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December 3, 2012

To Celebrate the Holidays:




Will be given away to commenters selected in a RANDOM DRAWING

It’s NOT a CONTEST, anyone who comments can win!

TO PLAY: Complete This Sentence In The Comment Section Below:

Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was/is ________________________

Write the first thing that comes to your mind, for example…

My Nana, who emigrated from Molise, traveled back to Italy, and sent letters that intrigued me  OR

Iolanda, the signora in Montefollonico (Tuscany) who taught me to roll pici  OR

The barista at the Caffe Farnese in Rome OR

I’ve never actually been to Italy, but I’ll say Sophia Loren is inspirational!


One of These Can Be Yours…


100 Places In Italy Every Woman Should Go (New Edition), by Susan Van Allen


How to Eat In Italy…If Chicken Parm is Your Favorite Italian Dish
by Carol Coviello-Malzone
CONTESTITALYINSTRUCTIONSItaly: Instructions for Use, by Nan McElroy
OR TWO NEW BOOKS FROM GEMELLI PRESS,  choice  of ebook or paperback
True Vines, by Diana Strinati Baur
At Least You’re in Tuscany, by Jennifer Criswell
2013 Digital Subscription to Award Winning Dream of Italy Newsletter, with Bonus 2013 Calendar

edited by Kathy McCabe



They all make lovely gifts



You may win a book  to give to an  Italophile in your life Or it may be your first present of the season!

We look forward to reading your Comments— Grazie for playing!
Open to commenters worldwide, One comment per person, per favore
To Add Your Comment about Someone who has Inspired Your Love for Italy
for the Random Drawing, Look Below to the Left and Click on Comments OR write in the REPLY box…
Buone Feste!
134 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2014 6:42 pm

    I’m afraid my story isn’t very interesting. I read Frances Mayes, “under the Tuscan Sun” and fell in love. We spent 3weeks touring Italy shortly after that and I love it there.

  2. November 28, 2013 1:23 pm

    My husband… before I met him I was fascinated by France. The first time he took me to Italy I fell in love with Venice and the Dolomites. I remember when I stepped out of the train station in Venice, I felt like I was in a dream – it was so surreal – finally in the place I had read about and seen in movies, it didn’t seem real. I’ve been hooked ever since!

  3. Emanuela Toma permalink
    May 16, 2013 9:29 am

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my papà who was as proud as could be about being Italian and loving all things Italian.

  4. John (Foreman) permalink
    May 13, 2013 1:21 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy is Dottore Balanzone and his madcap friends of the Commedia dell’Arte. So much fun, food and love for all.

  5. Antony M permalink
    May 10, 2013 8:55 am

    The person who inspires my love of Italy is Venice herself. Whilst there I fell in love with the people. People Who seem truly grateful to live in such a unique city. People who will tell you about their life growing up if you walk into their shop and greet them with some Italian.

  6. Fran Johnson permalink
    January 12, 2013 10:53 am

    The person wh inspired my love for Italy was my dad. He served with the Eighth Army in North Africa and Italy. He loved Italy and all things Italian! However, he never returned to Italy after the war as he said he was ” lucky to come home (to England) when so many lads didn’t”. I wanted to bring him to Venice but he was so happy to look at my photos, eat the chocolate and wear the silk ties i brought back from my trips. Sadly my lovely dad died 18 months ago so on my next visit i will carry him with me in my heart – and he will love it! Xx

  7. December 28, 2012 1:03 am

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was my husband.

  8. MARYDudzinski permalink
    December 23, 2012 5:53 pm

    My parents were my greatest inspiration for my love of Italy and all things Italian. My parents were immigrants to this country and saw to it that we grew up in the fine culture that is Italian. I remember my dad listening to the opera on the radio and telling us all about it. My mom and her fantastic cooking skills, she never even used a recipe or a measuring utensil. When they spoke of the homeland their eyes glistened, yet they were always happy to be in this country also, the land of opportunity and growth! It was also their strong religious beliefs that inspired me, the stories of how religious days were celebrated in Italy. I finally had an opportunity to visit Italy and it was all they said it would be and it was. I thank my parents for instilling in us the love, culture, and passion of being an Italian, albeit an Italian American.

  9. Rosie permalink
    December 11, 2012 12:16 am

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was/is… spouse. He is a lyric tenor from Canada who sings primarily in Italian. It was his dream to visit Italy and we have done so three times in the last 3 years, staying for 2 or 3 months at a time. Things italian that inspire me: italian food, italian coffee, the language, the music, the history…and did I mention the FOOD?! We plan on going back this year too. I get the feeling that one could go to Italy every year for a lifetime and never experience everything that Italy has to offer. Guess I just have to keep trying! 😉

  10. Sue Shipley permalink
    December 9, 2012 9:51 pm

    Someone who inspired my love of Italy is Andrea who runs an osteria in the middle of Venice! He made us so welcome during our visits and on our last night the bill for our meal just said ‘Thank you for being a part of my osteria’ there was no charge just a smile and joke and ‘preggo’.

  11. December 8, 2012 2:52 pm

    i have studied italian art since i was a kid and started visiting italy on art tours. then,because your 17 and in venice,you spend 2 or 3 days eating only pastries. a personal paternal grandmother lived in a east bronx neighborhood where sicilian dialect could be heard at the deli and basketball courts and chinese takeout was reheated in olive oil. being northern italian, my grandmother’s expletives would come out something like FAnable…(go to naples…(hell). whats not to love here.

  12. December 8, 2012 2:49 pm

    Who inspired my love for Italy…..Tonolo, the best pastry in Venice. And might also say my daughter, who happens to have the name Francesca, who once said “Venice is more like home than home.” And that after only three trips there, including two one month stays each, in winter. Venice sinks deeply into the heart of even a 7 year old.

