Saturday, July 27, 2019

La Dolce Vita

Rome, Italy 2001

As much as I adore Paris and France, my heart has also been taken by Italy. There is something about Italian style that is more accessible and down-to-earth. When I think about favourite foods, Italian food is right up there too. I think Italy is the secret sister for me, and she guides me in a way that I don't always appreciate.

I have only visited Italy once – Rome, for a mere two or three days – but it made a big impact on me and I can still remember many details; how confident and flamboyantly dressed the women were, the sense of style which was so important to Romans; the smartly dressed young men and women zipping around on Vespas, coffee balanced on the handlebars and held precariously with one hand, the espresso bars everywhere.

I have just finished reading a book called ‘When in Rome’, by Nicky Pellegrino (she's here on Amazon), and the exquisite beauty of her writing took me back to Italy and made me fall in love with the Italian way of life all over again.

I think you would call this book ‘faction’; it is a fascinating and enjoyable story woven in with the true story of the great tenor Mario Lanza when he and his family moved to Rome from the US to shoot a movie. The main character Serafina becomes his wife’s assistant, so she has a behind-the-scenes view to this famous man. I could almost sigh from happiness while reading this book; it feels like you are living right there in Rome with them and I want to make more Italian dishes for dinner as a result of reading about chef Pepe and his sizzling, fragrant kitchen.

This is the first book of Nicky’s I have read and trust me, I will be searching out her others! (She has quite a few, yay!)

Ah bella, I am so sad to have finished this book, it was like the perfect evening out; you know there will be others, but this one was just so… divine. Sometimes a book finds you at exactly the right time, you know? And it weaves its way into your very being.

So for now, I will be moving to Italy in my mind, and thinking what I can make for dinner tonight that will fit my mood. And, playing opera on my iPod :)

Are you a lover of all things Italian, or does it sneak up on you like it did to me?

Happy weekend everyone!


PS. I am about to start another audiobook recording - which one would you vote for me to do?  I am thinking Thirty More Chic Days.  In the meantime, if you haven't listen to my first audiobook, of Thirty Chic Days, you can find it here as an instant download in MP3 format.


  1. I will look for this book right away! My dad was a real fan of Mario Lanza.

    I've never been to Italy, but the beauty of the countryside and the lifestyle really inspires me. I live in northern California, so I often visit Napa and Sonoma wine country for a little taste of Tuscany. In fact I wrote a post about making your home and your everyday life more "Tuscan," not so much by running out and buying big-box faux-Tuscan d├ęcor to fill your home, but by concentrating on the feelings and atmosphere of Italy, the slower, more celebratory lifestyle, and "il dolce far niente," the sweetness of doing nothing. If you'd care to read, please hop on over:

  2. Thank you for the "summer read" suggestion! Who can resist a little Italian passion? And the food - yum!

  3. I admire the French aesthetic and revel in their beautiful language and lifestyle, but I adore La Dolce Vita and have had the pleasure of living it for a spell periodically. I've been to Rome thrice for a few days at a time, and visited Florence briefly, but my heart yearns to return to Venice, where I've had the pleasure of spending nearly three weeks all told. From procuring fresh fruit and veg from the stand located on the corner of the tiny street on which we rented an apartment, to acquiring prosciutto from the butcher and parmesan from the cheese shop, and from dining al fresco on grilled branzino, to simply sipping an aperol spritz in the Piazza de San Marco--Italy fires my historical imagination and feeds my romantic soul...and tummy!

    Fiona, have you read the book "Bella Figura: How to Live, Love, and Eat the Italian Way" by Kamin Mohammadi? I believe you'd find it delightful! And these two are quick, but pleasant reads, as well: "La Dolce Vita: Living the Sweet Life for Less" and "La Bella Figura: How to Live a Chic, Simple, and European-Inspired Life" by Kristi Bell. Enjoy!

    1. Kristi is a dear (virtual) friend of mine - I love her writing! And I will look up the first recommendation too, thank you!

  4. Have you read this one? There is another one with the same name that is not as good. La Bella Figura: How to live a chic, simple, and European-inspired life Kindle Edition
    by Kristi Belle

  5. As a kiwi travelling abroad Italy at the moment I agree Fiona! I sense a great appreciation of aesthetics here. Beauty at every turn, in everything from the grand architecture of the cities, the magnificent art and culture of Florence to the remote countryside's rustic colourful flower-boxes, endless stone walls and beautifully set out fruit stalls in the marketplace, the patina of time worn doorways, mazes of tiny alleyways. So much beauty continues as it was for centuries and it continues to be...

  6. I must read this book, Thank you. I adore all things Italian. They have such a lovely way of enjoying life. They don't want a skinny woman, but one with a bella figura, nice and curvaceous. They eat with enjoyment and gusto, and talk with passion. I love the way that Italy is layers and layers of history that has left a wonderful palimpsest of art and culture over the towns. Traces of the past is everywhere. To my mind, I prefer Italy and the Italians to France and the French, but it is a close call, and mostly because the Italians are more relaxed and easy going and accepting.

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. I checked her out on Amazon and there really are lots to choose from. So fun! I have never been to Italy but really want to go. In the meantime, I can enjoy these books and dream.

  8. Love your photo - you look so chic! I visited in Italy some years ago and fell in love w/it. The art, oh my, and the food there is just unbelievable. Makes me want to go again just thinking of it! Kay

  9. Bonjour, Fiona. I love your blog, your lifestyle and your serene approach to living well. I have two of your books and in your "How to Be Chic in the Winter" you write about the types of meals you prepare. It seems all my friends are falling into two camps these days .... vegan or keto. I'm wondering how your eating has evolved (or if it has) from the meals you've discussed in the past. Your "30 Slim Days" has been invaluable for me and I'm not really looking to change anything in my eating habits unless it would be for the better. Thanks again for sharing who you are.
    xo karen

    1. Hi Karen, I tend towards keto, but when I look back through my 'Thirty Slim Days' book, and the recipes in 'How to be Chic in the Winter' I see that I've long been a fan of lowering carbs - specifically for me, sugar.

  10. I had an Italian boyfriend for about four years and we were able to travel to Italy together several times. Italy is wonderful and magical. It was a gift to have that sweet relationship in my life.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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