Join A Secret Italy

The Italy! Mamma Mia! Blog

The ItalyMammaMia Blog shares with you all that I love about Italy: news, our latest articles (featuring beautiful Italian places, recipes and travel advice). Then we've also things like Italian songs, great videos and essential information for planning your next trip to Italy.

Join me, Maria, and my family in discovering Italy together...

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.

Continue reading "Naples: Experts Fearful"

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.

Umag - Venetian in style but not Italian

Nestled on the picturesque Istrian Peninsula, Umag invites travelers on a captivating journey back in time to an era when the Venetian Republic's influence stretched far and wide. This charming coastal town, with its cobbled streets, historic architecture, and distinct Venetian flair, offers a delightful glimpse into its rich past.

For centuries, Umag was a jewel in Venice's maritime crown, its history closely intertwined with the legendary Serenissima. The echoes of this Venetian legacy still resonate throughout the town, particularly within the old quarter. As one wanders through the narrow alleys of Umag's historic center, the unmistakable mark of Venetian architecture becomes apparent. Elegant palazzi adorned with ornate facades and graceful arches stand proudly, bearing witness to a bygone era.

The centerpiece of Umag's Venetian charm is its bell tower, a graceful structure reminiscent of St. Mark's Campanile in Venice. Climbing to its pinnacle rewards visitors with panoramic views of the town's red-tiled rooftops and the shimmering Adriatic Sea.

Amidst the Venetian architectural splendors, Umag's old town offers an array of quaint cafes, local eateries, and boutique shops, inviting travelers to savor Istria's culinary delights and artisanal crafts.

As the sun sets over Umag, casting a warm glow on its Venetian facades, one can't help but feel transported back in time. The legacy of Venice lives on in Umag, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a taste of history and a glimpse of Venetian allure on Croatia's enchanting shores.

"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.

Tipping and Service Charges in Italy: Unveiling the Impact

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 provides a fair and stable income for workers.

Italians Flee Foreign Restaurant Without Paying...
Prime Minister Pays

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni became part of the surge of Italian tourists exploring Albania this summer. Amid this holiday season, she undertook an admirable action to support a local restaurant proprietor. The incident unfolded when a group of Meloni's fellow countrymen evaded settling their bill and left the restaurant in a lurch.

Meloni and her family embraced a few leisurely days in Albania, as the esteemed guests of Prime Minister Edi Rama. Albania is currently relishing a tourism upswing, fueled by its captivating white sand beaches and economic allure in comparison to other European destinations.

As the news of the Italians who absconded from a restaurant in the central city of Berat reverberated across local media, Meloni promptly extended her assistance, as recounted by Rama in an interview with the Italian daily, La Stampa.

Rama shared Meloni's words with the Italian ambassador to Albania, conveying her direct request, "Go and pay the bill for these idiots, please."

Francesco Lollobrigida, Italy's Minister of Agriculture and Meloni's brother-in-law, accompanied her on the Albanian excursion and emphasized the significance of national integrity. He explained, "She offered to pay the bill. The ambassador was on his way back to Tirana and was available to do this." Lollobrigida further asserted, "A few dishonest individuals cannot embarrass a nation of decent people."

Rama disclosed in a recent television interview that Albania anticipates hosting nearly 500,000 Italian visitors in 2023. This trend stems from Italians opting for Balkan getaways due to skyrocketing prices for domestic travel, whereas Albania presents a more budget-friendly option with affordable accommodations and beach amenities.

Italy's Timeless Charm vs. the Invasion of Wealthy Russian Elites

Italy has always been a magnet for tourists, but a disturbing trend has emerged in recent years. The tranquil essence of Italian towns is now overshadowed by the overwhelming presence of wealthy Russian elites. Notorious figures like Putin are alleged to have opulent villas in towns like Forte dei Marmi, Rimini, and other locations. This infiltration of affluence is threatening the very soul of these towns, raising questions about cultural authenticity and the disparity between the haves and the have-nots.

The Dark Transformation: Tarnishing the Italian Dream

Italy's allure has long been synonymous with rich history, artistic treasures, and exquisite cuisine. However, towns like Forte dei Marmi are now undergoing a distressing metamorphosis. They are gradually losing their authentic character to the overwhelming power of Russian wealth. The once serene Tuscan town is now adorned with ostentatious villas filled with opulent gold and marble, while the essence of local culture is marginalized to cater to the demands of these affluent newcomers. 

