43 episodes

Rick Zullo is an American who moved to Rome and started a blog as a way to help understand his new surroundings.



Over the years, Rick’s blog has become a resource for both expats and visitors in Rome; helping them navigate the more challenging aspects of life in the Eternal City. Not just the practical advice and sightseeing, but also a good measure of “daily life,” and the things that a foreigner might find puzzling about Italian culture.



Some of the most popular posts have been on the following subjects: dating in Italy; fighting the Italian bureaucracy; Italian superstitions; learning the Italian language; and regional Italian cuisine.

The Fatal Charm of Italy: A Question and Answer Podcast with Rick Zullo Rick Zullo: American Expat in Rome

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 3 Ratings

Rick Zullo is an American who moved to Rome and started a blog as a way to help understand his new surroundings.



Over the years, Rick’s blog has become a resource for both expats and visitors in Rome; helping them navigate the more challenging aspects of life in the Eternal City. Not just the practical advice and sightseeing, but also a good measure of “daily life,” and the things that a foreigner might find puzzling about Italian culture.



Some of the most popular posts have been on the following subjects: dating in Italy; fighting the Italian bureaucracy; Italian superstitions; learning the Italian language; and regional Italian cuisine.

    The Italian Approach to Wellness and Beauty with Amy Parsons – FCI 044

    The Italian Approach to Wellness and Beauty with Amy Parsons – FCI 044

    As this pandemic grinds on, many of us italophiles grow increasingly anxious about our inability to travel freely to and from Italy. We look for various alternatives to keep the connection alive and vibrant: we practice our language lessons, we try out regional recipes in our own kitchens, and we watch enviously as Stanley Tucci gorges his way through the peninsula.I discovered another Italian indulgence to add to the list: Mozzafiato.What is Mozzafiato, you ask? Simply put, it’s an online hub that represents the largest collection of iconic Italian wellness and beauty brands assembled in one place. I’ll explain more in a minute, and you can catch the full audio version in my latest podcast episode. But first, let’s talk about that name!The literal translation is “breathtaking,” but like much of the Italian language, direct translation only scratches the surface of the beauty beneath. The Italian dictionary definition comes closer. “Che suscita stupore, ammirazione, impressione; che fa trasalire violentemente.” (“That which arouses amazement, admiration, impression; which startles violently.”)When I first encountered this website and its perfectly aligned branding message, it reminded me immediately of the opening scene from Paolo Sorrentino’s masterpiece, La grande bellezza (“The Great Beauty”).For those who haven’t seen it, the opening scene is exactly this: a collective attack of Stendhal syndrome. A tourist beholds Rome from above, is overwhelmed by its great beauty, and then promptly dies on the spot. A modern-day operatic moment worthy of Puccini or Verdi.Check out these products below... you've been warned!































































    The Italian Approach to Wellness and BeautyIn Italy, wellness and beauty are not just a luxury, but part of everyday life. They are necessities, priorities… not just an indulgence. Taking care of oneself, and how you present yourself to the world, are as important (or maybe even more important) than your job. Fare una bella figura…Furthermore, "wellness" and "beauty" are not so far apart from each other in the Italian mindset. Good health is beautiful, and beauty is restrained, refined; never overdone or vulgar. It’s good for you; body, mind, and soul.Rick Zullo · The Italian Approach to Wellness and Beauty with Amy Parsons - FCI 044Forged out of the founder’s love of Italy’s unique approach to living a life of beauty, Mozzafiato provides an immersive, authentically Italian experience to the North American market, offering a wide range of products: fragrance, skin care, men’s grooming, bath & body, home, and gifts.Brands selected to be part of Mozzafiato represent the best of Italy’s i...

