Every year for the past decade or so (with the exception of the COVID years of course), Becky and I have travelled to Italy for the delightful International Journalism Festival, which is held in the ancient city of Perugia, about two hours north of Rome in the hills of Umbria. It is a fantastic conference that takes place over five days and involves more than 350 speakers, hundreds of volunteers, and about a dozen amazing venues in the Centro Storico. Even more amazing, attendance is free and open to anyone. The photo below is just one of the beautiful venues, the Sala dei Notari or Gallery of Notables, which was built sometime in the 13th century — about two hundred years before Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.
Another one of the festival’s venues, which was new last year, is the incredible Church of San Francesco, which was partially destroyed in World War II and has been restored to become a modern entertainment venue — with plexiglas filling in the hole at the top of the nave, and a modern sound system. It was quite spectacular to be on stage there.
Every year we have been to Italy, we have taken advantage of the trip by booking a few days to go somewhere else for a short vacation. Last year it was Puglia, in the south, and we also made a side visit to Matera, the ancient city of caves, one of the oldest continuously-inhabited towns in the world. The year before that it was Florence and Pisa, and we’ve also seen most of Rome (of course) as well as Venice, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, and Cinque Terre. This year we met up with our Italian friend Anna Masera, who used to teach journalism at the university in Turin, and spent some time touring Sicily, including a somewhat terrifying trip up a very windy Mount Etna.Continue reading “A trip to Perugia and then to Sicily”