Friday, May 7, 2010


We've been cursed with our mac computers here in Italy (if you're thinking about moving here, invest in a pc and leave your mac at home). I of course can go into detail more about this but I'm updating via my itouch because our second mac has unfortunately bit the dust and finding someone in Italy to fix it is harder to find than a needle in a haystack. with that I will hope and pray that our computer miraculously recovers and starts working again, a girl can dream right!?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Next Chapter

Forgive me in the lack of blogging lately. Life here has been quite the roller coaster the past month. We've had many curve balls thrown our way, both good and bad and we haven't really known the next step in life to take. Recently, though, the path has become quite clear and I couldn't be more excited. We're moving back to New York!

Our time in Italy has been an interesting adventure that we will always hold close to our hearts, but our home is in New York. The next chapter in our life will be bringing us back home, to America. We couldn't be happier to be back with family and friends, and (hopefully) back into our careers.

We'll be here in Italy until July while we wrap up work, and taking in every enjoyable second that we have here in Bologna.

Hopefully you'll join us on the ride!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sometimes in life, you just need to see a human pyramid.

Reason #247 to love Spain:

For more videos, click here

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I {heart} Barcelona!

We're back from Barcelona, and honestly 3 days isn't nearly enough time to truly explore that city. I'm behind in posting. Since we've returned it's been the arrival of spring and my birthday, so needless to say our little blog has been neglected while we enjoy the warm weather that has finally arrived to the city!

But back to Barcelona! We had been planning on going there since before we moved to Italy, and it lived up to everything we thought that it would. And with that said, I've been struggling to write this post. Coming back from such an amazing city, I think it takes a week or so to process everything that just happened (and possibly recover from all the Cava that was drunk).

Our first day, we opted to do a bus tour of the city. Normally I'm against bus tours, I love walking the streets to get a locals feel for a city, but some Italian friends had recommended doing the bus tour to get a lay of the land since the city is so big. And seriously, it was the best advice we got. We took the hop on/hop off Barcelona Bus Turistic which leaves from Placa de Catalunya. I personally think it's a great way to see the whole city when you have very little time.

(Pictures, click here )

Casa Batllo'

From the bus, we hopped off and headed to La Boqueria, off Las Ramblas, for some lunch. If you walk past the tourists and the crowded front entrance, you'll find the tapas bars where the fishermen, servers and shop owners stop for a midday snack. We found this little place in the back of La Boqueria where we got to practice our Spanish.

Lunch at La Boqueria

La carta


Tummy's full of tapas and cerveza, we wandered around the streets off the main tourist streets. I loved the side of this wall.

Wandering around the city I found this wall... amazing!

One of the more modern tapas restaurants we went to was Celler de tapas (Placa Universitat 5). My favorite thing there was the personally sized paella tapas dish. Delicious!

My personal seafood paella!

Park Guell

We headed up to Park Guell and spent some time wandering around the crazy mazes of the park. Unfortunately, the weather for us was hazy and cold that afternoon, otherwise you can get a beautiful view of the city below.

Us at Park Guell

Beautiful tiles of the park benches

More food? Always! On Friday night we found ourselves wandering around a new area in Barcelona and found this place, Bar Lobo. It's a beautiful bar where Spain meets New York's Soho, and it's definitely worth a trip if only to try the jamon! (Carrer del Pintor Fortuny 3). In the summer, the outside is a perfect people-watching spot.

Bar Lobo - absolutely amazing!

One of the things we found during the bus tour was the area of Barcelona called Mont Juic, which means Jewish Mountain. In Mont Juic you can visit different art museums, the various Olympic arenas, have a gorgeous view of the city below, and check out Poble Espanyol.

Poble Espanyol is a really unique area where you can see all of Spain in one little park. The cost is around six euros and inside you can visit all the different regions of Spain, shop the local regional stores, and spend an afternoon drinking sangria and enjoying the surroundings. If you want to avoid the crowds, go in the early morning before the bus loads of tourists arrive.

