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CULTURE

Venice’s Royal Gardens to get a €5 million makeover

Venice's Royal Gardens, near the iconic Saint Mark's Square, will be restored in a multi-million euro project, the city's Garden Foundation announced on Friday.

Venice's Royal Gardens to get a €5 million makeover
The Royal Gardens. File photo: Elliott Brown/Flickr

Italy's Culture Ministry and the Generali insurance company will split the €5 million bill for the restoration, which will improve bridge links to the site as well as funding a cafe and other facilities in the often overlooked green oasis.

The small gardens were built on Napoleon's orders in the early 19th century, and can be found between Saint Mark's Square and the Grand Canal.

The project will restore the “enchanted site” to its “ancient splendour and significance,” according to Adele Re Rebaudengo, President of the Venice Gardens Foundation.

She said the gardens would be updated “in a formal and precise way, in keeping with its historic nineteenth-century design, but at the same time filled with the unexpected”.

Generali CEO Philippe Donet said Venice was a city “of utmost importance for the company”, which has its headquarters in nearby Trieste, and takes its company symbol from the old flag of the Republic of Venice.

The announcement comes less than a week after fashion house Gucci announced it was funding a revamp of Florence's Boboli Gardens. Recent years have seen a string of famous Italian sites renovated with funds from private donors, many of them from the luxury fashion sector.

A multi-million-euro makeover of Rome's Colosseum has been largely funded by fashion and shoewear group Tod's. The amphitheatre was sprayed with water to remove centuries of grime, and the arched facades were strengthened.

Meanwhile, Roman fashion house Fendi paid for a 16-month clean-up of the Trevi fountain which has been acclaimed by visitors. The nearly 300-year-old monument, visited by millions of tourists every year, hit the headlines in 2012 after bits of its elaborate cornice began falling off following a particularly harsh winter.

And the €1.5 million renovation of the capital's Spanish Steps was financed by jeweller Bulgari, which has a store nearby.

The cash-strapped Italian government has also appealed to private businesses to help save other heritage sites, including Pompeii.

READ ALSO: 17 of the most beautiful parks and gardens to see in Italy

17 of the most beautiful parks and gardens to visit in Italy
Photo: Stew Dean/Flickr

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LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

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