How lucky am I to have friends in all the best places in Rome?  Daniela Del Balzo is a chef and cooking teacher whose  classes encompass all the diverse cuisines of the 20 regions of Italy, but some of her most seductive dishes are those from her native Naples. This cake is one of those […]

Book Imitates Life: The Lady of the Wheel

Books can amuse, entertain, educate…and, at times, they can open a door.  Retired engineer and professor, Angelo Coniglio, wrote The Lady of the Wheel, a book based on his research into the genealogy of his own Sicilian family. What he discovered reveals not only the extreme hardships that led to the great influx of Sicilians […]


Capo D’Anno, top of the year in Italy, encompassing both December 31 and January 1, a celebration both sacred and profane. Scratch the surface of any holiday in Italy and you’ll find traces of ancient Rome and early Christianity at the base. New Year’s Eve belongs to Saint Sylvester, and New Year’s Day and the […]

LA FOCE: The Tuscany Less Traveled

I’ve been writing and re-writing drafts for this post for a few weeks now. Wanting it to be lyrical, beautiful prose, worthy of the subject— you know, like I’m going for a Pulitzer. I’m giving up on that and sending it out to the world as the lovely place in Southern Tuscany I was  inspired […]

Going to Italy? Who’s Your Trip Advisor?

With any journey,  it’s who meets you along the way. My immigrant grandparents called it the Old Country. After coming through Ellis Island, they never went back to Italy—they never wanted to. Why go back to dusty unpaved roads when they could set up promising lives along the golden streets in America? (Well, maybe those […]