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The Italy! Mamma Mia! Blog

Welcome to the ItalyMammaMia Blog, your ultimate guide to everything Italy has to offer! As the founder and curator, I, Maria, am thrilled to share with you the passion and love I hold for this extraordinary country.

At ItalyMammaMia, we aim to bring you the latest news from Italy, captivating articles, and stunning visuals that showcase the beauty and charm of Italy. From picturesque landscapes to mouthwatering recipes, and invaluable travel advice, our content covers a wide array of topics that will ignite your wanderlust and inspire your next Italian adventure.

Moreover, we provide you with essential information and resources to ensure that your trip to Italy is nothing short of exceptional. From practical travel tips to insider recommendations, we strive to equip you with everything you need to make the most out of your Italian journey.

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or planning your very first trip to Italy, ItalyMammaMia is here to guide and inspire you every step of the way.

So, come along and immerse yourself in the beauty, culture, and allure of Italy—let's make unforgettable memories together!


After over two decades of meticulous restoration work, the House of the Vettii in Pompeii, once again, welcomes visitors to marvel at its grandeur and historical significance. This ancient dwelling, nestled in the heart of Pompeii, tells the captivating story of two brothers, Restitutus and Conviva Vettii, whose remarkable journey from slavery to prosperity is immortalized within its walls.

Restitutus and Conviva Vettii, once slaves, rose to prominence and affluence, seizing the opportunity to construct one of the most magnificent residences in Pompeii. Their abode stands as a testament to their resilience and ambition, embodying a true rags-to-riches narrative in the annals of history. Lavishly adorned with intricate frescoes, opulent furnishings, and architectural marvels, the House of the Vettii served as a symbol of their newfound stature and success.

However, the brothers' aspirations were tragically cut short by the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which engulfed Pompeii in ash and preserved it for centuries beneath its volcanic shroud.

Now, following years of painstaking restoration efforts, the House of the Vettii emerges from the ashes, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle and aspirations of its former inhabitants. Visitors can wander through its meticulously recreated rooms, adorned with vibrant frescoes depicting scenes of mythological figures, everyday life, and lavish banquets.

Through its restored splendor, this ancient marvel continues to captivate and inspire visitors from around the world, ensuring that the legacy of the Vettii brothers lives on for generations to come.

The Venice Access Fee: Here's How it Works

The introduction of the Access Fee in Venice, starting in April 2024, signifies a significant step towards managing and limiting tourist numbers in the ancient city. The fee system is designed to strike a balance between preserving Venice's cultural heritage and ensuring a sustainable and enjoyable experience for visitors.

Venice, with its unique architecture, historic sites, and intricate canal system, has long struggled with the challenges posed by overtourism.

By implementing an Access Fee, authorities aim to regulate the influx of day visitors, particularly during peak hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on specific dates.

This measure addresses concerns such as overcrowding, wear and tear on infrastructure, and the impact on the daily lives of residents.

The fee applies to day visitors, encouraging them to book and pay, thereby contributing to the maintenance and conservation of Venice's cultural treasures.

Exemptions for residents, commuters, students, and specific age groups demonstrate a thoughtful approach, ensuring those with genuine ties to the city are not unduly burdened.

Continue reading "The Venice Access Fee: Here's How it Works"

Italians & Americans: The Hardest Working

Ah, behold the marvels of the modern world, where data speaks louder than espresso-fueled debates at an Italian piazza! According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose wisdom shines brighter than a Tuscan sunrise, a chart has emerged revealing the labor habits of nations.

Italians, Canadians and Americans, are leading the charge in the realm of industriousness. With their espresso shots or pumpkin-spiced double-shot lattes in hand, they earn the coveted title of "Hardest Workers." Bravo! Applause echoes.

But oh, mein Gott! Who's lounging at the bottom of the productivity pyramid? None other than the Germans, known for their efficiency in engineering but perhaps not in burning the midnight oil. Could it be the allure of leisurely strolls along the Rhine or the temptation of yet another slice of Black Forest cake? We'll let the chart do the talking!

Ah, oui oui! Let's not forget our friends across the border, the French, gracefully reclining just above the Germans in the race for the title of "Least Likely to Break a Sweat." With their croissants and café au lait, they've perfected the art of savoring the moment, even if it means clocking fewer hours at the office. Ah, c'est la vie!

OECD-G7-Working Hours

Italy's Hydrogen Trains: Tomorrow's Transit, Today!

Get ready to hop aboard the hydrogen hype train as Italy gears up to sprinkle a dash of innovation into its transportation mix! Picture this: hydrogen-powered trains zipping through picturesque landscapes, leaving nothing but water droplets in their eco-friendly wake.

Italy is cooking up something special with the "H2iseO Hydrogen Valley" project. Think of it as a sustainable mobility makeover, where the spotlight is on hydrogen-powered trains, and Italy is leading the charge. This ain't your regular train journey; it's a green revolution on tracks.

So, what's the fuss all about?

Well, these trains aren't your run-of-the-mill diesel guzzlers. They run on green hydrogen, and the only thing they're emitting is water vapor. That's right—no smoke, no carbon footprint, just a clean and green ride through the scenic routes.

The game plan involves transforming the Brescia-Iseo-Edolo railway line, currently served by diesel locomotives, into a hydrogen haven. The FNM Group has given the thumbs up for six hydrogen-powered electric trains to kickstart this green locomotion extravaganza.

And guess what? They're not stopping there; another eight might join the party soon.

The "Hydrogen Valley" project isn't just changing tracks; it's creating a whole new journey. It's like giving the transportation system a much-needed, eco-friendly makeover.

And the best part?

The only thing you'll smell is the crisp, clean air.

Italy is putting the pedal to the metal, aiming to wrap up this hydrogen-powered fiesta by 2025. That's right around the corner! So, get ready to witness a new era of travel—where the only thing trailing behind is a cloud of water vapor, and we're all aboard for it. All aboard the hydrogen express!

Continue reading "Italy's Hydrogen Trains: Tomorrow's Transit, Today!"

Espresso: Now Only 50 Cents!

In a charming bar nestled in Venafro, Isernia, Molise, something exciting is brewing! Picture this: a cozy café where locals gather for their morning coffee fix, but with a delightful twist. Now, you can savor your favorite espresso for just 50 cents – all you need to do is bring your own cup from home!

