Ciao for now blog

April 23, 2024

Living in an Italian Construction Zone

Have you wondered why there haven't been new blogs lately? Here's the story.When you live somewhere, you have almost no control about what happens around you. This year in Chiavari has been a very stressful and loud one.

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January 18, 2024

Seven Years in Italy

I am on the Road Taken. The Road not Taken by Robert Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel both… I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in the wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.

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January 5, 2024

2024 Dopo Capodanno

Capodanno, what is that? It is the Italian word for New Year’s Eve and, as usual, I spent it in Italy. This year I chose to spend the countdown to 2024 alone at home. I live near the sea and could see and hear the fireworks as they saluted the coming of a new year and, for many people, a fresh start.

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December 26, 2023

Christmas in Chiavari 2023

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

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December 15, 2023

Getting old is NOT for Sissies 

December snuck up on me this year. I just turned 72 years old and have been living in Italy for almost 7 years now. I am so happy being a straniera in Italia, a non-native born in Italy. Yet, I have been struggling. 

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June 27, 2023

Dolceacqua and Sanremo, two diverse hidden glens in Liguria

Our group continued exploring spots where few Americans have tread. One of my favorites is the small hill town of Dolceacqua, set away from the sea in Liguria. Travel with us.

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June 20, 2023

A New Hotel in the Hinterlands of Liguria and more

One of the main structural choices I made when creating this Hidden Liguria Adventure was the idea that we could sleep in locally owned hotels, eat what the locals eat, and meet locals. Both Hotels we chose and nearly every meal eaten fit that premise. 

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June 13, 2023

Cervo and Pieve di Teco, More Hidden Liguria

After another fabulous breakfast, our group headed out to explore Cervo, another I Borgi piu belli L”Italia town above the sea in the Ponente. Gianni, one of our two favorite drivers, met us at our hotel and we were off to explore. The photo above is from a previous visit in the sunshine. It was a cloudy day when we traveled. Still the castle shows well, rain or shine. f

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June 6, 2023

Laigueglia and Beyond in La Ponente, Liguria

As we said arrivederci to Genova, we traveled toward our next hotel in the town of Laigueglia in the Ponente. We are now moving west of Genova to explore lands that few Americans visit. 

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May 30, 2023

Our Hidden Liguria Adventure Began in Genova (Genoa)

For the first time in my life, I created a group experience with a small number of people (7 including me) focusing on traveling off the beaten path in a part of Liguria rarely visited by Americans, Liguria di Ponente and Liguria dei Fiori. Where else to begin but in one of the most underrated cities in all of Italy, Genova (Genoa in English).

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March 28, 2023

Banksy in Genoa

It was a gorgeous Spring Day in the Genoa Province where I live. My friend, Ann, suggested we hop on the train from Chiavari to Genoa to visit the Banksy Exhibit at the Genoa Principe train station and enjoy lunch afterwards. What a perfect idea.Banksy, are you familiar with Banksy?

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March 20, 2023

St. Joseph’s Day in Italy

Father’s Day here in Italy makes me think of my father in the USA. My dad, Pasquale, will be 99 years old in July. I will be there to celebrate it with him. He has dementia but is still physically very well for his age. He has not lost his memory of his children but some of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren are not so rock solid in his memory.

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January 24, 2023

2023, a Cold Start to a New Year in Italy

January is colder than usual here in Italy, in surprising place. I prefer the warmth of Spring and can hardly wait for it to arrive.Time is flying by. I have now lived in Italy for over 6 years. Yet, sometimes it feels like a month ago when I moved here. So much has happened. So many adventures, new friends, and frustrations with all the joy and beauty. And it has changed the way I live, the way I think and the way I feel.

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October 31, 2022

Crossing Italy, From Ravenna to Camogli

Several months ago, one of my best friends contacted me because she would be visiting Italy with other friends but also wanted to travel with me. She had a list of where she wanted to visit. Venice, Florence and Ravenna, if possible, plus seeing where I now live were all on her wish list list. 

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September 28, 2022

Liguria’s Hidden Gems, Want to Join Me?

For the past several months, I have been defining a very special tour experience to many Hidden Gem locations in the Liguria I love. Some spots are already sold. Do you want to join us? Read on for details.

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September 20, 2022

Off the Beaten Path in the Province of Imperia

When I search for off the beaten path towns in Liguria, I usually leave the sea behind and wander (with a driver or a car) into the hills and mountains of Liguria. The Province of Imperia is the closest area to France while in Liguria. Sanremo which we have visited is one of the cities by the sea. Let’s go into the hills and find spots nearly completely untainted by mass tourism. Again, I have chosen to leave their names behind. Can you guess?

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September 13, 2022

Post Ferragosto in Liguria

The ancient celebration of Ferragosto is now treated as an entire month, the month of August. Travelers from Italy and all over Europe descent on our beaches for celebration and vacation. We see all sizes and shapes of people in my small town of Chiavari. We hear languages we do not usually hear. The promenade is full. The beaches are packed. The celebrations go long into the night. It is now almost mid-September and most of our guests are at home with children beginning school and parents are back to work.

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September 6, 2022

Cervo and Albenga, two More Hidden Gems in Western Liguria

As all who love Italy know, Italians take great pride in Italy and all the marvelous things it offers. Italy has designations for food and wine. They are more particular than any other country with those judgments and titles. They also have a designation for the best, most beautiful villages in all of Italy. 

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August 31, 2022

Valloria and San Remo, Two Very Different Locations to Visit in Western Liguria

In the Hills or Hinterlands of Western Liguria there is a little town where few locals remain. Their children and grandchildren moved away for work. The name of the town is Valloria. It has been inhabited for centuries. Its original Latin name was Vallis Aurea which meant “Valley of Gold.” This was the liquid, yellow gold of the olive oil of the area. The trees were everywhere, and the people were thriving from their sale and uses of the oil. In the 1700s, 360 people lived in Valloria. In the mid-20th Century, there were only 30 remaining residents.

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July 19, 2022

Traipsing OFF the Tourist Tracks, Wandering in Liguria

This month as in 2020 I spent a good deal of time exploring Western Liguria, an area mostly undiscovered by American travelers and so many others. I will feature photos in this post but without necessarily naming where they were taken. I want you to see this glorious land without knowing where each photo was taken. And I want to inspire you to find out more and travel off the beaten path in Liguria.

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June 29, 2022

Friends, Dog Beach Time and Sushi in Chiavari

Another week in Chiavari has passed while I have had visits from friends, old and new. It was also filled with new experiences for me.

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June 20, 2022

Visitors to Chiavari Keep on Coming

May and June so far have been filled with new friends and old, lovers of Liguria and followers of Take Me Home Italy. For me, it has been exciting to share my Italian hometown with others.

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June 13, 2022

Living Life to the Fullest in Chiavari, Liguria

Yesterday was the first day in nine months that I traveled in Italy outside of Chiavari. I traveled 21 minutes by train to Beautiful Camogli

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March 1, 2022

February Went out With a BOOM

It is hard to believe that the first two months of 2022 have already gone by. It has been a time of reflection and contemplation for me. It has also been a time to live in the moment, experiencing life to the fullest by being fully present nearly all the time. 

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January 25, 2022

Five Years Living in Italy

I arrived in Rome, Italy in early January 2017. I was wide-eyed, naïve, and unsure about what my future would be. Could I actually move to a town on the sea by myself, knowing no one? Would I survive? Just over five years later, I can honestly say I am more in love with Italy every single day. I can also say that because it’s Italy, it’s complicated.

