Scenes from Fossacesia

Meanwhile, my niece Victoria visited for a few days from Dublin, where she’s spending the year. It was lovely to bond with her outside...

Four Friends and a Few Nuts

My road to a home in Italy, and then to a habitable one, and then to one in which I feel at home has been and continues to be a tortuous...

Healthful Dishes, More Helpful Drugs

After my night in Rome, I headed to Fossacesia. As I wrote in my last post, I’d arrived in Italy feeling pretty crummy. By the time I got...

Lend me your ears.

Well, friends, Romans, and others who get the idea... I’ve shamefully neglected this blog for weeks, in part because I’ve been low on...

Matta per la Cipollata!

I love homely contadino food. Always have. Show me a garlicky tomato sauce or thick bean soup or almost any mashup of humble ingredients...

Strangers on Trains

“Is there a train called an expresso here?,” the American 20-something shouted at the woman behind the ticket window at the Santa Lucia...

Not Quite at Home Yet

The more time I spend in Italy, the more I’m aware of what a stranger I am, culturally. It’s funny to say that because I think of Italian...

Genoa: Two Tales of One City

The first and only time I visited Genoa prior to my stop there a few weeks ago, I had the distinct impression of a sinister city;...

Venice: Chiaroscuro and Color

When I rolled into Venice Tuesday evening, so did the fog. The moody atmosphere it created seemed just right for photographing the Bridge...

Christmastime in Rome

The Nativity Scene There’s no place like Rome for a nativity scene, called in Italian a presepio or presepe. Both terms are correct,...

Christmas means strufoli

Most of us have favorite foods from childhood —and particularly from childhood holidays — whose deliciousness probably is more about the...

A Venice state of mind

“…For I think there can be nothing else in the world so full of glittering and exquisite surprise as that first glimpse of Venice which...

Have a good trip? I probably will.

I’ll be going to Italy for several weeks right after Christmas. I’ll fly into Rome and spend a few days there and continue on to Genoa...

Holidays on Slice: La Peperonata

In Lancianese cooking, one of the esteemed cuisines near me, peppers both hot and sweet figure heavily. This dish is made of the sweet...

My cup wonneth over nobody.

Coffee is, of course, a serious thing in Italy. And it’s all about quality versus quantity. Those espressos are one mouthful, but it’s a...

The cats came back.

In my town, as in most of Abruzzo, there’s a large population of street cats. Even those who have nominal “homes” often must live...

For the some who like it hot

The Abruzzese palate has a high tolerance for heat. At local restaurants, meals often are served with a dish of hot pepper on the side so...

Gekko who’s coming to dinner.

Every once in a while, I see in the corner of my eye something dark and darting, usually high on the wall. It gives me a real start until...

Culture Quiz, Exercise I

According to Italian mothers, which of the following threats to life and limb is MOST to be feared? a) drafts b) damp skin (from...