  13. Maria permalink
    December 8, 2012 1:18 pm

    My patents were born in Italy but they never had a chance to take us growing up. However, hearing the stories of their youth, my grandparents’ struggles during the war, the creativity they all had no choice but to develop in a land of beauty with limited possibilities…and then the hard decision of having to leave everyone behind for a better life in America when the pain of economic ruin superseded family ties and beautiful landscapes… All of these accounts and the constant reminders of what Italia had that we don’t here snowballed over the years into intense intrigue. So you bet that my family’s history inspired my love Italy. But I did not realize this until I finally went as an adult, crossed the border between France and ItAly and, for the first time in my life, i was unexpectedly immersed in the overwhelming feeling that i had arrived home.

  14. December 8, 2012 4:51 am

    My mother was the first to inspire my love of Italy. My Polish mother was very close with her Italian in-laws. Unfortunately, my Italian grandfather and great-grandparents passed away while I was still pretty young, so my memories of them are mostly blurs and snippets. However, they live on in my mom’s stories from the 70s. I especially love when she recreates their recipes. I walk into her house and suddenly I am transported back to all those times I ran into Nonna’s kitchen.

  15. December 8, 2012 3:46 am

    My father inspired me to go on a journey to italy.He was over there during the war, just out from Revena when he got wounded and was sent back home to new zealand.Over the years he would talk about italy but was quite closed about some things to do with Italy.When he died we found some lovely photos of people and one in paticular of a girl in a holy communion dress.there where words in italian written on the back.My brother had immagrated to england and was now working as a archelogist at carlise castle and had the photo with him.He showed it to an italian tourist to translate and we got a name and address from it.He sent a letter to the address with a photo of my father how he would have looked at the time as well,in the hope someone may know of the person in the photo and it turned out that a sister of hers still lived in the family house!! I had always wanted to go to italy from a young age and had study art at school and college and then later a trained as a wanted to visit to experience it on so many levels.I had the oppertunity as i hit 50 to travel there and we arranged to meet this lady in Revena.It was very moving..she said my father and his nz army unit where billited next door to her family and her father was a well know type of folk singer and was playing a type of guitar or banjo outside one day.Some of the army men heard it and one of the men got his guitar and started copying her farther and it started a frienship with the family.The mother used to do there laundery and my father and friends always joined them in eating, singing and having jamming music sessions with lots of dancing!.She seemed to think that her sister in the photo and a kiwi solider liked each other but she didnt think it was my father as they thought the kiwi soldier has been killed.She brought out a familly album and low and behold ther was a photo of my fater in it,identical to the one my brother had sent over! There was also photos of 3 other soldiers and some group shots of their family with them.She was very emotional about the new zealand men as they would give the family food out of there rations and when they left it was winter and the army captain ripped up the carpet on the floor and gave it to them and she said her mother made coats for the family about of it!! We think the daughter either gave the photo to dad as a gift or it was given to his army friend who died next to him when he was wounded and he bought it back with him.We then went on to explore all around revena and travelled to Rome.The food was amazing a we walked everywhere and went to many beautiful cafe and resturants…i just wish my fater had had the opputunity to go back and see what i did but he came back,met my mum(a nurse he met in hospital)and worked his whole life to support the 11 children they went on to have !!!!!

  16. John Garrett permalink
    December 7, 2012 11:38 pm

    My love for Italy was inspired by Lino Farnea. Lino was extremely kind and helpful in finding me a seat in a boat for the Vogalonga a few years ago. In spite of, or maybe because of, having an American wife, Lino does not speak English with anglophones. If I wanted to talk to Lino I had to learn Italian at the very least, and Venetian if I wanted to do it right. I’m still working on the Italian but the process has brought about some good friendships and led to many memorable experiences. One book I would recommend to everyone is Cooking with Italian Grandmothers by Jessica Theroux. It has recipes but it is a lot more than a cookbook.

  17. Christine permalink
    December 7, 2012 7:28 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was… actually, more than one person! All the Renaissance painters and sculptors. They made me yearn to visit Italy and see their creations in person, instead of a college Art History textbook.

  18. Denise Long permalink
    December 7, 2012 5:52 pm

    The Divina Cucina, Judy Witts Francini…makes you feel like a native when you are there. Has shown me Tuscany and Sicily…and next is Puglia!

  19. Alberto Rossi permalink
    December 7, 2012 4:40 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my cousin, Giuseppe Toni, from Sassoferrato, Italy. A town northeast of Rome, where both our parents and grandparent’s were born. When I was a young boy living in Auburn, Washington, USA I would write to my cousin Giuseppe in Sassoferrato. We had never met but hoped one day we would. In 1981, my dream came true, I flew to Italy with my wife and daughter and was finally going to meet my cousin Giuseppe. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. He told me so much about our family history and how proud he was of being Italian. I am now 81 years old as is my cousin Giuseppe. We don’t write letters to each other anymore but we do talk to each other on the phone every other Sunday. Family closeness and harmony were the impressive observations made by us–such as gatherings around the dinner table and the fact that a window of time each day was dedicated to eating, drinking wine, and sharing love towards each other. We try and emulate that here in our homes in the US. It is what life is all about!

  20. kristan tea permalink
    December 7, 2012 2:55 pm

    Actually, it was National Geographic magazine that inspired my love for Italy. In 1976 or ’77 there was an article about Venice. I fell head over heels and have never been the same since.

  21. Cedar permalink
    December 7, 2012 2:27 pm

    I fell in love with Venice (and Italy) the minute I crossed my first bridge during my first visit. It was truly love at first site. I am now learning Italian and have dreams of one day moving there with my family.

