Dante’s Tomb – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , July 28th, 2018

Dante's Tomb - Keep Calm and Wander

You can’t talk about Italian literature without mentioning Dante Alighieri who peacefully rests in Ravenna. I’d say that his Divine Comedy (Divina Comedia) is, perhaps, the greatest Italian literary work the world has ever known. It’s a classic that must be read whether you’re a believer of hell, purgatory and paradise or not.

Is Dante’s Tomb in Florence Real?

If you were told by one of your guides or a local in Florence that Dante is buried in their city – ignore it. There’s no truth in that. That “tomb” you see in Florence is nothing but air inside. Empty – that is. It’s nothing but a memorial to Dante who was born in Florence.

But what’s this myth about Dante’s tomb lies in Florence? Well, in 1519, Pope Leo X directed that Dante’s bones be moved to Florence but the Franciscan monks at the nearby monastery stole them away and hid them for more than 300 years. It was re-discovered in 1865 – by chance!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Ravenna’s Magnificent Mosaics at the Basilica di San Vitale – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , June 18th, 2018

Basilica di San Vitale - Keep Calm and Wander

Ravenna is called “The City of Mosaics” for places such as the Basilica di San Vitale. I was dazzled by the Byzantine mosaics that played before my eyes and I couldn’t help but contemplate all its historical attributes of this place, not to mention its architectural magnificence.

The first stone foundation of the basilica was laid in 526 and after treacherous years of construction, it was finally completed by the 27th Bishop of Ravenna known as Maximian.

The Splendid Mosaics of Basilica di San Vitale in Ravenna

The basilica has all the elements of Roman Empire from its dome, towers, doorways, and that of the Byzantine elements of narrow bricks, perfectly illustrious mosaics and a polygonal apse. That is the structural brilliance that the place is built with.

However, more than this, what really captures the eyes and the heart of a visitor are the mosaics that are dotted around the building, lining its walls, and creating moving depictions of the old testament – all the way up to the dome.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , April 30th, 2018

Mausoleo di Galla Placidia in Ravenna - Keep Calm and Wander

I am an admirer of ancient art. And when I glance back at the time I spent in Mausoleo di Galla Placidia or the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, I feel that my thirst for the arts, especially the mosaic art, had been partly quenched.

To describe this small mesmerizing place, I’d go with what UNESCO has said about it: “It is the earliest and best preserved of all mosaic monuments, and at the same time one of the most artistically perfect.”

1. It is still unknown what the building was built for

Surprisingly enough, by the looks of it, one would think that it is a chapel. The Byzantine mosaics dotted on the ceiling, the walls, and the floor say much about it pertaining to its role as a chapel. However, till date, no one quite knows what it was built for. I asked one of the men there about its story and he said that this building was built by Honorius’ sister Galla Placidia. Honorius was the Roman ruler at that time. Just like me, ahem, Galla Placidia also loved arts and crafts and, reportedly, she poured all of her love in creating the captivating mosaics lining the walls of this place. But more than her love for the arts, it seems that she built it as a mausoleum for her and her family.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Ravenna Gay Travel Resources

A Day in Bologna – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , February 18th, 2018

Bologna - Keep Calm and Wander

I was in Bologna for two full days and nights. However, I only spent a day in Bologna because I spent the second day in Ravenna, a small city which is an hour and 15 minutes by train. Ravenna is a city known for its amazing mosaics, history and architecture. It’s also the final resting place of Dante, a great Italian poet, who wrote Divina Comedia (Divine Comedy).

A Day Trip. Bologna can be reached by 35 minutes by train from Florence. It’s 2 hours from Venice and an hour and a half from Verona.

Let’s just say you arrive at Bologna Centrale at 8 AM. From here, follow the scent of freshly baked brioche and coffee coming from Bar Della Stazione, a little coffee shop that provide pastry, drink and juice to all the people that are running for work. Get a creamy espresso with a full flavor of the best Italian coffee! This will wake you up from the long trip. And don’t forget to bring a bottle of water before you go to your next destination.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Bologna Gay Travel Resources

Bologna From the Top – Keep Calm and Wander

Author: , November 8th, 2017

Bologna - Keep Calm and Wander

Bologna is a city that still looks medieval from the streets to the rooftops. And thank goodness, it’s one of the off-beaten paths that tourists skip when visiting Italy. I’m glad I did stop here for two nights without expecting much on what to do and see. After two weeks of backpacking in Italy, I decided to slow down in Bologna. The city is pretty relaxed and there weren’t many tourists when I was there. The main square was a bit crowded but few steps from it, you’ll find a nice place to sit on for a drink or two.

Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. I didn’t know much about Bologna until I came here. In fact, the only clear knowledge I had for the city is its pasta bolognese – which I was pretty sure originated from here. And, of course, I gobbled down on it with much gusto. It tasted good with any kind of wine. Yes, I had three different wines before, during and after the meal.

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Visit Italy’s Reggio Emilia – Gay Star News

Author: , August 16th, 2017

Reggio Emilia

Situated in Northern Italy, in the Po Valley – about a one-hour drive from Bologna – the town of Reggio Emilia has an ancient history.

In the 11th century, Reggio Emilia was at the heart of the vast territory controlled by Matilda of Tuscany – la Gran Contessa – a powerful feudal ruler and one of the few medieval women to be remembered for her military accomplishments. The castle of Canossa, in the Apennines south of Reggio, was Matilda’s main power-base.

Across the subsequent centuries, Reggio Emilia is a town that has continued to play an important role in the political and cultural life of this part of the world. More recently, it has been referred to as the Tricolour town, because it was here that the future Italian flag was adopted for the first time in 1797.
What to do

The best time to visit this region is during the spring, but at any time of year there’s plenty to explore. Some of the key highlights that you might want to include in your itinerary are:
The Sala del Tricolore (Tricolour Hall) and its Museum, which goes over the historical events with Napoleonic memorabilia and relics of the Risorgimento. Piazza Grande – surrounded by the Cathedral, the Baptistery and the Town Hall

See the Gay Star News Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Reggio Emilia

A Culinary and Creative Adventure Through Emilia-Romagna

Author: , October 16th, 2015


I am Italian by association, although the blood that runs through my veins is decidedly borscht by way of Russia. I grew up in a Midwestern suburb that was home to some of the four million Italian immigrants who made their way to the US during the late 19th and early 20th century. While most kids my age were cutting school to smoke a joint under the bleachers, I was taking advantage of my newly earned driver’s license to head to Alesci’s, a local Italian deli that’s famous for their foot-long sandwich of thinly sliced pepperoni, authentic giardiniera, and melted provolone. So it only made sense that my first visit to Italy would be one of culinary exploration, forgoing Milan’s high fashion and Rome’s architectural wonders for a prosciutto-packed road trip through Italy’s food and agritourism epicenter: Emilia-Romagna.

Nestled north of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna is one of Italy’s 20 regions and spans from the Adriatic Sea in the east toward its western borders of Piedmont and Liguria. Like the rest of the country, Emilia-Romagna touts local products, many of which have Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status that ensures they are “produced, processed, and prepared in a given geographical area using recognized “know how” according to the European Commission. Labels aside, I quickly discover that local favorites such as heaping platters of shaved prosciutto di Parma served with chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano and free-flowing Lambrusco are the stuff that a foodie’s dreams are made of.


I begin my road trip in Bologna, the region’s capital. The streets spill over with students from the University of Bologna (Europe’s oldest university), and if you can distract yourself from their youthful exuberance and dynamic gesticulations, the city teems with covered porticos and a collection of more than 20 towers that were built by the city’s most noble families between the 11th and 13th centuries. While it’s easy to look up to take in the sights, look below and you’ll discover another unique feature: a 37-mile network of canals that weave throughout and underneath the city.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport | Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

At the Seaside…

Author: , October 15th, 2014

at-the-seaside_3550I’ve been struggling to write this post for too long. But today, while sitting on a park bench in Cesenatico, Italy, the words finally came. You see, I’ve had a surprisingly momentous week. I don’t always talk about the personal things going on in my life here on the blog, though sometimes you’ll get glimpses on my public Facebook. I try to share when I can, but with so much of my life public, it’s also nice to have a bit of privacy. I love blogging and if you haven’t noticed by now, I usually don’t shy away from injecting my personality into my travel stories. This blog aims to be not just another useful travel resource, but also (hopefully) fun, interesting and unique.

Regardless, I don’t always put my emotions onto paper (or the keyboard, in this case). I think I’m usually quite a private person–perhaps surprising considering the public nature of this blog. But I’ve always struggled with sharing emotions. Not really out of a fear, but more likely this crazy idea I have that I’m sometimes a burden. In most instances, I can talk lots about myself. But at the same time, I’m definitely aware of what I’m doing. I love attention, yes, (I’m a blogger, after all), but I’m also quite capable of turning it off and just being.

