Winter Activities Near O’Hare International Airport

The following article was originally published on by Nathan Anderson on 12/18/17.

Chicago is famous for many things, from its sports teams and stadiums to the blustery weather, which has earned it the moniker of The Windy City. It is the home of the deep dish pizza and the Sears Tower and was the base of Al Capone in his heyday. It is a fascinating place, and many people are keen to visit the city center.  But the areas surrounding the city itself are full of history and things to do, and it’s a shame to miss out on all they have to offer. Here are some winter activities near O’Hare International Airport you can do before or after you explore the heart of The Windy City.

Winter Activities in Rosemont

Rosemont is a small suburb of Chicago bordering the airport.  Home of the Chicago Wolves, it’s a great spot to catch a professional hockey game anytime from December through mid-April. If you’re not into sports, check out the Rosemont Theatre for events and concerts — they happen throughout the year.

MB Financial Park, a 200,000-square-foot entertainment and dining complex, has a huge amount of activities on offer. Check out Zanies Comedy Club for some good laughs or Kings Dining and Entertainment for the chance to follow up a tasty dinner with bowling. You can even go skydiving (indoors) with iFly; talk about an all-inclusive vacation!

Winter Activities in Park Ridge

On the other side of the Des Plaines River from Rosemont is Park Ridge, an area conveniently connected to the city center by train. With numerous wooded areas including the Iroquois and Chippewa Woods to explore and relax, it offers plenty for outdoor enthusiasts willing to brave the cold.  If the weather is too frigid and you want to stay indoors, head over to the Pickwick Theater — built in 1928 — and enjoy a classic American cinema experience. There are a number of hotel options in the area if you choose to make this your base.

A not-to-be-missed spot is the Beer on the Wall beer cafe with its massive selection of tapped and bottled brews, as well as the board games and old Nintendo it has available for the young at heart. What could be better on a cold winter night?

Winter Activities in Glenview

Finally, north of both Rosemont and Park Ridge is Glenview, a suburb with parks and fields aplenty and bordered on either side by wooded areas. Check out the Camp Pine or Allison Woods for some walking paths and solace from the buzz of the town. Or head to the Glenview Ice Center for an afternoon of ice skating with friends.

Don’t miss The Grove, a parcel of prairie grove land set aside and maintained by the Parks District. Rich in both ecological and historical heritage, The Grove is open year round and provides a fascinating look at a side of Chicago many people never see.

Chicago is a great city to explore, but don’t get so caught up in the heart of the city that you miss what lies just beyond. Take some time to explore these areas near O’Hare International Airport, and let us know what you think!


Where to Stay, and What to See in Washington DC

The following article was published on by Mary Chong on 12/18/17.

Where to Stay, and What to See in Washington DC

When visiting the U.S. Capitol, you must include the national monuments and museums on your to-do list. Here are some suggestions of where to stay and what to see in Washington, D.C.

Alexandria, Virginia

When I’m in Washington, D.C., I normally stay in a hotel near Alexandria, Virginia, since there is easy access to Washington’s major tourist sites via the Metro, and many of the hotels here offer free parking. George Washington’s hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, charms visitors with its tree-lined cobblestone streets and early 19th-century architecture. Designated a historic district, Old Town Alexandria’s King Street features over 200 independently owned shops and restaurants.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial

Dedicated to the longest-running president in the USA, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is 7 acres in size with four rooms representing each term in office. Staying in a hotel near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial provides easy access to transit, but it’s also a convenient walking distance to the other notable sites along the National Mall.

Thomas Jefferson Memorial

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is dedicated to the third U.S. president and principal author of the Declaration of Independence. The memorial is the best spot to see the cherry blossom trees in spectacular full bloom if you are visiting Washington in the spring. Better yet, book a hotel near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial so you can wake up to the most beautiful view of the flowering trees! The area is within walking distance to all the major tourist sites, but it’s also perfect to enjoy the peacefulness and natural beauty of the Tidal Basin and surrounding parkland.

