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.

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Next up… The Booby Bomber

February 15, 2010 Travel News 4 Comments
Fiumicino Airport entrance hall

Be wary of the Booby Bomber… Ok. A weak attempt at wit, but it is where we seem to be heading.

Here is the bomber history. A story is being built. … Continue Reading

Fellini’s La Dolce Vita: Drugs And Sex?


Tom Kington’s new article in the Observer (published on 7 February 2010) is amusing, but at the same time evokes a glamourous Rome from a slightly different perspective. This is how the article begins: … Continue Reading

Recessionary travel: Resolving Issues

February 8, 2010 Travel Expert 2 Comments

Following on from the article about difficulties and benefits of traveling in recessionary times (Recessionary Travel: Understanding The Issue“), here are some of the specific issues that travelers face and should be ready to resolve. … Continue Reading

Recessionary Travel: Understanding The Issue

February 8, 2010 Travel Expert 1 Comment
View of St Peter's Square

Searching for accommodation in these times can seem like a dream come true. Everything you search for is available and seems discounted.

What could go wrong? In this article, we discuss the issues to keep in mind when planning and booking your trip, and how you might avoid and resolve them to ensure you really enjoy your trip – instead of just live through it. … Continue Reading

Public Morality In Italy


In a new article published in The Guardian, John Hooper offers an insight into the nation’s values by analysing how Italy is commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of Bettino Craxi, the Italian prime minister for four years in the 1980s, who died in exile as a fugitive from justice. … Continue Reading

Appreciating Trastevere: Shut Up And Watch

February 1, 2010 Cultural Musings, Culture & People Comments Off
Vicolo del Bologna at night

This is a response to the previous post (“False Promises of a Romanticised Trastevere?“). As the article says, Trastevere is full of foreigners (and that includes Romans and Italians who just aren’t locals). And they are there to get a feel for the local delights.

But you need to look deeper. In most places around the world you look deeper and just find nothing or worse. The falseness or absurdity of it all. But not in Trastevere. … Continue Reading

Trastevere Romanticised: False Promises?


Trastevere. Oh, it is so incredibly charming, magical, and picturesque. And exactly bohemian enough to appeal to just about everyone. Or so says every guidebook in the universe. The proof: Hundreds of tourists traipsing through the narrow streets, exclaiming “Oh, how pretty”, and “isn’t it beautiful”, and then later having pizza on the street, surrounded by countless Germans, Americans, and French people, and feeling oh-so italian. … Continue Reading

Living With Parents At 36: Interview


The case of young (or not-so-young) italians living at home is generating a lot of international media interest right now, especially as one italian minister is now provocatively calling for a new law forcing young italians to leave their parents’ homes at 18. The Guardian has just published an interview by John Hooper with 36-year-old Maurizio Schiavi, living in Rome with his parents. … Continue Reading

Berlusconi: Injuries Not Exaggerated


We have already commented on how the timing of the unfortunate attack on Prime Minister Berlusconi was convenient, in terms of his political goals, here.

Now, his opponents are nursing conspiracy theories asking whether his injuries were exaggerated, or whether the attack might even have been fake, because he appears to have completely recovered in such a short period of time. … Continue Reading

Parent Allowance At 32 Is Adequate


A judge has ordered an Italian father to pay a monthly allowance of 350 EUR  to his 32-year-old student daughter, who is living with her mother, while writing her thesis for a degree in philosophy and supporting herself by offering dance lessons. … Continue Reading

White Christmas In Italy


International commentators observe that Italy is experiencing a rise of xenophobia. Martin Kettle of The Guardian even goes as far as to say: “My love affair with Italy is over. The romance is dead. Now I see the country for what it is: rightwing, racist and corrupt.” (I’ve changed my mind about Italy – The Guardian) … Continue Reading

Berlusconi Attack: The Aftermath

January 11, 2010 News & Oddities, Politics 1 Comment

After a year full of sex scandals, divorce proceedings and renewed corruption charges, the Italian Prime Minister “was badly hurt when a man hurled a metal souvenir of Milan Cathedral at him on December 13.” (Timesonline.co.uk).

The attack could not have been more well-timed: Berlusconi’s time seemed up … Continue Reading

Coffee: Facts And Stories I

January 9, 2010 Coffee, Food & Drink No Comments
A lady with her morning coffee in Rome

Coffee is so central to italian lifestyle (and physical and mental health, probably), that we have no shame devoting yet another post to this invigorating beverage. Please find our earlier post on the art, culture, and variations of coffee in Italy (complete with a directory of legitimate coffee varieties) here – and more coffee-related wisdom in the form of ten commandments here. … Continue Reading

Soaring Divorce Rate: Blame Mamma?

A wedding in Rome

The strong, catholic family values apparently prevalent across all levels of italian society have deeply impacted on the way in which the country is viewed – by italians and foreigners alike. However, changing reality may be quite different than the static prejudice arising from such observations. One way in which Italy’s society may be changing is indicated by the sudden and explosive rise of divorce rate over the last few years. … Continue Reading

And What Did You Do On The First Day Of 2010?

Bridge over the Tiber in Rome

Apart from a leisurly cappucino-and-cornetto breakfast in your favourite bar, probably not much. (Or maybe that is just me.)

In contrast, four courageous Italians have celebrated the New Year by diving into the Tiber … 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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