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January 10, 2022

Traveling With Sis to Florence, Chiavari and back to Rome

I was so excited to show Patrice and Diana Florence, my favorite city in all of Italy, that I was at the train door long before we stopped. Patrice and Diana were with me and my sister, as usual, thought she should watch out for me. I was leaning on the bathroom door which was open. She reached over to close it and got her fingers jammed in the mechanism. Welcome to Florence.

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December 14, 2021

Traveling to Venice and Florence with my Sis 

Taking my sister, Patrice, and Diana to Venice was a fun experience. Travel with us as we experience La Serenissima, Venice, including a gondola ride. Andiamo! Let's go!

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December 7, 2021

On to Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and Athens with my sis

My very first visit to Pompeii was in 1971. Believe me when I tell you that so much has been uncovered since then, so much has changed, that every time I visit Pompeii now (every few years) I feel like a Pompeii newbie. Still, experiencing it through the eyes of my sister Patrice, and Diana, was even more exciting. 

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November 30, 2021

Traveling with my Sister, Rome and Naples

Did you know there is a Hard Rock Café in Rome? After leaving the Vatican, my sister Patrice, Diana, and I took a taxi to find the Hard Rock Café. Patrice and Diana wanted to visit every Hard Rock Café along our path. Diana collects the hats and other paraphernalia from there wherever she travels. This was new to me. When we arrived, there was a line to enter. I decided to take an outdoor table and have a coffee while they shopped. I chatted with the waiter. He told me that Americans come here all the time. People from all over the world visit and collect pieces of Americana Rock. He also told me that the locals enjoy the food. I had not known it was such a tourist attraction.

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November 23, 2021

Taking my Sister Home to Italy

Well over a year ago, my sister, Patrice called me to tell me that she and Diana wanted to visit me in Italy and see the country. I was so excited to show her my home of choice. My mind ran wild with the places I have discovered here that I would love to show her. I wanted her to understand why I gave up everything comfortable and familiar and moved to Italy. 

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August 17, 2021

Cristina Cristini, Tour Guide

Let me introduce my friend Cristina Cristini, a licensed local guide. She has been working in the field of tourism for the past 25 years. After years of International tour guiding, she specialized in her hometown of Genoa and the surrounding area. In her own words:

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August 3, 2021

Missing Home and That Means Italy

That’s my home above. I am between Genoa and Sestri Levante. At least, that is where my apartment is, my home for the last 4 ½ years. And I am missing it.

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July 20, 2021

Federica Rubino of Mind the NAP

Federica Rubino, Naples' Extraordinary Tour Guide and co- founder of Mind The Nap, Watch this video! You will love her.

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July 13, 2021

Working my Way Back to You

It is always difficult to leave my new home of Chiavari, in Liguria. This year my incentive to travel to the USA is stronger, however.

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June 22, 2021

Cristina Armato and her Ligurian, Award-Winning Olive Oil.

In the Summer of 2020, I met Cristina and her entire family in the Hinterlands of Western Liguria. She, her partner Adriano, her parents Silvano and Silvana are such wonderful Italian people that I wanted you to learn their story.

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June 17, 2021

Debora Bresciani, the Tour Guide of your dreams for Arezzo, Cortona and beyond.

Debora Bresciani, the Tour Guide of your dreams for Arezzo, Cortona and beyond.When I met Debora I was so impressed with her knowledge and ability that I have been recommending her for years. She has lived in Arezzo her entire life. She is a joy. I want you to meet her, hear her philosophy about being a guide, and hire her for your next adventure in Tuscany.Visit and tell her Marilyn sent you. Give her my name or the code Take Me Home for special treatment.‍

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June 15, 2021

Interview with Michelle Damiani

Meet Michelle Damiani, a writer extraordinare. Michelle Damiani and I first met online when she had just written her book, IL BEL CENTRO, her travel book on their family's first year in Umbria. She went on to write more fiction and non-fiction and is now back living in Italy for another year. Tune in to discover what she has to offer.

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June 8, 2021

A lovely week in Liguria

June 2021 began with a bit of rain and a celebration. On June 1st, some covid restrictions were changed or eliminated. Indoor restaurants opened in Liguria. Pools, gyms and other activities were re-opened. These changed happened because or new covid infections, our hospital capacity and our death rate is down dramatically. It all feels like good news.

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June 1, 2021

Meeting Jo Mackey of Bookings for You

Jo Mackey is a great lover of Italy who began her business with only one property near Lago Maggiore. Now with 250 various properties mostly in Italy, she owns the business entitled Bookings For You. I trust her integrity and her commitment to quality at any price from 600 Euros per week to over 5000 Euros per week. She has personally checked out every single property and if you choose to book with her, let her know I sent you by using the code TakeMeHome for a special discount or house warming gift. Enjoy the video and know if you rend from Bookings For You, you will enjoy your apartment or home.

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May 25, 2021

Chat with Helena of Yummy Italy

Have you ever wanted to experience how true, born in Italy, Italians live and create the foods we love? Helena of Yummy Italy, in my opinion, is the person you need to meet when you want to experience an adventure in Emilia Romagna, the breadbasket of Italy. She is an official wine taster, olive oil taster, balsamic vinegar taster, and pasta maker. She takes her guests to meet local, artisanal farmers, Parmigiano Reggiano creators, and more. She is also a wonderful person. You will love her. Enjoy the video!

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May 18, 2021

Expat Chat with writer, designer, friend, Orna O'Reilly Weber

Orna O'Reilly Weber, originally from Ireland, now lives in Italy. Like me, she moved to Italy "da sola", alone. She arrived in northern Italy in 2013. She has been a blogger since then, has written a book about Interior design, and a novel entitled The Blonde and the Gondolier. She has another book coming out this summer. I know you will enjoy the banter and the real story about living in Italy.

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April 13, 2021

An Amazing Recommendation to Share

Take Me Home Italy is my work. It is also a deep part of who I am as a person who grew up thinking I was Italian, not American, until I began my life in school. I am now a Dual USA and Italian Citizen choosing to live most of my life in Italy. 

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March 30, 2021

Spending time with My Friend, Arianna of KM ZERO TOURS

Meet my true Tuscan friend, Arianna Cini as I interview her and we laugh together about the real adventures available to you with Km Zero Tours

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March 23, 2021

Marilyn's interview from Jo Mackey of Bookings for You.

Continuing our series of interviews with Italian experts, we’re chatting to Marilyn Ricci from Take Me Home Italy. Marilyn set up her business in 2015 at the Festa Italiana exhibition in St. Paul, Minnesota. She received my first contract for services there – for a family of 15 traveling to their hometown of origin in Italy – and hasn’t looked back since.

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March 9, 2021

Living the Good Life In Italy

In January 2017, I took the leap, leaving all I truly knew and loved behind, and began my new life as an Italian dual citizen living in Italy. After acclimating to life in another country, I instigated my search for an apartment in Chiavari, Liguria.

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January 26, 2021

News from Italy, January 2021

This is not my typical post of travel experiences in Italy. This is a taste of what is happening now, how the locals are surviving and struggling and the details of what is happening in Italy.

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December 30, 2020

Ciao Ciao 2020, Finally

I swear that the year 2020 is at least 2 or 3 years long. It was May before Lockdown, Italian style, came to an end and, restaurants were reopening. I was so sick of my own cooking that I planned to have lunch with a friend and eat my favorite Napoletano Pizza at a local restaurant, Vera Napoli. It is normally about a 10 minute walk from my home. This day, something happened. I still do not understand what caused it. But that 10 minute walk turned into about 30 with 6 sit downs along the way.