The Wharf District

The Wharf District is my favorite spot to go for seafood because it’s the location of the Municipal Fish Market, also known as Maine Avenue Fish Market. Locals come here to do their shopping, but most of the fishmongers offer freshly prepared seafood on the premises. Staying in a hotel near the George Mason Memorial allows for easy access to the Wharf District but also sights such as The National Mall, and the more than 20 museums of the Smithsonian. With nightlife, shopping, dining, water activities, and attractions, the Wharf District is a great area to check out.

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is the largest military cemetery in the USA and is open daily for visitors. This cemetery isn’t located in Washington, D.C., but is across the Potomac River in nearby Arlington, Virginia. The location, out of the busy downtown core of Washington, has some affordable hotel accommodations that are easily accessible through a 15-minute Metro ride.

Arlington National Cemetery contains more than 400,000 internments. Guided tours, as well as free shuttle buses, are available to the most significant visitor sites such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Washington, D.C., offers rich history, top-notch museums, great shopping and food, and beautiful scenery. With so much to see and do in Washington, D.C., you really can’t do it all in only one visit!

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Where to Stay, and What to See in Washington D.C.


Most Common Facts about Flood & Insurance Policies

Wherever you live in the world, you know that the weather conditions are unpredictable. The cause is due to the increasing damage to the ozone layer and the environment of the earth. Natural calamities can happen anywhere and anytime in the world. If you are like most homeowners, you must have insurance to your assets like home, car etc., Did you know that not most insurance policies cover flood damage? A serious flood can cost tens of thousands of dollars if you do not have the insurance policy that covers flood damage as well.

Recently, Irma hurricane caused more than $100 billion damage to many parts of Florida and other areas, surpassing the record held by the famous Katrina that damaged assets of worth $50 billion in 2005. If you are planning to get an insurance policy but not considering covering the damage caused by flood, understanding common facts of flood damage will help you make a better decision. So, let met unwrap the most unknown facts about floods.

Devastating floods occur a lot more frequently that you would imagine. In fact, statistics show that flood occurs in every state of U.S. This means, no matter how lucky you have been in the past you are always at risk of your home being flooded. Additionally, most homeowners don’t have insurance policies with flood damage coverage. If you are planning to get an insurance policy, make sure you take this quiz to find out how flood damage policy can save you thousands of dollars. You can also visit Health to learn more.

4 Key Leadership Skills in Higher Education and How to Develop Them

The leadership in higher education is as similar as leadership in the corporate world. The presidents, deans, and chancellors have same pressure and challenges as compared to CEOs of the companies. Leadership skills required a few qualities to face the challenges by the leader of an organization.

Developing qualities and skills totally depend upon the ones-self. The higher education makes you aware of the key skills of a leader but you need to develop that skills yourself to succeed in your career. Let’s discuss a few required qualities: –

Maintaining a journal

Maintaining a journal is like a hobby for a good leader. He can write about the good and bad. He can write about the areas where he has to work more and the areas where he is already performing well. Maintaining a journal will help him formulation of plans and policies.


Discipline is key to every success. Discipline is not only necessary in the field of leadership rather it is important in the very aspect of life. The leader must be disciplined to be followed by others. The leader must be stick to his routine and follow the schedule properly so that he can ask others too to follow the same.

Better communication

A leader must be confident enough that his communication must be clear to all. What he wants to convey to his audience must clear to him as well as understood by his audience well. To bridge the gap between speaker and listener the Communication is the key. The higher education helps you in expressing yourself in the proper and effective way. If you deliver the message to your audience which you want to convey that means you have delivered better communication.

Calm and patient

The leader must be calm and patient. He must have quality for observing others first then conclude his decision. He must be calm to make the followers understand and well familiar with his plans and policies, he has made. Leadership in higher education helps in achieving hard goals with patience and make you calm.

What is the Weather in Rome Really Like? (And How to Pack for It)

Want to know the weather in Rome, Italy? You could obviously just check out the forecast. (Not that that’s necessarily that reliable). But you’ve wound up here instead, so I’m guessing you don’t want to know the Rome weather coming up in the next few days — you’re looking further ahead and curious what, say, the weather in Rome is usually like a few weeks or even months from now.

