Six Films Set in Rome

Famous Italian film director Federico Fellini once said that “Rome does not need to make culture, it is culture…” It’s one of the oldest cities in the world and its very name inspires awe, longing and reminiscences. Its ancient streets and squares are instantly recognisable by even those who have never been and it’s this magical quality that makes for great cinema.

We’re going to take a quick tour of some of the best films set in The Eternal City and together they might inspire you to book your next holiday, or some Rome Opera tickets, or maybe just dream a little…


The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

This Anthony Minghella adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel brings out the bad side of Rome, albeit in a luscious and seductive manner. It sees Americans falling for old Europe and all its highbrowed corruption. Matt Damon plays Tom Ripley, an underprivileged but smart (some might say sociopathic) social climber who has been tasked with tracking down the wealthy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). Of course the actors are stunning, but the city is the real star – we see narrow streets, scooters, the calm-but-treacherous sea and the insides of several jazz clubs.

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Many see Fellini’s La Dolce Vita as the Italian story and the three-hour film charts exactly what the so-called “sweet life” can be like. It shows us an Italy that’s recovering from the privations of World War II and uses an episodic medieval narrative style borrowed from Dante to ask questions about life, religion and culture. The iconic Trevi Fountain scene starring Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg shocked critics and censors alike and the film still has the power to make viewers stop and think.

The Great Beauty (2013)

Fellini was an outsider to Rome, having been raised in Rimini, which is possibly why he saw the city so keenly. Paolo Sorrentino is a fellow outsider (Naples) and he looks at Rome through a slightly hyper-real lens. Instead of post-war excesses however, Sorrentino brings us up-to-date with modern-day Berlusconi era hedonism. The Great Beauty is more of a hit back in Italy, but after winning an Oscar for the best Foreign Language Film in 2013, this tale of wild parties and strange performance art is sure to attract fans worldwide. Again, the city itself is one of the stars, with many architectural shots and vistas to gaze at.

Gladiator (2000)

The Eternal City was brought back to life in this epic tale of one man’s fight for revenge and justice against the corrupt machine of the Roman Empire. Ridley Scott takes us back to the year 180AD to see Maximus Decimus Meridius fall from grace, lose everything and rise again to reap his vengeance against the narcissistic emperor Commodus. With the help of CGI, Rome is shown at its jaw-dropping apex, with huge horizons and city skylines, foaming crowds and, of course the Colosseum. As well as revenge, Gladiator explores the cross-over between mass entertainment and exploitative violence, which is as relevant today as it was almost two millennia ago.

How to Prepare for a European River Cruise

A European River Cruise is a relaxing and romantic way to see the Old World ... photo by CC user  Rolf H and Aconcagua on wikimedia commons

Until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, most parts of Eastern Europe were sealed off from all forms of international tourism. Travelers have since discovered a vast array or cultural riches on the other side of of what was long known as the Iron Curtain. From the ornate cathedrals of Prague to the remnants of ancient castle along the banks of the legendary Danube, Eastern Europe contains countless treasures. One of the best ways to enjoy this part of the world is to take a river cruise where you can relax and watch the scenery go by during the day and experience Eastern Europe’s great cities during the evening. River cruises have gained significantly in popularity during the past several years, but because they offer a substantially different experience from ocean cruises, different preparation methods are necessary. Following are three strategies designed to optimize the European river cruise you’re planning.

Go for the Glitz

Unlike classic ocean cruises, river cruises stop at ports of call virtually every night. Because Eastern Europe has fabulous opera, fine dining, and other cultural and entertainment options that are worthy of full-on formal attire. Packing for an ocean cruise generally involves one formal night at dinner in the ship’s main dining room rather than off-board excursions to local nightlife. Even though you’ll be spending each night of a river cruise in a different city, most people prefer to take along more than one formal attire option. Enjoying an opera performance in Prague or dining at an exclusive restaurant in Budapest are experiences of a lifetime that deserve every ounce of glitz and polish that you can fit into a suitcase. Try for at least three formal options and bring enough accessories to change them up enough so that you’ll have a unique look for each occasion.

