Montecassino and Ciociaria – death and rebirth

My first realisation of the reality of WW2 in Cassino and the area called Ciociaria in central-south Italy was learning the story of Montecassino, the Benedictine Monastery at the end of the Benedictine Way that sits on the spur of Mount Cassino above today’s town of Cassino. The monastery can be easily seen from the … Continued

Paestum, place of magic for travellers

There is so much to be discovered in life, places of magic for the traveller, and Paestum in southern Campania is certainly one. For the amateur or trained archaeologist, probably the sites and sight of the temples and city of Paestum are now tame. But for most others this is a site that may even … Continued

Sea Side Walk by David Straight

Life on the Italian Adriatic Coast come Autumn

This is a story of life on the Adriatic coast after the season, the town, Bellaria – Igea Marina, not well known except to those who come in the season. Its sands are clean and near white. It is mid-October, barely a few days past summer, it is a warm 25 degrees, even more, the … Continued

Maundy Thursday Visit by Papa Francesco to Paliano

It is Maundy Thursday in the Christian week of Easter, a fine warm spring day with a touch of breeze, and we seek the breath of the Lord in the hills around Paliano, in Frosinone Province. For lunch, we settle to eat a simple but tasty pasta dish with a glass of white wine at … Continued

Fiuggi Grants Antonio Tajani Honorary Citizenship

Our travel today through the hills of Ciociaria brought us to the famous spa town of Fiuggi in the lower slopes of the Ernici Mountains to celebrate honorary citizenship of Fiuggi for Antonio Tajani, President of the Parliament of Europe. For Italians, the honour is well understood, but for those of us with English upbringing, … Continued

Bagpipes at Caetani Castle in Trevi nel Lazio

My afternoon tour, with Giancarlo Flavi, on the second last day of the year, had us heading into the Simbruini mountains and the Regional Park, up from the Cesanese vineyards of Piglio, through the high plains of Arcinazzo to hear Scottish Bagpipes in Trevi nel Lazio, a Ciociarian town sitting at 820 metres in the … Continued

Surf’s UP! At Bondi Sculpture by the Sea

For 20 years Bondi Sculpture by the Sea has graced the coastal walk, parks and beaches of South Bondi and Tamarama, a scenic area of great natural beauty but not architectural wonder. Standing above the Bondi Icebergs Club, looking north over the ocean pool, gives the perfect panorama of Bondi, probably the world’s most famous … Continued

A short walk in Sgurgola

The end of August south of Rome, in Lazio, Ciociaria, on the road to enjoy a short walk in Sgurgola on the edge of Lepini Mountains. It has been a dry hot summer with regular fires alongside the roads where drivers adopt the memory of old movies and flick their cigarettes out the window to … Continued

The Water Diviner

Legends of Australians in Film

For Italians, Gallipoli is a beautiful seaside resort in Puglia, but for the Australians it is a peninsula in Turkey, a symbol and an even deeper wound from a century ago, and the foundation of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) tradition. Perhaps for this reason, the ninth exhibition of Australian Cinema opened … Continued