how to be Italian, italian style, slow fashion, the cheat sheet, the Italian way

Forget Sophia Loren: Italian style dished out

It’s ok to connect Sophia Loren and Anita Eckberg in the Fontana di Trevi when thinking of Italian style. That was la dolce vita, Cinecitta’ and the luxurious and extravagant lives of the first paparazzi-ed movie stars.

a screenshot for the movie "Made in Italy" of my new obsession channel M2M

a screenshot for the movie "Made in Italy" of my new obsession channel M2M

That’s a good starting point, when thinking of “the Italian way”, it’s sweet, retro and glamorous. But, and here you have to trust me, we kinda moved from Sophia. She grew, evolved and became an Hollywood icon of Italian beauty, but Italians don’t recognize themselves in her anymore, we think she is the glory of our past, we are somehow proud of her, yet she belongs to a collective imaginary that is not modern anymore

Style however has evolved, and her stance may lead to the misconception that Italian style means expensive clothing, glamorous wardrobes, custom made shoes and lavish lives. Ennio Flaiano said: Fashion is the self-portrait of a society. 

Virna Lisi, Anna Magnani, Monica Vitti are more of the icons we look up to, because they kept it real, with irony, sense of humor, wit, elegance, simplicity, frugality, sensuality …

Eva Geraldine Fontanelli, one of the coolest editors, stylist, chic Italians  photo from Style du Monde

Eva Geraldine Fontanelli, one of the coolest editors, stylist, chic Italians  photo from Style du Monde

  • Coffee
  • Fresh flowers
  • Your own perfume (chapter 7 has the whole shenanigans about it)
  • Put a smile on it
  • Sneakers and leggings belong to the gym
  • Comb your hair, polish your shoes, because “you never know”
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Your grandmother’s armoire is where you go first
  • No garlic powder or canned grated Parmesan cheese wannabe
  • You fight for the best part of the fish, the cheek
  • Sunday long lunches almost always end with an animated discussion about soccer or politics
  • But the above mentioned Sunday lunches also are for fresh pastries from the local pasticceria
  • Seamstress and cobbler are preciously kept numbers
  • Coffeecoffee: expresso shot, no powder creamer or foam container
  • Big pants and big watches
pic. from

pic. from


  • Aperol spritz before dinner, summer time
  • Pasta
  • Frugally curate the closet
  • Intangible quality of chic
  • Don’t buy a size smaller
there’s nothing more feminine, sensual, elegant, yet unconventionally pretty than alluding to a woman’s body instead of flaunting it shamelessly
— There's no shuch thing as pretty - Ch.10
  • Domestic goddessing, like Pandora Sykes calls it, is part of your life whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Flats or heels
  • Black is fine, but navy!
  • Don’t keep the good stuff for Sunday
sabot + socks 

sabot + socks 

I learned from the movie that it's been said that "Italy is not a country, but a state of mind, a point of view, a way of understanding the world."

how to be Italian, italian style, the Italian way

Sustainable is chic, the Italian way

How do we become sustainable?

We can’t handle these rhythms anymore, we are like a hamster rolling on the wheel that goes nowhere. And it’s a NEED before we all disappear and implode with Earth who knows where: a statement that maybe 30 years ago could have sounded alarmistic, and now it’s a reality.

The United Nations established the 17 global goals for sustainable living with a deadline to make them a reality by 2030. There’s so much to be done for human rights, clean waters, clean air, and sustainable living.  Some numbers: 75 mill people work in fashion and textile industry; 80% are women between the age of 18 and 24. Too many of them are exploited, victims of verbal and physical abuse, paid below standard living needs, work in precarious establishments. Yes, those are the workers who made the pants you are wearing. 

Now that you know, does that make you feel good, still?

I had to do something. I first became member of the U.N. Women Miami Chapter and you can too.

What to do NOW.

Go in your closet and simply be, look around.

Are you happy?

Does whatever you own make you feel empowered, make you look good and feel good? Is your closet inspiring when Monday morning comes and you got to get dressed for work? Do you know where your clothes come from? Are there useless purchases that you made last minute and never wore?

If you have answered NO to any of the above, there are many ways to come out of the guts.

Purge, eliminate, donate, resell, swap, consign, re-cycle, upcycle. Replenish mindfully, with knowledge, researching, sort what you need from what you want, what you should have and what you’ll need, staples, capricious,

Sustainable is sexy, not boring. Sustainable is smart and modern, mindless consumption is so 2004 that is a bankrupt concept.

