Being a former sportswriter, I’m into top 10 lists. Top 10 restaurants. Top 10 wines. Top 10 travel tales from hell. With my annual trip to Skopelos, Greece, approaching, I thought I’d do my top 10 trips of my life. I’ve traveled for 45 years and been to 110 countries. This lists stretches from Ecuador to French Polynesia.
Mediterranean diet: It’s why Italians are healthier than Americans and why I’m glad I left the United States
I received a clean bill of health from my annual checkup Wednesday, and I firmly believe a big reason is I moved to Italy nine years ago. Its Mediterranean diet has so many more benefits than the American diet. From its all-natural ingredients to the emphasis of wine over beer, Italians enjoy the sixth-longest life expectancy in the world. The U.S. is 47th.
It’s hot as hell here in Rome. It hit a record 109 degrees last week. I mercifully got my living room air conditioner fixed but that’s only a temporary solution to the bigger problem facing Italy. Like the rest of Europe, Italy is facing massive consequences due to climate change. People are dying from the heat; people are evacuating fires. People who say climate change is a hoax haven’t spent time in Rome this month. This is my analysis.
Italy’s 20 regions stretch from the Mediterranean to the Alps and all are oh, so different. Last week I wrote about the first 10 in alphabetical order. This week it’s the next 10, from the undiscovered villages of Molise to the tourist flood in Venice.
Italy has 20 regions. Each one could qualify as its own country. They have their geography, customs, cuisine, history and dialect. I’ve been to 19 of them. If you’re dreaming of an Italian vacation but don’t know where to go, use this as a guide. This is the first 10 regions in alphabetical order. I’ll post the other 10 next week.
Calabria is considered the most backward and least-developed region in Italy. I rented a car and checked it myself and found nothing of the kind. I found beautiful seas, gorgeous national parks, quaint villages and one of the nicest beach towns in Italy.
Calabria is Italy’s least-developed region, its most rural, but Tropea is its pearl. It was awarded the Most Beautiful Village in Italy in 2021. I spent a week there working on a book and loved my sea view and the relatively empty beaches. The food was great and the people friendly. And easy to reach from Rome.
I’ve only been an A.S. Roma fan for only 21 of the club’s 96 years of existence but Wednesday night I may witness its highest achievement on the European stage. We play Sevilla in Budapest for the Europa League title. The implications are huge. It not only moves our 2022-23 year from oblivion to the Champions League next season, but it also may have an effect on whether manager Jose Mourinho stays for the last year of his contract. A city is on edge.
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.