Wandering Italy was conceived to get deeper into Italy's little places, the odd nooks and crannies that are largely unprofitable to write about but interesting to travelers who've "done" the big three and are searching for "the real Italy" which is really all around them.
James Martin, a Professional Vagabond, lives part time in one of those seldom visited spots in Italy called la Lunigiana, a place in far northern Tuscany along the Via Francigena that sports over 160 castles and some pretty unique cuisine. He likes talking about his odder experiences, which you'll find in the Wandering Italy Blog (headlines below). Before becoming a travel writer, James went through several "career" phases: as archaeologist, electrical engineer, and race car driver. He's obviously unstable as hell, as the worn-heeled traveler should be.
You can at least hear his voice and see how much stability he has as a human tripod: James Martin Travel Videos.
Cover your eyes. It's not purty, but he's in his enivronment:
The small places. Surprising places.
The Via Francigena is an ancient pilgrimage route that has shaped Italy's landscape since the 900s. It's getting more press these days, as folks look for something more spiritual than the average coach tour might offer. We're interested in the route for its interesting architecture and the carvings on Romanesque churches at the height of the pilgrimage craze in the 11th and 12th centuries, when folks thought that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get to heaven. The rich dropped some pretty good money trying to garner favor with God, and the results--hospices, inns, and even brothels--are interesting indeed.
We like valleys like the Valcamonica, with its incredible concentrations of rock carvings hacked out through the ages, regions like the Marche, Puglia, Calabria and Sardinia, and those special foods like truffles to explore. Thanks for joining us for the journey through Italy's smaller and less touristed places. They're no less interesting than Rome, only smaller and with fewer tourist resources. We encourage you to explore them with an open mind, a little knowlege of the Italian language (or some unabashed hand signals) and no small amount of joy for discovery.
Wandering Italy means taking your time, noticing the details, and planning just enough to get you to interesting places. Life is a hoot when you let yourself go.
We're currently working on creating a resource for folks who travel right. Those would be folks who love discovering a culture that isn't theirs. The easiest way to do this is to rent a vacation house and stay a while, participating in the local food festivals called sagre and shopping in local markets. If you don't speak much Italian, you might be unaware of the differences in shopping in an Italian market. So, keep an eye on our Italian Food page for the evolution of this project. If you're looking for lodging in the Lunigiana, you might try the new and improved Lunigiana Rentals.
Wandering Italy has recently changed hosts. After research, I found a host that was very, very fast and had a brilliant support staff. So we are now proudly hosted on A2 Hosting.
Keep up with our sring and fall wanderings across Italy from our hub in the Lunigiana of Northern Tuscany, and our philisophic and sometimes foody scribblings when we're home in the US. The latest posts are below.