“Sustainable chic” means that you can be elegant, chic, strike attention for your recognizable style with a few items of the highest quality, made of sublime materials by expert hands and skilled artisans and nobody will ever judge you if you have already worn them.

When you adopt luxury as a state of mind, you’ll twist things the Italian way

how to be Italian, italian style

Borrow from the boys, spring edition

The boyfriend cardigan, the boyfriend jean, the blazer and its origin from military uniforms. I have worked some winter files last month, now it's time to spruce the closet up for spring. 

"Floral for spring: groundbreaking" this was Meryl Streep in Devils Wear Prada, the movie that showcased the behind the scenes of the fashion world.

When we were kids, white was first worn on Palm Sunday after the wintery dark cold months, pastel and flowers were for Easter Sunday and from there on, linens, silks, flowers, open toe sandals, frilly and voluminous transparencies ensued. I was always a disrupter, not by choice though, that's where my father appears in my life by letting me know that "we don't follow trends, we set them" after I was complaining I had to wear an hitchy hand-made sweater he had brought me from Scotland, whereas my friends were wearing Benetton. 

  1. No need to leave the flowers at home, simply make it badass by adding textures, like a leather motorcycle jacket or a pair of ankle boots in a contrasting color.
  2. Don't be the fashion victim, make it personal. Don't add pain to pain, flower dress with pumps, boring, think outisde of the box. Polka dot tights and a military jacket and some feathers, think Miu Miu while mixing and don't stop mixing because "what will they thin of me?". 
  3. Trickle into the sartorial dress code with femininity. think of Diane Keaton in Annie Hall and don't be shy and explore the man section at the thrift store. 



  1. You don't need a graphic Tshirt to remind you you are a woman. It's a superpower you are born with. The highest form of empowering energy a woman has is her vulnerability: the Archimedes lever that will help you take over. Until we let hypocrisy make us believe that we cannot cry in public or show our feelings for a child or an elderly person, we give in. 
  2. Wear pants under a dress. This has been seen on the runways for this spring and intensively for the fall, it's not for every body shape, it tends to enlarge the proportions if you are minute, and elongate if you are tall, the irony of life. 
  3. Flip the script, there's no #dresslikeawoman dress code.
  4. Corporate attire was dead even before Working Girl but when a man asks for style advice, give profusely. 

how to be Italian, heritage, italian style, the Italian way

In Florence with How to be Italian

You know Patty J. for our lonstanding Insta-friendship from before she was voted, two years in a row, Best Lifestyle Blogger of Rhode Island. She is a powerhouse, a busy and professional blogger, she takes her job seriously, she is generous and provides space in her platform to businesses and creatives like me. She has a soft-spoken voice for all things of the arts, a sweet tooth (I mean guys, she is a serial brunch killer!) and a knack for traveling and visiting new places, whether in her homestate or abroad. 

This past spring she visited Italy on a trip that took her to Rome, Amalfi, Capri and Florence, and here are her thoughts about How to be Italian. 

As someone who hadn’t been back to Italy in close to 20 years (Yes, I lie about my age!), the truth is that I really didn’t appreciate it fully until I went back last fall.

We spent two weeks touring Rome, Amalfi, and Florence. Most of this time was spent with a tour company, but we were also fortunate enough to have a few extra days in Rome and Florence before flying back to the States. Even better news? We knew someone who had dual citizenship in both the USA and Italy and arranged to meet up with her in Florence. 

The other difference in Florence was the magical architecture and of course, the people.
— Patty J.

Once we stepped off the train, we immediately noticed a stark contrast to most of the stations we’d experienced in America. Those had usually been filled dirty, dank, unappealing places. This spot, however, looked well maintained (clean even) and like somewhere you would enjoy passing a few hours.

The other difference in Florence was the magical architecture and of course, the people.

Something that stays with me is how our Italian counterparts can take a sneaker (or kick or track shoe) and wear it back to a classic black pant, tailored trouser or even a skirt, but do it with a flare and panache. So that it comes off as almost effortless elegance. I can’t put my finger on it, but Italian style definitely mixes casual and dressy in a way that makes me quite jealous. 

Throughout our Italian journey, style was, in effect, all around us and we felt as though it was woven into the fabric of the culture itself.
— Patty J.


