A really good Italian hotel will cosset you with creature comforts, seduce you with style and elegance and make you feel at home with friendly service. Use this website to help you find the perfect place to stay during your visit to Italy. We have tried and tested every hotel featured and can vouch for the locations, standard of facilities and level of service.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

NH Bergamo

Smart hotel is right in the centre of the Città Bassa


The smart and modern NH Bergamo
The smart and modern NH Bergamo
The immaculate and comfortable NH Bergamo is in a great location in Bergamo’s lower town, the Città Bassa.

This modern hotel in Via Paleocapa is close to the railway station and the stops for buses going to the upper town, the Città Alta, or to Bergamo Caravaggio airport.

It is handy for the best shops and restaurants in the lower town, but within walking distance of the funicular railway that ferries passengers up to the historic Città Alta.

The smart, well-designed hotel has 88 comfortable guest rooms, all with TV, mini bar and free Wi-Fi.

An excellent buffet breakfast is served daily on the ground floor of the hotel and there is a 24-hour bar service.

Editor’s note: ‘I enjoyed a comfortable, peaceful stay at the NH Bergamo. The room was quiet and I was able to sleep soundly, even though I was in the centre of the lower town and close to the main street.’

For more information, to check prices and to book a room at the NH Bergamo…

Why stay at the NH Bergamo?

The NH Bergamo is in a good position, right in the centre of Bergamo’s Città Bassa, but it is also handy for both the buses and the funicular railway up to Bergamo’s historic Città Alta.

It is within walking distance of the main sights in the Città Bassa.and all the shops, bars and restaurants.

The hotel is close to the stops for the bus service that runs to the airport and is also handy for the railway station and the regular train services to Milan, Brescia, Lecco and Cremona. From the nearby bus station there are coaches to resorts on Lago d’Iseo and the countryside north of Bergamo.

Bergamo's beautiful Piazza Vecchia
Bergamo's beautiful Piazza Vecchia
What to see in Bergamo

Bergamo is a fascinating historic city with two distinct centres. The Città Alta is a beautiful walled city with buildings that date back to medieval times but there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to make it comfortable for visitors today.

At the heart of the upper town is Piazza Vecchia, which was remodelled during the Renaissance and has been hailed by architects and writers as the most beautiful square in Italy.

It is surrounded by old palaces and has a 12th century bell tower that still strikes 100 times at ten pm each night to mark the ancient curfew.

With bars on two corners and prestigious restaurants along two sides, Piazza Vecchia is the perfect place to stop for something to eat and drink.

You can walk through the archways under Palazzo della Ragione to Piazza Duomo where you will see the Duomo, the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the Colleoni Chapel and the Battistero - all of them architectural gems.

Streets of shops and restaurants lead off Piazza Vecchia to other squares with fountains, beautiful buildings, old churches and museums.

The elegant Città Bassa grew up on the plain below and still has buildings that date back to the 15th century.

More imposing and elaborate architecture was added in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it is now a vibrant city with a wealth of shops, bars and restaurants. There are also palaces, churches, art galleries and museums to visit as well as a theatre and other venues providing concerts and entertainment.

The elegant Via Sentierone
The elegant Via Sentierone 
Via Sentierone, a short walk from NH Bergamo, is a popular place for la passeggiata. The Sentierone, which means broad path, links Piazza Vittorio Veneto with Via Torquato Tasso, a road that leads into the oldest part of the Città Bassa.

The Donizetti theatre, named after the opera composer, is on the corner of Via Sentierone, and close by, the Donizetti monument, set back from Via Sentierone in Piazza Cavour, was erected in 1897 to commemorate the first anniversary of the birth of the composer in Bergamo.


Directions: From the airport, you can either take a reasonably priced taxi, or buy a ticket for the No 1 bus that passes the railway station before turning along Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII in the direction of the Città Alta. The hotel is in Via Palocapa, on the left, which is across the road and a short distance from the bus stop outside the beautiful church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The church is a good landmark, on the corner of Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII and Porta Nuova, with its 19th century green cupola topped with a golden statue.

