Author Archives: Chocolate, Lace & Tapestry

Think twice before eating in the streets of Rome.

    In an attempt to polish the image of the Eternal City, Roman Authorities are cracking down on public eating and drinking at historic sites. The municipal ordinance, signed by the city’s mayor, that took effect beginning of October, gives police officers the right to fine anyone caught … Continue reading

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Rebellion in San Gimignano

The medieval village of San Gimignano, a famous Unesco Heritage site in Italy, is rebelling against the measures of austerity imposed by the Government of Mario Monti.. The town’s maire has been asked to reduce its staff by 30 percent. “It’s crazy,” laments Giacomo Bassi. “In … Continue reading

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Library book review

Bookstores and libraries have played a big role in my reading life. Growing up in Brussels, Belgium, they were within walking distance from my parents’ house. At the end of the street was a second-hand bookseller and two blocks away, a large department store. Around … Continue reading

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Spotlight on Italian City Taxes

In January 2011, Rome introduced a new tax on accommodation, amounting from 1 to 5 euros per person per night, depending on the type of lodging. The move was quickly followed by Florence and Venice. Not to be undone, Naples, … Continue reading

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1st of May & The Sweet Smell of Muguet

In Belgium, France and Switzerland, there is a lovely tradition of giving sprigs of lily of the valley to one’s relatives and friends on the 1st of May to wish them happiness and good luck. The muguet or lily of the valley originated in Japan … Continue reading

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The Divine Amalfi Coast

Little did I know seven years ago that a return trip to the island of Capri would eventually lead me to write the book Gelato Sisterhood on the Amalfi Shore. No other destination in Italy has captivated me as much as the spectacular Amalfi Coast. Uncovering all of its treasures has become … Continue reading

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Fries for Lunch or Dinner

When it comes to fries, Belgians cook them to perfection for the simple reason that they invented them. No, not the French. They invented Pommes Parmentier. The Belgians use large size potatoes and fresh cooking oil. The fries or frites are cut in half of an … Continue reading

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