    • 25 min
    Fascism and Feminism in Italy with Jennifer Anton – FCI 043

    Fascism and Feminism in Italy with Jennifer Anton – FCI 043

    Fascism and Feminism in Italy may not strike you as related ideas. Indeed, they are often more opposed than aligned. However, like much of Italy’s history, it’s more complicated than initially meets the eye.The topics of this post could not be timelier. March is Women's History Month, and March 8th, specifically, is International Women’s Day. And unfortunately, the concept of Fascism has reared its ugly head again in recent years. I discuss this more in depth during the conversation with my guest on today’s podcast episode.My guest is author Jennifer Anton, and she’s an American/Italian dual citizen who moved from Chicago to Milan, and now lives between London and Lake Como. (Lucky her, right?!?) For the past 14 years, she’s been researching and writing a novel about the lives of her female ancestors and Italian midwives during the time of Mussolini's rule. Under the Light of the Italian Moon is a novel inspired by a true story of love and women's resilience during the rise of fascism and WWII. A gripping historical fiction based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.I’ve lightly touched on the topic of feminism in Italy before, with memories of my encounters with the Neapolitan version of chivalry and the dating rules in Italy. But as my guest pointed out so correctly, I was merely recounting a man’s version of feminism, no matter how well-intended. Shame on me. Well, I didn’t have a daughter back then… but I guess that’s no excuse. Rick Zullo · Fascism and Feminism in Italy with Jennifer Anton - FCI 043Fascism and Feminism in Italy - Between Two WarsNina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave."Under the Light of the Italian Moon"When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorize their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities.A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…Praise for Jennifer Anton’s Book



    ”'In these populist days many of us know or have known how perplexing it is to live under a domineering leader who thinks he is always right. Back in 1922,

    • 29 min
    Eating Healthy While Traveling – FCI 042

    Eating Healthy While Traveling – FCI 042

    There’s a strange paradox when it comes to eating healthy while traveling in Italy. The variety of incredible food is so enticing that you must wonder how Italians stay so trim. As for the traveler, if you’re only visiting for a week or two, there’s a powerful temptation to overindulge in all the delicious abundance. But still, given all that, you often hear of people returning from a trip to Italy actually having lost 5-10 pounds. What gives?











    It's a lot to unpack, and thankfully I have an expert guest on my podcast that helps me make sense of it. Her name is Dr. Lisa Ortigara Crego and she’s a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders. Not only that, she's now a lover of Italy travel following a memorable trip back to "the old country" to see some of her Italian relatives. As to the puzzle of why people actually lose weight while traveling in Italy, it’s pretty simple when you break it down. Healthier food, smaller portions, less access to constant snacking. In many locations, it’s nearly impossible to find something to eat at say 4:00 in the afternoon, should a craving hit you. Not to mention, most people on an Italian vacation do a lot more walking than they’re used to back home. I'd rather starve. Anything served by airline can barely be called food, in my book.Here are just a few things we touched on:* Airplane strategy for eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.* Hotel vs. Airbnb (with your own kitchen)* European hotel breakfasts – an invitation to start each day with a buffet feast* How much is appreciating the local culture through its culinary traditions vs. an excuse for over-indulging?* On the other hand, is it really a vacation if you’re “worried” about your diet the entire time?About Dr. Lisa Ortigara CregoDr. Ortigara Crego earned her Doctorate in Addiction Psychology, is a Clinical Psychotherapist, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, Certified Addiction Professional, and Licensed National Board-Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, who has worked in the weight loss industry for well over two decades. Dr. Lisa combines the use of hypnotherapy and psychotherapy to create long term success in weight loss management and an understanding of food addiction.Her pioneering practice can help you reach your goals. Explore with her why you eat what you eat. Understand why food can cause your moods to swing, your cravings to soar, your weight to increase, your self-esteem to plummet, and your fatigue to rage.Check out the deal on her 3-Book Bundle!



    Release Your Obsession (All 3 Books in ONE!) - Kindle Edition: $23.85 $9.99 Bundle all three and save! If you want to change your life or the life of a loved one struggling with these challenges this book is for you!





    Buy on Amazon!









    Lisa Ortigara Cregolicensed clinical psychotherapistSpeaker, writer, licensed clinical psychotherapist, PhD in addiction psychology, eating disorder professional, hypnotherapist changing the view about compulsive eating one addict at a time.weightcontroltherapy.

