Category Archives: Life in Italy

Italian Presidential Guards: Flaunt It If You Got It

“The President is coming!” “Oh. How interesting.” To be fair, I was clearly told that the President was coming to the conference.  I assumed this meant the president of the university, or the president of some large company. I finally understood that my colleagues were trying to tell me the President of Italy was coming […]

I’d Like a Bottle of Wine, Please

Today, I managed an all-Italian purchase.  No English. No gesturing. Just straight up cake-ordering at the local pasticceria. Feeling emboldened with my mastery of simple vocabulary, I decided to venture into a funny wine shop I noticed open up across the street from the bakery.  I was buying the cake to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, […]


In Italian, “cavolo” means “cabbage.” And man, did I see some serious cabbages in Tuscany.  But the funny thing is, you’ll hear young Romans saying “Cavolo!!” all the time, and I guarantee you that they are not talking about vegetables. Because it is so completely ridiculous to hear people yelling CABBAGE! all the time, “cavolo” […]

How Italy Sees the World

Americans aren’t exactly known for their geographical knowledge. But, being an international student, studying international development, I thought it was time to brush up on my country-finding skills.  I went to a very large, very modern bookstore in Rome to buy a world map: As I struggled to hold up the map alone and tape […]

Cigarette Vending Machines?

Here’s an easy example of something you would NEVER see in America, cigarette vending machines: I was quite confused the first time someone hurried by me and ran up to a closed shop door.  Then I noticed the machine integrated into the metal shutter of the shop.  Unmonitored cigarette machines would never fly in America, […]