Family Trip to Lake Como

Day in Rome

Rome's Profane Welcome

Porto Cervo Downtown

Beach Day in Sardinia

From Pisa to Porto Cervo

Traditional Southern Italian Music called Pizzica

The Number 1 Coppersmith in Southern Italy

Italian Baptism in 13th Century Church in Florence, Italy

Night Out with the Italian Boys in Tuscany

Learning Italian Gestures During Dinner in Italy

Winemaking in Italy at Casalevento

Tour of Italian Toy Store in Florence - DREONI

The Number 1 Italian Joke Explained

7 Reasons NOT to Travel to Tuscany

10 Tips Everyone Should Know Before Visiting Italy







The Italian Enthusiast brings the HOT CHIP CHALLENGE to ITALY!!!

The Italian Enthusiast compares Italian Snacks to American Snacks (in the Italian language)!!!!!

The Italian Enthusiast Speaks with Famous Italian Radio Show from Puglia

The Italian Enthusiast Bakes an Authentic Italian Cheesecake with Family

The Italian Enthusiast Launches a Family Vlog on YouTube

Getting People to Dance the Pizzica Around the World during Quarantine


I love places that have an incredible history. I love the Italian way of life. I love the food. I love the people. I love the attitudes of Italians.

Elton John

You may have the universe if I may have Italy

Giuseppe Verdi




Italian Enthusiasts who've seen my videos of the Casalvento retreat in the heart of Tuscany's Chianti region, including Luxury Tuscan Resort, Barbecue at a Tuscan Vineyard, and Winemaking in Italy, agree that a piece of heaven does exist on earth.  If you've been to Tuscany, seen it in videos, or even read about it, the desire to visit can get intense. Gudrun Cuillo, the owner of Casalvento, has opened up her Tuscan properties to tourists to experience life at the retreat.  For those who are not able to visit, she's now opened up Casalvento to readers worldwide in her new bestselling novel, Casalvento - House of the Wind. Ms. Cuillo's new novel intertwines romance and family secrets in the precise setting of Casalvento, where she not only found her inspiration to write, but also penned the entire novel looking over the breathtaking vineyard.  A summary of the novel can be found here. Casalvento With summer 2023 approaching and Italy's tourist season already in full swing, there is no better time to purchase Casalvento - House of the Wind, which was released today!  If you enjoy Tuscany, romance and suspense, then this book is a must read for all Italian Enthusiasts.


Summer months in my family are spent equally in Florida and in Florence.  With a first grader and kindergartener, one of our goals is to find good summer camps for the children to keep their minds active and to maintain socialization with a diverse group of peers.  We've discovered, however, that one of the main differences between American camps vs. Italian camps (other than the obvious language differences), is the food selection. As an American, my recollection of school lunches consists of pizza wedges, tater tots, nuggets, and chocolate milk.  Fast forward to 2023 with my children in school, lunch menus in the US seem to have only slightly developed, now offering a few other options such as chicken patties, PB&J, and cheeseburgers.  Aside from the limited selection at schools and camps, school food in the United States has a terrible reputation, believed to be neither desirable nor nutritious by students and parents alike. A 2009 report by USA TODAY found that meat served in the United States schools wouldn’t meet the quality or safety standards of fast-food restaurants.  Further, according to a GREEN MATTERS article, "[b]ecause of the low budgets ... and in order to have ingredients with longer shelf lives, school cafeterias often opt for processed foods that are high in preservatives" which is why many of the meals on American lunch trays consist of "shriveled hamburgers, browning iceberg lettuce, stale fries, and greasy AF pizza." For these reasons, my wife often packs a lunch for our children during the school year, and after seeing the lunch menus for summer camps here in Florida, we decided to opt out of the lunch program altogether.  My children will therefore spend the first half of their summer in Florida bringing with them bagged lunches to camp. The second half of the...

