The Small But Essential Pleasures of Italy (October/November 2021)

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2021 issue of Dream of Italy.  For me, dreaming of Italy—which is all I have done since my last visit there in October 2019—might not be what you would expect. Yes, there is the sublime cuisine and superb wine, but I write Italian cookbooks and can make dishes at home that remind me of la …

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New Place to Stay in Umbria: Castello di Reschio (August/September 2021)

This is one of the featured properties in the article Nine New Places to Stay in Italy that appeared in the August/September 2021 issue of Dream of Italy. The hot Italian destination for celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Kate Hudson and Robert Downey Jr. this summer was a 1,000-year-old castle has been painstakingly transformed into the 36-room Hotel Castello …

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Ellen Craig: New Life and Love in Umbria (June/July 2021)

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2021 issue of Dream of Italy. Ellen Craig discovered she was Italian when she was eight years old and working on a school project on her roots. She didn’t know where her grandparents were from but when she found out they were from Italy, she began to dream of her ancestral homeland. As a …

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Recipe: Polenta and Sausages (December 2020/January 2021)

This recipe originally appeared in the article Polenta: A Poor Food That Endures in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of Dream of Italy. Ingredients 1 lb (400 g) coarse or medium coarse cornmeal for polenta, organic and stone-ground if possible 10-12 pork sausages (not spicy) 1 each of the following: onion, carrot, celery stick, fresh bay leaf, sprig of rosemary, clove 1/2 cup …

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Polenta: A Poor Food That Endures (December 2020/January 2021)

This article originally appeared in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of Dream of Italy. You probably don’t think of corn among Italian food ingredients unless the subject of polenta, a cornmeal porridge, comes up. Even then, Italian cornmeal is generally associated with the northern part of the country. Yet there is a long history of corn cultivation in central Italy. …

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Share Your Dream: When Spello Comes Alive with Flowers (June/July 2020)

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of Dream of Italy. When I dream of Italy, I dream of the beauty and pageantry of L’Infiorata. Imagine carpets of flowers covering the village streets of a medieval hill town, Spello, in Umbria. A weekend of celebrations is held two months after Easter in celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi. …

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Share Your Dream: A Friendship That Has Endured (June/July 2020)

This article originally appeared in the June/July 2020 issue of Dream of Italy. When I dream of Italy, I dream of the places I’ve been with my Italian friend, Liliana who lives in Milan, and the places in Italy we have yet to see together. Liliana and I were matched up, by happenstance, as pen pals in 1977. I was taking …

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There’s Always Italy: A Chat with Frances Mayes (March 2020)

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Dream of Italy. One of my favorite things to say is, “no matter what, we always have Italy.” I know my friend Frances Mayes feels the same way, even during these impossibly difficult times as we go to press. Frances is a most calming presence both in person and in her prose. Hopefully …

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Where to See Etruscan Art: Collections Not to Miss (May 2019)

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Dream of Italy. On a recent visit to the National Etruscan Museum in Rome at the height of the tourist season, my kids and I arrived at opening time and had the entire museum to ourselves for nearly an hour. What a treat! Across central Italy lie hundreds of little-visited museums …

Art and Afterlife in Etruria: Visiting Etruscan Tombs (May 2019)

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Dream of Italy. By the 6th century BCE, some of the richest burials in the Mediterranean world were located in central Italy. Much of our knowledge of the Etruscans comes from the incredible troves of material goods yielded from this well-established funerary culture. It’s through tomb excavations that we have the …