Destination: Italy

Catching the Gist

Catching the Gist Photo by Jessica Colley

How to communicate when you don't speak the language? In Italy, Jessica Colley fumbled toward an answer.

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Bad ‘Carma’

Bad ‘Carma’ Photo: ciccioetneo via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

David Farley wanted to drive only occasionally during his stay in Italy. So why did something always go wrong?

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NYT on Luca Spaghetti’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ Spin-off Memoir: ‘Pasta, Pasta, Pasta!’

Who is Luca Spaghetti? In case you’ve forgotten, he’s one of the dreamy Italian men who shows Elizabeth Gilbert around town during the Roman section of her bestselling memoir. He’s also, now, an author—his own memoir, Un Amico Italiano: Eat, Pray, Love in Rome, was released this spring, and the New York Times had a really funny gem of a review.

Here’s Sam Anderson:

It has a strange integrity: the purity of an actual, unremarkable guy telling his actual, (mostly) unremarkable story. Aside from a few Gilbertesque cutesy touches (“That Marlboro tasted a lot like life”), there’s no pretense of educating humanity or saving a soul or discovering a self. It’s just: Hey world, this crazy thing happened where someone put me in a book—so here’s my story! Pasta, pasta, pasta! Spaghetti’s only ulterior motive is right on the surface: he hopes the memoir will make James Taylor, the American folk musician he reveres above all other humans, notice him.

I count myself among the legions of EPL fans, but even as a cheerleader I can’t help thinking this is all getting a bit surreal.


In Italy, a Toast to American Breakfasts

On eating in Europe, and what Europeans have to say about American cooking

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China Beyond its Borders

Caught up with NPR’s series about the ways China is asserting itself throughout the world. It’s excellent. The latest piece looks at Italian response to the changing textile scene in Tuscany, “home to the largest concentration of Chinese residents in Europe.”

Sylvia Poggioli says:

On Via Pistoiese, shops are Chinese—hairdresser, hardware store and supermarket. There are few Italians. It’s 2 p.m. and all shops are open—there’s no time for siesta in Chinatown.


Vanished Friends, Love Lost and My Old Address Book

Vanished Friends, Love Lost and My Old Address Book Photo: Jeffrey Tayler

Jeffrey Tayler found a relic from his first trip overseas. It brought back a flood of memories -- and regrets.

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World Travel Watch: Traffic Restrictions in Italy, Conflict on the Thai-Burmese Border and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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World Travel Watch: Cholera Outbreak in Haiti, Tsunami in Indonesia and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Did Canaletto Paint Venice as Tourists Wanted to See It?

The Economist’s Prospero blogger thinks so. In a recent post, he describes a new exhibit at London’s National Gallery, Canaletto and His Rivals, as “painted propaganda,” and argues that the Venice depicted in its paintings bears little resemblance to the real deal:

The sun always shines in Venice; the sky is always blue. This is how visitors like to remember that most beautiful island city. Not coincidentally, that is how Canaletto most often painted the place. His clients, after all, were Grand Tourists, many of them back home in dark English country houses, worrying about farm rents. They longed for the gorgeous, licentious place their memories turned into paradise.

(Via The Daily Dish)


World Travel Watch: Protests in France Turn Violent, Entry Fee in Venice and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Let Us Now Praise Tour Guides

Here's to the men and women willing to go off script

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World Travel Watch: Strikes in France, Festival Season Crime in Nepal and More

Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news

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Venice Faces Backlash Over ‘Grotesque’ Billboards

I don’t get it. Why would a city that’s banned shirtlessness, pushed back against souvenir vendors and fought a war against pigeons—all in the name of preserving the urban scenery—allow its most famous views to be obliterated by building-high billboards?

But that’s just what Venice has done, and the results are hideous. And the Mayor’s response to criticism over the ads? “If people want to see the building they should go home and look at a picture of it in a book.” Nice.


Paris Offers Free Sparkling Water

In one public water fountain, in a wooden hut, in the Jardin de Reuilly. The Guardian explains:

France’s addiction to bottled sparkling water is up there with its penchant for bike racing, foie gras and Johnny Hallyday. Now, authorities in Paris are attempting to fight back against the national dependence by unveiling a public water fountain that gushes with chilled bubbles.

La Pétillante - literally, she who sparkles - is the first fountain in France to inject carbon dioxide into tap water before cooling it and serving it up to passers-by. Inaugurated today in the Jardin de Reuilly in south-east Paris, it is expected to prove a user-friendly means of weaning the French off the bottle.

France pinched the idea from Italy, which already has 215 sparkling water fountains.


Mr. Suitcase

On the trauma of luggage gone astray (and how an inconvenience turned into an obsession)

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