Ah, Italy – the land where coffee runs through our veins and fills our hearts with warmth. And what better way to kickstart your day than with a steaming cup of espresso shared with friends? With this ingenious initiative at the Don Antò bar, your morning ritual becomes not only affordable but also eco-friendly.

Imagine strolling into the café, greeted by the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the welcoming smiles of fellow caffeine enthusiasts. As you reach for your trusty cup from home, you can't help but feel a sense of pride in contributing to a greener world.

And let's not forget the joy of saving a few coins while indulging in Italy's beloved beverage! For just 50 cents, you can treat yourself to the perfect morning pick-me-up, surrounded by friendly faces and lively chatter. It's a recipe for a truly magical start to any day.

So, whether you're a local or a curious traveler passing through, don't miss out on this delightful experience at the Don Antò bar. Bring your cup, sip your espresso, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere – because here in Italy, every coffee break is a celebration of life's simple pleasures!

Sail Away in Style: The Gondola Bathtub Experience!

Picture this: You, lounging in a bathtub that's not just any old tub—it's a gondola! Yes, you heard it right, a gondola! Imagine soaking away your worries while being serenaded by your very own gondolier crooning "O Sole Mio" as you sail through the canals of Venice (or maybe just your bathroom, but let's dream big!).

Forget rubber duckies, because in this bathtub, you've got majestic swans gliding gracefully alongside you. And who needs bath bombs when you can toss in a handful of Venetian coins for luck? Plus, no need to worry about water splashing overboard—your gondolier is a pro at navigating even the choppiest of bathwaters.

So, if you're ready to take your bathing experience to the next level, hop aboard your gondola bathtub and get ready for a splash of Italian luxury right in your own home!

gondola bathtub

gondola bathtub

gondola bathtub

gondola bathtub

In Photos: USA versus Italy

Welcome to the ultimate showdown between two titans: the USA and Italy! From coffee cups that could fit in your palm to ones that require both hands, and cars that easily fit down narrow cobblestone streets to trucks that could haul a small Italian villa, the differences are as stark as the contrast between an American pizza with pineapple and a simple Italian margherita.

In one corner, we have the land of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches towering high, while in the other, we have a country offering a delicate panino.

And let's not forget the battle of the breakfasts: a gargantuan feast of eggs and bacon versus a simple croissant with a dollop of jam.

Get ready to laugh, cry, and maybe even scratch your head in confusion as we delve into the quirky and charming disparities between these two great cultures. So grab your espresso or your pumpkin spice, soya milk latte, depending on which side of the Atlantic you're on, and let's explore the wild and wonderful world of USA vs. Italy! 

Italian car vs USA car

American truck versus Italian truck

American breakfast versus Italian breakfast

Coffee in America and Italy

pizza italy versus USA

Vespa vs Harley

Italian sandwich versus USA

Venice Carnival & Venice Carnival Masks


Venice Carnival masks are famous throughout the world and the Carnival itself was recently voted as one of the world’s top five carnivals. See more..

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Experience Easter in Rome: Tradition and Celebration

Pieta Statue by Michelangelo

Explore Easter in Rome: Delve into Italy's Easter traditions, from religious observances to festive events, while unraveling the mysteries of Easter in Rome

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Free Wine for Travelers at Florence Airport?

Florence Airport

ItalyMammaMia is thrilled to share the visionary project for Florence's airport. The highlight? An innovative 8-hectare vineyard is planned for the terminal's roof, celebrating Florence's cultural heritage of good food and wine. The addition of the vineyard reflects a bold step towards sustainability and cultural preservation.

Personally, I love "Going Green" done this way.

Imagine sipping wine from the airport cellars. You won't need to go visit those Chianti wineries; just drop by the airport and enjoy a wine tasting of fine Tuscan wine!

The rooftop vineyard will hopefully deliver an unforgettable experience, but it does raise questions like, "Will delayed passengers enjoy free wine from the rooftop harvest?"

Oh, and once you are done sipping red wine, you can head into Florence on a new light rail system linking the airport to the city center.

You'll have to wait until 2035 for the airport to open. In the meantime, here are some other wineries you may want to visit in Tuscany:

Cilento Italy - An Inside Guide to One of Italy's Best-Kept Secrets

Street scene in Velia, Cilento

An area unknown outside of Italy, the Italians have been keeping the Cilento to themselves, and for good reason too. Discover all Cilento Italy has to offer in our guide.

Continue reading "Cilento Italy - An Inside Guide to One of Italy's Best-Kept Secrets"

12 Reasons to END the Venice Carnival

This is not my opinion, although I agree with many of the points raised. The answer, as with all things Venetian, is never easy to find. What do you think?

Commercial Origin: The modern Venice Carnival, as we know it today, originated in the 1970s as an attempt to boost tourism. Venice now needs fewer tourists and even proposes a fee to lower the numbers. Ending the Carnival, the Biennale (which occupies so many buildings, all of which could be used to house locals), and the Movie Festival (filled with day trippers and Instagrammers who come to see the stars arrive) will help lower numbers.

Historical Context: The last authentic carnival in Venice took place in the 18th century before it was banned due to its excessive indulgence and debauchery.

Authenticity: Unlike the traditional carnival of the past, today's carnival has evolved into a commercialized event focused more on spectacle and entertainment.

Limited Local Participation: Many Venetians feel disconnected from the modern carnival, viewing it as a tourist attraction rather than a genuine expression of their cultural heritage. As a result, local participation in the festivities has declined over the years.

Environmental Impact: The large influx of tourists during the carnival puts significant strain on Venice's delicate ecosystem and historic infrastructure.

Overcrowding: The carnival attracts massive crowds, leading to overcrowding in the city's narrow streets and squares, compromising safety and comfort.

High Costs: Hosting the carnival is expensive for the city, with costs escalating each year for security, cleanup, and infrastructure maintenance.

Disruption to Daily Life: The carnival disrupts the daily lives of residents, with increased noise, traffic congestion, and limited access to public spaces.

Damage to Heritage Sites: The carnival's festivities can result in damage to Venice's historic buildings, monuments, and waterways, posing a threat to the city's UNESCO World Heritage status.

