A Day on the Island of Capri

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The isle of Capri has had a fascinating past. Most  recently in the 50s and 60s it was the haunt of the rich and famous who paraded their bronzed tans and good looks in the tiny streets of this gorgeous small island which is just off the coast of Naples on the Amalfi coast.  It was the place to see, and definitely the place to be seen – expensive, exclusive and  just the type of hideout needed for a famous movie star to rest and let their hair down for a few weeks between movies. Names like Kirk Douglas, Jackie Kennedy, Lana Turner, Liz Taylor and Greta Garbo were well known to the residents and restaurant owners.

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Avoid the Shock and Horror of the Post Holiday Phone Bill

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Have you heard the horror stories of unsuspecting travellers returning from holidays and nearly going into cardiac arrest when faced with their post holiday phone bill?

I speak from experience as it’s happened to me. When faced with a massive bill, the memories of that amazing holiday will soon disappear, I promise you.

If you have a smartphone you absolutely, positively must be aware that you will not be able to use it when overseas the same way you use it at home – that is unless you have the financial backing of someone like Bill Gates.

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Vaporetto Dell’Arte – New Hop On Hop Off Water Bus in Venice

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The locals must be ecstatic, I can almost hear a collective sigh of relief. At last the City of Venice has recognised the long over-due need for a dedicated vaporetto, or water bus, just for tourists. Venice is a stunningly gorgeous but special city, with canals replacing roads and boats by cars, and with a reportedly 15 million tourists a year something desperately needed to be done about the congestion on the vaporetto.

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If you’ve ever been to Venice, you will know what I mean when I say it seemed almost impossible at times to squeeze one more person on these sometimes overloaded vessels – although I don’t know whether I’ve ever heard of one sinking. With Venetian children on the way to school, mothers shopping for the weekly groceries or business men on their way to work, I for one always felt guilty when taking up valuable space toting my luggage onto the vaporetto.

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Calcio Storico, Florence

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Calcio Storico, Florence

Football with a bit of biff

CALCIO STORICO: Firenze, Feast of San Giovanni Battista

Every year the Santa Croce Piazza is filled with sand and surrounded by temporary stands as it hosts three traditional soccer games, two qualifying semi finals, followed by a final between the two victorious teams. This grand final is held on 24 June to celebrate the Feast of San Giovanni, with four squads of twenty seven men, each wearing medieval clothing, going into battle like warriors of old. The four squads are formed from the four historic quarters of Firenze: Santo Spirito (whites), Santa Croce (blues), Santa Maria Nouvella (reds) and San Giovanni (greens). The finalists in 2011 were Santo Spirito and Santa Croce, with the blues gaining a thrilling victory by the narrowest of margins.

Calcio Storico is a wonderfully weird combination of wrestling and football, using a soccer ball which is thrown rather than kicked and run towards goal by the sprinters in the team, while the big men wrestle each other on the ground. All 27 men from both teams are on the field at the one time for 50 minutes without a break, and they use fair means and foul to score, giving supporters an amazing spectacle, although there is so much going on at any one time on the 40 x 20 metre field that it’s difficult to know where to look, especially as the ball is not always clearly visible! It is not uncommon for several players to be stretchered off the field during the game, as this is a very serious battle on the feast of the city’s patron saint and locals are of course very passionate about their teams.

This post is written by Krista Bell.