Luxurious Villas and Exclusive Lifestyles

The heart of the issue lies in the sprawling villas that now litter the landscapes of these towns. These residences are characterized by their opulence, boasting every conceivable luxury and amenity. Russian elites are turning these towns into their personal playgrounds, with extravagant estates that redefine excess. Bodyguards intimidate locals and the exclusive lifestyles of these elite residents further alienate them from the local population, creating a stark divide between the haves and the have-nots. 

Impact on Local Communities

The influx of Russian wealth is not without its economic advantages. The real estate market and luxury service industry have indeed prospered. However, these benefits come at a cost. As property prices surge, local residents are being priced out of their own communities. The authentic charm and heritage that define these towns are pushed to the fringes as luxury boutiques and gourmet restaurants cater to the elite. This economic shift threatens to erase the very essence that once made these towns so endearing.


The intrusion of affluent Russian elites into Italian towns like Forte dei Marmi, Rimini, and others is undeniably alarming. The charm and authenticity that once defined these towns are giving way to opulence and exclusivity. The alleged presence of high-profile figures like Putin only amplifies the unsettling nature of this transformation. While economic advantages are evident, the cultural erosion and disintegration of these towns cannot be overlooked. Italy grapples with the balance between catering to the affluent and preserving its cultural essence. The infiltration of foreign wealth is casting a long shadow over Italy's beloved towns, leaving their once enchanting landscapes forever changed. 



Epic Showdown of the Titans: Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg in Gladiatorial Showdown in Italy!

Hold onto your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because it seems the clash of the tech titans is about to get a whole lot more... historical. You heard that right! Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have apparently decided that the best way to settle their differences is through a gladiatorial battle straight out of ancient Rome.

Oh, but of course, it has to happen in Italy, because where else would two modern-day geniuses square off in a duel for the digital ages?

In a shocking revelation, the owner of X took to social media to drop this bombshell. According to their post, they had a little chit-chat with none other than Italy's prime minister Giorgia Meloni and the minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano. And what did they talk about, you ask? Oh, just the small matter of hosting an "epic" showdown between two of the most influential figures in the tech world. No biggie.

But let's get into the juicy details, shall we? This monumental clash of minds will be brought to you by the foundations of both Musk and Zuck.

Because nothing says "I disagree with your business strategy" like settling it mano a mano in a colosseum-style brawl, right? And, hey, why settle for an ordinary livestream when you can stream it on not one, but two platforms? Yep, this spectacle of 21st-century ego will grace both this mysterious platform and the recently rebranded Meta.

Now, onto the backdrop. Oh, they've really outdone themselves with this one. Forget futuristic settings or flashy digital displays. Nope, this battle will take place, or so it is rumored, in none other than the ancient city of Rome. Because when you think cutting-edge tech disputes, obviously you think Roman architecture and togas. But fear not, because we're assured that this choice of setting totally "respects the present and past of Italy." How magnanimous of them.

So, dear readers, get ready to witness a clash that will go down in the annals of... well, something. Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg, live from Italy's very own Colosseo/Pompeii/Maybe the Leaning Tower of Pisa Next. Who needs world peace and scientific progress when we can have this? Buckle up, folks, because we're in for an epic showdown that will surely be talked about for... at least a week.

1 Euro Houses in Italy in 2023


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!

Continue reading "1 Euro Houses in Italy in 2023"

75-Year-Old Entrepreneur Crushed by Avalanche of Grana Padano Cheese

In a heart-wrenching incident that unfolded on the evening of Sunday, August 6, Romano di Lombardia, located in the Bergamo province, was shaken by a devastating accident at a local cheese factory. Giacomo Chiapparini, a 75-year-old agricultural entrepreneur and the owner of the company, met with a tragic fate while working in his dairy.

The catastrophic collapse occurred within the cheese storage area, where heavy wheels of Grana Padano were kept on towering shelving units. The structure gave way, triggering a domino effect that resulted in thousands of cheese wheels cascading down upon him.

As the deafening crash echoed through the facility, an employee promptly raised the alarm, summoning a team of around twenty firefighters from Bergamo, Romano di Lombardia, Treviglio, and Dalmine, along with Carabinieri and emergency medical personnel.