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December 28, 2020

Ciao Ciao 2020

2020 is almost over. It is nearly Capodanno, New Year’s Eve. Looking back now at the year we have all experienced, I can see how our plans went awry, including mine. Let’s review.

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December 1, 2020

Travel Writing During the COVID-19 Crisis

How are you coping? What are you doing to survive the crises of 2020? Let me help. Let this article and photos carry you away to Italy for just a bit.

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November 18, 2020

More Italian Holiday Shopping with Shabby Sheep Design

My good friends, Chiris and Eva Lock of Shabby Sheep Design have a special sale offering for all of you who love Italy. I personally own several of their items and each one, from towels to bags, t-shirts, to coffee mugs are of excellent quality or I would refuse to recommend them. So many of you and your loved ones are Italophiles, people who love Italy and everything about it. Most of you cannot visit right now. Why not share a piece of Italy every day with these special items?

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November 17, 2020

Bring Italy Home for the Holidays

During this Covid-19 outbreak and the winter holidays of 2020, many travelers are wishing they could be in Italy. Unfortunately, very few people can visit anywhere in Europe right now. We, who are living in Italy, cannot even leave our commune, our town. Some people cannot leave their home or immediate surroundings except to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the doctor. 

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October 27, 2020

Spending Time with my Favorite Travel Partners and Friends, Km Zero Tours

Meet my friends Arianna Cini and Alessio Di Genova. They are the creators of Km Zero Tours – Slow Travel Tuscany. They are also dear friends. Arianna and I began collaborating in 2016. I have had the opportunity to experience so many adventures they offer, all fitting with my own philosophy.

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October 20, 2020

All Roads Lead to Rome

It’s October 2020 and It is time for me to return to the Eternal City. I need my Rome Fix. I knew it would be different this year. Come along with me and explore.

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October 6, 2020

Visiting Friends in Lunigiana, Italy—where is that?

Have you heard about Lunigiana? I had a terrible time pronouncing it. It is LOON E JOHN AH. You can find it where Tuscany and Liguria meet. In Roman times it was called Lunensis Ager or Luni Province of Rome. It was a passageway for traders and travelers through two mountain ranges, bringing disparate groups of humans together. Today, you can find it in the provinces of La Spezia and in Massa Carrara.

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September 29, 2020

A Day Making New Friends in Chiavari

One day in August, a friend of a friend contacted me. Her name is Susan and she was going to visit Chiavari for a few days. Susan is an Ex-pat living in Tuscany. We chatted and decided to meet for lunch at Lord Nelson’s Pub, one of my favorite restaurants in Chiavari.

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September 22, 2020

Traveling with Massi the Driver

Massi the Driver, Massimiliano Mori, became my personal escort for exploration of Tuscany around Siena. Massi has lived his entire life in and near Siena. Getting to know him as we traveled was an extra bonus.

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September 8, 2020

La Porta Del Ceilo, Heaven’s Door, The Duomo of Siena and More

Deep in southern Tuscany sits one of the biggest little hidden gems in all of Italy—the city of Siena. She is often overlooked for her big sister, Florence, but should be included in your itinerary if you have time. I have visited her three times but never like this.

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August 18, 2020

Taking a Sea Cruise on the Mediterranean

Please join me as my friend and I travel via Ferry from Chiavari in Liguria all the way to the town of Portovenere on the Bay of Poets. It is my first time taking this Ferry ride and it was worth every minute of it. Have you enjoyed a Ferry ride in Italy? Come along and see what you can discover while on the water and at your upcoming destination of Portovenere.

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August 11, 2020

Moneglia by the Sea, Come Along with Me

It was a last-minute decision to visit Moneglia this week. I have wanted to go to Moneglia, another dei borgi piu belli d’Italia, another of the most beautiful towns in Italy, but I was planning to wait a while.

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August 4, 2020

The Province of Imperia has More to Offer

In the summer of 2020, I have been concentrating on traveling close to home, exploring Liguria’s hidden gems and also cities and towns less visited by Americans. My first stop on this adventure is hardly visited by anyone and that is a shame.

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July 28, 2020

Let’s Visit Some of Italy’s Most Beautiful Villages in Liguria and More

As all who love Italy know, Italians take great pride in Italy and all the marvelous things it offers. Italy has designations for food and wine. They are more particular than any other country with those judgments and titles. They also have a designation for the best, most beautiful villages in all of Italy. 

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July 21, 2020

Explore Western Liguria Above the Sea, Come with Me

Most of us spend time by the sea when visiting along side of it. This adventure once again took me away from the water and up into the mountains above Imperia where I spent a day traveling well off the beaten track and meeting the most wonderful people. Come with me.

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July 14, 2020

History, Olive Oil and Adventure in Western Liguria

Besides being a land filled with beautiful seascapes, Liguria is famous for its history, culture, wine and olive oil. The people are kind, reserved but friendly. Still, much of Liguria and its people are unknown to tourists from the USA. Travel further with me as we visit Toirano e Verezzi off the beaten path.

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July 7, 2020

A New Ligurian Adventure in Laigueglia and Colla Micheri

After my first long train ride since the lockdown in Italy, I arrived in Western Liguria, the west side of Genoa, a place for new exploration. Those chairs are calling my name. But this adventure is so much more than visiting the sea. I want to explore what Liguria has to offer for you and for me. Come along with me. You will be surprised at all there is to experience.

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June 16, 2020

3 Restaurants in Centro Storico that will steal your heart

Everyone comes to Rome with high expectations about the food, and rightly so, but how do you find the best places to eat in Rome? How do you pick a good one rather than a tourist trap?! Well, rather than taking conventional tours of the Colosseum and the Vatican when in Rome you could try the Rome Food Tour. Or you can go armed with a few recommendations from a tour guide of Rome. I’ve lived in Rome for 6 years now and in this post I am going to share 3 of my favourite restaurants in Centro Storico with you!

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June 9, 2020

Another Beautiful Week in Liguria

Another Beautiful Week in LiguriaLiving in Liguria is a gift to me. The beauty of the land, the medieval centro storico of Chiavari, the kindness of the people and the food and drink, just wow.Earlier this week, we had rain, heavy rain. Before the rain cleansed Chiavari, the waves were dancing.

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June 2, 2020

June Brings Change in Italy and Beyond

After our long and stringent lockdown, those of us in Italy will have even more freedom as of June 3, 2020. Right now, we can travel within our own province. We can shop, go out to meals, walk the promenade for pleasure or even a gelato,

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May 26, 2020

Is Anyone Up for an Ambulance Ride?

My favorite thing to do every single day is to walk along the lungomare, the promenade by the sea, now that it is open once again. Believe me, I had hoped to never experience what I did last Tuesday.

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May 19, 2020

Nearly Everything Can Be Open in Italy as of 18 May 2020

As of this Monday, Italy has chosen to cautiously move forward with opening all businesses while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. This does not mean we are free of Covid-19. It means we have hit our first plateau and new cases are consistently decreasing. We will watch to see what happens with these openings and more exposure to others. I was hesitant to go out for my first lunch in a restaurant since February 26, 2010. All I knew for certain was that I have been waiting to go out for a good pizza.

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May 5, 2020

Noto and Buccheri, Two Very Different towns in Sicily

Ah, Sicily. Why did I wait so long to visit you? In the short time I visited this gigantic, ancient Isle, I only caught a flavor of what you offer. Before I say farewell to you for now, let’s visit two towns that many people miss when they visit you, Sicily.

