The Ultimate Sicily Road Trip, Part One: From Catania to Modica

There’s no trip better than a road trip. We set off to Sicily for for the first week of January, much to the dismay of beach lovers everywhere. With some limited research and several possible itineraries in mind, we booked a car and took off into the wilds of Sicily to explore the coasts of this beautiful but bedraggled island. And, of course, to eat as … Continue reading The Ultimate Sicily Road Trip, Part One: From Catania to Modica

Adventure in Abruzzo’s Misty Mountains

In spring of 2012, I was coping with some serious senioritis – trying to balance school-related stress, anxiety about the future, and a desire to fully enjoy (what I thought were) my last months in Rome. To escape the chaos of city life, I took refuge in Abruzzo, a land of icy winds and rocky mountains, far removed from the buttery sunlight of Rome. Continue reading Adventure in Abruzzo’s Misty Mountains

When carnival comes late: The anti-clerical celebrations of Poggio Mirteto

Every year, the Sunday after carnival, Poggio Mirteto, a small town just over 60 kilometers from Rome, celebrates what is known as Carnevalone Liberato, roughly translated as the Free Carnival. This year, the nasty weather held us off from departing for the festivities in the early afternoon as usual. With the threat of rain, we arrived as dusk was settling over the town and costumed revelers already stumbling and singing with gusto. Continue reading When carnival comes late: The anti-clerical celebrations of Poggio Mirteto

Holiday traditions and more cultural mish-mashing: My first Christmas in Italy

Most years I head back to Michigan during the holidays for a brief snowy winter (very enjoyable when there for only a couple short weeks). This year, though, my husband and I stuck around Rome for the holidays. I love the idea of combining traditions and cultures to create our own unique customs. I think that if we view traditions rooted in our families’ pasts and our cultural customs as flexible and adaptable, they can be powerful and relevant parts of our lives. Continue reading Holiday traditions and more cultural mish-mashing: My first Christmas in Italy

How to deal with the “I-hate-it-heres”

After almost five years in Rome, I rarely get homesick. I miss my family and friends back home, and sometimes I’m nostalgic for places I no longer live in, but these days, I feel that Rome is truly home. What I do get is a bad case of something I like to describe as the “I-hate-it-heres”. It’s an emotion like PMS and road rage all rolled up into one. Here in Rome, I like to describe this feeling as Rome Rage. Continue reading How to deal with the “I-hate-it-heres”

A Roman Horror Story: There’s Something Wrong with the Rain

Last week the forecast showed that the “storm of the century” was about to hit Rome. This might have been frightening if it wasn’t the billionth time this has happened in the 4 years I’ve lived here. Schools were closed. So were many offices. Mine wasn’t. On my way to work I actually found myself enjoying splashing through puddles with lightning flashing above the empty streets. Continue reading A Roman Horror Story: There’s Something Wrong with the Rain

Five Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Rome

I love Halloween. I’ve never been one to spend a lot of time on my costume (I’m more of a last minute find-something-weird-in-my-wardrobe sort of girl), but I love Halloween celebrations, horror movies, admiring other people’s outfits and decorating my house with spooky gore. Most of all, I love remembering the joy of transformation it gave me as a child, as I became a pirate, a football player or a Jedi (and, of course, ate way too much candy). Continue reading Five Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Rome

Exploring the Lost City of Antica Monterano

About an hour’s drive from Rome, the abandoned city of Antica Monterano clings to a mountaintop inside a nature reserve. Nearly swallowed up by the lush greenery, its crumbling walls have been preserved by the efforts of the Riserva Naturale Regionale Monterano (Monterano Regional Nature Reserve). While the maintenance means this won’t be the eeriest ruins you creep through, the attention paid to the site is heartening in a country where some of the most important archaeological ruins are being left to crumble slowly. Continue reading Exploring the Lost City of Antica Monterano

Postcards from Purgatory at Rome’s Smallest Museum

The spires of the Chiesa del Sacro Cuore del Suffragio are dwarfed by the nearby bulk of the Palazzaccio – Rome’s Palace of Justice, famous because it’s too heavy for its foundations and is sinking slowly into the ground. Inside the Chiesa del Sacro Cuore, a hallway holds Rome’s smallest museum, and one of it’s strangest – a glass case filled with items imprinted by the hands of souls trapped in purgatory. Continue reading Postcards from Purgatory at Rome’s Smallest Museum

Walking in Rome: Street Harassment in Another Language

In Rome street harassment is a major problem. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, and very frightening, especially if you aren’t used to it. Unfortunately there is no easy solution to the problem, and foreign-looking women tend to be on its receiving end especially frequently. While you can’t make them disappear with lazer eyes, here are some ways to deal mentally with the stress and minimize he amount of time you have to spend dealing with these creeps. Continue reading Walking in Rome: Street Harassment in Another Language