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Life in Italy

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Florence’s eternal yesterday

When we returned home to the United States after our four-month stay, I gushed effusively about Florence.     Everyone asked what I enjoyed so much about it. I said ...

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The water diviner

In a part of Tuscany where old wives’ tales are canon, don’t be surprised to meet a modern-day water diviner.   Small Tuscan towns like mine are made up of ...

COMMUNITY

My Tuscan Christmas at home in the Valdisieve

To this day, my mother-in-law still talks about the tacchinella and my mum about the tortellini served in salty broth—my lasting memory of Christmas in Tuscany? Total exhaustion at cooking (and interpreting) for my extended family.   Flying during the festive season just isn’t

COMMUNITY

On the threshing floor

Started five years ago, Montespertoli’s A Veglia sulle Aie celebrates its agricultural heritage: the land, its fruits and the traditions of this farming community.   Having spent most of my childhood growing up on one of these Tuscan farms, a favorite memory of mine is catching lucciole, fireflies,

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The Italian mystery of the missing toilet seats

It’s only fair to say that bathrooms in Italy in private homes are typically immaculate: they approach a standard of almost Germanic cleanliness. Bathrooms in public places, however, are an ...

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Trying temperatures

‘Single friends! Don’t have a/c at home? Want to try a marriage without commitment? For loan, Italian husband sensitive to gusts of cold wind, available for warm summer nights…so I ...

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Foraging for asparagus in the Maremma

It’s a beautiful spring afternoon in southern Tuscany, and we are once more on a mad rush into the woods. While locals and tourists alike are preparing to stroll the streets of Florence or Rome, we’re donning our thickest boots and giving our neighbours dirty looks

FOOD + WINE

How to navigate an Italian coffee bar

If you are new to Italy, whether as a visitor, student or expat, you may be uncertain how to proceed in the initial confusion, and apparent anarchy, of the local coffee bar. In your home country, you may be used to finding—and staying quietly in—a neat

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Italian lessons

The day has finally come to say goodbye to the last guests, fold the blankets and stack the mattresses, clean, cover and close. The last day of the season and time to say goodbye to my window view of cypress trees and green hills. Incredible, how fast six months have

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World’s best kissers

When it comes to food, history and culture, the Italians and French are close rivals. However, Italy were recently crowned the undisputed master of passion, winning the title ‘best kissers ...

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Instant English

When, in the mid 1980s, I applied to university to read business studies, I was persuaded by the literature at the time that the English language was dead, about to ...

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Babbo inglese

I was in the COOP carrying a basket in one hand and steering a buggy (‘stroller’ to our American readers) with the other. Having already loaded the basket with heavy ...

THINGS TO DO

Borgo Santissimi Apostoli

It's late summer, unseasonably hot, and I'm amidst the clamoring crowds walking toward Ponte Vecchio on via Por Santa Maria. It's dusk, and for some reason the sun seems to strike harder upon going down. I need a refuge. Instead of following the map-wielding, chatty crowds,

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The legend of La Befana

Traditionally the children of Italy anxiously await a visit from another figure, La Befana, hanging up their stockings on January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, rather than Christmas Eve.

THINGS TO DO

An insider’s Tuscany

More than 7 million tourists pile into Florence each year, so it stands to reason that this small city suffers from serious overcrowding. Add severe traffic problems and the resulting levels of noise and pollution, and it’s not surprising that many visitors opt for accommodation that is situated

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Back to the future

It is no secret that Italians are leaving bigger cities in search of a slower paced rural lifestyle. The current revival of small towns throughout Italy is allowing people to rediscover the beauty and  benefits of a more simple and traditional way of living. Tourism is also following the

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Italian girls are easy too?!

Italian customs and culture you may not have known.

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June in tuscany

June is a magical month in Tuscany.  The nights are alive with a thousand noises, lights, and scents.  This atmosphere is well caught in the Pfeiffer-Everett film of A Midsummer Night?s Dream, shot in Italy.  June is the month of midsummer, when Tuscan days are

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May in Tuscany

Bright and early on a May morning, somewhere in the Tuscan countryside, a little band of children is gathering. Along the country lanes, they knock at the door of every farmhouse and stand and sing their repertoire of May-time songs, all about cuckoos and spring flowers and boys and

ART + CULTURE

Exceptional and influential women in early modern Florence

Situated on the south side of the River Arno is a building that requires little introduction: Palazzo Pitti. The majestic yet forbidding façade has contributed to its reputation as one ...

ART + CULTURE

Secrets of a Florentine soundscape

As Florence’s heritage-enriched streets have played host to increasing diversity in visiting admirers, so too has the city’s aural narrative grown increasingly eclectic in nature. The excitable chit-chat derived from ...

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First public hospital for dental care opens at villa Margherita

The centre is a true revolution for dental care in Italy, guaranteeing improved services for dental health.

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