Blog Posts on Arts and Culture

Florence

After the serenity of the Italian Lake District and the leafy loveliness of Lucca, Florence was a bit of a shock to me.  First of all, we walked in on a feast day with parades, games, and fireworks celebrating the patron saint of Florence, Saint Giovanni Battista. Second, it was garbage day. Refuse under the hot Tuscan sun smells like refuse everywhere.

Lucca

Thank you for following this journal.  The WXXI Travel Club has arrived in Tuscany, and my thoughts are spinning in a thousand directions.  We’ve been on a medieval whirlwind: a few hours in Sienna, a day in Florence, a rush into the Tuscan hill town San Gimignano.  My feelings trace an involuntary path that might make for more interesting reading for you than a laundry list of s

The Five Lands

I hope you get the chance to hike the Cinque Terre someday.  The Cinque Terre (“CHINK-kweh TAY-reh”) or “The Five Lands” refer to five (cinque) remote villages tucked into a remote section of the Italian Riviera on the Mediterranean coast. Until the last century, these towns were pretty much inaccessible, even to each others’ residents. Until 1545 they were regularly invaded by pirates.

Orta

 As I’m writing this we are streaming through the green rice fields and farmlands of northwestern Italy, the country’s breadbasket. This would all look familiar to you, except for the centuries-old stone farmhouses, white egrets, and brown buzzards perched along the highway like red-tailed hawks.  We’re crossing the Po River, headed south to the Italian Riviera.

Summer Soft

I found these guys resting in the shade in the High Falls Gorge this afternoon. They're not contemplating the change of season today, but a lot of us are.

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Dear Rick Steves,

An open letter to Rick Steves:

The Frothy Swiss Thing

For me, the second day in the resort town of Stresa, Italy unfolded in flashes of detail; a tiny green fern growing out of a crack in the wall, a clear glass of grappa, two girls in bikinis playing with dogs on the beach. A train carried us through the mountains, across the border north into Locarno, Switzerland for lunch.

Stresa

The WXXI Travel Club landed in Milan Sunday morning, jazzed and tired after an overnight flight from New York.  A bus carried us through hills, vineyards, and quarries to the resort town of Stresa on Lake Maggiore, a few miles from the Swiss border.  Here was everything already loved and familiar; emerald woods, sapphire waters, hills, fragrant gardens.  I’ve heard the Finger Lak

Meteorology

Beautiful Dreamers CD cover

It seemed tentative at first. There was a bit of tuning. Then Bill Frisell started something more substantial on guitar. Eyvind Kang added colors with the violin and Rudy Royston accented on drums. Now and then, Bill or Eyvind would crouch down and fiddle with knobs on the electronics boxes on the floor.