Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Villa d'Este- Tivoli

Villa d'Este has been on the list of World Heritage Sites since 2001. Famous for it's beautiful gardens full of majestic fountains and grottoes, Villa d'Este was created by Pirro Ligorio for Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este and represented something absolutely new in the panorama of the 16th Century Villas.

Uberto Foglietta wrote in 1569 "no matter which direction one set's one's gaze, there are spouts of varied styles and of such splendor of design thatone must conclude that in all the world there could be no such place which is not greatly inferior".

Even today at 500 years of age, Villa d'Este continues to amaze and draw in thousands of visitors every year.

You can find out more about Villa d'Este at, by emailing or by calling +39 0424 600460

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tips for tourists

Here are some tips for enjoying the best of Rome without spending a cent:

1) The Vatican museums are free to enter on the last Sunday of every month. make sure you get there really early to avoid having to wait hours in line though.

2) Rome is full of fantastic parks and churches which are all free to enter. Even small lesser know churches house some lovely little surprises and most of the parks offer amazing views of the city and are full of fountains and other monuments.

3) The Roman Forum is free to enter. Enter behind the Vittorio Emanuelle monument in Piazza Venezia and take a stroll through the ruins in the Roman Forum whilst heading towards the Coloseum. The museum across the road from the Forum is free to enter and has some great things on display from back in Roman times and follows the history of the Roman Empire. It is also free to enter.

4) In the summer months of June and July Rome is full of free concerts. The biggest nomrally take place in Circo Massimo, Piazza San Giovanni and in front of the Coloseum. Big name stars offering free concerts, what more could you want?

Monday, January 29, 2007


Once a holiday destination for Roman Emperors today Tivoli is visited by millions of tourists. Home to three amazing villas; Villa Adriana, Villa d'Este and Villa Gregoriana plus the Terme di Roma known as the 'beauty-farm' of the gladiators.
Tivoli can be easily reached from Rome by either bus or car. Buses go regularly between Rome (Ponte Mammolo) and Tivoli centre. To arrive by car just follow the A24 Roma- L'Aquila until casello di Tivoli or take the Statale Tiburtina from Rome.
During June and July the Festival Tivoli Estate takes place with concerts and shows.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Piazza di Spagna

Piazza di Spagna holds a special place in my heart as it's where I met my now husband. A popular meeting place by both day and by night, The Spanish Steps are one of the most famous sights in Rome.

By day the piazza is full of tourists taking a second to rest their feet, take a pause from shopping (it's located at the end of the fabulous and very expensive Via Condotti- home to fashion houses such as Gucci, Prada and Christian Dior) or simply to take in the views.

In the evening it transforms into a social gathering point for both Italians and tourists. You are likely to find young Italian men playing guitar, singing and trying their luck with the tourists. One of the most common phrases you'll hear in this piazza is in fact "Ciao Bella" which means "hi beautiful".

Despite their name, the Spanish Steps were commissioned by a Frenchman Etienne Gueffier who in 1723 tried to link Piazza di Spagna with the French-owned church Trinità dei Monti on the hill above. A century earlier the piazza had been home to the headquarters of the Spanish Ambassador to the Holy See giving the name to both the steps and the square.

The Museo Keats-Shelley, the lodgings where the poet John keats died in 1821, is also located in the piazza.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


1 ) This Saturdays chat at
Peter Carusone, author of 'Where's the Minestrone?' and Professor of Marketing will be the guest speaker in this weeks chat. He will be discussing marketing and sharing information and tips to help you market your writing. There is a free handout for all who attend. As always, the chat starts at 6pm CET (that's 12 noon EST). Feel free to invite anyone you think might be interested. The more the merrier!

2) You still have a chance to be part of the blog comments contest. Until February 10th anyone who leaves a comment on this blog will be put in the prize draw to win a free copy of my ebook 'The Patron Saint of Lovers'.

3) If you like this blog why not sign up for my monthly newsletter at It's free and keeps you up to date on competitions, new book releases, articles in press, the chatroom and more.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This blog is a winner!

As the Romans Do has just won it's first award!

The Muse It Up Awards took place between the 1st and 20th January 2007. A big thank you to all who voted and made this site the winner.

More information about the Muse It Up Awards can be found at

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Famous people- Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar is one of the most known figures in Roman and World history.