Poble Espanyol de Mont Juic

Andalucia at Poble Espanyol

After spending the morning doing some traveling throughout Spain and some much needed shopping for a porron, we headed down to Port Olympic in search of some seaside paella. We arrived at Xiringuito Escriba (Ronda Litoral 42). Despite the chilly breeze off the Mediterranean, the restaurant was filled with locals all opting for a huge paella dish to share at the table.

Seaside dining

Paella at the beach!

Us on the Mediterranean


La Sagrada Familia

Our last day in Barcelona we headed down to the area off Las Ramblas where I was told you could find the locals doing a traditional dance of Sardana. We waited anxiously to see what it was all about, but nobody showed up to dance. Instead we were greeted with a street parade of over-the-top sized human puppets and a human pyramid team!

A random street parade in Barcelona

Human pyramid during the street parade

One last round of tapas and cava sangria
Cava Mar (C/Vila Joiosa 54)

I {heart} Barcelona

There are so many wonderful spots in Barcelona and if you're willing to step off the tourist path, you can find quiet streets filled with Catalans enjoying life. I truly love this city!

Additional information:
Our hotel- Hotel Amister
Av. Roma, 93-95
Barcelona (EspaƱa)
Tel. (34) 93 363 34 68
Fax. (34) 93 363 18 65

Tapas spots:
Euskal Etxea (Euskal Taberna)
Placeta Montcada, 1-3

Vinorvm (La Bodegueta del Barri)
C/. Provenza, 99
Closed Mondays * but if you try to speak Catalan, you will find a bottle of Cava missing from your receipt least we did! *

El Xampanyet Bar *locals overflow this Champagne bar *
Carrer de Montcada 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Picasso Museum
*Free Sunday afternoons

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can you guess...

where we're off to?

We're heading to Barcelona! (Finally!)

We've been planning this trip for about a year now (thanks to a Ryanair zero euro flight we bought last June) and it couldn't come at a more perfect time. We're off to celebrate Giancarlo's new job, a pre-birthday birthday and a break from life in Bologna (for a weekend).

We'll be back soon, hopefully refreshed, motivated and checking a city we've been dying to go to off the list!

Hasta Luego!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let's catch up

I can't believe March is already here!

Spring has been teasing us here in Bologna, a beautiful sunny, warm day followed by snow the next. But, life continues and Giancarlo and I have been so extremely busy that I can't wait for our little vacation we have planned.

So I figured I'd fill you in on whats been going the last two weeks:

Finally ventured to do #60 in our list of 101 things to do in Bologna, and went to MAMbo Modern Art Museum in Bologna. First impression, wasn't overly impressed however I'll give it a second round when they open the Fellini exhibit shortly.

Did a guest blog post at day[s] in my shoes about life in rainy Bologna! Check it out!

Early birthday trip to this place next week! I'll have to buy me one of these.

Giancarlo got a new job! And I got more work than I know what to do with, which made me fold and start using Twitter.

I finally channeled my inner Napolitana mamarella and made homemade pasta (these little goodies) and some homemade southern Italian sauce. Don't worry... I'll be sharing the recipes too! Next weekend, I'm going to try my hand at some more handmade goodies...stay tuned!

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's All In The Name..

Apparently, I have the most difficult name in all of Italy. Emily.

No matter where I go, or who I speak with, the first time I tell someone my name I get an arrangement of confused looks, and then asked to repeat it.

Case-in-point, the poor telemarketer who called me yesterday. Now, I never pick up numbers I don't know, but this particular case I was expecting a call and assumed this was it. Wrong. The poor soul didn't know what to do when he asked me my name. Me: Emily. Telemarketer: What? Me (again): Emily (I even attempted an Italian accent, but still no dice). This went on for about 3 minutes till I then proceeded to say "Emily like Emilia" (the region that we live in), and then from that moment on my name was Emilia, no longer Emily.

This is the story of my name here... too many vocali, vowels, together I guess (and that's if we're counting that "y" as a vowel). Long gone are the days where I can find cheesy tourist key chains, mugs, state license plates or whatever tourist trinket may have my common American name.

The flip-side, I now find all those tourist trinkets with Giancarlo written on it. I always joked in America that he never got the pleasure of having a key chain from California with Giancarlo written on it, but now he's one-upped me. He gets a key chain from everywhere in Italy with Giancarlo written on.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

American Breakfast

I'm a little behind in a few blog posts, especially this one.