Just being.

This article was written by Adam Groffman, author of the internationally popular travel blog, Travels of Adam. Read more here: At the Seaside….

Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Italian Days Food Experience in Modena, Italy

Author: , September 20th, 2014

Italy Food Tour - Dolly GoolsbyWow. What a day we had! We had arranged to do a tour again, with Alessandro, owner and creator of Italian Days Food Experience. (http://www.timesofitaly.com)

Susan and I had done this tour last year, and I thought, correctly, that my travel group would enjoy the experience. All the products we got to see and taste, the cheese, the balsamico, and the prosciutto, are certified DOP, which means that they are made according to the regulations of the consortium that makes sure all the steps are followed, from the feeding and care of the cows that produce the milk for the cheese, the grapes and aging process of the balsamico, and the food fed to the pigs that become prosciutto as well as that aging process. It is a very exacting process for each step for each product, but that DOP seal means that one can be sure of the high standard and quality of those foods.

We were picked up at our hotel in Bologna, by our driver, Raphaello, at 0700 this morning. We drove from Bologna to Modena, to a Parmigiano- Reggiano factory, where we were witness to the birth of a new batch of this wonderful cheese.

The milk cooks in one of 10 copper vats, the beginning of the year-long process of becoming true Parmigiano -Reggiano cheese (DOP). This is the certification of the Consortium that regulates the production of the cheese. Alessandro explained the process to us, then we walked through the factory, viewing cheeses in various stages of aging. By law, the cheeses are aged for a minimum of one year.

After the cheese tasting, we went to a balsamico factory. This factory has some of the best balsamico I have ever tasted. The one called balsamico condimento is aged at least 6 years, then there are two other ones that are aged a minimum of 12 and 25 years, respectively. The making of that wonderful balsamico is so different from the kind of balsamico we get in the United States. But of course, it is very expensive, too, so we just enjoyed the tastings. Wonderful on gelato and ricotta.

Balsamico ages in little barrels. Balsamico is also regulated by a consortium, so the final product will have a seal that verifies it has met the standards and is certified DOP.

Then we were off to the prosciutto factory. Again, Alessandro explained the curing and aging process to us. Prosciutto of Modena is also a DOP product. The entire process is regulated by that consortium.

Of course we got to taste the finished product there, also, accompanied by bread sticks and more Lambrusco wine. This wine, by the way, is not the Lambrusco you might remember from the 1960’s, in the United States. This wine is really good.

Then we went to lunch! We were taken to an organic farm/winery, called Corte d’Aibo, which is now also an agroturisimo. ( http://www.cortedaibo.it). So one could go stay there for a vacation, help out with the farming and enjoy their wonderful food every day of vacation. Sounds good to me!

Finally, we made our way back to Bologna, with the expert driving of Raphaello. We got back to the hotel at 4:30 p.m. We had had a long, wonderful day.

So tonight, in Bologna, we did not feel like eating or drinking anything, except water. Some of us took a long walk through town this evening, but primarily we just had to rest up after the long day of eating and drinking. What a great life we have!

Tomorrow we go to Cinque Terre. More adventures are waiting for us, I do believe. So I will say, Ciao for now, and catch up with you again when we are on the Ligurian coast.


By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels | Emilia Romagna Gay Travel Resources

Off the Beaten Path – Reggio Emilia, Italy

Author: , February 2nd, 2014

DJ Yabis in Reggio EmiliaRemember when I crashed at the Blogville apartment in Bologna after I got some tan in the Tuscan Riviera? Well after that, we went on a day trip from Bologna to this really sweet and totally off the beaten path city in Emilia-Romagna region called Reggio Emilia. I was obviously excited to see a different side of Italy after all the usual cities like Rome, Florence and Milan and girl, was I happy to!

If you’re planning your trip to Italy soon and you want to go off-the-radar at some point and experience authentic Italy then I totally recommend Reggio Emilia.


It’s a beautiful, quaint city brimming with life. Interspersed with the fashion, food, and interesting shops are well-maintained palazzos and churches and narrow streets that ends in beautiful courtyards.

Authored By DJ Yabis – See the Full Story at Dream Euro Trip

Click here for gay travel resources in Emilia Romagna.