Postcards from Italy

Our Top Ten Blog Posts in 2019

Happy New Year! It’s January, a month we dedicate to both looking forward at the upcoming trends and destinations for travel to Italy and Switzerland, and looking back to see what our clients especially loved during their trips over the past year.

Italy Cats(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

One way we are able to keep our finger on the pulse of what clients and travelers were interested in during 2019 is by taking a look at which of our dozens of blog posts were the most read. This year we saw a few perennial favorites at the top of the list, as well as a few surprising newcomers.

Here is a quick recap of the top ten blog posts over the past 12 months so you can take a look at those you may have missed and study up for a future trip.

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Tivoli: An Idyllic Respite from Rome

Located less than an hour from Rome’s teeming historic center, Tivoli has been a popular summer retreat for the city’s residents since the time of ancient Rome and through the Renaissance, and saw the construction of lavish villas and gardens used as pleasure palaces for the capital’s most powerful and wealthy noble families over the millennia. Today, this hilltop town—home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an Italian National Heritage Trust gem—is a popular day trip from Rome for those looking for a break from the relentless bustle of the city.

Tivoli(Photo by CIUTravel via Flickr)

You can take just a few hours to tour the town’s main attraction, the 16th-century Villa d'Este famous for its ornate gardens and fountains, or spend an entire day and also visit Villa Adriana, Emperor Hadrian's sprawling estate; and the lush woodlands of Parco Villa Gregoriana. The small town of Tivoli itself is also worth a stroll, and is thick with traditional restaurants and trattorias for a lunch break during your visit. Here are the highlights to take in on a day trip to Tivoli:

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48 Hours: Bern

With its fairy-tale-ready cityscape of pitched roofs and soaring steeples set against dramatic Alpine peaks, Bern seems more the setting for the perfect Christmas photo shoot than a European capital. But despite its flawless old world charm, Bern is, indeed, the vibrant capital city of Switzerland, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most historic municipalities in the country.

(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

While many of our first-time visitors to Switzerland explore the Canton of Ticino for its fascinating mix of Mediterranean and Alpine elements and it's close proximity to Italy, but a quick trip to Bern is also a wonderful option as an introduction to the country or jumping-off spot for a longer trip through Switzerland. Bern offers a delightful old town thick with historic restaurants and breweries, a scenic river walk and panoramic overlook, a new habitat for the charismatic family of bears that symbolizes the city, and easy access to the dazzling surrounding countryside—in short, something to captivate everyone from gourmands to outdoor enthusiasts.

Bern Statehouse(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

Here’s how to spend an unforgettable 48 hours in Bern:

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Liberty: Italy’s Art Nouveau

Italy may be best known for its Renaissance and Baroque architecture, but the country’s creative vein didn’t end in the 1700s. During the decades straddling the 19th and 20th centuries, a new artistic movement swept through Europe and the US, which influenced everything from fashion and advertising to the decorative arts. Most significantly, the movement left its mark on the architecture of the time, and still today we can find its organic, botanical lines in facades and interiors across Italy.

Quartiere Coppedè(Photo by Sarah Nichols via Flickr)

In France, this movement was known as “Art Nouveau”, but in Italy it was originally called “Floreale”—soon changed to “Liberty” after the landmark Liberty & Co. shop in London. Breaking from the rigid geometry of the past, the Liberty style was informed by the more fluid lines found in nature (and helped along by new techniques to shape iron, glass, and cement) and became the hallmark of a new generation of upper and middle classes who were looking to build residences and commercial buildings that reflected their distance from the Continent’s historic aristocracy.
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Trip Inspiration: The Via Emilia

Of the many innovations that allowed Roman civilization to expand so quickly and flourish for so long, perhaps the most important was their expansive network of roads that crisscrossed the Italian peninsula and connected to places as far-flung as Britain and Mesopotamia. Covering about 250,000 miles at the height of the Roman Empire, these routes were often paved, linear, and major arteries for moving troops, diplomats, and goods quickly and safely between Rome and its provinces.

via emilia
(Photo by CIU Travel via Flickr)

A number of Roman highways still exist today, and one of the oldest and the most important is the Via Emilia (sometimes called the Aemilian Way), which runs northwest from Rimini to Piacenza across the region of Emilia-Romagna and recently celebrated 2,200 years since its foundation. A road trip along the ancient Via Emilia takes you past some of the most interesting small cities in the region, as well as its gourmet and automotive heart. Here are the highlights:

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