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Ask An Italian

Have Questions About Relationships, Manners, What To Do, or Where To Find Something? Post Here To Get A Response From A Local.

62 comments

Nicole November 13, 2013 at 8:13 am

First off I am so glad your blog exists because it is hilarious and relatable and makes me miss Italy so much!!
Also I have a relationship question. I have never asked a question online before and feel a little lame doing so but I don’t really know where else to find answers to this… I am a female college student from the United States who did study abroad last semester. Naturally, I ended up having a huge crush on a certain male Italian college student, and he liked me back and finally the last week I was there we had really great sex several times and then I had to fly back home. Then he added me on Facebook and I really like(d?) him. He messaged me first every time, and we messaged off and on but eventually between the distance and language barrier we just sort of stopped. He still “likes” every single picture of me posted to FB and a lot of what I post. I still have a big crush on him and the other day did some stalking, and now I can’t help but think he is GAY! Is he gay or Italian? I know Italy’s culture is a lot more friendly than ours, but still! This is why I think he is gay.
He has a male “friend?” he hangs out with a lot… to the movies, to the beach, dinner etc and he recently made the two of him his profile picture and someone commented “che coppia!” (….?!??)
It kind of freaked me out so I stalked some of his tagged photos and there are two other pictures of him with different guys that have a “che coppia” comment and one of him and a guy that someone commented “che bella coppietta”
Every song he posts is Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Whitney Houston, all dancy techno stuff
On his birthday he has mostly normal wishes (please don’t just me for being a super creep I have no other option) a handful of guys posted “auguri gay” “augoroni frocetto” and “auguri frocione”
Is this how Italian guys joke with each other, or am I just BLIND WITH TERRIBLE GAYDAR AND IN DENIAL.

Also on his Facebook it says he is interested in “Women” and he has talked about/shown me pictures of his ex girlfriends before. He also initiated things with me and messages me and likes every photo of me. Why would he still be flirting with me, a women, if he has a boyfriend!? Sorry this is long and desperate, I am just having a difficult time wondering if my friendly, well-dressed Italian crush is just super European with friends that like to make fun of him or if I am just very stupid and in love with a gay man that I had sex with.

Thanks so much for reading my creepy Jerry Springer story
Nicole

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Sarah July 24, 2014 at 2:01 am

Hi Nicole,

Don’t worry, the guy is not gay. Italian guys just like to fool around with these things. A few years back I dated a guy that even had one of his buddies added as his relationship on Facebook and there were a ton of pictures and comments like the ones you mentioned: che bella coppia; fate proprio una bella coppietta… and stuff like that. All this might be a bit confusing for someone coming from outside but I guess it’s just Italian humour :).

My reply comes a bit late but I’m sure you’re not the only one wondering about the sexual orientation of their Italian date. And this might help to clarify things. Good luck!

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M.E. Evans November 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Nicole,
I don’t think that your the guy you have a crush on is gay. It is actually funny what you write, because it’s something that lots of girls ask when they come here in Italy :” Are all men gay in this country?”.
Italian guys are very different from other nationalities guys, especially from Americans. I am not say they are better or worse, just very different. They dress very well, they wear cologne, they use lotions, they dry their hair and fix them, they listen to what is considered in other countries “gay” music (there is not such thing btw). Also, Italians joke a lot about being gay between each other. Of course it is not ok and it is an questionable way to joke around. I am just telling you how it is. Also, between friends, we hug, we kiss (on the cheeks), we spend a lot of time together and we act as brothers.
So don’t worry, he is not gay. But if you have any further doubts, you should ask him directly. I think that in 2013 it is not a big deal anymore to ask somebody about their sexual orientation.

Saluti,

An Italian Guy.

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B December 15, 2013 at 4:25 pm

My family has a recipe for open face cannoli that was passed down from before my great grandmother. I know it originated in Sicily but I don’t know the Italian name for the dish. Nana called it something that sounds like (I kid you not) ‘dust-a-turkey.’ Is there an Italian dessert with that name or a name for cannoli spread out flat?

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Crystal Ivey December 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm

I have a jar of Acciughe all’ origano (Sardines with oregano). What do I do with it?

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M.E. Evans December 31, 2013 at 5:10 am

Make the Pizza Napoletana!

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Al August 17, 2014 at 10:18 am

I’ve been looking for difficult Italian crossword puzzles for about a week now. I can’t find anything for native speakers —
only beginner puzzles for ambitious language-learners. Any idea if and where these things are sold?

