Select Page

From The Renaissance To The Riviera – A Historic Stroll Through Rimini Italy 2

Continuation of article by Michael O’Connor

It’s, perhaps, not surprising that Farina’s bather was an Irish woman, as sea-bathing became intensely popular in the British Isles during the 18th Century.

Italy Rimini City Gate - photo by Aschwin Prein

As early as 1707 physicians like William Buchan were advocating sea-bathing for health reasons, believing in curative properties of sea water. In 1750 the famous Dr Richard Russell published his treatise Glandular Diseases, or a Dissertation on the Use of Sea Water in the Affections of the Glands, advocating both bathing in, and the drinking of seawater. Seaside resorts sprang up around the english coast as the practice of taking the waters became a fashion craze. A year before Elisabeth Kenny’s visit to Rimini, for example, the nervous King George III famously went to the seaside resort of Weymouth, on the advice of his doctors. It was also during the late 18th century that both the bathing costume and the bathing machine (a roofed and walled wooden cart, allowing women to arrive in the water without offending Victorian notions of decency) were designed.

This is not to suggest, though, that Rimini at the end of the 18th Century was a Mecca for Italian bathers. Far from it, as Farina points out, the city was not particularly famous either for its beaches or bathing facilities at this time. Kenny’s visit to Rimini was more down to convenience, travelling as she was to nearby Cesena.

Rimini’s fame as a seaside town started closer to the end of the 19th century, with the opening of the famous Kursaal (cure room in German), a giant neo-classical structure designed by Gaetano Urbani that cost the City over One million lire to build. It was inaugurated in 1873, and became, along with later the Grand Hotel (built in 1908), a potent symbol of a new type of tourism that would revive the city’s economy – as in truth, since the days of Sigismondo Malatesta, Rimini had been in a steady decline.

Between the latter 19th Century and the first half of the Twentieth Century, Rimini started transforming itself into the ideal tourist resort. A perfect place to spend the hot months of the Italian summer (before air conditioning made staying in hot & humid cities like Bologna practicable). The second world war, though, would change the nature of Rimini’s tourism. By the winter of 1944 Allied Troops had been bogged down in their advance, and occupying German troops established the infamous Gothic line just south of Rimini (dotted around the hills of Rimini are allied war cemeteries, testament to the fierce fighting that took place to liberate the town). Rimini with its port and railway was strategically bombed heavily by the allies, destroying much of the historic town during the final months of the Italian campaign. In April 1945 Italian partisans rebelled against the German occupying troops, paving the way for the final allied advance northwards, and Rimini entered into a new era.

In 1948, the town’s first left-wing council took a dramatic step and ordered the demolition of the Kursaal structure – a symbolic break with the bourgeouis past of Rimini’s tourism, and a move much lamented nowadays where one must look at grainy black and white photos to get a glimpse of the famous building. Whether the Kursaal would have fitted into post-war Rimini’s seafront is debatable, though, as Rimini rebuilt itself both in terms of its buildings and image. The 1950s and 60s saw the Italian economic miracle take place, with booming production from the factories of the North, and the rise in demand for good-value holidays. Rimini, perhaps more than any other Italian resort town, rose to the challenge.

At the same time that Federico Fellini, Rimini’s most famous modern son, was recreating the city of his youth in films like the Oscar winning Amarcord, the actual city was building up a tourist infrastructure that would bring families to the riviera, lured by well kept beaches (the seafront was divided up and licenced out to beach operators charged with keeping the beach clean and pristine, in return for the right to charge for beach loungers and umbrellas), affordable accomodation, and some of the best food in Italy. Over a period of 30 years Rimini established itself as the place to holiday for Italians. It’s been estimated that over half of the Italian population has visited Rimini at least once (La Repubblica -21st March 2007).

Ironically though, were Sigismondo Malatesta to stroll around the Riviera today, he’d find the stirrings of a gravitational pull back towards his own buildings, and the historic city centre. There’s a renewed interest both amongst tourists and experts in Malatesta’s Rimini – a high profile conference was held, for example, last year in Los Angeles. At the same time the wealth of events and festivals held each summer, ranging from street theatre and wine tasting, through to open air cinema and fashion shows, have introduced many to the charms of the old town of Rimini.

What makes Rimini a good holiday destination (easily reachable by direct flights from around Europe), is that one doesn’t have to choose between the classic beach holiday or culture. In Rimini they exist side by side, separated by a few kilometres. You can sun yourself during the day, perhaps lunching on a plate of fresh fish and piadina (the delicious local flat bread), while in the evening taking in a classical concert in the Renaissance castle, followed by a dinner of wild boar and a glass of Sangiovese wine.