Born in July around 100 BC Caesar, Julius Caesar was a Roman military and political leader and one of the most influential men in World history. He played a major role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire and the civil war in 49 BC left him the undisputed master of the Roman world. He was also responsible for the first Roman invasion of Britain in 55 BC.

He gained control over the Roman government and began making extensive reforms of both Roman Society and government. After being proclaimed dicator, he was assassinated by his friend Brutus in March 44 BC. His murder lead to another civil war.

You can find out more about Julius Caesar at

Monday, January 22, 2007

Money matters- The Euro

History was made on 1st January 1999 when 11 (this later became 12) countries from the European Union decided to create a monetary union with a single currency, the Euro.

Euro bank notes and coins entered circulation in these 12 countries on 1st January 2002. The 12 countries are Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland.

The € symbol is made by the first letter of Europe crossed by two parrell bars to indicate the stability of the euro.

The 7 banknote denominations have a common design in all countries, however the 8 denominations of coins include different national designs on one side and a single European design on the other.

Banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro.
Euro coins come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 Euro.

You can find out more about the Euro at

Friday, January 19, 2007


Just a few reminders:

1) At 6pm CET, Saturday 20th January, Tammy Powley will be a guest speaker in my chatroom at She will be discussing professional blogging and giving out a free handout full of useful information to all who attend. Don't miss out, join the chat!

2) Blog comment contest. Until 10th February anyone who leaves a comment on this blog will be put in to the prize draw to win a free copy of my book 'The Patron Saint of Lovers'. The more comments you leave the greater your chance of winning!

3) The Muse It Up Awards. Thank you to all of you that have already voted for this blog and my website For those of you that haven't, take a minute to visit and vote for under best blog and under best website. Thank you for the support.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Weddings in Italy

In Italy it is possible to have a valid civil wedding, religious wedding, symbolic ceremony or a simple blessing.The Civil Ceremony takes place inside the town hall or in specific locations.

The Catholic wedding ceremony is always performed in a church.

In the Protestant and Anglican ceremonies the wedding rite can be performed in a church as well as in a Palace, Castle, Villa, or Garden.

The Symbolic Ceremony can take place in a Palace, Castle, Villa, or Garden.
A Blessing takes place in a church or in a Palace, Castle, Villa, or Garden.

In the case of legal weddings, it is necessary to present documents to the local authorities, the documentation necessary varies according to the nationality of the bride and groom and the type of ceremony requested.

Italy has long been a popular and romantic destination for foreign couples and this trend continues to grow. Italy is a little trickier for weddings in terms of regulations that some other destinations, though, so it’s good to start planning early. Rome is a popular destination for Church marriages abroad. People go away for many reasons, perhaps to keep everything small and simple, or because of a recent wedding in the family, or possibly because this is what the bride and groom really want. Rome is a great city for a’ll have wonderful wedding photos!

To find out more about weddings in Italy check out A GUIDE TO WEDDINGS IN ITALY, which is available to buy now from

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tips for tourists

Here is just a few tips for when in Rome:

1) Italian food is great. Make sure you keep clear of tourist menus though and find a nice restaurant that the locals go to. Tourist menus are designed for tourists. Restaurants that the locals go to want their customers to come back therefore the quality of food and service will be much higher. Often the price is also better.

2) Watch out for pickpockets. Public transport in Rome is full of them. A large number of them are children and when the metro and buses are busy you won't even feel them do it. Make sure you always keep a close eye on your bag/wallet.

3) Seek out the little gems. Rome is full of things to see and art and history are everywhere you look. If you're staying for a couple of days, obviously try to fit in the bigger sites, but if you have a little more time seek out some of the less tourist spots e.g. A great Church is San Pietro in Vincoli (St. Peter in chains) which is located close to the Coliseum. Inside is Michelangelo's 'Moses' (in my opinion, one of his best works).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The chats are back!

Starting from Saturday 20th January, my chatroom will be back in action. To help lessen confusion over times, all chat's will now be held at 6pm CET. The time converter is on the site if anyone needs it. I've got some great chat's lined up too. I'm kicking off the new year with Tammy Powley who will be joining us in the chatroom at 6pm CET, Saturday 20th January to discuss 'Professional blogging'. She was the one who got me into blogging and is therefore to thank, in part, for this blog.

