So, my husband is from Italy. He’s from a town called La Spezia. A never-in-the-guidebooks kind of place. It’s a port town and although it’s surrounded by incredible coastline — like the Cinque Terre (where we met) —  the city itself isn’t the attraction. My husband grew up in a middle-class neighborhood, and if you know anything about Italian culture you may also know the idea of “you can work hard to accomplish your dreams” is not very Italian. That’s more a North American version of upward mobility that doesn’t really resonate in Italy. You just are happy to have a job, and if it’s a posto fisso that means you’ve won the lottery. So I find it hilarious that my husband, who has been living in my culture (Canada) for 15 years — has adopted a lot of “Americanized” ideas. Like drive-thru’s (he had never seen one before) and the work-hard-and-you-can-achieve-anything underpinnings of “The American (Canadian?) Dream”. So now I see the saved castelli and immobile di prestigio on his real estate searches. Because we plan to buy property in Italy one day (soonish) we’re always looking. You can see some of these places that are in English on the luxury real estate site Romolini of which this photo was taken from — advertised between $1-2 million. (Which just happens to be the price of a garden shed in Vancouver.)


Have you ever tried Focaccia di Recco? It’s like an orgasm of cheese, only better. Years ago in Italy I shot a video with my daughter where I explained all the types of deliciousness you can find. Check it out here.

Image: Giallo Zafferano


Soooo, maybe you’re not looking to buy your own castello. But that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t love to call one home for a few nights. If you’re headed to Tuscany – check out Castello Del Nero. This 12th-century castle has got Michelin Star dining, a holistic wellness center, and easy access to Florence and Siena. The mix of Renaissance and contemporary décor is so beautiful that it almost (just almost) makes you cancel your next stop.


The movie Luca. There’s a new Pixar film and it’s setting is inspired by the Cinque Terre. I actually read that the fictional town in the film was made up of unique and favorite parts of each village. My photographer friend, Leela, who has taught photography to our clients texted me after she saw it with, “They get the magic of the area perfectly”.

Image: Pixar



Sometimes we don’t need to escape the crowd. In fact —  sometimes it’s fun to be in the thick of things. So pack a picnic and people watch. Find a shady patch of grass and take in all the hustle and bustle. Don’t you love the feeling of walking into a scene you’ve only seen in textbooks or in magazines?


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