Archaeology, Art | Art History, BLOG, History, Italy, Travel

6 walled cities of Tuscany – with a great surprise at the end

Many luxury travelers have seen the major tourist cities in Italy such as Rome, Florence, and Venice. They have probably even visited the second-tier hot spots of Cinqueterre, the Amalfi Coast, and Sienna.

An area of Italy that is difficult to visit is Tuscany. Not because it is hard to find nor even hard to get to. But because it is so vast and there are hundreds of tiny pockets of Italian goodness. Point of fact: did you know that there are over 200 ancient walled cities in Tuscany? Most of the guidebooks take you through the same few towns and villages, so when you get there, they are packed with tourists.

Here, I will take you through several of these ancient towns and villages, beginning with the most common, and ending with a real surprise that is certainly off that beaten path. Along the way, take the time to enjoy some of the most excellent Tuscan wines from the Chianti region.

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Patty Civalleri, Author
Archaeology, Art | Art History, BLOG, Italy, Writing

The Secret to Writing

RESOLUTION: I WILL WRITE AND PUBLISH 2 BOOKS THIS YEAR – but HOW?

People often ask me how I manage to get any writing done with this crazy lifestyle of mine. It’s easy. I just sit down and write. I don’t think about it, I don’t put pressure on it. I just sit down and write. 

Many folks have told me they would LOVE to write a book, but they don’t know how to get started, or how to fit it in. But I guess I see it backward: I am constantly trying to figure out how to fit my crazy life into my writing time. Odd, I know.

I wasn’t born a writer, or perhaps I was. My 92-year-old Dad was a writer and still is. My 28-year-old son is a writing fiend. So I suppose that writing was supposed to come naturally to me as well. 

I was born with nothing

But I am one of those people that nothing came naturally to, so I overcompensated by over-learning everything until each thing became natural. Like playing classical piano, or singing, or cooking, or sailing, or photography, or graphic design, or computer technology, or science, or photoshop, or biology, or archaeology, or history, or or or…

Crazy is what crazy does

I have incorporated most all of these things (and many more) into my normal life’s flow. For example, I have served on the Director’s Council of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA for 17 years, I have built over 250 websites for just as many clients, I have taught Photoshop, I have photographed the darkest corners of our ancient world for nearly two decades, and I am the Commodore of a boating club. Periodically, I perform random acts of Public Relations for myself and others. I have a family, a dog, and three elderly senior loved ones that need consistent love and attention. I published a book last year that needs daily marketing or it dies. I love to travel, so I do. I was away from my home a total of five months during 2017. So yeah, I have a bit of a crazy lifestyle.

Fall in Love

With all of this going on, what keeps me motivated to write? That’s easy. I love the subject. Last year, I published a book about a city that I had unexpectedly fallen in love with: Florence, Italy. This year, I fell in love with the city of Venice. Trips to Italy and research for these books has made me fall in love with Renaissance Art History. These topics and images roll around in my head 24 hours a day. I dream about them, I hear their whispers, I see their images reflected in my morning coffee, I simply can’t stop thinking about them. Clearly, I am in love. And when you are in love, nothing can stand in your way.

This must be the secret to writing: let yourself fall hopelessly and madly in love with your topic, and it will write itself. The words will flow with consistent grace from your keyboard; the ideas will flourish in your mind’s eye and it will all happen with an ease and a style that will invoke envy in all who peer into your office. Well, maybe that, plus some serious research and some much-needed elbow grease!

Just fall in love.
Happy writing, Patty

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Archaeology, BLOG, History, Italy, Travel

Haunting Images That Will Put Pompeii On Your Bucket List

One of the intrinsic benefits of luxury travel is getting to wander off the main tourist path and visit places that can are stimulating from an intellectual point of view. The ancient city of Pompeii on Italy’s west coast is just such a place. It experienced a catastrophic ending, and within 1 day, it was completely buried for the next 2,000 years. Today, it can be visited on foot thanks to over a century of archaeological excavations. After reading her story, I encourage you to add Pompeii to your bucket list.

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aswan egypt travel guide
Archaeology, BLOG, Egypt, Travel

ASWAN EGYPT: The Ultimate Travel Guide

The name Aswan may conger images of a pharaonically immense dam project from the 60’s. Or maybe you are trying to remember whodunit aboard Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile” river cruise boat. Or perhaps you may have never heard of it at all. 

The city of Aswan lies at the far southern end of

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Archaeology, BLOG, Egypt, History

Egyptian Archaeologists Dig Up Mounds of Ancient Treasures

October 6, 2016
For Immediate Release
by Patty Civalleri


Archaic Roman Winery, Baths, a New Prayer Temple, and the King Tut Debate

Santa Ana, Ca – Egyptian Archeologists Dr. Mostafa Waziri and Salah Elmasekh will visit Southern California this month to reveal the latest important archaeological discoveries in a public forum to be held at the Bowers Museum on October 23rd. Included in the topics will be the recently-unearthed ancient Roman winery and baths, a new prayer temple, the Avenue of Sphinxes, and current news about the search for Queen Nefertiti behind King Tut’s tomb.

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Archaeology, BLOG, History, Peru, Travel

Peru: The Lost MOCHE Civilization – pt 2

If you have never been to Peru, you are in for a brilliant adventure. Just like the US, Peru has many regions, each trumpeting their own unique bent on food, clothing, and language. The national drink there is Pisco, which is mixed in a variety of creative ways, and which you will find everywhere, from fancy brass-and-glass hotel bars to the thatched-roof makeshift liquor-spilling beachfront drinkeries. If wine is your thing, they have a pretty good selection of excellent Chilean wines available in most fine restaurants and markets.

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Archaeology, BLOG, History, Peru, Travel

Peru: The Lost MOCHE Civilization – pt 1

When you get the call, it is difficult to say ‘no’.

“Hey Patty, are you available to disappear for a couple of weeks into Peru?”

“Sure,” I replied. “But we’ve been there already, so why are we going again?”

“We know you’ve already experienced the touristy side of Peru when you went to the Alta Plano, Cuzco, Lima and Macchu Pichu. This time we’re going to Peru’s northern coastal region. We’re going to explore some incredible sites that were once occupied by the ancient and enigmatic lost Moche civilization.”

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Archaeology, BLOG, Egypt, History, Travel

The ABABDA: A Vanishing Culture

The California Science Center, already well-known for their creative and inspiring collection of Brain Food, recently sponsored the Cleopatra Exhibit in 2013. Throughout the afternoon, I  sported memories of footprints in the Sahara sand, the shape of the Queen’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid, and watching as my son started at the top of a huge dune and rolled a quarter-mile down – almost swiftly into the Nile!

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