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12.18.2015

Italy Christmas Gift Guide 2015 {Gillian's Links}



I have been reading a lot of articles about how much more valuable experiences vs things are. This past summer my best college pal and I spent hours reading, discussing and putting into practice the Marie Kondo philosophy of less stuff and sparking joy. This years Italy Christmas Gift Guide is perfect for the last minute gift giver and anyone who is planning a trip to Italy. This year it’s all about an experience and not a physical thing.

12.11.2015

Cocktails in Rome {Suburra 1930}

Cocktails in Rome

Cocktails in Rome

For some reason it is surprisingly difficult to get a good cocktail in Monti. All those articles claiming my neighborhood is so hip and trendy and the yet cocktail scene has been pretty much limited to a Negroni in the Piazza. Things are finally changing.

Last Saturday my pal Elizabeth sent me a text asking if Mark and I wanted to meet her and Domenico for a burger. That is a request I never say no to. Since it was Saturday and we live in what is billed as the hip and trendy neighborhood we though let's start with a cocktail and I remembered spotting an very well designed Art Deco style sign in a once abandoned corner near the Cavour Metro stop.

12.04.2015

Where to Eat and Drink in Turin {Torino}

Where to eat and drink in Turin

Where to eat and drink in Turin

A trip to Torino (or Turin as we English speakers call it) is a Franco+Italiophile dream come true. Wide boulevards, neighborhoods that feel like the Marais and lots of chocolate are just a little bit of what I discovered on a recent trip to this town that sits at the foot of the Alps.

My pal Saskia invited me along on a trip  with promises of visiting the historic cafes of Torino, plates of agnolotti and glasses of barolo. I booked the super fast Frecciarossa 1000 and headed to Italy's northwestern corner. I am happy to share our discoveries of where to eat in Turin with you.

11.27.2015

A Weekend in a Venetian Palazzo {Where to Eat and Stay in Venice}

Where to stay and eat in Venice

Where to stay and eat in Venice

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.


11.20.2015

An Afternoon of Art and Wine in a Tuscan Vineyard {Castello di Ama}


Castello di Ama I Tuscany

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. 

Earlier this month I was on the train again to Florence to meet some longtime friends and new colleagues at the remarkable Castello de Ama which is a short, windy drive away in the Chianti hills.

11.11.2015

Ten Things to do on the Island of Lipari

Ten Things to do on the Island of Lipari

Ten Things to do on the Island of Lipari

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.

11.04.2015

A Day in {Modern} Florence

Where to eat and drink  in Florence

Where to eat and drink  in Florence

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.

10.28.2015

French Food in Rome Part Deux {Crêpes Galettes + Monti}

French Food in Rome Part Deux {Crêpes Galettes + Monti}

French Food in Rome Part Deux {Crêpes Galettes + Monti}

As of this past August, Rome is the city that I have lived in the longest since I was 17 years old. Same goes for our apartment in Monti. I have started feeling the pull for something new. I wander in new neighborhoods in Rome thinking about what it would be like to live in a different part of town. I stay up late scrolling through pictures of houses on Cape Cod, planning a new life in a new part of the world. For now this is all entertainment. We are planning on staying put both in Rome and in our cozy apartment for at least a few more years so I have to look for alternative ways to sooth my wanderlust. Food is an easy way for a change of perspective. 

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.

10.23.2015

5 Things to Do in Civittavecchia

5 Things to Do in Civitavecchia

5 Things to Do in Civitavecchia

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. 

10.21.2015

How to Get to the Aeolian Islands

How to Get to the Aeolian Islands

How to Get to the Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian Islands, a string of seven volcanic islands off the coast of Sicily, are not for everyone. They are remote and difficult to get to. In a word; Perfect. If you are looking for a destination that is both luxurious and simple, filled with striking beauty and incredible, varied cuisine, this is it. 

Come with a relaxed attitude, plenty of flexibility and a dose of patience and you are sure to enjoy everything this remarkable part of the world will generously offer you. 

I will share with you some of the places I discovered on various islands I got to visit soon, but I will start by talking logistics and how to get to the Aeolian Islands.

10.07.2015

A French Meal in Rome { Le Carre Francais}

Le Carre Francaise I Rome

Le Carre Francaise I Rome

I feel like most of the people I meet here in Rome came here out of a passion for Italy. They studied Italian, or came here for a year abroad. That's not my story. For me, Rome was just another country that my husband's job took us to. We have now been here longer than we have lived anywhere else, and for me longer overseas than "home" in America. With the years I slowly have fallen in love Rome, almost as much as the lifelong Italophile, but there is still a part of me that remains a Francophile. I have learned to love a cornetto with my cappuccino, a warm chunk of Lauriano bread and really who doesn't love mozzarella? But. I miss a buttery croissant, a crusty baguette and gooey wedge of brie. Until last month there was little I could do besides a quick trip to Paris to indulge a craving. That has all changed with the opening of Le Carre Francais in Prati. 

10.02.2015

10 Pictures That Will Make You Fall in Love With the Amalfi Coast and Capri

10 pictures that will make you fall in love with Amalfi Coast

10 pictures that will make you fall in love with Amalfi Coast

As torrential rain from Hurricane Joaquin barrels towards the east coast and here in Rome the skies have been gray and the temps a bit cool I though I would share a little summer sunshine with 10 pictures that show just how beautiful the Amalfi Coast is.

9.30.2015

Cocktails in Rome {Latteria Trastevere}

Cocktails in Rome  Trastevere

Cocktails in Rome Trastevere

I joke with my friends and family that I barely leave the house no less my street. It is obviously a bit of an exaggeration, but in that exaggeration there is a kernel of truth. I do live in a great neighborhood after all. That said, I really do like to explore. One part of town that I am planning on getting to know a little better is Trastevere. I will have lots of opportunity now that my yoga studio has opened a new location. In early August Noah and I ventured out of the neighborhood and over the river to have a drink at Latteria Trastevere. 

9.25.2015

Two Days in Boston

Two Days in Boston

This years trip to Boston was so much less fraught than the previous two years. Noah got there days before us, was already moved in and working on projects with his roommates by the time we got there. So really all we had to do was a few administrative things before we headed back to Rome (getting a drivers license for an expat kid who has never lived in America is no small thing.) It was the end of a long Home Leave trip back "home, " which any longtime expat knows is more admin than vacation so were going to make the most of our last days of AC, customer service and iced coffee. 

We took long walks, drank more than a few cocktails in expensive hotel bars and lured our reluctant college student out for a few more meals with his parents. 

9.23.2015

Cesare al Casaletto {Eat Like a Roman}

Cesare al Casaletto {Eat Like a Roman}

Cesare al Casaletto {Eat Like a Roman}

Sometimes it can take me a while to get around to doing the thing that everybody keeps telling is great. The restaurant Cesare a Caseletto is one of those things. On just about every list you read on where to eat in Rome, Cesare is there. The push I needed to take the number 8 tram from Piazza Venezia up the hill to Monteverde was my pal Kelly organizing a lunch. 

9.14.2015

A Few Great Things {Gillian's Links}

Oysters in Menemsha

Tennessee Moon Pies

I am back in Rome after a lot of fun, food and festivities had all over the east coast of the US.  My brain is still a little foggy from the jet lag (and lets be honest, the not on vacation-lag,) there are suitcases (filled with that strange expat mix of things like Reese's cups, kitchen sponges and new yoga clothes) that need to be unpacked and put away and readjusting to a quiet house all over again. While I get back to my desk and into blogging gear, here is a roundup of a few great things I discovered over the past few weeks.

9.04.2015

Beach Clubs in Rome {V Lounge Club + Ostia}

Beach Clubs in Rome

Beach Clubs in Rome

I am still here in the states where it is Labor Day weekend. We are usually back in Italy by now, so it has been a long time since I have had the chance for this traditional American farewell to summer. For the next few days we are in my hometown in Tennessee were we will be attending my high school reunion that includes a a tailgate party with BBQ and a Friday night football game. Noah is on his way back to Boston to start his second year at Berklee. Mark and I will spend a few days on the Martha's Vineyard before we eventually head back to Rome for our "rientro."  Rientro is the Italian version of the end of summer. Life slowly returns to the shuttered shops and quiet streets but it is not quite so definitive as specifically named weekend.

