Christmas Gifts for Italy Lovers

rome-christmas2Every year I say to myself, “Is it Christmas time already?” I mean, the date is pretty much fixed on the calendar, so I don’t how it always seems to sneak up on me. I’m mostly referring to getting my shopping done, of course. Buying for my bambina is pretty easy, but I’m always taxed in coming up with gift ideas for grown-ups.

Italians aren’t as caught up in frenetic consumerism the way US shoppers get this time of year. Furthermore, online purchasing is still met with some resistance in Italy. But if you’re won’t be making it the Christmas Markets in Piazza Navona this year, then online stores might be your best option for Italy-inspired gifts.

So while I can’t help you with everyone on your list, I can make a few suggestions for gifts for Italy lovers that are sure to bring a “Buon Natale” to your household, regardless of where you live. [Read More…]

FCI 026 – Passing Through Piedmont with Diana Zahuranec

dianazThe degree of diversity in Italy never ceases to amaze me. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know about this wonderland of cultural treasures. And by culture, we could talk about everything from art to language to food to architecture.

Lately I’ve been learning a lot more about Piedmont (Piemonte), but unfortunately only virtually and vicariously. It’s one of the regions that I have yet to visit.

On the podcast today is Diana Zahuranec who is an American journalist living in Piedmont. She is the English editor, and she writes and translates for the online wine tourism magazine Wine Pass. [Read More…]

How to Enjoy Winter in Italy

winter in ItalyThe summer-like weather lingered a bit longer this year in Rome, but now colder temps are just around the corner. This month, our group of COSI expats is collectively contemplating the upcoming change of seasons, and what we all can do to minimize the discomfort and enjoy winter in Italy.

Disclaimer: I’m from South Florida and NOT a fan of cold weather. In Miami, even in February you can wear shorts and go to the beach with Margarita in hand. Indeed, unlike in Italy, January and February is PEAK high-season in Florida, when frost-bitten Northerners fly down to thaw their frozen bodies for a week or even four months. “Snowbirds,” we call them, and they hail from every corner of the Northeastern US and Canada.

Still, Rome is probably warmer in the winter than where most people are from. This seems odd when you look at a map, because Rome lies on the same line of latitude as Albany, New York. Yet the average winter daytime high temperature in January in Rome is 54 degrees Fahrenheit versus 31 in Albany! Thanks to the Mediterranean waters, all of Italy is warmer in winter than it should be. [Read More…]

FCI 025 – The Italian Travel Industry

TBDIbannerIn October, I attended the Italian travel industry trade show TTGIncontri for the second year in a row. Basically it’s an exposition about the size of three football stadiums filled with travel brands and travel destinations from around the world. Companies and tourist boards all congregate for three days in Rimini to convince wholesale buyers to send retail clients their way.

Associated with this event is Travel Blogger Destination Italy (TBDI), a forum for connecting digital media influencers with travel brands in Italy and beyond. This year, I was fortunate enough to be one of the (English) speakers, along with blogger superstar Melvin from Travel Dudes and photographer/filmmaker extraordinaire Andy from Torch Studios.

My talk was about podcasting. If you want to see the Power Point slides from my presentation, they are available on SlideShare via LinkedIn, entitled, “Podcasting for Travel Bloggers.” [Read More…]

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