Photo of the Week: The Green Heart of Italy

Photo of the Week: The Green Heart of Italy

This is the view onto one of the many gorgeous valleys of Umbria from the city of Assisi.
Umbria, the lone land-locked region on the peninsula, is famous for its stunning landscapes, valleys, mountains, and forests. The Apennines Mountains cross the region and while there is no direct contact with the coast, there is the large and beautiful lake Trasimeno. Because of its reputation for being so lush, the region has been given the nickname “the green heart of Italy.”
Umbria is also famous for its many other gorgeous cities such as Perugia and Todi, both of which boast beautiful sites and exceptional food (Pergia = chocolate!!). Todi, for example, has one of the most stunning centralized churches in all of Italy. Umbria can also claim the great honor of having produced Saint Francis of Assisi. Are we surprised, looking at this image of his home, that he was one of the first to come out of the so-called “dark ages” and realize that the earth is actually quite pretty and worth enjoying? I don’t think so.

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The Other Side of Rome

Been to Rome before? Seen this, done that? Well…maybe you have and maybe you haven’t. Here are some of my favorite off-the-beaten-path things to see/do that are not always an easy walk down one of Rome’s breathtaking cobble-stone streets. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth every ounce of effort to see. Maybe you need to go back. Hopefully, it will be with Select Study Abroad. Continue reading…

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Tuscany Bike Tour: Put The Fun Between Your Legs!


When people ask me for travel tips or recommendations for fun things to do in Florence one of the first activities that comes to mind is the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour. Of course some other, more obvious, sites come to mind as well. However, the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour has proven to be one of few SURE THINGS when it comes to the satisfaction and enjoyment of countless friends, family members, and students I have recommended it to.

Two happy customers about to hit the road

Anyone, regardless of age, athletic ability or inability, interest or disinterest in wine can appreciate the uniqueness and beauty of such a tour. A few years ago, I moved from Florence back to the U.S. unsure if or when I would return. I had a long check list of things to do and see before my departure. I spent hours planning where I would spend my last dinner, what I would order, what my final gelato flavor would be, and which route I would take for my last Florentine walk. With one day left to enjoy in Italy there was clearly only way to spend it – with my closest friends on the Tuscany Wine and Bike Tour. Here is why… Continue reading…

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Day Trips Outside Florence

Siena's main Piazza, the Campo

I noticed this article about Florence on the Huffington Post the other day that lists 8 great day trips outside Florence. They are absolutely right that the city can sometimes be a bit overwhelming and crowded and that, luckily, it is easily accessible to many other amazing cities that will feel significantly less crowded and just as picturesque (if not more so). The winners according to the Huffington are:

1. Siena. Couldn’t agree more. A wonderful city with some amazing vistas and killer food, not to mention the most gorgeous Duomo around. Continue reading…

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Carrara, Italy and its 3 M’s (Massive Marble Mountains)

Remember the fight scene in the most recent James Bond movie (the one with the super pretentious sub-title…Quantam of something)? Remember the amazing car chase sequence over mountains covered in white dust that immediately followed the fight scene? Well that whole sequence (which appears to be just minutes after the fight scene on some of Siena’s roof tops) takes place in a city called Carrara. Just FYI, it is about 2 and half hours drive from Siena to Carrara. (See map below) Continue reading…

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