Bring Walking Clothes

You’ll also be spending more of the day on land on a river cruise than you would if you’d opted for a typical ocean cruise. Eastern Europe river cruises are all about exploring the individual ports of call instead of being on the open water. Ports such as Bucharest and Kiev have numerous ruins of old medieval castles that offer fascinating glimpses into life in the Middle Ages, but you’ll need good footwear to get the most out of the experience. Walking among ancient ruins does not involve comfortable, flat surfaces, so be sure to pack a pair of superior walking shoes and thick socks. Also, keep in mind that many of the streets in towns and cities situated on the riverbanks of countries like Slovakia and Croatia are narrow and winding passageways that often involve significant uphill and downhill terrain, so bring nonrestrictive clothing in breathable fabrics to pair with your sturdy walking shoes.

Take Healthcare Precautions

Certain destinations in Eastern Europe involve elevated risks of contracting diseases that are not commonplace in the United States. For instance, polio and typhoid have both surfaced in various parts of Eastern Europe, and yellow fever outbreaks have become so prevalent that Albany requires travelers to be vaccinated as a condition of being allowed to cross their borders if they are coming from countries where that disease has been found to be present.

It’s also a good idea to arrange for medical transport in the event that you become ill or injured while on a trip. Even though the likelihood of an emergency situation occurring is small, being prepared will streamline situations that require quick action and alleviate obstacles that cost substantial time and money.

It’s also important to be extra vigilant about personal cleanliness and hygiene while on a river cruise. River ships are smaller than ocean going vessels, which means that quarters are slightly more cramped. Use hand sanitizer liberally, particularly before meals after washing your hands thoroughly. Keep in mind that certain surfaces such as door handles and stairway railings are more likely to contain germs than others because they are touched much more frequently.

Above all, relax and take in every aspect of this enthralling part of the planet.

Reasons to Explore Beautiful Brittany, France!

Brittany has been a popular getaway in Western Europe for holiday makers for what seems like forever, and there’s a good reason (or a number of good reasons, in fact) for this. It is the ideal destination for a short break from the hustle and bustle of city living – it is classically beautiful, with fantastic beaches, lovely weather, and a long and storied culture.

The sheer variety of the region makes it a perfect place for just about any kind of traveller. Whether you’re alone, with your family or on a romantic break for two; whether you prefer a cheaper holiday enjoying the locals’ preferred dining spots or you like to live in the lap of luxury at a boutique hotel; whether you want to soak up the sun on the beach or take in the latest in modern art… basically, whatever you like, you’ll find something to love here.

And it’s easy to get to as well – instead of wasting a couple of hours waiting to board a plane and then sitting in cramped conditions and having to spend a small fortune on a bottle of water, why not take the ferry over instead? Brittany Ferries offer some great deals on holidays in France which include return ferry travel with your car. Click here to view their latest deals.

Here are some more reasons to head over to this glorious part of France – in case you’re not convinced already!


The Beautiful Beaches

The lovely resort of Dinard is home to a number of fantastic beaches in itself. It has been popular among British travellers since the 19th century, and it’s not difficult to see why. The former fishing village was the most popular resort in France until the Riviera took the top spot in the ‘30s, and attracted celebrities, wealthy businessmen and even European royalty. There are more than 400 listed buildings here, many of which date to this time.

Arguably the most dazzling of beaches here is the Plage de l’Écluse, a large expanse of golden sands just to the north of Dinard. It is a beautiful beach, replete with lovely blue and white beach huts. The sea wall makes for a nice seaside walk, the sands are perfect for building castles, and there’s a seawater swimming pool – what more could you want?

Arts and Culture

Every summer, Morbihan in central Brittany opens its L’art dans les chapelles (Art in chapels) to visitors. This display takes place over 25 different sites across the Blavet Valley, most of which are chapels that date back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

20 of today’s best and brightest artists get to display their work here each summer, meaning you can spend a day enjoying a walk around the beautiful area, stopping off to admire impressive architecture and incredible artwork.

Enjoy a City Break

Saint Malo – the City of Corsairs – is a wonderful place to visit, either for a week or just a day trip. The impressive Old Town is lined with cobbled streets and dotted with grandiose granite mansions, and is encircled by town walls.