Maybe you’re trying to decide when to come to Rome. Or you’ve already chosen your dates, and you need to know what to pack.

Although I resisted writing a post about weather in Rome for a while (compared to all of the incredible art and unknown museums and underground ruins and gelato gelato gelato the topic just seems so… banal), I get asked about it enough that it seems like it’s time.

So: here’s what to expect, season by season, in terms of the weather in Rome. And what this means in terms of what to pack and prepare for.

(PS: If you are looking for the weather forecast in the near future, two of my go-to sites are Weathercast and Accuweather).

Weather in Rome in… summer (spoiler: it’s hot, and they’re not that into a/c)

This is when things get nice and sweaty. Temperatures peak in July — that’s when you’re looking at an average high of 88°F (31°C). (While the average low is a comfy 62°F/17°C, if Rome ever hit that temperature in July, I’m pretty sure it’s while I was sleeping). It’s also the driest month of the year, with less than an inch of average rainfall. August is about the same — plus you have the double-whammy of the uber-crowds and that it’s ferragosto (read: when many restaurants and shops close as locals, reasonably, flee to the seaside). If you can swing it, June is milder and less crowded, especially earlier in the month.

“Oh!” you say, “but I love the heat and the sun! This isn’t a problem for me!” Yeah, okay. Try 90°F weather… when you’re tromping around all day (or trying to stuff yourself onto crowded, sweaty buses and trains)… visiting sites with little-to-no shade (like the Forum)… with no access to an air-conditioned car… and when many restaurants, apartments and even museums lack any air-conditioning.

If you’re locked into those months already thanks to school holidays/work vacation days/whatever, don’t worry! You’ll have an amazing time. Truly. But don’t miss these pro tips on how to survive the heat in Rome. And please, please wear sunscreen.

What to throw in your suitcase: Sunscreen (…put it in a Ziploc in case it explodes — you want it all over your skin, not your clothes), sunglasses, a light scarf to cover your shoulders (for ladies) for ducking into churches, an excellent deodorant and a sense of humor. What to leave at home: Your Nalgene (really) and the enormous suitcase that will make you sweat a Mediterranean-sized pool trying to lug it up the staircase to your fourth-floor B&B.

Weather in Rome in… fall

First, let’s be clear about one thing: in terms of heat and even crowds, September is pretty much summer in Rome. (It has the same average temperatures as June — highs of 82°F/28°C). So if you truly want to come in the autumn, which I can’t recommend more highly, plan for October or November. Preferably October: I moved to Rome in October, which was described to me by a local as a magic month. He couldn’t have been closer to the truth. Even the light seems more golden. (For more, don’t miss five reasons to love to fall in Rome).

Here’s what the weather in Rome is typically like for most of the fall: balmy (think highs of 73°F/23°C in October, getting down to 62°F in November), with clear, sunny days and crisp nights. Here’s what the weather can be like sometimes in the fall: chilly and rainy, with between 4 and 5 inches (10-12cm) of rain in each month. November, in fact, tends to be the rainiest month Rome sees year-round.

And it can, indeed, be rainy. In fact, on average, Rome in November gets twice as much rain as London, a smidge more than Boston or New York City. (Yeah, that surprised me too). But the difference that usually — usually — in Rome, it tends to pour down… then stop. Yes, it might pour down again a couple of hours later. And it can be near-torrential — hence that high average. But it doesn’t tend to be the week-long drizzle that you get elsewhere.

So keep in mind that even if the Rome weather forecast is calling for rain on a certain day, it might only be for part of the day. And when the sky opens up after a storm, it’s just about the prettiest, most photogenic thing you’ve ever seen. Just see below. (Further proof here).

What to throw in your suitcase: Layers, a light jacket (especially for night), closed-toe shoes that still aren’t winter boots (think ballerina flats) and sunglasses. What to leave at home: Your umbrella (if you get unlucky enough that it starts raining while you’re out, Sod’s Law holds that you won’t have it on you anyway, plus a hundred vendors will pop up on the street trying to sell you a cheap one).