    • 37 min
    The Coronavirus Crisis in Italy – FCI 041

    The Coronavirus Crisis in Italy – FCI 041

    To date, I’ve resisted weighing-in on the coronavirus crisis in Italy on my blog. For one reason, the situation changes significantly on a daily basis. So anything written today might be totally irrelevant (not to mention inaccurate) by next week. But also, I’m not living there at the moment, so I don’t feel that I have the first-hand experience to make any credible commentary (although it now seems I will have first-hand experience soon enough).So instead, what I thought I’d do is to speak directly with people, both expats and Italians, about the situation on the ground at the moment. I’ve tried to get a good cross-section with regards to geography and role/job in the daily life of Italy. *PLEASE bookmark this page and check back often as I update it with other ways to support Italy during this most difficult of times. GrazieFive Takes on the Coronavirus Crisis in ItalyIn this episode you heard five stories. I actually spoke with a few more but didn't want to add any more length to the track. I would like to add a second part to this, and so I will update this page as needed.So here they are, three Italians and two expats representing the hardest hit areas of the country. Three of them are directly involved in tourism, and two are not. However, nobody in the country is unaffected by this pandemic. Let's meet them.Judy Witts Francini - American Expat Cooking in TuscanyI offer a Tuscan week based in the Chianti Wine Region, where I have been living for the past 12 years, and The Sicily program is based at the Planeta Winery in Menfi. But my true love is creating custom programs for clients.  I hope to share my passion and love for Italy through these full immersions in everyday life, where you will feel like a local, not a tourist.I have opened a Patreon page, where I will sharing my video cooking demos on the site. You can sign up for the price of a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.Divina Cucina Membership My FREE Taste Chianti app is also downloadable online.* You can order my cookbook as a real book or as an ebook.

















    CLICK for More Culinary Resources from Judy!











    Bologna:* https://www.facebook.com/carmelita.caruana COOK ITALY is creating a series of small recipe ebooks.* https://www.facebook.com/yummyitaly/ Helena Kyriakide is getting ready to do some online classes for pasta making.Florence* https://www.patreon.com/Touritaly Teacher and tour guide offering online lectures * a class="tve-froala" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.patreon.

    • 1 hr 21 min
    How To Plan A Trip To Italy – FCI 040

    How To Plan A Trip To Italy – FCI 040

    On the podcast today, I talked with my friend Victoria De Maio about how to plan a trip to Italy. We discuss four general types of travel: Large Groups, Small Groups, Custom Tours, and “Do It Yourself,” and we compare the pros and cons of each. Afterwards, I reflected on my very first vacation to Italy in 1999 (bring back the Lira, per favore!), which wound up being a combination of these types. For part of the trip, I had tagged along with a large group that was hosted by a friend of mine. I can’t remember exactly how many were on the tour, but I seem to recall three massive tour buses. So yeah, Large with a capital “L.” But then I stayed in Italy by myself for another week after the tour ended, and I had enlisted the help of an old-school travel agent to help prepare the itinerary; in other words, “a custom tour.”The DIY part of it was that I had found my own accommodations in Spello based solely on an article I had read in Travel+Leisure, or one of those other fancy/glossy print magazines that are quickly becoming extinct. Victoria De Maio and friends, toasting to La Dolce Vita in PugliaWell, that’s what you did in the good ol’ days before the glut of (mis)information on the Internet. I devoured travel magazines and waited impatiently for the New York Times travel section every Sunday. But it must be said that the information wasn’t always up to date by the time it went to print, so that particular portion of the trip was not without some misadventure, as I chronicled in an earlier blog post about “The Best Way to Learn Italian.” (Hint: FULL and unintentional immersion!)OK, enough backstory. Let’s break it down by exploring the pros and cons of each type of vacation.How To Plan A Trip To Italy, 4 Options:



    ​Large Group

















    Pros





    ​Generally cheaper​​​Meet lots of people​​See a large number of "checklist" sites​Wide choice of destinations





















    Cons









    ​Overly-ambitious itineraries​



    ​Time spent waiting on others​



    ​Large chain hotels



    ​Tourist restaurants







    Conclusion:​This type of tour might be the right choice for the first time traveler, especially if you're traveling alone, and want to get ​lots of selfies in fron​t of the greatest possible number of famous monuments. Usually cheaper, too. 







