Some Italian walled cities can feel a bit eerie. It is as if centuries of trying to ward people off finally worked and there is no one left clamouring to get in. Other walled cities, like Orvieto, are bustling with tourism but feel a bit staged for the benefit of day trippers...
About Colleen Mariotti
The first time my family and I drove north along the Tuscan coast, we veered inland to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In doing so, we missed a small and yet remarkable stretch called the Versilia Coast in the northwest corner of the province of Lucca...
Portugal’s Atlantic coast is often overlooked in favour of its neighbour’s more famous stretches of coastline. But one town in particular along Portugal’s coast charmed my family and I when we spent some time there.
Forte dei Marmi sits on northern Tuscany’s Versilia Coast and, when summer debuts, wealthy Italians from Florence, Milan and Genoa flock here. The population of 7,700 triples in July and August when the town becomes a people-watching mecca.
The Dordogne region of France is the only place I have been to date where it is actually true. Castles sit like crown jewels along the river banks. My family and I often found ourselves beating our own path through the oak forests toward the river bank. The countryside looks much the same as it has for hundreds of years with emerald green farms held down by Perigord Chateaux.
I have never felt spring emerge the way I have in Aix-en-Provence. A few weeks ago the plane trees were ghostly bare and the shoppers at the outdoor markets were still bowing to the wind, heads tucked into their beautiful French scarves.