Tammy Powley is a writer and designer. She is the author of numerous jewelry making books, most recently Making Designer Mixed Media and Memory Jewelry, published by Rockport, and has been published in various print publications, including Jewelry Crafts Magazine, Bead Step-by-Step, and Art Jewelry. Since 1998, Tammy has been’s Guide to Jewelry Making (, and she also blogs professionally for and Creative-Weblogging, writing about jewelry, beads, and wine. See her web site at for more information as well as links to her various web writing work.
A free handout full of useful information about making money from blogging will be given to all who attend. Don't miss out, join the chat!

The legend of Romulus and Remus

The myth of Rome's birth was recorded by Titus Livius (59 BC- AD17) and begins in the old latin capital Alba Longa with the King Numitor, whose throne was stoeln from his brother Amulius. Amulius forced Numitors daughter, Rhea to become a vestal virgin to prevent rival claims. The god Mars then appeared to Rhea and left her pregnant with Romulus and Remus. The twins were born and thrown in the river by Amulius, but were guided by the gods to the Velabrum, the old marshes under the Palentine Hill. Here they were raised by a she-wolf and eventually adopted by a shepherd. When they became adults they founded Rome in 753 BC, fulfilling the phophecy made by Mars. Both wished to rule and neither could agree on a name for the new city. Romulus preferred Roma, while Remus preferred Rema. Romulus settled the argument by murdering his brother and built the city walls.

The statue of the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus can be found at Palazzo dei Conservatori.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Greetings and introducing yourself

Good morning buon giorno
Good evening buona sera
Good night buona notte
Good-bye arrivederci
Hi/ bye ciao

My name is…. Mi chiamo...
Pleased to meet you. Piacere.
What’s your name? Come si chiama?
How are you? Come sta?
Very well, thanks. And you? Molto bene, grazie. E lei?
I’m not Italian non sono italiano
Where do you come from? Da dove viene?
I’m from…. Sono di….
I’m… sono….
English inglese
American americano/a
Canadian canadese
Australian australiano/a
Irish irlandese
Welsh gallese
Scottish scozzese
How old are you? Quanti anni hai?
I’m….years old ho.....anni
I was born in...... sono nato/a a.....

For more information on the Italian language visit my storefront at and check out my book Italian for tourists.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Public transport in Rome

Transport in Rome is easy to use if you know the rules. There are different types of tickets, all of which you can buy from the ticket machines in stations, tabaccherie, bars and paper shops.
In order for the ticket to be valid, it must always be stamped at the begining of the journey or when entering the metro or on buses and trams. The ticket expires after 75 minutes.
The B.I.T. ticket must be preserved and shown on request to the control personnel on all means of transport.
If the validation machine is out of order the passenger must advise the driver and write on the ticket in pen; the time and date. If this happens when on the metro the ticket should be validated by the station personnel.
A €1,00 ticket is valid for 75 minutes for travel within the territory of the Rome municipality on buses, trams and one time only on the metro.
A €5,00 multibit (5 B.I.T.) ticket can be used 5 times even on different days (like 5 seperate B.I.T. tickets). It is valid for 75 minutes after each validation. It must be used only by one person.
A €4,00 B.I.G. (Integrated Daily ticket) is valid up to 12 midnight on the day on whichh the ticket is validated and gives unlimited rides on all transport within the Rome municipality. As with the other tickets, this must be stamped at the begining of the first journey.
A €11,00 B.T.I ticekt (intergrated tourist ticket) is valid up to midnight of the third day inclusive of that on which it was first stamped and for an unlimited number of jurneys within the Rome municipality.
A €16,00 C.I.S ticket (Integrated weekly ticket) is valid up to midnight of the 7th day inclusive from the date indicated by the customer as it's first day of validity for an unlimited number of journeys within the Rome municipality.
Obviously the type of ticket you choose to buy will depend on the length of your stay and the amount you plan to use the public transport system.
You will be fined up to €100,00 if caught without a valid ticket so remember to always stamp the ticket.

When on public transport always keep a close eye on your bag/wallet as pickpockets are very common. They are mostly small children and sometimes even pregnant women.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blog Contest

Everyone who leaves a comment on my blog between January 10th and February 10th will be entered into the prize draw. To increase your chances of winning leave a comment on more than one post. Your name will go in the hat for each comment you leave *up to 3*.

The winner will receive a free copy of my new ebook 'The Patron Saint of Lovers'.

