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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    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 »

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    Hiking in the Dolomites: A Brief Guide

    If the Alps splay across northern Italy like a crown atop a queen, then the Dolomites in the northeast are the crown jewels.   They’re known in the news for the difficult WWI battles described in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, for the caveman recently found frozen in its glaciers and for the challenging via ferrata, an iron spiked path guiding intrepid hikers… Read more »

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    The Most Expensive European Summer Destination

     … is on the Amalfi Coast. Positano, the world-famous village on the Amalfi Coast known for its lemons, steep stairs and overwhelming beauty, also happens to be the most expensive European summer destination according to a survey by Ok, Ok, I admit, the surveyors don’t instill a lot of trust, but without any scientific research at all,… Read more »

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    What to Eat in Liguria

    It’s summer and everyone is on the coast. In Milan, that coast is undoubtedly Liguria. Approximately a 2-hour drive from the city, it’s the Milanese weekend destination of choice to escape the sticky heat of the city. The Italian Riviera has a lot to offer a visitor: geriatric towns to discoteca filled cliffside retreats; the submerged Christ… Read more »

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    Where to Travel in Italy If You’re on a Budget

    “Look at this crostata!” Marco was gesticulating wildly to a piece of nutella pie, or crostata in Italian. Sure it looked good, but not enough to scream across the small Italian cafè. “It only costs 1.50!” Then I understood. See, in Lombardia, things aren’t cheap. The region produces about a fifth of all of Italy’s GDP. It’s one of… Read more »

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    Driving in Italy: How to Take An Italian Roadtrip

    There’s nothing like a road trip in summer.  Though a road trip is typically thought of as a classic American institution, a road trip in Italy can be just as great. Yet I’ve noticed that most travelers to Italy do anything possible to avoid driving in Italy. I understand; the roads are small, the traffic dense and the… Read more »

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    How to Drive Like an Italian

    You’re in Italy, you’ve got your rental car and you’re ready to go. Seatbelt buckled, car in gear, you begin to slowly ease into the traffic when seven cars zoom past you. Two turn even though you have the right of way, others begin to swerve into your lane with nary a signal. Welcome to… Read more »

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    Opera in the Verona Arena

    Princess Aida raised her hands in the air, voice sounding out as scores of dancers, soldiers and dancing soldiers framed her, their bright white gowns and hand-held torches blazing in the night. Her voice climbed higher. The music grew louder. The passion was palpable as the sky exploded with flashes of purple light. The ominous heat lightening… Read more »

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    A Guide to Bergamo Alta

    Bergamo is a city with two unique city centers. There’s lower Bergamo or Città Bassa and upper Bergamo, or Città Alta.  In general, Città Bassa is the commercial heart of Bergamo and Città Alta is the touristy centro storico. Bergamo Alta is the oldest part of the city, dating from the Middle Ages, with 16th-century Venetian walls fortifying the… Read more »

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    A Timeline of Trieste: The Story of a Border

    Trieste is a striking city. Though I only had a few hours to explore it, it was enough to hook me. Unlike any other Italian city I’ve ever visited, I knew it was a city I had to get to know more. Trieste’s history oozes out of the gray stone buildings, fills its enormous Austrian-style… Read more »