The pink granite on the nearby beaches makes for an awe-inspiring sight. Make sure to visit the cathedral and the castle to get a taste of the city’s rather turbulent history. Thankfully, that is entirely in the past – the island is a truly tranquil place these days.

Top Tourist Attractions In St Andrews

Despite its small size, there are a lot of top tourist attractions in St. Andrews, Scotland.  Located in the Fife Peninsula, this small, Scottish town has enjoyed a healthy influx of visitors.  Many have come here to pay homage to the birthplace of golf.  Why not?  The Royal and Ancient Golf Club was founded in this little town 1754 in the Fife Peninsula southeast of Dundee.  And, since 1897, members of this established club has been recognized internationally as the ruling body of golf.

St Andrews is very easy to get to, Edinburgh, which has many international and national connects is only 50 miles away, check for good deals on flights there.

But there’s more to this town than being the home of golf.  Here are some of the top tourist attractions in St. Andrews not to miss!

st andrews castle, scotland

St. Andrews Cathedral

St. Andrews has a pivotal role in Scottish ecclesiastical history.  The churches and religious monuments that dot St. Andrews’ landscape is testimony to this.  According to legend, St. Regulus arrived in this town with the remains of St. Andrews.  And since then, it has become a site of pilgrimage.  In 1200, several churches were put up in town, including the St. Andrews Cathedral.  By the 15th century, the St. Andrews Cathedral has now become the biggest cathedral in Scotland and the seat of the archbishop.  James V and Mary of Guise were wed here, forming the Franco-Scottish alliance.

However, in 1559, the cathedral was destroyed.  Today, only parts of the Romanesque cathedral are left.

St. Andrews Castle

This castle was built at the same time as St. Andrews Cathedral in 1200.  It served as the Bishop’s residence for centuries.  The St. Andrews Castle was then destroyed during the Reformation, leaving nothing but the ruins which we see today.  But luckily, a modern visitor centre has provided details of the castle’s history.

Sea Life Centre

The Sea Life Centre gives you a fascinating insight on marine life, with its various attractions which include an aquarium, a shark pool and a marine laboratory.  It also has a wonderful beach café where you can make a quick pit stop to rest your feet and grab a bite while marvelling at the beach’s horizon.

Tribute to golf

It would be an insult if we did not as much as mention St. Andrews’ golf heritage in the top tourist attractions in St. Andrews.

First stop is the Old Golf Course.  This golf course runs along the coast of St. Andrews and originally had 22 holes.  It was reduced to 18 holes in 1836.  The headquarters of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club is also found here.

Next stop is the British Golf Museum, where you can find an extensive exhibit of golf artefacts, and everything that has to do anything with golf.

These are just some of the top tourist attractions in St Andrews, but there are plenty more. Make a weekend out of it and enjoy one of Scotland’s gems. Bon Voyage!

What not to miss in Tuscany, Italy!

Italy is one of those places that is on almost everyone’s travel bucket list. It’s not hard to understand why with so many amazing things to enjoy from the beach to the mountains, the cuisine to the culture, Italy is just jam-packed with things to indulge all of your interests.

One region that is especially popular with tourists, and for good reason, is none other than the Tuscan region in central Italy. Read on to learn about just some of the amazing offerings Tuscany offers its lucky visitors.



No trip to Italy would be complete without a trip to Florence. Actually the 6th biggest city in the country, and the capital of Tuscany, Florence blends city vibes with a provincial feel for the best of both words. Marvel at the works of Michaelangelo, notably the David, at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Firenze or climb the Duomo in the center of town.

Cinque Terre

Actually a group of 5 independent villages, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Riomaggiore, and Corniglia, Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park, and for good reason. One of the most photographed areas in all of Italy, Cinque Terre is simply stunning. Stroll the narrow streets that end abruptly to panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding cliffs. Enjoy the amazing seafood caught just a few hours before over a bottle of delectable Tuscan wine. Cinque Terre is one of the most romantic places in the entire world, let alone Italy (and that’s saying a lot!). To make your experience even more memorable, opt to stay at a Tuscan vacation villa instead of a standard hotel.