Social Inequality: The carnival's focus on opulence and extravagance exacerbates social inequality, as participation becomes increasingly inaccessible to ordinary residents.

Loss of Authenticity: Critics argue that the carnival has lost its authenticity and connection to Venetian traditions, becoming more about spectacle and tourism than cultural heritage.

Alternative Events: Ending the carnival could pave the way for the development of alternative, more sustainable events that celebrate Venice's rich history and culture without the negative consequences associated with the carnival.

Where in Italy is Calabria? Why Visit Calabria? What to See ?


Curious about Calabria? Get the ultimate answer to 'Where in Italy is Calabria?' as we reveal the captivating allure of this southern gem!

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Stay Safe in Italy

Pickpocketing in Crowded Areas:
Tourist hotspots and crowded public transportation hubs can be magnets for pickpockets. Stay vigilant in places like the Colosseum, the Vatican, and busy train stations.
Street Performer Distraction:
While enjoying street performances, be cautious of distractions, as pickpockets often work in teams. Maintain awareness of your belongings, especially in crowded areas like the Trevi Fountain.
Rosemary Bracelet Scam:
In tourist-heavy locations, scammers may offer to tie a "free" rosemary bracelet around your wrist, then demand payment. Politely decline such offers to avoid any unpleasant situations.
Broken Taxi Meters:
Some dishonest taxi drivers may claim their meter is broken and demand a higher fare. Verify the functionality of the meter or agree on a fixed price before starting the journey.
Fake Tickets at Tourist Sites:
Be cautious when purchasing tickets from street vendors or individuals near popular tourist attractions. Opt for official ticket booths to avoid falling victim to counterfeit tickets.
Walking on the Painting Scam:
Scammers might spread a painting on the sidewalk and accuse you of walking on it or spilling something on it. They then demand payment for damages.
Fake Petitions:
Be wary of individuals asking for signatures on petitions. This common distraction technique is often used by pickpockets to target unsuspecting tourists.
ATM Skimming:
Use ATMs in well-lit, secure locations, and be vigilant for any unusual devices attached to the machine. Skimmers may attempt to steal card information.
Fake Goods Scam:
When shopping for designer items, especially in open-air markets, be cautious of counterfeit goods. Purchase from reputable stores to ensure authenticity.

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Discover the Enchantment of Sorrento: Five Must-Do Activities

Sorrento, nestled on Italy's stunning Amalfi Coast, is a haven of timeless allure and Mediterranean romance. Immerse yourself in its charming historic center, where cobblestone streets lead to artisanal shops and local trattorias.

The scent of citrus hangs in the air, and every corner reveals a piece of Sorrento's rich cultural tapestry. Indulge in the famed Limoncello, embark on Amalfi Coast excursions, and savor sunsets over the Bay of Naples.

With its captivating landscapes, culinary delights, and warm hospitality, Sorrento invites you to fall in love with its enchanting embrace—a destination where every moment whispers, "La dolce vita.".

Immerse yourself in the charm of this Italian gem with our curated list of the five must-do activities that promise an unforgettable experience.

1. Amalfi Coast Excursion:

Embark on a scenic adventure along the breathtaking Amalfi Coast. Witness the dramatic cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant villages clinging to the hillsides. Our recommended coastal drive or boat tour ensures you capture the essence of this UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. Historic Center Stroll:

Lose yourself in the narrow alleys of Sorrento's historic center. Explore artisanal shops, local markets, and family-run trattorias. Indulge your senses in the aroma of fresh citrus, a specialty of the region, and discover hidden gems that showcase Sorrento's rich cultural heritage.

3. Limoni di Sorrento Experience:

Delight your taste buds with the world-renowned Limoncello, a lemon liqueur synonymous with Sorrento. Visit a local lemon grove to witness the traditional cultivation methods, and savor the refreshing taste of Limoncello while enjoying panoramic views of the Bay of Naples.

4. Sorrento Cooking Class:

Immerse yourself in the secrets of Italian cuisine with a hands-on cooking class. Join local chefs in selecting fresh, seasonal ingredients from the market and learn to craft authentic dishes. Indulge in the fruits of your labor as you relish a delectable meal paired with regional wines.

5. Sorrento's Sunset Spectacle:

Conclude your day with the awe-inspiring sunset from Marina Grande. Whether from a cliffside terrace or the sandy shores, Sorrento's sunset paints the sky in hues of orange and pink, casting a magical spell on this idyllic destination.In Sorrento, every moment is an invitation to savor the finer things in life.

To Tip or Not to Tip?

Historical Context: Tipping and Its Unintended Consequences

In the historical backdrop of Italy, a country renowned for its rich cultural heritage, the practice of tipping has had a transformative journey that is intricately woven into the fabric of its hospitality landscape. Originally intended as a means to enhance service quality and express gratitude, the practice of tipping gradually revealed its unintended consequences, particularly in the context of corruption and socio-economic disparity.

Tipping's Shift to Disparity: A Natural Progression

The concept of tipping, which emerged as a form of reward for exceptional service, often led to imbalances in service delivery. Those with the ability to offer larger tips found themselves receiving preferential treatment, inadvertently creating a hierarchy based on financial capacity rather than genuine service quality. As a result, the personal connection between patrons and servers, which was the cornerstone of tipping, started to erode.

The Rise of Corruption: Tipping's Dual Nature

Over time, the practice of tipping, while fostering corruption in some cases, also created an environment conducive to unethical practices. Individuals seeking favorable treatment began exploiting the system by offering tips as a way to secure privileges or receive better service. This practice, which strayed from the original intention of rewarding excellent service, allowed for under-the-table dealings that compromised the integrity of the hospitality industry.

The Mafia's Infiltration: A Sinister Nexus

The mafia's involvement in the Italian hospitality industry further exacerbated the issues associated with tipping. Criminal organizations infiltrated businesses, coercing them into submission by leveraging the practice of tipping. In this scenario, tipping became a conduit for money laundering, extortion, and control, distorting the very essence of genuine hospitality.