If we were back in Rome we would be spending the day at a nearby beach with a long lunch of spaghetti all vongole and a nap under the umbrella. We have a regular place, but right before I left for the states, in the throes of the wretched Roman heatwave, my pal Rick took me to his beach club in Ostia. It is pretty fabulous.

8.26.2015

Fishing for Anchovies in Cetara

Fishing for Anchovies in Cetara on the Amalfi Coast

Fishing for Anchovies in Cetara on the Amalfi Coast

While I was on vacation in Capri last month I got an invitation. Now you know it had to be a pretty amazing invitation for me to even consider leaving my dreamy island idyl. It sure was!

My food importer pal Rolando had organized an entire anchovy themed weekend in Salerno and Cetara. I love anchovies. I love Cetara. How could I say no? On a very hot morning I left my family on Capri while I hopped on a ferry to be whisked away to the fishiest weekend ever.

8.19.2015

Sailing the Eolo on the Venetian Lagoon

Sailing the Eolo on the Venetian Lagoon

Sailing the Eolo on the Venetian Lagoon

I have had an amazing summer. Not through any kind of planning or purpose I got to spend a lot of time on boats and on islands. One of the most special of these experiences was an evening spent on the Eolo on the Venetian lagoon.

8.12.2015

Ponza Dreaming

Weekend in Ponza

Weekend in Ponza

The island of Ponza is a magical place. We spent a few short days there in early summer on the first weekend of the season.

8.05.2015

Private Boat Tour of Capri + Lunch

Private Boat Tour of Capri + Lunch

Private Boat Tour of Capri + Lunch

I am a beach girl. You already know that. I love a stabilimento. The whole Italian beach going thing is just my style. I love the sun loungers and umbrellas. I love eating lunch in my bikini with my feet in the sand. We spend Saturdays at a simple beach club outside of Rome that I refer to as our summer living room. We celebrate our anniversary at ramshackle spots in tiny coves or splash out for fancy clubs on chic islands. This year we tried something different. My pal Holly suggested that we rent a boat and spend the day sailing around Capri instead. That was a very good piece of advice.

8.03.2015

August in Rome - 2015 Edition

August in Rome

Click on over to my updated post to see what is open here in Rome this August. 

7.29.2015

Day Trip to Nemi

Day Trip to Nemi

Day Trip to Nemi

This heatwave in Rome is showing no signs of letting up. It is misery. I was incredibly fortunate to escape to Capri for a few weeks during the worst of it, but right before I ran away, we spent the day just outside of Rome in the remarkably cooler and very peaceful town of Nemi.

7.22.2015

Eating in Capri {Ristorante Michel'Angelo}


Where to Eat in Capri

Where to eat in Capri

I have talked before about how twitter changed my life. Social media continues to amaze and connect me to wonderful people and places and experiences. This time it was Instagram. When Mark and I were in Capri this past May I got an email from a restaurant saying they had seem my posts on Instagram and they would love for us to try their restaurant. I feel like this only happens when I am on a romantic trip with my husband so I almost always politely decline. 

I am so happy that this time I said yes. 

7.10.2015

What to Eat and Where to Stay on the Cilento Coast

What to Eat and Where to Stay on the Cliento Coast

What to Eat and Where to Stay on the Cliento Coast

What to Eat and Where to Stay on the Cliento Coast

Last summer I spent just over 24 hours on the Cilento coast. I knew I wanted to come back spend some more time exploring this quiet frowsy counterpoint to the better known glittering and buzzy Amalfi Coast. Last month I spent two days with a group of travel bloggers visiting castles, mozzarella farms and enchanting seaside towns. Here are a few things I loved on the Cilento coast.


7.08.2015

How to survive a Roman Heatwave

How to survive a Roman Heatwave

How to survive a Roman Heatwave

Rome is hot right now. More than regular summer hot, which I really enjoy, but more like nothing is fun after five minutes outside hot. Which is kind of a drag. I follow the Roman rhythms and try to run my errands early in the morning and spend the hottest part of the day inside with the windows and shutters shut tight, venturing out again when the sun sets and there is usually a breeze. Here are a few more things I have been doing to get through the heatwave

You have to give the Italians extra credit for literary flair. The current heatwave is named Flegetonte, which Dante described as a river of blood that boiled souls. He's not wrong.