Mi o My Italy Blog

Discovered! Another Italy entirely. Most visitors to Italy know Rome, Venice, Florence and Tuscany. There is SO much more.

Far from the everyday Italian tourist traps there is an undiscovered Italy. A rather special Italy and one you will fall helplessly in love with.

Join us in exploring the many undiscovered gems scattered across Italy...

Floods in Campania

Floods have devastated the small Southern Italian town of Monteforte Irpino.

Heavy rain caused a river to overflow and flood much of the city causing extensive damage to cars and properties. Local citizens are being urged to stay at home if possible.

Domino's Have Fallen

Domino's Pizza had great dreams. They dreamed of selling pizza to Italians on a huge scale.

They obviously expected Italians to JUMP at the chance of saying addio (farewell) to their own Italian style of pizza.

That's the only thing I can think of considering they planned to open 800 stores in Italy.

They must have believed that Italians would be so happy to see them that they would quickly get to grab a huge slice of the pizza market.

Sadly it wasn't to be.

They only got to around 29 stores and then, big surprise, they realized that Italians weren't wild about their pizza. Who would have thought? The last Domino's Pizzeria has now closed.

Italian's will now have to eat Italian pizza, to make do with eating only the best pizza on earth.

How will they manage?

Finding 'secret' Italy

After far too long I finally got to Italy a few weeks ago. Finding 'secret' Italy isn't as difficult as one might think as most, probably, stay around

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Yours for $79 billion!

Colosseum

$79 Billion is the value that Deloitte has placed upon the Colosseum.

Why did they value it?

Something about them researching the value of the cultural heritage of Italy, the country with the most cultural UNESCO World Heritage site in the world.

There are no plans to sell it.

RED ALERT ACROSS ITALY

Record high temperatures are raising concern across Italy, with the elderly and those with health conditions being advised to stay home and to drink plenty of water.

Can you BELIEVE these temperatures.

Bolzano: a city up in the foothills of the Dolomites near Austria has experienced 38 Celsius/100.4 Fahrenheit for much of July and that is set to continue.

Florence: has been suffering since June with temperatures of around 38 Celsius/100.4 Fahrenheit and even higher on occasions.

Rome Much like Florence with temperatures of around 38 Celsius/100.4 Fahrenheit.

Sadly, there is hardly anywhere spared - the only place to escape is right up in the Alps - you need to go higher than 2,000 metres/6,500 feet above sea level to really feel cool.

Vultures in Italy

Vultures in Italy

You might not expect to see such a sight in Italy and yet, increasingly, it is becoming more common. Vultures were once nearly extinct in Italy but, with the better protection of nature reserves in Sardinia, Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, Abruzzo and elsewhere, they have begun to return in numbers.

You may see the Griffon vultures, shown in the photo, or others such as the Egyptian vulture.

So, look upwards the next time you are in Southern Italy and you may be surprised. Like the bear, vultures are an animal many do not expect to find in Italy and yet, in increasing numbers, they are here.

Celebrate the good news - share this page with a friend.

Authentic Melanzane alla Parmigiana

I've tried many recipes over the years for this recipe. They were okay. Then I tried this one and...WOW!

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The Best of Le Marche Italy

The Best of Le Marche Italy. A beautiful journey through this magical region of Italy.

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The Joys of a Southern Italian Lifestyle

Feeling blue? Go and experience the Southern Italian lifestyle. Fold yourself in with the community there. Chat with the people in the piazza, get some rest, slow down and enjoy all the bounty that life offers you. Who knows? You might never leave.

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Michelin Styled or Traditional Italian?

We read a great article today about Michelin styled restaurants; basically, the conclusion reached is that they are pretentious rubbish and have nothing to do with real Italian food.

My view is that this "Michelin" nonsense is slowly ruining traditional Italian cooking (Italian cooking isn't cuisine - it's too good for that word).

In many villages, towns and cities across Italy restaurants try to serve pretentious looking concoctions. You end up leaving hungry, whereas, once upon a time, any true Italian nonna would have been horrified at the thought of a customer leaving her restaurant anything less than thoroughly stuffed.

Have a read of the article here and then share your comments on our post here

Nearly 20% Discount For US Tourists

Back in May 2021 your US Dollar would only have bought you around 82 Euro cents.

Now you will get close to a Euro as the Euro and British Pound have both plunged against the USD and many other currencies.

Europe is fast becoming a major low cost destination so don't lose the chance of a lifetime.

Experts are warning though these huge exchange rate differences may not last beyond this year so... Book Now, right here... and lock in the superb deals while they last.

Your Questions Answered:

I've received a fair number of questions about the situation in Italy recently. These are answers to the 3 most asked:

Question: Are the airports in Italy chaotic?
Answer: Not at all - everything is normal, there have been none of the staff shortages and cancellations seen elsewhere.

Question: Are there shortages in the stores?
Answer: None. The shelves are full at every store I've been in across Italy and I have travelled from north to south over the last few months.

Question: A lot of people seem to have seen a Telegram video they implies Italians are starving and scrabbling for leftovers at markets. So are Italians in a dire way?
Answer: While prices have increased, I have seen no real change in any of the places I've visited this summer. Apart from cites like Rome, where there has always been a homeless issue, I have not encountered a homeless Italian person or beggar in any one of the 40 + towns I have visited in the last three months. That includes over 9 towns in Calabria. The video is apparently a Russian propaganda video trying to imply that Europe is suffering more from the sanctions than they are. It is meant to convince their own people that they are better off in Russia.

One Bonus Question Answered:
You don't need to be tested or show a vaccine certificate to enter Italy and you don't need to wear a mask pretty much anywhere, except in hospitals and on public transport - where you will need an FFP2 mask.

Italy's Best Kept Secrets

Ever wondered if there are some secret and stunningly beautiful corners of Italy? There are! Let me share Italy's best kept secrets...

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Discover the Secrets of the Cinque Terre Italy: Updated 2022

Cinque Terre Italy is one of the most famous and beautiful coasts in the world. For many years we lived near here and discovered many of its secrets.

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Visiting Italy: The 3 Rules You Need to Know

1) No vaccine, test or form needed to enter.
2) Travel anywhere you please - no travel restriction in Italy.
3) Wear a mask on public transport.


Bottom Line: life here in Italy is back to normal. It's like 2019 all over again.

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Our Advice is to Make sure you have travel insurance though - you need to be prepared for all eventualities.

Drought + Natural Gas Crises

Italy faces two terrible crises at once. They are:

Drought

The worst drought in 70 years has caused rivers to dry up across Northern Italy.

It is quite shocking for me to see the state of the river Po, this huge river runs across Northern Italy and yet, in many places, it is now little more than a trickle. People are sunbathing on the "beaches" where once the river flowed strongly. Italy's farmers are warning that as much as 50% of the crop in the north could be at risk. Electricity supply too is threatened as hydroelectric power plays and important role in Italy.

Even Italy's lakes are drying out with Lake Maggiore at its lowest level since World War 2 and navigation is at risk on Lakes Como and Garda.

Natural Gas

Italy relies heavily on Russia for the gas used to heat homes and businesses and for cooking. Now Russia has cut supplies drastically. This may lead to shortages, unless alternative supplies can be found quickly to make up the shortfall. It could mean a cold winter for many people this year, either because of rationing or because many people cannot afford to heat their homes.

The Guide to Car Rental Italy: Updated for 2022

Car Rental in Italy is the best way to explore the countryside and those gorgeous little towns that make Italy so special

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Big Changes to Italy's Entry Rules

Italy has finally opened up. No more Green Pass (vaccination certificate) is required. From 1 June the requirement to show you are vaccinated or tested has fallen away.

You can now visit Italy as you always have and when you are in Italy nobody will ask you if you are vaccinated either ( I haven't been asked for months) and except for a few places (public transport, hospitals and a few other places) you never have to wear a mask either.

So come on over and visit.

Italy Seizes "Putin's" Yacht

A yacht, valued at over $600 million and believed to be owned by Vladimir Putin, has been seized by the Italian government. It was in Italy for repairs and had tried to leave for international waters but was boarded by Italian authorities and seized.

The yacht is believed to be one of the most luxurious yachts ever made. The opulence is incredible as you can see in the video below..

Changes to Italy's Covid Rules

Italy's Covid rules are easing. The Green Pass (the requirement to prove vaccination status in order to enter many places and travel on some forms of public transport) has pretty much ended except for when visiting someone in a hospital.

The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) is no longer needed and the entry requirement to be fully vaccinated, recovered or tested may well end in June - therefore making it easier for tourists to enter Italy.

Now that most places do not require you to wear a mask or require you to show your vaccination status we went out to see what things are like. So, are people wearing masks? Well, outdoors I'd say most people aren't, but, in stores and supermarkets most, nearly all, seem to still be wearing masks.

Will that change?

My feeling is it will take a while before people start feeling confident enough to go without the mask. Unlike in the UK and USA, where people seemed to discard masks a more easily, Italians seem rather more cautious.

The Green Pass (vaccine status) though seems to have been abandoned long before it was officially no longer required - nobody has been checking them for ages.

Here are the new rules...

The new rules, that came into effect on 1 May basically boil down to the following:
Bars & Restaurants: No masks required
Shops: No masks required
Cinemas, indoor sports and concert arenas, theaters, hospitals: masks still required until 15 June.
All forms of public transport: masks still required until 15 June.

It was expected that the mask requirement would be lifted everywhere, except hospitals, but that has not happened. Health Minister Roberto Speranza states that he wishes to remain rather cautious as the pandemic is not yet over.



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US Army Returns Stolen Cake

Colle Val d’Elsa

The charms of Colle Val d’Elsa, which is one of Tuscany's best kept secrets, can now be shared with you thanks to a sixty-something grandmother...

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The Best Beach in Sardinia and in Italy: Updated for 2022

This summer is too short to be wasted. You need the best beach in Sardinia to make it worthwhile. We have all of them right here for you.

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The Best Books On Piedmont

These books on Piedmont Italy are essential reading for anyone interested in this lovely Italian Region.

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Have A British Driving License?

British drivers licenses are no longer convertible into Italian licenses. Previously, after a year of living in Italy, you could convert your British license to an Italian one without taking any test - now, after a year of residence you have to take the driving test in Italy (both theory and practical) and, assuming you pass the very difficult exam which is entirely in Italian, you start off in the new driver category and can only drive a 55KW/t car or smaller. Plus, for the first 3 years you are not allowed to exceed the speed of 100 km/h for motorways and 90 km/h for main suburban roads.

I have a British friend who has just got residence, an entrepreneur creating work for many Italians, and at the age of nearly 70 he now has to redo his license and trade in his SUV for a tiny Fiat. Should he not pass the test he won't be allowed to drive again.

Crazy world we live in ;-)

1 APRIL: Venice Begins Paving Canals. Cars Allowed in the City!

Venice Canals Paved

Arrived here from our Facebook post, the one about cars in Venice and based on the photo above?

Well, the bad news is you have been caught by our Pesce d’Aprile/April Fool's joke.

The good news - cars are not allowed in Venice (beyond the parking area near the bus terminus) and probably never will be allowed into the city. The photo was taken in the nearby town of Chioggia - a lovely little mini-Venice which we've written about elsewhere on our site. Use the search box at the top of the right column to find the articles.

Also, please slowly scroll down the rest of this page - you'll find lots of useful info and fun facts about Italy.

Why Are Italians Unhappy?

Of all the countries of Western Europe, Italy is near the bottom of the official UN list when it come to "happiness". But we ask ourselves... are Italians really so unhappy?

Well, yes and no.

The report focuses on:
1) Social help
2) Life expectancy
3) Generosity
4) GDP per capita
5) Freedom to make life selections
6) Perceptions of corruption

Italy scored fairly well to very well for the first four and with number two they were near the top in the entire world. Yet numbers five and six dragged down Italy's score.

Personally, I don't think this is a fair reflection of how happy Italians are. For most Italians happiness depends on health, amore, eating well, family... and with those things nobody can beat Italians.

Walks and Hikes in Tuscany - Experience Tuscany like a Local

Walks and hikes in Tuscany: cypress-lined lanes, quaint villages and picturesque farmhouses. We’re off to where the walking is as enchanting as the wine.

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Alitalia is BACK!

Here's a major surprise for those who thought they'd seen the back of Alitalia... they haven't. Last year, when Alitalia was purchased by something called ITA, there was a huge launch, lots of money spent and a "new" brand... complete with aircraft decked out in the ITA livery - the same blue that Italian sports teams wear.

We all said good bye to Alitalia, some were glad to see the back of them others were deeply saddened. Few expected to see quite such a miraculous rise from the dead. The old bankrupt Alitalia that was is now to be given new life, the brand resuscitated. Some say that the whole thing was just a ruse by the Italian government to circumvent EU rules on government funding of airlines. I don't know. Only those behing the whole scheme do.

It Broke My Heart: Travel Insurance for Italy

The stories we heard broke our hearts. So, when people ask: "Is travel insurance for Italy necessary?" we reply...

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How Well Do You Know Italy?

Why the Vatican?

“Why did you come to Rome, why The Vatican?” I asked. The Muslim gentleman replied “I can feel God in this place.”

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Citing Covid, Naples Mayor Bans Fireworks. This is the response...

Watch the response of Naples as a journalist announces the rules of the new government decree banning fireworks on New Year's Eve...

Subscribe to A Secret Italy

Become a part of the Secret Italy Club. Membership is open for a short while longer and we'd like you to be a part of the family.

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A Night in Rome

Photos of Rome

Rome is a city that can change your life...for the better! Most photos don't give you any idea of what life is actually like in Rome - these do!

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ART EXPO THAT CHINA ORDERED ITALY TO CLOSE IS... NOW OPEN!

Remember that art exhibition that China demanded Italy close? Well, it has gone ahead. China had said it must be closed. "The Chinese government cannot accept because it distort the facts and spread false information"

The mayor of Brescia and local organizers refused to bow down to intense Chinese pressure. The fact that they have gone ahead is a sign of their determination to not show weakness and give in to pressure.

The organizers say that because of Chinese pressure more people have been made aware of the situation.

If you support Italy's decision to go ahead please share this as far and as wide as you can. Please also share the post under Continue Reading. Let's stop bullying!

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Vulcano Island

250 people on the tiny island of Vulcano are being told to leave their homes and move to the other side of the island.

This tiny island, only 15 miles north of Sicily, is the island that volcanoes are named after and, although experts believe there is no danger of a major eruption, they are extremely concerned about CO2 gas levels which are five times above normal.

Oxygen levels are so low that breathing problems are likely for some people with chronic lung issues, the elderly and young children. Reports have already been received of people and pets passing out from lack of oxygen.

Please keep the people of Vulcano Island in your thoughts and prayers.

More about Vulcano Island

Cisternino: peace, piazzas and pasta

Film-maker Federico Fellini once said ‘life is a combination of magic and pasta.’ I love that quote. It reminds me of eating orecchiette in Cisternino.

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An Italian Butcher's Tale from Sarnano

There is a macelleria inside the gates of Sarnano, an Italian butcher shop, the subject of our interest. The couple who run it are old, the store is old.

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Cison di Valmarino - Another World Awaits

Nestled between mountains, where crystal clear streams tumble down through glades of flowers and verdant forest, you'll find Cison di Valmarino.

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When Will You Follow In Their Footsteps? 7 Ladies in Italy... A Video

Travel through Italy in Photos

Planning on visiting Italy or still only dreaming? Either way you can travel through Italy for free with these gorgeous photo galleries...

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Italy, a Timelapse Video

Secret Italy Index

The Secret Italy Index features many of the most beautiful and undiscovered small towns and villages in Italy.

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