Transition to Equitable Practices: The Emergence of Service Charges

In an effort to address the challenges posed by tipping, Italy gradually shifted towards a more standardized approach known as service charges. Service charges are included in bills to ensure equitable compensation for hospitality staff, reduce dependency on tips, and create a transparent transactional process. This transition minimized the disparities that tipping had inadvertently fostered and provided a fair and stable income for workers.

The Decision is Yours

Having read the above, the decision is yours, but tipping is not expected of you.

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The Witch of January 6

In Italy, the holiday season extends beyond Christmas, culminating in the festive celebration of Epiphany on January 6th. At the heart of this unique Italian tradition is "La Befana," a legendary character who brings joy and laughter to households across the country.

La Befana is a kindly old witch, flying on her broomstick and delivering gifts to children on the night of January 5th. According to folklore, she visited the baby Jesus and, impressed by his kindness, decided to bring presents to all children each year.

Children across Italy eagerly hang stockings by the fireplace or place shoes outside their doors, eagerly awaiting the arrival of La Befana. Families come together for a festive dinner, sharing laughter and stories as they anticipate the whimsical surprises the magical witch will bring.

As the clock strikes midnight, La Befana begins her journey, sliding down chimneys and leaving small gifts and sweets for well-behaved children. The joyous sounds of laughter and excitement fill the air as little ones wake up to discover the surprises left by the whimsical character.

However, La Befana doesn't just reward good behavior; she also brings a touch of humor to those who may have been a bit naughty during the year.

For those naughty children, a lump of "coal" made of black sugar is often included in their stockings, a playful reminder to strive for better behavior in the coming year.

While the modern world has introduced new ways of celebrating, the tradition of La Befana remains a beloved and integral part of Italy's cultural fabric. Families continue to pass down the enchanting stories of the old witch who brings joy, laughter, and a sprinkle of magic to the homes of children each Epiphany.

Communities come alive with parades, festivities, and vibrant celebrations on January 6th. In some regions, costumed processions and theatrical performances bring the legend of La Befana to life, creating a magical atmosphere for locals and visitors alike.

In the midst of the winter season, La Befana's arrival is a heartwarming reminder that, no matter our age, a touch of whimsy and a dash of magic can make the start of the year truly special.

Where does the sewage in Venice go? the answer is shocking...

Prepare yourselves for a jaw-dropping revelation about the hidden underbelly of Venice, a city seemingly untouched by the grime and grit of modern urban living.

As you glide through those romantic canals, it's time to face the shocking truth – Venice doesn't boast a sewage system!

Yep, you heard it right. This dreamy destination, famed for its gondola rides and enchanting architecture, wrestles with a sewage dilemma that might just make your stomach turn.

Picture this: half of the household sewage from those charming Venetian homes takes a direct plunge into the very canals that weave through the city. Forget about a fancy sewage infrastructure; Venice dances to the beat of its own aquatic drum, and it's a rhythm tainted with a not-so-pleasant symphony of untreated waste swirling beneath the surface.

Now, we're not trying to rain on Venice's parade, but it's time to lift the curtain on this aquatic drama. Behind the scenes, those iconic canals host a silent battle against pollution. The waters, often romanticized and immortalized in countless postcards, double as a dumping ground for untreated sewage.

It's a paradoxical blend of beauty and the not-so-pretty reality of pollution.

And here's the real kicker: if you've ever considered taking a dip in those alluring canals, think again. Those who dare to play daredevil might find themselves in a not-so-enchanting situation – risking a rendezvous with waterborne illnesses and infections. Venice's canals are not the crystal-clear lagoons you might imagine; they're more like a murky cocktail of bacteria and contaminants.

So, next time you envision a refreshing swim in Venice's iconic canals, consider the health risks. It turns out that beneath the city's romantic exterior lies a watery world fraught with ecological challenges. Venice, for all its allure, faces a gritty battle against the consequences of its unique charm.

Stay safe out there, and maybe stick to enjoying the view from the safety of a gondola! Just don't dip a hand or toe in the water.

Need an Itinerary for Italy?


There is so much to see in Italy so how do you decide where to go? You do not want the same itinerary the tourist hordes follow. You want something unique..

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The Art of Espresso: Unveiling Italy's Trio of Coffee Capitals

Italy, renowned for its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and delectable cuisine, is equally celebrated for its exceptional coffee culture. While coffee holds a special place in the hearts of Italians across the nation, three cities stand out for offering an unparalleled coffee experience.

1. Naples: Espresso with a Neapolitan Flair

Naples, with its vibrant street life and passionate residents, is a coffee lover's haven. The city's espresso, characterized by a bold and intense flavor, reflects the vivacity of Neapolitan culture. Neapolitans have a penchant for "caffe sospeso," a tradition where a customer pays for two coffees but consumes only one, leaving the second for a stranger in need.

Historic cafes like Gran Caffè Gambrinus, adorned with opulent interiors, transport visitors to a bygone era. Naples' coffee scene extends beyond espresso, with the renowned "caffè alla nocciola" (hazelnut coffee) capturing the essence of local flavors.

2. Trieste: Illy's Haven of Coffee Innovation

Trieste, nestled on the northeastern coast, is synonymous with Illy, a global leader in premium coffee. The city's coffee culture is marked by a dedication to innovation and quality.

Illy's headquarters in Trieste serves as a hub for coffee research and development, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the world of coffee.

Visitors to Trieste can immerse themselves in the art of coffee at Illy's flagship store, experiencing firsthand the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into every cup. Trieste's historic cafes, such as Caffè San Marco, add to the city's allure, offering a refined setting to savor the highest-quality espresso.

3. Torino: Lavazza's Legacy of Coffee Excellence

Torino, located in the northwestern part of Italy, is synonymous with Lavazza, a brand that has become a symbol of coffee excellence. Lavazza's historical roots in Torino date back to the late 19th century, and the city has since become a center for coffee appreciation. Torino's coffee culture reflects a balance between tradition and modernity, making it a destination where coffee enthusiasts can savor both classic Italian espresso and contemporary coffee trends.

Caffè Mulassano, one of Torino's historic cafes, provides an exquisite backdrop to indulge in Lavazza's finest brews, showcasing the city's commitment to the art of coffee.

