What You’ve Always Wanted To Know About Holiday Rental Agencies I

I found that working in a holiday rental agency was a fantastic way to get to know Italy and the local culture. My account from behind the scenes reveals what goes on behind closed doors, tells you what you need to know about the agency before you book your holiday …

Expat saves local community for Christmas

Last week, the entire financial problems in Testaccio were solved in less than 10 minutes. There was widespread debt and no money in community, until the visit of an American Tourist. Here’s what happened.

Why So Much Cash Is Used In Italy… And It Is A Good Thing

Why should you support the use of cash in Italy? Does that not mean that you are facilitating tax evasion? Not necessarily. Instead, overusing your credit card in Italy means to undermine their social fabric, and might hurt the local economy and culture. Here is why.

Some of Rome’s Best Pasticcerie

One of the things you don’t realize about Rome until you’ve left is the city’s (and the country’s) great tradition of pasticcerie.

Recent Articles:

A Coffee Break With… Keith, 1


I have been wondering: Why has Italy lost its status as a PIG?

For many years a (derogatory) term was routinely applied to the economies of Southern Europe – PIGS. It stands for Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain. (Club Med was the parallel term denoting a holiday mentality to economics). … Continue Reading

Abuse Scandal Revelations: Affecting Church’s Moral Authority?

View of St Peter's Square

The world’s eyes are on Rome – the Vatican, to be precise – as the moral authority of the catholic church appears to crumble under the weight of shocking allegations of child abuse, and the cover-ups that appear to have ensued for decades. The sense that the catholic church deems itself above the common law, … Continue Reading

Media blackout for March Elections


The elections are due and who would know… Television (from which the majority of Italians get their information) has had an almost total blackout. Prime Minister Berlusconi’s government controls the 3 main independant channels, and two of the main public channels are also pro-government. He seems to have decided that no debate is beneficial to him – he could be right. … Continue Reading

Sex And The City – Of Rome?

An intimate moment in Rome

How lucky we are! Rome has come first in The Times’ list of the world’s 12 sexiest cities. The criteria of the list are somewhat obscure, but it can be concluded that the sexiness of a city appears to be based on something more intricate than its red-light district, as the most famous cities in that respect – Amsterdam, Bangkok, anyone? – are completely absent in The Times’ list. … Continue Reading

Encounters: Do Visitors Pay More In Roman Bars?

A coffee bar on Campo de' Fiori

Do visitors pay more in Roman bars and restaurants? Er, yes. Of course they do!

I remember a sunny afternoon when my visiting father said to me, “I’ll just meet you at the bar opposite your apartment for a coffee in half an hour”. Secretly, he went there early, to take in all the italianità (and coffee) he possibly could, before leaving again for his cold home country. … Continue Reading

Immigration In Italy: The Roma


A few days ago, on 11 March, Amnesty International released a report calling on the Italian authorities to halt a controversial housing plan. The plan has resulted in the forced eviction of hundreds of Roma, and paves the way for thousands more evictions over the coming months. The report, titled The Wrong Answer – Italy’s “Nomad Plan” violates the housing rights of Roma in Rome, warns that the programme, which began in July 2009, violates the human rights of thousands of Roma. … Continue Reading

Condom Vending Machine At Rome High School


Amid national controversy, the Kepler scientific secondary school today became the first in the Italian education system to install condom vending machines for students. The machines, in the girls’ and boys’ toilets, will sell cut-price condoms just a few miles from the Vatican; the Kepler is in a lower-middle class district of Rome, just outside the city’s ancient walls.

The Vatican has gone to great lengths … Continue Reading

The Incredulous Perugia Trial: Sentencing Report


Finally, the sentencing report by the jury who convicted Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito has been published. Only days before Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison for the murder or Meredith Kercher, we wrote a detailed article about the case and the media reactions around the world in relation to Italy (The Incredulous Perugia Trial: Ideal vs Integrity). Now, we are back to report on the reasoning behind the jury decision, which tells us what the judges believed to be the most likely truth behind the crime, … Continue Reading

What’s Up With Immigration In Italy?


Hundreds of immigrants evicted from gypsy camps! Italy wakes up to the realities of immigration! Italy: a country united by racism!

Such are the headlines these days, prompting us to ask: What’s up with immigration in italy?

Indeed, immigration is a tense and contested subject in Italy these days. Several recent events have increased negative feelings on both sides of a fight tainted by racism, … Continue Reading

Apartment Rental in Rome – Cheap?


Many people are wondering, as they plan their next trip or holiday, what is really going on with accommodation prices. Whether they are looking for B&B, hotels or apartments, there is a lack of real understanding about the current market situation, beyond 2010.

The first thing to understand, is that there is no general trend. … Continue Reading

Illy vs. Starbucks

March 1, 2010 Coffee, Food & Drink 9 Comments
A lady with her morning coffee in Rome

Ever wondered why you cannot find Starbucks in Italy? Or whether Starbucks’ coffee can hold its own on a real Roman cappuccino? Then read on. The opinions diverge on whether Italian coffee needs new inspiration because “it is not what it once was”, or whether America simply has an “overroasting” issue concerning their coffee. Coffee Clash?

… Continue Reading

Pope Weighs In On Body Scanners

February 26, 2010 Travel News No Comments
Crowd at Fiumicino during summer holiday

An article recently published by us presented an in-depth discussion on the raging debate over the planned use of airport body scanners, which leave passengers virtually naked when going through security (Next Up… The Booby Bomber).

Now, the Pope himself has commented in on the issue: … Continue Reading

Parents Are Fined For Teenagers’ Abuse


A ruling by a judge in Milan sets a new landmark: The parents of five teenage boys who repeatedly raped a young girl have been ordered to pay her compensation totalling €450,000. It is important to note that the fine was not imposed for the parents’ failure to supervise the teenagers appropriately, but for their apparent failure to give their sons an “education in feelings and emotions”. … Continue Reading

Caravaggio: 400th Anniversary Exhibition

February 23, 2010 Culture, Exploring Rome No Comments
A Caravaggio painting

This year will mark the 400th death-anniversary of Caravaggio, a highly acclaimed but controversial baroque master most intricately linked to the city of Rome. … Continue Reading

First Snow In Rome Since 1986?

Piazza del Campidoglio at Christmas

Well – almost. Read more for a video illustrating the exceptional snowfall of last week, for some reactions, and for a history of snow since 1986.

As you will see from this history below, the snowfall last week has been quite exceptional, … Continue Reading

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Sneak Peek At Upcoming Articles

  • The Process of falling for Rome.
    30 November, 2012

    I never knew the minute I stepped off the train from Grosseto at Rome’s Termini station in late June 2012 that six month’s later I would be planning a move to the Eternal City.

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