From Foreign Language to Lingua Franca: Italian Immersion Programs in Italy

I have a confession. Despite having lived in Italy for nearly three years and having studied Italian off and on for a number of years, I have a long way to go before I can consider myself fully fluent in the language.

There has been one time, however, when I felt really confident about my Italian skills. That was the time I took an Italian immersion course.

Continue reading From Foreign Language to Lingua Franca: Italian Immersion Programs in Italy

Paris Through the Eyes of a Roman [Video]

I love Paris. But, Rome will forever be the Caput Mundi. La Città Eterna. La Città Più Bella del Mondo.

This video, from the guys from the Ritals web series, does a humorous job of breaking down what makes Rome great even in the face of Paris’s beauty and comparative orderliness. Continue reading Paris Through the Eyes of a Roman [Video]

Finally Ferrara: Postcard From a City That Called Me Back

Have you ever pulled into a train station on your way to somewhere else and then promised yourself that some day you would make your way back? That was my experience with Ferrara.

Continue reading Finally Ferrara: Postcard From a City That Called Me Back

Five Favorite Flavors From Ferrara and Modena

To ring in the New Year, my family and I rented a farmhouse for a few days on the outskirts of Ferrara. Thinking back to the trip, the timing wasn’t ideal. Ferrara was freezing and on New Year’s Eve, the fog was so thick on our drive into town to watch the fireworks over Castello Estense that we wondered if we should even go out at all. Continue reading Five Favorite Flavors From Ferrara and Modena

The Man, the Myth, the Legend: Saint Valentine of Terni

Not many tourists make it to Terni. But many of those who do come to Umbria’s second largest town come specifically to see the church of Saint Valentine. Continue reading The Man, the Myth, the Legend: Saint Valentine of Terni

Ancient Ruins, Virtual Reality: Archaeological Sites Embrace VR For Enhanced Experiences

Last weekend the Domus Aurea, also known as Nero’s Golden Palace, became the latest attraction to offer visitors the chance to wear virtual reality headsets while touring the site. Continue reading Ancient Ruins, Virtual Reality: Archaeological Sites Embrace VR For Enhanced Experiences

More Than A Mocha: Torino’s Sweet, Rich Bicerin

You can visit Torino without tasting a Bicerin, but then you’d be going against the advice of noted gastronome Alexandre Dumas.

The writer who was best known for his novels The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo was also publisher of L’Indipendente, a Neapolitan newspaper that supported Italian Unification, as well as the compiler of Le Grand Dictionnaire De Cuisine, an exhaustive compendium of recipes, ingredient definitions, and food anecdotes published posthumously in 1873.

Dumas, who visited Torino during the Risorgimento (early 1860s), said:

“I will never forget Bicerin, an excellent drink consisting of coffee, milk and chocolate that is served in all the coffee shops.”

Continue reading More Than A Mocha: Torino’s Sweet, Rich Bicerin

Italy’s Alpini Corps: The Traditions Beyond the Feathered Cap

The grey felt cap adorned with a black raven feather worn by old northern Italian men and some modern-day camouflaged troops is known as the Cappello Alpino. This recognizable cap signifies that the wearer is or was a member of the Alpini, an elite corps of the Italian army that is most closely associated with World War I and is the oldest mountain infantry in the world. Continue reading Italy’s Alpini Corps: The Traditions Beyond the Feathered Cap

Best Places to Kiss in Rome

Before I tell you about the best places to kiss in Rome, you’ve got to really want to kiss and be kissed. Continue reading Best Places to Kiss in Rome

Italian Capital of Culture 2018 Will Be Palermo

Congratulations to the city of Palermo, which has been awarded the distinction of Italian Capital of Culture for 2018.

The Italian Culture Ministry (Ministero di Beni Culturali) awards the prize each year in an effort to promote tourism. Along with the distinction, the winning city receives 1 million euro which is to be used to promote cultural activities and artistic heritage.

“We saw that this virtuous competition creates a system of communal participation,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, “Being on the shortlist is a bit like receiving an Oscar nomination: it allows them to do a lot of work, in terms of planning and promotions.”

Source: Palermo wins title of Italian Capital of Culture 2018

New App Wants to Protect ‘Made in Italy’ Brand By Helping Consumers Spot Fakes

The “Made in Italy” brand is one of the world’s most recognized and coveted labels. Given this cachet, many manufacturers have tried over the years to pass off everything from olive oil to handbags as authentic Italian products.

Continue reading New App Wants to Protect ‘Made in Italy’ Brand By Helping Consumers Spot Fakes

Rome’s Museums On A Metro Map

Rome is often called an outdoor museum. But the capital also has dozens of museums to explore, not only in the Centro Storico but beyond the walls.

Helping us locate all of these museums and galleries is a new map showing Rome’s museums as they relate to metro stops. Continue reading Rome’s Museums On A Metro Map

Five Lessons Learned While Living and Traveling in Italy

Reflection is part of the prescription for moving from one year into the next. So while I wanted to write a year-end round-up a month ago, I realized that such an article would not fully capture the joys, sorrows, and idiosyncrasies of being an expat resident and traveler in Italy.

Five is an arbitrary number, of course. I’ve learned far more than five lessons learned while living in Rome and traveling throughout Italy. But here are a few of the important ones:

Continue reading Five Lessons Learned While Living and Traveling in Italy

Before Considering a Move to Italy, Check Out This Quality of Life Index

Friends and family often ask me two questions about Italy:

  1. How do I move to Italy?
  2. If I move to Italy, where should I live?

Continue reading Before Considering a Move to Italy, Check Out This Quality of Life Index

For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, the Facade of St. Mark’s Basilica is Scaffold-Free

With so many ancient structures in need of constant upkeep, Italy is no stranger to scaffolding. Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica, in particular, is known for constantly being under repair. Continue reading For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, the Facade of St. Mark’s Basilica is Scaffold-Free

The Atlas of Ancient Rome: Your New Favorite Coffee Table Book

The Atlas of Ancient Rome, a gorgeous, new two-volume set edited by Andrea Carandini, promises to be an “authoritative archeological survey of Rome from prehistory to the early medieval period.” The slip-cased set is available now. Continue reading The Atlas of Ancient Rome: Your New Favorite Coffee Table Book

Rome’s Ancient Pantheon to Begin Charging Admission

The Pantheon, one of the last major landmarks in Rome with free entry, will soon begin to charge admission.

Continue reading Rome’s Ancient Pantheon to Begin Charging Admission

Palazzo Colonna: A Hidden Palace in the Heart of Rome

Context Travel invited me as a guest on their exclusive tour of Palazzo Colonna.

Although I have spent years exploring Rome, I am often surprised by little things I have never noticed. A spider decoration above a door or a hidden flood marker on the side of a building can fill me with glee. “Ahhhh, how many others have noticed that?” I muse.

But on a recent tour with Context Travel I found that there are still several very big things in this city that I have overlooked, places that have been hiding in plain sight that I just hadn’t bothered to check out. Continue reading Palazzo Colonna: A Hidden Palace in the Heart of Rome

How Dario Fo Learned That He Won the Nobel Prize

Dario Fo, the Italian playwright/actor/painter/political rabble-rouser who won the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature, passed away today at the age of 90. Continue reading How Dario Fo Learned That He Won the Nobel Prize

Italy’s First Wine Fountain Opens in Abruzzo — and the Wine is Free

The Local.it reports that the town of Caldari di Ortona in Abruzzo has opened the first free wine fountain. Continue reading Italy’s First Wine Fountain Opens in Abruzzo — and the Wine is Free