Coffee, Culture, and Community

In these three cities, coffee is not merely a beverage; it is a cultural institution, a social connector, and an art form. Whether sipping a strong espresso in Naples, immersing in the innovative coffee scene in Trieste, or relishing the legacy of Lavazza in Torino, each city offers a unique and unforgettable coffee experience. Italy's coffee culture, deeply ingrained in its societal fabric, continues to captivate locals and visitors alike, making every cup a journey into the heart and soul of this extraordinary nation.

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Venice: Canals Turn Green

The Horror of Graffiti in Italy


In centuries past, young Italians signed off on some of the greatest artworks the world has ever seen. Now, they sign off with scribbles on walls.

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Earthquake Risk in Italy: The Dangerous Areas - Updated for 2024


We are often asked where the earthquake risk in Italy is at its most dangerous. We've the answer for you: not only most at risk but least at risk too.

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6 Places to See near Venice - Updated for 2024


These 6 places to see near Venice are truly awesome. If you're visiting Venice you seriously DO NOT want to miss out on seeing them.

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8 Unforgettable Places in Italy - Updated for 2024

Cinque Terre

We have discovered 8 Unforgettable Places in Italy. From Puglia to Piedmont this really is Italy at its most beautiful... want to share in the secret?

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The 9 Most Beautiful Towns in Italy - Updated for 2024

Life in Corniglia

We would like to share a secret with you, the 9 most beautiful towns and villages in Italy.

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Gondola Capsizes

The price of a selfie was a little costly for these tourists. Their obsession with selfies meant that they ignored the gondoliers' orders to sit down. The result, they ended up with a cold reality check when they fell into the canal.

All were saved. Hopefully, they learned a lesson too.

Italy's Most Handsome Man is Becoming a Priest

Who would have thought that a 21-year-old from Castelfiorentino named Edoardo Santini would swap his crown for a cassock? Yes, you read that right! Edoardo, crowned "Italy's Most Handsome" in 2019, has set his sights on a more divine career path—aiming to become a priest within the next two years.

With a past life as a swimmer and budding actor, Edoardo's charm and talents led him to a brief stint in the modeling world. However, his life took an extraordinary turn when he decided to bid adieu to the catwalks and follow a path leading to God. In a video shared on social media, Edoardo narrated his journey, recounting his decision to become a priest after living with two priests for a year, an experience he dubbed as "the most beautiful" of his life.

"Last year, to take a first step," shared Santini, "I went to live with two priests, and that was the most beautiful experience of my life. An experience that allowed me to meet brothers and find in everyday life the answers I had been waiting for to come down from above." This period granted him significant encounters and solutions to his daily spiritual queries.

After seeking permission from the Bishop, Edoardo Santini embarked on the propaedeutic path, initiating his theological studies and beginning service in two parishes within the Florentine diocese.

Fast forward to 2022, and Edoardo, who once aspired to be a theatrical and film actor, as well as a language enthusiast, now dreams of donning the priestly attire. His diverse passions, from acting to competitive dancing (he clinched the title of Italian champions in Boogie Woogie in 2022), have taken a back seat as he delves into theology and pastoral duties.

Edoardo shared his unique journey through social media channels, stating, "Because saying 'yes' inevitably means saying 'no.' I don't give up everything because my passions are a part of me, but I will live and reintroduce them in different contexts."

Acknowledging the apprehensions surrounding his decision, Edoardo admitted, "My biggest fear was not being accepted for this choice, but I must say that I had built more walls than there actually were. Some talk behind my back, and some don't hesitate to tell me that I am a disappointment, even in the family, but there are also those who support me—believers and non-believers."

In taking this daunting step, Edoardo has overcome his fears and boldly declared, "I am Edoardo, 21 years old, and I am happy." From beauty titles to holy books, Edoardo Santini is scripting a story that transcends the ordinary, proving that the pursuit of happiness often leads us down unexpected and joyful paths.

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Italy Is NOT all Chaos, Tourists and Noise. There IS another Italy.


Looking to escape the tourist madness of cities like Venice and Rome? Longing to spend time in a quieter Italy? We have EXACTLY what you need!

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The Best Luxury Hotels in Venice Italy

Luna Hotel Baglioni Venice

Discover the epitome of luxury in Venice. Explore my insider's guide to the best luxury hotels in Venice, where opulence meets elegance.

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Calabria's Secret Towns: Morano Calabro Travel Guide


Thinking of visiting Morano Calabro in Calabria? Out travel guide has all the info you need and explains why travel to Morano Calabro is such a great idea.

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Bologna: Locals Share Why This is One of Italy's Greatest Cities

Bologna is a well-kept secret, known for its enchanting streets, culinary mastery, and an ancient soul that beats within its historic heart.

A Glimpse into Bologna's Soul

"Bologna isn't just a city; it's a feeling, a timeless embrace." — Carla, a lifelong resident.

Bologna is a place where history whispers through every cobblestone, where the vibrant spirit of Italy unfurls. The city's captivating history dates back to Roman times, earning it the nickname "La Dotta" (The Learned) due to its venerable university, founded in 1088, the oldest in the Western world. But there's more to Bologna than meets the eye, including its hidden canals.

Discovering Bologna's Canals

"Bologna's canals hide beneath the city, a reminder of its medieval past." — Marco, a local artist.

Few know that Bologna has a network of ancient canals, vestiges of its medieval history. Although no longer navigable, these canals add a layer of mystique to the city's character, revealing its rich heritage.

Getting Lost in the Red Tapestry

"Wander its labyrinth of red-hued porticoes; it's like walking through a living work of art." — Marco, a local artist.

Begin your journey by strolling under the iconic red porticoes that adorn nearly every street. Over 38 kilometers of these architectural marvels crisscross the city, providing shelter from the sun and rain. Delve into the meandering streets, where every twist and turn unveils another hidden gem. From charming piazzas like Piazza Santo Stefano, where you'll find the stunning Seven Churches complex, to unexpected street art in the old town, you'll be drawn into the enchanting tapestry of Bologna.

Culinary Quests and the Perfect Pasta

"In Bologna, the freshest ingredients dance with tradition to create the world's most authentic pasta dishes." — Giovanni, a local chef.

Indulge your taste buds in the city's culinary delights. Bologna's food is an art form, a symphony of flavors. Sample tagliatelle al ragù (yes, it's the real Bolognese sauce), savor tortellini in brodo, or feast on the rich, creamy lasagna. The local markets, like Mercato di Mezzo, offer fresh produce and artisanal products.

