Etta’s experiences teaching Italian university students as a William J. Fulbright scholar, teaching US university students abroad, and her onsite research in Italian archives feed her love for All Things Italy. Gain a taste by subscribing to her newsletter and blog and following on social media. 

A Past January Inauguration Day in Sicily Spurs Hope for Future

Gray skies above Catania, Sicily, in January A few years back--twelve, to be exact--I was adjusting to an unfamiliar climate and culture. Less than two weeks off the plane in Catania,...
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Riding the Winter Waves: Reading for Health 

Elizabeth Blackwell writing on happiness in 1845 Here’s the second part to a post from just after Thanksgiving 2020, “Riding the Holiday Waves: Writing for Health.” Because some consider early January as...
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Coincidence or Signs? Waldensians in the News

Twice in less than 24 hours—actually, within about 12 hours—I received notice from two friends* of two recent but very different news stories about the Waldensians. One was in here, in Friday’s New York Times,...
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Riding the Holiday Waves: Writing for Health

Hello, friends. How have the first of the holidays been for you? Have the emotions of 2020's elections and COVID caused these past few days to seem calm, by comparison? Or are you riding those...
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The Past Hauntingly Repeats Itself? National Elections of 1844

George Perkins Marsh portrait engraving by H. B. Hall, reprinted in Life & Letters (1888)  Title Page of Life & Letters of George Perkins Marsh (1888) As presidential election news was...
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Coffee Passions: One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Double espresso and breakfast cookie in Rome Cappuccino from Starbucks, small One afternoon this week my desk work demanded a break. A good strong coffee called to...
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Food Memories: Utopian Visions?

I missed June's blog. I'm making up for it by referring here to a short blog that appeared elsewhere last month. I wrote "Koulourakia Cravings" for a website called  Historians Cooking the Past.  I, like...
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Cancelled!

As Italy crawls back to life, many of us mourn the loss of trips planned and cancelled. This week-after-semester's-end at the university often finds me in flight across the Atlantic. For most of the last...
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A Privileged Perspective: On Escaping A Stricken Field

Cover of 1940 edition of Martha Gellhorn's A Stricken Field In January, reading Anne Boyd Rioux’s review essay of Martha Gellhorn’s A Stricken Field,  I was intrigued enough to order a...
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A Valentine’s and Presidents’ Day Book: Precious and Adored

Cover of Laskey and Ehrenhalt's book, Precious and Adored Here's a book suited for both Valentine's and Presidents' Day. No, it's not about Abigail and John Adams. Nor is it yet...
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American Literature, Science and STEM Spots

Fried's recent biography of Benjamin Rush, early American "man of science" Mel Ulm's recent review of Stephen Fried's biography of Benjamin Rush prompted me to revisit my writing and research on...
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Timothy Miller on Communes in America, 1975-2000

For anyone interested in alternative communities in the US, Tim Miller's book on the last quarter of the 20th century is a thorough and accessible read. Miller started studying and writing about communal life as...
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