Mont Ventoux – Conquering the Bald Mountain

Immortalised through decades of Tour de France and forming a conspicuous part of the Provençal landscape, Mont Ventoux is more than a mountain. It’s been nicknamed “Beast of Provence”, “The Bald Mountain” and “Provence’s Fujiyama” but fact is, that Mont Ventoux means Windy Mountain. And when the Mistral is blowing, it certainly is! Classified by UNESCO…

Hunt for the White Truffle of San Miniato

In the rustic hinterland of San Miniato in Tuscany, oak trees, willows and hazels cultivate among their roots the finest mushroom that can be found: The White Truffle of San Miniato. In latin known as Tuber Magnatum Pico, this much-coveted “diamond of the kitchen” is one of the most expensive truffles in the world. A chilly November morning we…

Wine Touring in Tuscany – Chianti

To enjoy a wine tour on your own, bring along a lot of time and a little sense of adventure. In a world full of deadlines and schedules, enjoy the freedom of not having an itinerary. Now and then, take some small diversions from the main road to some minor ones. Just do what you…

The Most Beautiful Libraries of Tuscany

What a cathedral is for the religious, so is the library for the cultivated. A place where you can find peace, quiet and insights into earthly and otherworldly questions. The accumulated knowledge of millions of people through thousands of years are lined on the bookshelves, ready to enlighten you on whatever subject you pick down…

Hidden Beneath the Seats – The Artisan’s Playground

The History and Mysteries of Europe’s Misericords Part III by Dave Douglas Davis If you’re in luck and look closely, maybe next time you’re in a church, you can spot a so-called Misericord, or Mercy Seat, under the seats of the folding choir chairs. They were used by the monks throughout the Middle Ages as…

Three World War II Sites in Rome

With so much ancient history in Rome, few people associate the city with a war as recent as WWII. It is as if the thousand-year-old monuments and Roman ruins demand more attention than events that occurred while our grandparents were still alive. And that’s a shame. Not because we should linger on war, but must remember…

Hidden Beneath the Seats – History of the Misericords

The History and Mysteries of Europe’s Misericords Part II by Dave Douglas Davis Misericord – or Mercy Seat – is the name of the ledge on the underside of the folding seats in the church’s choir stalls. Often hidden and usually unnoticed, these small seats meant a great deal for monks during their arduous day…

Italy and the 6 cakes of Christmas

Italians love their dolce. Even in wintertime, you can be sure to see Italians eat gelato and so it comes a no surprise, that they have no less than 6 Christmas cakes to sweeten the chilly days of Christmas. But choosing which cake it should be, can even ruin the Christmas spirit in Italian families.…

Hidden Beneath the Seats – Père Dominique’s tale

The History and Mysteries of Europe’s Misericords Part I by Dave Douglas Davis A couple of hours after sunset on the evening of January 29, 1497 a light frost settled over the fields outlying Villefranche-de-Rouergue. By the time Père Dominique arose from the wooden platform that served as his bed a little before two in…

Cook like an Italian

If you’re like me, pasta is something you boil into an edible state from its natural, dry state. But perhaps, when tossing the plastic-wrapped spaghetti into your cart in the grey gleam of the supermarket strip light, you have daydreamed about another possibility. To stand around a wooden table, music in the background, laughing among…