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Mark Wood September 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Hi. I am having trouble finding the pronunciation of an obscure Italian word, meme (plural memi). This word is borrowed from English. Meme translates directly as meme. But. In Italy, is it pronounced meem or meh-meh?

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M.E. Evans September 15, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hello Mark! It would be “meem,” also.

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Nicki Botzong December 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I recently returned from studying in Florence for a semester and I am interested to know more about how Italians view the subject of money. One of my Italian friends would tell me details of how much he spent on various things; his motorcycle, clothes, shoes, and even his income. Being American, I found it surprising that he would often bring these things up. I am usually okay with talking about finances in general terms but I know that many Americans feel that money is a more sensitive topic. How are money and finances viewed in Italy? Is this normal to go into specifics about your finances with people who are not in your family?
Thanks!

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M.E. Evans December 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I think it varies from person to person a little and it differs from region to region. In saying that, i’ve never heard people talk about money more in my life than in Italy. Especially in the South. It’s always brought up. How much people make, what they pay for stuff, etc. At weddings they keep a book with every dime that people give them so they can match it by the cent in the future. It drives me nuts. I just find money talk really tacky (but i was raised in the US…so…).

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Ryan McElfin January 15, 2015 at 1:03 pm

What do Italians call people from Campania? Would it be Campano or is it something else? I need to know the casual Italian term for Campanians for a project I’m doing. Thanks!

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M.E. Evans January 15, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Hey Ryan! Campano for a man, campana for a woman. Hope that helps!

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Elise January 16, 2015 at 4:22 am

In one of your posts you wrote that Florence has great dog trainers. Do you have a recommendation of who to go to? (Possibly someone who can also speak a bit of English)
Thanks!

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M.E. Evans January 21, 2015 at 11:24 am

Let me find out for you Elise!

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Judith January 24, 2015 at 1:09 pm

Hey there,
me and my friend are seriously thinking to come in Italy to do some wwoofing for a few months.
We would like to start from sicily and then we”ll see,
but the thing is : a lot of italian people here (London) told me it was a bad idea and stuff like that, that italian people are “stupid” and italy is “a shit”.

What do you think about this ? Is it ok for two 19-year’s old girls to travel accross italy ?

Thanks a lot

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M.E. Evans January 25, 2015 at 9:40 am

I know a lot of people who have done it in Italy and thy absolutely loved it. Italy is a pretty safe country, just use common sense and dont go alone anywhere or get drunk alone and wander the streets. I havent heard any big complaints from my friends that have done wwoofing. Id give it a try! If you dont like it you can always leave and go home. 😉

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Mel March 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

How do you say ‘just watch me, baby’ in Italian? I’ve googled and there’re many variations so I don’t know which is they correct phrasing

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Jordy March 24, 2015 at 2:06 am

I am moving to Italy for a few years soon. I wanted to know what the deal is with me buying and owning a gun? I would like to be able to keep one in the house. Also, are there gun ranges there where I could rent a gun to shoot for a few hours?

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M.E. Evans March 25, 2015 at 1:01 pm

Hello Jordy, so, for the most part the only people who own guns in Italy are hunters. Although, that’s not to say that guns are illegal. I’m going to ask my husband to answer this question because I want to make sure it’s correct, but from what I’ve heard you just have to apply for a license. Let me double check that for you though.

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Kaitlyn April 24, 2015 at 4:05 pm

I’m currently being the character Giacinta from the play Scapino (an Italian melodrama) and I was wondering what the current most popular nail designs are in Italy. I’m trying to look as Italian as possible for my character (a bubbly happy girl).

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M.E. Evans April 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Honestly, nails aren’t a huge thing in Italy like they are in the US or in some other places. Generally, nails are simply filed (often into a natural square shape), and painted any array of colors or a simple clear polish. In the summer you’ll usually find more natural nails, just clear gloss.

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Kaitlyn April 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

are French tip popular?

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M.E. Evans April 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

I’ve seen people with it but I wouldn’t say it’s “popular.” A few people do it. Not many. Nails in the summer are usually just basic manicures with clear, or colored polish but nothing super fancy ( just pink or red or whatever you like).