  22. Leena permalink
    December 7, 2012 10:54 am

    Singer Claudio Baglioni whom I have loved since I was fifteen. At the age of 50 i finally got to go to his concert in Milan :):

  23. December 7, 2012 9:28 am

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy is my Italian husband-to-be who brought jar of home made pesto for our first date. As a big pesto lover, I ate it with spoon straight from the jar and than had a single espresso. He says that in that moment he fell in love with me and he knew he wanted to spend his life with me. I knew on that date that Italy would became a big part of my life. It’s been growing in my heart ever since.

  24. Camille permalink
    December 7, 2012 1:25 am

    My inspiration is my mom Sandy. She has always loved Italy so much that she made travel to Italy and Europe her lifelong career. I learned to love the Italian culture, food and history. I have traveled to Italy my entire life and each and every time I experience something new. I feel one step closer to my Italian heritage and Grandparents with each and every minute take in when I am there. Thank you for always sharing your special places. I am also glad that you featured my Mom in one of your Days of Italy in Lake Como.

  25. kathy johnson permalink
    December 7, 2012 12:28 am

    One of my customers rented a villa on the Amalfi Coast and his stories were so romantic that i began to dream of Italy at that moment!

  26. Cheryl permalink
    December 6, 2012 10:54 pm

    I was inspired To go to Italy By watching the movie Under the Tuscan Sun.. I was not disappointed… love Italy!!

  27. Gabriella Becchina permalink
    December 6, 2012 10:43 pm

    Forget about Italy, Sicily is where it’s at! Only half-jokingly though… or to put it in Goethe’s words “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.” Sure, this was 200 years ago, but is it really that different today? Sicily is where I spent my childhood summers which carved specific scents and noises into my memory forever, à la Pagnol, where I collected mussles from the rocks on our beach and taught my little sister how to roast fish over a canes and reeds fire, and then eat it with bare hands minding bones and scales and all that needs minding, where we’d wander into the archaeological park of Selinunte and crawl onto the ancient walls and leap from column drum to column drum, basking in the sun, just over the sandy dunes, and refresh our parched palates with slices of citron, where tufa stone has a smell and wild caper flowers are called the orchid of the poor, where the light has a mesmerizing quality that brings all things and colors aglow in any season, where the arid mountains and the everchanging sea and the gentle rolling hills come together and unfold before your gaze in an infinite patchwork of silvery olive groves, golden wheat fields, green vineyards, blankets of blood pink sulla, red poppies, plaids of white clover and yellow daisies, dotted with abandoned farmhouses, or bagli which is how these buildings dating back to 800 AD are called here, scattered with deserted, solemn yet pretty railway stations from Mussolinian times and lacework bridges made of bricks from the period of the nation’s unification by Garibaldi, where the stars and the moon loyally and supportively show up every single night, and where you would find utterly picturesque what anywhere else you’d deem run-down and where nothing’s ever ruined or in disrepair as everything is embued with potential, however poetic or pragmatic you want to make it, the kind you only get in the eyes of the beholder when captured by a true work of art.

  28. December 6, 2012 8:49 pm

    Ah Italy! Wine, women and song…..

  29. December 6, 2012 8:37 pm

    My grandfather who came to America in 1926. He had traveled extensively in Italy before leaving. He talked about it all the time and inspired me with such a desire to visit his country. I do go every few years and try to visit a new region each time. My dream was one day to bring him back, but we never got the chance. I love Italy.

  30. December 6, 2012 8:26 pm

    In 1977 the Secretary of the U.S. Navy commanded that I go to Naples, Italy and take my family with me.

    I nearly gave up a 17 year career for I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO ITALY!!! My fingernail marks are still on the tarmac at Dulles Airport.

    Three years later after being in Napoli with a newly reformed family (no american TV or distractions) I left my fingernail marks on the tarmac at Capodimonte Airport Napoli. I cried not to leave my country! (heck I am supposed to English by birth)

    I became and still am, so enthralled with “my people” that I have returned 3 times, will be there again in 2014 and planning to end up staying there permanently.

    I don’t just want to return, I NEED to return!!!

    Mille grazie

  31. Leslie permalink
    December 6, 2012 7:59 pm

    All the Italians I have met in Italy. I can’t resist them. And the fact that my grandparents are Italian helped as well.

  32. Santella De Frenza permalink
    December 6, 2012 7:34 pm

    My parents inspired me every day of my life until I lost my mom in 2006 and my 93 year old father last February. I was born in Italy and we immigrated to Canada in 1952 because my mother wanted and desperately needed to live close to her only living relatives in Washington State. My father went from owning his own business in Italy to working on the railroad,painting houses and doing landscaping work. He worked 3 jobs on weekends and holidays sacrificing for our family of four…he is my hero!! I grew up, as a teenager, in an era when it wasn’t ‘cool’ to be an Italian immigrant. So I anglicized my Italian name in high school. When I went back to Italy in my early 20’s, my entire being changed from being ashamed to being proud of my birthplace! Everything made sense for the first time! I have since been back 9 times, studied in Rome and feel that my heart and soul belong there! My son ended up playing professional hockey in northern Italy for many years and I am now blessed with a son who loves his grandparent’s and parent’s birthplace and who is now also fluent in Italian. My deam is,one day, to make my bella italia my home again!!

  33. Bakyta Aidar permalink
    December 6, 2012 7:13 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was that Beet Risotto made by a master chef Paolo at Caffe Cotto in NYC. That was my favorite dish I asked for every time there, and I used to beg for Lemon Italian Soda 🙂 Italian people are the most loud and fun people to work with 🙂

  34. December 6, 2012 6:13 pm

    I am a food blogger and I think that many of the talented Italian bloggers out there inspired my love for Italian food.

  35. December 6, 2012 6:09 pm

    I don’t have just one particular person who inspired me, I have quite a few ..and they are bloggers that I have been following for a few years, and I had to go and see for myself , which we have done 5 times … and last year I found a cousin, and reconnected with each other after 47 years of actually NO CONTACT whatsoever , and she lives in Northern Italy, and her and husband showed me what I would call true Italy as a local , eating doing what they do, .. it was amazing. When my cousin and I saw each other at the Airport in Trieste it was very very emotional .

