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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...

Is Chicken Parmigiana Italian?

Watch the video below for the answer...

Click Continue Reading below to discover more things Italians never do and never eat.

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Things Never To Do in Italy... NEVER... EVER!

You want to make a good impression in Italy right? You don't want to be that typical tourist do you? Well, make sure you NEVER do any of these things in Italy...

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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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Italy: Severe Storms Follow on From the Scorching Heat

All across Northern and Central Italy severe storms are following on from this very hot and very humid summer. The hailstones have been enormous and many cars have been absolutely ruined. Storm are expected to increase both in intensity and frequency throughout August.

Tuscany Burns

The entire town of Cinigiano in Tusany has just been evacuated as flames encircle the town. The town of Castiglioncello Bandini is also in grave danger. Dozens of fires are burning across Italy with Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia being hardest hit.

Italians are praying that the hot, dry weather comes to an end soon. Even the great lakes like Lago Maggiore and Como are drying up and rivers such as the Po are at historical lows.

Glued to a Priceless Painting

Italy: Government Collapses

Italy's Prime Minister has resigned and the ruling coalition has disintegrated meaning elections will be called.

As usual, Italian politicians have failed to deliver to the Italian people. As usual their self-serving ambition has taken precedence over the country.

At a time when Italy, and the world, faces unprecedented challenges, when strong leadership and unity is essential the Italian politicians have decided that their own EGOS and AMBITIONS come before all else. It is a DISGRACE.

This is nothing new, Italian governments have always been hopeless. There have been 69 of them since 1945.

Despite Italian governments always making life difficult for Italians, Italian people have succeeded in making their country one of the top ten economies in the world.

Some interesting facts that contrast how frugal Italians are and how, in contrast, the Italian government loves running up public debt, debt that Italians will one day have to pay, can be seen below.:

Public Debt to GDP
Italy: 175.53%
USA: 100.81%
UK: 102.86%
Australia: 45.39%
Household Debt as a Percentage of GDP
Italy: 43.8%
USA: 78.5%
UK: 86.4%
Australia: 119%
Home Prices to Household Income
Italy: 5.03% LOWER than household income.
USA: 35.9%% Higher than household income.
UK: 20.1% Higher than household income.
Australia: 19.7% Higher than household income.

Source:, OECD and

Water Fountains of Venice

Venice is pleading with tourists not to bring bottles of water with them to Venice but to rather make use of the drinking fountains that you will find across the city. The fountains offer fresh and clean drinking water that is every bit as good as the water in plastic bottles.

Dumped plastic water bottles are now the biggest litter problem for the city - every day literally thousands are thrown into the canals or left in streets and squares in the city.

To help make things easier for you we've a helpful map below that shows all the water fountain locations in the city...

Visit the Pyramid of Rome

Heatwave Causes Tragedy

Earthquake Risk in Italy: The Most Dangerous Areas - Updated for 2022

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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Pilots Asleep

Italy: update from Positano

Pandemic! What pandemic? Well, I would not have known there was a pandemic at all in Positano today.

The streets are filled with people - it really does appear that things are back to normal.

I was chatting to a few of the local business owners and they tell me that this May is turning out to be a really good month and everywhere was busy - restaurants, bars, stores are packed.

The Ugly Face of Tourism

On the buses I've had to stand on most trips. I got up for one elderly lady who told me she dreads tourist season as she has to always stand on the buses, which is hell for her at her age.

She tells me that hardly any tourists will ever get up for her - only someone from New Zealander once and the occasional American. Local youngsters always do. I found it really great that local youngsters are that way - they have lost their manners in much of the north. I was surprised about the young tourists though - that really made me sad.

Please stand up for elderly locals if you see them struggling.

Tourism sometimes turns their lives into a living hell so let us all be a part of the solution to a more kind, understanding and less arrogant, less selfish type of tourism.

Tourists from where?

Lots of Brits and Americans have started to return. The biggest surprise though is the number of Russian tourists - I never expected that. Still very few Japanese, Chinese, Australians or New Zealanders.

On the buses everyone is wearing masks (as per the law), but nowhere else. On the ferries a tiny percentage are wearing them.

The Best Luxury Hotels in Venice Italy

The best of all the luxury hotels in Venice Italy? Read my insider’s guide and discover the answer. ...

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Rome: Saudi Man Charged After Driving Maserati Down Spanish Steps

The stupidity of some people is beyond belief. We recently wrote a list about the14 things never to do in Italy. Well, we've a new one to add to that list now ... NEVER drive your Maserati down the Spanish Steps in Rome.

That is exactly what a tourist has just gone and done, damaging the marble of the Spanish Steps, one of Rome's most priceless treasures, in the process.

After having only recently been restored to its former magnificence at a cost of $1.6 million the restorers now face having to restore many of the steps all over again.

The Good News

The tourist from Saudi Arabia was identified and arrested as he attempted to fly out of the country.

