Blueberries and Grapes, Hunting and Gathering

September 27, 2011
By | in Italian Culture | 9 Comments

There is nothing better for a little female solidarity than a blueberry patch. My mother raised me on New England blueberry picking. Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont. If there was a blueberry patch, my Mom would find it. Of course her blueberry afternoons were followed by blueberry evenings with scrumptious, gooey, messy, purply blueberry pies. […]

Caravaggio’s Women – Check the Toenails!

September 24, 2011
By | in Art and Life | 11 Comments

One of the best things about Rome, after sunsets over the eternal city, is that it is the only place in the world where one can get a quick hit of Caravaggio on the run.  Caravaggio 24/7. Unlike many women who marry Italian men, I had not studied anything Italian and came to Italy knowing […]

Mozzarella Mamma versus Tiger Mother

September 22, 2011
By | in Being Mamma | 5 Comments

According to author Amy Chua in her “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” there are 7 points which distinguish a Chinese mother from a “typical Western overscheduling soccer mom.” Instead, I would like to contrast these 7 points with how I see the warmth and coddling of the Italian “Mozzarella Mamma”. I suppose if I […]

Walk on Cadavers and Sell Your Mother

September 21, 2011
By | in Women in Italy | 3 Comments

A recent television interview with an Italian escort who allegedly spent the night with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reveals an unusual idea of how to be successful, “walk on cadavers and sell your mother.”  Her comments are interesting because they reveal an attitude towards life I’ve never heard before in Italy.” But first a […]

What does it mean to “have horns” in Italy?

September 20, 2011
By | in Language and Gestures | 16 Comments

Italy is the country where instead of giving someone the traditional finger in the car, you can really insult them by giving them the ‘corne’ or horns.  That is the index finger and the pinkie raised to look like horns.  If you say in Italian that someone has corne, it means that his or her […]

Madonna and Eve

September 17, 2011
By | in Language and Gestures | 10 Comments

According an Italian, whose name is preferable for an exclamation, Madonna or Eve’s? My adolescent daughters have adopted an Italian teenage expression. They pepper their conversations with the exclamation: “‘Maaaa – ddonnnnn– aaaa”. That would be “Madonna”. My Italian, and Catholic husband, Gustavo, does not like this one bit and every time he hears it he […]

LEI – Language Confusion

September 15, 2011
By | in Language and Gestures | 9 Comments
LEI  – Language Confusion

  When I moved to Italy many years ago, my husband tried to make the whole formality issue simple for me.  In Italian ‘Lei’ is the formal ‘you’ and ‘tu’ is the informal ‘you. “Use the LEI form with everyone,” he said. “That way you can’t go wrong.” A few weeks later I found myself […]

Porcini Mushroom Adventure

September 13, 2011
By | in Food Fiascos | 5 Comments

Food is nearly always top priority for Italians. A certain delicacy may even be worth physical risk.  One example is the behavior of Roman cameraman Massimo Mariani.  According to the story recounted to me by CBS producer/editor Jos Mason, Massimo was in the back of a jeep headed with a CBS crew down some rough […]