I’ve been to my share of Italian weddings but Saturday’s in the lakeside ville of Anguillara Sabazia was different. Short and sweet, heavy on scenery, food and reception. Marina shot the wedding and I tagged along for support and a slice of true Italian culture.
If you have Italian heritage and would like to move to Italy, you can obtain Italian citizenship. But it’s complicated. It’s difficult. It’s time consuming. It’s confusing. Annamaria Borelli came to Italy from New Jersey and managed to obtain citizenship. This is her story and advice.
Anyone see “Eat, Pray, Love”? It’s the movie where Julia Roberts plays a lost divorcee who travels to Italy, India and Bali to “find herself.” My favorite scenes were shot in Rome, particularly when she’s ordering lunch. The dishes being cooked appear on screen as she orders them. I ate at that Ristorante Santa Lucia Saturday night and talked to the owners about the “chaos” during filming.
When people travel to Venice, they should stop in Ferrara, a thriving former Renaissance cultural power between Venice and Bologna. It sports a 14th century castle complete with a moat and drawbridge and numerous museums showing off art from its glory days during the Renaissance. The town is rich and hopping, thanks to a progressive mayor and a citizenry with pride in its past.
The Pudding Shop: Istanbul’s famed hippie hangout still has place in the heart of “Midnight Express” writer Billy Hayes
The Pudding Shop is an Istanbul institution that played a role in “Midnight Express,” the international bestseller and Oscar-nominated movie. It is where Billy Hayes met the cab driver who took him to his first hashish deal. The Pudding Shop was the nerve center for backpackers following the Hippy Trail that blossomed at the time. Today it’s a tourist trap but it still has a soft spot in Billy Hayes’ heart. I visited the Pudding Shop last month and talked to Hayes last week.
Walk Across Rome Part II: From Termini station home I pass 2,000 years of history with good food and wine as fuel
What I love about Rome is you can walk all over town without ever walking down a busy street. Thanks to all the piazzas and the maze of narrow, cobblestone streets, it’s easy to lose yourself in the quiet parts of this chaotic city. And you always stumble onto historic sites, beautiful piazzas and interesting shops. For the second time, I traversed the city while avoiding traffic. I walked from Termini train station to my home in the Monteverde neighborhood. I zigzagged eight miles for 5 1/2 hours. Here’s my report.
Andy Luotto has been a little bit of everything since he left his home in Brooklyn to be with his father in Italy at 14. Actor. Author. Singer. Comedian. Scuba diver. But more than anything he is a chef. He has owned four restaurants and was an executive chef at a five-star restaurant in Venice. He sat down with me for an interview before he did a cooking demonstration at Rome’s Osteria Il Matto.
Rome’s ethnic restaurants: As Italians travel more, they are growing in popularity and here are my seven favorites
There once was a time when Italians would rather eat frozen pizza than ethnic food. That is changing. Italians are traveling more. More immigrants are coming to Italy. The combination is a growth of ethnic restaurants. Rome doesn’t have the variety of London or New York but I’m enjoying what we have. Here I pick seven of my favorite ethnic restaurants from Eritrean to Vietnamese.
Every February when the Catholic celebration of Carnevale arrives, every pastry shop in Italy is filled with a sweet fried dough called Chiacchiere. Called frappe in Rome’s Lazio region and different names everywhere else, it comes out either baked or fried in long, flat strips or bent in different shapes. They’re served plain or with powdered sugar or dark chocolate. I’m not Catholic but this is one tradition I wholeheartedly endorse.
For Valentine’s Day, I’m taking Marina to a four-star palace in Sutri, a little historic town cut into ravines about an hour north of Rome. It made me think of all the great hotels we’ve stayed at in Italy. We’ve been all over the country and stayed in dozens of hotels, resorts, agriturismos and AirBnBs. These are my five favorite.
After living in Rome for nine years, I know my way around the city’s restaurant scene. When visitors ask me where to eat, I’m always stumped. There are too many choices. But occasionally I try. Like now. This is my fourth edition of my Five Favorite Restaurants in Rome list. Four are new from last year and there’s a new No. 1. I’ve been to all five many times, particularly in the last year, and highly recommend all of them.
Wednesday marks my nine-year anniversary of moving to Rome. And again, as I do every Jan. 11, I list all the reasons I love living here. This year’s is another new list, ranging from Marina’s great Italian dishes to the scenic walk I take to my soccer pub. Of all the blogs I write, this is the easiest.