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April 21, 2020

Off the Beaten Path to Erice, Sicily 2020

Sicily is the only major place where I travelled before the Quarantine set in for everywhere in Italy, 2020. However, Sicily is such a unique part of Italy. There are so many places to experience. Even in a short 9 nights, I managed to find a few hidden gems.

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April 14, 2020

February in Magical Ortigia, Sicily

In February, I spent 8 nights in Sicily, five of those on the Island if Ortigia. Some people visit this gorgeous town surrounded by the deep blue sea and only spend a few hours. I could have spent weeks in Ortigia, wandering along the tiny alleyways.

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March 17, 2020

I Wanted to Write about Travel

Last night I gathered some photos from my last wanderings in Italy. Beautiful photos like this one:

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March 10, 2020

My Sicily Road Trip, Number 1

One of the highlights of my time in Sicily was meeting a Facebook friend in person, Linda Chartier Scala, and her husband, Bruno. Linda had been helpful in ideas for things to see and do. On this day, she and Bruno were going to drive up the coast from Catania to both Messina and Taormina with me. It was all new to me.

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March 3, 2020

Touchdown in Catania, my First look at Sicily

As suggested by a large number of my followers, Sicily became my first travel adventure of 2020. This travel was full of firsts. It began with Ryanair, an airline I had never used before. Ryanair allows only one carry on with its crazy low pricing. I chose to take a second one, a reserved seat and early boarding. I flew from Pisa to Catania for 51 Euros each way (That’s $56 American each way.) I took a short train ride to Pisa and caught the PisaMover for a 5-minute ride to the airport.

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February 25, 2020

Carnevale and Sicily, a Perfect Match

Today is Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent begins for Roman Catholics. It is a day to enjoy things before the weeks leading up to Easter week. At least that is how it all began.

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February 18, 2020

Sicily, Ci Vediamo, See You Very Soon

At the time of this original posting, I am on my way to Sicily as requested by many of my followers. I am excited to explore what I can experience within a week’s time.

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January 28, 2020

Italian Travel Adventures 2020 by Request

Last week I asked for feedback regarding travel plans for me this year. I was overwhelmed with all the fantastic suggestions. I have been checking train service, airfares, festivals and more. So far, I have made two, solid commitments.

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January 14, 2020

2020, A Year of Clear Vision

As my fourth year of living in Italy begins, I see a year ahead filled with new experiences, new challenges and a serious need for clear vision. You may find you will need that clear vision too.

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December 31, 2019

Florence, Italy, My Favorite Place in the World

‍I was asked to name and write about my favorite city in all of Italy. For those of you who have never had the privilege of visiting Florence and for those who have visited, let me share with you how I feel about this glorious city.

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December 24, 2019

Buone Feste 2019 from Marilyn at Take Me Home Italy

It’s the holiday season where people come together in kindness and love to share time with those people who are special to them. I believe the Christmas tree above demonstrates the interconnectivity of all people during this season of the year. Some people work toward the goal of kindness and love year-round. That is my goal and I hope it is yours as well.

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December 17, 2019

Ciao Ciao, Minnesota

After three months in Minnesota, it was time for me to move onto Washington State to see my girls for the holidays. I am closer to home in Italy now and so looking forward to walking the streets of Chiavari beneath portici, arched walkways, and by the winter sea.

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November 19, 2019

Acqua Alta, 2019

This past week in Italy has been filled with stories of great flooding, winds, high tides and loss. Please note that for this post I have borrowed photos from many sources. I wanted you to see the destruction across La Bel Paese, Italy.

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October 29, 2019

Family, Culture Shock and PTSD in Minnesota, 2019

Visiting Minnesota, the State where I was born and lived most of my life, is charged with emotion this year. First, I am missing my home in Chiavari.

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October 8, 2019

A Bit of Italy in San Francisco

While visiting family in the USA, I took a detour to see my good friend, Jan, and her husband, Dave, in San Francisco. If you haven’t been to San Francisco, it is a multi-cultural, historical city where you can experience the food of the world and much of its history. And then there is Alcatraz.

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September 17, 2019

Mi Manchi Liguria, I miss Liguria

Every year, I visit the United States to see my family and friends. It’s that time again. I flew from Rome to Los Angeles and spent two nights with my cousins, Maureen, Jim, Kory and J.T. We stayed in Long Beach for the most part. The weather was lovely and catching up with people I adore was precious.

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August 27, 2019

Back in the USA and exploring Seattle with Friends

It is that time of year where I leave my heavenly home in Liguria and go to the States to see family and friends. After spending two days with some of my California Family, I ventured to Washington State where my daughter and granddaughter live. And this trip, my friends, Michael and Nancy Mascio, met me for 2 nights in Seattle. 

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August 20, 2019

Luchin, the Restaurant in Chiavari Not to be Missed

Chiavari is my home and I love it in case you haven’t noticed. When I can tear myself away from il lungomare, the promenade by the sea, 

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August 13, 2019

It’s Ferragosto! Let’s Party Like the Romans

Have you heard of Ferragosto? Ferragosto is officially a holiday on 15 August. Yet, for Italians, it is typically more than one day of celebration.

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August 6, 2019

She’s a Brick House,Or My Family’s London Vacation

My daughter had an opportunity to visit London for her work. London is easy for me to visit now that I am living in Italy. So, guess what? My daughter brought Maggie, my 8-year-old nipote, granddaughter to London with her! Hoorayyyy!

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July 30, 2019

An Unexpected Post

This week I had planned to write about more exciting travel moments. This week was going to be all about discovery, time with family and friends and surviving travel foibles. Instead, I am sharing with you the story of one of my newest friends in Chiavari, a story of Jeanette Walti.

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July 23, 2019

La Nostra Vita - Unconscious Competence

It's time for our fourth update on moving to Italy from Chris and Eva Lock. Enjoy an adult beverage but you may want to put it down when reading about the horse fiasco. What we do for love! Remember to support Shabby Sheep Designs + get a 15% discount.

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July 18, 2019

Il Bel Centro

Years ago I received a Twitter message from Marilyn of Take Me Home Italy, asking about Il Bel Centro. In the back and forth, my new Twitter buddy asked about my last name, because she comes from Damiani's. Turns out, she's my cousin! Or Keith's anyway, so that's all the same:)I've loved watching her journey as she left her home in the US and found a new one in Liguria.

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July 16, 2019

Shabby Conscious Competence

Part 3 from Chris of Shabby Sheep Design covers the reality of traveling to Italy from the UK, the reality of home renovation, and the true cost of living in Italy. It is no longer just about being a traveler. You do NOT know anyone. The language is still challenging. And now how to survive with your new financial realities? Creativity, tenacity and love of Italy can keep you going. It keeps Chris and Eva going.

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July 15, 2019

Italy Magazine

I feel honored to be featured in the Italy Magazine discussing my search for my Italian Roots, my motivations for searching and the aftermath of my discoveries. Please enjoy my family story and my search for others like my bisnonna.

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July 9, 2019

Exploring Lago Maggiore with Barley, the Dog Who Blogs

It is always a pleasant experience when you can explore Italy with another blogger who loves it too. This time is was somewhat of a unique experience. It added a special perspective as I spent time with Barley, the Chocolate Lab of Barley’s Grand Adventures.

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July 2, 2019

Conscious Incompetence: How Not to Buy A Small Italian Holiday Home

So, decision made. Buy a small holiday home in Italy. We'd continue our Art business in the UK and ease our way into Italy slowly over a few holiday trips - 'piano, piano' as they say. Culture Clash Comment - being told ' piano, piano' pi still irks with my natural style of racing into things at breakneck speed.

