Dishing Up Food Secrets in Rome

July 19, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 9 Comments

Dear Blog Readers—I have a quiz for you today and the first blog reader who responds getting all the answers right gets a free 4- hour Food Tour in Rome? Part I – Food Questions 1. What did women in the popular Testaccio neighborhood of Rome invent when their husbands, who worked in the massive […]

Orchestrating Traffic in Piazza Venezia

July 14, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 6 Comments

Pierluigi Marchionne is conducting.  He is on his black and white striped pedestal in the middle of Piazza Venezia in the center of Rome and he is twirling around in the hot summer sun.  A gloved hand flies into the air and with a dramatic gesture he sends a stream of traffic – tour buses, […]

Espresso, Corruption, Murder….and the Bella Figura

July 8, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 27 Comments

“Aurelio Zen – he’s a cop in a world where the pressure is always on, the danger is always there, and he is in Armani. He can’t help it if his name keeps getting into the papers,  he’s just trying to do his job, solve the crime and do it quietly.  Certain people in high […]

Balotelli’s Mamma

July 1, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 8 Comments

All it took was an emotional hug with his Mamma and Italian football star Mario Balotelli, won over an entire nation.  After all, Italy is the nation of Mammone (mama-boys).  Of course the two goals he scored against Germany in the semi-final of the EURO 2012 Cup didn’t hurt either. Balotelli, as one Italian newspaper described […]


May 25, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 14 Comments

I was raised in a old Victorian-style house on the outskirts of Boston by two Wasp parents who were both university professors.  At dinner we often spoke politely about our day or about world affairs or politics.  For example, would economic sanctions be effective in ending apartheid in South Africa? Or, was President Nixon going […]

A Jelly Bean View of Rome

April 8, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 12 Comments

Today I decided to take my two daughters shopping.  But since times are tight for everyone, and my wallet is not exactly packed with money, I introduced to them a new kind of shopping — window-shopping. And there is no better place to do that then the center of Rome.  Perhaps because it is the […]

Butt-Squeezers and Wolf-Whistlers

March 27, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 16 Comments

When I was in graduate school at Columbia University in New York City there was big construction project on the building next door to my dormitory with the entire side covered with scaffolding and workmen climbing up and down it all day.  One crisp September morning I left the dormitory with Paola, an attractive Italian […]

Spurting Blood

March 23, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 16 Comments

One morning Nico slipped at the Villa Glori park near our home and fell backwards, cutting his head on a small stone.  Blood came spurting out of the back of his head, turning several kleenexes bright red.  The cut was small but it was clear he would need stitches.  Gustavo set off at a sprint […]