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Thursday, December 23, 2010


The first living Nativity Scene (Presepio) originated with St. Francis of Assisi upon his return from the Holy Land. St. Francis' living nativity took place in a cave near Greccio Italy.  A typical presepio has figurines of Mary and Joseph, the infant Jesus in a manger, and three shepherds bearing gifts. If you are celebrating Christmas in Italy and will be in Rome, visit Vatican City to see  a living nativity scene. Other cities with presepio displays include Trento, Verona and Naples. The largest and most elaborate presepi can be found in Rome at the Piazza del Popolo, Piazza Euclide, and on Capitoline Hill. 

On Christmas Eve you can follow the mass celebration with Pope Benedict XVI and stream the live mass from anywhere in the world. The mass will be celebrated in 5 languages: English, Italian, Portuguese, French and Spanish.

Buon Natale e Nuovo Anno Felice,

Ciao e a presto,
My Italian Hideaway and All Things Italian

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Festa Dei Sette Pesci

Festa dei sette pesci.  

The Feast of the Seven Fishes 

Is a Christmas Eve tradition consisting of serving 7 different seafood  dishes; baccala (salted cod fish) eel, squid, shrimp, octopus, smelt, and lobster. Why 7 fishes?  Some say that the number 7 relates to the seven sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church; seven gifts of the Holy spirit; seven Virtues; and the seven deadly sins.

Here's how to prepare your Festa Dei Sette Pesci 
Buon Appetito

Ciao e a presto,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Political Unrest in Rome

Political unrest in Rome following yesterday's vote -- Silvio Berlusconi narrowly survives vote of confidence by Italian lawmakers.

Ciao e a presto,

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pride of Italy Comes to USA

Breaking news...Italian car maker Fiat brings its Italian pride to the US market.  The Fiat 500 newly designed and technologically advanced hatchback will be sold in the US in 2011. Between 100,000 and 130,000 Fiat 500's will be made starting at around $15,000 USD.
Click on the link to build and customize your own Fiat 500 l To customize choose the color link first.  Piacere!

Ciao e a presto,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life in Italy Saves Marriage

Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family HomeAmore, love, was missing in this American couple's life. A husband whose job demanded time away from home... a wife who spent her waking days teaching and taking care of the children. Stress and exhaustion had taken a toll on this couple's life.  After nearly 15 years of marriage the Pohlman's were considering a divorce. Susan's book "Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought our Family Home" is her account of how moving to Italy healed their marriage. Susan and her family now live in Scottsdale, Arizona, my home town. Her book is featured on our site and makes a great Christmas gift. If you are lucky enough to visit Scottsdale you might catch Susan signing her book at our local Borders or Barnes and Noble stores. 
Now that's Amore

Ciao e a presto,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Italian Film Director Commits Suicide

Breaking news...Italian film director, Mario Monicelli, leaped to his death from the fifth floor balcony of his hospital room in Rome where he was undergoing treatment for terminal cancer.

Monicelli, a four-time Oscar nominated filmmaker best known for Italian comedies, was 95 years old at the time of his death.

He will be missed by many in the cinema and film industry.

Ciao e a presto,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Temple of Venus

One of Roma's most important archaeological sites has been restored. The Temple of Venus was re-opened to the public after nearly 30 years. The shrine was designed in the 2nd Century AD by Emperor Hadrian and measures 348 feet (106 metres) by 156 feet (48 metres). Tickets to the Temple of Venus are approximately 12 euros or about $16 USD. If you are headed to Rome for the upcoming holidays, it is worthwhile to purchase a ticket which will also give you entry to the Roman Forum, the Palatine and the Colosseum.

Ciao e a presto,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Exquisite Men's Fashion from Canali Brothers

75 years of exquisite men's Italian wear.

View the 2010 -2011 Autumn Winter Collection from Canali Brothers established 1934 in Triuggio, region of Lombardy, province of Monza e Brianza.

Ciao e a presto,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Riserva

The Best Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Riserva.
Wine Spectator gives Lazzeretti's Brunello di Montalcino 2004 Riserva 95 points. We feel blessed to know the Lazzeretti family, and had the opportunity to taste a barrel sample of the 2004 Riserva while in Montalcino in 2008. Lovely bouquet nose with red berry and balanced tannins. This brunello can easily age 10 years, but who could wait that long! With only 1,200 bottles produced, this Brunello di Montalcino Riserva is well worth the $100 price tag.
Complimenti Marco e Lucia.
Ciao e a presto,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Le Bellezze d'Italia

If you love All Things Italian, you will love the Italian Automobile Show scheduled for this coming Saturday, October 2 from 10:00 a.m. - 3 p.m. right here in Phoenix.

