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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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  • How to Make a Perfect Cappuccino at Home

    They say Italian is the language of music, opera, art and love. I’d add that it’s also the language of coffee. If the sweet, delicious, dark nectar of the gods isn’t quite idolized here, it is definitely molto apprezzato, very appreciated. Not to mention that our current coffee lexicon has basically been replaced with the Italian terms…. Read more »

  • Snowboarding in Northern Italy, Or Not

    I had finally done it! I, with Marco’s help, had finally coerced together a group of friends, planned times and cars and made it the two hours north to our cabin in Piazzatorre for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. Skiing and snowboarding in Italy! We went to Foppolo, a location near-enough to the cabin with… Read more »

  • 8 Pro Tips for Surviving Long Flights

    1) DON’T COME TO THE AIRPORT UNPREPARED. You, yeah you single woman who “had no idea her liquids needed to be in a ziplock baggie,” you’re ruining the airport for the rest of us! Unless it’s your first flight ever, there are some things that simply need to be done. For example, weigh your bag… Read more »

  • Time to Get Back to Business – Il Rientro

    Buon Rientro! This Italian phrase, translated literally as “Good Return!” is heard a lot after the Christmas, New Years and Epiphany festivities end and everyone has to get back to business. After nearly a month of holiday celebrations and vacation time, the rientro can be rough. I understand most Italian expressions wishing someone goodness or well-being, but… Read more »

  • The History of The English Language – In One 10-Minute Video

    I recently stumbled upon this video, “the History of The English Language in 10 Minutes,” that explains our language evolution from the Anglo-Saxons in 400 a.d. through King James Bible’s influence, Shakespeare, the Internet and finishing with Global English today. I just wish I could translate it for my Italian students flabbergasted by English words,… Read more »

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    Lists, Lists and More Lists – 2014 New Year’s Travel Resolutions

    I love lists. I make “To Do” lists daily, dream lists, grocery lists, reading lists. Middle school journals are teeming with lists, a fact I decided means I love them, not that I didn’t want to write real entries. That being said, I was never big on New Years Resolutions. As a kid I scorned anything… Read more »

  • A Very Merry Christmas Season in Milan

    Milan explodes with lights, people and festivals for Christmas – making Christmastime a real event. This year I was able to spend the season in Milan, eating at the O Bej O Bej, shopping at Monza’s Thursday market and taking trips to see the Duomo’s beautiful Christmas Tree and street lights.

  • Photo Essay: Food at Milan’s O Bej O Bej Christmas Market

    There are two big Christmas markets in Milan every year: The fiera artigianale (artisan fair) and the O Bej O Bej outdoor Christmas market. The fiera artigianale is enormous. Huge indoor pavilions separated by country or region of the world hold hundreds of booths selling artisanal (more or less) goods from all over the world. The plus… Read more »

  • I’ll Be Home for Christmas

    “Oh, Oh here –” said the young girl as she danced between helping and not helping a woman hoist her luggage onto the bus. “Oh no, go ahead sorry, sorry” she then replied, after the woman asked if she was sitting in the seat behind her. I think that’s when I finally realized that I… Read more »

  • 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 »