Rebetiko is Greek jazz that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. After being censored during World War II, it had a huge revival in the second half of the 20th century and is reaching new popularity now. While on the Greek isle of Skiathos, I went to one of the top rebetiko spots in Greece. Ouzeri Anatoli is where legendary Georgos Xintaris has played rebetiko since 1982. With great food and an even better view overlooking the Aegean Sea, it was one of the highlights of my many trips to Greece.
Michigan State Q&A: Lessons from an ink-stained wretch and world-weary travel writer to bright J students
Every summer a group of Michigan State journalism students comes to Rome and I talk to them about my life as a sportswriter in the U.S. and my transformation to a travel writer in Rome. This year they asked some remarkably insightful questions. Here are some of them and how I answered them.
Via Francigena: Ancient pilgrimage from France to Rome an enlightening journey for this American wanderer
Kevin McAllister doesn’t just go places. He walks there. And he experiences every inch of culture along the way. The 66-year-old retired software salesman just finished walking 900 miles over 70 days, the vast majority over the historic Via Francigena pilgrimmage route that stretches from Canterbury, England, to Southern Italy. I met him during my stay in Cinque Terre last month and told him to look me up when he finished his pilgrimage in Rome. He did. We sat for drinks and he told me his story.
(Editor’s note. While I’m away for the holidays, I am re-running my blog on Christmas in Rome from four years ago.) I grew up in the capital of the commercial world and now live in the capital of the Catholic world. It is Christmas time, a time when capitalism and religion merge into a big, […]
LONDON — One day recently I went from Iran to South Africa, from Senegal to Bhutan. The next day I journeyed from Bolivia to Belarus, from Cyprus to Pakistan. I gazed at beautiful beaches in the Bahamas. I photographed a gorilla in Uganda. I discovered “The best kept secret in India.” And I never left […]
Abu Dhabi: World’s richest city per capita is more than just skyscrapers, opulence, shopping and tourists
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — I don’t believe time machines will ever exist but I came the closest to experiencing one. I just traveled from one of the oldest cities in the world to one of the newest. Flying six hours from Rome (founded 753 B.C.) to Abu Dhabi (founded 1971), I felt like […]
I’m often asked if I’d ever live anywhere in Italy besides Rome. I know what they’re getting at. If it’s a woman, she read “Under the Tuscan Sun” and thinks life in rural Italy is all Italian poetry and glasses of Chianti in gardens. If it’s a man, they hated Rome’s filth and have a […]
I sipped Prosecco Saturday in the same piazza where Benito Mussolini worked his fascist throng into a froth. I stood in Piazza Venezia, in the shadow of the gargantuan white confectionery monument called Il Vittoriano, in suit and tie, and celebrated the most Italian of Italian traditions. The Italian wedding. No, not mine. It was […]
Living in Rome is like living in a big city with a small town right across the street. Can’t believe you can get a small-town feel from a city of 2.8 million people who drive like they’re escaping a coming earthquake? Just walk down a street. In fact, walk down many of them. Walk down […]
I’ve always told people wanting to party in Rome that this city isn’t a bar town. It’s a restaurant town. However, it is the world’s greatest bar town in one specific genre: wine bars. Called enotecas in Italian, they enjoyed a renaissance in the 1990s and now are my preferred destination on any night out […]
SKOPELOS, Greece — Three times a week for the last few years, the little Attikon Open Air Cinema on Skiathos has played “Mamma Mia!” Besides being the worst movie Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan ever made (There’s a reason none of her 21 Oscar nominations were for her singing, and James Bond DOES NOT sing.), […]
We found this month-old kitten near death atop a gutter on Skiathos three years ago. Today Bolt is thriving, with some bumps, at the Skiathos Cat Welfare Association. Marina Pascucci photos SKIATHOS, Greece – We were going to go viral. I was sure of it. This reunion had all the trappings that pull on heartstrings, […]