Our temporary Italian home away from home could have been in an upscale hotel – but it wasn’t. Its two spacious bedrooms, comfortable living room and full kitchen had recently been renovated. The antique furnishings, heirlooms of the family that owns the property, were casual and comfortable. Yet the setting, in the midst of gently rolling hills blanketed by olive trees, was unlike any traditional accommodation my wife Fyllis and I have experienced elsewhere.
Umbria, Tuscany’s next door neighbor, has not been as celebrated and glorified. Yet that often-overlooked region encompasses artistic, scenic and other treasures that reward those who seek them out. For starters, Umbria boasts a setting of magnificent landscapes. The jagged Apennine Mountains lead to rolling hillsides that flatten into lush valleys blanketed by fields of wildflowers.
St. Augustine Florida celebrated its 450th anniversary during 2015, and with such a long history, it’s no surprise that the city has its share of ghosts. The St. Francis Inn, the former home and current haunting place of Lily, shares much of the city’s history.
The traffic-clogged streets, towering skyscrapers and dazzling lighted billboards could be in Times Square, New York – but they aren’t. I’m walking through Japan down an ancient trail that snakes through dense woods and over mountain passes.
During our first visit to Japan, my wife and I marveled at the countless temples, shrines and other historic structures In Kyoto, which have embellished the city since it was the country’s capital from the 8th to mid-19th century. In Tokyo, we delighted in discovering gems from the height of its historic “Edo” period (15th to 19th centuries) which are hidden beneath the veneer of a bustling ultra-modern city.