When Noah and I went up to Venice for our biennale art fest this past summer, Mark had to stay behind in Rome for work. That didn't really seem fair, so I organized a trip for just the two of us at my favorite time of year. November. Yes I know late autumn in Venice can mean aqua alta, but that actually doesn't happen all that often. It usually means atmospheric misty days and no crowds.
The art part was sorted. I knew what collateral shows were worth the trek and which countries pavilions to miss on this second go around at this years Biennale. What I needed was a place to stay.
Things in life feel like they come in waves. The wave that I have been riding for quite a while now is a good one. One that has brought some pretty fantastic opportunities. A visit to the Aeolian Islands in Sicily, quick jaunts to Florence for lunch and an art filled couple of days in Venice are just some of what has been keeping me busy (though not in Rome.) I am grateful for all of these delicious opportunities and doing what I really love to do most. Sharing them.
Lipari is the largest and busiest of the Aeolian islands, a group of islands found off the coast of Sicily. Lipari is also the island that has plenty to do year round. Last month I spent a few days exploring with my friend Trish, an Australian with a long family history on the island, my dutch blogging pal Saskia and Abruzzo expert Sam. Here are ten great things to see, do and eat on the island of Lipari.
Life in Italy has it challenges. It can take four days, two people, multiple phone calls and office visits to pay an internet bill. True story. But for the most part, life in Italy is pretty great. Rome really is extraordinarily beautiful. The food really is pretty fresh and delicious. I really do meet friends in the piazza for coffee or a negroni, depending on the time of day. Another great thing about life in Italy. Trenitalia. Really.
When I first moved to Rome, booking a train ticket with Trenitalia was complicated, expensive and almost impossible to do online. All of that has changed. Now I can book a fast train to Venice or Naples or Florence from my trusty little Air, pay with PayPal and have my ticket SMS'd directly to my phone. If I plan ahead, the tickets can be really inexpensive. I once booked three round trip seats to Naples for a little more than €100. Paying internet bills aside, much more about life in Italy is decidedly modern. So last week when my pal Saskia asked if I wanted to meet her and Georgette for lunch in Florence, I said yes, got online and booked myself a seat on the Frecciarossa heading north. Follow this schedule and you too can spend a day eating and drinking in modern Florence.
Rome is not a big city that is filled with cuisines from other places. Trattorias serving plates of cacio e pepe and amatriciana are much easier to find (and much more affordable) that a spicy Thai curry or a fish tacos. One of the things I like most about living in Monti is the mix of old and new. There is street art painted and plastered onto medieval buildings. The tiny little house at the end of my street has been there for centuries and now is now home to a sweet cafe. There are Indian restaurants and sushi spots. The neighborhood manages to be both welcoming to change and still remain a very traditional place. A few Sundays ago, I was still tired from my Sicilian island adventures so we stuck close to home and took a walk around the neighborhood with a vague idea of getting something to eat and then remembered the newish French crepe place on via Leonina.
A few weeks ago I had an assignment that asked for some information about the cruise ship terminal in Civitavecchia. It had been a long time since I had been there so Mark and I decided to take advantage of a sunny Autumn Saturday and see what there was to see.