Le Bellezze d'Italia event will feature 70 Italian automobiles from Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lamborghini, Lanica,and of course, the beautiful new red hot 2010 Ferrari 458.

The car show will be held at the Arizona American Italian Club, 7509 N. 12th Street, Phoenix. Admission is free. Plenty of music, raffles, and food. For more information go to

Ciao e a presto,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Italy's Casinos

Try your luck at any of Italy's gambling casinos- in the north 90 km from Turin you will find Casino de la Valle in the spa town of Saint-Vincent with to die for views. Or head to the coast and mingle with the beautiful people at Casino' San Remo.

Last evening in Venice? Try your luck at the tables at the winter casino Ca' Vendramin Calergi open September thru April. Want to experience Europe's best of the best? Then only Campione d'Italia, an Italian enclave surrounded by Switzerland, will do.

Ciao e a presto,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Buon Ferragosto

Ferragosto, August 15, is a catholic holiday celebrated by all Italians. It's the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It's also a day for giving thanks for the land and for good harvests.

When you hear the word "Ferragosto" it means that Italians go on holiday and head to the beach or mountains.

While many businesses throughout Italy are closed, the new Fodor's Italy 2010 guide will give you plenty of ideas for planning an August vacation. If you like cycling, you'll find a great resource on our blog, Cycling in Italy.

August is great month to travel. Cities are less crowded and you won't have to wait in long lines for entry into tourist attractions.

If you are headed to Siena, plan to attend the Palio

If you love art, music, wine and food, catch the Cortona for the Tuscan Sun Festival before it ends on August 6.

Want to cool off, head to the sea or better yet bypass the busy beaches and head north to Verona for the Summer Opera

Buon Ferragosto,

Ciao e a presto

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Eco Holiday

Voted one of the "10 Best Eco Holiday Resorts" in the world, Tenuta di Spannocchia is a working organic farm where you can learn authentic Tuscan cooking.

Located in close proximity to Florence, San Gimignano, and Chianti, the luxurious farmhouses and villas have sweeping views of the property and, while a bit pricey, are worth every penny. Reserve a room in the Fattoria and tour the centuries old Castle and archaeological museum.

For a preview of Tenuta di Spannocchia visit their website at

Ciao e a presto,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Latest Discovery in Roma

Archaeologists exploring underground catacombs in Roma make a remarkable discovery in the St. Tecla catacomb. Using laser technology to burn away calcium deposits, a team of researchers found 4th century A.D. biblical scenes and painted images of Jesus Christ's beloved Apostles John, Andrew, Peter and Paul. The St. Tecla catacomb was first discovered in the late 1950's but unseen by the public. The restoration effort took two years at a cost of 60,000 euros.

Ciao e a presto,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quando a Roma Manga La Porchetta

Juicy, succulent, aromatic, and slow roasted on a spit until golden brown and tender, nothing beats the smell and taste of a fresh porchetta panino. Careful preparation is what separates the experienced from the inexperienced porchettari "porchetta makers" and no body does it better than the Fratelli brothers Alessio and Claudio Azzocchi. The family business dates back to 1894 in the small hill town of Ariccia, about 45 minutes southeast of Roma or just one stop en route to the Rome airport (Via Portuense, Fiumicino). Not only will you taste the best porchetta in Italy, but you can join in on the fun at the Sagra (festival) di Porchetta in Arricia.

Buon Appetito!

Ciao e a presto,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Breaking News.....

Italian Born Francesca Schiavone wins 2010 French Open!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Siamo in vacanza. Torna presto!

My Italian Hideaway

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Palio di San Ranieri

Summer in Italy means its time for boat races! Head up to the Pisa area to partake in the Palio San Ranieri (San Ranieri is the patron saint of Pisa) scheduled for June 16 and 17.

Four districts compete in the race with each boat a different color to represent a district. Each row boat has a steersman, a climber, and eight oarsmen struggling against the current.

