Florence at night, Christmas

Tuscany — it’s impossible to say it without sighing romantically, impossible not to envision ridges of Cypress trees, rolling hills of grapevines and olive groves, fields studded with bougainvillea-covered farmhouses. Even in winter, Tuscany is still supremely beautiful. The grapevines are bare, their shapes starkly human. Fog-filled valleys reveal themselves in layers in the angled light of the winter…


In the U.S., our images of Cuba tend to be eye-popping visuals — colorfully-dressed Cubanos sporting Churchill-size cigars, chromed and creaking 1950’s-era American automobiles, aesthetically-crumbling Colonial Spanish architecture. What you can’t see in pictures, and what’s best experienced in person, is the soft feel of the tropic air, the smells of cooking and the tang of…