All posts filed under: featured

Neoclassical School Building in Arizona Desert

Sonoran Desert Inn: The Only Non-Profit Inn in the USA

A way to rethink the way we travel is through sustainable tourism. Travel and hospitality can be a polluting, displacing industry and the concious traveler often wants to put their travel dollars towards righting this. Welcome to Sonoran Desert Inn, the only non-profit inn in the USA doing things a little bit differently. Sonoran Desert Inn is the only non-profit inn in the country.  Based in Ajo, Arizona, right on the border with Mexico in the Sonoran desert, this inn is housed in a converted school house of  those once robust, desert mining towns that dominate imagery of the west. Do you like off-the-beaten-path travel visiting ghost towns, old mining towns or factory towns? Then this place is for you. And you’d be giving funds to marganilized communities. As a not-for-profit organization, the inn functions to attract visitors to Ajo and the surrounding region. It helps to support Ajo’s economic development through direct employment and partnerships with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists. The inn partners with ISDA (International Sonoran Desert Alliance*) to tell Ajo’s rich history in early 20th century America. John Greenway was the manager of the New Cornelia Copper …

Man and woman in brown row boat on Lake Braies and Lake is aqua

A Perfect Weekend at Lake Braies & The Dolomites

A vacation to Italy doesn’t have to be beach clubs and sea views! A visit to the Dolomites and the picturesque Lake Braies offers a refreshing mountain adventure and perfect weekend! Have you heard of the South Tyrol Region of Italy? What about the Dolomites? Pretty beautiful right? But there’s more than just skiing for tourists.  The Dolomites is a perfect (and refreshing) trip to the mountains during your Italy tour. Base your trip around a visit to Lake Braies. Lago di Braies (Italian) or Pragser Wildsee (in German) is an Alpine lake in a UNESCO world heritage site in the South Tyrol, Italy. You might hear German in the area. It is as spoken there as Italian and you’ll find a pretty cool blend of Austrian and Italian culture. Bring on the mountain food! Michele surprised me with this trip for my birthday. I didn’t know where we were going until we were there. Family, couples retreat, trip with the homies: a weekend in Lake Braies and the Dolomites is the perfect escape from the summer heat. …

Italy Announces New Digital Nomad Visa

In order to aid with tourism revitalization and slow tourism in particular, in May, Italy will be announcing a year-long renewable digital nomad visa to non EU citizens. Years ago, when looking into residency permits in Italy, I found the process a bit archaic in regards to today’s world and digital nomads. One of the standards of self-employment required you to invest a couple hundred thousand euros in a company in the country! More often than not, technology moves faster than bureaucracy and Italy wants visitors to know they’ve heard and received! The country wants slow tourism and this is another arm of it! Italy’s digital nomad visa will attract talent to the country as well as even revitalize places that have lost residents from brain drain, age, or in the case of Venice, rising housing costs due to tourism. So who are digital nomads? According to the decree: “Citizens of a third country, who carry out highly qualified work activities through the use of technological tools that allow them to work remotely on a …

Taormina under Mt Etna by Nneya Richards

The Perfect Weekend in Taormina, Sicily

You may have heard of Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily because of its glitzy international film festival or as it’s one of the towns on the magical Mount Etna hiking trail. The allure of Taormina is easy to understand. It’s a picture perfect Italian town showcasing Sicily’s rich history through its architecture, dating back to all of Taormina’s former rulers: Greeks, Romans, Byzantine, the Arabs, the Normans, the French and the Spanish. In more recent years Taormina was a favorite haunt of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton and Jay-Z and Beyoncé. Bougainvilleas and plants in colorful ceramics adorn balconies. Nonnas hang laundry to take in the rays of the sun. Luxury stores dot Taormina’s main drag, Corso Umberto, right next to generations old gelaterie and Sicilian artisan shops. It’s the kind of place you want to stroll hand in hand with your bae down romantic side streets, just dodging a guy on a vespa. The stunning cliffside view of the Ionian Sea’s Bay of Naxos is awe-inspiring. The beaches and …

eating pizza with Winta

Guide to Black Owned Italy

Last year I introduced Tripadvisor’s audience to my dolce vita with a Guide to Black Owned Italy. But that was just scratching the surface. Immediately after I found out about more businesses and many of you sent me others. The response was exciting and inspiring. Want to know one thing I wish people knew that I have learned while living in Italy? How diverse the country is. In both its ancient history — the diverse Roman Empire — to recent history like Italian Somaliland to immigration now, Italy’s diverse population influences much of what it means to “be Italian.” Coffee from Ethiopia and Marco Polo’s China expeditions contributing to the origins of pasta are far too often ignored and unknown. Often, this history is “hiding” in plain site: William Shakespeare’s Othello, Blackamoor art, the stories of Alessandro de’Medici, the Black member of the famed Florentine Medicis. There was even a Black Roman emperor, Septimus Severus from 193 – 211. To say “there are very few black women in Milan and Italy as a whole” as …

