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Done the Big Five in Italy? Here’s Where to Go Next

Umbria. Umbria is where to go next. Most first-time visitors to Italy rightfully visit what I call the “big five” – that is, Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan – or a combination of some of them. Italy’s five “main” cities, they hold the vast majority of the country’s historical, political, artistic and religious wealth and… Read more »

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Visiting the Gates of Heaven in Siena

Third times the charm. At least it was for me, on my third visit to Siena this past September. The first time I went I was studying abroad in Florence. We went by train with no preparation, climbed the Torre del Mangia, Italy’s second tallest tower, and otherwise just ambled around aimlessly with no idea of… Read more »

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Orvieto: A City in The Sky, A City Underground

Most Italian hill towns are so small the only thing to do is stroll the streets, take in the atmosphere and of course eat. I once spent two lovely days in Colle Val d’Elsa, a tiny town across from San Gimignano in Tuscany, but when you ask me what sights to see I’d be hard pressed… Read more »

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Sirmione, Italy: The Pearl of Lake Garda

Though most think of Como as the only lake worth visiting in Northern Italy, to the east is Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, housing lovely resort towns, incredible weather and food galore! Located between Brescia and Verona, Venice and Milan, the lake makes for an excellent day trip or a stop-over on a Venice to Milan road… Read more »

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Aperitivo in Milan: What It Is and How to Have One

There’s no better way to soak in the atmosphere of Milan than an aperitivo. A Milanese rite of passage, an aperitivo is the surest way to adapt to the city, “do as the locals do” and enjoy a night out. The basic concept of an aperitivo (or apertif) is that of an American happy hour. The reality, however,… Read more »

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How to Visit Milan on a Budget

Italy’s financial and fashion capital has long been considered the one of its priciest cities as well. With entire blocks dedicated to fashion designers, contemporary art scenes for the mega-rich to frequent and private courtyards closed to common folk, Milan can seem like a tough place to travel cheap. But it is possible to visit Milan on a budget…. Read more »

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This Is The Best Town in The Italian Lake District….And It’s Not Como

One of the most luxurious way to appreciate the outdoors in Northern Italy is in the Italian Lake District. With a shimmering lake in front of you and the pre-Alps around you, visitors have all the beauty of the outdoors, with all the comforts of high-class Italy. Dotted by tiny towns along the banks, there’s no lack… Read more »

How to marry an Italian.

How to Marry an Italian

Finally, what you’re all coming to this blog to find out: How to marry an Italian. I did it. Here’s how you can, too! First, woo him with your exotic American ways When I first arrived in Italy I was wide-eyed, easily excited, and plastered with a big smile. I was bold, dazzled by the smallest… Read more »

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Elba Island: The Black Rock Beach

“Let’s go to the Black Rock Beach,” he said. “It’s a bit out of the way so there should be less people!” he said. In the summer of 2011 I came to stay with Marco for five weeks and we planned a five day vacation to Isola d’Elba, or Elba Island. I came to Elba knowing,… Read more »

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Carnevale in Italy: The Battle of the Oranges

Everyone knows about carnevale in Venice, filled with masks, elaborate costumes and intrigue it’s one of the most famous carnival celebrations in the world. But carnevale in Italy is more than just Venice! Actually it’s celebrated in every little town and city throughout the boot. Last year we went to Venice for carnival, driving there and… Read more »

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    The Truth About How to Learn a Second Language

    I have a click-bait post all written and ready to go about how to learn a second language. How-to posts are enticing, popular, usually great SEO… but they can also be remarkably superficial. The post included all the usuals: get a teacher, immerse yourself with audio, magazines and books, leave your pride at the door when talking… Read more »

  • Why I Don’t Celebrate Thanksgiving Abroad

    I’ve always loved Thanksgiving. Not because of its history, which is absolutely terrible, but because of what it’s become today. A long weekend to recoup and recover. A time for family. An entire holiday with the simple idea of giving thanks for the wonderful things in our lives. And one of the few holidays with… Read more »

  • Piazza San Marco allagata, opera di Vincenzo Chilone, 1825

    What’s The Deal With the Acqua Alta in Venice?

    Venice has a long and complicated history with water.  The city lies across 118 small islands in a swampy lagoon, separated by the Adriatic Sea by just a thin stretch of land. The islands are divided by narrow canals allowing boats in and out, as well as, ahem, the sea. When the tide rises, the seawater enters into… Read more »

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    How to Survive Rain in Italy

    Last month Marco and I had a lovely weekend trip planned to the vineyards of Piedmont. Three days of touring small country towns, enjoying the local food and sipping wine in our rented apartment while Adeline rests. Mid-October, it was the perfect time to go to Piedmont: the height of the harvest season with truffles,… Read more »

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    Real Talk: Italian Healthcare Insanity

    Let me just tell you a little story to illustrate just how Italy works. …or, DOESN’T work. Awhile back I decided to get my nose and sinuses checked out. Work started late this year so I took advantage of my time off in September and went to my general practitioner to get a reference for… Read more »

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    What’s the Deal With Truffles in Italy?

    Ah the infamous tartufo. Truffles in Italy are ubiquitous with autumn in Italy. It’s shaved over just about anything this time of year, listed on menus throughout Italy and even celebrated in the White Truffle Festival of Alba in October and November. I happen to love truffles, and I’m not the only one. Throughout the world these… Read more »

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    What to Eat in Piedmont

    Last week we read about the high-quality, elegant, incredible wines of Piedmont. Now, now it’s time to talk about the food. Because how could we not? Because you can’t truly enjoy the wine without the local food. Because though the region is known for its industrious nature and efficient economy, in Piedmont, food and wine… Read more »

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    Wine Regions of Italy: Piedmont

    Let’s get real: we all know the world is obsessed with Tuscany. And I get it, it has priceless Renaissance art and architecture, gorgeous landscapes and a wonderful climate. It also knows how to market its vineyards and wine. But there’s another region in Italy whose wine is just as noteworthy: Piemonte. Located in the… Read more »

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    City, Coast and Countryside: Sicily

    The only problem a traveler may have when planning a trip to Italy is deciding just what to see: There is enough for a lifetime of travel! And though you won’t be able to see it all on your next trip to Italy, you can certainly taste its different landscapes. In a country that’s roughly the size of… Read more »

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    City, Coast and Countryside: Southern Italy and Sardinia

    It’s hard to imagine that such a small country could have such a wealth of heritage towns, history and hilltops. Italy may be small, but its unique geography means that in one peninsula you can find mountains, hills, plains, lakes, rivers and a ton of coastline. I definitely have more to explore of Italy’s mezzogiorno, but I’m not… Read more »