Throughout the night, rescuers, accompanied by skilled search-and-rescue dogs, combed through the vast 2,000-square-meter warehouse in a desperate attempt to find the trapped entrepreneur.With the passage of hours, hope dwindled, and the chances of survival beneath the massive cheese avalanche grew slimmer. Tragically, at dawn on Monday, August 7, the lifeless body of Giacomo Chiapparini was discovered amid the wreckage.

The dairy entrepreneur leaves behind a grieving family, including his children Mary and Tiziano, in the wake of this heartrending calamity.

The exact cause of the shelving collapse remains under investigation, with authorities considering a possible machinery malfunction responsible for moving the heavy cheese wheels.

Until a precise reconstruction of the incident is achieved, the renowned agricultural company, spanning over ten hectares and known throughout Lombardy, remains under police custody.

This somber event serves as a grim reminder of the potential dangers lurking in seemingly ordinary workplaces.

As the community mourns the loss of Giacomo Chiapparini, thoughts and prayers are extended to his family, friends, and all those affected by this tragic accident.

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!

Continue reading "Rome Fiumicino Airport to Naples in Just 2 Hours!"

Venice in Peril: Unesco's Urgent Plea for Preservation

Unesco is raising urgent concerns about the state of Venice and is pushing for its inclusion among the "world heritage in danger." UNESCO is alarmed by the continued development, the impact of climate change, and the overwhelming consequences of mass tourism on the city.

These factors are posing a severe threat to the outstanding universal value that Venice holds.

One of the major issues contributing to the deterioration of Venice is the problem of overcrowding caused by the influx of tourists. Locals complain that the city's narrow streets and iconic canals are often packed with visitors, making it difficult for residents to navigate their own neighborhoods and forcing up prices, which is forcing them out of the city.

This overcrowding not only disrupts the daily lives of the locals but also puts immense pressure on the city's infrastructure and historical landmarks.Moreover,  extreme weather events, pose a significant risk to the city's delicate architecture and historical buildings. 

Another pressing issue is the relentless pursuit of large-scale development projects. These projects, such as raising the island of San Marco and constructing of a new railway line to the airport as well as new boat terminals, are causing irreparable damage to the city's heritage and landscape. Venetians express concern about the lack of consideration for sustainable planning and management, which is exacerbating the threats posed by climate change and mass tourism.

Venice has been on the radar of Unesco for some time now. Two years ago, the organization requested that the city be listed as a World Heritage Site at Risk. While the government implemented measures to limit large ships from entering the San Marco canal, experts have been unsatisfied with the progress made in implementing necessary corrective actions.

Unesco's recommendations include stopping all new large-scale projects and adopting measures for long-term planning, management, and governance. The organization insists on a common strategic vision for conservation to address the city's urgent problems effectively.

The fate of Venice will be determined by the World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states, which will vote in September. Despite previous attempts to address the issues, it appears that this time, Venice may not escape being included in the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.

As the situation unfolds, locals are deeply concerned about preserving their unique way of life and cultural heritage. They hope that the international community's attention and support will help safeguard Venice for future generations, striking a balance between preserving its historical charm and managing the impact of tourism sustainably.

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.

Continue reading "The Ultimate Veneto & Venice Itinerary"

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.

Continue reading "Discover the Wonderful Franciacorta Wine Region"

Nightmare Storm Creeps Across Verona & Sicily Burns

Hail Disaster near Venice

In a devastating natural calamity, severe hailstorms have wreaked havoc in the Veneto region, near the picturesque city of Venice. The provinces of Vicenza and Padova have been hit the hardest, experiencing massive destruction and leaving numerous people injured.

According to reports, the hailstorms struck with unprecedented intensity, inflicting severe damage to agriculture, vehicles, and properties in the affected areas. Early estimates indicate that over 100 people have sustained injuries due to the hailstorm's ferocity.

Farmers in the region are grappling with the aftermath, witnessing extensive damage to crops and farmlands, that may have far-reaching implications for the local economy and food supply.

The impact on the transportation sector has been substantial, with cars and vehicles sustaining significant damage from hailstones, making roads hazardous and transportation challenging.

Residential areas have not been spared either, with properties experiencing extensive destruction to roofs, windows, and other structures, leading to concerns about safety and recovery costs for homeowners.

Local authorities and emergency services are working tirelessly to assess the full extent of the damage and provide assistance to those affected by the disaster.

The Veneto region is renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage, drawing tourists from around the world. The recent hailstorm, however, has dealt a severe blow to the region, posing significant challenges to the recovery and restoration efforts ahead.

