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8.01.2017

Rome in August - 2017 Edition

August in Rome

Rome in August

Rome in August, love it or hate it there are a few things you need to know.

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

Right now here in Rome there is a heatwave they have named Lucifero. You can read a few of my tips on how to cope. I am escaping to my favorite island paradise.  

See you all in September! 


6.27.2017

Home Leave in 15 pictures


home leave expat life

home leave expat life

One of the hallmarks of expat life is the bi-annual home leave. If you are not familiar, a home leave trip the most important thing to know is that it is less vacation than flurry of bureaucratic paperwork, Target shopping sprees, too short visits with family and friends and as much Ramen, tacos, donuts and iced coffee as I can possibly eat in a few weeks. Imagine trying to squeeze in two years of life back home into 19 days and you start to get an idea of the pace. 

We have been doing this for close to a quarter of a century so we are pretty good at it. We managed to see our parents, all of my brothers, lots and lots of friends, get our drivers licenses (in two separate states) and still have time for a few days on Cape Cod and in New York City and see a Sleeping Lion show.  Here is a brief visual guide to our whirlwind trip.

5.18.2017

Mini-Guide to Budapest Hungary {Where to Eat, Drink and Shop}

Mini-Guide to Budapest Hungary {Where to Eat, Drink and Shop}

Mini-Guide to Budapest Hungary {Where to Eat, Drink and Shop}

When I first married my husband on a beach in Benin, he had a job that required him to travel all over west Africa. A decade later he covered 28 countries in southern Africa. I rarely went with him on these trips mostly because they were work trips and partly because I had a little kid at home and partly because I wasn't all that interested in staying in a grim hotel room in Malawi while he was at meetings all day long.

When we moved to Rome his job changed, his travel docket came to an abrupt stop and he has been home for the last ten years. As is the case with most things you grow accustomed to, things change. All of a sudden he is traveling again for work. Instead of African capitals, though there are still a few of those on his to do list, he also gets asked to go to meetings in European capitals. Noah is away at school, my work is flexible and Mark is finally going to places where I am happy to tag along. A few weeks ago he had a couple of days of meetings in Budapest. For some reason this European city was not really on my radar. I guess that a lack of coastline had somehow struck it off the list in my mind. Let me be the one to tell you if it is not there already put Budapest on your radar. It is beautiful, easy, affordable and delicious.

5.11.2017

La Tavernetta {Eat Like a Roman}

Where to Eat on the via Appia Antica

My overseas life as an adult began in Niger, a dusty expanse of the Sahel just south of the Sahara. I went there somewhat blindly and very unexperienced and I was younger than most of my colleagues by about a decade. That meant that I made friends with the young marines who guarded the US Embassy and with Peace Corps volunteers. Both of these groups of people have had a profound effect on my life aside from my not being a member of either group. I met my husband at a Friday movie night at the Marine House and Peace Corps volunteers have been our friends and colleagues for the many decades that have passed in between those hot sandy days and our current life in Rome.

We have now reached that point in adulthood where our friends children are are graduating from college and making their first steps into their grown-up futures. A few nights ago a colleague of Mark’s invited us to dinner to share our wisdom about life in west Africa with his son who is about to leave for his Peace Corps assignment. Dinner was planned at a restaurant across the street from their house, which I have to say a quick word about. They live on the Appia Antica, one of the oldest roads in Rome, and the apartment is inside the mausoleum of Emperor Caracalla's brother. Only in Rome.

4.27.2017

Easter in Capri

Easter in Capri I  www.gillianslists.com

Easter in Capri

Apologies for neglecting y'all over here. I have been distracted by purple wisteria and blue spring skies. Oh and a whole bunch of writing for places and people other than my personal blog. 

While I get better at the blog/work/life/cocktail balance you can read about my picks for some of Italy's best islands over on the website The Culture Trip. There are also daily walks around Rome over on my Instagram stories. Just look for the little circle in my profile and click for plenty of cobblestones, ancient ruins and coffee breaks.

For now here are some pictures of Capri from our quick island getaway that we took over the Easter weekend. 

It will be back to regular programming soon. Promise.

4.13.2017

Trattoria Perilli {Eat Like a Roman}

Where to eat in Testaccio

Everyone has their favorite places. And tends to stick to them. When I feel like a plate of Roman pasta I head to Flavio in Testaccio or Da Nazzareno near Termini. If we have visitors that almost always means a meal at Taverna Fori Imperiali. I know that there are plenty of other choices, but I really am a creature of habit. That doesn't mean I am not happy to try someone else's standby. 

On one of the first real spring afternoons I tagged along on an incredible tour of the Monte Testaccio and we had lunch nearby at my pal Elizabeth's Roman restaurant of choice, Trattoria Perilli.

3.30.2017

Spring in Rome

Spring in Rome

Spring in Rome

I just heard the weather report for this weekend in Boston and Cape Cod. This blog post is dedicated to you hearty New England souls.

There is a saying in Italian that  Marzo è pazzo, March is crazy and usually this is true. I can remember March days with wild wind and dark clouds and fierce claps of thunder. Not this year. March 2017 has been blue skies and warm sun and this week, the trees and vines have started to turn green and the wisteria is in bloom with it's sweet purple scent. 

So for those of you enduring for another gray cold weekend I hope these pictures of spring in Rome bring you at least the promise of sunny day.

