The Intersection of Paradise & La (Agro) Dolce Vita

Suitcase ready in abandoned house

Suitcase ready in abandoned house

Since opening up my life to others with this website in 2006, I’ve received countless comments about how wonderful my life must be living in paradise. Ha!

Excuse me while I wipe off the cappuccino I just spit onto my screen.

I do love the life I’m creating, and I continue to choose to live in a corner of the world I love not only for its breathtaking beauty and warmth (literally most of the year and figuratively almost always) but also for the deep connection I feel with the terra, the land my ancestors walked, farmed, and lived from. I’ve always had a strong sense of place, of physical location, being particularly drawn to certain areas; I suppose I took that to a whole new level by moving here.

I’m proud, humbled, and grateful that over the past eight years I’ve had the opportunity to deepen my connection here by adopting a lifestyle as simple and uncomplicated as I can make it while making a living doing what I love and staying in contact with the outside world.

But Italy? Well, she’s hardly made it easy.

Getting to simple is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

Leaving your entire support network an ocean behind is always going to require some adjustment, to put it mildly. It becomes an even more questionable decision when completing an allegedly simple task takes days/weeks/months because of a language barrier that feels as wide as the aforementioned ocean, because you just don’t know how things work, or because, hey, that’s just how Italy rolls.

As I’ve written before, living in rural southern Italy has in many ways meant learning an entirely new way of life from the way bills are paid to knowing where to sit at a table in the campagna. Hint: around here, the women usually sit at one end and the men at the other. And of course none of this touches the everyday Italy expat frustrations of mail delivery (or lack thereof), telephone and electric company services, etc.

In case you had any doubts, let me spell this out:

There’s nothing magical about Italy that makes the annoyances of daily life less frustrating.

As anyone — absolutely anyone — who has ever lived in Italy for even a short period of time can tell you: life here is far from “la dolce vita” on many if not most days. Life here is just life, or as I call it in the title of this post “agrodolce”: bittersweet.

For all of Italy’s wonderful qualities from the freshness of the fruits and vegetables to universal health care, there are accompanying frustrations and disappointments for the average expat in Italy, not the least of which is missing out on the daily lives and important occasions of our friends and family in our home countries. Sometimes that realization alone can be overwhelming if I think about it too much.

Una fontana, Badolato, Calabria

Una fontana, Badolato, Calabria

But I love it here — and more importantly, I love me, here.

Many of us have certain locations in which we find it easier to be calm and relaxed whether it’s at the beach or in a particular room in our houses . . . somewhere we just feel at ease, ourselves, “home” if you will. By moving here, I put myself in an environment that has enabled and enriched my personal search for identity, tranquility, and simplicity, but it’s important to remember that our well-being and happiness doesn’t necessarily depend on where we’re located. Why? Because of one simple truth:

Paradise is not a place; it’s a state of mind.

We don’t always have the opportunity to be in our ideal physical location, so the quest for internal peace begins with recognizing and appreciating both the bitter and the sweet in life, which we all have. My work toward this goal has included striving to be more deliberate and mindful in my choices, live in each moment, be grateful for both simple and grand pleasures, and seek out inspiration in even the most mundane of activities such as cleaning up goat berries or waiting in line for three hours at the post office.

If you can locate and focus on the good, it just may make the bad seem — at the very least — less bad.

I’m not going to lie; I’m not always successful in this mission. I’ve had my rants, and I’ll surely have more. I’m still nowhere near Zen, especially where mail delivery is concerned, but I’ve noticed my frustrations have become fewer and farther between over the years. It also takes me much longer to anger or become annoyed than it used to. My breaking point has shifted in a huge way as has my patience level, both in the right directions, all a result of changing my own way of dealing with stress along with understanding Italy more.

These changes are hard to quantify, but I know how I feel inside, particularly in comparison to how I used to feel, and that’s what matters most to me. Living here has absolutely helped me reach this point — I can’t possibly put into words how much I’ve learned and grown from this experience of living abroad — but I am confident that the positive habits I’ve developed are with me to stay, no matter where I live.

My mind doesn’t live in perpetual paradise by any means, but by embracing the sweet and giving less power to the bitter, I do hope to approach that elusive intersection where all three meet as often as possible.

What does paradise mean to you?

52 Beans of Wisdom to “The Intersection of Paradise & La (Agro) Dolce Vita”
  1. Gil

    Wow, if this wasn’t written from the ‘Heart” I don’t know what is! Despite the handful of problems you have run into in Italy it sounds like you are living a happier and healthier life without all of the pressures of modern day life in a big city in the USA.

    Healthier for sure — I get so much more exercise now keeping up with all the furbabies! πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m the jerk who sees only the wonderful pictures in this post – I love that golden color πŸ™‚

    But ya, ditto.

    Much appreciated, Sara; so much of the scenery here lends itself to rich, warm overtones πŸ™‚

  3. 05.16.2011

    Thank you for this post that includes so many truths. Living in Italy is not romantic or any kind of paradise/dream come true. It’s another place where daily life goes on and what we get out of it is what we put into it. If your life sucks elsewhere, it will probably suck in Italy, too, not necessarily because of Italy, but because of that old truism, “wherever you go, there you are.” You can’t get away from your problems or discontent by moving to a new place, because when you move you have to bring yourself with you…and much of our unhappiness is simply self-created. As you say, we each have to look within to find our own peace and tranquillity…wherever we are physically located. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for commenting, Saretta — so true that wherever you go, there you are.

  4. 05.16.2011

    Nice, post, well balanced and inspiring. If paradise exists most of us wouldn’t recognize it.

    Thanks, John.

  5. Rosaly Faria

    Maybe a lot of this frustration is a bit increased because you are located in the south of Italy?
    It seems that things are slightly better in the north πŸ™‚

    I don’t know, Rosaly; I have plenty of expat friends in the north and central, and unfortunately we seem to share some frustrations in common — the latest is the phenomenon of bills arriving already past due, which I’ve heard has been happening in Piemonte and Abruzzo as well as here.

  6. Jill

    Beautiful post and a beautiful life you have built for yourself in your corner of the world!

    Thank you, Jill πŸ™‚

  7. 05.16.2011

    Lovely and balanced post. In my opinion, paradise is not geographic. A geographic place can be a factor but knowing ourselves and our connection to others determines one’s happiness.

    Thanks for reading, Elisa!

  8. 05.16.2011

    I’d trade my crazy hectic life in for Bella Italia any day! 19 more days and I will be coming back! Hugs to you and your life!

    Back at you Deb; enjoy your stay!

  9. Marie M

    Another commenter mentioned the gorgeous colors in your photos – they attracted me to this piece… so glad that I read it through. Always knew that you had a special relationship with Italia (what with leaving your security blankets here in the US), but this brought me into your mind! I feel your sense of peace and tranquility – even amidst the storms, you found it! Hope that I can absorb some of what you have been able to attain. Peace and tranquility are all around us – wherever we are – – we need to STOP… and allow it into our hearts and souls.

    Slowing down is so important, indeed, and so is just outright stopping. I plan on writing more about that as well πŸ™‚

  10. AmyEmilia

    As always, your photos are beautiful and your writing touching. A previous poster quoted one of my most treasured sayings: “Where ever you go, there you are.” There is no running away from ourselves! Thanks again, Michelle!

    Thanks AmyEmilia; we most definitely cannot escape ourselves.

  11. 05.16.2011

    This is a lovely post.

    I like your point about paradise not being a place, but a state of mind. It is easier in some places than others and at some times in our lives than others.

    Keep embracing the sweet and sharing it with us.

    Very true, Sue, about being better able to find peace/calm during certain times in our lives; it’s important for us to recognize those times!

  12. 05.16.2011

    Hi Michelle, It’s been a real joy following you and Bleeding Espresso as you’ve both evolved over the years. You’re always an inspiration!

    Thanks Carol; it’s been great following your journey as well!

  13. 05.16.2011

    I so know what you mean. There really isn’t any perfect paradise on earth. I’ve lived in some great places, but there’s always the fly in the ointment part too. Reality checks?

    In Thailand, they remind you to keep a cool heart. In time…indefinite time…all things get resolved somehow, even if the resolution involves just giving up.

    But even tho you are not in a real paradise, dh keeping reading me the bits of articles he finds in the NY Times. I guess Sicily is making a home in his engineer’s mind. πŸ˜‰ We’ll see.

    I love the idea of keeping a cool heart — I’ll have to think more about that one. Really interesting!

  14. Cristina

    Beautifully post-and wow, those photos are amazing!

    Thank you Cristina; the village is always inspiring for photostrolls!

  15. 05.17.2011

    Sometimes we forget how easy can be to do things and live in a simple way . We tend to make things too complicated at times when they really aren`t. It is true, we can all can learn a lot from Italy comparing it to abroad and how people love living enjoying life to fullest!

