The Italian Face Whacker

January 12, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 6 Comments

It was a hot August afternoon in Rome when my cell phone rang. I could see my husband’s name. He was calling from France where he was on vacation with the kids while I was working. I picked it up. “It wasn’t me,” came the voice on the other end of the line. “I swear […]


Dressed in Black

January 9, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 14 Comments

When we first moved to Italy, a family friend of Gustavo’s died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was in his 50s. Gustavo took me to the funeral in the small town of Aprilia about an hour south of Rome. Everyone was dressed in black. The large wooden coffin was by the altar. I sat […]


A Close Call with Limbo

January 8, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 15 Comments

This morning Pope Benedict XVI presided over the annual baptism of babies in the Sistine Chapel.  In what is always a beautiful and touching ceremony, a group of parents — dressed to the nines– bring their newborns into the spectacular Sistine Chapel.  There, under the ceiling painted by Michelangelo, the Pope sprinkled 16 newborns with […]


La Befana – Italy’s Good Witch

January 5, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 14 Comments

Note to Blog Readers: My 11-year-old daughter Chiara insisted on doing a post on the tradition of La Befana in Italy.  I have always had a bit of a problem with La Befana because she almost pushes Santa Claus out of the way.  I also have a problem with the Topolino dei Denti (The Tooth […]


What to Expect When Expecting in Italy

January 2, 2012
By | in Italian Culture | 3 Comments

Note to Blog Readers: A perceptive reader pointed out that in my last post A Spectacular Show for Niccolo’ I nonchalantly declared that 5 months pregnant I joined my dinner companions “champagne glasses in hand,” as we made our way up to the roof-top to view New Year’s Eve fireworks. The reader noted that this comment […]


A Spectacular Show for Niccolo’

December 31, 2011
By | in Italian Culture | 11 Comments

December 31, 1994 – The Best New Year’s Eve of my Life. I had been living in Rome for one year and I was five months pregnant with my first child, a boy. For New Year’s Eve Gustavo and I were invited to a dinner with a group of friends in the Monti neighborhood of […]


The Fine Art of the Christmas Broth

For Christmas 2010, I decided to do an American Thanksgiving-style menu for the extended family. I ordered the turkey and went to the specialty store to get cranberry sauce and put together a menu. But, this being Italy, I wanted to be sure to serve a pasta course first. In Italy, you always need to […]


Benito’s Body

December 16, 2011
By | in Italian Culture | 11 Comments

Last week I did a story for AP Television on a fascinating new documentary film called “Il Corpo Del Duce”, “The Duce’s Corpse.” AP wire put out the story and I am amazed to see how widely it was picked up in the US. I am attaching some links below in case anyone wants to […]