In her own words, Michelle Fabio is “an American attorney-turned-freelance writer living in her family’s ancestral village in Calabria, Italy and savouring simplicity one sip at a time”. Offering the rare double perspective of both an outsider and an insider into Italian culture – mainly Calabrian – Fabio’s posts on her blog ‘Bleeding Espresso’ are both hilarious and thoughtful. Offerings include: ‘False friends in the Italian language’ and ‘Top ten reasons Nutella is better than a boyfriend’ – as well as mouth-watering traditional Italian recipes in ‘What’s Cooking Wednesdays’.
Pick up just about any Italian national newspaper, and you’ll notice that the first ten pages or so are devoted to politics in the kind of coded language that not only assumes you have an impressive Italian vocabulary but an extensive knowledge of political acronyms. That’s where James Walston can help. As a professor of International Relations and Global Politics at the American University in Rome, he’s well-versed in such matters and updates his blog weekly. So instead of giving yourself a headache, take a free politics lesson from Walston and get the lowdown on the new government.
Fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni is a 25-year-old Italian law student and model currently studying at the prestigious Bocconi University. Since 2009, the Milan-based blonde has been posting pictures of her carefully chosen outfits every day, with captions in both Italian and English. A silly vanity project? Not at all: she’s widely respected in the fashion world and has appeared in fashion magazines as far afield as Japan and Mexico. Ferragni has also travelled extensively, most recently to Athens and New York (known in Italy as the Grande Mela – ie the Big Apple) – and posted pictures of foreign fashion trends.
Kate Bailward describes herself as a cat-loving, trifle-hating Englishwoman in Sicily. She hails from a small town near Bristol in the UK and landed in Italy in 2009, without knowing a word of the language beyond “ciao”, “grazie” and “arrivederci”. That didn’t stop her, however, from delving into small-town life in Salento a town located at the bottom of Italy’s heel. She now lives in Catania, Sicily, where she teaches English, writes, and regularly updates her followers with witty observations on Sicilian life.
One recent post centres on Sicily’s beloved Vespas. She describes how one rider lost his temper with his girlfriend, who was riding pillion behind him, after she almost knocked him off balance by fussing with her hair at a traffic light. “‘It’s not a pushbike, you know!’ he says. She flicks her long brunette ringlets back over her shoulders and turns up her nose, uncontrite at the scolding.” Kate also writes about local flower festivals, conversations with her Catanese flatmate, travels around other parts of Italy and – er – lamp-posts.
Yes, American Judy Witts Francini’s blog is every bit as divine as its title. Based in Colle Val d’Elsa – in the rolling hills of Tuscany – with her Florentine husband, she’s a cookery teacher, food writer and life coach. Having lived in the region since 1984, Witts Francini has picked up many Tuscan cooking secrets which she divulges in her blog and in her cookery courses. You’ll find a wealth of recipes on her blog, not only from Tuscany but also from her recent travels to Sicily and beyond. If cooking’s not your thing, then check out her dining guides to Florence and Chianti. She’s also the author of the cookbook ‘Secrets from my Tuscan Kitchen’.
This witty blog is pretty much summed up in the title. Leah is a 47-year-old Canadian married to an Italian and living in Genova in Luguria, north-western Italy with her husband and mother-in-law. When she’s not blogging, the former advertising executive works as an English teacher and attends Italian lessons. On her site you’ll find Italian cooking tips, such as the post ‘Eewwww, you eat anchovies?’ and musings on life in Italy as a foreigner, including ‘Expat life – the not so pretty side’. In the post ‘Marrying an Italian 101’ she offers coping mechanisms for Italian married life including: “Always say yes to Mama”, “Let him pay”, and “Practise lying”.