When we returned from America, we decided to gather our Italian friends and have an American Brunch, complete with everything bagels, scrambled eggs, muffins and of course, bacon (which we finally discovered you can buy here!).

It was so much fun, for the first time being on the other side of the food-spectrum and sharing the concept of brunch and a heavy American breakfast. It by no means can compete with Lasagna, Tortellini or homemade ragu`, but everything bagels can come close, right?!

A big thanks to Roberta for letting us crash her kitchen!

{Chef Pacheco}

{The delish everything bagel with bacon, egg and cheese - a NY staple!}

{Sampling the goods}

Sora Lella

{All of us with Simone at Sora Lella NYC}

New Yorkers, Romans and all who love to travel to either place reading this blog - I'm going to tell you about the best new restaurant in New York that you've probably never heard of, but speak to your Italian friends and I guarantee they'll know exactly who, what and where you're talking about.

Over Christmas break, Giancarlo and I had the opportunity to meet the two wonderful Italian brothers who are renting an apartment from Giancarlo's mom. They moved to New York from Rome last year to open up their second restaurant, Sora Lella New York City.

Being back in New York, we missed having an aperitivo hour, and the food all around just tasted different. One of the brothers invited us to join him at his restaurant for their aperitivo (which I'm hoping takes off in NYC before we move back).

We were delighted with the thought of aperitivo, and arrived one cold night at the Soho restaurant. Candle lit walls, the restaurant bar was filled with ciao's and come stai's - a language now very familiar to me. The aperitivo spread was just as fresh and delicious as if they had magically transported it directly from Bologna (and I wouldn't have put it past them). Long story short, it became my little Italian oasis in the middle of Soho.

When we arrived back to Italy, like good Italians, all discussions led back to food. And our trip to Sora Lella came up. "Sora Lella?!" everyone said to us with excitement and awe. It's one of THE most famous restaurants in all of Italy. Mention it to any Italian and they will immediate know Elena Trabalza, nicknamed “Sora Lella,” an actress and the sister of famed Italian actor Aldo Fabrizi, both of whose photos you will find throughout the restaurants in both Rome and New York. What I love most about this place is that it's the true core of everything authentic and genuine you love about Italian food. The simplicity and freshness of ingredients to create the most mouth-watering dishes.

If you're in New York or heading to Rome, make reservations for Sora Lella. I couldn't recommend a better place!

New York City
300 Spring Street
New York, NY 10013-1399
(212) 366-4749

Via di Ponte Quattro Capi, 16
00186 Roma Rom
066 861601

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good Friends + Good Food

It's always a treat when we have friends visit.

It also gives us a great reason to back go to Osteria Broccaindosso.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sunday Love

Happy (post) Love Day!

This year was really the first year that Giancarlo and I got to celebrate V-day in Italy (last year, we were here), and since I was busy working all day on Saturday, Giancarlo decided to cook up something special for Sunday.

A simple wrap up of the day....

I woke up to this

And was given this...

Which had this inside...

Followed by late lunch here...

And we had ourselves some of this...

On the way home, we ran into this...

All in all a very successful Italian V-day! And, I highly recommend the Ristorante Biagi in the Osteria della Lanterna (Via Savenella 9/A- Bologna- closed Tuesdays). There was no menu and the food was absolutely delicious- traditional Bolognese food, which never disappoints!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How To...

...start a conversation in Italy: carry a to-go coffee mug with you on the way to work.

Results: Stopped twice in the span of 15 minutes, and had a conversation about my very cool, very American coffee mug.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carnevale 2010!

It seems fitting that our 200th post would be celebrating Carnevale!

It was quite the event, and it was adorable to see all the little kids dressed up like it was Halloween. Everything got underway on Sunday afternoon, so before we left for the train station to head back to Bologna, we watched the start of the parade. Everyone, adults mostly, were ready with their umbrellas, to catch the candy thrown from the floats.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the Carnevale festivities in Fano last weekend.

Next year I'll remember to bring my umbrella for the candy!