    ​Small Group

















    Pros





    ​An intimate group, with easy access to tour leader​​Boutique hotels​​Family-run restaurants​​​​Unique experiences (ex. cooking class)





















    Cons









    ​A bit more expensive than large groups



    ​​Some free time, but also some scheduled events







    Conclusion:When done right, this type of tour combines the best of all worlds. The itinerary will make sure that you see the best sites of a region, while allowing you enough free time to feel like you're actually on vacation instead of a scavenger hunt. Small groups allow for quaint hotels, authentic restaurants, easy passage on the roads (as opposed to tour buses), and access to unique experiences not possible for larger groups. You also can have conversations with the tour leader instead of being shouted at via megaphone. At the same time, the price will be less than a custom tour.

    • 38 min
    FCI 039 – Top Sites to See in Rome with Elyssa Bernard

    FCI 039 – Top Sites to See in Rome with Elyssa Bernard

    Here’s the thing about Rome that everybody should understand and accept:  you will NEVER see it all. Doesn’t matter if you’re on a long vacation, living in the city as a resident expat, or even a native Roman. There is simply too much for one lifetime. Non basta una vita, as the Romans say...Beyond that, I’ll say that even the most famous sites never cease to amaze. I can’t tell you how many times I've walked past the Pantheon, and yet it still takes my breath away. Every. Single. Time. You just can’t get “used to it,” nor should you. It’s living history, and it’s miraculous.Still, we all have our “top sites to see in Rome” lists. While you can’t see it all, if you’re on vacation in The Eternal City for a few days, you should certainly try to experience the best of the best in this endlessly appealing “Capital of the World.” And nobody breaks it down better than my friend Elyssa Bernard. 





    Here’s the thing about #Rome that everybody should understand and accept: you will NEVER see it all.  There is simply too much for one lifetime. "Non basta una vita," as the Romans say...  @romewise









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    Top Sites to See in RomeOn her blog, she has the perfectly curated Rome Top Ten List. Rightfully so, The Vatican and The Colosseum are numbers one and two. The list is rounded out by Piazza Navona, The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain… all the usual suspects. Again, as it should be.But on the podcast, I explicitly ask her to go beyond this list, and tell us “what else” we should see in Rome. My theory is that some of the most interesting sites in Rome are hiding in plain sight, available (and often free of charge) for anyone to stumble upon. But be careful, because some of these places aren’t open when you’d expect, and they aren’t always so easy to find.  Elyssa has all those details, too, so you won’t waste a moment of your vacation.During my tour next year, we will certainly hit the most popular sites. However, it is my intention to let people have some free time for their own discoveries, and the suggestions by Elyssa are the perfect place to start. In fact, I’m going to use Elyssa’s suggestions as a starting point for a list that I’ll give my guests when we arrive in Rome next September. But I’m willing to bet that someone in our group will stumble upon a gem that even myself and Elyssa have never visited. THAT is the constant allure of Rome.Elyssa BernardElyssa Bernard is an American expat in Rome, married to a native Roman. Her U.S. base, like mine, is in Florida, where she received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Besides living a Roman life with her husband, she counts among her friends Roman art historians, archeologists, tour guides, chefs, authors, and many other fascinating people who've given her a real vision of Roman life like nothing a person could discover on their own.Her blog, Romewise, grew from a single FAQ page on the website of the B&B that her and her husband owned and operated. Now, in my opinion, it is the single best independent website for information on visiting Rome.





    Elyssa BernardElyssa answers...What are the four Papal Basilicas of Rome and which one is the most important in the Catholic Church?Which churches are the best "free museums" in Rome, where are they, and whose works can we see?What are some of the lesser known sites of ancient Rome? Some are newly opened to the public, hidden, or literally underground.



    I would like to thank Elyssa for being so generous with her time and knowledge,

    • 41 min

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