• Destinations,  Europe,  Italy

    Lake Como: The Lowdown

    This guest post makes me want to book a flight to Italy! No wonder George Clooney bought a villa here 11 years ago! One of Italy’s lakes, the majestic and tranquil Lake Como can be found in the heart of Lombardy in Northern Italy, and while it’s neighbour, Lake Garda, offers a more tourist-inspired retreat, Lake Como holidays provide added elegance that is seldom seen elsewhere in the area. The villas that scatter the shores alone are enough for you to gaze upon it in awe, without even considering what is waiting for you to explore beyond them. While you may be able to embark on a little celebrity spotting…

  • Europe,  Italy

    12 Hours in Florence

    In contrast to the sunny Tuscan landscape that I had been daydreaming of for years, the Tuscany that welcomed us was wet and dreary. I was with my team,  filming a documentary in Rome. But a couple of days before our shoot wrapped up, we had an opportunity to make a side trip to Florence, the romantic capital of the Tuscan region.  We only had 12 hours to spare. At 6am in Rome, we boarded the speediest train I had ever sat on.  And by 7:30am, we were strolling the streets of Firenze,  birthplace of Michelangelo, Boticelli and  the Renaissance. The rain, although light, was relentless. But the locals didn’t…

  • Food, Entertainment and Culture,  Italy

    Widespread Cuteness in the Streets of Rome

      Italians love their cars, especially the luxe kind. But it is not the Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, Lamborghinis or the Ferraris that make my heart skip a beat. In Rome, mini cars rule! You’ll see them everywhere… zipping by the narrow cobble stoned streets like bumblebees on streroids… Shoved Parked in slots that could only accomodate Vespas…   Innocently hiding behind bushes… Parked right in the middle of the road in support of non-conformity… Or just quietly contemplating on life and love…   Side note: Later, I found out that in Rome, mini cars or micro cars that have 50cc engines are classified as mopeds so a person does not…

  • Destinations,  Europe,  Footnote,  Italy

    Footnote: Underneath St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

    One of the air vents for the crypt in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, 2012. “There are over 100 tombs within St. Peter’s Basilica (extant to various extents), many located in the Vatican grotto, beneath the Basilica. These include 91 popes, St. Ignatius of Antioch, Holy Roman Emperor Otto II, and the composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Exiled Catholic British royalty James Francis Edward Stuart and his two sons, Charles Edward Stuart and Henry Benedict Stuart, are buried here, having been granted asylum by Pope Clement XI. Also buried here are Maria Clementina Sobieska, wife of James Francis Edward Stuart, Queen Christina of Sweden, who abdicated her throne in order to…

  • Europe,  Italy,  Photography,  Spiritual Travel

    One Fine Day in Rome

    We almost didn’t make it, my team and I.  We received our Schengen Visa just two days before our scheduled flight, and our plane tickets mere hours before takeoff.  Everything, it seemed, was against our going to Rome to cover the historic canonization of the country’s second saint, San Pedro Calungsod.  But with his intercession,  things eventually fell into place.  Letters of endorsement were signed, permits to shoot and Vatican media  passes granted and most importantly, production funds released.  All in the nick of time! Before we knew it, we were boarding a KLM flight to Rome, our hearts swelling with gratitude for being blessed with an opportunity of a…