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Aleyna May 26, 2015 at 11:29 am

Hello.
I’ve been thinking of writing you for the last week, and finaly I decided to do it.
I am a 17 year old girl by the way. And recently I met a fantastic italian girl during a Europe project. She became really special to me because we had the same interests and I had never met a person who I’d have so much in common with. Sadly, after a week she had to go back to Italy. I don’t know if it was as sad for her as it was for me. 😩
I had her number and I sent her some pictures she had asked for. Then to keep the conversation I asked a lot of questions like a lot. Because I will be going to Italy in 2 years and I said that I will visit her. I despretly want to become her friend, I mean Italians are different. So as I said I asked her questions and stuff and we kind of had some conversations. But she starts to not answer what I ask her and I often think like why? Are Italians what we call it in my country “cold”? I have no more ideas what to do. Like should I just back off? If you have any clue on how to act in this situation please, help me! I really don’t know what to do.
Hoping for your reply 😌

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Miranda June 2, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Hi! I was looking for some advice from a native speaker on an way that would be fun and simple to learn Italian. I’m really interested in learning it as a second language but I have a medical problem that has damaged (as my neurologist puts it) memory retention and the area of the brain that learns new languages so long boring story short he said I more or less will never be able to learn a second language, so I was wondering if any native speakers had any advice or know of a way to help learn. Thanks in advance!

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Sara Casella August 4, 2015 at 4:55 am

How would I say, “eat your bread” in Italian? My grandfather used to say this and I’d like to paint it on a piece of driftwood to hang in my dining room. Thank you!

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M.E. Evans August 4, 2015 at 9:15 am

That’s cute! It would be: Mangia il tuo pane.

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Elena August 17, 2015 at 4:05 am

Hi!
I am trying to learn the italian language and i have a question..when you ask someone if he/she are thirsty you say: “hai sete?” Wich actually mean “do you have thirst?”. But why do they use the verb “avere”? It seems more natural to use the verb “essere”-to be….like: “are you thirsty= sei sete?”

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Dan November 24, 2015 at 2:17 pm

I can’t find the answer to this on line so I thought I’d ask on this blog. Do Italians study Latin in school? Do Italians have much interest in Latin? Just curious.

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M.E. Evans November 25, 2015 at 7:54 am

Hi Dan! Yes, from my understanding they do study Latin. At least, everyone that I know did. However, I don’t know how deep the level of competency is, as with any language if you don’t use it you lose it 😉

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Teresa December 1, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Latin is studied in some high schools, the “Liceo Classico”, “Liceo Scientifico”, “Liceo delle scienze umane” and “Liceo linguistico”. “Liceo Classico” is particularly dedicated to the study of classical antiquity, teaching ancient greek too.

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Hawk Vagg December 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm

My wife and I are planning to live in Italy for 12 months from September 2016.
We are looking for advice/contacts to get long term rental accommodation. We are open to all areas as I am in a wheelchair so will live wherever we find a suitable house. Will even consider France.
Appreciate any advice.
Cheers
Hawk and Mandy

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M.E. Evans December 9, 2015 at 1:31 pm

Hello Hawk and Mandy! There are a bunch of places you can find rentals. Honestly, locals use Kijiji a lot. Actually, I think I covered this in my FAQ section. Just a sec.

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Randall Flagg December 12, 2015 at 2:07 am

Is it really true that all Italians are born with a baseball bat in their hands?

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M.E. Evans December 12, 2015 at 2:54 am

I’m not sure what you mean, to play baseball or to beat people to death? Baseball isn’t popular in Italy, soccer is the most important sport. Also, Italians are relatively non violent. There isn’t much violence in the country compared to a lot of other countries…

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Alexandria January 3, 2016 at 6:14 pm

I was born with a Sicilian grandpa. Him and his family of nine migrated when he was only 15. He was not my biological grandfather, but he was my mother’s step father since she was 17. Days at my grandparents were the best. I never wanted to leave. While my grandmother cleaned, gardened, or quilted, he played with me and showed me how to cook and never skipped the chance to tell me the importance of family and a big dining table. When he would put me to bed at night, he would always tell me of his childhood dreams and memories. He told me to travel the world, find love, start a family, and make memories. He passed away two years ago. To this day, he still has a huge influence on me. He always had brilliant advice for me and I always listened (it was hard not to). I’ve been in love with Italy since I was little and he said he would take me but he had health failure and wasn’t able. He dreamed of going back to Sicily to see his other family members and letting me meet them. People were amazed at how close we were.

I am applying to be an exchange student next year (senior year). Has anybody had experience with or as a host family. I would love to here you’re stories of being or hosting exchange students in Italy. Thank you!

