The Magnificence of the Capital

We all know I like to drop in on other people’s conversations to listen in on some aspect of their lives. While some exchanges are more interesting than others, a recent conversation overheard at a D.C. café made me pause and take notice.

After visiting one of the city’s museums, I stopped into a nearby bakery for an afternoon pick-me-up. As I took a seat in one of the chairs outside, I overheard the foreign accents of three girls at a table nearby. Although I could not identify their nationality, the subject of their conversation made it clear that they were foreign tourists visiting our nation’s capital. Continue reading


A New [Midwest] Lover: Chicago

It has been almost a week since my last blog past. Though I made it my goal to post at least three times a week, I failed to live up to this in the past seven days. I do, however, have a valid reason for my blogging vacation.

After spending a few relaxing days at home enjoying family barbecues, the beach and even a Waterfire, my time expired in the Ocean State and I was airborne. But I was not D.C. bound; what awaited me was a new, exciting destination. For the first time I traveled to the Midwest and touched down in Chicago, Illinois. Continue reading

A Remarkable Moveable Feast

It would be fitting that as I watched Woody Allen’s new film Midnight in Paris the only thing I could smell was butter.

Even if the butter was emanating from bags of popcorn, the scent of the fat made me think of all the wonderful French things made with the glorious churned milk. Crossiants, pain au chocolat, sole meunière, beurre blanc. Each of these heavenly items sparked memories of my few days in the capital of France. Continue reading

Adventures of Getting Lost

My sister loves to tell “epic” stories. Whether she is describing her long waits in the driveway of her best friend’s house or the latest gossip from her high school, my sister is a true Italian as she raises her voice to elevate the drama and gestures her hands to emphasize her points.

It seems that not a day goes by when Jackie does not have at least one story to share. The other day, after coming home from a lacrosse game, she proceeded to skip all the details about the final score or her playing time, and instead she talked nonstop for more than five minutes about how she and her best friend became lost in the opposing team’s school and had to ask countless times for directions to the bathroom. She said that the two of them asked multiple times where they could find the bathroom, but repeatedly the instructions failed them. It was only after the third attempt that they finally found their desired destination, a spot the rest of the lacrosse team had seemed to find rather easily. Continue reading

Me and Mr. Hemingway

I realized that Ernest Hemingway and I have a lot in common.

Not only did Hemingway make his living as writer, something I strive one day to do, but he also traveled the world and shared his global experiences with readers throughout the course of his brilliant career. As he once said, “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”  Continue reading

Concise and Poignant Metaphors

“Il miglior souvenir di viaggio è un biglietto tranviario che una mattina, rivestendo un vecchio abito, troviamo in fondo al taschino del gilet, dove l’avevamo messo mesi prima, in una lontana città e poi avevamo dimenticato la sua esistenza. All’improvvisa scoperta, balza il cuore, quel pezzetto di carta è una metafora concisa e straziante.”

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Unofficial Da Vinci Code Tour

It is somewhat shameful to admit this, but I have never read The Da Vinci Code. In fact, I have not read any of Dan Brown’s books. Maybe this is even worse, but rather than taking the time to read the novel, I have watched the 2006 film starring Tom Hanks. While fans of the book criticize the movie for its excessive length and Hanks’ awkward haircut, Dan Brown’s controversial drama captivated me on big screen. With the mystery revolving around the Mona Lisa and the controversy of a potential cover-up by the Catholic Church, the plot appeals to fans of theology and Renaissance art alike.

Despite that I knew I was coming to Europe for the semester, I never found the time to read Dan Brown’s bestseller. Even so, having watched the film, I anticipated the chance to visit the landmarks and see the works of art that inspired the author. My first opportunity to follow in the steps of the fictitious Professor Langdon came in early February when the Villa sponsored a weekend trip to Rome. Perhaps the most prominent Da Vinci Code visit of the weekend was spent exploring Vatican City. Although no scenes in the film are set in the independent state, the center of the Catholic Church acts as a prominent character in the plot line.  Continue reading