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Category Archives: Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle


Traveling In Style

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | May 10, 2013

Noelle Cellini  blog 5.8.13 picby Noelle Cellini, mybest-footforward.com This week Allure Italia is happy to have Fashion Expert Noelle Cellini as a guest blogger. Noelle, founder and owner of My Best Foot Forward is an accomplished Personal Stylist. She’s helped women in Chicago “put their best foot forward” for over 10 years. Her goal is to make her clients’ life easier and to show them that having great style isn’t something only the stars get to enjoy! And so, who best to tell us how to pack and dress with style when traveling than Noelle?

Dressing chic while traveling.  I know this may sound like an oxymoron, but it is possible!  With a few well-chosen pieces, you can navigate your vacations in style. When you’re traveling, comfort is a must, but you also do not want to stick out as a tourist and you want to make sure you’re appropriately dressed for any situations. All of this packed in a small suitcase. So, It’s extremely important to change up your neutrals, pick stylish, yet comfortable shoes and don’t forget the accessories.

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Of Driving and Parking in Italy

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | February 20, 2013

Pic 1 Blog 2.20.13A car rental can be an excellent choice when visiting Italy. If you are planning a countryside vacation or a ski trip for example, a car is a necessity.  ; Likewise, when you are making a “home base” somewhere outside the main cities and want to  take day trips to explore the surrounding areas, a car will make it much easier.

Aside from the stereotype of the Italians driving like maniacs (Italian drivers can be perceived as fairly aggressive if compared to the average American driver -constantly flashing their headlights at any car driving in the fast lane at he speed limit for example), there are a few useful acts you should know if you are planning to drive a car during your next trip to Italy:

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Do You “Apericena”?

Posted by in Food and Restaurants,Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | February 13, 2013

Blog 2.13.13 pic 2 In the ‘80s a new trend emerged in Italian social life: meeting friends and family for an “aperitivo” (aperitif).

This idea of a pre-meal drink, consumed most often with company in a café’ has since then become the natural end of an evening stroll into town. It’s also a great way of filling the time gap between the end of the Mass and the family lunch on Sundays; the perfect option for friendly gatherings.

When the trend began, having an aperitivo went like this—you’dorder your drink of choice (sodas, campari, prosecco or wine for example) and snack on complimentary mini pretzels, salted peanuts and green olives.

To keep it fresh and to compete with each other, cafes’ have gotten more and more inventive over the years, not necessarily in the cocktail selection but accompanying them with an ever increasing amount and variety of finger foods.

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Food—The Italian Way

Posted by in Food and Restaurants,Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | January 30, 2013

blog 1-30-2013 pic 1Food and cuisine are such an integral part of the Italian culture that not talking about them would be a travesty.

To be honest, I’ve never heard in Italy the “mangia, mangia” that seems to be such a standard expression in Italian-American families. BUT I’ve also never visited anybody’s home there and not have been offered some type of food (sweet or savory depending on the occasion and the time of day) along with the ubiquitous offer for a “caffe’” (espresso that is – always!).

While traveling to Italy and depending on your choice of accommodation, a certain number of your meals will be taken in restaurants. Everybody is so used to eating out nowadays that I’m sure the idea doesn’t frazzle you, but while traveling in Italy there are two factors to consider: the language and the menu structure.

Let me explain:

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Happy 2013!

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | January 1, 2013

The holidays have come and gone and together with the Christmas decorations I’ve also put away all the Christmas cards we received this year from close friends and family. Quite a few of them enclosed a “letter” and given the amount of changes that the second part of 2012 brought to our family, we were particularly happy to receive them and to catch up on all the things we may have missed in the lives of the people we love and care about.

So, in the spirit of the holiday letter, let me take this opportunity to write one to you all and briefly catch you up with you on what happened to Cives Urbe in 2012:

Let me start saying that 2012 has been an incredible year marked by discovery, evolution, growth and tons of changes. Which in my book, is all good stuff!

The number of clients that chose Cives Urbe in 2012 increased significantly over 2011 thanks to the generosity and support of all who referred us relentlessly since Cives Urbe was founded in late 2010.

More than 90% of our clients referred us to their friends and family. We consider this an outstanding result. It’s the most gratifying and at the same time most humbling experience I’ve ever personally had in my professional career.

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What I “re-learnt” about Italy

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | October 18, 2012

I spent most of September in Italy working. I visited with trusted, long standing business partners and brainstormed new ideas. I learned about all their fantastic new offerings, (for example a full day trip from Florence to visit the Ferrari Factory & Museum near Modena) and forged new relationships with outstanding service providers such as Michele, owner of Il Mangia Viaggi in Sienna. I also explored new locations and met up with some of my clients who were in Italy at the same time. What a treat!

