August 31, 2010
In Part 1 of this series, Erica Berman shared her most telling anecdotes about the difference between life in France and life in Italy. While most of us can only envy the lifestyle that makes intimate knowledge of those details a part of daily life, Erica’s insight into the particularities of French and Italian culture helps us live the dream. In part two, she moves beyond general life to get to the juicy stuff : how the natives operate.
Photos Erica Berman – Seafood Pasta in Italy this summer
Differences between the French and the Italians…
- Nothing is a problem for the Italians…everything is a problem for the French. I think there are numerous posts to be written on this thought… a suivre!
- Italians miss pasta and coffee when away from their beloved Italy. The French are hands down pining for bread and cheese when far from home.
Croissants in Paris
- The French do not ask personal questions. Italians ask many. The French find asking questions a sign of indiscretion, and they take the utmost pride in being discreet, sometimes to the point of ridiculous (when applying for a job they may not feel comfortable asking the salary).
- The Italians are curious and their inquiring minds want to know. In elevators in Italy I have had personal conversations on where I’m from and why I’m in Italy with people I have never seen before and will probably never see again. In France a bonsoir or bonjour is possibly all the chatting you will get after years of being neighbors.
- Italians remember you after seeing you once. The French might, of course, remember you, I am convinced they do, but will do their very best to pretend that they have never seen you before (my corner bakery in Montmartre is in the running for longest possible non recognition of a regular customer – almost 18 years. The bread is so amazing and their complete neutrality so fascinating, I keep on going).
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Parisian Living, Travel | 49 Comments »
August 23, 2010
Photos Erica Berman – cappuccino Genova
I’m back in Paris after 2 months of learning Italian in Genoa, Italy. The cool Paris weather is a shock after the heat of Italy, but I’m excited to be home.
Naturally, I can’t help comparing the (Genovese) Italians to the (Parisian) French with whom I have cohabited for almost 18 years. Little differences and similarities between the daily life in both countries are entertaining, endearing and often surprising.
Doggy love Italian style
Things I have noticed: Life in Italy vs France
- You will be scoffed at in both countries for ordering a cappuccino in the afternoon. Mind you, I do it anyway. How gauche is that?
- Both Italians and French cut lines with zeal. Little old Italian ladies are surprisingly cunning. Be alert!
- Taxis in both cities can, and will, try to rip you, the foreigner, off even if you speak the language. Be aware.
- Both Italians and French love their doggies and bring them in trains, restaurants and just about everywhere they can physically go. In both countries you will see many a person out and about deep in conversation with Fido. Continue Reading »
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Parisian Living | 32 Comments »
July 19, 2010
Photos Erica Berman (The garden of our rental & the common pool)
For some happy reason no one — except the Italians and a few others in the know — has heard of Liguria aside from well-known towns Portofino and Cinque Terre. It is for this exact reason that I have come to adore this small crescent-shaped region of Italy.
I love to be away from mass tourism and well-known places, and the ocean, hills, clement climate, amazing food and lovely people most certainly heighten the appeal of this wonderful area. For my week of vacation from studying Italian in Genoa (my favorite Italian city, also located in Liguria) I rooted up the perfect apartment in the medieval village of Colletta di CastelBianco.
Left to abandon for many years, an Italian developer picked up this empty, decaying hilltop spot and turned it into a sweet little village with 70 small apartments (about 25 of which are available for rent), a pool, a restaurant and lots of lovely outdoor space. Continue Reading »
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 13 Comments »
September 26, 2009
Photos courtesy of La Petraia, Michael Grant & Sarah Raymond
In the US, the vast majority of food & grocery shopping is done in supermarkets. We cook with canned beans or tomatoes, pre-butchered meats, and shrink-wrapped cold cuts – or consume industrially prepared foods – rarely stopping to consider where exactly these things come from. One item could be fresh from a nearby farm, another from halfway across the world. While many Americans are becoming increasingly aware of how and where their food is produced, there is still a sense of detachment between the food we eat and its origins. Recently, however, following an eye-opening Italian dining experience at La Petraia – in Tuscany’s Chianti region – I was inspired to rethink how I purchase, prepare, and consume food.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Food, Italy tips & suggestions, Restaurant Reviews, Travel | No Comments »
July 26, 2009
Today I learned an interesting coffee tidbit from a couple of Italian friends and coffee connoisseurs; the best coffee in Italy, can often be found in the rest stops on the highway (Autogrill). In fact, some Autogrill/rest stop restaurants apparently even make it into Italian Guide Books! Continue Reading »
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 3 Comments »
June 15, 2009
Genoa, June 2009: The search for the perfect cappuccino is on. It’s hard to go wrong when drinking any sort of coffee in Italy, but the smiling cappuccino from the Cafe in Piazza delle Vigne, although good, but not the greatest, takes the award for most adorable. Continue Reading »
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 2 Comments »
June 4, 2009
May 20, 2009 Day 5
Setti Archi – Lunch at a seafood restaurant in the nearby marina, Bocca di Magra. Discovered this gem last year and were delighted to return to the wonderful seafood and service in this family run hotel and restaurant . Their tasting menu of 5 different seafood dishes is amazing (see photos). A short hot hike into the hills behind the Marina took us to a small rocky cliff and beach where we read for a while and headed home.
Continue Reading »
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May 21, 2009
One of our views & rose bushes by the villa
Photos: Erica Berman
For some reason, one I am not sure of, most Americans (and the majority of tourists in general) come to Italy for Tuscany, Rome and Venice. Don’t get me wrong, these are all beautiful places, and definitely merit a visit, or many, but there are oodles of other places in Italy worthy of discovery.
Liguria is a small region of Italy nestled between the French border and Tuscany, and covers a long coastline bordered by mountains. Genova is the capital and Portofino its most known city, followed closely by the spectacular Cinque Terre. Luckily for those who care to sojourn within, few have heard of Liguria – not even most French, whose border touches it. Miles of unspoiled mountainous coastline and sandy beaches, kilometers and kilometers of hiking, excellent food and friendly hosts – this is right up our vacation alley. Continue Reading »
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | 6 Comments »
May 20, 2009
Text Sarah Raymond & Kim Matland
We at Haven in Paris have had a busy few months. With bookings picking up in the first half of 2009, we have added several new properties to our website – three in Paris and one in Tuscany. Recently, the first group came to stay at our new Haybarn villa in Monteriggioni, Italy – located just minutes from our Poggio 5 Bedroom property and a short drive from Siena. Kim Matland, one of the guests, gave us a lovely commentary about the home and their stay, and has been so kind as to allow us to share it here. Grazie, Kim! Continue Reading »
Posted in Italy tips & suggestions, Travel | No Comments »
May 15, 2009
Erica’s daily discoveries, wanderings and original tips and insights into Paris, France and Italy. The goal: to help you experience a more authentic and individual travel experience. I am pleased to share these findings, and my escapades with you – I hope you will enjoy!
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »