Make Italy Yours

A blog of Italian Culture and Nature

Tag: Stacy di Anna

How I (plan to) Study Italian, 2017

Prayers & Piazzas

I have written that, a few years back, I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions, but last week, at the start of a new session of Italian classes, there was a buon proposito waiting for us all:

Migliorare il mio italiano | Improve my Italian

Our professoressa had written this knowing that certainly this a goal for all of her studenti. I nostri compiti (our homework) was to explain specifically how we planned to accomplish this resolution.

Allora, ecco il mio | Here’s mine:

Per migliorare il mio italiano, leggerò, scriverò, ascolterò e parlerò in italiano ogni giorno! 

To improve my Italian, I will read, write, listen and speak in Italian every day!

Reaching way back to my days of teaching language arts to middle schoolers, I remembered that these four elements — reading, writing, listening and speaking — are the foundation of language learning. Reading and listening are…

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Reasons I love Italy and why I learn Italian

Prayers & Piazzas

Falling in love with the Italian language has been one of the more beautiful surprises of my life.

Growing up in an Italian-American family, with a grandfather who, as a teenager, emigrated from Puglia in southern Italy to America, Italy was no big deal to me. I never intended to learn Italian, and I especially never expected to love every moment of it…read more on Studentessa Matta (honored to be featured there!)


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A Tiny Tuscan Church

Prayers & Piazzas

Nestled in the perfectly preserved walled town of Monteriggioni in Tuscany is the Church of Santa Maria Assunta.


Despite my love affair with Brunelleschi’s famous dome in Florence, it’s this little unassuming church which is my favorite chiesa of all which I’ve seen in Italy thus far.

Built over an ancient church, Santa Maria Assunta was consecrated in the early 1200s following a peace treaty between the notoriously warring Siena and Florence.

Small and peaceful, this tiny stone church doesn’t boast murals from any of Italy’s rock stars from art history. But it’s exactly that simplicity to which I’m drawn.  europe2010-288

Monteriggioni is not far from Florence and is a fantastic stop to include if you are visiting the more popular Tuscan towns of Siena and San Gimignano. If you’re traveling with kids, Monteriggioni is highly recommended!

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Of Masterpieces and Mysticism

Prayers & Piazzas

In the Presence of The Last Supper

Traffic was still light on this Friday summer morning in Milan, and after just a few quick turns our taxi came to a stop on lively Corso Magenta.

Questa è la chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie? Con Il Cenacolo?” (Is this the Santa Maria delle Grazie church? With The Last Supper?) I asked the driver slowly, trying hard to form a complete and error-free question. Perhaps my Italian wasn’t clear the first time I told him our destination. But here he was, stopped on the street, waiting to collect his Euro and wondering why we were still in the car.

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. Perhaps a little more fanfare? A big sign and spotlights? At the very least, I thought there would be a crowd of humanity and jumble of street vendors hawking merchandise printed with reproductions…

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Earthquake in Italy: an update

Prayers & Piazzas

It has been just under a week since a deadly 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy, in a region about 100 miles northeast of Rome. Suffering the worst damage are the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto.

The death toll is now at 291, with hundreds more injured and thousands displaced from their homes.

In the midst of the rubble, citizens of this area work to mourn, recover, and heal.

The community in Amatrice are worried that a bell tower built in the 1400s will be demolished.

“The town is no more,” said Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi, the morning of the earthquake. The church of Sant’Agostino built in 1428, sustained heavy damage but incredibly, the campanile(bell tower)remains standing. Image credit: on photo via CNN

Tent camp for displaced residents in Arquata del Tronto. Image Credit: Cristiano Chiodi/EPA via The Guardian

Hundreds attended the state funeral and Catholic service to lay their loved ones to rest.

Scene from a state funeral on Saturday, August 27, as Italy begins the painful task of saying goodbye.Image credit on photo…

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Earthquake in Central Italy

Prayers & Piazzas

Very saddened to hear news of the earthquake which hit central Italy around 3:30 am this morning, August 24, leaving the small town of Amatrice, about 100 miles northeast of Rome, devastated.

“The town is no more,” said Mayor Sergio Pirozzi.

At the time of this writing, at least 73 people are dead and dozens more are missing. Along with Amatrice, the town of Accumoli — both in Lazio — are the hardest hit.


Image Credit

Image Credit

Although small, with a population of less than 3,000 people, artifacts show that Amatrice has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and remnants of ancient Roman buildings and tombs have also been discovered.

You may recognize the town name hidden within one of Rome’s more notable regional dishes — pasta all’amatriciana — and in fact, popular belief is that many Popes across the centuries had cooks who hailed from Amatrice.

Amatrice has had…

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Alla Stazione: Helpful Italian words for train travelers

Prayers & Piazzas

Italy2012 094

Roma Termini

“Roma Termini (in Italian, Stazione Termini) is the main railway station of Rome, Italy. It is named after the district of the same name, which in turn took its name from the ancient Baths of Diocletian (in Latin, thermae) which lie across the street from the main entrance.”


Train stations in Italy can be very intimidating. From my memory, the orario (timetable) like the one above, is updated not too long before departure. So if you are an anxious American traveler like me, who arrives at the station with a reasonable amount of time prior to her train departure (say, 30 minutes), said traveler will not find her train listed on the orario. But stai tranquilla (keep calm, a phrase I’ve heard several times in Italy), it will eventually appear.

In locating one’s train, it is imperative to know the binaro (platform) from which the…

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