Top 7 Tips For Getting Around In Italy’s Countryside

Piedmont’s Barolo lovely wine country with town of Barolo in centre. Dreaming of exploring magnificent Italian countryside, strolling in medieval hill towns, browsing small town markets, staying in an agriturismo/farm inn run by a local family? Some people have asked us for a cooking school tour in the countryside with accommodation within walking distance of […]

How New Ideas Come From Small Discoveries: An Italian Cooking School Tour Tale

Margaret at Istituto Italiano di Cultura Artusi show I’ve just finished reading a little gem of a book, “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries”. Author Peter Sims tells stories of innovators from comedian Chris Rock to Steve Jobs at Pixar to show eight main ways to nourish creativity through small steps. Fascinating […]

Amazing Deal! 9 Euros+ Fares On Trains Between Cities Anywhere In Italy

On February 16, Trenitalia announced that under certain conditions, you can take 1st and 2nd class trains between all Italian cities for “Mini” fares of 9 Euros (about $12) and up on all their trains except Excelsior and Excelsior E4 and Executive levels.  “What’s the catch?” says, “The MINI offer can be booked up […]

Couple’s Amalfi Coast Dreams Come True With Mama Margaret’s Help

view from Ravello’s Strada Panoramica down over Minori An American woman phoned me with questions about a cooking school and culture tour for her and her husband with a delightful family in Sorrento. They were going to fly into and out of Naples. As well as the four night cooking tour, they wanted to explore […]

Businesses Re-opening in Vernazza and Monterosso, Cinque Terre

colours in Vernazza with the steeple of Santa Margherita church Almost four months after the tragic floods devastated Vernazza and Monterosso, two of the five coastal towns in the Cinque Terre, businesses are starting to re-open.  At you can see a long list of what restaurants, bars, gelaterias, markets and accommodations are open or […]

How To Eat Real Bologna Food With Locals In Bologna

Bologna’s lovely, lively Piazza Maggiore in the historic centre On Skype I talked with our long time Bologna cooking tour colleagues, who’ve lived in Bologna for 40 years and grew up nearby. How to find good places to eat in Bologna where locals go?  The question was more complicated than that in Bologna, they said. […]

Top 23 Romantic Experiences in Italy

What makes a place or experience “romantic”? Everyone’s ideas differ widely. A centuries old, “interesting” conversation between men and women, isn’t it? If I had a man in my life and his ideas of romance miraculously coincided with mine, where  in Italy would I suggest to him? I like beautiful nature, walks, water and lights […]

Katie Parla’s New Rome For Foodies App Now Available

Detail of Rome’s Piazza Navona Katie Parla’s new Rome For Foodies app, gives you all kinds of delicious details on 135 places in Rome that Katie has carefully selected by eating or drinking in them. Do much do you envy her for this research project? Katie is a long time Rome resident, food journalist for […]

How To Travel More Safely In Italy

Florence’s Ponte Vecchio by night. Lots of people out walking! Whether you’re in Rome or Naples, orVancouver, New York, Sydney, London or Hong Kong, it pays to plan to travel safely.   My seven top tips as a woman who often travels alone:  Wear a money belt. Since my backpacking days in Italy 40 years ago, […]