As the affected communities come to terms with the scale of destruction, support and aid from both governmental and non-governmental organizations will be vital in helping them rebuild their lives and restore their livelihoods.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Veneto during this difficult time, and we hope for a swift recovery and restoration of normalcy in the region.

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

Continue reading "A Good Value Hotel in Venice Italy"

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.

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

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.

6 Places to See near Venice - Updated for 2023


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

Continue reading "6 Places to See near Venice - Updated for 2023"

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.

Continue reading "The Best Luxury Hotels in Venice Italy"

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


Many people don't know where in Italy Calabria is, that's not surprising, Calabria is off the radar. But it is a must-see destination, here's why...

Continue reading "Where in Italy is Calabria? Why Visit Calabria? What to See ?"

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

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

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..

Continue reading "Ever Thought of Moving to Italy?"

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.

Continue reading "Amalfi Coast: Where to Stay?"

A Story From Venice, Italy That WILL Make You Cry


My heart was broken by this story. It makes me realize how Italy can be medicine for the soul and the effect that a city like Venice can have on those who visit

Continue reading "A Story From Venice, Italy That WILL Make You Cry"

9 Irresistible Reasons to Visit Milan

Fashion Forward: A pilgrimage for fashion enthusiasts, Milan is home to some of the world's most prestigious designer labels. Immerse yourself in the fashion district, Quadrilatero della Moda, and marvel at flagship stores showcasing the latest trends. Don't miss the opportunity to attend Milan Fashion Week, where the city becomes a global runway of style and innovation.

Historical Splendor: Milan's rich history is palpable as you stroll through its streets. The city's crown jewel, the breathtaking Duomo di Milano, stands proud, adorned with Gothic spires and intricate sculptures. Visit the majestic Sforza Castle, explore the opulent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and witness Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, "The Last Supper," at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

Cultural Delights: Milan exudes a cultural prowess that captivates every visitor. Delve into the city's artistic heritage at Pinacoteca di Brera, housing a stunning collection of Italian Renaissance art. For opera aficionados, a visit to Teatro alla Scala, one of the world's most prestigious opera houses, promises an unforgettable evening of elegance and performance.

Culinary Excellence: Prepare your taste buds for a culinary adventure in Milan. Indulge in traditional Lombard cuisine, savoring dishes like risotto alla milanese, ossobuco, and panettone. Seek out hidden gems such as family-run trattorias and trendy fusion eateries to experience the city's diverse gastronomic landscape.

Vibrant Aperitivo Culture: Join the locals in embracing the aperitivo tradition, a Milanese ritual of pre-dinner drinks accompanied by delectable bites. Wander the Navigli district, where charming canalside bars set the stage for convivial gatherings and lively conversations.

Cutting-Edge Design: Milan's design scene is unparalleled, attracting creatives from all over the world. Discover the innovative works at the Triennale Design Museum, showcasing everything from furniture to contemporary art. The annual Milan Design Week showcases the city's forward-thinking approach and sets global design trends.

Green Oasis: Amidst the bustling cityscape, Milan boasts numerous green spaces to relax and rejuvenate. Take a leisurely stroll through Parco Sempione, a tranquil park surrounding Sforza Castle, or visit the idyllic Giardini Pubblici, Milan's oldest public garden. These verdant retreats offer a welcome escape from the urban hustle.

High-End Shopping: From luxury boutiques to high-street fashion, Milan caters to every shopper's desires. Explore the Quadrilatero della Moda, where high-end fashion houses line the streets, or visit the upscale shopping arcade, Via Montenapoleone, for a dose of retail therapy.

Thriving Nightlife: Milan's vibrant nightlife scene comes alive after dark. Trendy cocktail bars, chic nightclubs, and cozy wine bars offer a diverse range of nocturnal experiences. From upscale establishments in Brera to the hipster vibes of the Navigli district, Milan guarantees an unforgettable night.

The Sila National Park and San Giovanni in Fiore


Wild forests, where bandits once hid, endless vistas, great eagles and wolves. One of Europe's last wild places. To miss seeing Sila would be a huge mistake.

Continue reading "The Sila National Park and San Giovanni in Fiore"

Pompeii: The Story of Lucia

Lucia was born into a family of modest means in Pompeii. As a child, she would have played in the streets and alleys of the city with other children, and she would have helped her parents with their work. Her father was a laborer, and her mother was a weaver, and together they struggled to make ends meet.

