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That Time I Went to Mantova Just to Eat Lunch

Mantova, or Mantua in English, is a tiny medieval city in Lombardy, on the border with Veneto. Ruled for decades by the rich Gonzaga family, the city is a gem with a lot to offer a cultural traveler. I, however, was more of a gastronomical traveler. The plan was to head to the city early Sunday… Read more »

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Moving into Our New House, in Numbers

I’ve always been quick to acclimate to change. For new situations, new locations or, in this case, new homes, I ride my emotional roller coaster then move on, taking the change as a normality. It’s officially been a week since our move to the new house and though I already feel like the queen of the… Read more »

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On Moving, Again

I didn’t even see the apartment in Monza before we moved in. Desperately trying to finish school and save money, searching for an apartment overseas was not the easiest. Seeing that we were lagging, Marco’s mom served as our realtor, finding for-rent signs and ads and driving to multiple places on her own; touring, deciding. Finally she called… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Colle Val d’Elsa, Tuscany

Colle Val d’Elsa is perched on the hill directly across from the much more famous neighboring hill of San Gimignano in Tuscany. We chose Val d’Elsa as our base point for a few days in Tuscany, but ended up staying right in that little town, walking through the nearly deserted streets, admiring the existence of such… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Climbing the Duomo of Milano

I have admired every angle of Milan’s Duomo. I’ve seen it in daylight and lit up by lamps at night, in hazy summer and crisp winter air, in peak season and off. I’ve even toured the inside, sat for mass, examined dark angles and detailed stained glass. Yet I had never climbed to the rooftop. A… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Autumn in Tiergarten, Berlin

I ventured into Tiergarten, the largest garden in central Berlin, on the last day of my visit. There was no plan or time limit and I ended up spending hours exploring the pathways, ponds and colors of this enormous park. Though I went three years ago, I haven’t forgotten the vivid colors of autumn in… Read more »

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The Weird People in My Neighborhood

I like to brag that I was the one who chose to live in Monza. Me, the American, rather than my Italian husband who grew up in the area. I chose Monza mainly because it was the only city I was familiar with, but also because it was a nice compromise of all our wants…. Read more »

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On Travel Exhaustion

Traveling isn’t vacationing. One involves transportation, loaded itineraries, action. The other is fundamentally the opposite. Inaction. Travel, a positive overall experience, can also be difficult, uncomfortable and exhausting. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought, “I need a vacation,” after a whirlwind trip. Sometimes it’s too much. Sometimes there are simply too… Read more »

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Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino – A Travel Book Review

What do you do when the setting of a story is no setting at all? What about when it is multiple settings at once? In Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino I explored cities through the descriptions and imagination of Marco Polo. The Venetian tells emperor Kublai Khan about each land of his empire. Since the… Read more »

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Florence in Eight Hours

I studied in Florence for 4.5 months. It was 4.5 months of Italian language classes, mostly one-on-one. 4.5 months of living in another country, another city, learning the ins and outs of Europe and Italy and how it all works. I spent 4.5 months walking under the shadow of the massive Duomo of Florence, perching… Read more »