Carnevale in Fano runs for the next few weeks (7th, 14th, and 21st of February). For more information, click here.

If you want to check out more pictures from the parade, click here!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Good Morning!

I'm headed off to another long day at work, but I managed to get up early enough to upload all the photos from Carnevale in Fano (there is a first time for everything).

We had such a great weekend relaxing, eating and enjoying the festivities. Sadly we missed the Superbowl, but considering neither the Chargers (me) nor the Jets (GC) were playing, we didn't mind missing it so much. Till next year!

You can get sneak preview of the pics here in the meantime!

Friday, February 5, 2010


Last year, we spent this weekend celebrating at one of Italy's most famous Carnevale in Venice. This weekend, we're heading down to Fano to check out Carnevale there, which we've been told is quite famous as well (who knew?!).

Over the course of last year, we began to discover all the different Carnevali around Italy, everything from over-sized caricature floats, famous Venetian masks, to medieval orange-throwing fights.

My top favorites to check out:

Viareggio - Every year this quiet Tuscan beach town hosts one of Italy's most popular carnevale. The parade consists of over-sized floats and caricatures of popular people, and runs alongside the local beach. Festivals, cultural events, concerts, and masked balls take place throughout the carnevale season both in Viareggio and nearby cities, and restaurants have special carnival menus.

Ivrea - The town of Ivrea, is located in the Piedmont region of Italy (40 miles north of Turin). Ivrea has one of the most unique carnival celebrations with deep medieval roots. In addition to the local carnival parade, the town also houses tourists from around the globe to participate in the orange-throwing battles held in the center of the town.

The orange battles take place from Sunday until the Tuesday of Carnevale. The highlight of the event is the burning of the scarli (big poles, erected in the middle of each district's square, covered with dry bushes) on the last evening to end the carnival season. Why? The battle is an allegoric representation of a local insurrection in 1194 against Holy Roman Emperor Frederick of Swabia, a.k.a. Barbarossa (Red Beard). A local Joan of Arc, Violetta, supposedly started the insurrection, which resulted in the destruction of a castle that represented imperial power.

If you're interested in reading moe about the history behind the event, click here

{photo credit- James Martin}
Cento - Cento Carnevale is located in our neck of the woods, in Emilia-Romagna, near the city of Ferrara (about a half hour from Bologna). It's also the sister carnevale to the most famous celebration in the world, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. No orange-throwing festivals, but nearly 30,000 pounds of candy are thrown into the streets of Cento.

{photo credit}

If you want a complete list of the different carnevale around Italy, click here for more details.

Buon Martedi grasso!

Monday, February 1, 2010

#31 - Fender Strats and Mozart

Vedere Il Compito Sbagliato di Mozart

Did you know Mozart made mistakes? Neither did Giancarlo.

#31 on the list of things to do is to visit The International Museum and Library of Music of Bologna, and in addition to seeing all the frescoes and musical artifacts from all over Renaissance Europe, you can see Mozart's failed test.

The story goes that Mozart came to Bologna at the age of 14 to study music with the Philharmonic Academy of Bologna. The entrance exam consisted of transcribing a Gregorian chant to sheet music, exactly as it was heard. Well, Mozart screwed up. Big-time. The monk he was staying with during his studies in Bologna broke protocol and submitted his own original sheet music for the above mentioned chant - thus getting Mozart accepted into the academy. As they say, the rest is literally history...

For the past couple of months, the International Museum and Library of Music has played host to the Love Me Fender exhibit, displaying art inspired by classic Fender guitars. Giancarlo braved the snow here in Bologna this past weekend to check it out before the exhibition ended this week. Among artwork inspired by Fender, there were also original guitars used by Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, and tons of other legends on display... right alongside Mozart's failed test and plagiarized homework. Now that's Rock 'n Roll.

Jimi Hendrix's guitar from the Monterey Pop Festival

Rock 'n Roll Panda!

Fender made a special Stratocaster
for the inauguration of this museum in 1994.

Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca di Musica di Bologna
Strada Maggiore 34
Tues - Fri: 9:30 - 16:00
Sat - Sun: 10:00 - 18:30

Entrance to the museum is free.


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