Sienna is another gem of a city in Tuscany and battles Florence for visitors, while in reality people just visit both and enjoy them equally the same! Florence is known more for its Renisance style architecture while Sienna offers many fantastic examples of well-preserved Gothic architecture. Don’t miss the Piazza del Campo, then climb to the top of the Torre del Mangia for majestic views over Sienna.

Wales Top 6 Summer Getaways!

Considering it’s small size, Wales has a vast array of diverse locations in which to spend a summer break and a great option if you’re heading to the UK. Whether you are looking for an action-packed activity weekend, a relaxing beach holiday or a vibrant city break, Wales has it all. Below are some suggestions of places to visit when you want a break from the day-to-day grind, the hustle and bustle of urban life or when you just feel like a change of scenery will do you good.


shutterstock_163836248Owing to it’s university campus, Aberystwyth is a coastal town with a vibrant atmosphere and plenty to keep you occupied on a week away. I love to visit Cardigan Bay when I am in the vicinity but there is also a cliff railway which the kids will love, a historic castle, and a forest park. Tripadvisor counts Gyesty Cymru as the best hotel in the town but I love the quirky B&Bs available.


shutterstock_176119391It’s so difficult to choose, but Tenby could be my favourite place in the whole of Wales. It’s charming colourful buildings, the coastal path perfect for blowing the cobwebs off in a morning and the lovely boutique shops! It is a great place to come alone or with the whole family with three gorgeous  sandy beaches to choose from as well as a few nice museums.


Llandudno is the quintessential British seaside resort; this means lovely beaches, great fish and chips and enough fun to keep the kids amused. When lazing on the beach begins to get tiresome there is a medieval castle and a tramway to hop onto. For the culinary enthusiasts, Llandudno also has some excellent restaurants to enjoy. For a carefree coach trip to Llandudno check out who run regular holidays to the popular destination.


In the West of the country, Pembrokeshire is a vast area to explore and perfect for a holiday in which you want to pack a lot in. From birdwatching to wild swimming, there is much to see and do in Pembrokeshire. I have already mentioned Tenby, which makes a great base from which to go coasteering in St Non’s and visit the fantastic Oakwood Theme Park.

Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons National Park is the best place in Wales to get away from it all. Comprising of spectacular mountain landscapes, waterfalls and lakes, it’s a veritable walker’s paradise. For the keen fishing fans there are plenty of fresh water and salt water opportunities and for the extreme sports fans there is the Black Mountains Classic cycle track from Talgarth and then there’s canyoning in waterfall country to keep the adrenalin pumping.


Top of the beauty charts, Anglesey is a great place to relax but also fantastic for festivals and events. It’s a unique island which makes for a great romantic getaway as well as a family break. Don’t forget to drop in on William and Kate while you’re there!

The best spas in Europe

The best spas in Europe have decor that relax the client upon entry ... photo by CC user Avilash behera on wikimedia

Those looking for a truly exquisite experience during their luxury holidays in Europe should make an effort to visit one of the many soothing spas that can be found across the continent. From Sicily to Scandinavia, there are many resorts that fit the bill perfectly, but the following five can be considered among the very best spas in Europe for the atmosphere that they create for their deserving clientele.

1) Therme del Parco, Forte, Italy

Looking to unknot all the tension in those tight muscles after a long week of sightseeing across Italy? Checking into Therme del Parco will prove to be a wise decision, as this spa has a well-established track record of pampering professional athletes and other well-known celebrities in need of world class care.

With over 40 specialists on staff across 20 rooms, you won’t wait long to be served, and state of the art equipment like thalassotherapy pools that will knead away your sore muscles in record time, you will get excellent value for the price that you pay here.

2) Viva Mayr, Lake Worth, Austria

While the most effective treatments in spas focus on your battered body, the first curative effects you’ll notice when at Viva Mayr in Austria will be on your mind, as the gorgeous views of the snow-capped Alps will set your mind at ease in between treatments on their well-situated deck.

Based on the teachings of Dr. Franz Mayr, this institution heals you by focusing on changing the way you eat, and by cleansing the damage that your prior habits have already wreaked on your body. Over five days, they will set you on the path to a more energetic life, leaving you a brand new person at the end of your time there.