As Lucia grew older, she began to take on more responsibilities. She helped her mother with the weaving, and she learned to cook and clean for her family. When she was a teenager, she met Marco, a young blacksmith who worked in the city. They fell in love and were soon married.

Lucia and Marco's life together was not easy. Marco's work as a blacksmith was physically demanding, and he often struggled to make enough money to support their growing family. They didn't have much, but they had each other, and they were happy.

Then, on the day of the eruption, everything changed. Lucia was at home with her children when the first rumblings of the volcano began. She knew something was wrong, and she quickly gathered her children and tried to make her way to safety.

But it was too late. The eruption came with a ferocity that was beyond anything Lucia had ever seen. The sky grew dark, and the air filled with ash and pumice. Lucia could barely see, and she clutched her children tightly as they stumbled through the streets.

But they could not escape. The ash and pumice rained down on them, burying them alive.

In her final moments, Lucia thought of her husband and her children. She thought of all the people she had known and loved in Pompeii, and of the bustling city that had been her home for so long.

And then, everything went black. Lucia and her children were buried under the ash and pumice, and their bodies were preserved for almost 2,000 years.

When the ruins of Pompeii were rediscovered centuries later, archaeologists uncovered Lucia's body and the bodies of her children. They were frozen in time, preserved in the exact positions they were in when they died.

Lucia's story is a tragic one, but it is also a reminder of the fragility of life and the power of nature. Her legacy lives on in the ruins of Pompeii, and in the hearts of all those who visit this incredible archaeological site. Her life, like many others in Pompeii, was one of hard work and struggle, but also one of love and devotion to her family. Though her life was cut short by the eruption, her memory lives on as a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

The names and details of this story are changed but the events are based on the facts and Lucia's story is a metaphor for all those who passed away on that terrible day so long ago.

Italian gelato with Ferrero Rocher and Novi chocolates

gelato in Italy


2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 Ferrero Rocher chocolates, chopped

5 Novi chocolates, chopped


In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Place the saucepan over medium heat and whisk the mixture together until it is well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are well beaten.

Slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking.

Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly.

Place the saucepan back on the stove over medium heat and stir the mixture constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. This should take about 8-10 minutes.

Once the mixture has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into a shallow, freezer-safe container and place it in the freezer.

After 45 minutes, remove the container from the freezer and use a fork or whisk to stir the mixture well, breaking up any ice crystals that have formed.

Repeat this process every 30 minutes for the next 2-3 hours, until the gelato is creamy and smooth.

During the last 30 minutes of freezing, add the chopped Ferrero Rocher and Novi chocolates and mix well.

Once the gelato is frozen to your desired consistency, remove it from the freezer and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften before scooping into bowls.

Serve and enjoy your delicious homemade chocolate Italian gelato with Ferrero Rocher and Novi chocolates!

Note: Making gelato without an ice cream maker requires more time and effort, but the end result is still delicious. The key is to keep stirring the mixture regularly to prevent ice crystals from forming and to achieve a creamy texture.

Who are the Italians?

The genetic origin of Italians is a complex and fascinating topic that has been the subject of much research and debate. To understand the genetic makeup of Italians, we need to take a closer look at the history of the region and the various populations that have contributed to its unique gene pool.

Wolfgang Haak, a geneticist from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, estimated a 27% ancestral contribution of the Yamnaya in the DNA of modern Northern Italians. The Yamnaya were a group of pastoral nomads who lived in the steppe region north of the Black Sea (near modern day Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia) around 5000 years ago. Their genetic influence can be seen in the DNA of many modern Europeans.

Italy has been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years, with numerous civilizations leaving their mark on the country. The earliest inhabitants of Italy were likely the Etruscans, who arrived in the region around 1200 BCE. The Etruscans were an enigmatic people, and it is still unclear where they came from. Some theories suggest that they were indigenous to the region, while others propose that they migrated to Italy from Anatolia (modern day Turkey).

Another significant contributor to the genetic makeup of Italians is the Greeks. The Greeks established colonies throughout southern Italy and Sicily, and their genetic influence can still be seen in the population today.

In addition to the Greeks, other groups that have contributed to the genetic makeup of Italians include the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Normans. These groups have left a lasting impact on the region, and their genetic legacy can still be seen in the population today.

