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 colorful houses of Burano. Photo by Jorge Franganillo (flickr)

    My 2019 Italy Travel Wish List

    How to make a list when your dream is to see it all? In 2018 I made an Italy Travel Wish List based on momentary inspirations. We made it to the Isole Borromee with a wonderful late-summer day-trip and have a trip to Palermo planned for March! Though we didn’t get to Bologna we did travel in Emilia Romagna,… Read more »

  • Have your own Roman Holiday!

    Italy for First Timers: How to Plan Your Trip

    Italy has everything. It has the sea and the mountains, the hills and the plain. It has lakes and rivers and forests and national parks. It has incredible ancient borghi and larger cities that have managed to enter the modern age with a firm hold on their ancient pasts. It has Medieval castles, Renaissance art and even contemporary… Read more »

  • The Villa itself is interesting. Cool design, impressive black marble from Varenna, rich people things. But nothing could compare to the views!

    The One Thing You Must Do in Small-Town Italy

    There are hundreds of coffee guides, pages of general rules and traveler manifestos, lists of places to see and cultural guides for Italy. Even at this blog! But there’s one piece of advice that I never see, though I’ve experienced it time and time again: Make restaurant reservations ahead of time In big cities like… Read more »

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    How to Tour a Small Italian Town

    Lately my travels in Italy have been small. I mean really small. Not only are the trips brief, maybe a day, at most a weekend, but we tend to hit villages, towns, at most a very compact city. Marco and I have seen most of the big sights in central and northern Italy. What really charms… Read more »

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    How to Do Winter in Italy Right

    If you’re going to come to Italy in the winter, I strongly suggest making it at Christmastime. Read: Why December is a Great Time to Visit Italy But it’s certainly not the only time. January and February isn’t as carefree as a gorgeous spring vacay, but let’s remember:   Any time you can come to Italy… Read more »

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    2019 Italy Travel Resolutions

    These Italy Travel Resolutions are suggestions on destinations, mentalities and experiences to try.  Each year there is something else for us to check out, explore, aspire to. Why not learn a bit of Italian? Why not try a new region? A new food? A new form of transportation? Few people are strangers to Italy, so it’s… Read more »

  • Photo by Cristina Valencia (flickr)

    The Best Artisanal Gifts from Italy and Where to Buy Them

    Italy’s culture of artisanal, quality craftsmanship is unlike any in the world.  One of the best things you can do while in Italy is buy local, handmade items. Not only do they support the local economy, but they’re sure to be higher quality than the knick-knacks and souvenirs from who-knows-where. Whether leather or mosaics, glass… Read more »

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    Being Pregnant in Italy

    It’s impossible to fully understand pregnancy until you’ve been pregnant. We all have an idea, but beyond that there’s really no preparing. I spent hours with my £36 What to Expect When You’re Expecting book shipped from the UK to my otherwise-Italian speaking home, desperately searching for answers. Is that normal? What about that? Holy hell what… Read more »

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    The Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna

    If you only see one thing in Ravenna, make it the Basilica di San Vitale. On the outside it’s an unassuming brick structure. On the inside it’s a jaw-dropping work of genius. In a country awash in churches, it’s easy to get church-fatigue. The cross-shaped naves, dark paintings, tiny windows and ceiling frescos begin to blur… Read more »

  • Galla Placidia Ravenna

    The Mosaics of Ravenna

    We had one long weekend, a bad weather forecast and a demanding toddler, but I planned a trip anyway. A popular holiday weekend in Italy, flights were prohibitive, trains nearly as much so and long-distance car trips with a car-sick prone baby less than attractive. So I knew we had to stay close to home. We’ve… Read more »