3.23.2017

Breakfast Delivery in Rome {Le Panier}

Le Panier Breakfast Delivery Rome

Le Panier Breakfast Delivery Rome


Breakfast is a meal that get a short shrift in my house. I am perfectly happy with a big mug of coffee until lunchtime. (Unless I am in America and then I am all about a poppy seed bagel with lox.) Most mornings I am at my computer or in the yoga studio so making something for breakfast just doesn't  happen.  There other morning I tried something new. Breakfast delivery. Yes you read that correctly. There is breakfast delivery in Rome. And it includes avocado toast.

3.16.2017

Osteria Bonelli {Eat Like a Roman}

Osteria Bonelli Rome

Osteria Bonelli Rome

The last thing I need is more plates. I have more than enough. They have been collected two by two over the past three decades from fancy shops in Cape Town and Hermanus, dusty stalls in Marrakech, garages and backyard pottery studios in Harare, in Umbrian hill towns and beachside shacks in Positano.  Nothing matches, but somehow they all go together. All that said, when my other ceramic fanatic pal called with a lead on a large collection of Buon Riccordo plates I somehow could not find it in me to say no.


3.09.2017

Behind the Keyhole at the Villa del Priorato di Malta

Behind the Keyhole at the Villa del Priorato di Malta Rome

Behind the Keyhole at the Villa del Priorato di Malta Rome

One of the hallmarks of the Longworth McGuire death march of fun that we subject anyone that comes to visit us here in Rome is a trip the Aventine hill to peek trough the keyhole at the door of the Villa del Priorato di Malta. The Piaranese designed view of Saint Peter’s basilica perfectly framed by a long row of cypress trees is always a thrill. Did you know that a fews day a year you can go behind that green door?

3.02.2017

Santa Francesca Romana - Rome's Patron Saint of Drivers

Santa Francesca Romana - Rome's Patron Saint of Drivers

Italians in general and Romans in particular get a bad rap when it comes to driving. In my opinion they are actually far more skilled than the average American driver, there is just a little more flair and emotion involved. Did you know there is a patron saint that looks out for all those Roman drivers? Her name is Santa Francesca Romana and her feast day is March 9. In 1925 Pope Pius XI declared her the saint of drivers because she was said to have an accompanying angel that always lit her path when she traveled. 

2.23.2017

24 Hours in Florence

24 Hours in Florence

24 Hours in Florence

Destination weddings have been a thing for a long time. Even I had one, but that was before it had a name, so I am not sure it counts. Destination birthdays seem to be less of a thing, but I think we should rethink that. This past weekend my Dutch super blogger pal Saskia was having a birthday and decided to celebrate it in one of her favorite cities. 

My last few visits to Florence have been day trips or a quick passing through so it was fun to slow down a little bit and not have too much of a plan. Here is my advice for a relaxed 24 hours in Florence. 


24 Hours in Florence

2.16.2017

48 Hours in Venice

48 Hours in Venice

48 Hours in Venice

It is Carnival season in Venice. For the next two plus weeks you can see people in elaborate and bold costumes sauntering through the calle and campos. Piazza San Marco will be transformed into an open air market space and stage with events and activities every day. I am hoping to make it back to Venice before the festivities end this year. I was there for a visit just a few weeks ago at the beginning of the year and am happy to share a few more of my tips on how to spend 48 hours in Venice, which is fun whether it is carnival season or not.

2.09.2017

Tommi's Burger Joint {Hamburgers in Rome}

Hamburgers in Rome

Hamburgers in Rome


For a while there it felt like there was a new hamburger place opening every week here in Rome. I enjoyed trying them all but ultimately I zeroed in on my favorites and now my go to's when I need to stave off my cravings are a post matinee visit to Baccano or Open Baladin. I was perfect happy with these two consistent places and didn't feel the need to keep looking or trying new, often disappointing, burgers. 

At the end of last year I got an email inviting me to a new hamburger place in Prati. Tommi's in an Icelandic based chain, so that was intriguing, and it's Rome location owner is an outgoing Neapolitan who spends his summers in Capri so I decided to cross the river and see what this new spot had to offer.

2.02.2017

The Roman Guy's Cocktail Tour of Rome {Cocktails in Rome}

Cocktails in Rome

Cocktails in Rome

On inauguration day this year I did the only sensible thing. Drink. Ok, I also went to see some art and ate pasta with good girlfriends but one of the most entertaining things I did that dark day was go on The Roman Guy's Cocktail Tour of Rome.

1.26.2017

Winter in Ponza

Winter in Ponza_Ponza in Inverno

Winter in Ponza_Ponza in Inverno

We rang in 2016 on the island of Capri and that was pretty terrific. For 2017 we wanted to welcome what is likely going to be a turbulent twelve months a chill vibe in a place we loved. We considered just staying at home in Rome or maybe going up to Venice but in the end made the bold choice to head to our favorite summer destination and see what winter in Ponza was like.

1.19.2017

Bar del Chiostro - Ospedale Nuovo Regina Margherita {Coffee in Rome}


Coffee in Rome

Coffee in Rome

When you live in Rome it can be easy to get inured to the remarkable. I don't ever forget that I am exceptionally lucky to walk past the Colosseum on my way to the grocery store or that the route to my yoga studio includes crossing a centuries old bridge, but it is my normal.

The other day I wanted to take a different walk home and decided to finally stop at the much written about hidden cloisters in the Regina Margherita hospital. There is a reason that so many people write about this place. Here is my two (euro) cents.