Weather in Rome in… winter

The good news: if you’re not a heat-and-crowds person, this is your season! (Outside of Christmas and New Year’s week, that is. That’s pretty much as high a high season as August). In December, January and February, there’s an average high of about 55°F (13°C); it can get as low as 35°F (2°C) but, again, you’re probably sleeping through this. While you’re out and about, plan for it to be generally in the 40s.

While that’s a bit chilly for some, the upside is it’s also drier and sunnier than the fall — in fact, crisp and clear tends to be the name of the game.

However: December, January and February remain wetter than March, April and May, on average. So much for that “April showers bring May flowers”. More like “December showers bring May flowers”.

But remember how pretty we said the rain could be? It is! And if you’re really lucky, you might even see a rainbow…

Or, you might also see a lot of bundled-up, slightly soggy people. The photo below is just to keep it real, because I’d be lying if I told you rain in Rome was just a nonstop good time. (And if you’re looking for ideas on what to do when it’s raining in Rome, look no further).

What to throw in your suitcase: A warm jacket, sturdy (read: water-resistant) shoes (there’s a reason leather boots and shoes are the winter go-to here), a scarf (to tie on even on mild days, mostly so locals don’t panic that you’re going to suffer from the deadly colpo d’aria), leather gloves and sunglasses. What to leave at home: The expectation that “it’s Rome, so it must always be warm!”.

Weather in Rome in… spring (warm, lovely, with maybe some rain)

Ah, another bee-yoo-tee-full season. (Though, aren’t they all!?) The flowers are blooming, people are gathering in the piazzas and there’s green where you least expect it… like cascading down buildings.

If you’re looking for spring at its warmest and sunniest, aim for May: the month gets an average temperature of 75°F (24°C), getting hotter toward the end (obviously), with about 1.5 inches (almost 4cm) of rain on average — roughly the same as August. April is almost a full 10 degrees cooler at a very comfortable 67°F (19°C), but also sees an average of almost an inch more rain. And March, which is as rainy as April, tops out at an average high of 61°F (16°C).

If that didn’t sound nice enough, here are five more reasons to love spring in Rome.

What to throw in your suitcase: Layers, a light jacket, sunglasses. What to leave at home: I don’t know. Your cynicism? Because you’ll be falling in love with this city. Yeah, I went there.

Also: why the Appia Antica makes for the perfect stroll, the Rome airport to never take a taxi from and the ultimate guide to Rome in summer.

If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.

Books About Italy I’m Compulsively Reading (and Re-Reading)

No matter where I am in the world, I have a shelf devoted to books about Italy. Which may be why, although I started out this post planning to write a gift guide — something I do every couple of years — I found that everything that came to mind to include was… a book.

While that partly speaks to the fact that I’m a nerd bookworm, it also speaks to something else: whether you’re interested in fiction or memoir, food or art, ancient history or World War II, there are a number of compulsively-readable books about Italy out there these days.

What is my bar for “compulsively readable”? In the last three years, I’ve gone through two transatlantic moves. Each time, I’ve had to winnow down my library. Most of the books on this list are ones that I found myself re-buying after my last move. That’s how much I couldn’t live without them.

So. Here are the books about Italy I’ve sometimes bought not once, but twice — and the person on your gift-giving list (other than you!) who might like them best.

The best book about Italy for the one on your list… who, faced with a table of magazines at the doctor’s office, always reaches for the New Yorker.

Haven’t heard of Elena Ferrante? First, crawl out from under your rock. Second, run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore to pick up the first novel in her “Neapolitan quartet”: My Brilliant Friend.

The series pins down human emotions, flaws and foibles with such searing precision, it’s sometimes almost excruciating to read. On the surface, it’s about two girls who grow up together in the shadows of a working-class neighborhood in postwar Naples. And if you love Italy, especially the south or bella Napoli, it will give you a raw, intense look at a people and culture that tend to be stereotyped, not examined.