It is also worth noting that Italy has a significant amount of genetic diversity within its borders. Northern Italians tend to have more genetic similarities with people from other parts of Europe, while Southern Italians (with the exception of Sardinians, whose origin is unique and unlike the origins of mainland Italians or Sicilians) have more genetic similarities with people from Greece, North Africa and the Middle East. This diversity is due in part to the country's geographical location and its history of immigration and colonization.

In conclusion, the genetic makeup of Italians is a complex and multifaceted topic that reflects the country's rich history and diverse cultural heritage. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of Italian genetics, it is clear that the region's unique gene pool is the result of thousands of years of cultural exchange and migration.

How to Make Italian-Style Sun-Dried Tomatoes at Home

Sundried tomatoes in Italy

If you love Italian cuisine, you know that sun-dried tomatoes are a staple ingredient in many dishes. But did you know that you can make them at home with just a few simple steps?

First, start with ripe plum tomatoes. Slice them in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Then, place the tomato halves cut-side up on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs - we recommend basil and oregano for an authentic Italian flavor. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil for a delicious and healthy twist.

Now, it's time to dry the tomatoes. You can do this by leaving them in the sun (if you live in a sunny and dry area), using a dehydrator, or drying them in the oven at a low temperature. Whichever method you choose, be patient as it can take up to a few days for them to fully dry.

Once the tomatoes are dried and leathery, they're ready to be used in your favorite dishes - from pizzas and pasta to salads and antipasti plates. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, and enjoy the intense tomato flavor in every bite.

Making sun-dried tomatoes at home is easier than you think, and it's a great way to add a touch of authentic Italian flavor to your cooking. Give it a try!

Why Visit Pizzo in Calabria?


Other towns offer wine tastings, olive oil or chocolate tastings. In Pizzo, they do gelato tastings—not just any gelato, but the world-famous Tartufo of Pizzo.

Continue reading "Why Visit Pizzo in Calabria?"

Restaurants in Venice

Most restaurants in Venice are rather good, though many, especially in the main tourist areas around St. Mark's, are expensive. Some, though, are terrible. These are the three I advise you to bookmark and avoid at all costs:

1) Da Gigi
2) Da Celio
3) Caffe Saraceno

I'd also recommend eating at one of the more traditional restaurants; if you click continue reading a little further down, you'll find some I recommend. We never take a cent from restaurants, and our recommendations are based on our own experiences.

Oh yes, one last thing: try not to eat at McDonald's, KFC, or Burger King. They are spreading like a fungus throughout Italy, and I'm sure you'd rather help the traditional mom-and-pop family restaurants than the big global chains.

Continue reading "Restaurants in Venice"

This is Why Italian Men are so Handsome

Italian men are renowned for their good looks and charm, and it's not hard to see why. From their striking features to their impeccable sense of style, Italian men seem to have it all. But what is it that makes them so irresistible?

One reason could be their Mediterranean heritage, which is known for producing some of the world's most attractive people. With their olive skin, dark hair, and expressive eyes, Italian men certainly fit the bill. But it's not just their physical appearance that sets them apart. Italian men also have a certain confidence and charisma that's hard to resist.

So, who are some of the most handsome Italian men? Here are five who have captured hearts around the world:

Pietro Boselli - This Italian model, engineer, and former mathematics lecturer gained fame when a student shared his photo on social media, dubbing him the "world's sexiest maths teacher". He's since been signed by several modeling agencies and has appeared in campaigns for major fashion brands.

Andrea Pirlo - As a former professional soccer player, Pirlo is not only famous for his skills on the field but also his rugged good looks. With his long hair and stylish beard, he's become a fashion icon in his own right.

Claudio Marchisio - Another soccer player who has made a name for himself both on and off the field, Marchisio is known for his piercing blue eyes and sharp jawline.

Riccardo Scamarcio - This actor has been called the Italian version of Brad Pitt, and it's easy to see why. With his smoldering gaze and intense charisma, he's one of Italy's most beloved leading men.

Marcello Mastroianni - Although he passed away in 1996, Mastroianni is still considered one of the most handsome Italian actors of all time. With his classic good looks and effortless charm, he became an icon of Italian cinema.

Of course, this is just a small sample of the many attractive Italian men out there. From fashion designers to chefs to musicians, there's no shortage of eye candy in Italy. But it's not just their looks that make Italian men so alluring. It's their passion, their zest for life, and their ability to make anyone feel like the most important person in the world. So, the next time you find yourself swooning over an Italian man, remember that it's not just his looks that are turning your head - it's his entire way of being.