Off the Beaten Path

"Hidden gems like the San Michele in Bosco offer a tranquil escape from the city's hustle and bustle." — Elena, a Bologna resident.

Venture beyond the well-trodden paths to uncover Bologna's secrets. The serene San Michele in Bosco, a 16th-century complex perched atop Colle della Guardia, offers panoramic vistas of the city. Don't miss the secrets of the anatomical theater at the Archiginnasio, where medical students once observed dissections.

A Bologna Revelation

"Most don't know that Bologna boasts the longest portico in the world, extending over 3.5 kilometers!" — Luca, local historian.

Unearth the city's most intriguing secret: Bologna is home to the world's longest portico, the stunning Portico di San Luca. This masterpiece stretches for over 3.5 kilometers, leading to the hilltop sanctuary of San Luca. A pilgrimage up its arches reveals breathtaking views and an unparalleled sense of wonder.

Come with an open heart, savor each mouthful, and let Bologna unveil its many secrets.

Leaning Tower Concerns

Leaning Tower Bolognam

Bologna's Torre Garisenda, with its dramatic tilt, stands as a testament to both the city's character and its resilience in the face of imminent danger. This ancient tower, along with its sibling, the Torre degli Asinelli, has been an architectural marvel for centuries. However, recent concerns about its structural integrity have brought to light the very real risk it faces.

The Torre Garisenda's distinctive lean, reaching an astonishing angle of approximately 4 degrees from the vertical, has captured the hearts and imagination of all who have beheld it. It is a symbol not just of architectural achievement but of the city's determination to face adversity head-on.

But beneath this iconic exterior, there is an ongoing battle for the tower's preservation. Recent alarms regarding its structural health have raised the stakes. The tower's foundation, already compromised by centuries of settling, faces the relentless passage of time and the changing dynamics of the earth beneath it. The risk of further movement, or even the unthinkable collapse, looms as a dark shadow over this beloved landmark.

Despite these dramatic challenges, Bologna remains united in its resolve to safeguard this iconic tower. It's not just a matter of preserving history; it's about preserving the heart and soul of the city. The dramatic tilt, once a symbol of strength in adversity, has become a call to action. Bologna is committed to facing the risk head-on, working tirelessly to secure the future of the Torre Garisenda and ensure it remains a symbol of resilience and triumph for generations to come.

Authentic and 100% Italian - Our Tiramisu Recipe

Tiramisu Recipe Martina

If you're in search of the perfect tiramisu recipe, look no further. This one is dolce heaven and 100% authentic. A true taste of Italy.

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Naples: Experts Fearful

Experts are profoundly concerned about the Campi Flegrei volcanic system, primarily due to its history and potential for immense destruction. Imagine a colossal, fiery beast of a volcano, slumbering beneath the bustling Gulf of Naples. Its power is so enormous that its ancient eruptions have earned a place in the annals of history.

This unpredictable geological titan scared the world with its most notorious tantrum that occurred in 79 AD, when it annihilated the city of Pompeii and claimed countless lives. Today, the same area is home to millions of people, making the potential for devastation even higher should another eruption occur.

The heart of the anxiety, however, doesn't solely lie in the possibility of an eruption, but also the debilitating earthquakes caused by the shifting and churning of molten rock below the surface. Seismologists recently recorded an alarming earthquake in the area with a magnitude of 4.2.

Although it may not sound highly distressing on the surface, the fact that it happened in such a volatile and critical location magnifies its significance. This earthquake could potentially awake the monstrous volcanic system from its long slumber.

Although predictions about volcanic eruptions are an inexact science, the current wave of seismic activity does amplify the concerns about what could possibly be brewing underneath the surface of the Campi Flegrei. Given the potentially catastrophic outcomes, experts are committed to maintaining a hawk-eyed vigilance over this portentous geological giant beneath the Gulf of Naples.

But in the end, one can only prepare, monitor, and hope that the turbulent fury of nature remains asleep, while researchers tirelessly work to understand and anticipate its unpredictable whims. Meanwhile, experts are urging authorities to check the structural soundness of nearby schools and hospitals.

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Over-Priced & Over-Hyped

We received the message below from an anonymous chef in Italy. Do you agree with his views?

Italian cuisine has increasingly become a victim of its own reputation. It's time to address the uncomfortable truth: the lauded Italian dining experience has lost its luster. The reality is far from the romanticized image of rustic trattorias and plates overflowing with exquisite flavors. Instead, it's a tale of overpricing and overhyping that leaves many feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.

While Italy boasts a rich culinary heritage, the truth is that not every dish is a masterpiece. Many restaurants cash in on the stereotype, charging exorbitant prices for meals that are, in essence, uninspired and lacking in creativity.

Take, for instance, the ubiquitous pasta dish. Once a hearty portion of simple yet delicious fare you're now lucky to receive a plate with pasta that barely fills the center,  discolored with a dribble of overpriced sauce.

Classic peasant meals that once represented the heart and soul of Italian cooking have been downsized to petite, underwhelming portions. Polenta, a staple of Northern Italian cuisine, used to be a hearty dish that could sustain a laborer through a day's work now it is likely to be a tiny mouthful at a price that is hard to swallow.. 

But it's not just about portion size; it's about the price tag. The so-called "authentic" Italian restaurants in tourist hotspots have become notorious for inflating prices. A simple margherita pizza or a plate of spaghetti can cost a small fortune. These establishments prey on  tourists, who are drawn in by the promise of an authentic Italian experience, only to leave with lighter wallets and empty stomachs.

Meat, once a staple of Italian diets, has become a luxury that only the well-heeled can afford. Beef and lamb have skyrocketed in cost, making them all but inaccessible to  working-class Italians. In many restaurants, a simple steak dinner can set you back a small fortune, and lamb has all but disappeared. Chicken and pork remain the more economical options, but even these meats have seen their prices creep upward. For a cuisine that prided itself on its inclusivity and accessibility, this shift is nothing short of a betrayal of its roots. Italian cuisine should be celebrated for its diversity, but when the common man can no longer partake, it risks becoming an exclusive club for the privileged few.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect is the overhyping of Italian cuisine. Travel magazines and TV shows have painted a romantic picture of Italy's culinary landscape, leaving travelers with unrealistic expectations. When reality doesn't match the hype, it leads to disappointment and disillusionment. In conclusion, the myth of Italian cuisine's infallibility needs to be shattered.