Restaurant recommendation:

La Ciotola is a short walk away from NH Bergamo in Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII in the centre of the Città Bassa. La Ciotola, which means ‘the bowl’, offers many Bergamo specialities, including the local pasta dish, casoncelli,gnocchi with fennel in a cream sauce and risotto with truffles in red wine. There are fish and chicken dishes and a long pizza list, or you could try the local favourite of veal with mushrooms and polenta. 

Local specialities:
Try casoncelli alla bergamasca (Bergamo’s own version of stuffed pasta), polenta taragna (polenta with Taleggio cheese) and stinco al forno (pork shank braised in wine with vegetables and herbs).

Local wines:
White: Try Valcalepio Bianco, a light dry wine with a delicate fragrance, produced in the small valley between Bergamo and Lago d’Iseo.
Red: Valcalepio Rosso is dry and soft with an intense scent. It is placed on sale every year after 1 November following six months’ refinement in wooden casks. It goes well with red meat, game and polenta and local cheeses, such as taleggio.

The Bergamo speciality casoncelli
The Bergamo speciality casoncelli
Shopping

One of the main thoroughfares in the Città Bassa in Bergamo is Via XX Settembre, which leads from Piazza Vittorio Veneto in the centre to Largo Nicolo Rezzara at the lower end of Via Sant’Alessandro.

Dubbed ‘the shopping street’ by the Bergamaschi because of the wealth of smart shops that line both sides, Via XX Settembre is named after an important event in Italy’s history. It was on 20 September 1870 that Italian troops under Victor Emmanuel II finally entered Rome and completed the unification of Italy.

Rome had remained under French control even after the first Italian parliament had proclaimed Victor Emmanuel King of Italy, despite repeated events by nationalists to liberate it. But after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, Napoleon III withdrew his troops. Italian soldiers seized their chance, and, after a brief bombardment were able to enter Rome through a breach in the walls at Porta Pia.

Victor Emmanuel took up residence in the Quirinale Palace and Italy was declared officially united.

These days shoppers celebrate the anniversary by visiting the establishments gracing the elegant street such as Calvin Klein, Stefanel, Benetton, Max Mara, Luisa Spagnoli, Marina Rinaldi and Sisley.


Book a room at the NH Bergamo with Hotels.com or Expedia

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hotel Carlton Treviso



Top location for this spacious and comfortable hotel


Just inside the historic walls of Treviso, the Hotel Carlton is perfectly placed for exploring the city or going further afield in the beautiful Veneto region.
The entrance to the Hotel Carlton at Porta Altinia

This elegant, four star hotel in Largo Porta Altinia is just a short walk from the railway station from where there are regular trains to Padova, Mestre and Venice.
It takes only a few minutes to walk from the hotel to the Piazza dei Signori, right in the centre of Treviso where there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants.
The Carlton Hotel is bright and spacious and the rooms have every modern convenience.
There is a large reception area with helpful staff always on hand to answer queries. The hotel offers free wi fi and there is parking available for guests who arrive by car.
The first floor restaurant has plenty of tables and a generous buffet breakfast is served there from 7 am till noon.

Editor’s note: “I had a very relaxed, comfortable stay at this friendly hotel. The staff were always pleasant and helpful, the breakfast was excellent and the room and bathroom had everything you could wish for.”

For more information to check prices and to book a room at the Hotel Carlton try our booking partners venere.com and Hotels.com

Why stay at Hotel Carlton in Treviso?
The Carlton is in an ideal location for people interested in exploring the Veneto as the railway station and bus stops are just a short walk away on the other side of the city’s walls. It is also close to the centre of Treviso and you pass plenty of smart shops, bars and restaurants on your way into the city. It is handy for the airport, as it is just a short bus or taxi ride from Treviso’s Antonio Canova airport in Via Noalese, Treviso.  


Book a room at the Hotel Carlton Treviso with venere.com or Hotels.com



What to see near the Hotel Carlton
A short walk from the Hotel Carlton brings you into the centre of the city and Via Calmaggiore, the main street, where there are some smart shops behind the porticos. At one end is Piazza dei Signori with its Palazzo dei Trecento, which was built in the 13th century and at the other end is Treviso’s Duomo.
Houses overlook a pretty canal in the centre of Treviso

Stroll along at the side of the willow-fringed canals, some still with their original waterwheels, that lie behind Via Calmaggiore until you reach the Pescheria (fish market).