    Indeed; thanks for stopping by!

  16. Brett

    I am an avid reader of your blog but a “leave a comment” virgin. The main reason for the interest is an overwhelming love of Italy and more particularly Tuscany which, to date, has unfortunately been restricted to holidays. I have followed your blog journey for a while and noted with interest the new bias towards introspection and self examination. As a fervent reader of business and motivational books, the phrase – β€œBut I love it here- and more importantly, I love me here” – literally jumped off the screen. How important is it to love me β€œhere”; whether β€œhere” happens to be a country, a stage in your life, a relationship or (stretching the analogy a tad) a job.

    Keep up the great writing and love the new direction of the blog.

    Great to hear from you, Brett! I don’t think it’s stretching the analogy very far at all to include a job; I personally cannot imagine spending as much time as I do on my work if I didn’t love doing it — and how it makes me feel. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment πŸ™‚

  17. 05.17.2011

    Have just stumbled across your blog and aside from your gorgeous photos, I really LOVED this post. I don’t live there full time yet, but I’m working on it! Still, I’ve stopped referring to life in Italy as La Dolce Vita for many of the same reasons. Though I have to say, splitting time between Italy and Holland, I have infinitely more tolerance for things going awry in Italy. Perhaps it’s because I just never expect anything to work right there in the first place, or because I get frequent reprieves from the utter clustermucks because I travel so often. But mostly I think it’s because – as you said – I love the more mindful, simple and far-more-patient “me” there. In any case, you’re absolutely right: paradise and it is most definitely a state of mind and luckily it’s portable!

    So happy to find your blog. I look forward to reading more!

    Definitely portable, Guyanne! Thanks so much for reading and commenting — and best of luck on your journey as well πŸ™‚

  18. 05.17.2011

    Yes, this was a post from the heart!

    Getting used to life in another country ain’t that easy, and sometimes, it can be tough. Southern Italy seems to be very ‘traditional’ and for someone, like you, who comes from a more open culture, the ‘traditions’ can be hard to chew on – like sitting in the right place at the table – new one for me and I’ve been in Italy for ages too.

    I’ve often heard of people having a sort of crisis after 5 years here – they have enough and go back to their countries of origin. You’ve passed that, almost.

    Sounds as if you could do with a few expat friends in your neck of the woods to let off steam to. Italy’s funny ways of doing things can get to you – I know all about this πŸ˜‰

    Hang on in there – think of the wine, the food, the climate and the landscapes – often!

    All the best from Milan,


    Oh Alex, I’m way past the 5 year crisis — I’ll be here 8 years in August, and have no plans of moving back to the US or anywhere else. My life is here, and I’m lucky to have a great expat network both near and far πŸ™‚

  19. 05.17.2011

    Michelle I know full well of what you speak, as my sister-in-law lives with her husband between a house here in Brooklyn, NY and a house in a seaside town in Reggio Calabria. She feels torn between both worlds and lifestyles. A love/hate relationship with each. When she gets tired of one she comes back to the other.

    We don’t “find” paradise — we make paradise! Make the most of the good moments and the things that bring us happiness and let go of the things that frustrate.

    Thanks for commenting, Pat πŸ™‚

  20. 05.18.2011

    Oh Michelle you put it so well πŸ™‚

    Grazie mille LindyLou!

  21. Wonderful post Michelle. I love your quote above “Paradise is not a place. It’s a state of mind” It rings so true.

    Thanks Pete, and thanks for coming by!

  22. 05.19.2011

    Absolutely LOVE your blog and your perspective on life. Thank you for sharing a piece of yourself with the world.

    Aw, thank you so much Chandra Nicole; lovely to “meet” you πŸ™‚

  23. 05.20.2011

    I certainly relate to this.

    I can’t explain why I chose Australia to live in, except that it just feels right. I am not sure why, but it is. And so here I am.

