Tipping in Italy

Tipping in Italy

Virtually every Italy Beyond the Obvious client has at one point asked for advice about tipping in Italy.  They want to know: Whom do I tip, and how much? This is usually how the conversation starts. The short answer is that tips are not necessary, but if you are happy with a service, you can tip…

Ten useful and interesting signs in Rome

Ten useful and interesting signs in Rome

Street signs, placards, new signs, old signs – I photograph them all when I travel. Sometimes they represent interesting cultural differences, sometimes they’re just useful, and sometimes the photo is just a placeholder to give context to the rest of my photos. Here are ten of my favorite sign photos from a recent Rome trip.…

My Italy student exchange: 4 things I wish I’d known

  Two decades ago this month, I was on the plane on my way back to Canada after a year abroad on an Italy student exchange program with AFS. I’ve since spent five of the last 20 years living and working in Italy, and with each experience (as a nanny, a tour guide, a corporate…

Posted by on Jun 17, 2011 in Italian Culture, My Stories | 4 Comments

Meet the locals, but share your perspective, too

  Mingling with locals definitely brings a foreign destination to life, but there's one thing no local has: your perspective. They will never know that you love cobblestones unless you tell them.   When I was in high school, our family hosted 2 girls from Yokohama, Japan. I showed them Edmonton's main sights, and we compared…

Posted by on Oct 25, 2010 in Italian Culture | 12 Comments

Italian soccer for the traveler

  Point me to a pair of skis, hiking boots, a bike – or even a sports bar with a hockey game on – and I’m happily occupied for hours. But I am soccer-challenged, so thanks to Jessica Spiegel of JessicaTravels.com, for the guest post below about Italian soccer for the traveler. When we travel, it’s…

Posted by on Oct 20, 2010 in Italian Culture | 2 Comments

Three favorite Italian songs

  When an Italian classmate asked about the lyrics to a Bob Marley song, it was a lightbulb moment for me. We were on a field trip from Milan to Assisi, and the song was playing on the bus. Even though I’d heard it many times, beyond the refrain I had no idea what Bob…

Pasta heads in Naples

I love these photos of pasta heads taken in Naples and have wanted to include them in Delicious Baby’s photo Friday for a while! The card next to the second photo is written in Neapolitan dialect:  O Maccarone mio Nisciuno o’ tene! O’ mengo tuosto e tuosto se mantene.  I don’t know Neapolitan dialect but I’m…

Posted by on Jun 3, 2010 in Italian Culture | 6 Comments

Guest post on expat+HAREM about my expat experiences

I was honored when the expat+HAREM editor asked me to do a guest post for their site, which is dedicated to aspects of the expatriate experience. My post is up today, and you can read it here. If you've ever lived abroad or have an expatriate in the family, take some time to explore the…

Posted by on Feb 17, 2010 in Italian Culture, My Stories | 4 Comments

Five Italian words with unsatisfying English equivalents

If I’m speaking English with someone who I know speaks or understands Italian, I tend to inject the words below into conversation rather than use the English approximation. The Italian version is just better! Have a look at the five words below (in no particular order) and let me know if you agree, and whether…

The best graffiti in Italy

Rule #38 of Robert Reid’s “44 Little Travel Rules No One Tells You” is to take photos of things that might change. I couldn’t agree more (and I wish I had photos of the pink snakeskin fashion craze that hit Milan in 2001!) A fabulous subject in this category is graffiti. Pay attention to graffiti…

Posted by on Dec 11, 2009 in Italian Culture | 8 Comments