This is situated on a very small island in the middle of Treviso’s River Sile. Unsold fish are thrown into the water at the end of each morning's trading. 


Restaurant recommendation
For traditional Treviso cooking try Trattoria Toni del Spin in Via Inferiore behind Piazza dei Signori. The restaurant is in an historic building and has the atmosphere of a traditional Treviso tavern. Toni del Spin is open every day except for Monday lunch times. 

Local Specialities
Try tagliatelle al sugo d’anatra (tagliatelle with duck sauce), risotto con funghi (mushroom risotto) and bigoli in salsa di acciughe (pasta with anchovy sauce). Also sample the locally-grown Treviso radicchio (a type of chicory) that features in a variety of dishes.

Local wines
A stay in Treviso gives you the perfect opportunity to sample Prosecco, a light, refreshing sparkling wine, which is made by many different producers in the area. Treviso is close to the so-called strada del prosecco, the road between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, which is lined with wineries producing Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), the stamp of quality given to the best Italian wines. 

Shopping

There are plenty of the top fashion stores, such as Benetton, Gucci and Sisley, as well as cosmetics shops and leather goods shops in the centre of Treviso.



Book a room at the Carlton Hotel Treviso with venere.comor Hotels.com



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Monday, May 4, 2015

Death in the High City first anniversary


Successful year for Bergamo’s first English crime novel

Death in the High City, the first British detective novel to be set in Bergamo, has had an exciting first year.
The novel, which was published in Kindle format on Amazon 12 months ago today, has sold copies in the UK, Italy, America, Australia and Canada. A paperback version of Death in the High City was published in July 2014.
Val Culley's book, Death in the High City, is set in Bargamo with much action taking place around Piazza Vecchia (pictured)
Piazza Vecchia features in several
scenes in Death in the High City
 
Author Val Culley has had some heart warming emails and messages about the book from readers both in the UK and abroad and has been delighted with the level of interest in her first novel.
In October 2014 Val was a guest at the fifth anniversary celebrations of Bergamo Su e Giù, a group of independent tour guides in the city. She was invited to present Death in the High City to an audience in San Pellegrino Terme and sign copies of the book and she also made an appearance on Bergamo TV to talk about the novel with presenter Teo Mangione.
In November the book was purchased by Leicestershire Libraries and is now in stock at Loughborough, Shepshed, Ashby de la Zouch, Coalville, Castle Donington and Kegworth Libraries and is going out on loan regularly.
In April this year Val was invited to Bergamo again to present her novel to a group of 80 Italian teachers of English and to sign copies. She made a second appearance on Bergamo TV and also formally presented a copy of Death in the High City to the Biblioteca Civica (Civic Library) in Piazza Vecchia, a location that is featured in the novel itself.
Death in the High City centres on the investigation into the death of an English woman who was staying in the Città Alta while writing a biography of the composer Gaetano Donizetti.
The novel is the first of a series to feature the characters of Kate Butler, a freelance journalist, and Steve Bartorelli, a Detective Chief Inspector, who is of partly Italian descent and has just retired from the English police.
The victim had been living in an apartment in Bergamo’s Città Alta and much of the action takes place within the walls of the upper town. The local police do not believe there is enough evidence to open a murder enquiry and so Kate Butler, who is the victim’s cousin, arrives in Bergamo to try to get some answers about her death.a
A beautiful view of the Italian city of Bergamo
The Città Alta seen from San Vigilio
Kate visits many of the places in the city with Donizetti connections and her enquiries even take her out to Lago d’Iseo and into the countryside around San Pellegrino Terme. But after her own life is threatened and there has been another death in the Città Alta, her lover, Steve Bartorelli, joins her to help unravel the mystery and trap the killer. The reader is able to go along for the ride and enjoy Bergamo’s wonderful architecture and scenery while savouring the many descriptions in the novel of local food and wine.
The novel will be of interest to anyone who enjoys the ‘cosy’ crime fiction genre or likes detective novels with an Italian setting.