Ever wondered who Saint Valentine was? or how the Italians celebrate Valentine's Day? You'll find the answers to these questions and much more in 'The Patron Saint of Lovers'. More original than chocolates or flowers, 'The patron Saint of Lovers' makes a great valentines gift.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Italian alphabet

The Italian alphabet contains 21 letters (5 vowels and 16 consonants). A further 5 letters of foreign origin (J, K, W, W, Y) which can be found in words from other languages are also now in current usage.

For the letters of the Italian alphabet below, the pronunciation in brackets should be read as if it were in English.

A (ah)
B (bee)
C (chee)
D (dee)
E (eh)
F (effay)
G (gee)
H (ahkka)
I (ee)
L (ellay)
M (emmay)
N (ennay)
O (oh)
P (pee)
Q (koo)
R (erray)
S (essay)
T (tee)
U (oo)
V (vee)
Z (zeta)

Monday, January 8, 2007

making this blog great

The idea of this blog is to supply all the information anyone could possible want to know about Italy and well, anything related to Italy. I aim to include a variety of reading topics including; history, traditions, culture, language, tips for tourists, interviews and information about other sites that might be useful. Given the start of the new year I thought I'd give you, the reader, a chance to comment on what sort of information you'd like to read here. Do you have any questions about Italy that you'd like answered? Do you want to know what books are out there that have a connection to Italy? Are you planning a trip and want to have some tips? What ever your interest is, feel free to leave a comment on this post and I'll do my best to give you the information you're after.

Friday, January 5, 2007

What happened in 2006- Torino

Italy was home to the winter Olympics in 2006. It was a successful event for the Italians who won several medals. Fabris, 24 years old, became the Italian to win most medals in 1 Olympics. He won Gold for the 1500 metres and Bronze in the 5000 metres.
The Italian Men's Team Pursuit made a new Olymipic record for Speed Skating with 03:43.640.
Italy's final medal ranking was 9th place with a total of 11 medals. They won 5 Gold, 0 Silver and 6 Bronze medals. The over-all winner was Germany with a total of 29 medals.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

What happened in 2006- Religion

Pope Benedict XVI (or in Italian Benedetto XVI) born Joseph Alios Ratzinger on 16th April 1927 in Bavaria, Germany is the 265th and reigning Pope of the Catholic Church and as such also Sovereign of the Vatican City State. Elected on April 19th 2005 he succeeded Pope John Paul II who died 2nd April 2005.

2006 was a busy year for the new Pope including Apostolic journeys to Poland, Spain, Bavaria (Germany) and Turkey. It also saw for the 1st time in 5 years an offical delegation visit China in June.

Unfortunately 2006 was also a problematic year for the Pope and his church. many issues arised during the year however the biggest followed a lecture delivered by the Pope in September at the University of Regansbury in Germany. During the lecture the Pope quoted the passage

"show me just what Muhammed brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, as as command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached"

which was written in 1391 as an expression of views of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus. This was not well recieved by Islamic politicians and religious leaders and led to numerous protests.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

What happened in 2006- Politics

There were big changes in Italian politics in 2006.

Prodi became the new President making the winning party the Centrosinistra (centre left). It was a close race between him and Belusconi and was decided by the votes of Italians living abroad. It has not been a smooth start however and there has been out-cry over his financial reform largely due to the rise in taxes.

Giorgio Napolitano, 81 years old, took over from Ciampi as the Presidente della Repubblica(President of the Republic). He won with 543 votes and was elected on the 10th may 2006. Born in Napoli (Naples) on 29/5/1925, Napolitano is the 2nd oldest Presidente della Repubblica. The oldest being Partini, who was 82. He is the 1st from the Partitio Comunista Italiano (Italian Comunist Party).

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

What happened in 2006- Football

2006 was a big year for Italian football in both a positive and negative way.

On the 2nd May, a few days before the end of the Championship, it was reported that telephone conversations had been monitored between some of the biggest teams in Italian football. What followed was to be a scandal like no other. Calciopoli as it has become to be known, headed by Luciano Moggi is one of the most embarassing moments in Italian football history. Juventus, Milan, Lazio, Fiorentina, Reggina and Arezzo were all penalised for fixing match results, however research in still going on to understand exactly what happened and who was involved.

From the worst to the best. 2006 also saw Italy win the World Cup. Celebrations lasted for weeks following the victory against France in the final. This year was the 4th time Italy has been World Champions (1932, 1938, 1982 and 2006).


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