Those of you suffering the mid-winter blues amid the frigid cities of North America might not like me and my podcast guest today. This conversation took place poolside on a warm day on the Sicilian island of Vulcano, chilled glasses of crisp white wine in hand. The smoldering black volcano in the background set against the blinding blue of the Mediterranean sky. We were reclined on comfy lounge chairs pondering how the other half spends a typical Tuesday afternoon in early October.
I was there with Gillian McGuire and seven or eight other bloggers on what turned out to be an ill-fated odyssey to the Aeolian Islands. Our escapade resembled something between an episode of Lost and the misadventures of Gilligan. However, the camaraderie of our fearless crew made it the best blog tour that I’ve ever been a part of, in some twisted way.
In any case, Gillian was right at home in this locale, one of the coastal Italy hotspots that should be on the bucket list of any self-proclaimed Italo-phile. She even has a friend living on Lipari who helped salvage our plans when we were all but abandoned by our official hosts. (In Sicily, friends with connections are much more useful than the local tourist board. Unfortunately.) [Read More…]
Five minutes in, we feel like going to see Stefano Sollima’s version of La Grande Bellezza; a loud party at a lush villa where the rich and famous are drinking and dancing and kissing in a neon-light fantasy. Another glimpse at the “one-percent” of Roman society.
Then, fairly quickly, we realize that this film might have more in common with the ugliness of Camorra than the glam of The Great Beauty. Throw in a corrupt cardinal hiding out in The Vatican, and now it also recalls The Godfather Part III.
But no, it’s entirely its own movie, and a damn good one. [Read More…]
Sometimes this humble little activity of mine opens up a few doors to Italian culture and society that otherwise I wouldn’t have access to. And on this occasion, I’ve really scored some fascinating guests on my podcast, including Dottoressa Gloria Marina Bellelli, the Consulate General of Italy in Miami. Her resume is impressive, to say the least. Before arriving in Miami this year, she has served her country in places such as Algeria and Israel. I’m honored that she took time out of her schedule to speak with me.
Please keep in mind that all of the guests on today’s podcast should have been separate episodes in their own rights. But I decided to put them together because, 1) the interviews all occurred at the same location on the same day, and; 2) they are all short little chats, so I thought it better for you, the listener, to take them all in at once, and finally; 3) there is a common theme of promoting Italian culture and Italian-American traditions that runs through all four conversations. [Read More…]
Why is it that people are so keen to visit museums when on vacation, but seldom visit museums in the city where they live? I’ve been guilty of this in Rome, always thinking that “I’ll get around to it someday.”
My friend and podcast guest Elizabeth Joss did not make this common mistake when she lived in Rome for three months a few years ago. Rather, she made a point to see as many museums as possible, and above all some of the offbeat museums of Rome.
This isn’t by accident. She’s the creator of a great website called “The Museum Times,” which focuses on just such experiences. The stated mission of her site is to “showcase lesser-known museums that are hidden gems in their own right.” And she certainly does visit some offbeat spots, such as the Criminology Museum and Centrale Montemartini, which presents an unusual juxtaposition of ancient Roman sculptures in an industrial factory setting. We talk about both of these during the podcast. [Read More…]