Death in the High City by Val Culley is available from Amazon.co.uk

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Arli Hotel Bergamo

 

This smart Bergamo hotel is in an ideal position


In the heart of Bergamo’s Città Bassa (lower town), the comfortable Arli Hotel provides an ideal base for exploring the city and surrounding area.
Situated in Largo Porta Nuova, the three-star hotel is about half way between the railway station and the funicolare (funicular station) for the Città Alta (upper town), approximately 400 metres from them both.
Arli Hotel in Largo Porta Nuova
It is very close to the stops for buses to the Città Alta and the airport at Orio al Serio and is handy for some of the best shops and restaurants in the Città Bassa.
The Arli Hotel has a bright, welcoming reception area, which leads into La Delizia restaurant. There is also a dedicated internet room on the ground floor.
There is a lift to the 66 bedrooms and guests can opt for single, double or king size accommodation.
Editor’s note: “When I stayed at the Arli Hotel I was impressed with both the comfort of the bed and pillows and the selection of food offered at the buffet breakfast, which was included in the price of the room.”

For more information, to check prices and to book a room at the Arli Hotel, try our booking partners Hotels.com and Expedia UK.

Why stay at Arli Hotel in Bergamo?
The Arli Hotel is in an excellent location in Bergamo, handy for some of the best bars, restaurants and shops.
The Arli Hotel also has its own wine bar and guests can use the facilities of the Fit and Well Spa. There is free car parking for guests and room service is available after 10.30 pm for late arriving visitors.

Book a room at the Arli Hotel, Bergamo with Expedia UK.

What to see near the Arli Hotel
The beautiful church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is on the corner of Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII and Porta Nuova, with its 19th century green cupola topped with a golden statue. The origins of the church go back to 1422 when a convent was built on the site. The beautiful cloisters have been preserved within the church buildings, although the convent was suppressed at the beginning of the 19th century.
Porta Nuova with the upper town in the background
The distinctive Propilei di Porta Nuova, two buildings that look like small temples, were designed by Ferdinando Crivelli in the mid 19th century and built on the site of one of the gates of the muraine, the name for the old city walls that used to run through the Città Bassa.
Via Sentierone is a popular place for la passeggiata. The Sentierone, which means broad path, links Piazza Vittorio Veneto with Via Torquato Tasso, a road that leads into the oldest part of the Città Bassa.
The Donizetti monument, set back from Via Sentierone in Piazza Cavour, was erected in 1897 to commemorate the first anniversary of Donizetti’s birth. An imposing structure in white marble, it depicts the composer sitting on a bench gazing at the figure of a female playing the lyre. Set in the middle of a pond and surrounded by plants and trees, the monument is inscribed simply ‘A Gaetano Donizetti’.
La Chiesa dei Santi Bartolomeo e Stefano, at the corner of Via Torquato Tasso and Largo Bortolo Belotti, provides an impressive backdrop for Via Sentierone. Inside are some beautiful 18th century frescoes, but it is difficult not to be drawn straight to the magnificent altarpiece, Madonna with Child and Saints painted in 1513 by Lorenzo Lotto. The painting is also sometimes referred to as Pala Martinengo as it was commissioned by Alessandro Martinengo Colleoni, the nephew and adopted ‘son’ of condottiero Bartolomeo Colleoni.
Palazzo della Provincia in Via Torquato Tasso is Bergamo’s seat of provincial government. Built between 1864 and 1871, it was the first public work to be carried out in Bergamo after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy . The new building was designed on a grand scale to house both the offices of the provincial administration and the prefecture of police. On the facade you will notice five carvings depicting significant events and personalities in Bergamo’s history.
La Chiesa di Santo Spirito in Piazzetta Santo Spirito is considered the most important religious Renaissance building in the Città Bassa. It was converted from an original 14th century church by the Venetian born architect Pietro Isabello in 1530 on behalf of some of the rich merchant families in Bergamo . The fine Renaissance design is more striking inside where there is a nave and ten side chapels divided by tall columns. Santo Spirito houses Enthroned Madonna with Saints and Angels, painted by Lorenzo Lotto in 1521.
Directions:
The Arli Hotel can be found in Largo Porta Nuova, just off Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, the main thoroughfare that leads from the station up to the Città Alta.  It can be reached on foot or by bus or taxi from the station, or by bus and taxi from the airport at Orio al Serio.

