Hand Crafted Travel specializes in small group and independent travel to Europe. Discover new destinations, get inspired by our photos, and learn about planning your own European adventure.


Throwback Thursday photo from 2005. A windblown Hand Crafted Tour group on the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence, Italy. Benvenuto Cellini, Florence's greatest goldsmith, looks on unperturbed.


Hotel Report Card: Évora Inn, Évora, Portugal

Évora Inn ★★
Rua da República 11, 7000 - 656 Évora, Portugal, Tel: 266-744-500

The typical white and yellow on the exterior of this little hotel belies what you'll find once you step through the door. Quirky design and vibrant colors, a low-key atmosphere, and roof top terrace with sweeping views.

Location: B. Right in the heart of the old city, within walking distance of the main sights. The central location does come with some street noise (at all hours).
Property: A. The very spot where the Portuguese Republic was declared in 1910, this is a classified building that was completely renovated in 2010. Note that the building has five floors, and there is no elevator.
Rooms: B. Colorful and playful decor. Very simple furnishings. Everything is clean, and well maintained.

Hotel Style: B&B; Area: Town Center; No. of Rooms: 9; Singles: €45, Doubles: €55 to €75; Credit Cards: MC/V

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Poland acquires Czartoryski collection

The Czartoryski family is one of Poland's most prestigious noble families. Their private collection includes major works by Leonardo da Vinci (Lady with an Ermine, above), Rembrandt, and Renoir, and well as many ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan works. A museum displaying the collection was first opened to the public in Krakow, Poland in the early 19th century.

This had been one of my favorite museums in Europe when I first started visiting Poland (more than 20 years ago), a really stunning collection, displayed in a low-key, relaxed museum. It's had some difficulties recently, though, in keeping up with maintenance and demands placed by increased tourism to Krakow. This is nothing new for the Czartoryskis. The collection has had a tumultuous history, including being seized by the Nazis during World War II – numerous pieces disappeared and are still missing – and by the Communists. Recently much of the collection has been displayed at the National Museum, or at Wawel Castle.

The current head of the foundation that administers the collection, Adam Karol Czartoryski, recently agreed to 'donate' everything to the State of Poland for €100 million. Since the collection has been valued at €2 billion, that's quite a discount, if not quite a donation.


Travel Thought for the Week

“There are many to whom new places are only new pictures. But, after much wandering, this thing I have learned, and I wish I had learned it sooner: that travel is a matter, not only of seeing, but of doing.”
– Mary Roberts Rinehart, Through Glacier Park in 1915


Italy & Corruption: the more things change...

Rome's new mayor, Virginia Raggi, was elected in June on promises to clear out corruption and clean up the city. Today, less than six months later, comes word that Raffaele Marra, a close advisor considered her right hand man, has been arrested on corruption charges. Just a few days ago the mayor's environmental advisor resigned, after revealing that she was the subject of an investigation (unrelated to Mr Marra's case).

Ah, Roma...

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