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 »

  • October on the coast = the coast to yourself!

    Along The Coast: Camogli, Liguria

    Along the Italian Riviera is Camogli, a tiny town of founded by sailors and fishermen. The port can hold a maximum of thirty ships, yet it’s said there were hundreds in the early 1900s. They simply weren’t at home. Always out in a different port on a different exhibition. The city’s name, in fact, is… Read more »

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    A Note on Italian Time

    Let’s dedicate some time to … time.  We all generally follow the same societal standards of time: a decade, year, month, week, day. Seasons, minutes, appointments, dates.  And yet how we relate to those standards of time is radically different across cultures.  “On time” in Germany seems to mean at least five minutes early. On… Read more »

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    Raising an Italian-American

    I have a little Italian baby. Of course she’s Italian-American, but the novelty is the Italian part. Having a baby is an adventure, but raising a baby in another culture brings a whole new set of challenges.  Being pregnant in another country means immersing yourself in another culture’s convictions, both philosophical and physical. I regularly… Read more »

  • Italy-Guidebook

    A Complete List of Italy Travel Resources

    The best way to get the most out of your trip to Italy is to prepare a bit in advance. That said, I know we’re all busy people and sometimes our trips sneak up on us before we’ve even had a chance to buy a guidebook. Let me help you. Below are some of my favorite articles, tips… Read more »

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    To Every Thing, a Season

    Recently Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like An Artist, linked in his newsletter to a piece about living with the seasons by Matt Thomas, writer of the Sunday NYTimes Digest (if you can follow that). It reflects on our typical thinking of time and suggests a better way to measure it: by seasons. He asks: “Should one… Read more »

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    Snapshots of Gubbio

    Snapshots of Gubbio, Umbria: A glimpse of one of the oldest towns in Umbria. Perhaps one of the most characteristic towns in Umbria, Gubbio sits in the 21st-century with a firm hold onto its ancient past. Also known as the “city of fools,” there’s a lot to explore in this Medieval town, but its true beauty is… Read more »

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    Italy: North vs South

    Let’s talk a little bit about the north-south divide. Most countries have it. The food, culture, languages and economies of the north have nothing to do with those of the south in India, Argentina, Mexico, Italy. In some of these countries, both areas are accepted and prized. More often, however, an undercurrent of competition and entitlement… Read more »

  • A 'Frecciarossa' one of the faster trains offered in Italia

    A Guide to Train Travel in Italy

    I love road trips, but train travel in Italy is usually the best choice for travelers to the country. With extensive networks and generally inexpensive tickets, train travel in Italy is easy and convenient. Understanding all the options and booking tickets online, less so. I realized just how daunting the task can be after trying to explain… Read more »

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    Adventures in Language Learning

    “Gina, are you boring?” my Italian cousin asked me, her eyes worried and sincere. After regularly repeating this question the next two weeks I lived with her I finally came to terms with the slip up. My sweet, odd Italian relative who I connected with via email was worried about my boredom, not inquiring about my personality. Anyone who has studied a… Read more »

  • Men "working" outside the Coliseum

    Snapshots of Rome

    Snapshots of Rome, Italy: A day in the Eternal City. It would take an eternity to truly understand Rome, to explore its cobblestone alleyways, to get lost in the nooks and crannies of every park, boulevard and museum. History seeps into the stones that build the city, each step superimposed atop another’s. Unfortunately, most of us don’t… Read more »