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...

Wisconsin: The Home of Genuine Parmesan Cheese

An interesting article in the Financial Times is spurring much debate in Italy and challenging the arrogance and snobbery (which I hate) related to Italian cooking. Dishes that were once simple peasant meals have been turned into gourmet arrogance. Simple dishes are now expensive icons of an Italy that never was, the recipes cast in stone and never to be changed.

In the article, even the origins and genuineness of certain dishes is questioned. A few examples they mention include Panettone (really just clever marketing by Motta of their cake), Carbonara (thanks to American soldiers for providing the ingredients), and Parmesan (nothing like the original parmesan; to try the original one, visit Wisconsin, where Italian imigrants stayed faithful to the real Parmesan).

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Is Michelangelo's David Actually Porn?

The 10 greatest train journeys in Italy & Tips Galore

Fast train in Italy

From the 10 greatest Italian train journeys to common visitor mistakes never to make? We have everything you need to know about train journeys in Italy

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Leanardo da Vinci: 50% Italian

Leonardo da Vinci, Italy's iconic scientist, painter, and inventor, was only half Italian, according to new research. His mother was a Circassian slave, probably captured by Tartars in the Caucus region, sold to the Venetians, and then taken to Tuscany, where she worked as a nanny before being given her liberty.

Ansa has the full story:

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The Sulphur Falls of Saturnia, Tuscany

Drought in Italy

Have Starbucks improved Italian Coffee?

The French Are No Doubt Fuming

That's because TasteAtlas, the world authority on everything gourmet, just released its world cheese ratings, and not one French cheese made the top ten. In fact, eight of the top ten were from one single country. Italy! 

At first I was shocked, as I do enjoy a good brie or camembert cheese once in a while, but then I thought about the top cheeses on the list, like Mozzarella di Bufala Campana, Burrata, and Parmigiano Reggiano, and I wondered if I would choose a French cheese above these. Nah, not likely.

Click below to see the full ranking...

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Pietà - perhaps 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 most 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 of Michelangelo's statue 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

There is another version too, the one in the photo below. It is in the Trinita dei Monti church in Rome and is a plaster copy of the original marble work by Wilelm Theodor Achtermann which was once upon a time in the Munster Cathedral. Sadly, the original was destroyed in the war.

Pieta statue in Italy

Turin is my old home town. Join me in discovering this great city


One of the great cities of Europe, I've lived in and loved Turin (Torino) for 8 years. Elegant and enchanting, let me share its many secrets...

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The Complete Guide to Shopping in Turin

Turin Gallery San Federico

We spent nearly ten years in Turin and share some great advice and insider tips on shopping in Turin - the best places to shop, known only to the locals

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Tellaro - One of Italy's Best Kept Secrets

Tellaro 3a

Everyone knows the Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast but there is somewhere just as lovely with hardly any tourists? It's a place called Tellaro.

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The Ultimate Tremiti Islands Guide

Pagliai Beach Tremiti Islands

Thinking of visiting the Tremiti Islands? That's a great idea! I'll tell you why in a moment and provide the essential info you need to plan your trip,

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Turin Chocolates – Home of The World’s finest Chocolate

Chocolates in Turin

Think of Switzerland when you think of gourmet chocolates ? Close but not quite. Go a little further South to Turin Piedmont and you will find...

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Friars Snowball Fight in Assisi

The Last Godfather

Messina Denaro, the Mafia boss who once bragged that he had filled a cemetery on his own has been arrested. Known as the last Godfather, his arrest closes the book on the big bosses of Cosa Nostra in Sicily and was greeted with delight by Sicilians, most of whom long to be free of the vampire tentacles of the Mafia. The mafia has, for too long, held back Sicily from realizing its full potential.

The Top 5 Sights in Rome

On certain dates of the year, like September 4, April 21, and September 23, something astounding happens inside the Pantheon in Rome. Watch the video to find out what it is...

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Rovigno & Venice


Gorgeous Rovigno is only 50 miles from Venice as the crow flies and for 500 plus years it was ruled by Venice.

Then, for many years, up until 1947, it was an integral part of Italy. As much a part of Italy as Rome or Florence.

After that Italy and Rovigno were torn apart, Rovigno, and the nearby towns, were given to then communist Yugoslavia by the Great Powers at the Treaty of Paris in 1947 - this despite the census of 1911 showing that 97,8% of the population were mother tongue Italian.

Most travel between Italy and Rovigno came to a halt. Many of the citizens of Rovigo (being Italian citizens) fled to what remained of Italy.

Incredible then how things can change.

Today, Rovigno (now in Croatia), is completely open. This year there will no longer be border controls for Italians (and other Schengen citizens) wanting to visit and Italy and Rovigno will once again be using the same currency - the Euro (Croatia is a Euro member from January 2023).

Italians are overjoyed. It is like Christmas all over again with our long absent relative back home.

The Best Tours of Piedmont Italy


Exceptional tours of Piedmont - including Barolo wine, slow food , walking tours and golf and cycling tours plus much more...

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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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The Italian Panettone Recipe - An Essential Part of Christmas in Italy

Italian Panettone

Maria's traditional Italian Panettone recipe. The most famous Italian Christmas cake of them all. Bake yourself a taste of Italy this Christmas.

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House Insurance Italy - the Best Advice online

Pizzo in Calabria

House Insurance Italy - All you should know about insuring your home in Italy.

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The Best Beach in Sardinia and in Italy: Updated for 2023

Cala Goloritze Beach in Sardinia

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 Guide to Car Rental Italy: Updated for 2023

Fiat 500 in Tuscany

Is renting a car in Italy worth it? Car Rental is the best way to explore the countryside and those gorgeous little towns that make Italy so special

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Discover the Secrets of the Cinque Terre Italy: Updated 2023


The Cinque Terre in Italy: one of the most famous and beautiful coasts on earth. We lived nearby, discovering many of its secrets... let me share them with you.

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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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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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A Grandmother's New Life in Italy

Siena- piazza-del-campo

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?

Lamp posts on a bench Park Valentino Turin

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

Siena- piazza-del-campo

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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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.

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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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!


$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

Italy Ascoli Piceno - Jim

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

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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