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Is there such a thing as Italian cuisine? I’ll be tackling that question alongside historian Professor John Dickie and celebrated chef Francesco Mazzei at a special event at The London Review Bookshop on October 1.

Italy is home to rich and numerous regional cuisines that have been shaped by politics, economics, and geography. What we eat in Rome differs dramatically from classic Neapolitan fare or the typical dishes in the nearby Apennines. Considering the prevalence of unique regional foods, the notion of a universal Italian cuisine may seem absurd. But that doesn’t mean no one has ever tried to invent Italian cuisine.

Industrial food companies like Barilla and Mulino Bianco have been doing it for years and their marketing teams have fabricated national Italian food sensibilities and leveraged local stereotypes for their own commercial benefit in Italy and abroad. Join us for an evening of enlightening debate moderated by author Dino Joannides as we confront the question at hand.

Book your tickets here. The talk will be accompanied by a menu of seasonal food and Rose and Brut Prosecco from Bisol/Jeio. The food is provided by award-winning greengrocer Andreas of Chelsea and L`Emporio Fine Foods.


After escaping the Roman heat wave with a long trip back to the States, I’m back in town and thrilled to be back to work doing, among other things, giving tours. In the spring, I added affordable small group tours to the repertoire, so if you want to hang out and talk about food and archeology, no need to book a private tour (unless you want to!). These small group itineraries visit two archeological sites that are normally closed to the public, Monte di Testaccio (aka Monte dei Cocci) and the Circus Maximus Mithraeum. Upcoming visits must be booked through Eventbrite. Here’s a bit more about the sites:

Monte di Testaccio is a man-made hill composed of tens of millions of ancient terra cotta amphorae. The hill is a fascinating trash heap which testifies to the Roman appetite for imported oil during the Empire. The next visits to the 135-foot-tall pile of ancient olive oil jugs will be held Sept 18 and Oct 3.

The Circus Maximus Mithraeum, a cavernous underground ruin dedicated to the god Mithras, dates back to the early Imperial period and preserves ancient reliefs. I’ll be leading tours of that site Oct 10 and Oct 24.


alla spina parla

Craft beer lovers of the Tri-State Area: come hang out with me in Philly August 8 and drink some Italian craft brews at Alla Spina! We’ll be pouring some fun beers and serving Rome-inspired snacks from 4:30-7pm. Entry is free–just pay as you go–and no reservations necessary! (more…)

Pizzeria Locale

I love craft beer. Boulder loves craft beer. By the transitive property, I love Boulder and I can’t wait to share some of my favorite Italian craft brews at Pizzeria Locale in that amazing city. The incredible staff will be whipping up fantastic foods to pair with hard-to-find beers from LoverBeer, Birra del Borgo, Montegioco, and others! The cost (excluding tax and gratuities) is $25 for a Rome-inspired street food menu, plus $38 for the optional Italian craft beer flight. Come on down and hang out August 4. For bookings, contact +1 303-442-3003.


I am super excited to announce some upcoming summer events! On July 22, I will be hosting a pizza party at Razza in Jersey City, NJ with Dan Richer, baker extraordinaire. We will be serving Dan’s famous bread and butter, pizzas, and farm fresh salads alongside some stellar artisanal beers. We are going to let the season decide the menu based on what is available that week from Jersey’s own Ralston Farm. UPDATE: The Razza event is sold out!

Eventbrite - Razza Pizza Party: Local Food & Drink in Jersey City

On August 4, I will be hosting a craft beer and pizza event at the amazing Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, CO. It will be my first visit to The Centennial State and I cannot wait to check out Boulder’s excellent food and drinks scene and share some of my favorite beers with Pizzeria Locale’s staff and clientele!


Back in Rome, I am offering special visits on June 4 to two sites normally closed to the public. The first, which will begin at 1:30pm, is to the Circus Maximus Mithraeum, a religious sanctuary buried 30 feet underground. The cavernous ruin, which was dedicated to the god Mithras, dates back to the early Imperial period and preserves ancient reliefs.

Eventbrite - Circus Maximus Mithraeum Special Visit

At 3:00pm on June 4, I will lead a special visit to the Tomb of the Scipios, one of the most important Republican era funeral sites. Located in a prestigious ancient cemetery, the Tomb of the Scipios was the final resting place of war heroes and generals, including Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus (you may have seen his sarcophagus in the Vatican Museums), not to mention the poet Ennius.

Please note that places are limited and bookings to each site are sold separately.

Eventbrite - Tomb of the Scipios Special Visit