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Monday, September 29, 2014

Korça & the hinterlands of South-Eastern Albania

Korca, Albania, balkans

If you would ask me which is the place I liked the most of the overall Albanian road-trip the answer is Korça
The town of intellectuals, artists and poets really got me, and I wouldn’t mind to spend some time living there in the future. I would love it, actually! 
Korça is characterized by wide boulevards with many cafes where locals enjoy a Turkish coffee or more often a beer or a raki –well, actually male locals as it is very rare to spot girls on a night out on their own  (except for the capital town, Tirana). 



Saturday, September 27, 2014

One day in Abruzzo: discovering Italy off-the-beaten path [ #AbruzzoInstarail ]

Abruzzo Instarail 21st of September 2014
If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I spent last Sunday surrounded by the striking mountains and the unspoiled nature of the Majella National Park in Abruzzo, taking part to an Instagrammers’ tour of the park on a vintage train from the 1920s. 
I submitted my candidacy to this trip first because I wanted to show you a very off-the-beaten path region of Italy, the genuineness and the breathtaking natural landscapes of a mainstream tourism free zone, but also because Abruzzo is where my family is coming from: thanks to my grandparents I understood the local dialect before even learning Italian language and I spent my childhood summers at the seaside in Pescara or in some beautiful little village within one of the four natural parks of Abruzzo.  
I’ve always seen Abruzzo through the nostalgic lens of my grandparents who left it to pursue a job in the big city, I felt asleep listening to lullabies singing about the sunrise on Abruzzo mountains and I learned how to cook from my grandma’s hands well trained on Abruzzo traditional recipes. 
And now… there I was! :-) 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Albanian Riviera

Albanian riviera, Albania

Our base to explore the Albanian Riviera was Himarë; we liked this small town so much that just after our first relaxing afternoon at Himarë beach we decided to revise my original travel plan in order to skip the more touristic area of Sarandë and let Himarë be the longest stop-over of our Albanian journey: a whopping 4 nights out of 13! 
Of course we didn’t spend all four days lying down on Himarë beach (although Silvia would have loved that!) but we explored both the Northern part of the Albanian Riviera (and so Gjipe, Vuno and Jalë) and the Southern area too (Porto Palermo, Borsh and Qeparo). 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tirana's colorful buildings

Tirana's colorful buildings
As you might remember, visiting Tirana wasn't into my travel plans, but as soon as I learnt that Tirana's former mayor Edi Rama (who currently is the Prime Minister of Albania) is also a painter I longed to see the colourful outcomes of his multiple mandate. 
Considering his job of mayor of Tirana as “the supreme form of conceptual art”, Edi Rama brought new life to the huge socialist buildings characterizing the capital town of Albania as a promise of a brighter and colorful future after the grey years represented by the Albanian past. 
And even if some of my Albanian friends pointed out that he was only putting up a façade (no pun intended *lol*), I still find that the best way to explore Tirana is wandering around the town looking for its colourful buildings. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Two Italian artistic parks perfect to add a bit of magic to your daily life

Italian artistic park Capalbio Bomarzo
I've always thought there is way too less fantasy into our daily life.
I personally fight this tremendous lack living into my own dreamworld and enjoying any experience which could trigger my imagination. 
For example lately I've been visiting two fascinating parks in central Italy: the Bomarzo Monsters Park near Viterbo (Lazio) and the Tarot Garden near Capalbio (Tuscany).
(they actually are very close to each others -about 100 km- but they belong to two different Regions of Italy).  
Walking around (and within!) those marvelous statues feels like strolling into wanderland! 
So... let's forget about real life and have a fun walk together into two beautiful Italian artistic parks. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Road-trip across Southern Albania

Southern Albania road trip


Even if I had to downsize further my road-trip itinerary across Albania, I am pretty satisfied with my 12-days travel plan which will include unspoiled beaches, industrial heritage, canyons, lakes, mountains, natural parks, historic towns, UNESCO world sites and, of course, a lot of traditional food! :) 

I did my homeworks and worked on a travel plan (which, as usual, I will be happy to turn upside-down according to the mood of the road-trip...) and I think that more or less our itinerary will be:





Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why you should include Prati into your Rome must-see neighborhoods list (at least in August)

Prati neighborhood, Rome
I am a big fan of spending August in Rome: this is the only period when the town slows down and you can enjoy a more relaxed vibe.
If you step off-the-beaten touristic path in August you will discover a nearly empty Rome; pretty sultry maybe, but having the town all for yourself is priceless.
My old neighborhood, Prati, is among those districts of Rome where you can better feel this radical transformation 'cause it is basically a white-collar neighborhood made of offices, barracks and courthouses -and a popular shopping destination if you are into fancy brands.
It is also a neighborhood pretty difficult to unveil, except in August when its fancy-wealthy surface clears allowing visitors for further consideration.
If you visit Prati in August you can wander among its beautiful buildings, churches and tree-lines boulevards while the whole hood will look suspended, in a sort of apocalyptic scenario.
But you should hurry up: in few days residents, employees, retailes and shopaholics will be back!

Monday, August 18, 2014

One day in Belgrade: my 48 overwhelming hours in Serbia - part 2

belgrade serbia

Discovering a new place is amazing.
Exploring unknown streets, getting lost among its characteristic alleys, tasting traditional food for the very first time, discovering local street art and making new friends in a town where you knew nobody... they all are essential parts of A Great Trip.
But coming back to a place you already knew can be even better!
That's what I thought during my 24 overwhelming hours in Belgrade: I did love to discover the capital of Serbia for the very first time last December, but this time I did master the town and it felt so great! :)


Monday, August 11, 2014

Welcome to Trullo, the hood of street poetry and guerrilla painting

pittori anonimi del trullo street art roma

If Pasquino is no longer lampooning from his popular corner near Piazza Navona, the walls of Rome are still speaking in rhymes in Trullo district, a suburb in the west part of Rome, where seven guys are spreading metroromantic poems all around the hood
During the latest months their street poetry has been joined by the street art of Pittori Anonimi del Trullo (Anonimous Painters from Trullo), a independent group of locals who are repainting the hood with a naïf and very colourful style, making this garden city -considered a slum by the most- even prettier.
On their latest intervention few nights ago, the street artist Solo joined the team realizing a crying girl named Nina at the corner between via Massa Marittima and via Sarzana.
Enough with postponing: I definitely needed to go for an urban exploration around Trullo!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Guča Trumpet Festival: my 48 overwhelming hours in Serbia – part 1

Guca trumpet festival serbia 2014

Do you remember when my Serbian friends told me about Guča Trumpet Festival during a dinner at Srpska Kafana? Since then I deeply wanted to attend it, but 'cause I knew there will be no way I would get some days off from work at the beginning of August I kinda buried it into my travel bucket list, waiting for a brighter future when I will be a full time travel blogger and manage my own time. 
Then, few weeks ago, I attended a Goran Bregovic concert at Eutropia festival in Rome and the Balkan brass band beat was so powerful that I decided I wouldn't wait any longer: I would have attended the 54th edition of the largest (and craziest) trumpet event on the planet! 
Moreover, Belgrade has always been on my short-list of places where I would have loved to celebrate my 30th birthday and so...there I went! :)