Blog Envy

Harbor panorama of Bisceglie, Puglia (from Wikimedia Commons)

Another blog I follow (on a completely unrelated topic) posted yesterday on their Facebook page that they are creeping up on 50,000 followers, and encouraged them to share with their friends, to put them over the top, with just a couple hundred to go.

Well, here I am down in the small time. Likely today I will hit 10,000 total page views in the entire 18-month life of this blog. And I have… well, let’s say fewer than 100 followers.

So today I am borrowing from the toolbag of the big-time blogger mentioned above, and urging you, my wonderful readers, to share my blog with any Italophiles you know, your fellow Sons of Italy members, a friend planning a trip to Italy, your neighbor with an Italian sounding last name, heck, anyone you know who drives a Fiat or a Ferrari. Or a Ford, because I’m not at all picky.

I would especially love to have your suggestions for topics to cover related to the Italian south, in the areas of food, travel, history, and books or movies to review.

I’m thankful for all of you, and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

More about rapini…

I recently discovered that “rapini” is by far the most popular search term that leads people to my blog. I find it a little baffling, however here’s another blogger’s rapini recipe, to give all those “rapini” searches another place to land. Check out the nuovastoria blog for more on life in the Italian south.


The weather is changing in Martina Franca. While we’re not swimming in flood waters like the unfortunate residents of Venice, our skies are grey and the wind is whipping down our cavernous city streets, prompting a spontaneous show of woolly scarves and winter coats. There’s only one thing to do: make pasta.

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Halloween–a newcomer to Italy

Italian Jack-o-LanternHappy Halloween, readers! The celebration of Halloween has morphed from its origins in religious history — All Hallow’s Eve, or the night before All Saints Day — to something generally irreligious with no spiritual connotations to most who participate. In Italy, All Saints Day has been a religious festival for centuries, and Halloween is a newcomer. Here’s a link to an article about Halloween in Italy on a website I recently found, and will be visiting regularly, called ItalyMONDO. They also have an excellent post about Wines of Abruzzo which you might enjoy!

Enjoy the day!

RE-blog: About Abruzzo

I recently discovered this great blog ‘About Abruzzo’ which is one of my favorite regions of the Italian south. Written by an Irishman who’s been truly bitten by the bug, the blog is full of great insights about the region. One of my favorite features is the photo section, packed with photos from many different places in Abruzzo, and easy to navigate. But today I’m sharing a snip of a recent post, and if you like what you read, click the link to see more!

Three Days in Loreto Aprutino (from “About Abruzzo”)

In the space of a week I received two emails asking about things to do if you had a few days based in Loreto Aprutino.

Although my answer was specific to options in and around Loreto I think the general theme applies to wherever you find yourself in Abruzzo.

  • Explore what the local town has to offer
  • Relax – you owe it to yourself
  • Try the local restaurants
  • Visit other towns within easy reach by car or public transport
  • Walk a little
  • Local events and markets

What follows are my suggestions for what I consider to be a few excellent but not overly packed days discovering Loreto Aprutino and its surroundings.

Book Review: The Espresso Break by Barbara Zaragoza

First off, I wish I’d had this book the first time I visited Naples! I will definitely be using it the next time. I’ve looked in at Barbara Zaragoza’s blogs now and then: The Espresso Break and Naples (Napoli) Guide, and I’m glad to have her info about Naples compiled in book form.

The subtitle promises “Tours and Nooks of Naples, Italy and Beyond”, and I would say the book delivers. The major highlights are covered, in greater detail than many books offer, and then come the hidden corners of Naples that you would never find on your own, like Mauro the glove-maker’s factory, and Japanese restaurant recommendations.

Barbara has also included some practical travel information about safety, driving, staying healthy, and using public transportation. Her advice on greeting Italians is spot on: A little Buon giorno will take you a long way in Italy!

The great detail and variety of information make up for the lack of color photos, as I always appreciate color in a guidebook.

After seeing nearly three pages devoted to the subject of trash in Naples, I laughed out loud at Barbara’s defense of the city’s dirtiness. Why is the city so dirty? “Neapolitans have preserved so much of their past that the buildings almost by necessity tend to blend into the natural look and feel of the ancient ruins.” Naples is just natural, and she suggests that other cities seem un-naturally clean. Well, my mom and I had a good chuckle over this, but I must say, please don’t let the city’s reputation for dirt and grittiness stop you from making a visit! I compare it to the gritty vibrancy of lower Manhattan–a sign of life!

The book includes lots of detail on the ancient sites around Naples and legends connected to them. She also includes a section called the “Odious Women Tour” which includes goddesses, queens, prostitutes, and revolutionaries.

Considering that many travel guides offer just a few pages to the entire south of Italy, this book is a treasure for visitors to the Naples region. If you have a day, or several, to spend in Naples, this book will help you fill your time well.

5th Friday Surprise: Blog tour of the Italian south!

Like the light at the end of this street in Salerno, the Italian south draws me to explore.

Join me today on a tour that will leave your hungry for more. I’m sharing some of the other blogs about southern Italy that have inspired me.

Michelle Fabio’s is a favorite–she moved from Pennsylvania to her family’s ancestral village in Calabria, and stayed!

At, Bonnie shares all things Naples, from transportation strikes to church services, in the city she describes as “beautiful, chaotic, unbending, romantic, confusing”. Get to know this vibrant, gritty city better!

If Sicily tugs at your heart, visit for a smorgasbord of Sicilian topics, like kid-friendly sightseeing, festivals and holidays, natural wonders, and lots more.

Mary at shares a lot about food, as the blog name suggests, but there are plenty of other topics sprinkling flavor throughout her posts.