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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »

  • The Weird People in My Neighborhood

    I like to brag that I was the one who chose to live in Monza. Me, the American, rather than my Italian husband who grew up in the area. I chose Monza mainly because it was the only city I was familiar with, but also because it was a nice compromise of all our wants…. Read more »

  • On Travel Exhaustion

    Traveling isn’t vacationing. One involves transportation, loaded itineraries, action. The other is fundamentally the opposite. Inaction. Travel, a positive overall experience, can also be difficult, uncomfortable and exhausting. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought, “I need a vacation,” after a whirlwind trip. Sometimes it’s too much. Sometimes there are simply too… Read more »

  • Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay

    TRAVEL The railroad track is miles away, And the day is loud with voices speaking, Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day But I hear its whistle shrieking. All night there isn’t a train goes by, Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, But I see its cinders red on the… Read more »

  • Greek Restaurants in Central Ohio – That One Time I Tried To Try Them All

    My high school boyfriend and I liked Greek food. Or, at least the Americanized Greek food that features a lamb or chicken gyro with french fries. If you especially know your stuff you might know about falafel or baklava, at the most. The summer before, I spent two-weeks volunteering in Accra, Ghana while he toured… Read more »

  • Travel Déjà vu – Sometimes Travel Repeats Itself

    Sometimes it’s like the place you’ve never been to before actually isn’t so unfamiliar after all. A sort of comfort covers you, even while traveling you know what to do, you’ve seen this before. Sometimes that feeling manifests itself into a more jaded attitude. Each street, building, bar and taxi driver run together until the names… Read more »

  • Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – A Travel Book Review

    What do you do when the setting of a story is no setting at all? What about when it is multiple settings at once? In Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino I explored cities through the descriptions and imagination of Marco Polo. The Venetian tells emperor Kublai Khan about each land of his empire. Since the… Read more »

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    How I Came to Love The Mountains

    The overriding idea is that one is either an “ocean person” or a “mountain person,” though being from the flat, flat lands of Ohio and not vacationing much, I’m not sure if that is a universal idea or an Italian one. In any case, I’m all about the water. I’ve already described my childhood swimming… Read more »

  • Florence in Eight Hours

    I studied in Florence for 4.5 months. It was 4.5 months of Italian language classes, mostly one-on-one. 4.5 months of living in another country, another city, learning the ins and outs of Europe and Italy and how it all works. I spent 4.5 months walking under the shadow of the massive Duomo of Florence, perching… Read more »

  • My Parents’ Visit, in Numbers

    6: months since I’d seen my parents last 13: hours of travel 1: layover 4,428: approximate miles flown (3,845.7 nautical miles) 4: people in one apartment 1: bedroom in said apartment 592: square footage of the apartment 12: approximate amount of lemonade packets made 9: cities visited (Monza, Milan, Piazzatorre, Bergamo Alta, Bellagio, Como, Florence, Rome, San… Read more »

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    A Tour of The Lake: Beautiful Bellagio

    I hadn’t seen my parents since I left Ohio in February so when they came to visit this August I was thrilled to show them my life here, my new corner of the world. In two weeks we went up to the mountains, pit-stopped in Florence and San Gimignano and toured Rome, but we were… Read more »