For the second part of our Smitten Italy series, I interviewed Heather on her love for Italy and her advice to novice Italy-travelers.
"When we moved back to America from Italy in 2015, we longed for some fun splashes of Italy in our lives. We couldn't transport our neighborhood church bells, the ancient cobblestones or our favorite pizzeria - so we started creating typography designs for our family and friends that have naturally morphed into this little shop", Heather explains.
The shop officially launched in early 2017 with a small line of clothing for adults & kids. Now the shop has expanded with tote bags, mugs, art prints & digital art. We are thrilled to be adding our first collaboration with Veni Etiam Photography in 2018."
"The first time it was all the typically romantic things. The street musicians, the architecture and art. Each time I returned, I learned more and appreciated additional things like the language, the people, the light, the history, and always the food. Food is so different from region to region and also from village to village. It blows my mind
how many wonderful and unique things there are to eat in Italy that many people have never heard of!"
Read Heather's Ultimate Bucket list for Food Lovers
"While living there, I saw a completely different side to Italy - crazy and frustrating yet continuously beautiful. And while I still love “vacation Italy,” living there really enriched my love and passion for the people and the country."
Is there a part of Italy you feel is underrated?
Read Heather's articles about Milan and daytrips to nearby towns
What's a place you'd return to, again and again?
"I love them both so much and instantly feel at home whenever I return. I now lead food and wine tours in Umbria with my Italian partner who owns a cooking school and Agriturismo near Assisi. I love helping food-loving travelers plan their own delicious Italy adventures."
What advice would you give to an "Italy beginner" when helping them plan their travels?
1. Slow Down. Less is more for your daily schedule and in your itinerary. Allow breathing time to really sink into a place and experience it. Don’t dash from one site to another, or one city to another. Try to imagine that you will be coming back and don’t try to pack everything in to one trip.
2. Make Dinner Reservations. Book your first night’s dinner reservations before
arriving. I started doing this early on in my travels and have never regretted it
(especially when traveling with my kids) I love the thrill of the hunt of a good place to
eat, but get very grumpy if there is no plan and everyone is tired and hungry from a
long day of travel. Having a plan before we arrive takes the pressure off, and helps us
enjoy easing into our new location.
3. Eat dinner late with the locals. After your first night, adjust your dining times. Italians eat late compared to what we are used to in America. We struggled with that our first trip to Italy, and learned quickly that if you make a reservation for 7:30 when many restaurants open for dinner, you will be the only person there! What fun is that? To truly experience a bustling trattoria, adjust your time. By showing up at 8:30-9 (or later) you will soon be surrounded by the locals, enjoying your delicious homemade tagliatelle complete with delicious Italian ambiance!
From my heart to yours.