Restaurant recommendation:
La Ciotola is a short walk away from Arli Hotel in Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII in the centre of the Città Bassa. La Ciotola, which means ‘the bowl’, offers specialities such as gnocchi with fennel in a cream sauce and risotto with truffles in red wine. There are fish and chicken dishes and a long pizza list, or you could try the local favourite of veal with mushrooms and polenta.

Local specialities:
Try casoncelli alla bergamasca ( Bergamo’s own version of stuffed pasta), polenta taragna (polenta with Taleggio cheese) and stinco al forno (pork shank braised in red wine with vegetables and herbs).

Local wines:
White: Try Valcalepio Bianco, a light dry wine with a delicate fragrance, produced in the small valley between Bergamo and Lago d’Iseo.
Red: Valcalepio Rosso is dry and soft with an intense scent. It is placed on sale every year after 1 November following six months’ refinement in wooden casks. It goes well with red meat, game and polenta and local cheeses, such as taleggio.

Shopping:
One of the main thoroughfares in the Città Bassa in Bergamo is Via XX Settembre, which leads from Piazza Vittorio Veneto in the centre to Largo Nicolo Rezzara at the lower end of Via Sant’Alessandro.
Dubbed ‘the shopping street’ by the Bergamaschi because of the wealth of smart shops that line both sides, Via XX Settembre is actually named after an important event in Italy’s history.
It was on 20 September 1870 that Italian troops under Victor Emanuel II finally entered Rome and completed the unification of Italy .
Rome had remained under French control even after the first Italian parliament had proclaimed Victor Emanuel King of Italy, despite repeated events by nationalists to liberate it.
But after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war Napoleon III withdrew his troops. Italian soldiers seized their chance and after a brief bombardment were able to enter Rome through a breach in the walls at Porta Pia.
Victor Emanuel took up residence in the Quirinale Palace and Italy was declared officially united.
These days shoppers celebrate the anniversary by visiting the top establishments that grace the elegant street such as Calvin Klein, Stefanel, Benetton, Max Mara, Luisa Spagnoli, Marina Rinaldi and Sisley.

Book a room at the Arli Hotel, Bergamo with Hotels.com or compare prices with Expedia UK

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Beat the winter blues with a bargain break in Italy

