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The Mixed-Cultured Food of Friuli Venezia Giulia

Friuli Venezia Giulia has a large, complicated and fascinating history. A border region between Italy, Austria and Slovenia, it’s been constantly fought over, controlled, traded. Everyone from Attila the Hun to the Nazis have passed through Friuli to gain access to the important sea ports of the Adriatic Sea. The region or parts of the… Read more »

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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 »

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Italy’s Traditional Food For The New Year

I’m not sure how many American families actually indulge in sausage and sauerkraut on New Year’s day. Though it is a tradition in the United States (without a doubt stolen from our many German settlers) most Americans I know turn up their nose at the sour dish. I was raised watching my grandfather and father scarf… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Meditations in Borobudur

Borobudur is an easy day trip from the cultural city of Yogyakarta, in Java, Indonesia. But it wasn’t always known as the must-see sight in central Java. It’s hard to believe that this day-tripper’s mecca was once an unknown point on the map, buried beneath the Indonesian jungle for centuries. Borobudur is an 8th-century Buddhist… Read more »

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Photo Essay: Slow Travel in Spain

I’m all for slow travel. I am. But the truth is, I’m not sorry for my weekend trips. I’ve already written my strong defense for weekend trips – I love ’em! – and my summer weekend trip to Spain was no less amazing. I admit, I usually jam-pack my short trips in an attempt to… Read more »

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50 Things Americans Think About Italy

Any trip to a new country ignites a storm of comments and questions. It’s only natural to compare, to delight in the novelty and be shocked by the foreignness. After my recent post, 50 Things Italians Think About America, I realized that that’s really only half of the story. For every time an Italian is marveling at the… Read more »

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The 2,000 Year History of the Verona Arena

The Arena di Verona has been standing tall for nearly 2,000 years. Actually, our best guess is that it was built sometime around 30 AD, which would make the structure exactly 1,985 years old. In any case, it’s still been around about 50 years longer than Rome’s Colosseum and about 1,746 years longer than the United States has enjoyed independence…. Read more »

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Photo Essay: A Tuscan Road Trip in Val d’Orcia

Last April Marco and I went with two friends on a weekend road trip. The first road trip we went on together was from Milan to Umbria, in a weekend tour of just a small part of the region. This time, we decided to tour the Val d’Orcia region in the south of Tuscany. The region is characterized by… Read more »

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A Love Letter to My Home

It’s gray where I live. In the autumn and winter it’s usually misting, if not pouring down rain, resembling London more than the fertile hills of Brianza.  It’s not necessarily beautiful. I drive parkway past large gray warehouse-style buildings. The gray paint even darker from years of soot, fumes from the cars passing, the weather. In the spring, when the temperature might warm abruptly,… Read more »

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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 »