Describing Rimini, rock star and film-director Luciano Ligabue (who set his remarkable film Da Zero a Dieci in Rimini) remarked that this riviera town ‘is like the blues. It has everything in it’. It’s hard to disagree.

About the Author

Michael O’Connor, a freelance writer, has been visiting Rimini for over ten years. He is a contributor to, an english language resource site for visitors to Rimini and the Adriatic Riviera.

Spain – A Land of Endless Holidays

By Andrew Regan

As one of Europe’s hottest – and most exciting – cultural hotspots, Spain is a popular summer holiday destination for tourists from the UK and beyond.

spainishflag- photo by Alberto Jimenez

However, whether you’re keen to explore parts of Spain that you’ve never visited before or you’re a novice to the joys of Spanish culture, it’s important to figure out which areas of the country you’d most like to visit. After all, each area of Spain affords different opportunities to people with different interests – so ensure you make the right option when it comes to your holiday!

For instance, if you’re seeking a cosmopolitan city with a vibrant cultural scene, you’ll love Barcelona. Rent a holiday villa in Barcelona and you’ll be able to enjoy the buzz that surrounds Spain’s second largest city. Take a walk around the city and explore its stunning Gaudi architecture, as well the spectacular churches of the Gothic Quarter. Visitors to Barcelona will also be able to enjoy a range of museums: the Museum of the City of Barcelona, for instance, includes access to underground Roman ruins, while The Football Museum located near Barcelona’s Nou Camp football stadium is one of the city’s most visited attractions.

Alternatively, why not take a holiday in Andalucía and explore the region’s rich historical heritage and stunning coastal landscape? Rent a holiday villa in Cadiz and you’ll find yourself in the midst of one of Spain’s most stunning coastal towns. As the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Western Europe, Cadiz boasts breathtaking sandy beaches and clear blue seas. Every year, the city also plays host to the Carnival of Cadiz, one of the world’s best known carnivals. And while you’re in Andalucía, take the opportunity to visit the Alhambra in Granada and the Grand Mosque in Cordoba – two of the most spectacular monuments of Spain’s Moorish past.

And if you’re planning a party holiday to Spain, you’ll love the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands of Spain. Whether you’re hoping to head to Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Menorca or the ever popular Ibiza, you’ll be able to experience some of the best nightlife in Spain. What’s more, if you’re planning to rent a holiday apartment in the Mediterranean islands of Spain, you won’t be disappointed: these party locations are home to some of the best holiday villas in Spain, so you’ll be able to party and sleep in style!

Ultimately, if you’ve traveled around Spain’s most popular tourist hotspots and you’re looking for a Spanish holiday destination that’s off the beaten track, why not visit Bilbao? The primary city in the Basque Country of Spain, Bilbao is home to a range of museums, fabulous architecture and Spain’s Guggenheim Museum. Or if you’re a keen food fan, take a trip to Valencia – the city that invented paella! Every March, Valencia hosts the festival Fallas, in which the local neighburhoods of Valencia build large paper maché constructions that can represent a range of issues or interests. Rent a holiday villa in Valencia during Fallas and you’ll be able to bask in the buzz of the city and take delight in Fallas’ spectacular firework display! So even if you’ve been to Spain before, you can rest assured that you’ll always find new things that will draw you back to this beautiful country.

About the Author

Andrew Regan is an online, freelance journalist who lists travelling and rugby among his interests.

Organizing Your Mind For Summer Vacation

By Barbara Hemphill

Several years ago I received a call from a woman who said she had been planning all year to take a two-week trip to Hawaii. She told me how she had madly spent the day trying to clean up her office before she left. Then she raced home, feeling frantic about how she was going to get everything done there before she left. Slowly she had that sinking feeling that although she could get away from it for two weeks, she would have to come back to it — sooner or later. Suddenly it occurred to her that she could use the money she was going to spend on her vacation on getting her act together — and not have to go back to chaos! So instead of going away for her vacation, she stayed home. She spent her vacation money, and one week of her vacation, organizing her home. The next week she went to a nearby resort to relax — and she truly did, knowing that she could return to a home about which she didn’t have to feel guilty.

I found a delightful definition of “vacation” in Webster’s: “a time of respite from something.” A good first step to organizing your vacation is identifying what it is from which you need a respite.