What is Venice Like Now?

We have just returned from a visit from Venice. A lot of people are always asking us what Venice is like now, after the pandemic, so we thought we would make the 50 mile road trip from our home and spend the week in Venice.

Well, I can tell you that it is very busy and full of tourists, it is almost as if the pandemic never happened - there seem to be LOTS of Europeans - many from France, Spain, Holland. Noticeably fewer Americans though and almost no Japanese/Chinese tourists.

What About Masks

Except on public transport you don't need to wear a mask and there is hardly a mask to be seen anywhere - there is the occasional person you'll walk past with one on - literally one in a hundred. Some of the shop workers still wear them and one of the few tour groups of Japanese tourists I saw all wore masks.

Bars and restaurants are packed and the walk from the station to Rialto and onto St Mark's square was as crazy as it was before the pandemic.

Most businesses I spoke to seem to be close to normal levels of business, but the designer shops, those near St Mark's, told me that they are feeling the effect of less big spending Japanese, Chinese and American tourists and the gondoliers are not yet back to where they were.

Earthquake in Tuscany

A number of earthquakes have hit Tuscany over the last 24 hours and were strongly felt in Florence. The earthquakes, six within 24 hours, were centered just south of Florence and led to the Tuscan parliament being evacuated. Thankfully, no damage or injuries have been reported. For more on the earthquake risks in Italy click here

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It's Boar War in Rome

For years Rome has been dealing with the problem of wild boars taking over parts of the city.

Now it has gotten completely out of hand!

Residents have had enough.

Neighborhoods have now imposed 8:30 pm curfews to protect residents after a vicious attack on a lady who was only saved by the courage of her dog. Her dog managed to chase off the wild boar and she was rushed to hospital by a passing motorist.

Why the Curfew?

The reason behind the curfew is to protect elderly residents who may be attacked while out walking at night and not found until the next day.

Why do boars attack?

Apparently, they are most likely to attack when they perceive a threat to their young. The other risky situation is when they are feeding on garbage and people approach - they then fear they are being driven from their food source.

No More PLF

A lot of people have complained to us about the need to fill in a passenger locator form when visiting Italy. For those who don't know what it is, or rather was, here is a brief explanation.: it was a form that listed your location when in Italy and in which you filled in your vaccination status, flight information and various other travel details before departure.

Well, now there's good news... the passenger locator form is no more. With effect from 1 May it has been scrapped.

Scrapped too is the requirement to wear masks in bars, restaurants and stores. More details regarding the new mask rules are on

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Property In Italy

I am researching buying a family property for holidays in Southern Italy (from Naples down) I have come across a website which aims to assist

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Its Tickets for Venice

Big changes are set to happen in Venice. The city has had two years of hardly any tourists - basically going from one extreme (too many tourists) to another (far to few tourists). Now, after Venice was overwhelmed at Easter with nearly 150,000 tourists descending on the city they have taken a decision, a decision to not allow the chaos that happened every summer prior to the pandemic.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro believes that this make Venice a trend-setter.

So how does it work?

Well, this summer it looks like you will only need to book and a website will soon be setup where the names and details of all those wanting to visit will be recorded. Then, from the summer of 2023 all visitors will need to buy a ticket to visit.

What do Italians think?

Some people agree with the mayor and think it is a good decision while others say it is an infringement of their rights to travel freely in their own country.

What do you think? Let us know on our Facebook post

Hotel Fontana

A wonderful hotel made all the more so by the extraordinary family who own and operate the Hotel Fontana. On top of the location and quality of the

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Are you visiting someone in Italy?

You will need to make sure your host registers your arrival with the local Questura (immigration police) within 48 hours of your arrival in Italy.

What must you do?

Your host will need to fill in a form with all their details and your details, the address where you will be staying, lots of other information too and you will need to bring all your passports with you.

If your host is renting they may need to bring their rental contract and if they own their own home they may need to bring their title deeds with them.

If you forget to do it or do it after 48 hours?

Don't forget, that's my advice. If you don't register they will fine you anywhere from 160 Euros to 1100 Euros.

Who does this apply to?

All those who are not EU citizens. It now applies to the British as well.

The Top 10 Craziest Questions About Italy

Is Italy still run by Caesar? The Top 10 Craziest Questions About Italy

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Spaghetti Rationing for Pesce d'Aprile

Did you perhaps arrive here from our Facebook post that spoke about spaghetti rationing?

What a disaster!

Well, it would be a disaster... if it happened.

The good news is it didn't... instead, assuming you believed the story, you have been caught by an old Italian tradition - called pesce d'aprile or April Fool's Day in the English speaking world.

Italy Seizes Oligarch's $660,000 Bulletproof car

After seizing the yacht of Russian billionaire Alisher Usamanov and his mansion in Porto Cervo, Italy has now followed up by seizing the Mercedes Maybach car of Mr. Usamanov.

