31 December 2015

Italy Heaven highlights of 2015

My year began and ended with trips to Venice, my home from home, always so much better outside the peak tourist season. As usual I spent a lot of time in Venice. One of this year's most memorable experiences was walking along the sea walls protecting the southern lagoon from the sea.

In April I visited the low-key island of Ustica. Nights were cold but the days were warm and sunny, and I walked the entire circumference of the island on attractive flower-strewn footpaths.

In June I visited the lovely Aeolian islands. First stop was posh little Panarea, where I enjoyed the views and - on a very hot day - climbed to the island's summit.

 I caught the delivery boat to the volcano island Stromboli, where I ate a pizza at dusk while watching the volcano's eruptions.

The islands are great for delicious and affordable eating. I sampled an ice granita every day (essential for cooling down on hot days).

This year I've visited quite a few volcanoes. I walked around the crater of Vulcano on another blazingly hot day.

I returned to the islands in September for more island ascents - and a leisurely boat trip.

In October I visited Taormina with my parents and visited another volcano.

We visited the atmospheric village of Savoca and stayed in the excellent Borgo San Rocco run by the wonderful Vittorio, to whom all guests are personal friends.

There were lots of memorable moments in Rome in November, including a return to the wonderful palace of Nero and my favourite Roman meal, pasta with squash flowers at a trattoria called Da Carlone in Trastevere.

I made a video of the daily life and starling murmurations of Rome.

On a pre-Christmas trip to Venice I enjoyed the peace of the city and made a few videos to show some of the different facets of the city.

I haven't made my travel plans for 2016, but if you follow me on Twitter or visit the Italy Heaven website and this blog, you can catch up with my latest destinations, discoveries, meals, ice drinks and off-the-beaten-track experiences, as well as all the latest website updates and Italy recommendations.

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