If your job is boring, a 10-day trip on the Colorado River might be just the thing. If you’ve been eating fast food on the run for months, how about a week at a bed and breakfast which serves terrific home-cooked meals? Have you always wanted to learn to play tennis? Hire a local coach (many high school teachers would be delighted to have some extra income) and spend time on the local court. If one of the joys of being away from home is not having to cook, have meals catered to your home for a week — with clean up. It’s considerably less expensive than a week in a hotel.

Ironically, we often go on vacations to have quality time with the family — but end up squabbling because of weariness and unmet expectations. Children today need real quality time with their parents — a lazy afternoon at the pool or a game of golf. When I lived near Washington, D.C., August was my favorite month to spend time in the city, because everyone else was gone on vacation!

As for me, I head for the North Carolina beach with my husband’s family. For me it will be a respite from hose and high heels, from my computer and calendar — with lots of time for love and laughter — a real vacation!

About the Author

© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger’s Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at

A Relaxing And Rejuvenating Spa Holiday

Going to a spa is the perfect way to unwind and revive yourself while you are on your relax vacation. There are different kinds of spas and you can be assured of finding one that seems to be tailor made for your particular needs.

The Aveda Spa at Alexis Hotel – You can choose from a total body massage, which starts from $ 45, to the special Himalayan Rijuvenation Body Treatment at approximately $125. This treatment is a holistic rejuvenation treatment using both herbs and aromatherapy. There is also the Total Body Elixir Treatment, which costs about $75. Should you want to continue your treatments after going home, then you can buy the skin care products that are sold at the Spa.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – This spa gives you a choice of fitness and health services. Private treatment rooms are available where hydrotherapy, mineral soaks as well as Swedish and Sports massages are offered. In addition to healing rubs, total body composition analysis and fitness evaluation can be had here.

Grand Wailea Resort Hotel and Spa on Maui – This famous spa offers a variety of treatments in its facility which spans 50,000 square feet. With a choice of five aromatic baths, all the benefits of aromatherapy, which is a multifaceted art, are available to you. The Spa however is famous for the Termé Wailea Hydrotherapy. For about $500, you can indulge yourself and your partner in a Sandalwood Serenity wrap, which is a Speciality Bath for two, and then have a side-by-side massage for the two of you. This treatment at the Spa Grande is sure to completely revive you and relax you.

Marriott’s Wentworth by the Sea at New Castle – The complimentary beverages which are served in the relaxation room set the right note to the kind of pampering that you can expect at this wonderful spa. Facial treatments, which include the French Ogenage Facial and the Royal Gentleman’s Facial, are offered, as also are Paraffin hand treatments. Warm stones, aromatic essential oils along with Reiki are all used in combination to give massages that are truly relaxing. There are special maternity massages that are totally safe for mothers to be.

Sandy Lane Resort of Barbados- With a price tag of just $220, the Dr.Hauschka Classic Treatment is a perfect way to rejuvenate your skin in two hours. There is also the complete spa treatment over six hours which starts with a water massage, and then a hydrotherapy bath which precedes a body massage, aromatherapy facial, exercises for complete relaxation followed by manicures and pedicures.

About the Author

Vince Paxton’s informative papers can be encountered on several web sites linked to Spain. You can come across his contributions on Golf in Spain at and different sources for Golf in Spain knowledge.

How A Tai Chi Retreat Can Revitalize Your Mind Body and Soul

By Stephen Todd

Today we live in a world that is more stressful than ever, and mind, body and soul retreats are very popular, where people can get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

One of the most popular of the growing number of mind, body and soul retreats is Tai Chi.

Tai Chi is a non-strenuous art that is suitable for everyone – young, old, fit, or not so fit. This is due to its gentle nature and this has been the cornerstone of its growth in popularity.

An Intensive Enjoyable Introduction to Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a practice of meditation within movement – a series of movements performed in a slow relaxed and harmonized way and is the Taoist Path to mental, physical, and spiritual well being.

Tai Chi retreats act as an ideal introduction to this ancient art and aim to combine the basics of the art with a short holiday.

This intensive style of introduction allows pupils to learn more quickly than at a weekly class and derive a greater understanding of the art.


Most Tai chi retreats offer sessions in relaxing and scenic surroundings to enhance the overall affect of Tai Chi.

A mix of water, woodland and peaceful, spacious areas are typical scenes that Tai Chi retreats try to use, so that the venue makes learning a pleasure and a joy.

What Will You Learn?

Any introduction to Tai Chi will focus on the proper presentation of “the form” the basis of all the different types of Tai Chi.

Each Tai Chi style has its own distinctive way of presenting the form in terms of:

. The postures included.

. The order in which they appear.