    Lovely feeling, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

  24. Silvana

    Ciao carissima,

    As a fellow writer and first generation daugher of Calabrese parents, I have always had a special relationship with Calabria even though I was born and live in Canada. The person who emerges every time I find myself there is someone I would really like to get to know more! πŸ™‚ I could never really put my finger on it, but every time I read your blog, your words resonate with me deeply. The ongoing theme of “do I or don’t I try living my life in Italy” has been a lifelong dilemma…whether it be fate or my own fear of not wanting to add too much reality to a corner in the world that I identify so much with, I can’t say. I just wanted to say that from wherever you are in the world, I concur that a simple life is best, because for me, that is truly a quality life. Goditi tutte le delizie della tua terra d’origine, anche un po’ per me. πŸ™‚

    Con affetto,


    Grazie mille for the kind words, Silvana; perhaps we’ll meet in Calabria some day πŸ™‚

  25. George


    Your thoughts on life in Calabria really struck a chord with me. Italy is paradise on earth to me, but, I don’t live there. I come as a guest and leave aching for more. I read everything I can get my hands on about life there, but, you gave me a new perspective, and I thank you for it. Your honesty was very refreshing. It seems to me that you have worked very hard on your life there and La Dolce Vita is starting to make more and more appearances. Best of luck to you on your life’s adventure.

    Thanks so much, George, for sharing your thoughts. I know that I tend to focus on the positive in my writing (as that’s what I focus on in my daily life), so for the casual reader it may seem that all is wonderful here — alas, it’s pretty much like everywhere else (with great scenery) πŸ™‚

  26. 05.25.2011

    “Paradise is not a place; it’s a state of mind” Thank you very much for the reminder, Michelle. It was exactly what I needed to hear (read) this afternoon. Now I am off to dream up a little bit of Paradise.

    Enjoy, Teri, and thanks for coming by!

  27. Well said Michelle! You won’t believe how much I had to pay to get the Girl Scout cookies my sister sent me out of customs in Milano.

    I’ve had to tell friends and family not to send me gifts from the U.S. or outside the EU. Now I get gift certificates to Amazon.UK, etc. and it’s all good. heh

    Ugh. Dogana. ‘Nuff said. Enjoy the cookies though!

  28. 05.26.2011

    Wow, your experiences and what you share really touches a place in my heart. You write eloquently and manage to capture a lot of feeling in few words. Complimenti.

    Thanks for reading, Sarah!

  29. 05.26.2011

    You are very right (hai ragione!) about life not being perfect in Italy, but I think that’s all part of the Italian experience. Nothing is easy – the traffic, the constant search for public restrooms (this is huge when traveling with our three boys), the bureaucracy, etc. – and yet these inconveniences almost force us to truly experience life in the moment … a life that can be messy and beautiful, simple and complex, peaceful and aggravating.

    That’s the mystery of Italy, and for this reason part of me comes alive whenever I am there.

    Ah the mystery of Italy…definitely part of what we love about her πŸ™‚

  30. Mrs. J

    Great post. I pop over to your blog from time to time as I have seen a friend of mine follows you. I was thinking of relocating overseas to Tunisia actually b/c my husband is still there. Every time I need inspiration, I check out your posts and it makes me excited to possibly try instead of waiting for immigration to allow him here.

    Continued happiness to you in Italy!

    Thanks so much, Mrs. J — and good luck!

  31. 05.29.2011

    We lived in Napoli for almost 4 years of which the first 6 months were miserable while learning the “Italian” way. Now that we have lived back in the US for 6 years we yearn to be back in Italy… fortunate for us we will return to Napoli in February. We are SO excited but everyone we know thinks we have “lost” it to want to go back over there. Italy taught us so much of what it means to really live and cherish the moment and people around us, I’m counting every second until we touchdown back into Italia!

    Very interesting, Ryan; looking forward to following your journey πŸ™‚

  32. 05.30.2011

    Ciao! Fantastico post!

    P.S. I just added you as a friend on GoodReads.

    by the way for some reason I was having an issue with commentluv & it says “No last blog posts to return”. So I’ll just put my last blog post here :

    Thanks Alessandra πŸ™‚

  33. 05.31.2011

    I haven’t read all of the comments (33, wonderful), but I will say that I love the lessons you’re learning along the way. And while we can’t all live in a picturesque town on or near the Mediterranean, we can all try to be more patient and kind, and to be happier in whatever life we’re currently living.

    Absolutely! Inner peace can be elusive, but the search for it is always worth it πŸ™‚

  34. This is truly a beautiful post…I’m Italian but I’ve chosen to live abroad, and I’m in the process of moving – again! – to a place that I’ve always wanted to live in: England.

    At times I miss the family and friends I left behind so much that it can be overwhelming, but as you say some places just agree more with who we are and allow us to be ourselves and find our own inner paradise.

    I know very well what living in Italy means…every time I say I’m from Italy, I get asked the same question: “Italy? But it’s beautiful! Why on earth did you move here???” (Dublin).
    And I always answer that yes, Italy is beautiful, but it’s one thing to be in Italy on holiday, and quite another to live there…
    We’re all different and need to follow our own unique path, it seems you’re following yours and I’m very happy for you. Thanks for sharing.

