Paciano

I am always one to wholeheartedly support actively seeking moments of solitude. If you take a ride on the lumbering Italian regional train just past the Tuscan border, into Umbria, such tranquility can be found in a place that time forgot.   Paciano is a tiny medieval storybook of a town that is built around …

#ItaliaSvezia

In the summer of 2006, I lived in a tiny apartment across the Arno River in the Stone Age.  I had no cell phone and no internet.  I even had the telephone company come to the apartment to tell me if I could have wifi installed.  The tech who, by the looks of his Ape …

Poop

The film “A Room With a View” has long been a cult favorite for those of us who have Florence in our veins.  A fiery Beethoven playing teenage Helena Bonham Carter goes to Florence with her spinster aunt who insists that they experience a room with a view of the Arno River.  That view is …

Colpo d’aria

In Florence, it’s pretty customary to get hit with air when the seasons change.  Don’t talk to me about viruses and bacteria.  After a decade of getting hit with air when the wind shifts slightly, I can attest under oath to the fact that the Italian phenomenon il colpo d’aria is real.  Before I opened my …

Ida and Ikea

Most people come to Florence and head to the Duomo.  I arrive and make a beeline to IKEA for Scandinavian bits and bobs. To its credit, IKEA boldly predates our current Hygee-mania.  In front of the once grand Stazione Leopolda, I watched the tramvia shoot by.  My jet lag made it purely hypnotic. The tram …

Alice in Quogue

Quogue.  The last utterance of a dying duck?  The lament of an unamused bull frog? A putrid, incurable disease?  None of the above.  Rather, Quogue is a village in a Hamptons sandwich – the Tofurkey between West Hampton and Hampton Bays. Whether or not is a “Hampton” is worth pondering. It was far too glorious …

Summer Love

Summer’s over, and apparently so are the legendary Memorial Day to Labor Day relationships.  This annual tale would best be told from the Masterpiece Theater arm chair; dear viewer, they burn more brightly.  At least on the prescribed timeline they start and end with fireworks.  I learned on a crisp September morning that those who …

Into the Woods

My hometown of Moriches is the size of a postage stamp.  It happens to be made even more invisible by the fact that it sits in the shadow of the almighty Hamptons, but I see the idealism of this little town with clearer eyes these days.  During my teenage years, I lamented that it was …

Mr Softee

My most vivid memory of Juniper Park, in Middle Village Queens, was an epic fall right on my ass.  From an epic high to an epic low in the life of a 12-year-old, I had finally done the impossible and convinced my grandpa to buy me an enormous vanilla cone from the Mr. Softee truck.  …

Atlas, Not Shrugging

I found myself in the Central Market in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Florence late one night, because after a negroni nothing hits all the spots better than an arancino, or 12.  Sicilian street food, these fried, fist-sized, risotto balls are glorious even this far away from the sun soaked Mezzogiorno.  Although it was late …