3) Europe Hotel Resort, Killarney, Ireland

For some, the emerald green hills and placid lakes of Ireland is just want they need to reset their mind and bodies. The best place to achieve this goal on this magical isle is at the Europe Hotel Resort in Killarney, as the relaxing vistas soothe the mind as the hydrotherapy pools take all the stress out of every muscle and joint within you.

4) Grand Hotel Oslo, Oslo, Norway

The perfect way to end a holiday spent viewing fjords along the Norwegian coast is to check into the Grand Hotel Oslo, as its highly regarded spa is considered to be one of the best spots to relax in all of Northern Europe.

With luxurious stonework throughout and divine Artesia body scrubs being its biggest claim to fame, you might find yourself extending your stay here one more night for the spa alone.

Affordable hotels in Leeds England

Get one of the affordable hotels in Leeds England, then go exploring this modern and historic city... photo by CC user 93416311@N00 on Flickr

Planning for a trip whether it is local or overseas can be very involving. It takes a lot of time and requires a bit of check and balancing. No one can really go for a trip without planning and expect to have a time of their life.

Where will you stay?

What will you eat?

And what will you be exploring during your trip?

These are just but some of the questions that one needs to ask themselves before going out on a wild trip. For thus reasons websites such as and others have long been known to provide travellers with exclusive information related to their travel destinations.

Leeds is one of England’s most treasured travel destination points. The city has been referred to as a powerful industrial powerhouse in the North. The city started out as a humble Roman settlement and a trading post in the medieval era but grew to become one of the best metropolises in England.

There are a number of hotels available that can be used to provide accommodation to visitors who are willing to pay a visit to the industrial city. Whether you want to book cheap hotels in Leeds or feel philanthropic enough and go for the luxurious suites, the city can meet your needs in every level.

Let us take time to explore some of the budget friendly hotels that are available in Leeds that can provide accommodation to the visitors wishing to explore what the city has to offer.

  1. Leeds Marriott Hotel

Rated as a 4 star hotel, Leeds Marriott Hotel is located at the city centre and is known to have an indoor swimming pool. The hotel boasts of having extremely awesome decorations that portrays creativity of the highest order.

The Leeds Marriott Hotel is also known to have a wide range of facilities which can be enjoyed by visitors from all around the world. The swimming pool provides you with a perfect antidote to what might look like a hectic city life. The gym facility has also proved to be very helpful to anyone who needs a workout session.

  1. Bewleys Hotel Leeds

At just £40 per night, the hotel is reasonably affordable. If you are looking to go on leisure or a business trip, this hotel provides you with a perfect opportunity to go the same. The hotel is conveniently located in close proximity to the motorways, train station and airport to guarantee a safe trip to and from the hotel’s residency.

  1. Radisson Blu Hotel, Leeds

For an average of about $50 for a single night, Radisson Blu Hotel offers budget travellers with a wonderful opportunity to explore what the city has to offer. With over 147 luxurious guest rooms, a lounge and a bar, you are most definitely guaranteed of a perfect stay in the hotel. Since the hotel is connected to the Light Leisure and Entertainment Centre you can take advantage of everything that is on offer at this exclusive hotel.

Top Tips For A UK Tour

Stonehenge is an essential part of any UK Tour ... photo by CC user francescovolpi on Flickr


A coach tour of the UK is a unique way of getting around the regions that make up the United Kingdom. Though it is not as fast as taking trains or flights, it is affordable and gives you an opportunity to explore the most famous places closely. There are many private coach companies across the UK, and you can choose one that best suits your tastes and budget. Enjoy fantastic rides past the English countryside through to the gorgeous cities and to through scenic coast routes. Coach tours are a great way to see the UK; they may take a few days and may include stopovers in hotels and famous sights.


One of the ways of making your tour of the UK more exciting and unforgettable is by staying in unique accommodations rather than ordinary hotel rooms. Fortunately, the UK boasts of a remarkable number of interesting accommodations ranging from Iron Age round houses with thatched roofs to towering windmills and tree houses. Whatever your imagination may be, unique accommodations in the UK go beyond the ordinary. Some of the quirky accommodations include Wanderlust Gypsy Caravans in Cumbria, Clay windmill in Norfolk, Log House Cabins in the Cotswolds, Chapel Studio in Sommerset and Safari tents in Devon.