The finishing line is a boat anchored at Palazzo Medici, a location decided in 1737 upon the request of the Duke of Montelimar, who was staying in one of the palaces there. The climbers must scale one of four cables to the top of the boat’s 10m mast and grab a paliotto (triangular, silk banner). The blue banner indicates first place, white is second, and red is third. The winners receive an animal such as an ox or a rooster; the losers are awarded with a pair of goslings and torrents of abuse from onlookers.

The regatta was originally celebrated during the Assumption and moved to St. Ranieri’s feast day in 1718. The night before the race 70,000 candles in glass holders are hung from buildings and along bridges, palaces and churches overlooking the river. Join the locals for a celebration of fireworks at midnight.

Ciao e a presto,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sagra del Pesce di Camogli

Mark your calendar for May 8-10 to attend the Sagra del Pesce - the fish festival of St. Fortunato, the patron saint of fishermen. The festival is located in Camogli, a small fishing village on the Ligurian sea. Complete with fireworks and all the fish you can eat! Buon appetito!

Ciao e a presto,

Friday, March 26, 2010


Want to spend a family holiday in Italy? Try camping (campeggio). Camping season officially opened this week with over 1,700 camping sites and villages to chose from throughout Italy. Look for village camp sites that offer kayaking, boating, sport fishing, and a multitude of family oriented activities. When searching for a campsite, consider its proximity to local markets, restaurants, pharmacy, and cinema. Some of the finest campsites have individual cabins, playgrounds, grilling equipment, and swimming pools. For a weekend of fun, try Gardaland, Italy's #1 Amusement Park. Visit their website for details on events and ticketing at

Ciao e a presto,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bella Macchina

Lady in Red. This is truly "La Bella Macchina". The new sleek Ferrari 458 Italia boasts 562 horsepower engine; 0-60 in 3.4 seconds with acceleration from standstill to 124 mph in 10.4 seconds; a great ride for Italian cowboys.
Price: only $250,000 USD

Take a test drive:

Ciao e a presto,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cyling In Italy

Spring and Autumn are perfect times of the year for cycling around Italy. The best biking routes will take you from the sea going through delightful small villages of Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche. A number of organized groups and cycle tour companies offer excellent deluxe touring packages that include a night's stay in a villa and a home cooked gourmet dinner. Here are two touring companies that come highly recommended and Biking regulations can be found at

Ciao e a presto,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Caffe e Pasticerria

A day without un cafe (a coffee) and una pasta
(no, not that kind of pasta, in this case it means a pastry!) is like a a day without sunshine in Arizona!

Whether early morning or late afternoon, take a break and head for the local caffe (coffee bar) for a freshly brewed espresso or macchiato (coffee with a dash of milk) and a creamy house made cannoli -- or two.

Some of the best coffee bars in Italy include: Barrati & Milano in Torino; Spinnato Antico Caffe in Palermo; and Tuttobene in Firenze.

And don't forget to stop by the local pasticerria (pastry shop) and pick up some mouth watering house made chocolates for those late night cravings.

Ciao e a presto,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sleep in Italian Luxury

If you long for a good night's sleep, treat yourself to Italian bed linens and blankets.

Italian company Sferra of Venice have been making linens since 1891.

Italian linens and bedding are made from 100% Egyptian cotton. Their cashmere blankets are made from 100% mongolian fleece.

Cashmere is the undercoat of goats and only a handful of cashmere can be combed from each goat.

The cashmere is then graded and sold at auctions to European tailors and mills.

Visit Sferra's website for pricing and care instructions - you'll never sleep better.

Ciao e a presto,

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Carnevale di Venezia 2010

Carnevale, derived from its Latin meaning of "farewell to meat" dates back to the 12th century. Carnevale is the period between the Epiphany and the beginning of Lent and marks the passing of Winter into Spring. Beginning February 6 through February 16, St. Mark's Square will be alive with dancers, actors, musicians and non stop pageants, processions, masquerades, balls, concerts, and banquets. The Grand Ball of the Pulcinella will take place in the Marco Polo Ballroom of the Luna Hotel Baglioni near the Piazza San Marco. The last event of Carnevale will be held in the elaborate 14th century Palazzo Pesaro Papafava. I'll be richly dressed in brocade and velvet wearing a Moretta mask. See you at Carnevale! For more information, visit -- some events are already sold out.

Ciao e a presto,