. The way they are performed.

. How long the form actually takes to complete.

Although the different styles of Tai Chi present the form in different ways, the purpose and the philosophy behind them is the same – to revitalize mind, body and soul.

The Benefits of Tai Chi

Tai Chi does the following:

· Stimulates circulation.

· Aligns the skeleton and joints.

· Stimulates the organs of the body.

· Helps digestion.

· Improves muscle tone and strength.

· Improves balance and co ordination.

· Improves breathing.

Tai Chi does not just provide physical benefits – Tai Chi also focuses thought, so that mind and body energy work together as one.

People find that they are not just physically fitter but, more alert more creative and generally happier.

Combining the above with a holiday gives you relaxation as well as health benefits – this is what Tai Chi holidays are all about.

Choosing the Right Tai Chi Retreat

There are many Tai Chi holidays and you should consider the following when selecting one:

· The retreat location

· What are the facilities?

· What is the background of the instructors?

· What is the schedule?

· What will you learn?

· Are the exercises performed outside or inside?

All the above are obvious questions, but to get the most from your holiday make sure that you have good instruction, in surroundings you are comfortable with and using a schedule that suits you.

Any reputable Tai Chi teacher will be pleased to answer any questions you may have and give you all the background information you need, to make your holiday one you will never forget.

About the Author

To learn more about Tai Chi retreats and the benefits of learning Tai Chi visit our web site:

Unusual Vacation Ideas

By Steven Gillman

Are you ready to get out of the vacation rut? Here are some unusual vacation ideas to get you thinking – and planning.

Quiet Vacations

A few years back I got in the car and drove from Michigan, through Canada, to upstate new York. I found a Zen center in the mountains that rented rooms for the night. It was less than $20 for a simple bed in a plain room – with two meals daily included. There was a good library and a hot tub. At night I gathered with the others for dinner, and during the day walked the trails on the property to sit by the pond, or to collect butternuts on a hill overlooking a valley.

Monasteries and spiritual retreats all over the country rent rooms. Some of them do require participation in certain activities or events, or help with daily chores. Others require nothing of you. Some are cheap, others expensive, and some just ask for a donation. You don’t need to share their beliefs to stay at these places, and they are usually quiet, and in beautiful settings. Whether a monastery or a Hindu meditation center, most have web sites, so you can find them online.

Unusual Outdoor Vacations

An outdoor vacation doesn’t necessarily mean backpacking or driving around in an RV. Friends of mine recently did a week-long bicycle tour in Michigan, for example. Tours like this take place in many areas, or you can arrange your own. They can even include a stay at a nice hotel each night.

Hiking hut-to-hut in the mountains is only an unusual vacation here. It is common in Europe. You hike from one hut to the next, through the mountains – and no tent or sleeping bag is necessary. A bed, bedding, food and wine are available at each hut.

I have built a raft and floated down a river on it for a short vacation. Others canoe and camp. Some explore caves for days on end. My wife and I have spent a week at a time in a van, camping at a desert hot spring. Some people like to spend there vacations at outdoor-oriented nudist resorts. There are endless possibilities for more unusual outdoor vacations.

Volunteering As A Vacation

There are a lot of opportunities for vacations that involve volunteer work. There are organizations that need help planting trees in the Amazon jungle. There are opportunities here in the U.S. to help maintain the trails in the National Parks. Some people volunteer to spend their vacations teaching English or some other subject in a foreign land.

House Sitting

There are always people looking for others to stay in their houses, water the plants, and keep an eye on things. Look for these care taking jobs online or in one of the few newsletters that have listings of this sort. Sometimes you can get a house on a lake for a month, and occasionally you can even get paid for your services.

Locations include every part of the United States and most other countries. If you have any experience with house sitting or care taking it can help. Get letters of reference from those who you do house-sit for, so you’ll have a better chance at getting the next position.

How much of a vacation this is will depend on how much work the owners require in exchange for the use of their home, of course. It definitely is a cheaper alternative than most vacations.

Other Unusual Vacations

Cultural immersion vacations are becoming more popular. You might spend a week living with a family in the Brazilian jungle or in the mountains of Nepal. Gold prospecting vacations in the western U.S. and Alaska are a possibility as well. Think about it a bit and look around, and you’ll find your own unusual vacation ideas.

About the Author

Copyright Steve Gillman. Get the free Travel Secrets Ebook, as well as travel stories and tips, at

Travel Trip Vacation Tip

Alaska Kenai Peninsula moose  - photo by Lisa Langel
What’s going to be YOUR unusual vacation ?!