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June 25, 2019

Unconscious Incompetent - Italy Calling.

Many people wonder what it is like to move to Italy. Some such as myself have done it through becoming recognized as a dual citizen through our Italian Blood Line. Others simply move to Italy. Why do they do that? Is it really SIMPLY? No, it is not. Today we are featuring our friend Chris of Shabby Sheep Designs in the first of a four part series featuring how he and his wife got here, how expectations and plans often fall by the wayside and how it is all worth it besides the challenges.

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June 18, 2019

A Photo Journal of Florence, Firenze, Art, Architecture and Design

For those of you who have never had the privilege of visiting Florence, and for those who have visited, let me share with you how I feel about this glorious city.

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June 11, 2019

Returning to Florence, Visiting Chianti and Bologna too

You may have noticed that I tend to visit Florence several times per year. Yes, I love Florence. I can’t get enough of the majesty that is Firenze, Florence. This time, I would be meeting clients who became friends, Bill and Carrie.

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June 4, 2019

Making Friends and Discovering New and Fun Italian Attire

We had another lovely weekend in Liguria. Chiavari celebrated words, philosophy, music and more in La Festa Della Parola.

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May 21, 2019

Another Exciting Weekend in Liguria

It was another off and on dreary weather weekend all over the Ligurian Coast. Sometimes, when the weather is not sunny and bright, it is the absolute best time to venture outside. There are less people out and more to discover. My friend and I went rainy day exploring so you wouldn’t have to.

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May 14, 2019

Thanks for All the Fish, or La Sagra Del Pesce

Living in Liguria as I do, I have so many opportunities to participate in Festivals. That means I can help you to find the best ones around. La Sagra Del Pesce, The Festival of the Fish, has taken place in beautiful Camogli on the second Sunday in May since 1952. Filippo DeGregori, an attorney in Camogli, initiated the fish cookout hoping to encourage tourism for his city. Six women cooked fish all day on the beach and gave it away to all who attended. Since then, the city and their tourist board have managed the event that just keeps growing.

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May 7, 2019

Cinco De Mayo, Genovese Style

Cinco De Mayo, the Fifth of May, is a Mexican Holiday beloved by Americans. It means Mexican food and Tequila with our friends, especially our Mexican-American Friends. I miss that excuse to drink Margaritas and eat tortillas. And I miss the chips with salsa and guacamole.

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April 30, 2019

The “Super Bridge” and my home, Chiavari

Facendo il ponte superiore is a rough translation of doing or making the super bridge. Fa il ponte means to do the bridge and is a common expression in Italian. It means when there is a holiday (and Italy has many of them) that falls on a Tuesday or a Thursday, families take the day between the holiday and the weekend off to make a longer holiday.

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April 16, 2019

Three Ligurian Cities Beyond Cinque Terre

After Christina and I had traveled through a bit of Cinque Terre and Chiavari, we hopped on another train on the third morning and headed 19 minutes west to one of my favorite seaside towns in Liguria, Camogli.

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April 9, 2019

Traveling with a friend in My Neck of the Woods (or the Sea)

Last week, my friend Christina came to Chiavari for a visit. Chistina is another Dual Italian and American Citizen who spends 3 months per year in Italy. This is the first time we have been able to meet on Italian soil. Come along with us on our adventures in southeastern Liguria—my hood.

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March 26, 2019

What Do You Know About Arezzo?

Every time I visit Florence, I promise myself I will take the short train ride southeast to Arezzo in the heart of Tuscany. I have been yearning to see The Legend of the True Cross fresco by Piero Della Francesca. Last month I finally tore myself away from Florence for one night to experience the flavor of Arezzo, its people and the art hidden a stone’s throw away from Florence.

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March 19, 2019

My Weekend in a Florentine Palazzo

When I travel, I search for new and exciting places that my clients at Take Me Home Italy can enjoy. And, of course, I want to experience it all too. Last month I had an opportunity to appreciate the city of Florence in an entirely new way. I spent the weekend at Palazzo San Niccolo’ in the oldest neighborhood in Florence, the neighborhood from which the palazzo took its name. This intriguing, medieval palace offers over 20 apartments for rent, each unique.

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March 5, 2019

Storico Carnevale di Ivrea 2019, What’s the story?

As I begin to write this post while sitting in my hotel room in Ivrea, I see families in the park outside my window. They are all dressed in colorful costumes, sharing a bit of lunch between activities. What activities you ask? There are many.

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March 1, 2019

It is Carnevale in Italia and I’ll be in Ivrea, Piedmonte

It is almost Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnevale before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. People around the world celebrate their freedom before the traditionally darker times prior to the celebration of Easter. I once attended Carnevale in Aruba. Last year I participated in the family oriented and political one in Viareggio, Tuscany. This year I have chosen a very unusual one, set in the small Piedmonte town of Ivrea.

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February 25, 2019

An interview with I-Italy Magazine

Marilyn Ricci, Founder of Take Me Home Italy, feels honored to have been interviewed by I-Italy Magazine.

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February 12, 2019

Oh The Wonders You’ll See

And the people you’ll meet when you visit Italy. Whether this journey is your first to Italy or your fifth, if you allow it, Italy will change you.

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January 29, 2019

My Second Year of Living In Italy, Part 3

After my time in Certaldo with Judy Witts Francini and her husband Andrea, I travelled only a few train stops to Florence, the City that stole my heart 45 years ago.

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January 22, 2019

My Second Year of Living in Italy, Part 2

When I returned to Italy after nearly six months in the USA, I had little time to rest. I arrived around 20 October, just a few days before a huge storm hit Italy. I recall how the color of the air changed as it always did in Minnesota when a tornado was about to hit somewhere. I didn’t think we had tornadoes in Liguria. But, earlier that day, we were forced to leave the Promenade as the wind was fierce.

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January 15, 2019

My Second Year Of Living In Italy, Splendor and Surprise, Part 1

It is difficult to believe that two years as a resident of Italy have already passed. It has been a year of discovery, both of myself and my new home, a time for new friends and family surprises, a time of growth and some shocking pain.

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December 11, 2018

My Second Birthday in Italy

Ciao a tutti! Hello from Italy to all of you. It’s December, and time to celebrate another year of living. As someone who lives da sola in Italia, alone in Italy, I have pretty low expectations for celebrations. And yet, something always happens to brighten my birthday.

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December 4, 2018

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas

December, 2018 has arrived and Italy is celebrating. And, perche Italia sempre fa una bella figura, because Italy always shows it itself in the best way, it is magnificent. My town of Chiavari is no exception

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November 27, 2018

A Festa in Celle Ligure

Before recently, I had never heard of a town named Celle Ligure. Here in the province of Savona, I found another beautiful, hidden, curved gem along the shoreline of Liguria.

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November 6, 2018

Fly United? I Don’t Think So

With all that has happened in Italy this past week, I am feeling somewhat self-centered. After all, 15 people are dead in Italy because of the Uber-Storm that hit this country.

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October 30, 2018

Take the Long Way Home

It has been raining the last few days. That may be an understatement. The wind is howling. The glass on the doors to my deck are shaking. And I can hear the sea inside my appartamento. And I love it.

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October 16, 2018

The sea is calling me home

It’s been a long time coming. I have been away so very long from my friend, il mare, the sea. For nearly six months, I have been in the United States. There were so many people I wanted to see and unresolved issues that needed attention. But I never expected it to take this long.