Some allege that the car was used to transport Mr. Putin on secret visits to the beautiful island of Sardinia. Who knows if that's true or not.

What is fact is that the area around Porto Cervo, on the Costa Smeralda, is (perhaps that should be WAS) a favorite playground for wealthy Russians as it is for many wealthy Italian business people, celebrities and politicians. In fact, many years ago, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is believed to have sold one of his villas in Porto Cervo to a Russian gentleman.

Italian Town "elects" Queen - Wants Independence

What Should I Not Miss In Rome?

Visiting Rome and worried you might miss something? Well, worry no more. We've all the sights not to miss and the top tourist attractions in Rome.

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Great News

From 1 May Italy has huge plans to simplify travel both for locals and visitors within Italy. What are the changes? Well, talk is that from 1 May the Green Pass (or Super Green Pass as it is now called) will no longer be needed except to visit hospitals.

So, what does that effectively mean? Well, it means that you will no longer have to show a proof of vaccination document to enter restaurants, museums, stores, public transport or anything else (except health facilities).

Talk is that the obligation to wear an FFP2 (N95) mask will also fall away, although there is still doubt about whether it will be mandatory on public transport - that should be clarified in the next few weeks and I will update you accordingly.

Bottom line: life will return to the way it was before Covid and a dolce summer, under the warm Italian sun, can be looked forward to by all Italians and all the wonderful guests in our beautiful country.

P.S. The Green Pass is for travel within Italy. For requirements needed to enter Italy please refer to our Italy Opens To The World post on

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Our Advice is to make sure you have travel insurance though - you need to be prepared for all eventualities.

The Best Three and Four Star Hotels in Venice Italy

Which are the best three and four star hotels in Venice Italy? These are my picks. I include only hotels which I can recommend with confidence.

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Fiat 500 - Symbol of the Italian Dream

To many a Fiat 500 is just a car. To me it is way more than that. It symbolizes another world. A simpler time, a golden age in the memories of most Italians.

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The Most Beautiful Places in Italy

People often ask me which are the most beautiful places in Italy? My answer to them is this...

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Italian Ferry on Fire!

Driving in Italy: What to Expect

You're Doing Italian Food Wrong!

Sweden, Denmark and Hong Kong were REALLY bad! Why are they doing that with ketchup? Also, I am NEVER eating carbonara or seafood pasta in any of those three countries.

Click on the link below to see how your country ranked.

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Are these the worst restaurants in Venice?

The visitors to TripAdvisor have given there verdict on these three restaurants - you'll be shocked, stunned and dismayed when you read the reviews.

Our own undercover investigations have supported what those unlucky people, who've been lured into these "restaurants", have said.

Which three restaurants made the list? The "prize" for absolutely appalling service, inedible food and pretty much disgusting everything else goes to:

Osteria da Luca
Antichi Splendori

For reviews of the worst one of all click below...

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9 Tips for Venice Italy

Here are 9 tips for Venice that you absolutely need to know before travelling to Venice if you want to make the most of your time in this wonderful city.

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Are These The Most Beautiful Regions in Italy?

Are These the Most Beautiful Regions in Italy? Watch the video, read the stories and then, I think, you will agree that these are indeed........

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Fines for Unvaccinated

Is it Safe to Visit Italy in 2022?

Were you thinking of visiting Italy? Before you make a single plan watch this video!

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A Unesco World Heritage?

Italy Says "Time For A Mask Upgrade"

Do you have one of those cloth type masks or are you using a surgical mask? If you are, and you plan on visiting Italy, then you need to upgrade.

Standard facemasks will no longer be acceptable on flights into and out of Italy and they will not do for any other forms of public transport, stadiums, conference venues, theaters, cinemas and any other public venue.

So what mask do you need?

It is called an FFP2 mask, which I believe is called an N95 in the USA and a KN95 in Asia.

Here's more about these masks...

Scala dei Turchi, Sicily: Defaced by Vandals

One of Sicily's most beautiful sights, Scala dei Turchi has been horribly defaced. Sicilians woke up to find that their beautiful white cliffs had been attacked by vandals, overnight red dye was poured onto the cliffs, known throughout the world thanks to the Montalbano detective series.

Sicilians though are a determined people and they were not going to let the vandals win.

Volunteers set to work immediately.

Within 24 hours the cliffs were restored to their former glory.

By the way, if you've never watched Montalbano I can highly recommend it.

Venice Flooding - The Video That Explains It

We look at the reasons why the flooding in Venice keeps getting worse. Is somebody to blame? We examine the likely culprits and the reasons why greed has...

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The Enchanting South of Italy

What is it about the south of Italy that makes it so special. This story will provide the answer....

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Today's Quiz Video

More Travel Tips:

  1. Book your tickets to museums and other attractions of the city in advance on
  2. Book your accommodation. and Agoda both help you to book accommodation in advance and check availability on the days of your travels
  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

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