Genoa is a city of many surprises that rewards those who take the time to get to know it. Wedged between mountain and sea, this is Italy's sixth largest city, the capital of the Liguria region, and the country's biggest port.
With few touristy sites, industrial Sfax usually falls off travellers’ radars, but its 1200-year-old medina – the smallest in Tunisia – has plenty of history and heritage architecture to entice art lovers, markets and eateries to tempt any foodie, and lots of local colour and atmosphere.
In September, a Renzo Piano exhibition opened at London’s Royal Academy, showcasing some of the Italian architect’s most iconic buildings. But Piano, the architect of London’s Shard, Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, made his biggest contribution to his hometown Genoa, where he was born in 1937.
Tunisia, ribboned by a thousand kilometres of prime Mediterranean coastline and blessed with a sun-drenched interior, might not be the first place that comes to mind as a destination for tastebud-led travellers, but its foodie cred stretches all the way back to the ancient Romans, who claimed this productive agricultural land as the breadbasket of their empire.
Much like wine-making, the world of olive oil is largely a male-dominated industry. This is also true in Tunisia, where one-third of the land is covered in olive groves and 300,000 people work in olive oil production. But many of these are women who are making a significant mark on Tunisia’s fast-growing olive oil industry, even if it’s often from somewhere behind the scenes.
Tunisia has long been a tourist destination for mostly sun-seeking Europeans. But as alternative models for tourism are explored, there’s a new interest in developing opportunities for visitors to learn about aspects of Tunisian culture, including food.
A stay in one of Tunisia's traditional dars is the best way to get up close to the cultural heritage of these historic houses, as well as the colour and bustle of the age-old medinas they're tucked away in.