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September 18, 2018

How working with a Travel Planner like Me can Help You Enjoy the Bel Paese

Since Italy is considered the number one, numero uno, country to visit in all the world, nearly everyone wants to visit the Bel Paese, Italia, the Beautiful Land, Italy.

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September 4, 2018

Dreaming of the Shoreline of Maremma

As I write this post I am sitting on my granddaughter’s bed in Washington State and missing the sea of Chiavari where I live. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my granddaughter and my daughter too. I love spending time with them. But the sea is calling me home.

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August 7, 2018

Dreams of Italy Realized

Tanti anni fa, many years ago, in 1971, my life changed forever. And dreaming of Italy became a force in my very existence.

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July 31, 2018

Capalbio, Hidden Hilltop Gem in Maremma, Tuscany

Lately, I’ve been reliving peaceful memories of small, hidden Gems in Maremma in southern Tuscany bordering Lazio. I had read about Capalbio years ago and had wanted to visit. But this is another town that is difficult to reach without a car.

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July 24, 2018

Pitigliano, Away from the Maddening Crowds

Nearly everyone who visits Italy hits the magic triad of Rome/Florence/Venice. And they are magic. You could spend months in those three cities alone. I visit them often myself, over and over again. But there are quiet jewels off the beaten path that are worth a visit and, thankfully, have very few tourists. One of them is Pitigliano.

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June 26, 2018

La Famiglia, Family

Here I am, spending time with my Italian-American family, la mia Famiglia, in the USA and wondering what has happened to our lives. Family, especially and Italian-American family, is held together by the thread of our history, our food, our vino, our coloration, and our habits.

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June 5, 2018

I Really Don’t Know Clouds At All

Ciao, Ciao Chiavari! Ciao, Ciao Italia. Goodbye to Chiavari and Italy for a while. I am off to the USA for a couple months. It’s time to settle some issues with my old condominium in Minneapolis. It’s time to see family and friends. And it is time to complete a few travel itineraries for people in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I think I have a plan to accomplish my goals. We shall see.

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May 8, 2018

April in France and Italy, Family, Friends and Foibles, Part 2

After half of my plans went completely awry while I traveled in France, I arrived home exhausted with sore feet and feeling embarrassed. There was no time to wallow in self-pity because I had friends arriving in Rapallo the next day. Nancy and Michael Mascio and Nancy’s daughter Kim were visiting Rapallo for 5 days. It was part of a travel plan I had created for them.

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May 1, 2018

April in France and Italy, Family, Friends and Foibles, Part 1

I am a travel planner. I specialize in Italy because I live in Italy, I have traveled extensively in Italy and I know people all over Italy. What I do not know, they do. We help each other.

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April 3, 2018

Easter in Liguria, Senza Famiglia, Without Family

It was 7:00 AM when I awakened to the sound of the waves hammering into the breakers and the beach. I lay there listening to the power of the sea as I marveled at the sheer strength of this day’s tide and wind. I don’t often hear it in my room. It was the perfect way to wake up and experience the morning, Easter morning.

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March 20, 2018

It’s All About the PESTO and Travel Planning

All along the Ligurian Coast, all week long, we have been discussing, tasting, making and buying PESTO.

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March 13, 2018

Two weeks on the Rollercoaster While Living in Liguria

As John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” My last two weeks have been very much like that.

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February 27, 2018

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Moving to Liguria, Italy by myself meant I would be da sola, alone, without backup, without friends or family close by. It has now officially been one year in my little apartamento vicino al mare, my apartment by the sea. I have no regrets. I love my home and am signing a 5 year, fixed price, lease.

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February 20, 2018

Travel Planning in New Territory

Every day I work on travel planning for others seeking their own personal adventure in Italy. Italy is my specialty. It is a country I love and a place I feel I know a good deal about.

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February 13, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day to my Cara Italia (Dear Italy)

Take Me Home Italy wishes you the best on Valentine’s Day. Celebrate with someone you love, a partner, a child, a friend. Next year, you can come to Italy to celebrate with my love too.

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February 6, 2018

2018 Carnevale di Viareggio, The Family Carnival in Italy

There is wonder, mystery and majesty involved in the Venice celebration. Designer costumes, 5-star parties abound. I chose to go along a different path for my Carnival experience this year.

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January 30, 2018

From Rome Off the Beaten Path to Home and the Flu

After a month of holidays in Minnesota I returned to Italy via Rome on 14 January. When I boarded the plane in Minneapolis it was -11F. When I arrived in Rome, it was 55 degrees. It was so very good to set foot on Italian ground and to be warm again. But, as usual, I had not slept. I had severe jet lag. Usually, I take the train from Fiumicino Airport to Roma Termini Station. But this time, with extra items for my apartment in my GIANT suitcase plus my carry-on, I chose to contact my friend, Mary at Rome Cab Transfer for a ride.

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January 16, 2018

‍Heading for Rome and Then Going Home

It doesn’t matter how many times I leave my family behind, it is always a challenge. First, I had to say farewell to my girls, Stephanie and Maggie. They returned to Washington State before New Year’s Eve. We followed up with two Skype sessions, the second of which we said our Ciao for now.

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January 9, 2018

A year in Italy

Today is 9 January 2018. It was a year ago today that I left my family, friends, and most of my belongings behind to begin one year of living in the Bel Paese, Italia. I set a goal of living one year in Italy as close to the way the average Italian lives as possible. No commitments beyond one year. Piano, piano, take it slowly. And it has been a year of learning, illness, accidents and pure joy in Italy.

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December 19, 2017

In Minnesota for the Christmas Season, but am I home?

It’s that time of year again, Minnesota in Winter, Christmas Carols, brisk weather and snow. After watching four movies as I traveled from Milan to New York City, and changing planes to fly to Minnesota, I met my sister at the airport in Minneapolis. I love my sis. It was great to see her smiling face and arrive at her home. Diana was there. The pets were all excited to see me. It should be the beginning of a wonderful time in Minnesota.

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December 12, 2017

Trains, Plains and Automobiles, Part 2

After traveling from Milan to Chiavari, and Torino to Chiavari, my friend Mindy and I headed out for two nights in my Soul City, Florence. We boarded the train after a 20-minute delay, traveled along the coastline of Liguria and to Pisa where we ran to catch train number two. The closer we traveled to Florence, the darker the sky became. Yet, even when the day is filled with clouds, the exquisite beauty of Florence shines through the darkness.

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December 12, 2017

My First Birthday in Italy

It’s my birthday and I am in Italy for the first time ON my birthday. It is a new feeling, a new experience.

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November 30, 2017

Trains, Plains and Automobiles, part 1

For the second time this year, I have been able to receive a guest from the USA in my humble apartamento in Liguria. My friend, Mindy Shears, a friend from my old Real Estate Life, came here to spend a week with me and Italy.

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November 21, 2017

Why Chiavari? Why Not?

It has been over 8 months since I moved to Chiavari in Liguria. Why, you may ask. Why this spot? Let me explain, Lasciatemi spiegare.

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November 14, 2017

Slow food in Chianti, Walking Through Renaissance Florence

Let’s face it. No matter how much you love your home, and I love my home in Liguria, sometimes you need a change of pace, see other friends, walk different paths.

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October 24, 2017

Italian Food, Italian Culture

Food is the heart of the Italian society as far as I can tell. It was true in our family and it is true in the families of the people I know in Italy.