Venice Has a Pigeon Problem

For centuries, pigeons have been a common sight in Venice, Italy. While some may consider them charming, they pose a significant problem for the city. Pigeons create a mess and damage historic buildings with their droppings, and their populations continue to grow. Pigeons have become a major problem in Venice, especially in tourist areas such as Piazza San Marco. They gather in large flocks and leave droppings everywhere, making the area unsightly and unhygienic. Additionally, the acidic nature of pigeon droppings can erode and damage historic buildings, causing irreversible damage.

Venice has attempted to control the pigeon population through various methods, including using pigeon spikes, nets, and even hiring a company to remove the birds. Unfortunately, none of these methods has been successful in reducing the pigeon population significantly.

However, an expert has proposed a solution to this problem: cats.

Cats are natural predators of pigeons and have been used in other cities, to control their populations. Cats hunt pigeons and prevent them from nesting in certain areas, which can reduce the number of pigeons over time.

Venice already has a population of cats that live in the city's alleys and canals. Implementing a cat population management program in Venice could also have other benefits beyond reducing the pigeon population. It could improve the welfare of the existing cat population.

In conclusion, the pigeon problem in Venice is a long-standing issue that has yet to be solved effectively. Cats may provide a viable solution to the problem, as they are natural predators of pigeons and have been used successfully in other cities. However, any program to use cats to control the pigeon population would need to be carefully planned, monitored, and executed.

Our go-To Restaurants in Venice

My wife and I go to Osteria da Alberto, in Cannaregio, for lagoon seafood cuisine. Family-run with great house wines. We also love Ristorante La Colonna,

Continue reading "Our go-To Restaurants in Venice"

Banned in Italy

This week, Italy has banned, or is in the process of banning, two things. They are:

Synthetic Meats: In a bill making its way through parliament, synthetic meat will be outlawed, anyone breaking the ban on synthetic meat could be fined up to €60,000.

English: In another bill making its way through parliament, the government is now looking to impose fines of up to €100,000 on public and private entities using English in official communications. "The use of Italian will be mandatory for all goods and services and in all other walks of life, where non-Italian terms have become rife and left many people baffled," said Deputy House Speaker Rampelli. I guess that means the government will need to end their Made in Italy campaigns or translate Made in Italy into Italian.

Tourist JUMPS 3 Stories into Canal in Venice

Calabrian Food - 8 Dishes You Must Try


Calabrian food is fantastic and we've 8 dishes from Calabria you absolutely must try - from Calabrian Nduja to Tartufo, these Calabrian treats are delicious.

Continue reading "Calabrian Food - 8 Dishes You Must Try"

And Watch The 3D Tour of the Grotta del Bountalenti

Boboli Gardens

Continue reading "And Watch The 3D Tour of the Grotta del Bountalenti"

The Restoration of the Florence Baptistery

Can You Pronounce These Italian Words?

Does Venice Have Cars

Car in Venice

The reality of Venice can be shocking at times. It is one thing to hear that there are no cars, no bicycles, no motorbikes; however, when you actually see...

Continue reading "Does Venice Have Cars"

Acqua Alta Bookshop - Like Something from Wonderland


Gondolas inside and out, piles of books, cats everywhere and a fire escape that involves jumping into a canal. This is the Acqua Alta Bookshop

Continue reading "Acqua Alta Bookshop - Like Something from Wonderland"

8 Unforgettable Places in Italy - Updated for 2023

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?

Continue reading "8 Unforgettable Places in Italy - Updated for 2023"

Please Book with Us... Maria here, if you enjoy my site I'd love your support.

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

You'll get the best deal available and the income I receive helps me to remain independent and to keep bringing you more of beautiful Italy.

Click to Begin

You'll Enjoy These...

More Travel Tips:

  1. Book your tickets to museums and other attractions in advance on
  2. Book your accommodation. and Agoda help you to book accommodation in advance
  3. Book your excursions. Wherever you go, make the most of your time! Excursions with professional guides will help you do this - choose a location and the best option for yourself on Viator or Getyourguide
  4. Book your car. At least a month before is best. Use Discover Car Hire.
  5. Cash Back on Flights: Great deals & money back with WayAway
  6. Get peace of mind when traveling. Get insured with

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.