Welcome to ‘Married to Italy’

Big city Texan girl meets small town Italian boy. Chaos ensues.

My expat blog stories – both funny and tragic – about loving, dating, living with, and marrying an Italian man in the province of Reggio Emilia…

Married to Italy... plus dog

… with a dog.

I am a thirty-ahahencoughugh-year-old American expat, married to a wonderful man from northern Italy. We live and work together in the tiny town where he grew up, and I have been here since the summer of 2009 (married in 2012!).

While I do think that it is just lovely that there are so many positive, upbeat, starry-eyed expats out there blogging about amazing Italian food and beautiful rolling hills…

This is not one of those blogs.

Not that I intend to gripe and complain the whole time either… in fact, many people would describe me as a positive, up-beat, starry-eyed person, myself.  I do , however, think it’s necessary to recount stories about the grit of daily life in a country that isn’t yours. It’s important that people know it’s not like a vacation every day.

I find that writing this blog has a therapeutically calming effect. It is one of the few tools I have at my disposal for combating frequent bouts of homesickness and daily frustrations with Italians, Italian bureaucracy, Italian customs, Italian language… and, well, Italy in general. And by the time I get all those frustrations out in writing, it’s so much easier to remember all the wonderful things I love about living here… and yes, there are more things to love about Italy than just the food and the landscape.

This blog is meant to be viewed as a step past all the glamor of moving to the rolling hills of Tuscany Emilia (our hills are WAY better). It is meant to be a deeper investigation into the things that I’m sometimes afraid to tell my friends and family back home lest it ruin their fairy-tale image of my life.

It’s meant to be real.

Please see my page ‘Why Italy?’ for more info, thanks!

Note (and partial disclaimer):

Recently my website has been “discovered” by local, English-speaking Italians.  Benvenuti!  I am thrilled and excited to have local readers.  All I ask is that you keep in mind the intention of this blog.  If you are highly sensitive about your culture or nationalistic in any way, you may think about looking the other way. In exchange, when I vent about something that I find frustrating as a foreigner in Italy, I will always try to explain my point of view. I am not trying to change Italy. I am trying to explain it through the eyes of… well… me.  That’s all!  Happy reading!


49 thoughts on “About

    • thanks! I just discovered your site tonight through your twitter account… The art of a good tweet is one I have yet to master. yours are great. 🙂

  1. Just discovered your blog and am looking forward to following along – the posts I’ve read so far a charmingly funny!

  2. HI! CIAO! I just found your blog and literally love! Your writing is great! I just moved to Florence. 🙂

    • thanks for reading!!
      Ya know… for more frequent satisfaction… I do tend to quip more frequently on my Twitter account @marriedtoitaly.
      But have no fear! Working on a little something for ya right now. 🙂

  3. Excited to have found your blog about the realities of living in Italy! Moving to Siena in September as a student and just started blogging, ciaoolivia.blogspot.com

    Look forward to reading more 🙂

  4. OH how funny, I know that feeling and even if I do tell family and friends back home they never believe me and want to swap. I often tell them it’s not all ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ especially with renovating. Yes I fin d a total lack of a ‘real’ Italy on most blogs, the ones I love the most share the things you don’t see on a postcard. Looking forward to reading your posts and had a great chuckle at the speedo heading. ciao ciao lisa x

    • Thanks, Lisa! Yeah, I mean, it’s not that I want to bust anyone’s bubble… but… there is usually this bubble. It starts to get really interesting when you at least acknowledge the bubble!

  5. Thanks for doing this! It’s hard to explain to everyone in the States that “vacation Italy” isn’t the same as “living here” Italy. Yes, wine; yes, pasta – love it. American denial is almost violent sometimes! Now that the vacation is over for me, I find myself doing things I never imagined, like occasionally reverting to my rebellious teenage self by sneaking away and drinking a cappuccino after lunch. I want to shout, “ha!” even though I don’t really even like cappuccino. No one who hasn’t lived here can understand. Any of my three defining oddities – American(!), protestant(!!), divorced(!!!), and unable to have kids(!!!!) – are enough to put my outside what’s “normal,” and it’s not easy to remember that that’s okay when everyone else shares such an incredibly strong cultural bond. Despite it all, I’m with you: I love my Italian family, my Italian husband, and my Italian life…but also appreciate what it meant (and means) to be “home.”

  6. Huge thanks for being a kindered spirit….I giggled my way through Enos and Ikea and know exactly where you are coming from, in so many ways. I am a Canadian/Brit living in Mantova and your blog was sent to me by an American girlfriend who also lives in Mantova. Great stuff!

  7. Fantastic – you are SO real! I know how you feel about people asking you all the time how your dream life in Italy is going. I sometimes don’t know what to say because I don’t want my mother to worry! Oh what a wonderful crazy little peninsula we live in.

    • 🙂 thanks for reading
      Yeah… I mean… it could be a lot worse. They could all think we live in a horrible place and feel sorry for us.

      Sometimes it can be comforting to have a one up on them, ya know? Like at high school reunions… “I live in Italy”… the response is always so envious. Boosts your ego a bit, ya know?

  8. Pingback: Week 53 | I am Italy

    • benvenuti!!! How did you find me… out of curiosity?
      Love your blog. I’m doing Cher’s 31 Day Challenge too! (A bit behind at the moment, but shhhhh)

      • haha, it was in that little corner thing on my reader that said “blogs you may like” and they were right! haha, I loved that 31 Day Challenge, but it did definitely take a bit longer than 31 Days to complete for me! I can’t wait for the next one!
        Anna x

    • noooonononnono, she’s not my neighbor. She’s a nice lady on YouTube. 🙂

      I’d LOVE to video my neighbors. But then they’d talk about me. More than they already do.

  9. Pingback: Our collective nervous breakdown. | Married to Italy

  10. Buonasera,
    I’m italian living in Lombardy, Italy is frustrating not just for a western foreigner, this feeling depend on the idea of society one’s individual has in mind, directly connected to historical and cultural background.
    It’s impossible to describe a country with such a complex history in one word, but a population is the product of this history. One italian one opinion, we have little sense of common property, but since roman empire ended we lost the meaning of nation, invaded and sacked for centuries, the small communities around the peninsula become themselves nations, with its local a king, a lord and so on. The strange thing is that this diversity in such a small area, made possible the moltiplication of different life style, in competition to each other which was a good thing to go further in cultural economical and technological evolution, any region but even any city developed its own tradition.

    • You’re exactly right, Massimo. That’s very well put – that a population is a product of its history. Italy’s seeming resistance to change is a sort of defense mechanism that is easily understandable when you look at the history of the country. And the American reaction to it (mine) is a result of my socialization in a population with a large history in “frontier mentality”, where change is valued. It’s all very fascinating! I love exploring these national psyches.
      Thanks for commenting!

  11. Pingback: The Liebster | An Adventure A Day

  12. Loving this! not getting much work done since I can’t stop reading…hysterical! My dream is to spend 6 months (hopefully) in Florence after I retire (soon!!!) and I am enjoying your perspective on everyday life in Italy.

    • Oh good, I’m happy to be a part of distracting you from work! Let me know when you arrive in bella Italia, we’ll get a caffe and you can distract me from my work!

  13. Dear M,

    My name is Joyce and I work for ExpatFinder.com.
    ExpatFinder.com is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences!
    We quite enjoy your blog about living in Italy, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use?
    Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.
    The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation.
    Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

    Best regards,

    • Hi Joyce, yes I’d be happy to do an interview. Your auto-text, though, refers to a document with questions that clearly cannot be uploaded in the comment field. Try emailing me at marriedtoitaly at gmail, if you’re still interested! Thanks, -M

  14. Hi I just found your blog and was laughing with my (Italian) boyfriend, as I am a Texan, 30 -something living in Parma! I am always excited to know there are other Texans around these parts! 😉

  15. Dear M,
    thank you for this blog, it is very funny! I am Italian (unfortunately) and I was born and still live in Reggio Emilia. The love for your husband must be really big for choosing the Pianura Padana and its lovely weather… 🙂
    It is always interesting to discover how other people see us. And it is pleasant, because your are a lot more optimistic than us…
    Ciao “square head”!!! 😉

    • YES. The love for my husband is big. 🙂 Some days it is required to be bigger than other days.
      Ironically it makes me really sad when Italians tell me I’m optimistic. It makes the weight on my shoulders even bigger perhaps. I’m kind of tired of being the optimistic one. Couldn’t you guys pick up the slack every once in a while? This is the conversation I have frequently with my marito. It’s really hard to understand how your entire culture can go on existing such a defeatist, pessimistic life.

      Ok, I’m stopping… obviously I’m having a tough day today with Italy!
      Grazie per leggere!
      – M

  16. Hi there!

    I love your blog and have been following you for quite some time. Anyone that loves Italy is a person after my own heart! 😉 I feel a special kinship because I lived in Reggio Emilia for years, and I often spent time in the area around Cavriago. I miss Reggio very much.

    I was wondering if you’d allow me to advertise on your site and/or write a guest post or some sort of little blurb. I offer Italian dual citizenship consulting services (and am a dual citizen and lover of all things Italy myself), and I feel a ton of your readers would love to know more about the subject since Italy is probably near and dear to their hearts as well.

    Let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in!

    Audra at Get Italian Citizenship

    • Well, HELLO. Timing is everything, ain’t it? 🙂 You may have picked yourself up a little gig here! I am about to embark on the citizenship process myself. Let’s talk!! Email me at MarriedToItaly st Gmail.

  17. Interesting chat on the ‘evil eye’. When does your Italian family pass on the ‘gift’ I’ve heard Christmas Eve but another said Easter. Any ideas? (Floridian but Italian)

    • yeah that’s a popular post! I didn’t know it was passed on a specific day… I just heard it would only be passed down through the maternal line.

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