And yet, as in any true masterpiece, so many of the observations Ferrante makes apply far beyond the backstreets of Naples. For example…

On politics: “People died of carelessness, of corruption, of abuse, and yet, in every round of voting, gave their enthusiastic approval to the politicians who made their life unbearable.”

On the female practice of “getting ready”: “All that struggle, all that time spent camouflaging myself when I could be doing something else. The colors that suited me, the ones that didn’t, the styles that made me look thinner, those that made me fatter, the cut that flattered me, the one that didn’t. A lengthy, costly preparation. Reducing myself to a table set for the sexual appetite of the male, to a well-cooked dish to make his mouth water. And then the anguish of not succeeding, of not seeming pretty, of not managing to conceal with skill the vulgarity of the flesh with its moods and odors and imperfections.”

On patriarchy: “A community that finds it natural to suffocate with the care of home and children so many women’s intellectual energies is its own enemy and doesn’t realize it.”

On life: “In the fairy tales one does as one wants, and in reality one does what one can.” (Ouch).

Ever since being translated into English (the final instalment, The Story of the Last Child, came out in English last year), these books have been the toast of the literati. For good reason.

The best book about Italy for the one on your list… whose guilty pleasure is The Da Vinci Code.

Jonathan Harr’s The Lost Painting is so fast-paced, it’s often easy to forget it’s not fiction. It tells the story of how two young art students track down one of the world’s great, missing masterpieces: Caravaggio’s The Taking of the Christ, which had been gone for more than 200 years. 

In the vein of Ross King’s Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling or Leonardo and the Last Supper (also excellent, by the way), the book reads like a novel — and in this case, like a detective thriller. There are details about art restoration and Baroque bad-boy Caravaggio, so you will learn something. It’ll just be without realizing it: the chapters are short and the information can feel a bit thin.

But as a fun, easy, fascinating read about one of the strangest stories in art history, this hits the mark.

The best book about Italy for the one on your list… who studied abroad in Rome for a year and still can’t stop talking about it.

This is basically the book that, in my dream of dreams, I wanted to write — except there’s no way I could have done it as well as veteran Roman journalist Corrado Augias. The Secrets of Rome is well-researched, beautifully-written and one of those rare nonfiction works that’s easy to completely lose yourself in.

Translated from the original Italian, Augias’ book is a journey through 2,700 years of Roman history. But not chronologically, and not for the purpose of “teaching” the city’s history as one long, cohesive story. Instead, each chapter takes a different corner of the city as the jumping-off point for a fascinating tale. Some are little-known, but even the stories that are famous — like Caesar’s assassination — have details that will surprise anyone but a Roman history PhD.


And while history can get a rap for being dry, the book can be nothing short of emotional: the chapter on the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine, the caves where 335 men were brutally executed under Nazi orders in 1943, made me cry.

It’s a book that history lovers who have only been to Rome once or twice will love. But for those who know the city well, the book is even richer.

The book about Italy perfect for the one on your list… who still tears up over Saving Private Ryan.

Unless you have particular interest in World War II, it’s easy to all but gloss over it when you’re reading about Italy. After all, there’s so much else! Ancient Rome! The Middle Ages! The Renaissance!

But the war completely reshaped the landscape of Italy – including its cultural and artistic landscape. The only reason it didn’t wreck Italy’s art and beauty even more than it did came down to the ingenuity, bravery and hard work of locals — and of a group of art historian soldiers tasked with doing whatever they could to get ahead of the Allied invasion and save what they could.

If you’ve seen the film Monuments Men, this probably sounds familiar.