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Italian Enthusiasts proficient in the Italian language are quick to recognize strange names of Italian foods, drinks and places, especially if they have vulgar meanings.  America, for example, censors nudity on television and in magazines while Italy takes a more open approach, often displaying nudity to the public across all channels.  Similar to Italy’s approval of nudity (in comparison to the United States), Italy takes a similar approach with its language, often referring to foods, drinks and towns by names most Americans would find inappropriate.  For Italian Enthusiasts, however, they are funny and culturally fascinating.  See below for some examples, broken down by categories of Food, Wine and Towns. FOOD Gnocchi.  Gnocchi is a type of pasta we all love, but the meaning comes from the female private part.  The name derives from La Gnocca, which in Italian means “pussy” because of the shape and the softness of the pasta.  So when you order Gnocchi for dinner, you are also asking the chef for a plate of pussy. Cazzilli di Patate.  In Palermo, there is a popular dish called Cazzilli di Patate, which means “Small Dicks of Potatoes”.  The name comes from the fact that the food is small and shaped like penises, sort of like croquettes. Spaghetti alla Puttanesca.  In Naples, a popular spaghetti is called Spaghetti alla Putanesca, which in English means “Whore’s Pasta”.   This dish includes poor ingredients, such as olives, capers and tomato sauce - very easy ingredients to find in Naples.  The dish was regularly served in brothels for this reason. Palle del Nonno.  In Tuscany, there is a popular salami called Palle del Nonno, which means "Grandpa's Balls".  It is pig salami that has a falling shape, appearing like an elderly man's testicles. Coglioni di Mulo.  In Abruzzo, there is a popular salami known...

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Gullo Italian Kitchens – The Best of the Best

When it comes to the world's most timeless masterpieces, there is no shortage of them in Italy. From the Lamborghini Miura to the Panerai Luminor, or the Fincantieri Yachts to the Persol 649 series sunglasses, Italy claims the best of the best in products from every industry, including the kitchen industry.  Officine Gullo, the world's leading and most prestigious kitchen manufacturer, handcrafts its kitchens in Italy, placing fashion, history and technology at the center of their designs. Officine Gullo was founded in Florence, Italy, where Carmelo Gullo refined the art of bespoke kitchens and accessories utilizing Florentine cooking traditions.  Today, Carmelo's sons, Pietro and Matteo, manage the company's operations, including its showrooms in cities all over the world.  In the United States, Gullo has showrooms in New York and Los Angeles.  For a list of their international showrooms, click here: SHOWROOMS. The Gullo kitchens are all handcrafted by Florentine artisans, using metals such as high-thickness steel, burnished copper, cast iron and brass. The company specializes in complete indoor and outdoor kitchens, including sinks, refrigeration, barbecues, hardware, appliances, kitchen decor and shelving. In July 2021, I had the pleasure of meeting the Gullo family at their headquarters in Florence, Italy, in Piazza Ognissanti.  The whole experience was akin to dining at a highest ranking Michelin restaurant thanks to the incredible atmosphere, sophisticated conversation and exceptional cuisine and service. As with anything of top quality, however, the Gullo kitchens are expensive and certainly not in everyone's budget.  But if you can afford a Gullo kitchen, not only am I envious, but you will find the Gullo team friendly, welcoming and honored to have you as their potential customer.  If you cannot afford a Gullo kitchen, then be sure to still peruse their website, admiring their work as if you would admire historical artistic...

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Livernano – The Superior Tuscan Resort

Italian Enthusiasts know that when it comes to wine-making, Italy rules. There are over 1.5 million acres of vineyards in Italy, which makes it essentially impossible to visit the country without seeing a vineyard in whatever region you travel. But not all vineyards are open to tourists, naturally. Some vineyard owners cultivate wine for their family’s consumption only, while others grow grapes solely to sell them to other winemaking establishments. Some, however, are open to the public, offering services to tourists including wine-tasting, tours, fine dining, accommodations, etc. – and the selection of vineyards available to visit range from poor to unsurpassable. As a frequent traveler to Italy, I’ve seen all kinds of vineyards over the years, but the Livernano Resort / Casalvento Winery steals the show. Located in the heart of Tuscany (Radda in Chianti), less than an hour drive from Florence and Siena, the Livernano and Casalvento properties extend approximately 1,000 acres. The land was first inhabited by the Etruscans in ancient times, then occupied by the Romans during the Roman Empire. For hundreds of years the land was used for farming, until it was abandoned in 1953 due to the poverty suffered after WWII. Then, roughly 30 years ago, international entrepreneurs and Italian enthusiasts, Bob and Gudrun Cuillo, purchased the properties and began a complete and detailed restoration of the entire estate that took nearly 20 years to complete. Vineyards were re-planted, ancient olive groves restored and the buildings renovated, including the renovation of an 11th century Catholic Church. Today, Livernano and Casalvento produce not only the finest of wine, but also olive oil, honey, vegetables, fruits and marmalade. The vegetables at Livernano come from their own garden. The Cuillos spared no time and expense in bringing to life this heavenly hamlet and winery for all the…

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Let’s cut off the Bull’s Head – An Italian Saying

Tagliamo la testa al toro, which translates to, let’s cut off the bull’s head, is an Italian expression, presumably from the Veneto region, used to encourage undecided people to make a final decision, even though the decision might be difficult or result in a hardship to someone. Perhaps in English, it would simply be, Make a Decision Already!!! Italian folklore suggests the saying to originate from a bull owned by a stingy man. Curious to discover the contents inside a jar, the bull put his head into it to see what was inside. Unfortunately for the bull, his head got stuck in the jar and the bull’s owner was to cheap to break the precious jar to save the bull. The owner called his friend over for advice, and the only solution the two men came up with was to simply cut off the bull’s head to put an end to the problem. Venetian folklore has another explanation for the bull’s reference. In 1162, Venice fought against the city of Aquileia  (in the province of Udine, region of Friuli Venezia Giulia) for the control of Grado, an important port city in a strategic trading position by the Adriatic sea. Venice won the war and captured prisoners: 12 priests, 12 citizens and Ulrico, the leader of the Aquileian army. The Doge of Venice promised he would release the hostages if the Aquileian people payed a big ransom: 12 loaves of bread for releasing the priests, 12 pigs for releasing the citizens and 1 bull for releasing Ulrico.  The ransom way paid. The bread was given to the Venetian people, the pigs meat to the Venetian senators, but no one could decide who would have the bull. The Doge realized that, because the bull symbolized Ulrico, the leader of the Aquileian army,…

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A Common (Prejudicial) Italian Saying

There is a common saying in Italy – “meglio un morto in casa che un Pisano sull’uscio,” which translates, “better to have a dead person in the house than a person from Pisa at the front door.” The saying started in the Middle Ages in Lucca, Toscana, when soldiers from the Republic of Pisa often raided Lucca, stealing their goods and harming their people. From that point forward, there became a prejudice against the Pisani (people from Pisa) by the Lucchesi (people from Luca). Another reason for this prejudice against the Pisani is because in the Middle Ages, most of the Pisani worked for the tax office as collection agents. Therefore, having the Pisani on your doorstep inevitably meant that you would be forced to empty your pockets to pay the tax. Yet, another version of the origin of the saying tells that families were exempt from tax payments if a family member had died, so it was better to be in mourning than have a tax collector at your front door. The expression soon started to spread all over Tuscany and then Italy, and is still used and moulded according to people’s prejudices. For example, in Emilia Romagna, it is not unusual to hear the expression, “meglio un morto in casa che un Marchigiano sulla porta“, as the people from the Marche region used to be the Pope’s tax collectors in the Emilia Romagna area. Similarly, a Ferrarese may say, “meglio un morto in casa che un Bolognese sulla porta“, since the people from Ferrara have something against the people from Bologna. The expression can also be used to refer to just anyone in general who the speaker dislikes. A person can express dislike for their neighbor, for example, by saying, “better to have a dead person in the…

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Abbiamo fatto trenta, facciamo trentuno