    So funny as I often get asked by Italians why I’d move here from L’America…to each her own for sure! Thanks for commenting, Cristina πŸ™‚

  35. Petra

    Paradise is definitely a state of mind, despite it CAN be place too πŸ˜‰
    Great post, thanks!

    Thank *you* Petra πŸ™‚

  36. 06.04.2011

    Paradise is where my puppies live forever. I would move to the ends of the earth for that paradise.

    Nice post Michelle.

    YES!!!!! I could get with that too πŸ™‚

  37. 06.05.2011


    Is there any place in the US which would have also given you a simpler lifestyle/similar satisfaction, or, is the US just too permeated with our culture for a similar life to be possible? Not sure if that made sense….

    You know, that’s a great question. For me personally it seems like there’s an awful lot of peer pressure in the US to live a certain way — I think it would depend on “how bad you want it” perhaps? I’d be interested to know what others think as well….

  38. Karen

    Such a great perspective!
    Although I am not looking for my internal paradiso while living in Italy, I can completely relate…

    “These changes are hard to quantify, but I know how I feel inside, particularly in comparison to how I used to feel, and that’s what matters most to me. Living here has absolutely helped me reach this point β€” I can’t possibly put into words how much I’ve learned and grown from this experience of living abroad β€” but I am confident that the positive habits I’ve developed are with me to stay, no matter where I live.”

    Well said. Great post!
    Love your blog.

    Thank you, Karen, and thank you for reading πŸ™‚

  39. 06.07.2011

    Great blog and I know of what you speak. I was born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. to proud new Canadian/old Calabrian parents. I went several times in my youth to visit and fell in love with Italy and especially Calabria. In my youth, the quirkinesses of Calabria were less pronounced, being shielded by protective family and naivete. But in later years I have more appreciated just how hard simple things can be.

    Shortly after getting married, my wife (very Canadese) and I went to Italy. I had been going on and on about the beauty, the people, the food, the ‘simple life’ blah blah blah and despite my ‘overkill’, my wife was very much looking forward to her first foray in Italy.

    The day after we landed, we had finished a day touring Rome – Castel S. Angelo – and were walking back to the hotel from a late night pizza when a motorcycle zoomed by and I saw my camera case with wallet and credit cards career down the street in the hands of the motorbike passenger/thief. This happened just outside our hotel – so I ran into the hotel and told the clerk, I had just been robbed. “E che ci posso fare io?” – he replies. I hadn’t really expected anything but at least some sympathy for his guest. I then asked where the police station was (as I would need a police report for my insuranc). Again: “E che ci possano fare loro?” was his ‘menefregista’ answer. Needless to say the police station visit was more of the same.

    Only when I called my calling card provider (yes back when we had calling cards) and I heard – “B.C. Tel – How can I help you” did the magic of Italy disappear in an instant.

    I am glad to say that once I had my visa card and traveller’s checks replaced, I was able to get back on track. I can only imagine the ‘gran casino’ that is made of most simple things in a country that professed the simple life. I look forward to reading more about your experiences.

    So sorry to hear about your difficulties upon arrival — of course city life (and visits) is always different from rural in any country. Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  40. Michelle Bottalico

    Brava. Beautiful post. You’ve really hit the nail on the head.

    Grazie cara!

  41. 06.21.2011

    “Paradise is not a place; it’s a state of mind.”
    LOVE that sentence.

    This is something that I suddenly realized the day I came back to Italy from my 2 month visit to Buenos Aires this February. A friend had said, “so, will home be Argentina or Italy in the end? Where do you feel the happiest?” I thought and thought, and I said, “well, anywhere!” And it’s the first time that has come out of my mouth.

    Paradise is most certainly a state of mind – it is located within. If one does not draw from within for their happiness, they could physically be living in the Garden of Eden and still not be content.

    I haven’t been reading blogs lately but popped in to catch up and I’m really enjoying your writing.

    Thank you, Tina; hopefully for Italy’s sake, you’ll stay around though…. πŸ˜‰

  42. Mletta

    Really enjoyed this post with its refreshing honesty about the challenges one faces when one chooses their own path and is creating a new life as it were. Doesn’t really matter where you are. It’s never just about the geography or even the culture.