  36. December 6, 2012 5:57 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy were the people we met during our travels throughout Italy. We have been very fortunate to have been to Italy on 3 different occasions. Italians are the kindest, friendliest, most generous people. You want to stay and simply embrace al that is Italian! We hope to retun in August!

  37. Fatima Muriel permalink
    December 6, 2012 5:57 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was My Dear Mother~

  38. December 6, 2012 5:54 pm

    Believe it or not, Gianfranco Zola, who despite playing for Chelsea was wonderful to watch and, when I happened to bump into him, seemed a genuinely nice human being to boot.
    I thought all Italians must be like him … and I’ve yet to see the theory disproved.

  39. December 6, 2012 5:53 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was Michaelangelo when I first visited Italy and viewed the Sistene Chapel in the Vatican and David in Florence. I never imagined I would decide to live in Italy however until a house found me online in 2010 – I now have a ruin to restore and roots to lay down there 🙂

  40. December 6, 2012 5:47 pm

    Someone who has inspired my love of Italy/all things Italian is my Italian professoressa. Her love of Italy is contagious. My desire to visit has been fueled through learning this beautiful language and hearing her stories of growing up in this incomparable country. I haven’t yet had the opportunity to see for myself this bel paese, but one day…Sogni di Italia!

  41. Angie DeRosier permalink
    December 6, 2012 5:42 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy is……my friend Carrie, who travels abroad and always sends me a postcard from her adventures……Italy is a dream of mine to vsit one day…

    • December 9, 2012 10:15 pm

      CONGRATULATIONS Angie! You won a copy of TRUE VINES! Please email, let us know if you’d like a digital or print version, and where to send it, so we can get you your prize. Auguri!

  42. Kristi H permalink
    December 6, 2012 3:28 pm

    My 11 year old son, Diego. We moved to Rome for my husband’s work and I was pregnant with our first child, Diego. I had a whirlwind of a birth and learned to love, appreciate, and honestly sometimes dislike Italy with my son by my side. We lived left Italy when he was almost 3, lived in three other countries and now in the US. We plan to spend the summer in Italy as he longs to reconnect with being Romano. Our daughter, Domenica, born in Chile is now 4, and I truly missed giving her so much that is great about being a child in Italy: La Bufana, camomile Tè per I bambini, and stuffed rice balls are the BEST toddler food. The list can go one….

    Can’t wait to visit again threw different eyes and in a different place in life with our Italian born son and Italian named daughter. Grazie.

  43. December 6, 2012 3:14 pm

    My best friend, Chrissy, who dreams with me!

  44. December 6, 2012 2:43 pm

    The mother of the innkeeper where we stayed in Siena for a month. We would come home from being out all day and she would have left us fresh fig jam or cookies in our kitchen. Or she would chase us down to give us fresh grapes or vegetables from there garden. Her welcoming attitude and enthusiasm was contagious. We have now been back several times and consider them friends.

  45. December 6, 2012 1:56 pm

    My Father inspired my love for Italy.He was born there and came here as a young man. The distance from his Patria tugged at his heart everyday. You could see his love and passion in everything he did . He spoke of Italy and you could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice. The memories of his childhood, the tastes and smells of his homeland. He recreated it all every chance he got so he could share it with my brother and I. Our love for Italy runs deep and although we don’t get to go there as often as we would like it is a passion for both of us. Now it is my joy to share as much as I can with my son so he can develop the same passion for his roots as I have.

  46. Nancy permalink
    December 6, 2012 1:52 pm

    Italy, my favorite place in the world.

  47. December 6, 2012 1:42 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was/is my husband ❤

  48. December 6, 2012 1:41 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was/is my Italian husband ❤

  49. December 6, 2012 1:40 pm

    Actually my grandparents ARE from Molise and I was inspired by my memories of Sunday dinners are their house to investigate my Italian heritage. I dove into the food, culture and history of Italy with passion and it shows in most everything I do. I am not teaching others about Italian food and culture from all that I am learning. Thanks for the chance to win these books.

  50. December 6, 2012 12:54 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was my maternal grandmother, Carolina Feudo Leone or Mamma Leone. She worked hard to bring over her 10 children to the USA. My mother was the last of the 10 children to come over at the age of five. My grandmother loved her new country, but taught us everything about her beloved ITALIA! We learned about food, cooking, family. She often told us stories of how difficult it was to even eat during the war. My grandfather served under Mussolini and still carried the Facist views with him until his death. Carolina (my Nonna) had one sister who died at a very young age. Her father also left her and her mother when she was a young girl. Growing up alone with her mother only left her feeling sad so she was determined to have a BIG family. When Carolina died she left behind: 10 children, 51 grandchildren and 48 great grandchildren. There are actually more great grandchildren today, we have lost count! But her legacy continues to live in all of us. We talk about her all the time and miss her warm, generous soul! She painted the beautiful view of ITALIA that I know and love today. My husband was born and raised in NAPOLI!!! I have the good fortune of visiting his family every year and now my children can travel to beautiful Italia and learn the true culture of an amazing people! Viva Italia!!!!!!!!!! Baci a tutti 🙂

  51. December 6, 2012 12:04 pm

    My son is responsible for my love affair with Italy. The only reason I visited Italy was because he was stationed there…and then I ended up living there for 7 years!

  52. Denise Caracciolo permalink
    December 6, 2012 11:03 am

    My Great Grandpa who came to the USA alone at 15 and taught himself english & how to be successful in real estate way back when! He always spoke of how beautiful Italy was and how I should see it one day. And then one day I found myself standing at La Trevi Fountain with the man I love proposing to me!!! He was right, Italy is magical!!