Another point of style that I wish more Americans would adopt is men wearing scarves. I saw lots of this in Rome and Florence. And I’m not talking about for warmth or utilitarian reasons. This was all about adding a scarf to add some interest to an entire outfit. If only the guys in the US would reach for a scarf before another tee with a sports team logo (or the dreaded gray sweat pant that never seems to fall out of favor in their wardrobes), then I think the sartorial inclined among us would definitely be much happier.

In Florence and throughout our Italian journey, style was, in effect, all around us and we felt as though it was woven into the fabric of the culture itself. It never seems forced or deliberate. It was more authentic and organic somehow.

That being said then, it’s my wish then that all of my fellow Americans are able to pay a visit and pick up some of Italian inspiration.

Now you get it why if you don't follow Patty on Facebook and Instagram you are missing out?

how to be Italian, italian style, the Italian way, traditions

Christmas Eve Italian style made easy with chefs Fabrizio and Nicola Carro

Leave it to the italians.

There are so many myths and traditions, but Christmas Eve is to Italian life, what Parmigiano is to Italian food, a fact.

It’s like asking “does it make a difference if you add pasta to cold or boiling water?” there is no even questioning, it’s the Italian way 101, always with a touch of personal.

We talk a lot about food, we are opinionated when it comes to asserting who makes the best lasagna or killer eggplant alla parmigiana, yet we always agree on Parmigiano, the great equalizer.

I have left the 24-month old Parmigiano Reggiano as last in my three-month Ambassadorship, because I wanted to close with a bang.

So I found 2 partners in crime with Via Verdi, the truest than true Italian restaurant in Miami, located in the heart of MiMo historic district, Miami’s upper east side.

Chefs (and twin brothers) Fabrizio and Nicola Carro have chosen to toast to the most celebrated Italian holiday with the 24 months old Parmigiano because … hello, December 24th.

And couldn’t we be any happier to agree?

Disclaimer: I mentioned they are twins and I hereby confess that I don’t quite know who I was talking with at all times, and that’s not because of the prosecco, they are as mischevious as talented. 

When you have prosciutto, culatello, mortadella, fresh pasta, white truffles all you need to do is let your imagination free and open a bottle of your favorite wine.

Buon Natale

chic, how to be Italian, slow fashion, the Italian way

How to be Italian in Miami, 2 stops

You know when you think of something, I mean really really think, that you’d put it on Santa’s list and you can’t stop talking about it, to the point that your daughter rolls her eyes “here she goes again”. There must be a movie on the thing, but you know what I mean, right?

So the other night I went out for the first time in Miami as an official published author of all-things #theItalianway I had been invited to a couple of events that had everything in common with the book: both Made in Italy and both in Miami, which confirms my theory that you can “feel empowered by dressing the Italian way, because luxury is, first, a state of mind” and ‘wherever you are”

First things first: shoes, in full Francesca’s fashion.

Baldinini, the Italian shoes I remembered as “comfort and status that my mom and grandmother would wear for their formal events” is going strong at its third generation and opening stores in the US. Three in a few months, and one in Miami’s new gigantic mall called Brickell City Center.

The gift that keeps on giving.  

This Made in Italy noticeable in every small detail materials of the highest quality, creativity and design was showcased in a modern, chic, special, colorful collection on which, I swear, I would have broken the bank. May have been the Prosecco and those petit-fours that loosened my mood, but there were at least 5 shoes I would have bought on the spot (btw, some of their fall pieces are on sale now, just sayin’).

This is a #tobecontinued story just watch this space.

The second stop was in groovier Ironside, in a showroom called Arredo Casa Group. First, when you arrive and the hostess of the restaurant Via Verdi welcomes you, it’s a sign that you’ll be speaking Italian and at least a chunk of a heel of Parmigiano Reggiano will be available, not before being offered a glass of Prosecco.

Are you guys counting the glasses, because this was n.2

The second stop was in groovier Ironside, in a showroom called Arredo Casa Group. First, when you arrive and the hostess of the restaurant Via Verdi welcomes you, it’s a sign that you’ll be speaking Italian and at least a chunk of a heel of Parmigiano Reggiano will be available, not before being offered a glass of Prosecco. 

