The Shallots of Rome

The shallot (Allium ascalonicum) was once considered sacred. Said to have been discovered by Marcus Aurelius in ancient Cannan (now Palestine) in the second century AD, shallots were widely grown in Greek and Roman gardens. Italian cooks today use shallots to create a strong but subtle flavor reminiscent of both onions and garlic.  I know …

Francis Francis

The drive from Rome to Assisi in Umbria is a short day trip (185 km or 115 miles) along dramatic mountain scenery and countless medieval hill towns where the region's volcanic soil, wet winters and sun-drenched summers grow grapes that produce some of the finest wines in the world. For pilgrim travelers entering Italy's Green Heart, it was a metaphor for …

A Different Type of Stay in Rome

Rome, Florence and Venice are the “holy trinity” of Italian travel - an iconic itinerary that almost every tour operator suggests as part of the Grand Tour of Europe. Rome, the historical godhead, Florence the inspirational daughter and Venice the spiritual muse. There are few cities in the world that create such a mystical union of travel experiences. But …

Benedict’s Bees

Some consider Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI to be the “thinking man’s Pope”. A theologian and scholar by training he wrote three encyclicals, many apostolic letters, two popular books about the historical Jesus and numerous other publications; a Pope as industrious and prolific as his bees. In September 2011 eight beehives containing more than 500,000 bees …