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...

A Grandmother's New Life in Italy

An American grandmother heads off for a new life in Italy, leaving behind ten grandchildren. This incredible story will inspire everyone to live their dreams.

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Italian Parliament Proposes Paying for Weddings

The plan, proposed in parliament by the Lega, one of the government's coalition partners, aims to pay young couples who decide to marry 20% of their expenses up to a maximum of 20,000 Euros. The sum will cover anything wedding related and will include: flowers, dresses, catering and photographers.

The proposal is aimed at getting young couples to marry and, hopefully, have children. Fewer young Italians than ever before are getting married and birth rates are close to the lowest in the world.

To qualify for the funding the couple must have held Italian citizenship for at least ten years and earn less than €23 000 a year.

Homemade Tiramisu Recipe from Italy

A mouthwatering Tiramisu Recipe and easy too. Not for nothing the name means pick me up in Italian. Maria's authentic recipe is now on our site...

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Parks in Turin - The Best in Italy?

Parks in Turin are the best of any Italian city and include the largest urban park in Italy. Join us then in discovering Turin’s and Italy’s loveliest parks…

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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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Pietà - the most famous statue in Italy

Pieta statue in Italy

The Pietà is one of the most beautiful and moving statues you will ever see - the famous one in the Vatican is by Michelangelo but the photo above isn't of that statue.

Few people realize that there is another one - not a replica but different.

In Michelangelo's version the head of Jesus is lower down. In this version Mary rests her cheek upon the head of Jesus and gazes heavenwards. In some ways that makes it even more tragic and more moving.

So where is this beautiful statue? It is in the Temple of San Sebastiano in Milan and is by the Italian sculptor Benedetto Cacciatori.

Michelangelo's version is below...

Pieta statue by Michelangelo in Italy

Remembering a Tragedy: 99 Years Ago

Diga in Italy

Today, it is a beautiful mountain landscape, idyllic in its beauty and sense of peace. Ninety-nine years ago it was the scene of one of Italy's greatest man-made tragedies. It was not caused by an earthquake or volcano but by incompetence - incompetence that led to the death of at least 356 people.

What happened?

The idea was to build a dam on the Gleno stream in the Valle di Scalve which is in the mountains north of Bergamo.

The problem was that the engineers building the dam used mortar instead of cement and failed to fix the walls to the rock adequately. An inspector pointed out these faults during construction but nothing was done to rectify the problems.

In October 1923 heavy rains filled the dam for the first time. Leaks immediately began to appear and then, on 1 December 1923, the walls collapsed and 356 people lost their lives.

Secret Italy Index

The Secret Italy Index is packed full of Italy's most beautiful and undiscovered small towns and villages. This is the Italy of ones dreams.

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Major Discovery in Tuscany - A Treasure of the Past

A find that will rewrite the history of Italy and one of the most important archaeological finds this century. Watch the video (unfortunately all in Italian but it gives you a good overview) then read the article below where it says continue reading.

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Tourist Brings Traffic to a Standstill

A German tourist brought traffic to a complete standstill in Turin this morning, leading to chaos across the city as traffic was rerouted.

Many commuters on buses and trams arrived late for work. Some rather colorful expressions were heard being used by passengers on the number 15 tram to describe the car's owner.

Some passengers implied that the car owner believed that owning an expensive Porsche entitled him to park his car wherever he wished?

The car was eventually removed by the police and the owner will no doubt have some explaining to do when he turns up to collect it.

Tired of the stress of city living? Read the story below for some inspiration...

Where NOT to Swim in Rome

Mr John Elms

Can you help please? Do you know a U K insurer who will give cover for a permanent home in Italy. We moved from the UK recently to live in Italy. Many

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Fiumefreddo Bruzio - A Town, A Work of Art

I remember walking up the walkway to Castello della Valle, The guide said “Fiumefreddo Bruzio is a work of art, carved from the stone it sits on.”

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Meet Italy's New Leader

Disgace

The floods that have devastated Ancona Province in Italy are horrific. Lots of politicians are blaming climate change, however it turns out that whatever the causes of the heavy rain that led to the flooding, the politicians may well have a lot to answer for.

Reports are saying that after the last heavy floods in 2014 the causes were identified and the solution was identified: basins to drain overflows, changing bridge design to prevent logjams and the clearing of waterways.

Politics and bureaucracy meant nothing was done.

If political bickering had not been the priority a young child might not be missing at this moment and 11 lives may not have been lost.

Will the politicians responsible be held accountable? That will never happen. It is easier for the politicians and their pliant media channels to blame the meteorologists or climate change and allow the politicians to wash their hands of all responsibility.

Marche Floods: Many Killed & Missing

Devastating floods have ravaged many town in the Le Marche region of Central Italy. So far 10 have been confirmed killed and many are missing, including a mother and her two young children. More than 50 people are being treated in hospital. Rescuers worked through the night to rescue people washed away in their cars or sheltering in trees or on rooftops.

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.

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...

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