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 »

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    The Beautiful Piazzas, Lively Atmosphere and Failed Dinner of Padova

    For me, travel throughout Italy is centered squarely on what I eat, where I eat, who I ate it with. My trip to Padova was no different. Padova is a city in Veneto, not far from Venice. It has a Venetian flair and great atmosphere. Often my “small city” stops are more about the atmosphere than a specific… Read more »

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    How to Build a Community Abroad 

    Moving is hard. Whether it’s to a new town in the same state, across the country or across the world, you’re uprooting yourself from everything, and everyone, you know. And while we all consider the logistics and bureaucracy basics, we don’t always consider the most important thing: forging relationships. Making friends as an adult is… Read more »

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    How to Speak English While Abroad

    So you’re a native English speaker, huh? Somehow, from no effort of your own, you were born speaking fluently the world’s predominant language. The linga franca, if you will. Lucky you! You can now read, write, use the Internet, travel and work with ease. You respond to any speaker in English, confident that they’ll understand you… Read more »

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    Bureaucracy Basics to Know Before Moving Abroad

    So you want to live abroad? I get it. You want that kick-ass expat life, filled with every single beautiful film or Instagram image you’ve ever seen of Italy. You’ll have it all – fast paced city life with gorgeous vespas zooming by driven by gorgeous people, and the sweet rolling hills of the countryside…. Read more »

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    Monteriggioni: Siena’s Medieval Fortress

    Italy has no shortages of fortresses and castles, but perhaps Monteriggioni has the best location. Perched atop a hill between Colle Val d’Elsa and Siena in the beautiful Tuscan valley Val d’Elsa, Monteriggioni is strategically placed to see approaching armies from afar, and strategically placed those touring the Tuscan countryside.  Just 20 minutes outside of Siena, the… Read more »

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    Thanks for All The Stories, Dad

    Walking in the woods up by Lago Maggiore our friend was showing us the national park that borders his property. The problem, he said, are the wild boars. They come down to root and eat and end up creating a mess. Plus there’s the problem of stumbling upon one while hiking the area. You can’t imagine the… Read more »

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    A Road Trip in Friuli Venezia Giulia

    Our road trip in Friuli Venezia Giulia came suddenly, after we decided to cancel our trip to Turkey. My Italian-American origins are from a small town in Friuli and I’d always imagined visiting with my dad, maybe heading to the no-name towns he somehow found to visit unknown relatives. Things change though and trip plans change. The best way to… Read more »

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    Individualism vs Assimilation: The Moving Abroad Battle

    This is a story about finding yourself, moving abroad and refinding yourself within different parameters. It’s about the internal battle that comes with change when you find yourself in a new country. How much is acceptable? Where do we draw the line?  Oh, and it’s about shopping of course. –––––––– I needed new clothes. As… Read more »

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    Why You Absolutely Have to Do Research Before Traveling

    For those of you too busy to read this I’ll make it brief: You have to research before traveling to know what the hell you’re doing. Woo, I already feel better. Now if you’re still with me, allow me unfold: Why would you spend thousands of dollars on an overseas trip without preparing beforehand? Far too often… Read more »

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    San Leo: Exploring Cliffs, Prisons and Wizards

    Sometimes you follow friends to a town in the middle of nowhere only to find a magician, a prison and an inexplicable history all tucked in to one small castle on a cliff. San Leo is in the far west of Emilia Romagna, tucked between Tuscany, le Marche and San Marino. No matter what direction… Read more »