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Psst, Hey You – Ever Wonder Why We Love Art?

I’ve never been “trained” in art. I went to many a museum with no idea how to look at the pieces, what to do, or where to put my hands.  Raised in Columbus, Ohio, my family eschewed art for sports and museums for sunsets over the lake. My childhood was encased in the nature and… Read more »

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Midwest vs. Italy: We’re not in Kansas anymore…

It’s easy to think that life between Italy and the United States isn’t so different. Both are first world countries, both are Western, relatively well off and relatively educated. With the safety net of Italian family abroad, it’s easy to think that an American expat would fall right into the swing of things and pick up the Italian… Read more »

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Study Abroad in Italy: Florence vs Milan

In 2010 I moved to Florence, Italy for a semester abroad. That is how it all started for me. Five years later I’m back, celebrating my two year anniversary with Italy and gearing up for my two year anniversary with my Italian husband. But even if you don’t end up falling in love with an Italian and… Read more »

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Round Peg, Square Hole – On Fitting in Abroad

At first you’re thrilled by finding your very own coffee shop. You know that you’ll go every single day. You’ll get your typical brioche and coffee until they know your order by heart; until you’re arriving to friendly faces who deliver a happy ‘buongiorno bella!’ when you walk in. Considering you have a house with a perfectly… Read more »

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St. Francis of Assisi and The Wolf of Gubbio

After 13 years of Catholic school and growing up in a Catholic Italian-American family in the Midwest, I had always felt pretty knowledgeable about the teachings, stories and history of Catholicism. Then, I traveled to Italy and realized I know nothing. On a recent trip in Umbria, I visited Spello, Perugia, Gubbio and Assisi. The latter of which is of course… Read more »

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How to be an Italian

While I’m always hesitant for such sweeping statements about an entire culture and ethnicity, if you’re interested in a sort of How To Be an Italian Guide for Dummies, this would be a good start.   Espresso is a way of life, food is important (it truly is all about prosciutto) and those expressions are very useful, but… Read more »

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Step Back in Time in This ‘City of Crazies’

The comparisons between Umbria and Tuscany are vast. Both regions are established among the hills, tiny towns perched on the top of each mound. They both share culinary traditions of fresh pasta, unsalted bread, truffles and wild boar. They both produce wine and churn out artisans trained in the same crafts and techniques as hundreds of years… Read more »

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The Bidet – What It Is and How It’s Used

Ah the bidet. If there was one cultural habit that I am firmly stuck in the middle on, it’s the bidet. I often listen as Italians scoff, “the [insert non-bidet using nationality here] don’t even use the bidet!” I usually just try not to move. If I don’t call attention to myself perhaps they won’t turn their… Read more »

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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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On Travel and Food

Some travel to eat. They associate each country with the dish that represents it, creating gastronomic tours to find the best of their favorite food or easily adding entire meal categories between the classic breakfast, lunch, and dinner while traveling. They munch their way through a country, learning the culture one plate at a time…. Read more »