I spy the streets of Rome, and they are exquisitely empty. Not because its citizens are stuck inside, but because the year is 1960 and the hour is well past midnight — on my television screen. I am streaming Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita."

The director, one of Italy's most famous, would have turned 100 this year, but I'm not honoring his birthday. My streaming practices are more selfish: I'm traveling to one of the world's great cities, courtesy of his film.

Adventure and exploration don't always require an airplane ticket. Sometimes you can delve into other cultures — and maybe even stretch yourself with unfamiliar foods and foreign languages — from inside your home.

After Rome, I'll head to Israel by way of the kitchen. I plan to make a feast from "Jerusalem," the acclaimed cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

This lush book holds treasures beyond recipes such as shakshuka, lamb meatballs and slow-cooked veal with prunes and leek. Photojournalistic shots showcase the rooftops of Jerusalem, farmers markets, restaurants and street scenes. All together, the food and images have the power to transport.

If you've ever wanted to study a language, now is a good time. I'm working through Italian lessons from online company Rocket Languages (as I have been, sporadically, for years). My fits and starts may turn into serious study as I work from home and fill the time I had otherwise used to commute.

Delving into a culture's arts, from music to literature, can also provide a momentary vacation, if not a deeper understanding of a place beyond your own.

Or take the simplest of escapes and peruse an atlas. I have an old National Geographic version on my coffee table, and turning its pages prompts memories of trips past — and dreams of those to come.

Contact Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com; follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.