  53. Rosemarie M. Shirk permalink
    December 6, 2012 10:57 am

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy is Dante Alighieri – The Father of Italian Language!

    • December 9, 2012 10:05 pm

      Congratulations Rosemarie! You won AT LEAST YOU’RE IN TUSCANY! Please email, let us know if you’d like a digital or print copy, send us your address so we can mail you your prize. AUGURI!

  54. Carol permalink
    December 6, 2012 10:50 am

    My grandmother inspired my love for Italy. She came to America in 1920 with her mother and sister to meet up with her father. Even though her life had been difficult, she waxed poetic about her life in Italy. Before she died in 1995, she was fortunate enough to return several times to visit her hometown.

  55. December 6, 2012 9:58 am

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my 3rd grade geography teacher, who referred to Italy as ‘the boot.’ At this young age – I knew I wanted to live in the boot and the thought of living in a country with the shape of a boot was intriguing for my young mind. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would actually come to live in the boot … well actually, the ball which the boot is kicking. Thank you Mr.D for educating our young minds to explore the world!

  56. December 6, 2012 9:56 am

    Someone who inspired my love of Italy is Frances Mayes. It started with under the Tuscan sun and grew with each book she wrote about living there.

  57. Padma Miller permalink
    December 6, 2012 1:50 am

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy is my daughter. She went with Royal Servants a couple of years ago. I had always wanted to go to Venice. When I developed the pictures I was astounded at the beauty of the county side, the colors of Lake Geneva and the stories that went with each picture. I am hoping my husband and I will be able to go for our anniversary when our kids move out.

  58. December 5, 2012 9:55 pm

    my schoolteacher who took us to milan/rome/viareggio when I was 14 and since then my heart is in ITALY ❤

  59. Erin Crawford permalink
    December 5, 2012 7:57 pm

    I visited Italy 7 years ago, and ever since then I have reading, eating , drinking and (trying to) speak Italian !

  60. Maryann D Dean permalink
    December 5, 2012 7:06 pm

    My grandfather came to America from Cosenza all alone when he was 12 years old to stay with an uncle in Connecticut. After he was here for three months, the uncle decided to go back to Italy but my grandfather wanted to stay. They found a boardinghouse run by an Italian lady and, as they say, the rest is history. I cannot imagine being a child of 12 – and staying in a foreign country, not speaking the language or having anyone there to be with or help you but he did and he lived the American dream. He was not a rich man but he worked hard and was able to live a happy life and had a wonderful family. It always intrigued me – this place called Italy where he came from and he was my inspiration to finally see for myself. Now Italy itself in my inspiration. I want to go back and actually would loved to own a home there – that is my dream.

  61. December 5, 2012 6:49 pm

    My Nonna inspired my love for Italy…she kept us connected to our Italian roots in the Italian dishes she prepared, her love for family and the Italian traditions handed down from generation to generation.

  62. Trena Johnson permalink
    December 5, 2012 6:49 pm

    My Italian inspiration is Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun. I’ve always had a special calling to see Italy, any part of it. Right now its from reading books, cooking, movies, artwork but someday I will be able to visit, even though I might never leave.

  63. December 5, 2012 6:29 pm

    As I walked around Venice ten years ago, I felt as if my heart would explode. Although I had not been back to this wonderous since my childhood, it felt so familiar. Of course I would have been totally lost without my Italian speaking friends, but something deep inside me was calling. I made an immediate decision as I recognised my dream. Now it is eight years since I bought my tiny apartment which I call Piccola Perla. I realise it was not someone who inspired me, but someplace. Venezia

  64. Christine Reinhardt permalink
    December 5, 2012 6:22 pm

    Not really sure who inspired my love of Italy. I just had this longing and passion inside me and it was my dream to go. I love all things Italian! I cook all things Italian! Maybe it was a past life, but I can’t wait to go back.

  65. December 5, 2012 6:15 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy were my grandparents. They made sure we visited them every summer… 🙂

  66. December 5, 2012 5:49 pm

    In 1972 I visited Florence for the 1st time and fell in love with the city’s beauty and art. Later I lived there. Same year I was an exchange student In France and fell for a Sardinian guy in our student exchange group who was so affectionate that I thought, “Wow! I like Italian men!” My love affair with him was short but my love for Italy has lasted. I visit Florence every year and my heart always soars when I arrive there.

  67. December 5, 2012 1:06 pm

    I’m not in the contest – just want to leave my thoughts: It was an Italian Renaissance & Baroque art class in college that sparked my post-adolescent but not quite adult sensibilities to the birthplace of my grandparents. Several decades later on my first trip there, my fanciful dreams became a reality that has not only changed my life, but that has endured for over 20 years.

  68. Linda S. permalink
    December 4, 2012 11:01 pm

    My mother inspired my love of Italy, through her own mother’s stories of coming here at age 18, more than 100 years ago. I learned about some of the dishes of Emilia Romagna, including ravioli en brodo, from my mom. Then my mother went to visit her mother’s home 20 years ago, and shared photos and stories. 4 years ago I visited there with 3 cousins, and met the Italian relatives I’d heard about–and tasted their amazing food, from near Piacenza. Last month I went there again, visiting my cousins who hunted wild boar, and others who collected truffles and wild mushrooms–it was like being in a time machine.

  69. December 4, 2012 7:14 pm

    I actually have many people that inspired my love for Italy, among them my parents who immigrated from there but always kept their Italian roots and passed on the beautiful language and customs to me. I still have family there, whom I speak to every day (thanks to the wonder of technology) and who share their daily life stories with me. Italy is in my core – whenever I am there, I am home.

  70. Rita V permalink
    December 4, 2012 1:15 pm

    Italy herself made me fall in love with her! After my first trip I was hooked! Her people & places are so warm & welcoming that everytime I visit, I feel like I’m coming home, though I don’t have a drop of Italian blood in me!