But whenever I’m in Italy I also get to see my family and friends and spend time simply “living an everyday life” in my home country. So I get to enjoy the lifestyle I grew up with, like catching up with my friends for an “aperitivo” (before dinner drinks), and do mundane things like a grocery store run for my mother or a trip to the post office to ship off a package to my dear friend Maria.

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Elaine’s Late Summer Crops

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | September 1, 2012

Meet Elaine Trigiani, this month’s guest blogger here at Cives Urbe. A mutual friend recently introduced me to Elaine and I’m enchanted by her passion for food and her journey in discovering my countries’ quirky customs and “rules” around sitting together for a meal. An American living in Italy, her wit and evident enjoyment of living in the Italian countryside shines through her blog entries.  Enjoy Elaine’s garden end-of the summer bounty and look for her pasta all Norma recipes in the September 25th Blog!

The unbearable heat has ripened up the last push of summer crops. On the slopes of Pratomagno in Tuscany after a cool spring that forced us to plant our gardens late, a suffocating afa (heat with haze and humidity) hovers in the afternoons. For weeks now we’ve been sleeping in any spot with a cross-breeze, parking under olive trees to take advantage of the shade, eating cool foods like panzanella, vitello tonnato, rice salad…The gardens are offering up cucumbers to marinate into cool, thirst-quenching salads. There are tomatoes to eat with mozzarella, for an infinity of fresh pasta sauces, for canning, roasting, sun drying and for eating in chunks with salt, oregano and olive oil. Lettuce, garlic, onions, hot peppers, bell peppers, parsley, celery, basil, carrots, eggplant, fresh beans that will be hearty dried beans all winter long and loads of zucchini with their brilliant yellow flowers. With an anchovy inside and fried in a light and crispy batter Piero, who called them topi, the Italian word for mice , fried the flowers up special for me. He was my randy 80-year-old neighbor and my best Tuscan friend and he served them at his cool, shady refectory table where we huddled by the outsize fire in winter, and took refuge from the heat in summer. I serve them as an antipasto but for ole Piero they were a quick meal all to themselves with just some bread and a few lowball glasses of his inky black homemade wine. For dessert he’d zip outside to pick a few plums, bloomy pink on the outside, sweeter than sweet and crimson red on the inside.  (This bit about Piero and the zucchini could be a blog post unto itself slightly expanded.)
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Strawberry Love: Crostata di Frutta (fresh fruit tart)

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle | August 29, 2012

Fresh Fruit TartIf you know me personally, and you know of my general dislike of fruit, you may be surprised to learn that crostata is one of my favorite things to make. Crostata reminds me of my maternal grandmother’s kitchen on Sunday afternoons when she would allow us grandchildren to help in preparing the afternoon snack (crostata of course!) for the family gathering. Since then I’ve simply adored the smell and taste of a crostata’s shortbread crust. This fresh fruit variation to the traditional recipe allows extreme creativity in choosing colorful, seasonal fruit.

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What to Pack for Your Trip to Italy – Part 2

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | August 9, 2012

Last week’s blog was about what to pack for your trip to Italy so you’re comfortable and feel appropriately dressed.

This week’s focus is really learning about some basic differences between how Americans & Italians choose to dress.

I asked my clients why they wanted to “fit in and dress as similarly to Italians as they can”. They identified it as not only a way to fully immerse themselves in the local culture but also a way to blend in better and not stick out too much as a tourist. So smart!

So, let’s review a few general observations:

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What to Pack for Your Trip to Italy

Posted by in Tips, Trends, Custom & Lifestyle,Travel | July 31, 2012

What should I pack?” Not sure why, but come summer, I get this question from almost 100% of my clients.

Yes, Italy has a leading reputation in the fashion industry, and we ‘locals’ are known for our fashion sense. Yet, I’m always surprised about how much my clients worry about clothing and dressing appropriately when visiting Italy.

So I asked. Here’s What I Learned:

They want to be comfortable and appropriate – the majority of my clients are looking for comfort, especially during sightseeing, but they also want to makesure their packing choices will not prevent them from any of the experiences they’ve planned.

They want to fit with the “Italian style” – a good portion of my clients also wants to dress as similarly to Italians as they can. This is not only a way to fully immerse yourself in the local culture but also a way to blend in better and not stick out too much as a tourist (which is always a very smart thing to do while traveling anywhere in the world).

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