But whereas I wasn’t a big fan of the film, I could barely put down the book Saving Italy — which was written by the same author as Monuments Men. I’m pretty sure that I kept saying “Oh my God, did you know this?” to my better half so often while reading the book, he couldn’t wait for me to be finished with the thing. Did you know…

  • When the Allies bombed the Florence train station, they were so precise that they dropped 145 tons of explosives that destroyed railroads and warehouses — but the bombs didn’t even touch the churches that stood a stone’s throw away.
  • But the list of cities that merited that kind of protection was very short: just Florence, Rome, Venice and the island of Torcello. So when the station in Padua was bombed, it was far sloppier. One of the many buildings bombed was the Church of the Eremitani… where the irreplaceable frescoes by famed early Renaissance master Andrea Mantegna were completely destroyed.
  • One bombing raid on Milan killed 700 and destroyed La Scala, the Brera Picture Gallery and 40 churches — including Santa Maria delle Grazie. Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper was miraculously the only part of the chapel to be left standing. But even then, it was far from safe. It took days for people to clear the debris away, and while they built a new roof to cover it, they had to use a canvas tarp instead.
  • Hundreds of the world’s most important paintings — including Caravaggio’s Bacchus, Cranach’s Adam and Eve and Signorelli’s Crucifixion — were among those carted around Italy during the chaos of war, transported on open trucks across hundreds of miles… while being bombed, rained on and then often piled in damp, dirty caves, rooms, even jail cells. (I’ll never look at the paintings in the Borghese Gallery or Uffizi the same way again!)

The book is chock-full of these kinds of compelling details — all written in a can’t-put-it-down kind of way. A must-read.

The best book about Italy for the one on your list… who has a soft spot for Rome and already owns a million cookbooks.

I’ve known Katie Parla ever since emailing her when I was first toying with moving to Rome in 2009. In some ways, it seemed like she’d paved a path for me: we were alumni of the same university, both loved Italy and history (even narrating the same History Channel show) and wound up writing not-exactly-sugarcoated blogs about Rome.

Here’s one big difference between us: while I consider myself a pretty greedy good connoisseur of Italian cuisineKatie has taken it a step further. She’s made it her job to know Italy’s food inside, out and upside-down at a level I’ve always admired.

So maybe it’s to be expected that when her book Tasting Rome came out this year, I rushed to scoop it up. If you have someone on your Christmas list who loves a) food, b) Rome or c) just having a really pretty cookbook on their shelves, you might want to, too.


Rather than “cookbook” or “book”, Tasting Rome is both. It combines tidbits about both Rome’s food history and its contemporary culinary landscape with recipes adapted from some of the city’s most beloved chefs and restaurants. And while cookbook images usually look staged or stock-y, Kristina Gill’s shots are a lovely mix of both mouthwatering close-ups and glimpses of Rome’s hidden corners and eateries.

Perhaps best of all? Parla and Gill are transplants to Rome who know the city inside and out. That means that, while they love Rome and its history, they don’t see the city as some glossy version of dolce vita come to life — and that mix of warmth and authenticity is at the heart of every page.

The book about Italy perfect for the one on your list… who says that, if they could to “do it all again”, they’d study Roman history.

Cambridge classics professor Mary Beard appears often on television shows about ancient Rome. A big part of the reason is her refreshingly straight-talking take on history — which shines through in her book SPQR.

The book, which came out last year, isn’t for someone starting out with zero interest in Roman history. Unlike, say, The Lost Painting, no one’s going to mistake it for a novel.

But it is perfect for anyone interested in Roman history, even if they’ve never studied it before: Beard treats you like you’re a smart person who probably has heard of the story of Romulus and Remus, but might need your memory jogged, just in case… and who definitely is curious about how that story came to be and what on earth all that fratricide really meant. And she’s candid and clear-eyed not only about what’s true and what’s not, but also what the Romans were really like (she dispatches one ancient legend with a simple “This is another case of Roman exaggeration”).

The New York Times called her approach “a crisp and merciless clarity”. It’s also one that makes a very complicated subject very, very readable.

The book about Italy perfect for the one on your list… who everyone considers the cook of the family, even though their idea of “following a recipe” means eyeballing measurements and substituting half the ingredients.

Fifty years ago, a group of Italian scholars were getting very worried that local, “as mama makes it” recipes were disappearing. So they embarked on a massive research project. They visited hundreds of villages where they watched people cooking in front of their stoves, gathering 2,000 recipes from every region across Italy. The result is compiled in La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy.

The first thing you’ll notice about this book is that it’s a brick. (Do not buy this for someone about to move abroad — or who will be intimidated by a cookbook that could double as a doorstop at even the heaviest palazzo entrance).