At this time of the year, with Christmas now behind us, many people start to look forward to their next holiday.
But because the summer seems a long way away, I would recommend planning a short winter break in Italy to take your mind off the bad weather and having to return to the daily grind.
The next few weeks would be a good time to go with cheap flights and bargain hotel prices being advertised at the moment.
To keep the costs down still further, be prepared to stay in less well-known towns or resorts where meals and taxi fares are usually cheaper.
There are often low cost flights available to airports close to the great cities of RomeVenice and Milan.
The Venetian lagoon in winter
But if you base yourself just outside these cities you will find you spend less, while still getting the chance to enjoy the same great atmosphere, architecture, food and wine.
If you can find a cheap flight to Rome (Ciampino), consider staying in the ancient, wine-producing city of Frascati, just down the road from the airport.
The city has the feel of Rome, but it is on a smaller scale and life is at a less frantic pace. There are statues, fountains and wonderful architecture, but it is easy to walk around Frascati and there is little crime there, according to a taxi driver I spoke to.
It is said that Frascati’s delicious white wine ‘non viaggia bene’ (does not travel well), which is all the more reason to drink it there, in quaint wine bars serving it cheaply by the glass.
Villas built by wealthy Romans on the hills behind Frascati now lie in ruins, but there are elegant 16th and 17th century villas, such as the imposing Villa Aldobrandini, to look round.
Take the train to Rome (30 mins) and see the sights, but return in the evening to sit on a terrace sipping wine, looking down over the eternal city.
I recommend the Hotel Colonna as a good base in Frascati.
If you can book a low cost flight to Venice (Marco Polo), why not go by train or taxi to nearby Padova, a sophisticated city with good shops, restaurants and hotels.
Padova’s Scrovegni Chapel contains one of the world’s greatest works of art, a complete cycle of frescoes painted by Giotto between 1303 and 1305, the first time an artist created life-like figures with realistic expressions.
Padova is home to one of the most important places of Christian worship, the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, where pilgrims pray to the saint.
Foodies will be fascinated by the variety of shops and stalls in the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza delle Frutta.
You could take the train to Venice (35 mins) and arrive in style at Santa Lucia railway station on the Grand Canal, then return to Padova at night to enjoy an excellent meal, at a lower price than you would pay around St Mark’s Square.
Good places to stay in Padova are Hotel Belludi 37 and Hotel Europa.
For more detailed information about Padova visit www.bestofpadova.com.
There are currently some bargain flights to be found for Bergamo Caravaggio airport, also known as Milan Bergamo.  And you will be missing a trick if you don’t stay and explore Bergamo, a historic city with two distinct centres.
Bergamo's beautiful Piazza Vecchia
The upper town is a beautiful, walled city with buildings that date back to medieval times, but there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to welcome visitors.
At the heart of the city is Piazza Vecchia, remodelled during the Renaissance and praised by architects as the most beautiful square in Italy.
Walk through the archways under Palazzo della Ragione to see the Colleoni Chapel, considered the finest Renaissance building in Italy.
The lower town also has elegant buildings and a good choice of restaurants and hotels. From there you could take the train to Milan (50 mins) to see the sights, but in the evening you will be glad to return to the peace of Bergamo and dine within its 16th century walls.
I'd recommend staying at the Hotel Excelsior San Marco or the Hotel Cappello d’Oro while in Bergamo.
For more detailed information about Bergamo visit www.bestofbergamo.com.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Hotel Belludi 37 Padova

This charming hotel is right in the historic centre of Padova

An ideal base for a stay in Padova is the area between the Basilica di Sant’Antonio and the city’s main square, Prato delle Valle.
The Hotel Belludi 37 is about halfway between these two sights in a converted palazzo in Via Beato Luca Belludi. It is in a perfect location for people wishing to explore the city on foot, with most of the ‘must see’ attractions within a short walk of the hotel.
Hotel Belludi 37
Despite its traditional façade, the Hotel Belludi 37 is very modern on the inside with a simple contemporary décor and modern furniture in all the guest rooms.
The reception desk just inside the entrance hallway is always manned by friendly, helpful staff and a staircase with ornate wrought iron balustrading leads up to the guest rooms and the breakfast room.
The hotel offers free wireless internet and the use of bicycles for getting around Padova. It is in an area well off for bars and restaurants but is close to tram and bus stops if you want to travel further afield.
Many guests have commented after their stay that the Hotel Belludi 37 feels more like a four star than a two star hotel.
Editor’s note: “Having experienced the friendly service I can well understand why so many of the guests return to Hotel Belludi 37 on their next visit to Padova.”
Why stay at Hotel Belludi 37 in Padova
The Hotel Belludi 37 provides modern, stylish accommodation right in the centre of Padova.
It is a short walk away from Basilica di Sant’Antonio and Prato delle Valle, two of Padova’s main attractions.
There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops within easy reach of the hotel and it is close to a stop for the tram that goes to the railway station.
Book a room at Hotel Belludi 37, Padova with Hotels.com or compare prices at Expedia UK.

