Back in Gritty, Gorgeous Catania

I went back this weekend to the gritty, vibrant, gorgeous city of Catania, Sicily for another story on migrants. After a week of feeling despondent about the bitterness of the US elections, it was a thrill go back and breathe in the city’s energy. Catania has been conquered and ruled by Romans, Arabs, Byzantines, Normans […]


The Elizabeth Spicer Story

June 2, 2016
By | in Art and Life | 9 Comments

Dear Blog Readers— My story about my five times great grandmother Elizabeth Spicer who was captured by Native American Indians and lived with them for a couple of years back in the 1700s has finally been published. I first posted the story on this blog many years ago, see blog post “Elizabeth the Brave” if […]


A Cantankerous Prince and a Superwoman Winemaker

“I don’t drink coffee,” Alessia Antinori declares as she looks out at the neat rows of organically grown lettuce, peas, fava beans and others vegetables at the Fattoria Fiorano in Rome. “I drink wine.” “You have got to be kidding?” I say, putting down my pen and taking a break from my frenetic note taking. […]


Is it Time for a New Watch?

April 25, 2016
By | in Art and Life | 22 Comments

The other day I noticed these tiny little Roman numerals sticking on the inside of the face of my watch. A minuscule, upside-down “I” near the number 12, an “X” down by the 4, an “L” over by the 6. Given that my watch uses Arabic numerals, it took me a while to figure out […]


Scraping Away at Ghiberti’s North Doors

Last week I had the rare opportunity to dedicate myself for two days to a feature story in Florence, the restoration of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s North Doors on the Florence baptistery and the making of a replica. After becoming discouraged about the current situation in Rome (see last post “Ravishing, Rotten Rome”) it was refreshing to […]


Ravishing, Rotten Rome

The other night I happened to be passing through Piazza del Popolo at dusk as I headed home from work. My mind was spinning around the events of the day: a massive corruption trial in Rome, and more scandals at the Vatican. As I briskly clipped my way over the cobblestones, my thoughts, interspersed with […]


The Titanic Vacation

I could make a  series of movies titled “Titanic Vacations with my Family” staring my husband, of course, the frustrated, middle-aged man secretly in love with that rather mechanical woman inside his car navigator who occasionally re-routes but never talks back and he can always turn off during moments of tension. That navigatrice is in […]


Alessandra Di Castro – Rome’s Dynamic Antiques Dealer

May 10, 2015
By | in Art and Life | 10 Comments

Alessandra di Castro is sitting on a plush, velvet couch in a curved, cozy recess in her Antiques Gallery at Number 4 Piazza di Spagna in Rome. She speaks rapidly in impeccable English declaring, “I have a very impatient personality.” I pause in my frenetic note taking and look at her and say, “so do […]