Traveler Writer Photographer

View of Verona from the Castel San Pietro

“Two households, both alike in dignity / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene / From ancient grudge break to new mutiny / Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” So begins Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, set in Verona in Italy’s northern region of Veneto, a city so beautiful it inspired the greatest of bards.

I left Venice for Verona a bit apprehensive because I tend to prefer larger, more chaotic cities. My first step into the massive Piazza Bra, arguably the country’s largest piazza, assuaged my fears; Verona is a city with much to offer. read more »

Texas State Capitol Building in Austin

One of the great clichés of travel writing is starting a story with an overly dramatic sentence meant to draw in the reader, so I won’t begin by mentioning the explosives mishap or firing a shotgun at dead cacti. But such was my Fourth of July in Austin, part of my lifelong quest for the quintessential American experience. Could anything scream red, white and blue more than Independence Day in Texas? I’ll get to that later. read more »

Piazza Unità d'Italia in Trieste

One of my favorite memories of my time in Trieste was simply sitting along the pier, feet dangling over the Adriatic as the rising tide splashed water upon my shoes, jellyfish floating below us like ethereal dancers in a separate universe. The Italian word for “jellyfish” is medusa, yet I kept mistakenly saying lampedusa after the Italian island that was at the center of the migrant crisis. It just goes to show how much my language skills need work.

Some places move you more than others, and Trieste affected me more than most. I left my heart here, this small city at the far northeastern corner of Italy. With Croatia and Slovenia nearby, this former Austro-Hungarian city has a unique history with diverse influences. The elegant architecture is different from the typical “Italian-ness” of that of Florence and Rome. The people are friendly and, despite being small, the city provides the perfect amount of bustle with a vibrant nightlife. read more »

Venice Model Photoshoot

It’s hard to believe now that my first experience in Italy was five years ago, a Mediterranean adventure that started in Venice. I remember arriving into Venice Marco Polo Airport unsure of what to expect of the city and how my shabby Italian skills would hold up. Spoiler alert: I fell in love with Venice and they did not hold up well.

Five years later, I would return to the city that had initiated me to Italy. In the time between, I had seen much of the country during my stay in Rome, Emilia-Romagna and last year’s journey through Europe. My language skills have markedly improved, though I still struggle at times. So I wondered yet again how Venice would appear to me, now knowing so much more than I did then… now that I was no longer a “tourist” to the country… read more »

Ponte Vecchio at Sunset

I recently found myself back in Florence, perhaps my favorite city in Italy, one year after my previous visit. This time I stayed close to Firenze Santa Maria Novella, the city’s main train station, in a bustling neighborhood of hotels and eateries. While I did more running around a year prior (check out my previous article on the city for more in-depth coverage of Florence’s top attractions and on visiting popular Tuscan towns), I was able to catch many things I had missed, namely several churches and David, while revisiting my favorite locales in the city. read more »