What to see in Padova
Padova is one of the most important centres for religion and art in Italy and is home to the country’s second oldest university.
The enormous Basilica del Santo was built in the 13th century to preserve the mortal remains of Sant’Antonio, a Franciscan monk who became famous for his miracles. The magnificent church attracts pilgrims from all over the world and is rich with works of art by masters such as Titian and Tiepolo.
Padova has become acknowledged as the birthplace of modern art because it is home to the Scrovegni Chapel, the inside of which is covered with frescoes by Giotto, a genius who was the first to paint people with realistic facial expressions showing emotion.
At Bo, Padova’s university founded in 1222, you can still see the original lectern where Galileo held his lessons and the world’s first anatomy theatre where dissections were secretly carried out from 1594.
Visitors are also fascinated by the extensive range of food stalls and shops in the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza delle Frutta.
Directions:
Hotel Belludi 37 is located in Via Beato Luca Belludi. The nearest tram stop is a short walk away in Prato delle Valle.
Restaurant recommendation:
Zairo in Prato delle Valle is close to the Hotel Belludi 37. The elegant restaurant is decorated with chandeliers, statues and frescoes, echoing the grandeur of the square.
Ristorante Zairo
When Zairo was renovated in 1988, the original architecture of an earlier church on the site was uncovered and this has been skilfully incorporated into the design of the restaurant along with a 17th century fresco that has been preserved.
The restaurant’s statues and wall decorations recall the Roman activities that would once have taken place within the elliptical space of Prato delle Valle, such as chariot races and theatre entertainment.
Zairo’s menu offers a wide choice of meat and fish dishes, some typical of the Veneto and some specialities from Puglia . There is also an extensive pizza list.
The restaurant, at 51 Prato delle Valle, close to the Basilica of Santa Giustina, is open from 12.00 to 14.30 and from 19.00 to 01.00. It is closed on Mondays.

Local specialities:
Cucina padovana (Padovan cooking) is similar to that of Venice but with a few traditions all of its own.
Look out for risotto ricco alla padovana which is served with duck and chicken and risotto with radicchio, a vegetable grown locally.
Popular pasta dishes include tortelli di zucca dolce (sweet pumpkin stuffed ravioli) and bigoli con ragu d’anatra (little strings of pasta with a duck sauce).
Various cuts of chicken and duck served with a variety of different sauces and vegetable accompaniments feature strongly among secondi piatti in most restaurants.  
Local wines:
Many good wines are produced in the area around Padova.
You will see Pinot Bianco and Soave among the white wines on menus.
If you like red wine you will be spoilt for choice as Merlot, Bardolino and Valpolicella are all produced in the Veneto .
And if you fancy something sparkling make sure you sample some light, refreshing Prosecco. Not far from the city is the so-called strada del Prosecco, the road between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, which is lined with wineries producing Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), the stamp of quality given to the best Italian wines.
Shopping:
There are designer fashion shops in the centre of the city, fascinating food markets in Piazza della Frutta and Piazza delle Erbe and antiques and bric a brac on sale at the weekend markets held in Prato della Valle.
Book a room at the Hotel Belludi 37, Padova with Expedia UK or check prices with Hotels.com.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Death in the High City

Brand new detective story with an Italian setting



A new crime novel set in Italy has just been published on Amazon Kindle.
The novel is the first in a series featuring detective duo Kate Butler, a freelance journalist, and Steve Bartorelli, a retired Detective Chief Inspector who is of partly Italian descent.
Believed to be the first British crime novel to put the spotlight on Bergamo, in Lombardia, Death in the High City centres on the investigation into the death of an English woman who was writing a biography of the composer Gaetano Donizetti.
Of interest to anyone who enjoys the cosy crime fiction genre or likes detective novels with an Italian setting, the book is currently available as a Kindle edition, but can also be read on smartphones, tablets and computers using Amazon’s free Kindle app.
The dead woman had been living in an apartment in Bergamo’s Città Alta and much of the action takes place within the walls of the high city. The local police do not believe there is enough evidence to open a murder inquiry and so Kate Butler, who is the victim’s cousin, arrives on the scene to try to get some answers about her cousin’s death.
Kate visits many of the places in Bergamo with Donizetti connections and her enquiries even take her out to the beautiful Lago d’Iseo. But after her own life is threatened and there has been another death in the Città Alta, her lover, Steve Bartorelli, joins her to help her unravel the mystery and trap the killer. The reader is able to go along for the ride and enjoy the wonderful architecture and scenery of Bergamo and the surrounding area while savouring the many descriptions in the novel of the local food and wine.

Death in the High City, by Val Culley was published in May, 2014 and is now available on Amazon.