May 2011

This place called Italian Fix exists because I can totally relate to people who have a burning desire to visit Italy. I’ve been that person. I’ve said, “Wow, I need to go to Italy”. Spine tingling would occur when I would hear others say, “I just spent two weeks in Rome”. Factoid: yes. Illogical: probably.

I finally went to Italy and you can read more about it from my first post. Seven years later and I now look back on that experience as an epic shift in my life trajectory.  I ended up moving there, learned Italian and married an amazing Italian who was a brave speaker of the English pickup line, “Can I buy you a drink”? We now have a three year old daughter. That was some trip! And while I am not recommending stuffing a wedding dress in your luggage as you trot off on your three week Italian vacation, I am saying, “Wow, life is a wild ride”. And travel is an amazing part of that ride. So go do that.

If you told me when I was living in Italy that I was gonna build a useful place on the web to help people go to Italy, than I would of said, “What do I know?”  I was too caught up in conjugating verbs to believe I had much to contribute to that conversation. Now I believe I have tons to add to the conversation.

Today I officially roll out the welcome mat and invite you inside this place. I commit to be useful to YOU, my beloved and soon-to-be voracious new readers. I will help translate your burning desire to visit Italy by helping with these things:

  • inspire & solidify your itinerary by investigating stunning places to see and be
  • share activities that highlight meaningful experiences  & conversely point out the hype many guidebooks tout
  • connect you with resources for pre-trip planning happiness
  • entertain you with a dose of l’anima Italiana (Italian soul) and bring a pinch of La Dolce Vita to your house through Italian recipes, homes, and creative types
  • for people wanting to amp it up with a perfectly tailor made and personalized guide to a little corner of heaven on the planet,  I offer 1 on 1 help through personal itinerary planning for the Cinque Terre on the stunning Italian Riviera

What is my hidden agenda? I would ask that too. Well for one, it is an insanely compelling experiment for me. First website, first writing that is read beyond my college profs, first reaching out to people I have never met, first everything. I am so totally pumped about this project that for the last four months I have been working on making it good or thinking about how to make it good or reading about how to make something like this good.  Which in turn has been a massive creative force which I thrive on cause I was born that way. Creating pumps me up. Watching others create also pumps me up.

Writing a blog is a creation that is accessible far beyond an object in a gallery or store. That makes me stoked. And of course I have future plans that Italian Fix will expand and serve you to the point where I can do this in a larger way. Watch it and grow with me.

Anyone who comments below within the next 2 weeks deadline June 14 (CONTEST UPDATE BELOW) will be entered in a draw and randomly selected to receive a beautiful little crystal glass bought in a Florence antique store on my first trip to Italy. It has hosted many tastes of limoncello and grappa and whatever else that floats around our liquor cupboard.


I would love to pass it on to someone who was here from the start. Thanks a million. Grazie Mille!

FULL DISCLOSURE:  The “contest” or “giveaway” is a classic ploy stolen straight from my studies about how to build readership to a new blog. Further experimentation with giving away all my cool stuff will continue.

Please answer:

How can I help you? Which topics would you like to see tackled here? What about your burning desire to experience Italy has you hung up?  What can I answer today that will take you that one step closer? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!


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So you wanna go to Venice. Who doesn’t? I’ve visited three times and it is a perpetually captivating place. But what if I gave you an idea that would allow to to arrive in Venice from another angle? By boat perhaps. And this idea would allow you access to a very private and tranquil green space that recharges you.

Then you gotta glamp! The concept is this: glam + camping = i love it. Glamping is the vacation buzzword of the moment and translates into eco-pods, tents, yurts, tipis and airstreams with style and comfort. Instead of  sleeping on a flimsy mat on the ground imagine sleeping in a bed in a fabulous canvas tent complete with a modern bathroom and a private deck to enjoy breakfast. I read about this new travel trend in Travel+Leisure. While many variations on the glampsite theme exists,  I found the very cool Lodge Resort Canonici di San Marco just a half hour outside Venice.

It doesn’t get much better than having truly convenient access to Venice but being able to explore a little slice of the Veneto region you would altogether miss whilst staying in the hub. The industrious young couple Emanuala and Federico tell me that their fabulous canvas lodge is within walking distance to the train station that will take you into Venice or Padua within twenty minutes for around 4€ return.  You can also day trip to Venice by boat along the fabulous Riviera del Brenta (Brenta Canal) that runs between Padua and Venice. You can take in the flowering gardens and villas lining the shores which were constructed by Venetian nobility between the 16th and 18th centuries, some of  which are open to the public. Before roads were built this was the main means of transport and still is a very unique way to arrive in the ancient watery city of Venice. If your traveling by vehicle don’t even get me started on how much money you would spend on day parking because you obviously can’t drive into Venice. This cool tented lodge just outside the city would alleviate that trouble.

It’ll cost you between 110 – 130€ to stay here. Venice accommodation can be steep for anything above average. I think this place offers very decent value considering the groovy factor of the lodge, which includes a welcome aperitivo, breakfast including house baked pastries served on your private patio, wi-fi and parking and transfers to the train station if needed. Also, did I mention you can use their  bikes?  Cycling is an enviable way to cruise the zone and check out the osterie and baccari , the family friendly casual wine bars and pubs serving local specialties like salted cod crostini, polenta with sausage and grilled local fish. And let’s not forget my favorite bubbly prosecco also produced in this northeastern part of Italy.

Get me glamping. I’ll be staying here on my next trip to Venice. And you?

outside vencice accomodation, glamping

outside venice accomodation, glamping

Images by Borsato Matilde


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An Easy Way To Learn Italian

by Bianca Gignac

Learn Italian the Easy Way

Is learning a second language on your to-do list ? So when are you gonna do-that?

The cry for manners illustrated above might make you smile. My mom and I spied this beauty above some stairs in Venice and we laughed for days. But the lesson learned from the clean freak who crafted the sign is this: despite the mistakes, it still manages to convey a very clear message. You can do that.

I know from experience it can be very intimidating. But wanna know the best way to learn? Just like anything you accomplish in life it takes the critical first move; the starting. If your going to Italy it starts with words you already know like ciao and grazie. Then day two you add a sprinkle of this and a pinch of that. Then after week one you’ll be speaking a full sentence out of pure exasperation. But only if you start.

My first full sentence in Italian was dov’è la stazione, (where’s the train station?). I was so lost and exhausted that my first real Italian sentence was driven by pure frustration. It worked though, on my second try. The man understood me and started speaking back, gratefully tossing in various emphatic hand gestures. I was on my way to the station. Someone understood me! If I had never started I would not be where I am today. And while my Italian needs a generous helping of wax and polish, I am damn proud of just being able to speak a second language. Just jump in and make yourself understood.

Are you scared? Of what? Looking like an idiot? Making a mistake? Just remember that the person you may be talking to likely only speaks one language. That will make you feel the bigger woman for trying in the first place.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” -Elbert Hubbard

No, learning correct Italian is not an easy ride. But remember that starting is the worst part and that a glass of wine and a great smiling face with a go-to attitude will have you more fluent than 95% of the tourists you encounter.

Now go out and be amazing!

But wait, paint me a picture of your favorite language learning moment in the comments below.


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