back then, Italian cuisine kind of meant this homogenous term, loosely defined by pizza and pasta. Those were the days when the term foodie wasn’t even part of the vocabulary and chefs like the celebrity ones of late weren’t household names.

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Easter in Abruzzo: 72 hours of food

This weekend I spent Easter with my extended relatives in Abruzzo. My parents were both born in the small town of Prezza in the province of L’Aquila, located about a 2 hours drive from Rome. The town has a population of approximately 800 and is perched prettily against a mountain backdrop, surrounded by the national treasures of the Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Gran Sasso and Parco della Majella. I usually hop

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