It's time to confront the overpricing, underserving, and overhyping that has plagued the dining experience in Italy. There are still gems to be found, but they are increasingly hidden amidst a sea of overrated eateries.

Travelers and food enthusiasts should approach Italian dining with caution and discernment, lest they fall victim to a culinary con.

"Venice's Bold Step: 5 Euro Fee to Preserve Its Heritage

In a bid to safeguard its unique cultural heritage, Venice is considering a significant policy change that has garnered attention worldwide. The city of canals and timeless charm is grappling with a growing tourist influx, which threatens not only its delicate ecosystem but also its standing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In an effort to address this concern, the Venetian authorities are contemplating the introduction of a 5 Euro fee for most tourists. However, this fee will come with exceptions, including students, those under 14, residents, and overnight visitors. Let's explore the motivations behind this bold move and its potential impact on Venice.

Venice, renowned for its enchanting canals, historic architecture, and rich cultural heritage, has long been a magnet for tourists from around the globe. While tourism is a vital source of income for the city, the sheer volume of visitors has raised concerns about overcrowding, environmental degradation, and the preservation of its unique character.

The proposed 5 Euro fee for tourists is aimed at addressing these pressing issues. Here are the primary motivations behind this initiative:

1. Sustainable Tourism: Venice's fragile ecosystem and delicate historic structures have been strained by the sheer number of tourists. The city's intricate network of canals and buildings requires constant maintenance and preservation efforts. The fee aims to fund these efforts and ensure that the city can continue to welcome visitors sustainably.

2. Crowd Control: Overcrowding in Venice's most famous areas, such as St. Mark's Square and the Rialto Bridge, has become a significant problem. By implementing the fee, the authorities hope to limit the number of daily visitors, providing a more enjoyable experience for those who do enter the city.

3. Preservation of Culture: Venice is not just a picturesque destination; it's a living city with a rich cultural heritage. Exempting residents and overnight guests from the fee demonstrates a commitment to maintaining the city's local character. It encourages longer stays and supports businesses that cater to these visitors, fostering a deeper connection between tourists and the city's traditions.

4. Investment in Infrastructure: The revenue generated from the fee will be reinvested into the city's infrastructure. This includes maintenance of historic buildings, canals, and public spaces, ensuring that Venice remains a captivating destination for generations to come.

5. UNESCO World Heritage Status: With Venice under consideration for inclusion on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites in danger due to overtourism and environmental issues, this move is seen as a proactive step to address the concerns raised by the international organization.

While the proposed fee has sparked debates among tourists and locals alike, many Venetians believe it's a necessary step to strike a balance between tourism and preservation. Venice's unique allure lies in its authenticity, and this fee could help protect that authenticity for future generations.

1 Euro Houses in Italy in 2024


Have you read about the 1 Euro houses in Italy? Why is Italy selling houses for 1 Euro? Would you like to buy one? We have everything you need to know!

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Rome Fiumicino Airport to Naples in Just 2 Hours!

Trenitalia is set to introduce a new connection with the Frecciarossa, linking Rome Fiumicino Airport to Naples, starting from August 5th. The service will be operated by a Frecciarossa 1000, departing from Fiumicino Airport station at 9:53 PM, reaching Naples Centrale at 11:56 PM, with a stop at Rome Termini.

This initiative offers a convenient solution for travelers arriving at Leonardo da Vinci Airport in the evening, providing an opportunity to reach the center of Naples without the need for changing trains. A seamless journey awaits those arriving late at the airport, ensuring a hassle-free transfer to their final destination.

This new service complements the existing direct Frecciarossa connection that departs from Fiumicino Airport at 9:38 AM, arriving in Naples at 11:33 AM, catering to morning flights. Similarly, there's a reverse route, departing from Naples at 5:45 AM and arriving at Fiumicino Airport at 7:52 AM, accommodating early departures.

The two-hour travel time from Fiumicino Airport to Naples provides an attractive option for those seeking a fast and comfortable journey between these two iconic Italian cities.

So, whether you're arriving at Fiumicino Airport late in the evening or departing early in the morning, rest assured that Trenitalia has tailored services to cater to your travel needs, making your journey through Italy a delightful and seamless experience.

Buon viaggio!

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The Ultimate Veneto & Venice Itinerary

Foscari Palace Hotel in Venice Italy 13

Visiting Venice? Want to explore a little of the wonderful Veneto region in which Venice is located? Then our Veneto and Venice itinerary is just what you need.

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Discover the Wonderful Franciacorta Wine Region

Vineyards Franciacorta

Explore the captivating Franciacorta wine region in Italy, known for its prestigious sparkling wines, stunning vineyards, and tranquil beauty.

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A Good Value Hotel in Venice Italy


Looking for a good value hotel in Venice? We discovered a fantastic one this summer; great value and right by the Rialto Bridge

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20 Italian Inventions + a bonus at 21

1) Radio – Guglielmo Marconi
2) Piano – Bartolomeo Cristofori
3) Telephone – Antonio Meucci
4) Thermometer – Santorio Santorio
5) Electric battery – Alessandro Volta
6) Anemometer – Leon Battista Alberti
7) Hypodermic needle – Francesco Salerni
8) Espresso machine – Angelo Moriondo
9) Barometer – Evangelista Torricelli
10) Radioactivity – Luigi Galvani
11) Cello – Andrea Amati
12) Microscope – Marcello Malpighi
13) Bank – Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
14) Geiger counter – Hans Geiger (developed with Italian physicist Enrico Fermi)
15) Pencil – Nicholas-Jacques Conte (born in France, but developed the modern pencil in Italy)
16) Jacuzzi – Candido Jacuzzi
17) Cement – Luigi Valerio Buzzi
18) Eyeglasses – Alessandro di Spina
19) Automobile – Enrico Bernardi (considered by some to be the true inventor of the automobile)
20) Navigable aqueduct – Aurelius Castus
21) Sophia Loren

Then there are all the wonderful Italian food and drink inventions, things like: Pizza, Tiramisu, Gelato, Cannoli, Risotto, Cappuccino, Espresso, Limoncello, Aperol Spritz and many, many more too.

