TIVOLI – Villas, Waters, and Wealth. A Day Trip from Rome

A day trip from Rome took me to Tivoli where I found mesmerizing villas and playful waters. In short, the remnants of Antique Roman wealth.

View of Tivoli from Hadrian's Villa,  seen when visiting the Villas on a Day Trip
The so-called Poecile with the Roman Campagna in the backdrop.

Mind you, already Mr. Hadrian used to spend relaxing weekends at Tivoli almost 2,000 years ago.

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ROME for first-timers, repeat visitors, and eternal admirers

Whether you are first-timers or repeat visitors, beautiful and exciting Rome will turn you into eternal admirers for sure.

View of The Colosseum and Romolus and Remus drinking from the Capitoline Wolf - some of the Icons of Rome to be visited by first-timers.
View of the Ancient Roman Icons.

It is known as the Eternal City for a reason. Just like in Athens, there’s ancient history everywhere. It combines just fine with the modern, energetic, and sophisticated millennial metropolis.

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Art Weekend in Milan

An art weekend in Milan? How so?

After all, of all Italian cities, Milan probably deems the least Italian. No jolly groups sipping Aperol Spritz while playing boccia. Instead, executives rushing from their stately apartment houses to offices in glittering business centers. Hardly a narrow cobblestone alley. Rather big cars on broad avenues. Few statues around. No renaissance. No baroque.

Piazza del Duomo - with the iconic cathedral.
Piazza del Duomo – with the iconic cathedral.

Nevertheless, if you are prepared for what to expect, Milan will not disappoint you. Therefore, let me guide you to the city’s most important art venues – and beyond.

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MURANO: It’s a Crystalline World

(Updated December 2019)

Most visitors to Venice stay and explore only the Centro Storico, the historic center. It is divided into six districts called Sestieri. Although they seem to form one large island, there is a total of 120 islands in the lagoon. However, only 11 are permanently inhabited.

Italy - Murano Island - Vetreria Ducale
Some of the best places to shop for glass on Murano island: The Vetreria Ducale, adorned by a sign of Guerrieri pottery, and to the left the Ferro & Lazzarini glass factory.

Of those islands, Murano is the third largest one – after the Centro Storico and the Lido. It actually consists of seven small islands divided by eight channels and connected by bridges.

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How to Visit the Biennale di Arte in Venice

Venice is a place worth visiting even when nothing special is on. Here is how to visit the Biennale di Arte in Venice, one of the world’s most important art events.

Ponte dell'Accademia Venice Italy
Ponte dell’Accademia, one of only four opportunities to cross the Canale Grande walking, advertising for this year’s mega-event.

However, the Biennials add some contemporary suspense and glamour to all the shiny renaissance the Doges left behind, and this summer, the 58th Biennale di Arte is on.

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BASEL and the Rehberger-Trail – time to wonder, time to wander

Visiting Basel, you’re not only seeing Switzerland’s third-largest city – after Zurich and Geneva. You also get to know lots of great art venues. And if you hike the Rehberger Trail, a route decorated with sculptures by German artist Tobias Rehberger, you can even cross the border to Germany walking.

Basel along the river Rhine.
Cozy little Basel in the heart of Europe. There are a couple of art venues and many interesting buildings and places along the river Rhein.
(Photo: © Basel Tourismus)

That’s one of the things I absolutely love about Basel: It is located in the tri-border area of Switzerland, Germany, and France. Three totally different countries getting connected in harmony.

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Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – Istanbul ‘s best-hidden Gem

Hardly anyone I know has ever heard of the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, so I really think it’s Istanbul ‘s best-hidden Gem.

Coming to this grand city on the Bosporus river, obviously, everybody is standing in line to see the antique masterpieces at Hagia Sophia and the Topkapı Palace. Or – if they venture away from Sultanahmet – the very ‘French’ Dolmabahçe.

Terrace of the Proje4L/Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art - Istanbul's best-hidden Gem
Homage to Masters of Sculpture, against the backdrop of Istanbul’s financial center view,
Photo: Kayhan Kaygusuz

But hardly anyone comes to Istanbul to see the young, fresh, and daring Turkish contemporary art.

Big mistake!

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Language Learning in Milan

Learning Italian in Milan – when taking a language course in the country of origin, you obviously learn much more than just the local tongue.

byemyselftravels
Class of 2016: my wonderful interesting, sophisticated, talented, and creative co-students and our sweet teacher Claudia (kneeling in the middle). In the back you see my classmate Ji Hun Yeo from South Korea who came to Italy to study – take a wild guess – lyrical singing. One time we had the great pleasure to get a mini-concerto.
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