According to Word Reference, the Italian word "uffa" means "what a bore!" But, as you most probably already know, Italians have their own body language too and when uffa is accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders, maybe a pair of eyes darting up to the heavens, a helluva lot more can be conveyed in those two … Continue reading “Uffa” – essential vocabulary when renovating in Italy
One of the things that I try really hard to impress upon visitors is how divided Italy is. Until very recently it was not one country and mobility between towns, cities and across mountain ranges was limited. As a result, regional traditions are more localised than you may have first imagined and remain very much … Continue reading Burning “La Befana” – Very Much A Local Tradition
Happy New Year's Eve! Or "la notte di San Silvestro" in Italian. Whether it's out partying or staying in wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, I hope you're spending the last few hours of 2017 exactly as you want to spend them. I'm personally not much of a fan of New Year's Eve. … Continue reading New Year’s Eve in Italy… and the importance of lentils!
The final days of November always feel strange to me. It's this weird time of year when you're in limbo. My American friends have already made me hungry for turkey but yet it's still too early to really start the Christmas countdown: mince pies, festive music and twinkling lights. I don't recognise the Thanksgiving holiday … Continue reading Waiting for Advent
Whilst November 11th is Armistice Day in the UK and much of northern Europe (in memory to end of WW1) here in my corner of Italy, it's the Festa di San Martino. San Martino is one of the more important harvest festivals... at least, it was the case many moons ago. It depends where you … Continue reading November 11th is the Festa di San Martino
I want to take a second from my usual food-related ramblings to talk about something more serious: harassment on the streets of Paris. The wave of women posting #MeToo statuses has meant that journalists are getting the green light to publish articles which state the bleeding obvious. The Local, for example, recently published a piece … Continue reading Sexual Harassment – it doesn’t have to be this way…
So you've taken a couple of classes, downloaded Duolingo and bought a hefty dictionary. You can breeze through conversations with natives and even answering the phone to an unknown number is no longer intimidating. You're ready to move onto the next level. The next three phrases are not the Italian that you learn in a … Continue reading So You Think You Speak Italian?
Setting up life in a new country is never simple. That said, it's been almost exactly one year since I made the decision to move and I don't regret it at all. For every "that didn't work out the way I thought it would" set-back (I wouldn't go so far as to say failure, although … Continue reading Fortune Favours The Bold
Picture an old house, on a hill, in the lush Italian countryside, completely surrounded by vineyards. Sounds idyllic, right? Especially if you've seen or read "Under The Tuscan Sun" you'll already have indulged yourself in a fantasy of doing up a house in Italy. Read this superb article in The New Yorker if you're under any … Continue reading Renovating A House In Italy Is Nothing Like “Under The Tuscan Sun”
Living - and surviving - in Italy means being resourceful. You think something's going to be ok because previous experience has taught you how it's done. Well, moving to Italy means putting all that "I've got this figured out" attitude aside and being prepared to eat a lot of humble pie. After a while, however … Continue reading To Survive In Italy, You Must Be Resourceful