Having just got back from a family trip to Tuscany, Italy, I am deliriously in love with all things Italian–the food, the coffee, and most of all, the achingly beautiful architecture and art. So when I read that the country just called for free entry to all national museums and historical sites for kids under age 18, it made me want to pack up the twins and do the trip all over again. We didn't reap the benefits of the new law when we were there, and at often 15 euro a ticket, sightseeing became a costly venture. Now the Uffizi, Pitti Palace, the Medici museums, and hundreds of others are all gratis (see a full listing here). Who was it who said Italians do it better?
Clara Sedlak is a mother of two and Special Projects Editor at Travel + Leisure.
This week marks the 25th Anniversary of the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado, renowned as a showcase for diversity: from ballet masterpieces, to new work by established and emerging choreographers, and dancers and companies from New York City to Seattle and beyond. It is also a place of experimentation: traditional dance styles can blend with novel forms of movement, often with eye-popping results. Prime example: Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, whose cross-pollination of the Memphis-born jookin' street dance and classical ballet has gained him worldwide acclaim.
"A story is time itself, boxed and compressed," writes Michael Paterniti in his new book, The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese(Random House). Paterniti's story is a doozy. Somehow, he manages to bring together Roman-era caves in a Spanish town that time forgot, a gentle giant cheesemaker-turned-truck driver bent on revenge, a magical cheese, and a dreamy grad student in Michigan who grows up to become an award-winning journalist who dedicated years of his life to understanding those caves, the giant, and, of course, that cheese.
Paterniti, a correspondent for GQ, has traveled to places like Cambodia to write about the Khmer Rouge and Japan to tell an amazing story about the 2011 tsunami, but at the heart of almost all his work—especially in The Telling Room—is a fascination with storytelling itself. At one point in The Telling Room, Paterniti describes himself as "someone given to tilting the most quotidian events into a Viking epic," an impulse readers will sense from the very first page the book. At times, The Telling Room reads like a fairy tale, as Paterniti moves his family to a town where farmers talk with animals, one resident might be able to fly, and where his hero, Ambrosio Molinos, once created a cheese that could bring back forgotten memories.
We sent a few questions to Paterniti, who lives year-round in Portland, Maine with his wife, writer Sara Corbett, and their three kids. Here's what he had to say.
Santa Fe, New Mexico is known and loved for many reasons: as a hiking and ski destination, for its cultural scene, from galleries to the acclaimed Santa Fe Opera, and a range of delicious cuisines. Less well-known—but not for long—is the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this weekend and is extraordinary in its breadth and mission.Why?It brings 170 artists and artisans of fine craft from more than 50 countries to New Mexico to display their creations:carved horn jewelry from Peru, felt and muslin shawls from Kyrgyzstan, paper kites from Japan, embellished leather saddles from the Republic of Tuva (Russia), woven silk scarves from Madagascar, embroidered clothing, textiles, jewelry, pottery and ceramics from every continent, except Antarctica.
In addition to being the largest folk art market in the world, it provides the opportunity for artists to sell their work (they retain 90% of the proceeds), which in many cases provides the primary support for families at home and even sustains entire communities.What’s more, as a showcase for artisans and their work, the Folk Art Market has become a catalyst for the preservation of creative tradition, some of which would surely have been lost without exposure and economic incentive. The world is a more beautiful place because of it.
Mario R. Mercado is arts editor at Travel + Leisure.
New York’s Governors Island is already one of America’s coolest city parks, and this weekend it gets even better. Fête Paradiso, a festival of vintage French carnival rides and carousels opens tomorrow, July 13, on the island just in time for Bastille Day celebrations (July 14th).
After taking a spin on a carousel or two (some date back to 1850), head to the repurposed 1900 bumper car pavilion to enjoy classic French food including croque monsieur and sweet crepes from New York’s popular French bistro Le Gamin. There will also be a beer and wine garden.
Fête Paradiso is open every weekend from 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. until September 29. Admission is free and rides and games cost $3 each. For more pictures and how to get there, click through.
Nearly six million people traipse through the gardens and Hall of Mirrors at Versailles annually, braving lines and elbowing through crowds.
Let us tip you off to an alternative: before Versailles, there was Vaux le Vicomte, a lesser-known château that makes an easy day trip from Paris and offers a more blissful, intimate experience. It’s been cared for by the same family for five generations.
If your summer vacation takes you through Boston and you find that you can't decide which of the city's impressive cultural institutions to take the family to, the Museum of Fine Art has made the choice easier for you with Samurai. The exhibition, open through August 4th, marries Japanese history with pop culture to bring new life to the fabled warriors of feudal Japan. More than 140 objects, ranging from the 12th to the 19th centuries, are on display, including meticulously adorned lacquered helmets, weapons used for combat and ceremony and as a piece de resistance, two fully-armored horses carrying Samurai warriors, ready for battle.
Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, near Philadelphia and equidistant from Washington, D.C. and New York City, is one of the world's spectacular botanical parks, with more than 1,000 acres of woodlands, gardens, flowers, and fountains. Vibrant in all four seasons, Longwood takes on a particular hue in summer with a concert season that features performers ranging from Lyle Lovett to Tony Bennett to the Philadelphia Orchestra. In a grand ballroom, it also houses one of the world's largest concert organs with more than 10,000 pipes (music was a passion of Pierre S. du Pont, whose family legacy supports the gardens) that give full aural dimension to grand 19th and 20th symphonic organ music.
Part wunderkammer, part memory palace, this year’s 55th Venice Biennale is an introspective investigation into contemporary art. Through November 24, the Biennale will dance around the Renaissance as an “Encyclopedic Palace,” a conceptual skyscraper and memory palace based on a 1955 model by Italian-born artist Marino Auriti.