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My Experience with The Italian Healthcare System

After I had gone to the courthouse to get married. After the signed documents and a visit to the US embassy. After I had gone to dozens of public offices and was finally a legal resident of Italy, there was still a very important document I needed to obtain. ASAP, they told me. I needed my Tessera… Read more »

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Wine Regions of Italy: Lombardy

Lombardy is completely surrounded by the stars of wine production — Veneto, Piedmont and Tuscany – so you’d be forgiven for overlooking the regional wines, but Lombardy’s wines can still hold their own. Most famous for its sparkling whites and deep Valtellina reds, Lombardy also has a range of lightly sparkling reds that are surprisingly versatile.  As a… Read more »

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Why I Don’t Give Restaurant Recommendations

For the last five and a half years I’ve written a blog post every Monday with very very few exceptions. Sometimes I’m really proud of a post, others I know its not my best. Sometimes I’m on top of things and have everything done ahead of time, others I don’t even get it published until… Read more »

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Your Sicily Starter-Kit: What to Know Before You Go

Sicily is a big island with a big history and a big personality. It deserves some planning and it deserves some time, but it won’t be offended if you don’t have either. Here time runs slower and the days longer. And though the stereotypes of carefree islanders doesn’t always work here – unemployment and corruption… Read more »

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What to See in Palermo, Sicily

Palermo has long had a bad reputation. Ground zero for the mafia, they say. Dirty. A port city only good to take you elsewhere. Gone are those days. Now Palermo is a favorite for hipsters throughout Italy. Curious Italians are giving it a second chance and international travelers choose it as an introduction to Southern Italy – the… Read more »

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Italy’s Best Holiday Dessert: Carnival’s Chiacchiere

Nearly every holiday in Italy has its traditional dessert, but none is better than Carnival’s. Called Carnevale in Italian, Carnival or Mardi Gras is a big deal in Italy. It’s celebrated for several weeks before Lent begins with the biggest and final bash on Fat Tuesday, the final day before Lent. Though everyone knows about… Read more »

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What to See in Perugia, Umbria

Perugia is small, so you can easily tour it like any small town: Start in the main piazza, see the duomo, take a walk and eat some food. But this time, you’d be missing out.  It seems like all roads lead to Piazza IV Novembre and from there you can see most of Perugia by walking down its… Read more »

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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 »