Jewish History in Pittigliano, Tuscany

May 10 There was once a flourishing Jewish community in this fortified Tuscan village. Kicked out of the Papal States (those areas immediately surrounding Rome) by Popes in the 16th century, a large settlement developed in Pittigliano where they were given protection by the local ruling family. In ‘Little Jerusalem’ there can be seen many […]

Enjoying Italy by Visiting Orvieto, Umbria

May 9 Just off the plane at Leonardo da Vinci International Airport, George and Susan Then from Florida were welcomed by guide James Derheim for their second trip with European Focus. Last year, it was Germany and George’s ancestral towns of Amberg and Nurnberg. This time, it’s Susan’s turn with visits to Orvieto, Tuscany, the […]

Castle for Sale in Tuscany

April 18 While on my way to Rome recently to pick up clients, I stopped in northern Tuscany to visit good friends Giulio and Elisabetta Salemme. We stayed the night in a simple but lovely Agriturismo within sight of a massive gray pile of rock which I learned was the Castello dell’Aquila. Giulio offered a […]

Three special lanes in Pienza, Tuscany

April 13 While strolling around the beautiful hilltop town of Pienza in the Val d’Orcia, Tuscany recently we were told by a couple of locals that the three streets leading to a pretty overview have some special significance in the way they are lined up, and the way they are named. Approaching from the south, […]

Getting into Venice by Gypsy Cab

April 13 We have a routine we follow when we bring our clients to Venice. Since driving right up to the front door of the hotel is obviously out of the question, those who arrive by car to this watery city have only a few choices to get to their hotel. They can walk (pity […]

What is a Super Tuscan Wine?

April 13 We recently discovered a new wine cellar in the heart of Montepulciano where our clients were able to purchase bottles of Super Tuscan wine to take home to North America. This is an ultra-special treat, and not for the casual wine drinker. One has to truly love and respect wine to invest in […]

Prettiest Farm in Tuscany?

April 12 It’s always a treat to show our guests a certain postcard displayed in the stores of Pienza or Montepulciano or any of the other small towns located in or around the Val d’Orca, Tuscany. There’s this picture-perfect little farm which sits on the top of a hill, complete with a tiny chapel which […]

Nearly getting arrested at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

April 12 Travelers know that major tourist sites have a lack of available toilets, especially for women, who seem to always have to stand in a very, very long line in order to use the scarce facilities. So it was at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome recently, when my guest had to go and the […]