    “paradise is…a state of mind.” Indeed, a variation of the “Wherever you go, there you are.” We do create our paradise and it has little if anything to do with perfection. But much to do with really thinking (as you have) about where you feel yourself and where you really want to literally be. (The first time I went to Italy, I felt this incredible sense of being “home” even though there is lots of stuff about Italy that, as a businessperson trying to work, drives me mad still. I thought long and hard about living there and realized that I’m nowhere near as flexible as on needs to be to truly live peacefully in Italy. I don’t love it less, but I’m more realistic about knowing the limits of my visits, as it were. Too many people learn too late that they are not really suited for the true lifestyle–not the glamorized one–of some locations.)

    I’ve lived in the same NYC apartment for over 30 years. It had and has some seriously problematic “stuff” that I deal with, sometimes in Zen mode. Sometimes, not so much. But, and it’s a huge but, I love the location. I love our slice (literally) of view of the Hudson and the light we get.Ie love this part of NYC. I love our HUGE bathtub.

    Lots of changes in the area, in the building (truly, a co-op building can drive people mad and literally OUT of the building, as happened to our last co-op board president and the one before!). Some tough. Some for the better.

    There are lots of things I don’t love and can’t afford to fix/change. Sigh.

    But it is my paradise and if I had all the money in the world, I would live part of the year in Italy and part of the year in San Francisco. Not on the current options list, so paradise remains my square footage in a city I love even more than when I first arrived.

    As I told a friend recently, this is the longest-running “romance” I’ve ever had. Reading your blog reminds me of how much I do still love right where I am (even when I’m wanting to move after watching too many House Hunters International episodes on HGTV!)

    As someone who strongly believes in the power of place as it affects our daily lives, I relish hearing about your journey in Calabria.

    Everyone owes it to themselves to find the place(s) that help them be MORE (not less) of themselves each day.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, especially about your decision process regarding moving to Italy — if more people would take your approach, we’d have far fewer disgruntled expats on this side of the pond πŸ˜‰ I love the way you talk about your space, your place; the importance/power of place is something I’m constantly exploring as it’s always been fascinating to me. I’d love to write more about it. Thank you again for stopping by and taking the time to comment πŸ™‚

  43. 07.15.2011

    Love the post. I know every time I go to Italy, I feel a little more ‘me’ and a little less like the person everyone else wants me to be. I can’t think of anywhere in the U.S. where there is a similar environment. There’s too much homogenization here, and there’s just a different set of values. I cannot wait to get back.

    It was a strange feeling, at least for me, because I hadn’t realized I didn’t feel totally me until I *did* feel like me…if that makes sense? Hope you get back soon, John πŸ™‚

  44. 07.26.2011

    Hey Michelle,

    Have you thought of just taking all your wonderful blog post here with pictures and making a beautiful book….it would be a great read and all in one spot…..just a thought! Hugs!

    You know, you’re reading my mind Pam hahaha…just recently I’ve been thinking about doing *something* with the recipes at least…hmmm…..

  45. 08.03.2011

    Thank you so much for this post. I wish it would have been possible for me to read it some two years ago when I lived in Genoa. My life there was far from paradise but I must admit I did not help myself: I could only focus on the bitter and ugly side of it. Today I can say I simply wasn’t ready to live in Italy at that time. I’m growing up now to my future life there as I dream and hope I will go back to Italy to settle down with my little family. I’m working on my state of mind to be ready for Italy this time.

    michelle Reply:

    Timing is *so* important, Kasia. As you wrote, sometimes we’re just not ready for certain experiences and can only fully appreciate later once removed from the situation. Much luck and happiness to you πŸ™‚ xx

  46. 08.11.2011

    I think I should come and visit you in your heavenly Italian corner – where I have never even been! Shame on me!
    Paradise means for me friends around for a laugh, a good book, food and wine to enjoy and feeling loved and love those who surround me.

    michelle Reply:

    I have to reply to your email, Francesca; thanks!

  47. Ola

    I’ve been living in Italy for about 5 months now. Not that long, but enough to start thinking how my life has changed since I moved here… I have just been contemplating Italy’s β€˜la dolce vita’ image abroad and the idea of creating my blog about that… And… the only name that I could think of as fully reflecting my feelings was β€˜la (agro) dolce vita’, so I googled it and that was how I discovered your blog! πŸ™‚ I must admit that while reading your words I felt like I was talking about myself and my view of living here πŸ™‚ Thus, I guess I have nothing more to write then;) Grazie mille per questo post onesto e meraviglioso!

    michelle Reply:

    Oh of course you have plenty to say, Ola…do it! And then send me the link πŸ™‚

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Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake