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...

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.

Italy Opens Up To The World

Italy has finally opened up. The fear was that the restrictive rules imposed by Italy were causing tourists to book elsewhere. The rules previously insisted that visitors from approx. 138 countries weren't allowed for tourism purposes, others from non-EU countries like the USA had to test and meet a long list of other requirements. Certain countries had to quarantine for ten days.

These requirements have now been lifted and the rules are the same for everybody regardless of where they come from.

From 1 March, to enter Italy, it will be sufficient to
1) Be vaccinated (no length of validity specified yet),
2) Have recovered from Covid 19
3) Be in possession of a negative test.
You will need to fill in a Passenger Locator Form before departure and present it at check-in (on mobile device or in hard copy)

Should you not have any of #1 to #3 then you will need to quarantine for 5 days at the address you indicated on the Passenger Locator Form.

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

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.

Who is Responsible for Pineapple Pizza?

We love Canada and Canadians and have many Canadian friends. Therefore, we were horrified to discover that the always nice, always friendly Canadians were responsible for one of the greatest culinary tragedies of our time, the horrendous mutilation of the already perfect pizza from Napoli.

Canadians, probably in all innocence (I can never attribute sinister motives to Canadians) thought that adding pineapple to a pizza would be a good idea.

What were they thinking!

Pineapple Pizza

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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Discover the Secrets of the Cinque Terre Italy

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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Italians Await A Witch

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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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!


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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Learn Italian Easily: The Essential Info You Need

Learning Italian couldn't be simpler. The world's most beautiful language and one of the easiest to learn. Everything you need to learn Italian is here...

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Montemerano - Oh I love you!

Balconies, flower boxes, the inevitable washing on lines, wall plants, pots; and intricate stone. Another garden village I wish I lived in. One does get wistful in Montemerano.

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Picture Book Italy - Portofino

Picture postcard perfect, that's what you get when you visit Portofino. You sometimes you feel it can't be real. Let me share this idyllic town with you.......

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Such Moments Make a Vacation in Italy

A Family from the USA Move to Spello

A family's tale of courage and adventure in the enchanting town of Spello. Inspirational reading for those dreaming of living in Italy.

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Easy Chicken Cacciatore

Need a great recipe for authentic homemade chicken cacciatore? Look no further, we have THE authentic Chicken Cacciatore Recipe direct from Piemonte Italy.

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A Guide to the Best Italian Food Books

Which are the best Italian food books? I have lived in Italy for 10 years, my wife is Italian and a great chef - she put together a list of essential reading...

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This is Italy....

Fancy Driving in Italy?

Planning on driving in Italy? Then you need to click "continue reading" below...

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