“First of all, let's get one thing straight. Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing.”

"Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees, white wine, and raven-haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. It's alluring, but complicated. It's the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters, or in the course of ten minutes. Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis." --Beppe Severgnini, La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

AMAtriciana

#amatricianaXamatrice to Raise Money for Earthquake Relief

Yesterday in my post about the earthquake in Central Italy, I mentioned that Italian blogger Paolo Campana had started an initiative for diners and restaurants to raise money for earthquake relief (for Amatrice and the entire affected region) by ordering dishes of amatriciana. It’s less than 24 hours since this campaign got underway. And Paolo tells me that there is…

amatrice earthquake devastation clocktower

Amatrice and the Earthquake in Central Italy

During the wee hours of the morning, an earthquake with a 6.2 magnitude struck central Italy. Italian news reports say the epicenter was near Rieti, about 1.5 hours north of Rome. What We Know The town of Amatrice, located in Rome’s region of Lazio, was hit very badly. “The town isn’t there anymore,” said the mayor. Pescara del Tronto, located in Le Marche,…

Rome's Piazza San Silvestro on a hot summer day.

Things I Love (and Hate) About Rome in August

The calendar shows that Ferragosto takes place on August 15. The mid-August break coincides with the Assumption of Mary, in the way that Christmas conveniently takes place around the Winter Solstice. The further south from Rome that you go, the more you’ll find towns that celebrate the Assumption. Romans typically use the old pagan name as well as adopt a libertine…

pinkfiat500

Two Years in Italy

…And just like that, another year has passed. I’m writing this post on the two-year anniversary of my arrival in Rome. If you have been checking this blog, you’ll see that I haven’t really had all that much to say during years one or two of living here. To be honest, I have had far too much to say and…

Fortress of San Leo

The Fortress of San Leo and Its Torture Chamber

As you approach the town of San Leo in Emilia-Romagna, its role as an impenetrable, menacing fortress town comes into view. San Leo’s massive stone fortress, which also served as a palace and prison, was designed by Sienese architect and military engineer Francesco di Giorgio Martini, whose early Renaissance fortifications dot the landscape of this area of central-eastern Italy known as Montefeltro.…