La vita italiana

Syracuse Duomo: a story of 4 faiths, 6 conquerors and over 2500 years of history

Nestled on a little island, off the southeastern tip of Sicily stands a gleaming white cathedral. As the hot Mediterranean sun hits its towering...

Marco Ponti’s newest comedy calls attention to Italy’s economic woes

Rank heists, police chases, beautiful actress, cruel gangsters, crooked cops and social criticism: Marco Ponti’s newest film, Reckless Life (Una Vita...

Il Cenacolo: the men and now the women

This year, 2018, marks the 90th anniversary of San Francisco’s premier Italian cultural club, Il Cenacolo. This impressive and important milestone...

Knocking on Italy’s door: Spotlight on Basilicata’s local identity

A beautiful article appeared a while back on the renowned pages of the New York Times. It was an incredibly entertaining and informative account of...

The pine cones of Christmas

On one of my many trips to Italy in the early 1980s, I had the good fortune to visit with Father Romano Romani, a friend of my good friend, Dr...

Italian Christmas cake face-off: panettone or pandoro?

You want clear lights on the tree, I think multi-colored are prettier; you prefer ham on the holiday table, I say turkey is tastier; you rock out to...

Word of the Day: Cappuccino

The word cappuccino means, literally, small hood, but of course we think of coffee when we hear it. Or friars, and the link is not haphazard at all...

A world without Venice: a nightmare more real than we think

Last month Venice suffered the fourth highest floods in its history. Water seeped up through the drains, over the canal sides and into the houses,...

Botteghiamo, Rome and the soul of Italian heritage

Today, I feel like to write about Rome and Italian heritage, but for once - our regular readers may be aware of my penchant for classical history - I...

Le Marche, Ascoli and the magic of Olives all’Ascolana

As big as a Robin’s egg, mildly tart with a hint of sweetness, and just-perfect chewy only begins to describe an Ascolana olive. Biting into one is a...

Bisacquino: birthplace of Frank Capra and goat horn-handled knives

Even today, the hilltop village of Bisacquino is a place for those in search of a forceful Sicilian character all its own. Deep in majestic Mount...

La Marzocco: the coffee machine behind Italy’s best caffé

It takes a lot of things to prepare a good cup of coffee: obviously, a good coffee blend and a good machine, to say the least. There’s a brand that...

Dei Sepolcri: Pasquino rents a tomb

At Campo Verano, Rome’s most exclusive cemetery, the dead keep office hours. Although the grounds are open between 7:30 AM and 6:00 PM, formal...

Retiring in Italy: it may no longer be only a dream

Regardless of their age, Italians have one huge preoccupation these days: retiring. With income taxes among the highest in Europe and pensions often...

We still miss you: 25 years without Federico Fellini

It was All Souls’ Day, and Rome had woken up under the rain. It makes you wonder, sometimes, the way Nature manages to read into the heart of the...