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Sandro February 4, 2016 at 5:17 am

Wamy to get a tattoo that says “Without You I’m Nothing” in Italian. Can someone help with this translation?

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M.E. Evans February 8, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Senza te, non sono niente.

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Raini Malachowski February 8, 2016 at 6:04 pm

Do Italian men find dark haired women with brown eyes and darker skin sexier?
My friend once set me up on a date a couple weeks ago. He was a really cute Italian guy. So I went and we had dinner. It was fun. I enjoyed it. At the end however he told me that Italian men only like women like themselves. Dark hair and eyes with the olive skin tone. He also said they preferred them tall and sexy with their own cultures. I am 5’2 with fairly tan skin, dark brown eyes and brunnette hair with natural highlights. He told me it was best not to get with an Italian man because he would never like me let alone love me. So…is it true that Italian men only like women with those physical characteristics described??

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M.E. Evans February 8, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Uhm, no? This guy sounds like a weirdo. Italian guys are like any guy, they might have individual preferences but the entire country doesn’t have one sweeping preference. Also, Italians are also blonde. My niece is southern Italian and she blonde wig blue eyes, like her grandma. My father in law is from Naples and he has blue eyes. My husband, one of his best friends is pale with blonde hair and blue eyes. So are hundreds of thousands of other Italians. So he’s saying complete bullshit.

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M.E. Evans February 8, 2016 at 6:11 pm

He sounds like a real asshole, honestly.

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Jennifer February 10, 2016 at 10:10 am

What was I drinking? Hi! When I was a teenager, a few times a week after school I would visit an Italian neighbor. She spoke English well but I had to write her bills for her and various letters to her English friends. After the work was done we would sit, laugh, eat pasta and meatballs and in conclusion we would drink something like coffee but it was thick and had an almost licorice flavor to it, she always served it hot in very small pretty cups. I am writing a book and a character in my book is ordering this beverage in an Italian restaurant (that is in America) but I don’t know what to call the drink. The closest thing I could find online is caffè corretto, is this what we were drinking?

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M.E. Evans February 10, 2016 at 10:22 am

Caffe with sambucca. 😉

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M.E. Evans February 10, 2016 at 10:24 am

I meant Sambuca. A caffe corretto can be with either grappa or Sambuca. If it had a licorice flavor it was with Sambuca. It’s common. 😉

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Maddie March 25, 2016 at 6:34 pm

could anyone please tell me how to say “life is simple, not easy” in italian? im trying to tell my friend my favorite quote and i think it would be “la vita è semplice non è facile” but im not certain

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Maria Teresa Satta March 26, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I think the best translation is “la vita è semplice, non facile” 😉

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M.E. Evans March 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

La vita è semplice, ma non facile.

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Korynn Lima August 11, 2016 at 2:29 am

Hello! I am moving to Italy to join the University of Pisa. Sorry to be extremely lame, but I need recommendations for an allergist in Pisa. Otherwise, I’m so excited to move (flying out sept. 7) and I really really do hate the consulate and their Visa bullshit. Please help !! xo

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Michelle Gandolfi November 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

My husband had Italian roots, we recently found out were having a baby boy and wanted to give him an Italian name. Get back to the roots, you know? We found a name we like but go figure it’s one we found on Google… It’s also apparently a common surname. We like Nicoli Thomas Gandolfi, Thomas is my husband’s fathers name. Is this a legitimate name or something Google spouted out? Don’t want to give my kid a bogus name.

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M.E. Evans November 22, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Nicola and Niccolo are more common. I’ll ask Francesco!

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Michelle Gandolfi December 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Oh, I like Nicola! Is Nicoli completey abnormal to hear though? Thank you for getting back to me.

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M.E. Evans December 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm

My husband has never met anyone with the name Nicoli. So it must be a rare name?

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Sarah November 27, 2016 at 5:31 am

what does “prima tu” mean in italian? I asked a guy (he has a crush on me) “chi è la ragazza che ti piace?” using Google Translate and he answered “prima tu”. Plz let me know what it means

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Monika December 15, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Ciao M.E.! Love your blog!
Can you please help me understand the “brutta figura” factor of not partaking in group gifts among friends in Italy? I’ve always felt pressured to join in and ashamed if I don’t. Whether it’s a birthday, graduation, marriage… any group I’m part of (e.g. master swim team or colleagues) seems to put together these, often grandiose, joint gifts. Especially for people I’m not close with, it seems a bit impersonal and over the top. I feel so American saying it, but I’d rather just get them something myself and not contribute to some designer makeup set or ipad or trip to London. I’m having a hard time grappling with this social norm. Do you have any insight?
Grazie in anticipo!

