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In Rome, Communing Over Coffee

In the mornings after I've sent the kids off to school and tidied up the house I go down and have my morning cappuccino. I have my pick of cafes. I can choose the one that is a stone's throw my balcony (it is so close that my home wifi signal can reach). Or I can go to the one on the corner ...

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Everything is Authentic

Trying to decide if a travel experience is authentic or not is like trying to separate “travelers” from “tourists.” That debate separates those who travel along class and age lines, with travelers proclaiming their experiences better, richer, more true than those of the tourists. There’s even a ...

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Rome Revisited: What Has and Hasn’t Changed

Rome is changing. Rome has changed. You hear those phrases around Rome all the time these days. Crime, corruption, unemployment, immigration, unreliable public transit, trash collection, the euro – Italy is in crisis and the prevailing mood among its citizens is one of resignation and ...

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August in Italy: The Things You’ll Need

The prevailing travel wisdom about Italy has always been to avoid going to the country in August. "Don't go to Italy in August!" they say, because it's hot, many shops and restaurants are closed, and the cities are emptied out of residents and replaced by other tourists. All of this is quite ...

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The Roman Spring of Tennessee Williams

In the late winter/early spring of 1948, American playwright Tennessee Williams arrived in Rome in need of a change of scenery. Williams, of course, is known for his writing set in the American South, including "A Streetcar Named Desire" (written in 1947) and "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" (1955), ...

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The Art of Nobel Winner Dario Fo

Dario Fo's "The Earthquake in L'Aquila" Calling Italian playwright Dario Fo a "Renaissance" man would probably irk him given his long history of questioning authority and mocking the status quo. But Fo, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997 (one of six Italians to have won the ...

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Rooted in Italy: The World’s First Botanical Gardens

It has been said (too many times) that all roads lead to Rome. But did you know that you could trace botanical medicine and even the environmental movement to 16th century Italy? It was here in the city of Pisa (1544) then Padua (1545) that the world's first botanical gardens were set up. ...

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Braving the Elements: A Rare Snowfall in Rome

Over the past weekend, Rome got pelted with eight inches of snow, the largest single snowfall in the capital since 1986. The rare snowfall prompted the closure of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and other tourist attractions. Many businesses had to close because workers ...

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Give the Gift of Italian Culture

When my colleagues in the Italy Blogging Roundtable and I decided to write on the topic "gifts" for our December post, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. I knew straight away that I didn't want to write about Italian gifts you can buy in a store, though there are many I desire or would ...

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