    • Christine Reinhardt permalink
      December 5, 2012 6:24 pm

      I don’t either that I know of Rita, but just like you I am hooked and my first trip was amazing! I can’t wait for my next trip and there WILL be a next trip!!

  71. December 4, 2012 12:10 pm

    My mom inspired my love for Italy. She became Italophile about 15 years ago after holidays in Tuscany. She speaks Italian, cooks Italian, listens to Italian music. I’ve been to Italy several times on my own but it’s more fun with mom – she is a great guide to Florence and Tuscany…

  72. December 4, 2012 9:04 am

    I ended up in Toscana working for a Canadian family as their nanny. They moved onto England and I stayed to keep an eye on The Farm for them. I was in my early 20’s then and am in my 40’s now. I was there for 6 and a half years. Met wonderful people from all over the world who were enchanted by the way of life. I returned to Canada with a man I married there and a son on the way. I will always have a special place in my heart for Italy, in many ways it is where I grew up.

  73. December 4, 2012 5:22 am

    I backpacked in Europe as a 19-yr-old, but made a decision to save Florence for my “old age,” so I’d have something great to look forward to. Now I’m 59, and savoring being in Florence, Venice and other parts of Italy for the first time. My high school history of art teacher went on and on about Ravenna – the Pantocrator is still in my future.

  74. Annia permalink
    December 4, 2012 4:47 am

    I believe that my love for Italy started with my childhood friend’s grandmother, Incoronata.

  75. December 4, 2012 3:54 am

    My daughter inspired my love for Italy. She visited Italy for the first time in 1984! I had never been to Italy and her wonderful stories inspired me to travel there also. I have now been to Italy 11 times and plan on spending another thee months there next year. I will be staying in Roma, Siena, Pienza, Bucine, Vicenza and of course visiting lots, and lots of beautiful hill towns.

  76. Erica permalink
    December 4, 2012 2:38 am

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my third grade Italian teacher who frequently spoke about the beauty of Italy and the fantastic food. Although I am not Italian, my heart has ached to visit since I was 8 years old because of him. I currently take Italian classes, cook the food at home, and I finally get to go next year. I have never been more excited about a trip in my life!

  77. December 4, 2012 2:27 am

    My love was inspired by a cousin I met on the internet-he introduced me to the real Italy.

  78. December 4, 2012 1:37 am

    My grandparents are who inspired me. I love everything about being Italian. It was because of them that I visited Italy. I wish they could of seen me go. Ever since visiting Italy I have been obsessed with going back. I eat, breath, and think Italian!! 🙂

  79. Caterina Maria Sinopoli permalink
    December 4, 2012 1:22 am

    My parents, who were born and raised in Calabria. They came to the United States back in the 50’s and raised three children. My grandparents also came to the U.S., but their heritage and love of their beloved Italia always was the driving force in our home. We traveled to their home town of Cardinale in the 1976. We fell in love with our culture and the small towns. I am extremely proud to be 100% Italian. My parents and grandparents are no longer with us, but we still have close contact with our family in Cardinale, especially during the holidays. My siblings and I still keep the Italian traditions in our everyday lives and pass them onto our children. Viva Italia!

  80. Jeff permalink
    December 4, 2012 12:58 am

    My Love for Italy has been inspired by my love of its history, especially that of the Roman Empire. I find it thrilling to explore the history of Italy that still has such an influence on the country today.

  81. Frances Kofod permalink
    December 4, 2012 12:06 am

    It is too hard to say just one person inspired my love of Italy. The kids newly arrived in Australia whose lovely earrings had me fascinated when I was a little kid at school; Monteverdi whose opera Orfeo I was in when a teenager at Sydney Uni, a compulsory activity two weeks before the exams staged by our mad professor; Pirandello – Six Characters in Search of an Author staged by the Italian Dept whose professor was even madder but just as inspirational as our music professor, the futurist Balla and the little moving dog in “Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash” painting and then Venice and the gasp of wonder when the No 1 vaporetto goes out into the Grand Canal for the first look. Galileo who looked at the stars in spite of the inquisition. I meant to put a red rose on his grave when I went to Firenze but ran out of time. Others – Francesco da Mosto, Inspector Montalbano – thanks to Andrea Camilleri. Most of all the immigrants who came to Australia and gave us their wonderful food. I can’t wait to go back to give Galileo his rose.

  82. Maria permalink
    December 3, 2012 11:38 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was my father. He wanted to come here..but maybe in another life he will..and now I’m here..partly because of him. I think it’s fate..because I LOVE Italy.

  83. Nic permalink
    December 3, 2012 10:17 pm

    My Zia. We’d stay with her and Zio every school summer holiday. Their love and warmth and our whole family bonding was the best a child could want. Freedom to play and of course, delicious home cooked food! I will never forget eating the vongole she’d cooked straight out of the pan (instead of taking them out of the shells for risotto)…

  84. Catherine Fitzgerald permalink
    December 3, 2012 9:14 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love of Italy was my mother, whose Irish heritage didn’t get in the way of her passion for the country and the language.

  85. December 3, 2012 9:06 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy is my husband. He and I began traveling to Italy in 2004, and have gone back every year since then. It is now our Thanksgiving tradition to spend time each November in Florence to celebrate with friends we have made in Italy, and take cooking classes in Lucca. There is still so much to see in Italy, it will take our lifetime to keep exploring it!!

  86. Lili Legg permalink
    December 3, 2012 8:47 pm

    Stories of my father inspired my love for Italy. I never new him but he was born on the Island of Ponza….where I hope to visit next year! Thank you!

  87. December 3, 2012 8:01 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my father’s family who gave me a great appreciation for the warmth and love shared by an Italian family. We find this same warmth in the many people we have met in Italy.