Are you guys counting the glasses, because this was n.2

Here, between learning about Austrian fir with PEFC certification, the French Grade A+ that guarantees a zero level of toxic emissions, risotto al tartufo and layers of wood and vinyl glue, a grissino with a slice of prosciutto, a classic 70s desk watch and the Lavazza coffee machine, it was an all-Italian Christmas celebration. Conviviality, networking (sweet angel Lorenzo ended up buying 2 books on Amazon from his mobile phone, thanking me because they were the perfect gifts and I got him out of that daunting task of “what shall I give them? Christmas in next week, have no time”), meeting old friends again and making new ones, mingling and talking with the hands and, in perfect Italian style, closing down the shop.

In conclusion?

My grandmother always taught us to “comb your hair, shine your shoes before going out because you never know”, that is always be at your best, it’s a form of dignity and respect for others.

No matter where we are, we are damn proud of this 'Made in Italy' and we are so cute when we say it that we are irresistible. 

On second thoughts, I have this thing with:

1.   Stiletto with suede and mink intarsio inspired by Ziggy Stardust (hello!)

2.   Italian men and the way they wear their perfume

3.   A morsel of two of Parmigiano Reggiano take the doctor away, and that’s not because I am an Ambassador officially for another month.

4. For an 100% Austrian fir floor and who would have said it!

5. "We are different from the others"

how to be Italian, heritage, italian style, slow fashion, the Italian way, traditions

The 5 ways to do it like the Romans do

Young in Rome is what you need to make you want to travel to Rome right now. It takes the chaos out of the equation and in Rome, as you may have heard, it's the equivalent of magic.

Flavia and I crossed paths while I was writing the book thanks to our common friend Gabriella Contestabile of We have this thing for Italy, books, the power of the written word and some genuine curiosity for all things beautiful. 

This post is all you need to read and memorize if you want to walk around the Eternal City as a local, because who wants to be a tourist?

Piazza Minerva

Your tickets are bought, pet-sitter found, and time off work approvedyou’re finally taking the trip you’ve been waiting for and heading straight for the Eternal City. You’re wondering, of course, about what to see, where to eat, but most importantly, what to wear. Rome has its own gusto, or flavor, and you want to tap into that Italian flair, strutting down the street and holding your own with all the fashionable Italiani. To help you with that, I’ve compiled a short list of tips ‘n tricks for you, from what clothes you may want to pack to a couple of the must-see sites, and of course, some foodie recommendations!

1.       Style like a Roman. A good rule of thumb is to always add in your own flair, your pièce de résistance. Even if you’re just wearing jeans and a t-shirt, throw on something that makes you want to dance a little down the street: a colorful scarf, an amber necklace or a turquoise ring, fuchsia sandals. Romans love to celebratewe love life, we love color, and we love to dare, so this is absolutely the place to pour your joyfulness into your outfit!

Piazza Navona


2.       Caffè. It’s a serious thing, and for the Italians, it’s almost a religious one. Not only is caffeine essential, your morning espresso in the local bar is an important social ritual, a chance to people-watch and gauge the “temperature” of the day: you’ll find people chatting about the day’s news, covering everything from international politics to “can you believe she wore that to the baker’s daughter’s wedding?” As we say in Italy, tutto il mondo è paese, meaning that some habits (in this case, gossip) are common all around the world. 

Wherever you are staying in Rome, find a local spot to have a hot coffee every morning, and please remember that one does not partake of a cappuccino outside of breakfast hours. If you must have something milky in the afternoon, allow me to recommend a caffè Marocchino, consisting of a shot of espresso, cocoa powder and a touch of hot milk/froth. Oh, and of course, no matter where you are staying in the city, you must visit the Antico Caffè Greco, one of Rome’s most famous coffee bars, located a few steps from Piazza di Spagna.



3.       Explore. In Italian we say Roma, una vita non bastaRome, one lifetime is not enough. Rome is a jewel, and the best way to see her is by getting lost wandering her cobblestone streets. If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to see the city, check out Young In Rome’s audio walking tour: it’s a 50-minute, 1.25-mile walking tour of our favorite ancient spots that are linked to the greatness of Emperor Hadrian’s Rome, hosted by none other than Antinous, the best tour ghost from the times when Rome ruled the known world. He’ll take you from Castel Sant’Angelo to Piazza Navona, to the Pantheon, the Temple of Hadrian, and on to Piazza Venezia!

