• Falling for Rome

    You might say that I’m living the dream.  A few years ago I came to Italy on an extended vacation (I called it a “sabbatical” just to make it sound impressive, but let’s be honest…). 

    Falling for Rome
  • Living in Italy

    However, Italy is not without its challenges.  When we see the movie version in, “Eat, Pray, Love,” or “From Rome, With Love,” we see an overly-simplified, idealized presentation.

    Living in Italy
  • Dispatches from the Blog Tour

    In the summer of 2014, I set out an epic journey the length of the Italian peninsula. With wife and baby along for the ride, we traveled from Lake Como to Trapani, and everywhere in between, over the course of six weeks.

    Dispatches from the Blog Tour

Italian Style Guide

fefetrainTo dress badly, you don’t need to follow fashion—but it helps.” – Ottavio Missoni.

Today I’m engaging in a bit of an experiment. After threatening to do so for almost a year, I’m just about ready to launch an audio podcast for my blog, which will be a sort of “Q & A” addressing various topics of travel and culture in Italy. I’ll be soliciting some “Qs” soon, and then I hope to recruit some of my fellow Italy experts to help me come up with the “As.” Should be fun, so stay tuned.

As a warm up to this, I’ve created an audio version of my silly little guide for Italian style, “Dress Like an Italian,” to help me get familiar with some of the tools required to create and upload audio content.

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Easter in Italy: The Same Old Story

This kid was hoping for the Easter Bunny, I think. (Photo from repubblica.it)

This kid was hoping for the Easter Bunny, I think. (Photo from repubblica.it)

Pasqua (Easter) is considered the second most important holiday in Italy after Mother’s Day…I mean, Christmas.

Traditionally, it’s a long weekend culminating in Pasquetta, the “little” Easter (whatever that means) on Monday. If the weather is nice, you spend this day in the countryside having a picnic and drinking wine with your friends.

So for this holiday, you can pretty much do as you’d like. As the Italians say: “Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi.” (Christmas with your family, Easter with whomever you want). Well, within limits.

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The Authentic Italian Culture Debate

ilcircolo1“Non ho capito, che cosa vuole, Signora?” (I don’t understand, Ma’am, what is it that you want?”)

My Italian-American dinner companion, fresh off the plane from the Midwest, repeated her request using her best (fake) Italian accent. “Parm-Uh-John-O, por favor.”

The waitress visibly recoiled once she caught the gist of the request. The tone of her voice rose, “Questi sono funghi porcini, freschissimi e molto delicati. Sicuramente non si deve coprire il loro sapore con il parmigiano. Sarebbe un peccato mortale!”

They both looked at me to translate, and more importantly, to diffuse the escalating conflict.

You see, a plate of pasta with fresh, seasonal, delicate, mushrooms should NEVER be covered up with strong Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. In rural Molise, where we were, it’s an offense against God and country. Not to mention the chef.

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Organic Italian Recipes

gnocchi2During the early summer of 2014, I spent about 40 days “on the road” in Italy, descending the entire peninsula from North to South. I started in Lake Como and ended in Messina, Sicily, with dozens of stops along the way.

About ten days into the trip I realized, to my horror, that I had grossly underestimated the degree of stamina required for such a tour-de-force, especially with a 9-month old baby on board. To put it plainly, I was exhausted and not looking forward to another whirlwind spin through yet another charming hill town (oh, the sacrifices I make for my blog). And I still had three weeks to go. (What’s the saying about “the best laid plans”?)

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