  88. Connie Nesary permalink
    December 3, 2012 7:55 pm

    When I was a little girl sick with a cold, on the sofa, watching a black and white movie called Roman Holiday with Audry Hepburn and Gregeory Peck. I think it was the sound of the Italian language that drew me in first.

  89. Lorraine Acuna permalink
    December 3, 2012 7:54 pm

    I took six weeks off from work to tour Europe. In 1986. When I got to Italy, I stayed for three weeks! I fell in love with the people and the culture of the Italians. I have been back seven times and will return again this coming summer bringing my teen age nephew with me. I also fell in love with the gelato!

  90. Cherie permalink
    December 3, 2012 7:39 pm

    I have lived all over Latin American and northern Europe, never had any interest in Italy. One day while researching San Michele for a paper I found a picture of a hotel in Amalfi that took my breath away. I decided if I ever needed to run away from home no one would look for me there. I kept the picture on my desktop and after 6 years. Finally, after our father passed away I grabbed my three sisters and we went sans husbands and children.. To minimize travel stress each sister was responsible for planning our visit for one city from hotels to transportation. It was amazing, from the Last Supper in Milan to the sheer beauty of the Amalfi coast to Venice, Rome and the Lazio countryside. I have been blessed to know the people I have met and come to adore. I return every two years to refresh my soul. It’s now my vacation vacation. My sister has a saying “Italy is like crack, once you experience it you have to have more.”

  91. linda carpentieri permalink
    December 3, 2012 6:44 pm

    Someone who inspired my love of Italy is Lidia Bastianch through her cooking shows and footage of the various regions of Italy.

  92. Dawne Cardella permalink
    December 3, 2012 6:42 pm

    Nona Nicollina who transplanted her entire way of life from Sicily to Long Island, from fruit trees to the grapevine and live chickens. I learned how to cook at her knee, picked plum tomatoes from her garden for the Sunday sauce and drank the homemade wine. Those tastes and aromas, the Italian language, gestures and perspectives infused my soul, heart and mind with such a deep love and understanding for the culture that I was so fortunate to inherit!

  93. patricia simon permalink
    December 3, 2012 6:22 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was my Dad, who came from a little village in the south, and my cousin who lives there and prepared the most delicious food imaginable, and all my extended family still there. Can’t wait to see them again!

  94. Rosa Wippich permalink
    December 3, 2012 6:22 pm

    My parents who were born and raised in Sicily.

  95. December 3, 2012 6:19 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was Katherine Hepburn in the film Summertime. If you haven’t seen it, seek it out. The filming of Venice is wonderful and whenever I am down and have no holidays to look forward to I watch this film and it lifts my heart. This is the next best thing to going to Venice. I am sure I was Italian in a past life.

  96. Sandy Young permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:54 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was/is…my contractor, who built my rustico apartment! Despite the stress of the year-long procedure, he always made me stop and breathe…”look at the beauty of the granite”…”look at the shape of the windows comparing to the shape of the old barn”…”look how tomatoes will shine in the morning sun here”…”imagine how you will drink a prosecco out here with the church tower bells ringing around you”. He made it heaven, before it became reality!

  97. Colleen Shattuck permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:52 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy is my niece Megan. She did her semester abroad in Florence, and we joined her for a vacation in Tuscany. Seeing her blossom and grow in her time there and have that transfer to us was delightful. I want to visit again and again!

  98. Sarah permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:51 pm

    My love for Italy came from my Mom. Her parents were immigrants to this country at a young age. The food, laughter and family values is a tradition like none other in an Italian home. I strive everyday to share that love with my Children, Anthony and Maria Domenica. I love cookbooks and read them often to inspire my cooking and to relive some of the old traditions we hope to keep alive in my family….

  99. December 3, 2012 5:43 pm

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was: a small shopkeeper in Amsterdam, who sold me a piece of pancetta and fresh pasta and immediatly told me enthusiastically how to make (my first) pasta carbonara … Many times I returned for ingredients while discovering the talian cuisine and listening to his stories and suggestions. A fine man.

  100. Louise Wright permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:41 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my father, who was in Sicily and then Rome at the end of WWII. He was full of stories, and, by the way, loved Gina Lollabrigida.

  101. Michele permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:41 pm

    I’m planning my first trip to Italy next year…have been wanting to go for as long as I can remember. I’m in awe of the culture, art, history, food, and overall beauty of the country. I can’t think of any one person who inspired my love for Italy, but being married to a man whose Nana was originally from Sicily certainly hasn’t hurt!

  102. Rob Johnston permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:32 pm

    First would be my wife who is of Italian descent. After having been to Italy, it is now the Italian people who have a love for their country plus the picturesque places I have been that keep drawing me back.

  103. December 3, 2012 5:28 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy… it horrible to say it’s the movies? Flicks like Eat, Pray, Love and Under the Tuscan Sun are as close as I get to friends or family that have traveled there and fell in love with it. I’ve been admiring from afar and hope that someday I’ll be able to be there, just being there.

  104. December 3, 2012 5:27 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was Irving Stone and The Agony and the Ecstasy. I read it (the first time) when I went to school in Florence. I would wander the streets at night thinking…”These are the selfsame streets Michelangelo wandered.” “This is the indescribable atmosphere Lorenzo de’ Medici created.” “This is the identical moon Galileo observed.”

  105. December 3, 2012 5:22 pm

    myself. I have always been facinated with Italy and love to cook Italian. My husband tells everyone that he married me for my lasagna. My dream is to go to Italy and do a cooking school so I am saving my pennies to be able to go some day!

  106. Marisa Spehar permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:10 pm

    My grandmother who lived in Firenze for 30 years.

