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 »

  • Spritzes in the heart of spritz-land: Veneto

    Aperol Spritz: Italy’s Favorite Summer Drink

    We were in Varenna, the best town in the Italian Lake District, and it was time for an aperitivo. It was time for a spritz!  Touring the area with my aunt, uncle and cousins, we stopped at a lakeside bar to enjoy the view and I explained the ubiquitous aperitivo drink to all. Months later my same… Read more »

  • IMG_6682

    Italy in August: What to Expect

    August in Italy is steaming hot, jam-packed and expensive. It’s high season in an already popular destination, and it’s not always pretty.  Buuuut… It’s not always so bad.  I advise everyone to avoid August if at all possible, but my first two biggest trips to Italy were both right in the middle of August, when… Read more »

  • Santa Maria Novella, Florence church

    The Churches of Florence

    There’s so much to see in Florence that it can be hard to know what you’re even looking at. While touring the small, packed city, you’ll stumble upon world class church after world class church. It’s easy to get church fatigue, but with a little bit of background knowledge you can choose which ones interest you… Read more »

  • IMG_7766

    Flying With a 16-Month Old, In Numbers

    This summer we decided at the last minute to take a trip back “home” to Columbus, Ohio to visit friends and family. As Adeline grows it will only be more difficult to fly back to the US and I wanted to take advantage of the time and age to come back. I wanted to show… Read more »

  • IMG_2005

    The Opening and Closing Times of Florence

    Museums Uffizi Gallery Open: Tuesday – Sunday, 8:15 – 6:50 pm (ticket office closes at 6:05 pm) Closed: Mondays, January 1, December 25 Full price March 1 – October 31: €20 Full price November 1 – February 28: €12 Reservation cost: €4, online or by phone at +39 055 294883 Free entry on the first Sunday of each month (get… Read more »

  • DSCN0396

    Florence, Italy: What to Know Before You Go

    Compared with Italy’s other big cities – Rome, Venice, Milan and Naples – Florence is an easy town to visit. The city center is compact, the people are relaxed and the food delicious. Plus, there’s so much to see that you can enjoy the world-class art and architecture with very little pre-trip preparation. Still, I’m a… Read more »

  • IMG_6993

    The World-Class Food of Emilia Romagna

    There’s no region more noted and celebrated for its food than Emilia Romagna. Emilia Romagna is Italy’s gastronomic powerhouse. No small feat in a country known for its food culture. The region itself is well-off, happy, filled with cities with the highest quality of life in Italy. Modena, Bologna, Parma – each famed for its food and… Read more »

  • ooooh

    Accommodation Options in Italy

    Planning a trip to Italy is big. It takes a lot of time and effort to decide an itinerary, research the various destinations, figure out transport and, of course, find a place to stay. With hundreds of websites you can find thousands of options, but which one is right for you? For years the first… Read more »

  • IMG_6993

    The Joy of A Lunch Stop

    This post is for those of you traveling by car.  Marco and I predominately travel Italy by car – it’s convenient and cheaper for us for travel in northern and central Italy – and on travel days we always, always have a lunch stop. (You can do it too! Driving in Italy: How to Take an… Read more »

  • IMG_6996

    How to Be the Best Houseguest Ever

    Summer is here, bringing with it vacations, road trips and impromptu visits. Whenever I’m invited to a friend’s place in another town, I always go. (Making me, of course, either the worst or the best friend….but at least now you know). I absolutely love visiting a new place with the help of someone who lives there…. Read more »