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October 3, 2017

Cooking like a Peasant

Throughout my sojourn in Italy, I have been doing some cooking. I feel more inspired to use my little kitchen stove than I did in any other kitchens I have owned. There is something about being here that changed my attitude about cooking.

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September 26, 2017

What’s it like to Rent an Apartment in Chiavari?

Many of my followers have asked about apartments around Italy and, specifically, in Chiavari where I live. What is it like living in an apartment? Can I rent one for a month or three months? Let me share with you what I know.

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September 19, 2017

Road Construction, Culture Shock and Family

I think I am going to need more tape. It is time to leave the 6-week USA journey and return to my home in Chiavari by the sea. Unfortunately, my foot is still broken. It is worse than when I arrived from Italy. I am using to ship more home items to my apartamento because of the injury. I am not sure it will actually arrive with all those papers taped outside of it. In bocca al lupo.(In the mouth of the wolf—that is a good luck expression in Italy.)

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September 12, 2017

Part 2, A Tale of Two Umbrian Towns

The Green Heart of Italy, the province of Umbria, deserves so much attention. The beautiful people and hilltop towns inspire most visitors to relax and breathe in the tranquility. Orvieto stole a piece of my heart. Assisi awakened my soul.

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September 5, 2017

A Tale of Two Umbrian Towns, Part 1

It seems that no matter where you travel in Italy, you are surrounded by unforgettable landscapes, olive or grape trees growing on the hillside, and hilltop towns overlooking it all. One of the regions of Italy with so many romantic locales, wonderful people and fabulous food and wine, is The Green Heart of Italy, Umbria.

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August 29, 2017

From the Pantheon to Piazza Navona, a walk in Rome

They say, “All roads lead to Rome.” Once in Italy, you will agree with that statement. You could spend a year in the city of the Conquerors of the Mediterranean Sea and never see it all. I think I have spent about that much time there over the last several years. I always go back for more.

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August 15, 2017

Sophisticated Milan, Fun Hotels

Most first time visitors to Italy Skip the metropolis of Milan, or Milano in Italiano. They prefer to visit Rome, Florence and Venice. I am guilty of the same choices and did not visit Milan until 2016.

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August 1, 2017

Discovering the beauty of Italy and The Italian Language

Everything about Italy fascinates me. I have lived in Bella Italia, Beautiful Italy, for about seven months as of 27 July 2017. As of this moment I am in the United States for a visit. And I am missing my home in Italy.

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July 11, 2017

Seeking a Hotel in Liguria? Try Hotel Monterosa in Chiavari

When most of us think of the Province of Liguria, we think of Cinque Terre, Portofino and other places along the Mediterranean Sea. Liguria province actually spans into the mountains and all the way to France. I chose to live in Chiavari by the sea myself and I love it. Not only is the sea incredible,

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July 3, 2017

Hidden Pieces of Heaven in Liguria

Most Italophiles have heard of Cinque Terre (The Five Lands) near La Spezia. For most American travelers, they do not even realize that Cinque Terre is simply the portal of entry into one of the most beautiful and unknown regions of Italy. It is Liguria, the place I now call home. Liguria is the smallest region in Italy, hugging the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea like a snake. It spans an area that to the east begins near La Spezia and ends at San Remo to the west near the French border.

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June 6, 2017

Life is Short, Eat the Cannoli First

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? I hope and pray every day for peace in our world. I want to believe it can happen. But if you want to see something in particular in Italy or anywhere, Go NOW. See it, experience it. There are tornadoes, floods, earthquakes everywhere. There are volcanos and rising sea waters. There are wars and crazy people who start them. And then there is YOU.

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May 30, 2017

The Frills and Frustrations of Living in Italy

Living in Italy is a dream shared by millions of people like me. I am fortunate enough to be living my dream right now. Living in Italy is everything I ever dreamed it would be, and more. The land itself is incredibly varied and stunning.

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May 23, 2017

Sky Blue Pink

Living by the sea can be so inspirational. Add some spice to the seaside experience by inviting a friend to visit and laughter and memories sweeten the pot.

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May 16, 2017

An Open Heart

Right now, I am sitting in my quaint, little apartamento in Liguria, wishing there was someone here to share my feelings. It is another overcast day. The weather fits my feelings.

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May 2, 2017

Spending, Friending, and Nesting in Liguria

Throughout the past week, I have carried an odd set of emotions around with me. I have a list in my head of all the diverse items I need to live in my little apartamento. I need wooden spoons and a cutting board. I have 1 spoon now, and no cutting board.

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April 25, 2017

My Return to The Sea

Chiavari in Liguria has become the home of my heart. I love living in my little one-bedroom apartamento near the sea (il mare). My pint-sized gas range works just fine. My frigerifero (refrigerator) is larger than many in Italy. The bed is huge, if a bit too firm. And, best of all, I can reach the sea with a 2 minute walk. Who could ask for anything more?

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April 11, 2017

Sorrento, Sonseere and Serious Misdirection

For over a week, I have been spending time with my cousin, Sonseere, in Arpino, Lazio. She is now living in her remodeled apartment in the center of town but is still getting settled. Sunday, we decided to head out of town for the sun and water of Sorrento.

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April 4, 2017

For Those Who Travel to Eat

There are so many things to love about Italy. There is the art, the architecture, the music, the scenery, the history, the people, the food and the wine. I love them all. But I must admit, my love of food and adult beverages is right near the top.

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March 28, 2017

Da Sola in Italia

It has been a cool and cloudy week in Chiavari. My health is still not at 100% but, when the sun peeks out from its hiding place behind the clouds, I head for the sea, la passagiata, the promenade.

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March 14, 2017

Taking a Chance on Poggiobono

Have you ever wanted something so badly but you were afraid to do it? That is how I have felt about studying and learning Italian. I have taken classes in the US and in Italy. I get so far and then, something happens. I get nervous. I start undermining myself. And I want to speak Italian very badly.

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March 7, 2017

I am Home

Sono a casa. I am home. It doesn’t sound like much but it feels so much larger than it sounds. I moved out of my apartment before the end of September, 2016. I had a grand adventure traveling to Canada and in the United States before leaving for Italy on 10 January 2017. It really was a fabulous experience.

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February 28, 2017

It's a Family Affair

Right now, the sun is beginning to set over the waters of Liguria, my future home as of 4 March. I am traveling back to Maremma for a few more precious days of language lessons and time with Virginia and her family. Believe me, I need the lessons, and, frankly I enjoy Virginia and her family very much.

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February 21, 2017

My Time In Maremma is FANTASTICO

It has been almost 6 weeks since I arrived in Italy with a one-way ticket and too much luggage. For the last two weeks, I have been living La Dolce Vita, the sweet life, in Maremma. My host family lives in this beautiful area of southern Tuscany and, even in February, it is gorgeous country. I awaken to the sound of the local roosters. Normally, I would be swearing at the early rooster alarms but, here, I don’t mind.

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February 14, 2017

It Has Been a Whirlwind Week in Italy

Wow! I mean WOW! It has been a wonderful week in Italy. Oh, there have been ups and downs. That is to be expected even in my naïve Italian world view. Piano, piano. E’ la vita. That means, Take it slowly. It is the way life works here.

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February 7, 2017

Arrivaderci Arpino, Lazio

It has now been three weeks since I left the USA to live in Italy. Wow, what a wonderful and yet, challenging, rollercoaster ride.

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January 31, 2017

From Jet Lag, to Joy to Almost in Jail

It has now been three weeks since I left the USA to live in Italy. Wow, what a wonderful and yet, challenging, rollercoaster ride.