  107. linda permalink
    December 3, 2012 5:07 pm

    A classmate of mine in the sixth grade who showed his slides of his family’s trip to Italy…I saw those gorgeous pictures and set my mind to seeing that beautiful place myself one day. I have loved Italy and all things Italian ever since.

  108. Debra permalink
    December 3, 2012 4:58 pm

    My Grandparents, Mother, Sister and Sophia!

  109. Heidi permalink
    December 3, 2012 4:47 pm

    My husband… who loves all things Italian. It started with bicycles, then motorcycles… soon wine and food followed… olive oil, stuffed zucchini flowers, espresso… an ever growing list!

  110. December 3, 2012 4:20 pm

    My mom loved Italy! Even with her Irish roots, her heart was in Lake Cuomo. She took groups of women on a tour, being their guide. When my sister got a job with Pan Am, her first trip was Rome.
    My husband and I have booked trips to Italy for the last few years and they never materialized. This year is my 65th birthday and we’re definately!!! going to make it this year.

  111. December 3, 2012 4:13 pm

    I grew up in a neighborhood where many Italians lived…..they were the inspiration for my passion for cooking and all things Italian. I had the opportunity to spend a week in cooking school in Chianti last summer and have such fond memories of the experience there, not just the cooking but the warmth of the people. I dream of going back someday!

  112. December 3, 2012 3:55 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my Italian professor Armando Francillon, at UCLA. His love of the language and culture came through in every class, and although I had grown up in an Italian family with grandparents who had come to America from Abruzzo, my love of the country was immeasurably increased by il Dottore.

  113. Margaret nichol permalink
    December 3, 2012 3:46 pm

    Someone who started my true and deep appreciation of Italy was my godchild. I was able to take her during her sophomore year of high scool th Florence. To see the city through her eyes as well as my own made all the difference. It was the little things that counted as well as the appreciation of the city as a wonderful place to be. If I am fortunate enough to win she gets the book this Christmas.


  114. Jemma Bradley permalink
    December 3, 2012 3:43 pm

    My childhood neighbours were Italian, I wanted to be Italian too! As I grew up, I realized that I would never be, but I could travel to Italy. Allora, quando sto in Italia, sono Italiana! Sto imparando la lingua e I LOVE IT 🙂 Ora sono stata a: Cinque Terre, Milano, Venezia, Verona, Pisa, Lucca, San Gimignano, Firenze (qui, sono andata la scuola per un mese), Roma, Napoli, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Positano, Capri e Ischia… e ancora ho tanti tanti posto da visitare!

  115. December 3, 2012 3:20 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was Helena Bonham Carter in ‘A Room with a View’.

  116. Deborah Horn permalink
    December 3, 2012 3:02 pm

    The beginning of my love for all things Italian was inspired by Nonna Picarella. The grandmother of my husband’s childhood friend, Johnny. In the early 1970’s, as young marrieds, we were invited to a New Year’s Eve party at Johnny’s parent’s home. At midnight, the family gathered solemnly around Nonna Picarella as she threw a china plate against the hearth, shattering it into hundreds of pieces.
    I was immediately enchanted with the idea that other countries and cultures have dearly held traditions that I knew nothing about, but must begin to discover.

  117. Cheryl Smith permalink
    December 3, 2012 2:35 pm

    Michael Tucker’s book, “living in a Foreign Language” is a truly inspirational novel. I want to go, now!

  118. December 3, 2012 2:30 pm

    My love for Italy was inspired by my nonna, who put me on a chair next to the stove and taught me to make sugo at the tender age of 6, and who whispered, “Never forget that you’re part Italian, my dear!” The love went from there, kindled through history and art history classes in college, and full-blown amore when I landed in Rome for the first time.

  119. Alina permalink
    December 3, 2012 2:16 pm

    My love for Italy and all things Italian came out of living in NYC and being surrounded by so many cultures. But the one that I was always drawn to was Italia…I enjoyed visiting little Italy and loving their feasts that provided the opportunity to taste the different flavors of Italia! Plus of course my one friend Antoinette, Toni for short.

  120. Margery Holdsworth permalink
    December 3, 2012 1:18 pm

    my friend with a home in Montipulciano where I have spent several holidays and Frances Mayes’ books on Tuscany and her Italian cookbooks ….

  121. December 3, 2012 12:39 pm

    My Nonna inspired my love for Italy. When she would visit me during the holidays she would play classic Italian music and make gnocchi from scratch. I would eat it raw and she would always tell me I shouldn’t do that. I miss those times in the kitchen celebrating Italian culture and life. Thank you for your amazing blog!

  122. December 3, 2012 12:39 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy was my art history professor who led an annual summer study trip to Italy. I participated in 1994 and it changed my life forever as it was on that trip that I knew I needed to come back to Italy…I did come back and all of these years later, Italy is still home to me!

  123. Cathy permalink
    December 3, 2012 12:05 pm

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy were my childhood best friends and neighbors, whose father was from Sicily… I LOVED being invited to stay for supper! I jumped at the chance to go to Italy with my daughters school 3 yrs ago and my obsession became complete. I look forward to the day I can return for hopefully a longer, less stressed stay but for now I feed my obsession with your wonderful blog!

  124. December 3, 2012 11:59 am

    Someone who inspired my Love for Italy was my Italian ex-boyfriend’s mamma…her cooking to be precise. Mamma mia! Everything, I mean everything she cooked from pasta to desserts were delicious. I brought pounds of it back on my stomach, butt and thighs. But it was all worth it, those long al fresco lunches. Picking raspberries for her cakes. The perfect tiramisu and homemade gelato…mmmmm….yum!

  125. Emanuela Toma permalink
    December 3, 2012 10:21 am

    Someone who inspired my love for Italy were my parents, who were extremely proud of being Italian and inspired me all my life; so much so that I couldn’t wait to go to live there. Unfortunately, after a year, circumstances did not permit us to stay and I’ve regretted it all my life.


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