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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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    City, Coast and Countryside: Northern Italy

    Italy’s geography is something special. A long peninsula, it has miles and miles of coastline and just happens to be crowned by the Alps. The Apennine Mountains run its length like a spine and in-between you have centuries of ruling city-states that have created totally unique cities. I always preach that there’s something for everyone… Read more »

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    Refunds for Rainy Days on Elba Island

    Good news, travelers: no more worrying about rain in paradise! This year the hotels on Elba Island, the largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, have teamed up to guarantee tourists refunds for rainy days on their May or September and October trips. Based on the new Elba No Rain initiative, if it rains for more than two… Read more »

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    20 Things Everybody Should Do in Italy

    There are a few universal things that belong on any trip list to Italy, no matter what your Italian destination!  1) Eat gelato twice or three times in one day Gelato once a day is normal, but the real treat is to indulge more than once in one day! We’ve all done it on a trip… Read more »

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    Where to Go to Explore More

    Maybe you’ve been to Florence four times and want to branch out. Or you fell in love with the mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica and want to explore more. Whether it’s your first trip or your 18th, there’s always a new place to see in Italy, always a place beyond your original itinerary, always a… Read more »

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    A Part of The Crowd: Being a Tourist in Italy

    Recently family travel blogger BigBraveNomad posted a story on Instagram highlighting the throngs of crowds filling the piazza along the Trevi Fountain. “Fact: this is what Rome is really like. Everywhere. It’s INSANELY packed,” it said, and then “Again: flooded with people. Ps. I am not complaining. Everyone deserves to visit all of these famous spots…. Read more »

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    My Experience with The Italian Healthcare System

    After I had gone to the courthouse to get married. After the signed documents and a visit to the US embassy. After I had gone to dozens of public offices and was finally a legal resident of Italy, there was still a very important document I needed to obtain. ASAP, they told me. I needed my Tessera… Read more »

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    Wine Regions of Italy: Lombardy

    Lombardy is completely surrounded by the stars of wine production — Veneto, Piedmont and Tuscany – so you’d be forgiven for overlooking the regional wines, but Lombardy’s wines can still hold their own. Most famous for its sparkling whites and deep Valtellina reds, Lombardy also has a range of lightly sparkling reds that are surprisingly versatile.  As a… Read more »

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    Why I Don’t Give Restaurant Recommendations

    For the last five and a half years I’ve written a blog post every Monday with very very few exceptions. Sometimes I’m really proud of a post, others I know its not my best. Sometimes I’m on top of things and have everything done ahead of time, others I don’t even get it published until… Read more »

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    Top Tuscan Day Trips From Florence by Train

    The long, winding country roads, fields and fields of grapes separated only by cypresses and the nearly deserted hill towns in Tuscany lend themselves perfectly to a classic road trip. But it’s not the only way to see the Tuscan hills. Though the smallest towns are difficult to reach by public transportation, some of Tuscany’s most famous… Read more »

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    Italy with a Baby or Toddler

    If being pregnant in Italy raised me from a frivolous ragazza to a praised signora, having a baby added a crown to my regal head. I felt admired and coddled as a pregnant woman. I was still seen as my own entity, just a more important one. Being pregnant in Italy was a breeze. Then… Read more »