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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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  • Relaxing in the City of Spas

    Marco and I came to Budapest stressed, rushed and exhausted. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened that way. We ignored it, spending Friday and Saturday like good tourists, exploring the city and pushing our limits. Marco was carrying the stress in his back and in his constant headaches. My flat-soled shoes began to tear on… Read more »

  • Buda. Pest.

    I wanted something away from European icons like Paris, London or Amsterdam. Marco, and our bank accounts, wanted to stay in Europe. So, Eastern Europe it was! A quick scan on Ryanair and EasyJet and our option was made for us. For just 120 euro we had two roundtrip tickets from Milan to Budapest! (That’s… Read more »

  • The Case For Using a Guidebook

    Everybody travels differently. Some vacation, others shudder at the word. Some plan extensively, others show up. Until our recent trip to Budapest, I was a part of the latter group. I planned enough for my first international trip to Accra, Ghana to have a place to stay and a flight, which my mom’s travel agent… Read more »

  • Non-touristy, touristy Italy

    This past weekend we had our first houseguest over to visit and enjoy this past or Italy. I met Katrina two years ago while we were both studying in Florence. Since then I went to find her while she was vacationing in Cape Cod (vacation crashing?) and this weekend she took a train from Freiburg,… Read more »

  • Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Clouds

    Traveling anywhere means noticing your surroundings. They say to ‘stop and smell the roses’ – this time we’ll interrupt that to take time to enjoy nature, the sky and for this particular post, the clouds. It’s one thing to look up and see beautiful rolling clouds across a blue sky or pink-stained clouds stretching long –… Read more »

  • Hospitality in the Hills – the other, other spring break

    “The ticket says we have to be there at least a half hour before the tour!” “What?” “The ticket says we have to be there at least a half hour early!” I yelled again through the door. Marco was in the bathroom, it was already 9:30 am and our tour was at 10. It was… Read more »

  • On Culture, Church and Conditioner – The Truth Behind Culture Shock

    I started going to Mass again since I moved to Italy. It’s a surreal experience for a semi-religious American. We go most often to the Duomo of Monza, which is an even grander experience than your typical chiesa, though all the churches are ornate, detailed and rich in atmosphere. You won’t find sunny churches with… Read more »

  • Six Weeks in Italy

    It’s been active and strange starting a new life here but I couldn’t be happier. I’m working on settling in without settling down! ~Gina

  • The Dogs of Monza

    I come from the suburbs of Ohio: Open yards, lawns that are separated only by a skinny, concrete slab of driveway, tricycles and dads in the yards tinkering on something to ‘keep the house running.’ It’s this beautiful concept of the American dream that we eagerly agreed to for the past 60 years. And while… Read more »

  • Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Wanderlust!

    Wanderlust (noun) ˈwän-dər-ˌləst – an irresistibly strong desire or an impulse to travel far away and explore different places. What ignites your ‘wanderlust’? It doesn’t take much for me to have a ridiculously strong desire to travel, and it’s photos like this one, taken in the Dolomites in Trentino, Italy, that remind me why I feel… Read more »