The second is that it’s so, so much more than pasta and pizza. There’s plenty of that, too. But from recipes like barley-and-potato soup (Friuli) to carp roasted with wild fennel (Umbria) to braised pork ribs (Sardinia), there’s a ton of variety – as there is in Italian cuisine itself.

One of the things I love about this book is that the cooking methods are what people were actually doing. In other words: no food processors, no microwaves, no shortcuts. That makes this book a particularly good buy for anyone who enjoys incorporating a little “slow living” into their lives.

But that doesn’t mean everything takes ages to make. Some of the recipes are deliciously simple. Take Calabria’s swordfish with mint, where the recipe is literally “Rub the fish steaks with garlic, salt them, then bread them. Heat 1/4 inch olive oil and cook the fish until golden on both sides, then drain on paper towels and let cool. Arrange them on a serving plate, sprinkle with vinegar, then dust with mint leaves. Let rest for at least 30 minutes before serving.” Done!

But I also love that, as detailed as they are, the recipes can’t be followed scientifically. Sometimes that’s because of the ingredients (like the “2 lbs frogs, skinned and without heads”, for the Lombardian risotto alla certosina). But it’s often because of how the directions are given. Forget precise temperatures, for example: common phrases like “cook at low heat” or “as soon as it’s cooked, remove it from the liquid.” It assumes you already know the basics of cooking – and that, if you don’t, you can figure it out. And perhaps ironically, that means that while the recipes were written down to preserve at least one of their “original” and “authentic” versions, one of the best things about them is that they force you to be just a little bit creative.

Just add some drips of olive oil and biscotti crumbs stuck in the pages to make it 100% authentic.

Want more books? Don’t miss my round-up of some of the most readable books about Rome. More great inspiration for what to read (or give as a gift) in my lists of best Italian food gifts, gifts for Italy-bound travelers and gifts for culture vultures and history lovers.

If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.

The (New) Revealed Rome Guidebook Is Out!

I couldn’t be more excited to announce that, after five years, my new Rome guidebook is out.

The original 2012 version of the Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks to the Eternal City sold thousands of copies (and got rave reviews). This book builds on that success with an in-depth update and serious expansion: It’s crammed full with more than twice as many fun, easy-to-digest tips and tricks than the previous version.

Like the previous version, the new book is not your normal “Rome guidebook”. Instead of providing information easily found elsewhere, it gives you tips and tricks to experiencing Rome like a local, including items like…

  • how to pick an authentic Roman restaurant at a glance
  • budget accommodation options you may not have considered
  • the one place to never take a taxi
  • secrets to skipping the lines at the Colosseum, the Vatican and more
  • off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods that should be on your list
  • how to eat gluten-free, vegetarian or with other dietary restrictions
  • key tips for booking (and taking) trains
  • here to find drinking water, and bathrooms, while out and about
  • how to protect yourself from pickpockets
  • the best neighborhoods in Rome for shopping


…and much, much more. Buy it on Amazon here or by clicking the cover at left.

I’m also really excited to say that, for the first three months of publication, I’m donating a significant portion of the profits (€1/$1/£1 per book, depending on location of sale) to a cause I believe in: the American Institute for Roman Culture, a nonprofit which protects and campaigns for Rome’s cultural heritage. So if you’re thinking of buying a book, now is the time to do it!

The book comes on Amazon as an e-book which can be read on any tablet, iPhone, laptop or Kindle.

Note: Bought the book before today, and now wish you’d waited for the new version? Don’t worry: You can replace the older version with this update. If you’re using a Kindle device or app, turn on Annotations Backup to back up your notes, highlights and bookmarks. Then go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page, select “Automatic Book Update” under the Settings tab and select “On” from the dropdown menu. Your e-book automatically will be updated to the new version.

If you’d prefer to receive the book as a PDF, order it through Paypal by clicking on the button below. When I receive the order confirmation, I will e-mail you the book as a PDF. (Just be aware that this is a manual process, so can take me up to 48 hours to e-mail over).