Francesca Maggi

An Italian aficionado, and 20 year Italian resident, Francesca has developed a keen eye for all things Italian; the good, the bad & the ugly. The survival stories swapped almost daily with her expat compatriots have led her to apply her magnifying glass to the things that make us crazy, but which we'd never change for anything in the world!

Gluten-free Italy: Awesome or an Oxymoron?

I often overhear Americans on vacation in Rome, the land of pasta, pane, pizza and wine state that they can't eat this or that during their Roman holiday....more

Ciao, Ciao Bambina

I always cringe whenever I see the latest advertisement sporting English words.  I walk into my bank and find them advertising a M'Honey account, replete with a jar of honey - as if any of their 2+ million pensioners would even know that honey = miele and what either of the terms have to do with money (maybe it rhymes? at least in English).  The Telecoms cos. are no worse off:  you can now go to VodafoneYOU or open a TIM Young package....more

Concordia's Deep Throat

The tragedy of the Concordia has been rocking the airwaves and bandwiths for days now, each day bringing out new revelations.  But for every bit of news that goes reported, it seems that it gives rise to even more questions. So true also in the case of the mystery Moldavian who was hunkering down in Moldavia after jumping ship and skedaddling as fast as her dancer's legs could take her.  But the most pressing question, in the first days of the tragedy was...How could this have happened?!...more

Captain Coward and the Sinking of the Concordia

There has been so much excellent commentary combined with a whole lot of conjecture on this terrible incident, I didn't want to weigh in on what seems to be a singular act of bravado by a seriously inept commander.  Usually, guys love to show off.  But when Evil Knievel jumps over a cliff, or a motocross racer does it, they usually only put themselves in danger (save for the spectators down below).  ...more

Italy's Grapes of Wrath

One of my good friends and loyal blog fan, Carolinrome held a warm holiday evening so I could present my book to a group of women readers & expats...We all enjoyed a few good laughs doing what women do best: Tell incredible stories.Using the book chapters as a launch pad, it wasn't long before everyone was telling one of their own...These ran the gamut from post office woes (where one woman actually called the toll free number pondering exactly, why, people didn't 'go postal' in Italy given the services were so much worse) to toilet flushers (fr...more

A Guide to Life in Italy

Announcing...the launch of my first book!...more

Google Translate...Where r u?

I've always gotten a big kick out of playing, 'spot the translation goofs' on restaurant menus wherever I've traveled.  And while I'm always impressed with the ways in which the locals try to cater to their clients (unlike in the USA where you're simply left to fend for yourself - although people will speak louder & louder until you pretend to understand), it always amazes me that no one ever bothered to pick up a dictionary and just look things up....more

All the Prime Minister's Women

Italy has a new 'Technical' government of policy wonks that might very well pull them from the abyss.  Below, I compare the women Ministers of the Berlusconi Administration to those of the newly minted Monti goverment. Visit my blog page for photo ...more

April in Rome

In Rome, April truly kicks off the tourist season – especially with so many making their pilgrimage to Vatican City for Easter. This month, a whole host of events surrounding Pope John Paul II’s ‘Santo Subito’ Sainthood – on May 1st are planned. And, to make things easier, they’ve even devised a ‘Pope Pass’....more

Five things Italian Women can do to Demand Dignity

The movement of women at the If not now, then When? rallies by tens of thousands was quite a sight to see.  So, in an effort to contribute my 2cents' worth, I'd like to provide a quick reference guide to demanding dignity (or, guerrilla handbook) for those who don't know what the next steps should be:...more

According to the Irish Times ...more