A self-drive tour is a great way to explore the amazing regions of the UK. The UK has numerous attractions in the cities, the countryside and along the coast. Enjoy scenic rides across the inspiring English countryside, stop over major cities, soak up in history and culture, and do not forget to stop over a village and enjoy local cuisines and drinks. The UK has a great network of well-marked roads, which makes it easier to travel from one region to the next. A self-drive tour of the UK gives you an opportunity to explore at your own pace and change your routes whenever you wish. If you want to save on accommodation then you can even do it in a campervan like one of these Spaceships and drive to your hearts content wherever you wish!

Contact Great British Trips for more info.


Teaming up with friends and relatives and staying in luxury group accommodation gives you an opportunity to live like royalty in the UK. The UK boasts of a stunning selection of large holiday houses some originally castles or manor houses deep in the countryside. Forget your tiny city apartment and enjoy the finer things in life in luxury group accommodations. Most of the luxury group accommodation offer spacious well-furnished rooms, manicured gardens, gym, tennis courts, swimming pools and well-equipped kitchens.


Stonehenge is a mysterious arrangement of rocks and is a source of numerous debates, assumptions and one of the most famous sights in the world. UK has numerous monuments, castles, parks and other attractions but nothing quite compares to Stonehenge. A visit to these fascinating rock arrangements is a highlight of any UK tour. Visit the iconic Stonehenge, join in the debate, and at the same time let your mind jog in finding meaning to these extraordinary rocks.

Different Options For A UK Break

Getting away to the Scottish Highlands is one the better options for a UK break ... photo by conner395 on Flickr


The mist shrouded purple mountains that constitute the Scottish Highlands are steeped in legend, mystery and history. It is a land of breathtaking unspoilt natural beauty with mysterious lochs, stunning glens and spectacular islands.

A cottage break in the Scottish Highlands is one of the best options for a UK break, as it rewards you with jaw dropping scenery ranging from rugged peaks to enchanting beaches. You can choose your cottage holiday in bustling destinations such as Inverness, beautiful Oban or a private spot along the unspoilt beaches along the coast.

The Scottish Highlands are perfect for any kind of holiday including adventure, romantic, family and even group holidays. There is a lot to do in the Scottish Highlands for everyone such as fishing, hiking, walking, mountaineering, climbing, cycling, island hopping, ancient castles and exploring sleepy villages. A cottage in the Scottish Highlands serves as a comfortable base to pursue all the outdoor activities.


The Stonehenge rock arrangement is one of the most iconic ancient attractions in the UK and a source of heated debates among individuals, scientists, archeologists and historians. It is a pre-historic structure in Wiltshire, whose origins continue to baffle many. It is more than just a monument and serves as a reminder of the past and history of the area and a tribute to the artisans who built it centuries ago. Stonehenge has survived the test of time, harsh elements of weather and human activities, take time to marvel at this amazing structure during your UK break.


Golfing breaks in the UK are popular amongst many travelers and locals alike due to the immense variety of fabulous courses all across the country for every level of golfer. There is an admirable variety of courses ranging from the classics such as St Andrews and East Lothian to enviable Ryder Cup Venues such as Belfry and Celtic Manor.

Whatever your handicap, budget or taste, taking a golf break in the UK is always rewarding and relaxing for families, couples and even groups. You can find different kinds of accommodation near the course of choice and even if you choose to travel to different courses during your break, getting around in UK is easy. Some of the best destinations for golf breaks in UK include Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.


The human mind is always trying to discover everything that seems out of the ordinary. York is a spectacular destination with incredible Tudor Style buildings, shops, boutiques and the famous Minster. People say it is the most haunted place in the whole of the UK due to its ancient architecture.

The Minster is a massive Gothic cathedral and the largest of its kind in the whole of northern Europe. Its soaring towers on either side give the cathedral an almost castle-like appearance and its magnificent image is visible across the whole city of York. Inside the Abbey, you will witness amazing architectural work that may have taken artisans years upon years of hard work.