From my years of experience living, working, and traveling in Italy, I have found that the Italians are an easy-going people, happy to connect with visitors and to share their incredibly rich culture. That being said, there ARE some things that get under their skin. If you want to be considered a traveler and not a tourist, then don’t do these 10 things:Read More
One of the questions that come up on almost every tour I do is "Why are roses planted at the end of the vine rows?". So, to answer this question once and for all (or until my next tour): drum roll please...
Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, has a long history of being a center for culture and craft. If there are any doubts, one just needs to look around at the impressive architecture and the abundance of art found in the city's museums, galleries, administrative buildings--and, really, just about anywhere. Less obvious, however, are the artisans whose studios and shops can sometimes get overlooked amidst the big designer stores or hidden behind humble storefronts.
The following list highlights my favorite artisanal shops in Florence, offering everything from leather sandals to shampoo, from silver to marbled paper. Part of being a responsible traveler is to make sure your converted dollars are being used to support the local economy, seeking out souvenirs made by artisans and historical purveyors of artisanal products rather than poor-quality trinkets imported from other countries. Go ahead and shop your heart out at any of these. Not only will you feel good for helping to sustain long-lived traditions, but you will be getting superior products made with skill and passion.Read More
As the end of the year approaches, and heartfelt toasts abound, I thought this would be a good moment for this friendly reminder: France isn't the sole producer of fine sparkling wines, and Italy's sparkling wine industry is not just about prosecco. Here are some of my favorite classic-method sparkling wines coming from northern Italy that will sparkle and shine in your raised glass and dance the night away on your palette!Read More
There are some perfect pairs out there: Malbec and steak. Bloody Marys and brunch. Netflix and the couch. As its pours outside on this cold, dark Thursday eve, I am reminded of another one: Rainy days and sad songs. The second track for our Italian mix tape, following Paolo Conte's Via Con Me, is a song that I learned while living in Italy, "Ma Che Freddo Fa" ("How Cold It Is"), made famous by the Italian singer Nada at Italy's Sanremo Music Festival in 1969 when she was just 16-years old. Though singing about unrequited love, her performance--at times timid, at times feisty--can't help but warm your heart.Read More