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Italy & the Italians

We created these pages to help you really Discover Italy. Journalists Donald Strachan, Steve Keenan and Jasmine Boni Ball — who visit several times every year — have gathered a rich crop of local stories and written destination guides to help you make the most of your vacation. As they say in Italy, “Buon viaggio!”

Dario Cecchini

Dario Cecchini is a genius who could only be Italian. He may be a Netflix star (a whole episode of Chef’s Table is devoted just to him) but he could just as easily have lived during the Renaissance, for this eighth generation butcher’s approach to food is as classic as the art that comes from the hills around his native village. Read about his story and how he came to be the world's most famous butcher.

Tuscany Essentials: Recommended Books & Movies

The cradle of Italian art and literature has inspired, and continues to inspire dozens of writers and directors. To help you fire up your own Italian dream, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite Tuscany books and movies. These lesser known authors and titles will reveal hidden treasures and make you see and experience Tuscany as never before.

Galateo: The Do's and Don'ts of Italian Food Etiquette

During your holiday in Italy, you're likely to end up in many historic and renowned gourmet osterias and restaurants. While certain rules and etiquette such "fare la scarpetta" (using a piece of bread to mop up the remaining sauce on your plate) are embraced fully, actions like mixing salad with pasta or ordering a cappuccino with your meal, is frowned upon. Brush-up on Galateo (manners), and discover the do's and don'ts of Italian dining etiquette.

Singing like an Italian: Hit Artists to Sing to in the Shower

What better way to learn about Italy, the Italians and the language if not by singing your heart out in the shower? Soak up the drama and romance of 4 famous Italian hits by famed Italian singers Lucio Battisti, Mina, Lucio Dalla and Rino Gaetano.

Driving like an Italian: From Choosing the Right Car Hire for your Trip to the Road Rules

Renting a car and driving around Italy is one of the best ways to explore the country. Driving in a foreign country can be overwhelming, but our short guide will help you learn the tips and tricks for driving in Italy. Discover road rules, speed limits, parking rules and emergency contacts, and make your holiday in Italy stress-free.

Florence Shopping: Insider Tips on Where to Buy the Best Gifts

Florence is one of the best cities in the world to shop. From Italian haute couture to crafted leather and jewellery pieces, the city offers the modern traveller all the tools needed to “shop till you drop”. Whether you’re after leather shoes or a silk robe, take a step away from the high-street and discover 5 shops of the beaten path in Florence.

4 Luxury Outlets Around Florence and Tuscany

To find a bargain on haute couture fashions, you should visit one of Tuscany's luxury outlets near Florence. Many of the city's (and Italy's) top design houses sell end-of-line garments at big discounts. Our short guide tells you where to go, how to get there, and what to buy when you arrive.

4 Famous Italian Fashion Designers from Florence

Think Italian designer brands and you might think "Milan". But among the most famous Italian fashion designers are the "Florentine Four": Gucci and Pucci, Cavalli and Ferragamo. Our short guide to these 4 icons of Italian haute couture covers their history and influences, and how to find their clothing stores in Florence. Jasmine Boni-Ball has joined the document.

Italian Coffee: Make It Like a Pro Once You Get Home

Italians hold a love of coffee close to the national heart. They introduced the drink to the rest of Europe from Egypt, and Venice opened its first café around 1683. There are many ways to enjoy a coffee in Italy, and almost as many methods to brew it Italian style when you’re back home. This short guide covers four of our favourites.

A Guide to Buying Leather in Florence

As early as the 14th century, around 1,600 shoemakers were working in the city of Florence — around a third of them based close to the tanneries of the Oltrarno district. Leather was also in demand for book covers, saddles and other horse tack, and it is still closely associated with Florence. We speak to a traditional Oltrarno shoemaker and offer advice on how and where to bag the best leather in the city.

8 Ways to Know You’re Embracing Italian Culture

Everyone loves the taste of Italian culture they get from renting our villas. But what if you stayed longer, and even set down new roots? Those who do, often find life starts to change in unexpected ways. We speak to four expatriates who embraced their new lifestyles, to see what they consider the telltale signs you’re living life like an Italian.

Italian cityscapes: how art is so much better than photographs

A picture is worth a thousand words, so the saying goes. But in Italy, sometimes an artist's-eye view tells us more than just a photograph. According to New York-born painter Steven Assael, “there are dramatic differences between how the camera looks at and experiences the world and how we see it.” We examine some landscape photos and paintings side-by-side.

An Introduction to Italian Neorealism

This hugely influential film genre emerged towards the end of World War II, and largely focused on the lives of ordinary people in the aftermath of war. Neorealism offered an uncompromising take on the struggles of the working classes at a time of economic collapse, and the desperation and moral ambiguity that resulted. Its impact has not lessened with time, as our brief article and audio from a talk we hosted in Leeds, England, explains.

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