Black woman looking over her shoulder in floral dress in Venice with water and gondolier in background

Venice Will Charge Tourists to Enter the City Soon

Starting sometime this year, Venice will charge tourists to enter the city. There have been murmurings of this plan since around 2018. Now updates have been announced that the Italian city of Venice will charge tourists to enter the city, particularly, day-trippers later in 2022. Most Americans visiting Italy stay around 7-10 days with their time divided between Florence, Rome and Venice (add Capri or the Amalfi Coast in the summer). The city welcomes around 30 million tourists yearly and this has totally changed the social fabric of it. The negatives that you’ll hear? Crowds, floods, the price gouging of tourists, misunderstood inhospitality or lack of true Venetians in the city (around 50,000) are just a few. But guess what? Despite all of this, Venice is absolutely worth it. I will never say Venice is overrated because… just WOW. The floods? They just add to the urgency of “Venice is sinking! Get there now!” During my mother’s last pre-pandemic visit to Italy, despite a train strike, being exhausted, I insisted we go to Venice. “Mom! …

A couple kissing in front of brick column on Lake Garda

10 Romantic Getaways for Valentine’s Day (And How to Recreate them at Home!)

Valentine’s Day 2022 is coming up and while we all thought we’d be traveling the world by now, Omicron is rearing its head. Here are 10 Romantic Getaways near and far for you to consider for Valentine’s Day. And, if travel is up in the air for you right now, here are some tips for you to recreate that special getaway at home! Verona, Italy Verona is naturally one of the most famous cities of romance, ever. Immortalized by Shakespeare as the setting of Romeo & Juliet, the city really leans into its reputation, even once partnering with Air Bnb on a romantic stay. I love the city of Verona, with it’s beautiful old town and romantic side streets. Check out my guide for a perfect stay in the city. Can’t make it to Italy? Open a bottle of Amarone wine, a rich dry Italian red from Veneto. Pour a glass and roll up your sleeves because you’re making a Verona specialty, risotto all’amarone. Here’s an easy to follow recipe from Food & Wine. Cue …

Woman Looking over Bell Rock Trailhead in Sedona Red Rock scenery behind her

Sedona Energy Vortexes – A Guide to Perfect Vibrations

Here’s a trip to consider for the start of your new year: the Sedona energy vortexes. Sometimes you travel for enlightenment or peace of mind. To find yourself. This can happen on any trip but there are certain parts of the world that are known as spiritual centers to “speed up” the process. Pilgrimages to Mecca. Seekers in India. The metaphysical vibrations with the Sedona energy vortexes. Long before the psychic Page Bryant named the energy vortexes of Sedona in 1980s, Native Americans recognized Sedona as a spiritual and healing center. The Yuvapai, Navajos, Hopi and Tonto Apaches only used the land as sites for sacred ceremonies. They came to heal in the red rocks of Sedona. Within these energy vibrations they found their hearts. But I’m not into all of this New Age stuff That’s why Sedona is a perfect trip. You don’t necessarily subscribe to visiting a place because an 80s psychic says it’s a hotspot? Understandable. But I definitely wouldn’t call centuries old Native American traditions, “new age.” If nothing else, there …

The Perfect Weekend In Western Kentucky

Bourbon and Bards, Caves and Corvettes. If you just thought of fried chicken, you’re missing out. Here’s a guide to a weekend in Bowling Green and Louisville, Kentucky. Something I’m constantly reminding myself is how big America is. As a stereotypical coastal person, I’ve far from been to every state in this great country so I happily accepted an invitation from the Kentucky Tourism board to visit. Let’s shoot a Western! Start in Bowling Green. Downtown Bowling Green’s main square and Fountain Park is straight out of a movie set. Western style colorful buildings, an old-school theatre, the Capitol Arts Center, dating back to the 1890s, and a beautiful park with ornate cast iron fences with romantic southern curlicues. I went in the early morning and there was a stunning morning mist and suddenly the square came alive with Bowling Greeners starting their day. While there, grab a coffee at Spencer’s on College street. Where to stay. The Hotel Sync, an exec suite apartment style living on Corvette Dr, is right next door to the …

Closed Umbrellas on Beach in Calabria

What To Know Before Booking Your September Italian Travel 2021

September is a great time to travel to Italy this 2021, but with Italy reinstating Covid-19 restrictions for American visitors, here’s what you should know before heading to Italy. Umbrellas are closing, summer in Italy is coming to an end. But the summer season isn’t officially over yet. Often times, that makes for the best time to visit the country. My first time in Le Cinque Terre was in September as a study abroad student. It was a trip free from crowds; I had a much easier time booking a B&B and got to really hang with locals. But before you book those last minute trips and travel to Italy in 2021, here are a few things you should know. Italy has indeed taken the EU’s advice and reinstated some restrictions for Americans. In my opinion, this is part Delta, part politics, part economics. The summer season is over, the US did not reciprocate. Other countries removed from the safe travel list include Israel, Japan and Canada. Any traveler that’s been in the US in …