Siena: Italian History, Palio, and Tuscan Delights in a Single City

Piazza, Siena, Italy

Unveiling the Captivating Charms of Siena: History, Palio, and Tuscan Delights Await in this Enchanting Italian City.

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Herculaneum: The Forgotten Pompeii


Nestled along the scenic Bay of Naples, Herculaneum beckons you with its captivating history and archaeological wonders. Situated in southern Italy, just a stone's throw away from Naples, this ancient Roman city provides a compelling destination for those seeking to delve into the past.

When Vesuvius unleashed its fury, Herculaneum was caught in the path of destruction. As the molten rivers of lava cascaded down the slopes, the city stood no chance against the relentless force of nature. Within moments, life as its citizens knew it was forever shattered.

The inhabitants of Herculaneum faced a different fate than those of Pompeii. As the inferno of volcanic debris rained down upon them, the scorching heat and toxic gases turned the city into a veritable death trap. Those who sought refuge in their homes or attempted to flee were met with an inescapable doom. The intense heat carbonized organic materials, preserving them in an astonishing state of preservation.

To visit Herculaneum is to embark on a journey through time. Today, visitors can explore the remarkably preserved ruins that lie beneath the modern town of Ercolano. Walking the ancient streets, adorned with vibrant mosaics and adorned frescoes, transports you to an era long gone.

To reach Herculaneum, travel by train from Naples, it's a short journey of approximately 20 minutes. Upon arrival, the entrance to the archaeological site grants access to a world frozen in the moment of destruction.

Once inside, a labyrinth of remarkably preserved buildings awaits. From the grandeur of the House of the Neptune Mosaic to the awe-inspiring frescoes of the Villa of the Papyri, Herculaneum's splendor captivates all who wander through its ancient alleyways.

To truly appreciate the significance of this archaeological gem, it is recommended to explore Herculaneum with the guidance of knowledgeable tour guides or audio guides, available on-site. Their expertise and insights breathe life into the ancient ruins, painting a vivid picture of the city's illustrious past.

As you stroll amidst the remnants of Herculaneum's glory, take a moment to absorb the magnitude of the tragedy that befell this once-thriving city. Witness the harrowing evidence of lives cut short, preserved for millennia. Let the quietude of the site envelop you, prompting reflection on the transient nature of human existence.

Herculaneum stands as a testament to the forces of nature and the resilience of the human spirit. It is a place where history resonates with every step, inviting visitors to connect with a bygone era. So, come, wander through the ancient ruins, listen to the echoes of the past, and let Herculaneum's enduring legacy leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Unleashing Italy's Fiery Fury: The Volcano Risk in Italy Unveiled

Stromboli Volcano

Discover the volcano risk in Italy and get the facts you need to know before you travel there. We answer your questions and reveal the implications for tourists

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Ever Thought of Moving to Italy?

View of Giudecca Island and San Giorgio at dawn

With the world in so much turmoil we are receiving more and more requests asking about moving to Italy. Is it a good idea? This is our answer to those questions..

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8 Italian Fashion Tips for Men:

Arrived here from our Facebook page post? Sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting tips on dressing like the guy in a lace skirt. Here, we are more traditional and our tips are based on traditional Italian style. The post was meant to get you talking, thinking, laughing, debating. Did it?

Traditional Italian fashion is renowned for its impeccable craftsmanship, sophisticated designs, and timeless elegance. From the tailored suits of Milan to the effortless charm of coastal cities like Florence and Rome, Italian style is a perfect blend of refinement and nonchalant cool. If you're looking to infuse your wardrobe with a touch of Italian flair, here are 8 fashion tips that will help you embrace the essence of Italian style and step out with confidence.

Tailored Fit is Essential:

Italian men understand the power of a well-fitted garment. Invest in tailored clothing that accentuates your body shape, as the right fit can instantly elevate your overall appearance. Whether it's a suit, blazer, or even a casual shirt, ensure that your clothes are tailored to perfection.

Quality Over Quantity:

Italian men value quality over quantity when it comes to their wardrobe. Invest in well-made pieces crafted from premium materials such as fine wool, cashmere, and silk. Quality garments not only last longer but also exude a sense of luxury and refinement.

Master the Art of Layering:

Layering is a key technique in Italian fashion. Experiment with different combinations of shirts, sweaters, blazers, and coats to create stylish and versatile outfits suitable for any occasion. The ability to layer with finesse showcases your sartorial expertise.

Invest in Timeless Pieces:

Italian style embraces classic, timeless pieces that transcend passing trends. A well-tailored navy suit, a crisp white dress shirt, and a pair of quality leather shoes are essential items that will never go out of style. Invest in these staples for a wardrobe that stands the test of time.

Don't Shy Away from Patterns:

While neutrals dominate Italian fashion, don't be afraid to incorporate patterns into your outfits. Stripes, checks, and subtle prints can add a touch of personality and visual interest to your look. Remember to keep patterns balanced and coordinated to maintain a polished appearance.

Accessories Make a Difference:

Accessories are the finishing touch that completes an Italian gentleman's ensemble. A stylish leather belt, a well-crafted briefcase, and a refined tie can elevate your outfit from ordinary to extraordinary. Choose accessories that complement your overall look while adding a hint of sophistication.

Confidence is Key:

Italian style is not just about the clothes; it's about the way you carry yourself. Cultivate an air of confidence and self-assuredness. Walk tall, maintain good posture, and exude charisma. A confident man in well-fitted clothes is the epitome of Italian style.

Embrace La Dolce Vita:

Above all, embrace the Italian philosophy of "La Dolce Vita" - the sweet life. Italian fashion is not solely about looking good; it's about enjoying life with style and grace. Embrace a relaxed, effortless attitude, and let your personal style reflect your zest for life.

Amalfi Coast: Where to Stay?


Wondering where to stay on the Amalfi Coast? Well, we've somewhere that is pretty much close to heaven on earth that we would like to recommend.

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Simply book your next trip anywhere (not only to Italy) via the link below or with any of the hotel links on the website.

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