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Curious January 13, 2017 at 10:50 pm

Hi! I followed your blog for a while and I love it! My boyfriend is Sicilian, from Palermo. I’m Asian American. It’s very fascinating and helpful some of the things you’ve written here!

I have a question that’s bugging me and my boyfriend won’t really answer why. I visited Sicily for the first time a few weeks ago. My boyfriend always complains about Italian women and how he’s very happy not to have an Italian girlfriend and probably won’t have an Italian wife. But…when I was there, all the Italian women seemed so gorgeous and attractive. I see him checking them out all the time. So…how come he’s so against having an Italian girlfriend??!! I thought especially as an Italian man, he would really prefer and enjoy having a pretty Italian girlfriend.

Would be really interested to hear your thoughts!

Grazie,
Curious about my Sicilian boyfriend

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louisecusack January 23, 2017 at 10:58 pm

Hey guys. I’m writing a novel and one of the characters is Italian. She lives in an apartment in Florence. I want her to be a hoarder, so I want her to have a newspaper delivered every day which she keeps. Do you guys have newspaper delivery like we have here in Australia (ie. dropped off on your doorstep or left in your letterbox) and where does the newspaper come from? Ours are delivered from the local Newsagency. What’s the name of the “newspaper shop” in Italy? Ta.

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Teresa January 24, 2017 at 11:25 am

The “newspaper shop” in Italy is called “edicola”. If you want a newspaper to be delivered to your home, you have to take a subscription. For example, there is the page where you can take the subscription for La Nazione, one of the newspaper of Florence: http://shop.quotidiano.net/14-postali
Otherwise, if the owner of the edicola is helpful, you can make a deal with him for delivering the newspaper daily, but I think it is not common to do it 🙂

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louisecusack January 24, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Thanks so much for that reply, Teresa. I had originally imagined that my character had an “arrangement” with the local “edicola” owner, because delivery of the newspaper is halted while she’s away (so newspapers don’t mound up on her doorstep and alert burglars to the empty apartment) then they resume when she returns. Even if it’s not common, do you think it’s possible that the owner/manager of an edicola would agree to such an arrangement if he has to send someone specifically to do that every day?

Because newspapers are delivered in Australia from the newsagency, they have someone employed to go around in a car every morning and throw them into their customer’s front yards (it was most front yards when I was a child, now maybe 5%). So if edicola’s don’t normally deliver, it might be too much of a stretch to imagine he’d organize someone specifically to deliver hers.

The “subscription” option presumably comes with home delivery (does it?) and if that’s the case, would they put the newspaper into her letterbox? Or leave it at the doorstep of her apartment? Or do apartment front doors have letterbox openings like they do in England? (If so, they could just mound up inside her front door until she gets home – perfect!)

She’s a hoarder, so I know she’d be fanatical about making sure she has every single newspaper that comes out. She’s set up an arrangement to ensure she didn’t miss a copy.

If you’ll let me pick your brains a bit further, what do you think is the most likely option?

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Teresa January 27, 2017 at 8:22 am

Hi Louise 🙂
I remember that my parents had an arrangement with the owner of an edicola, so he used to put the newspaper in the mailbox every morning before going to his edicola to open it.
If the woman you are imagining lives in the town center, the most buildings are blocks of flats, so the doorstep of a single apartment isn’t on the street. But you can find also single apartments, very less common, which can also have a front door with a letterbox opening.
The “subscription” option comes with home delivery, putting the newspaper in the letterbox.
To see how the houses look in Florence, go to the street view on Google Maps: there you can look for the best house for your woman.

I hope it helps 🙂

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louisecusack January 27, 2017 at 4:25 pm

It does! Thanks so much for taking the time, Teresa. I did stay in Florence for 2 weeks a couple of years ago researching the Medici for a Lost World fantasy I was writing, and I walked a lot of cobbled streets! But I didn’t get to see any apartments – I stayed at a Convent in the Oltrarno district. My trip was all about history and five hundred year old structures I was focusing on. I’d love to have time to go back to research for this book, but…deadlines! So I really appreciate you taking the time to help me!

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Teresa January 28, 2017 at 4:41 am Reply

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