Le Gattare: Caretakers of Italy’s stray cats

  If you’ve been to Rome, you may have noticed the stray cats hanging out in the Colosseum or the Forum. Maybe you even visited the cat sanctuary located in Largo di Torre Argentina (photo above), where cats have called home since its excavation in 1929. Look for the cats, however, and you may spot a gattara, or…

Posted by on May 10, 2010 in Rome | 7 Comments

What to do in Rome with kids

  One of the great things about being in Rome with kids is that many of the city’s main tourist attractions are ideal for families – and are sights you’d want to see anyway. I’d skip the big museums with smaller children, but with a few days in Rome, the whole family can see incredible…

Posted by on Mar 21, 2010 in Rome, Travel with Kids | No Comments

Vatican free Sundays: stay far, far away

Vatican free Sundays: stay far, far away

  Most of the time, my clients take my advice. And one of my standing pieces of advice is to never visit the Vatican on free Sundays. But on one recent occasion, I was designing an itinerary for a family with only one specific day to see the Vatican, which just happened to fall on…

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 in Art, Museums, Rome | 5 Comments

Rome off the beaten path: 5 things to see at St. Peter’s and the Vatican

Nobody goes to Rome without visiting St. Peter’s and the Vatican right? It’s a big attraction that takes the better part of a day to see properly. But if you want to see Rome off the beaten path, take my advice: there are 5 things that it seems most people don’t know about (based on…

Posted by on Nov 16, 2009 in Rome | 2 Comments

The Top 3 Ski Resorts Near Rome

Um, wait – ski resorts near Rome? You knew you could ski in the Alps or the Dolomites. But yes, there are actually 26 ski resorts in the Appennine mountains not far from Rome, and they get plenty of snow as you can see from the photos below. Open from December through April, the resorts…

Posted by on Oct 26, 2009 in Rome, Skiing | 2 Comments

Rome’s Coppede’ district: Fairies, Frogs and Spiders

Walk through the arched entrance (photo below) to the Coppedè district of Rome into a world of architectural whimsy. Named after its architect, but also known as the Dora Quarter, this small art deco neighborhood is often described as surreal or fairytale-like; some say the style is reminiscent of Spanish architect Gaudi. There’s nothing ancient Roman about it:…

Posted by on Sep 21, 2009 in Rome | No Comments

The World’s Most Famous Lie Detector

Nestled in a church portico in the center of Rome, a tourist could easily walk by the Mouth of Truth, or Bocca della Verita’. You may recognize the face below from the 1953 film Roman Holiday, but if not, here are the instructions: 1) place hand in the face’s open mouth;  2) (if you dare) tell a…

Posted by on Aug 10, 2009 in Rome | No Comments

What’s “The Obvious”?

The name of this blog is “Italy: Beyond the Obvious“, because in my years of guiding, organizing, and coaching people on trips and travel to Italy, I’ve noticed there are a few things that pretty much nobody wants to miss, which I’ve listed below. I highly recommend visiting all of these things, and they are…