“We have done thirty, let’s do thirty-one” (abbiamo fatto trenta, facciamo trentuno), is a common Italian expression used to indicate that when you’ve completed most of the task, you might as well do that extra step to make it complete. The expression is said to belong to Pope Leone X (the 10th), the second son of Lorenzo de’ Medici, also known as Lorenzo the Magnificent.  Pope Leone X was elected in 1513 and was the 217th Pope of the Catholic Church. On July 1st 1517, Leone elected 30 new cardinals. He then realized he forgot to elect one (who was said to be a good friend of the Pope) and he then added him to the list at the end of the assembly, announcing: “Those who get to 30 can get to 31”. The statement has been used ever since to give an idea of completing a job that was not entirely completed, and to indicate that an extra effort may be needed.In everyday language, it can also be used in a sarcastic way. For example, if your friend spent a small fortune on a shopping spree, buying shoes, bags and clothes, but forgot to get those earrings too, you can definitely say “you have done 30, you may as well do 31”! Also, if you’ve studied hard for your exam and spent many nights writing your essay, but your perfectionist professor wants to give you extra work to do, you may sob and say “well, I have done 30, I’ll do 31”. Then, when you finally pass your exam with an A+, you can happily say “I deserve it because I’ve done 30 and 31 for that”!

Who Knows the Italian Expression – Durare da Natale a Santo Stefano?

With Christmas flying by us and the joy of the holidays fading as we enter the New Year, an old Italian saying comes to mind signifying something short-lived. As Italian Enthusiasts, we recognize that a strong grasp of Italian culture requires an understanding of the Italian language, including its idioms, proverbs and metaphors. The saying, “durare da Natale a Santo Stefano” seems appropriate during this period, and one that can be used throughout the entire year. Durare da Natale a Santo Stefano is a typical expression used all over Italy. Literally, it means “to last from Christmas to Saint Stephen’s Day” (from December 25 to December 26). As there are no more than 24-hours between the 25th and 26th, the expression clearly indicates something that is not meant to last for long. If this expression is used about something, you better not rely on it too much. For example, if your friend talks to you about his/her complicated relationship, it may be appropriate to say, “oh, that will last from Christmas to Saint Stephen’s Day”, or durerà da Natale a Santo Stefano. Similarly, if you acquire a cheap pair of shoes, you may think, “these will last from Christmas to Saint Stephen’s Day”, or dureranno da Natale a Santo Stefano. Please note that the … da Natale a Santo Stefano will remain the same, but the verb durare, which comes first, will change depending on the context. See the examples below: I will last = durerò. Example: I will begin my diet tomorrow, but I know durerò da Natale a Santo Stefano. You will last = durerai. Example: Your lazy friend tells you he will begin a strenuous workout regime at the gym, and you tell him, durerai da Natale a Santo Stefano. He/She/It will last = durerà. Example: Someone…

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Covid in Italy During the Christmas Holiday

Covid continues to be severe in Italy, making it the most-affected country in Europe and one of the most impacted countries in the world. With sacred Christmas holidays approaching – December 24, Vigilia di Natale; December 25, Natale; December 26, Santo Stefano; December 31, San Silvestro; January 1, Primo dell’Anno; and January 6, Epifania – families and friends long to be together for the festivities and return to a normalcy they all once enjoyed. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing Covid problem in Italy, the government has placed tight restrictions through the holiday period. For a brief background since the Covid outbreak, Italy has been divided into color codes by region as follows: Red (High Risk), Orange (Medium Risk) and Yellow (Low Risk). Color code classifications depended not only on the amount of sick people in the region, but also on the proportion between the amount of sick people and the amount of available hospital beds. Naturally, the higher the risk in a region, the stricter the restrictions. Red regions require total lockdown. Residents are permitted to leave their home only for “proven needs”, e.g., work, food, hospital. All shops are required to close in Red regions, except for food shops, drug stores, pharmacies and newsagents. Orange regions require only partial lockdown, where restaurants and bars remain closed, but the residents are afforded the right to move freely around their towns and cities (but still cannot leave the province absent a family or medical emergency). Yellow regions have limited restrictions, but consistent with those imposed nationwide. For example, while restaurants and bars may operate, they must close by 6pm, and there is a curfew from 10pm to 5am. Further, public transportation has been decreased by 50%, and museums, gyms and swimming pools remain closed. In the whole country, only primary and…

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