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January 17, 2017

I Only Come Out At Night

Today is day 7 since I flew away from the United States and I could hardly be happier. It is still hard to believe that I am actually LIVING in ITALY. It still feels like I am only traveling. It is the honeymoon stage.

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January 3, 2017

I Am ‘16 Going On ‘17

2016 has passed. So many of my friends are looking backward at their highpoints in the year 2016. One year can change a lifetime. It has for me.

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December 27, 2016

Christmas Day in Black and White with the Ricci Family

Christmas Day on Rose St. in East St. Paul was always wild and loud. It began each Christmas morning with all of us waking early, running into the living room to see what Santa brought us. Lots of giggling, running, fighting for space to get to the toys while Dad would be trying to stop us until he set up his lights and camera. Mom would be laughing and scolding Dad (rather loudly as I recall) but we would not care one bit. We wanted our GIFTS.

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December 20, 2016

Its beginning to look a lot like a Ricci Christmas

Buon Natale! Merry Christmas! It is almost upon us. This Christmas for me will be a time to say farewell to my close family in Minnesota as I leave for Italy via Seattle that evening. I am sure it will be fun. It will be full of Italian food, loud laughter, caffe’ corretto. Coffee with liquor in it, and children shredding wrapping paper as they tear into their gifts.

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December 13, 2016

I’m Late, I’m Late for a Very Important Date

In 29 days, I will arrive in Italy where I will live for a year, or forever. I have been waiting for this day for many years. And now, I just want to get on that airplane and fly!

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December 6, 2016

Interlude to the Farewell America Tour

Moving to Italy has been a dream of mine for years and years. When I was 19 years old, I spent nearly a year in Europe. I left Minnesota with a round trip ticket and $200 and stayed that long. I love the entire continent of Europe but Italy holds my heart.

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November 29, 2016

Farewell America Tour, Part 6

Moving on, that is a difficult thing to do. It is time to leave California behind and I hate to say goodbye. I enjoy visiting L.A., San Diego and San Francisco every time I am here. The climate is appealing, the sightseeing is great and my family and friends are unforgettable.

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November 22, 2016

Farewell America Tour, Part 5

For me it was always a treat to spend time at Maureen’s house. Her mamma, Auntie Emma, was always so good to me and her father, Uncle Dick was a musician and a politician among other things. He wasn’t home much but there were instruments everywhere! And when we did see him it was time for music and laughter.

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November 15, 2016

Farewell America Tour, Part 4

It’s Vegas Baby! Yesterday I hit the road once again. Actually I took to the air to fly to Las Vegas. My cousin Rick was running in the 26.2 mile Rock N Roll Marathon and I wanted to be there.Rick and several family members were there to cheer him on. Prior to the race Snoop Dog gave a concert to put everyone in the mood.

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November 1, 2016

Farewell America Tour, Part 3

This vagabond is 71 days away from beginning my new life in Italy for at least one year. I am out of my home. My condominium is rented out and I had planned a great deal of traveling in the USA before leaving. But my eyes had other plans.

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October 25, 2016

Wine tasting the Marco Cecchini Way

Last June I had the great privilege of meeting The Winefathers. These men and women support artisanal wineries by crowd funding with a twist. They offer you a family membership when you donate to a specific winery. Wouldn’t you love to belong to an Italian Wine Family? I know I do, perhaps more than one.

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October 18, 2016

Farewell America Tour, Part 2

Ah, the Island. What can I tell you about the Island? When I was a young girl I slept in the upstairs bedroom with its shed roof and fairytale layout. I remember how safe I felt there. I pretended to be a princess who could look out her window at the land and the water she ruled.

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October 11, 2016

Farewell America Tour, Part 1

Finalmente, finally, I am out of my home and essentially a vagabond for the next two months. The path of my move to Italy beckons.

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September 27, 2016

I Get By With a Little Help from My Famiglia

Moving to Italy has been a dream of mine since I was 19 years old. I have envisioned myself living in a smaller town by the sea where everyone is Italian and I can walk to the beach. This year I made the commitment to finally do it. I began to prepare months ago.

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September 20, 2016

The Biggest Little Italy in Minneapolis

This past Sunday, Italian-Americans and Italian Cars and Cycles threw a party by Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. Everyone was invited. So very many people came!

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September 13, 2016

Ten Days of Remembrance

I am from the State of Minnesota. Twenty-seven years ago a boy named Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped. His parents (shown above) worked tirelessly to find Jacob, to assist others suffering like them, and to work with the government to help other families and prevent kidnappings. At the beginning of the past 10 days, the body of their son, Jacob, was discovered.

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September 7, 2016

The Ups and Downs of an Italian Family

It is the week before Labor Day. I am at home in Minneapolis, donating my excess belongings, preparing to move to Italy, working and writing. It is a busy week for our family. My daughter Stephanie and granddaughter Magnolia arrive from the West Coast while my brother John and Sister-In-Law Kris arrive from the East Coast. Party time, Italian style is on its way.

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August 23, 2016

Yummy Italy! What More Do You Need?

What Italian word does nearly everyone know? Mangia! Eat! We all associate Italy with the cuisine of Italy. If you love to mangia, enjoy the following interview and photos!

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August 15, 2016

I Found Two Pieces of Heaven In Liguria, Part 2: Adventure and Peace In Portovenere

After time with family and friends, I wanted to try something new. I had never spent time in Liguria on previous Italian journeys. I hoped to locate special, off the beaten track locations for my clients here. What I found was heaven for myself and for my clients.

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August 9, 2016

I Found Two Pieces of Heaven in Liguria, Part 1: Serenity in Tellaro

After time with family and friends, I wanted to try something new. I had never spent time in Liguria on previous Italian journeys. I hoped to locate special, off the beaten track locations for my clients here. What I found was heaven for myself and for my clients.

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August 2, 2016

I May Have Found my Happy Place in Liguria

A month has passed since I first discovered the beauty and elegance of Liguria. And I miss it every day!

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July 26, 2016

One of the Best Travel Days of my Life: Km Zero Tours

I have been traveling since I was 4 years old. I have seen the Great Pyramids of Egypt, been all over Europe and North America, even Alaska. I have been to Italy a dozen times or more. Yet, meeting Arianna Cini and Alessio De Genova in Tuscany was definitely one of my top 10 travel experiences.

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July 19, 2016

Eating My Way Around the Oltrarno

I love everything about Florence. I love the art, the architecture, the piazzas, the people and I love the food. I have spent months in Florence over the last few years and yet I have never really explored all of the traditional, local cuisine. Lucky for me I found Eating Italy tours, the Food Lovers’ Guide to Florence.

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July 5, 2016

More Family

As my travels in Italy are almost complete at least for this time I keep thinking about my family here and how sono una donna fortunata (I am a lucky woman.). Family is everything for an Italian or Italian-American. And it keeps growing.

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June 28, 2016

Da sola un altra volta, Alone again, while traveling in Italy

Traveling alone can have little surprises like this. You can be hit by a wave of loneliness out of nowhere. I find I just need to go with it. It helps to talk with friends or family but when they are not around I talk to myself. And suddenly I remembered that there are so many things that I have as a solo person, da sola, that maybe others do not have.

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June 21, 2016

The WineFathers Made me an Offer I Could Not Refuse

Less than a year ago, Take Me Home Italy opened a Twitter Account. I was a total novice in the Twittersphere. All I had wanted to do was get the word out about our business of assisting others to reach their dream of traveling in Italy the best way for them. One of my first new friends on Twitter had the curious name of The WineFathers.

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