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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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  • Huh? What did you say?

    After discussing the language used in mixed-culture relationships in a previous post, I realized that there are more nuances than are immediately noticeable. There’s one syllable in particular that can’t be ignored. It’s the question-word noise. The “word” that means “what?” in any of its forms of incredulity. In America, it’s “Huh?!”.  In fact, the… Read more »

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    Photo Essay: Climbing the Duomo of Milano

    I have admired every angle of Milan’s Duomo. I’ve seen it in daylight and lit up by lamps at night, in hazy summer and crisp winter air, in peak season and off. I’ve even toured the inside, sat for mass, examined dark angles and detailed stained glass. Yet I had never climbed to the rooftop. A… Read more »

  • So Like, What Language Do You Talk To Each Other In Anyway?

    Since we met Marco and I have fielded the question, “Sooo…what language do you use with each other?” Asked continuously and repeatedly by friends, family and a surprising amount of strangers, I think it’s time to address it head on. It’s a fair question. Marco, native Italian and my husband, didn’t speak much English when… Read more »

  • What I’m Thankful For – Italy Edition

    1) Italian food Because let’s get real … it’s amazing 2) Italian Men Ahem, I mean MY Italian man 3) Italian Mountains [youtube=http://youtu.be/9Ng_0cDMkps] 4) Italian Beaches 5) Old Italians They ditch you in line and mean mug you on the streets, but these vecchietti still have some serious style. 6) Italian Food 7) Italian Mamma’s They… Read more »

  • Teaching Small Children, In Numbers

    To accompany my Monday “When Plans Go Awry” post and based off the popularity of my “Parents’ Visit, In Numbers” post I decided to continue the theme, this time based off of my time working with small children, predominately from the ages of 6-9, with 5 and 10 year olds thrown in at times as… Read more »

  • When Plans Go Awry

    I kind of stumbled into teaching. I started teaching private English lessons when I first arrived in Italy because I needed money to do things like eat and pay rent…but it was just temporary. Then I started teaching English at companies to businessmen…but just because it was more secure pay than private lessons. Until I… Read more »

  • City of Love

    Photo Essay: The Italian City of Love

    Verona, Italy is perhaps most known as the home of Romeo and Juliet and their tragic, yet romantic, love affair. Each year, thousands head to Verona to see Juliet’s balcony on a sort of love pilgrimage, only to overlook what else Verona has to offer. While it’s a novel attraction, you certainly won’t find the… Read more »

  • Toward Monet: Landscape from the 17th – 20th Centuries

    I took a walk Sunday from the twisted woods of northern Europe in the 17th century to the detailed Venetian canals in the 18th century. I traveled through the romantic French countryside in the 19th century and ended my trip in the 20th century, gazing at wistful waterlilies and noticing the colors either spreading warm… Read more »

  • Halloween Across Cultures

    “Do you celebrate Halloween? What will you do?” Not everyone in Italy celebrates Halloween, but with the holiday approaching I still bring up the subject in my ESL lessons. Still, I didn’t expect it when the sweet, obedient 12-year-old girl I tutor responded, “I’m having some friends over for trick-or-treat and if they don’t give us… Read more »

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    Photo Essay: Hiking Torcola 2000

    Spending a weekend up in Piazzatorre, Marco and I found just enough bel tempo to go for a hike. Mentioned before, Torcola is the peak right above our mountain home and our go-to hike. It’s a straight-up, no-nonsense walk that leads to an opening among the trees known as Torcola. Though I’m more than familiar with the… Read more »