Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Remembering Auschwitz

The beginning of the year is often a time of hope and optimism. As was the case 70 years ago in January when the concentration camp at Auschwitz was liberated.  The tragedy of the Holocaust has left emotional and physical marks throughout the entire world.

A plaque in the Jewish Ghetto in front of the Portico di Ottavia commemorating the victims of Holocaust deported on October 16th 1943.

While Italy's role in World War II is often misunderstood, for lack of a better word, the country has worked effortlessly to improve and reinforce its sensitive image. While Italy has had a reputation for attempting to save the Jewish people from deportation, more than 2000 Roman Jews and other victims were arrested and deported to Auschwitz in October 1943 and only a handful returned after the gates opened in January 1945.
A plaque in the Jewish Ghetto commemorating over 100 children that were arrested from school and deported to Auschwitz

Please reference my article in Wanted in Rome magazine about various Jewish memorials around the capital city; and the marks in front of doorsteps that are found in Rome and 8 additional European countries. These physical marks are called "stumbling stones" and mark the addresses of victims from where each adult and child was arrested, a powerful and unavoidable way of keeping their memory alive, and of bringing them back to the community, one at a time. - article link

An example of stumbling blocks that can be found all over Rome and Europe, placed at the doorsteps of victims of the Holocaust, indicating their name, date and place of deportation and date of death.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gift ideas: Creative craft jewelry in Rome

The Romans have long been known for the ornate way they present themselves. A tradition that began with the Etruscans and their finely engraved gold and bronze jewelry.  Fine jewelry making is a custom that is still alive and well in Rome, providing excellent opportunities to find hand-made, personal and luxurious holiday gifts and souvenirs from the eternal city.

Please check out my article on the Context Travel blog that features some local artisans and what they are creating this season.

Creative jewelry made from ancient and modern coins from around the world, featured by Moedas Vazadas, one of many stands at the Mercato Mont, a vintage and artisanal market located near the Coliseum at Metro Cavour 

Jewelry maker Massimo Nocerino in front of his boutique on Via Francesco Crispi near the Spanish Steps


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wedding planning in Rome

The road to wedding planning in Rome seems as thought it has been longer than the path to finding an Italian husband. The endless appointments at City Hall offices, the notorizations, the sworn statements, more notorizations, and the waiting with witnesses at the tribunal and the embassy, have been an un-romantic and unexpected part of the process. Even more unexpected however was the difficulty of finding a wedding dress in such a fashion conscious city as Rome. First there was the salesclerk that refused to assist me and ordered us to return in a few months because she felt 6 months was too far in advance to shop for a gown; then there were the 2 saleswoman who kicked my friend and I out of the shop for speaking English to each other, and then finally the atelier that had sample sizes only for runway models.  Then along came Sister Maria Laura from the monastery of St. Rita in Cascia located in Umbria.

Please check out my article in Wanted in Rome magazine about shopping for my wedding dress at a second-hand dress depot, a charity run by Agostinian nuns in the hills of Umbria. -article link

The 20th Century Basilica of St. Rita in Cascia where the saints' incorrupt remains can be found.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A modern way of visiting ancient Cerveteri

A hill-top city along the sea, halfway between the city of Rome and it's commercial port Civitavecchia, stands the ancient city of Cerveteri, a city formed as early as the 8th Century B.C.  Nearby rest the city's inhabitants in what we now consider a city of the dead. The site is one of the most unique burial sites in the world. Built as large mounds made of volcanic rock, the Etruscan tombs resemble Egyptian pyramids. These spaces can be better understood as burial homes that were once full of domestic and personal items.

The unique architecture of these hundreds of burial homes was discovered and un-earthed only a couple hundred years ago. The site as a necropolis is more than 2,500 years old.  It has come to life again with a new technology program installed at the site allowing you to see digital reconstructions inside some of the tombs, as if present at their funeral, bearing witness to the rituals taking place and the placement of precious objects.

Writing on this topic, I am happy to be featured on authors (and fellow Buffalonians) William Graebner and Dianne Bennett's blog Rome the Second Time. Like myself, they are interested in exposing visitors in Rome to the hundreds of curiosities that lie below, between, and beyond the city's main highlights and have written several books with itineraries on the topic.

You can check out their website, with my post about Fu-touring at Cerveteri:


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The best local farmer's markets in Rome

In a country that is world-renowned for its landscape, topography and agriculture, local farmers markets and places to find organic products are surprisingly few and far between.

Check out my article in Wanted in Rome magazine to find the best quality and best priced local produce and products, and help the environment and local economy by doing so! -article link

Olive oil and Montepulciano wine of Abruzzo farmer Enrico Gallinaro at a farmer's market organized by Terra Terra Farmer's Association.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Rome survived WWII

For 70 years it as though nobody spoke about the Monuments Men. As if World War II, the deadliest war in history, didn't actually take place in Europe among architectural ancient wonders and artistic masterpieces.  How did a city like Rome survive when over 13 million people didn't? 

A branch in the Allied Army that came to be known as the Monuments Men were tasked with recovering, protecting, and restoring art that was along the battlefields all over Europe and in downtown Rome.  They are receiving much deserved attention lately due to Robert Edel's two books entitled The Monuments Men and Saving Italy, not to mention a newly released film on the topic with a glamorous cast including George Clooney and Matt Damon. And a current exhibition at Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery features works of art saved during this operation displayed in the museum and the efforts of the museum's own curatorial and directorial staff that were part of this historic campaign and in addition to being Ivy-League art professors were actual Monuments Men. 

For more information about the efforts of the Monuments Men in Rome and how the eternal city yet endured, check out my recent article in Wanted in Rome magazine - link

Friday, January 10, 2014

Rome below the surface

It is without say that it takes a lifetime to discover Rome. Imagine that the beauty and mystery of the eternal city's layered history that you see before your eyes is found in equal abundance below your feet.  The ancient architecture of the city of Rome has been buried under soot from flooding by its Tiber river.  But it has not been forgotten.  Many new sites that are now buried up to 70 feet below the surface have been opened to the public in order to continue to reveal the city's physical and historic depth.

Check out my article for Wanted in Rome magazine about subterranean Rome here- article