If you’re setting out to explore the city on foot, read this article on the top 10 free things to do in Rome, a short guide on how to find everything from the Caravaggio paintings scattered around the city to killer views and the vintage market.

Paris in Transtevere


4.       Eat. There are endless opportunities for delicious food in this city, but the best advice is always to head away from major tourist destinations when you’re hungry, and find a tiny little spot, preferably run by an Italian grandma, where you can settle in for delicious carbonara and vino bianco served by her gorgeous nephews. Ahem. Short of this, head to the Testaccio neighborhood to eat at Flavio al Velavevodetto, or if you’re in Trastevere, scoot on over to Paris in Trastevere.

5.       Fill your eyes with beauty. Depending on the time of year, there will be something amazing to do, whether that’s getting the chance to have a night tour of the Colosseum, going to the opera (which during the summer months moves to the Terme di Caracalla, an experience I’d recommend to anybody), or going to a summer concert in Borromini’s courtyard. Depending on the season, have a look at what’s available: in Rome, adventures are year-round.

via Borgognona

All that’s left to do is to climb aboard that plane and be on your way! And, of course, here’s the most important tip of all: do your thing and be yourself, because the Italians will love you for it, and in today’s world, it’s becoming even more important that we travel and celebrate each other’s cultures. So wrap that scarf fashionably about your neck and tie up those sandalslet’s go!

To live vicariously, follow Young in Rome on Facebook and Instagram

chic, how to be Italian, italian style, slow fashion, the Italian way, traditions

Santa Baby's list

It’s the Holidays and we dream by the fire, walking in the winter wonderland and it’s also (always) been my birthday for over 40 years now, so I know the drill very well.

I have always had my favorite things in mind for this time of the year when Santa comes and I am dreaming of a white Christmas and a few sparkles. 


A gift must come from the heart, gotta be something you have thought about whether it's for yourself or the recipient, the thrill when opening the box or ripping the paper begins with that. Am I the only one that connects the happiness of the thrill to the expectation? I mean, when you know that the person that is gifting you waits for Black Friday to buy the gifts, chances are the act donesn't come from the heart, but the wallet. A gift doens't have to be expensive to be welcomed, you don't need to fake it and pretend you can afford it. 

I remember my grandmother would buy each one of us a gift for our birthday and it was THE one, she knew us so well that she would always hit the jackpot. As a matter of facts, she is the one that established my queen-ship in the family: my birthday was the closest (still is) to Christmas and God forbid someone tried to be cheap and combine everything in one gift of lesser value. She would set the example, 1 for birthday and 1 equally valued for the 10 of us cousins. Same for her daughters, and btw, nonno Bruno was excluded, mostly … because then, story was if she’d give him something she had to give something to her sons-in-law and that was unchartered territory. I was born and raised in a matriarchal family.

I have made a list, selected items that I would want to give myself which also mean I would gladly receive. Maybe they can also be of inspiration for you, in case you don’t know what you want or want to give.

It’s a whole happy jolly season of giving, and receiving in giving. By the end, you’ll find that sustainable, conscientious, be supportive of local and small businesses is fun and delightful.

·         Barbra Streisand is coming to Miami next week and it would be a Memory for a lifetime.

·         In honor to an imminent trip to NYC, a Chrysler cuff 



·         Fairtrade fairy little angel from Dawn Gallagher’s website 

·         How about 1 hour free of social media or screen time per day? 365 hours = 2 weeks and 1 day of freedom = how many books can you read in 15 days? Or, how many dinners can you squeeze in 365 hours? How many fun conversations could you have about the day that's gone by? One per day? There you have a piece of sustainability: 1 hour recouperated from BSing, recycling at its best form. 

·         Want to belong to a tribe that believes in honest media? Subscribe to Holl & Lane: I can’t get enough of the mag and their Instagram account


·         Consider a membership with UN Women. Emma Watson and Nicole Kidman have and they are working towards a world where women and girls live without violence, poverty and inequality. Even the smallest act of support adds to shifting the gloomy times are awaiting ahead of us. Have you heard of #orangetheworld in #16days or the #HeforShe campaign? There are many ways to get involved, for more inspiration look at what Somy Ali has created with No Mor Tears to stop domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking.

·         Big earrings don’t care

·         The BOOK If you haven’t done it yet, subscribe to my newsletter already? It is coming out sooner than you think and signed copies will be available to reserve.