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 One Thing You Should Do Before Coming to Italy

    Before coming to Italy I went out and bought new, “Italy appropriate” clothes; I read about the culture, studied the language and devoured “insider’s tips” that promised to help me blend in with the Italians. I packed and repacked and imagined things I had yet to see. There’s always a certain amount of trepidation that… Read more »

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    A Glimpse of The Gorgeous Villa Monastero Gardens

    There’s more to Lake Como than its namesake town or potential George Clooney sightings. The Lake itself is beautiful, with glistening blue water backdropped by the foothills of the Alps. The road that winds along the bank slices into and out of the mountains, disappearing before suddenly reemerging and founding cities along the way. Huge cyprus trees… Read more »

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    Why We Chose to Live in Italy

    Italy had always felt like a dream, so it took some getting used to hearing again and again: Why would you leave America to come here?! Italians were incredulous, as if I had left the golden land for the desolate streets of insecurity and unemployment. Not realizing just how serious they were, my responses were usually flippant. In a… Read more »

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    How to Make Pasta Like an Italian

    I sat with three close Italian friends and my Italian husband as they, some quite literally, rolled with laughter. “And then, and then,” my friend Marco said, gasping for breath between laughs, “They cooked the pasta for TWENTY MINUTES!” “It’s like cooking it in a pressure cooker!” my husband agreed. “I’ve heard that they add pasta… Read more »

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    Easter in Italy: More Than Just Easter Sunday

    Whether religious or secular, Easter in Italy is worth experiencing. An overwhelmingly Catholic holiday – the most important of the Catholic calendar – the entire country goes all out to celebrate Easter in a festival of spring and light and renaissance.  Here spring arrives early. Many flowers are already in bloom by early March and mild temperatures mean… Read more »

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    How To Save Venice

    It’s no secret Venice is sinking. Gorgeous, 5th century Venice with its Gothic spires, stolen religious relics, Byzantine mosaics and ridiculously narrow alleyways may someday simply not exist anymore. Imagine: all of Venice sinking beneath the lagoon like the lost city of Atlantis.  This is partly because it’s old, but it’s mainly because of us.  A 108-page paper… Read more »

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    The Truth About Getting an Italian Work Visa

    Ever had a dream where you’re running and running but can’t seem to arrive anywhere? Your surroundings are as unclear as the reason that you’re running and the more you realize it, the more anxious you become, the more out of breath. That’s how trying to navigate the Italian visa system feels. Each and every North American… Read more »

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    Travel to Northern Italy: Mantova, Verona and Padova

    I love northern Italy. I love the location: just two hours in any direction and you can move from plains to jagged Alps to warm sea. I love its mixed-breed history. I love the hardworking nature of the people, the efficiency, the food.  And while Milan and Venice are breathtaking, there are plenty of towns that don’t share the same… Read more »

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    The Piazze, Pecorino and Panoramas of Pienza, Tuscany

    There are few places better suited to a road trip than the beautiful sun-kissed Val d’Orcia.  On trips to the area I’ve stopped in Siena, Monteriggioni, Buonconvento, Montalcino and Montepulciano. Each are a quintessential Tuscan town: small, gorgeous, filled with wine and perched on a hilltop. Siena being the only truly influential town in the area’s history.  Dodging… Read more »

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    The Year of The Book: 2016 Reading Review

    Last year marked my first ever “Year of The Book.“ Entirely made up by myself, it was my way to bring myself back to my love of reading, to allow myself to “waste” time in the lovely, fulfilling, necessary pursuit. The year before I had read a staggering (for me, at the time) 24 books… Read more »