The Italy Years

expat life: interview with elizabeth minchilli

It’s time for another edition of our popular Expat Life interview series, featuring interviews with current expats living in Italy. This series was born out of requests from readers to gain more diverse perspectives on living abroad. You can read previous installments by clicking here.


Elizabeth Minchilli is an American writer who divides her time between Rome and Umbria.

“I still have a hard time believing people actually pay me to write about the things I love: beautiful homes and hotels, delicious food and interesting people,” says Elizabeth.

She’s contributed to over forty magazines over the last fifteen years, and is the author of six books on the joys of Italian life. She reports on all the good stuff in Italy through her blog, apps, tv, radio and any other format you can think of.

If you’re planning a trip to Rome or Florence soon, be sure to check out Elizabeth’s fantastic iPhone apps: Eat Rome and Eat Florence.





When did you first step foot in Italy?
I first came to Italy when I was 12 years old. My parents had come to visit Italy (Florence, Venice and Rome) for two weeks. We were living in St. Louis at the time. They came back home, sold the house and business, and we moved to Italy for two years. We finally moved back to the States, but kept coming back for summer vacations. I eventually moved back permanently in 1988.

Why did you come to Italy?
I moved to Italy in 1988 to work on my PhD in Renaissance Garden Architecture. I was doing research in the Medici archives in Florence. Nearing the end of my research, I met my Italian architect husband, Domenico Minchilli, and here I am.

Did you know right away that you wanted to stay here?

I guess it was fate. Certainly living here as a child must have made me half (or more!) Italian.

What have been some of the funniest/craziest/hardest things about adapting to a completely new culture?
Since I’ve been coming here almost all my life, I think I take certain things for granted and am rarely shocked. That said, when I see a video on Youtube, of a Roman bus driver speaking on two mobile phones while driving the bus with his elbows, even I say “only in Italy!”

What do you do for a living that allows you such an international lifestyle?
Although I started out as an art historian, I soon turned to writing. I write for about 40 major magazines and newspapers. I also have written six books on Italian design and lifestyle. I’ve started my own custom publishing business, One Book Press, which produces image-driven books. I’m also the proud author of two apps: Eat Rome and Eat Florence which are doing really well.

You’ve been a traditional journalist for a bit, what made you get into blogging?
I started my blog last year, when my most recent book came out. With the changes in the publishing industry (lack of money for pr) and the changes in social media my publisher suggested the trifecta of blog/Facebook/twitter. The blog really took off right away, but has shifted from design more towards food and travel.


What’s the single best thing about your life in Italy. What do you wake up every day thankful for?
Living in Rome. I live a block from the Coliseum and the city still takes my breath away. I can’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.

If people could read only three posts from your blog, which three would you tell them to read?
Oh that’s hard!! But I guess it would have to do with pastries, pizza and cappucino, so :

How to connect with Elizabeth:

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  • Reply
    Murissa Maurice
    May 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks for this great post! I found this one very inspiring as I am currently finishing my last year in University, majoring in Creative Writing and Art History. I am also in the midst of creating a Travel Poetry book filled with my own poems which were written in reaction to some of the amazing things I saw and amazing experiences in Venice, Florence, Rome, San Francisco, Padua ect. I would love to send Elizabeth Minchilli and you a free copy when it is done in July 2011.
    Let me know if either of you are interested.

    I went to Italy last year and covered about 11 cities in a month. I was there for an art history course that covered the Venetian Renaissance and the Veneto area. I plan to go back next year after my graduation to Venice to do an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim.

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  • Reply
    Coffee and a Book Chick
    May 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    So great to see this! I love Elizabeth Minchilli's blog – the food, the pictures, the descriptions! Ah yes – I was just in Italy for my honeymoon almost two years ago and I cannot wait to go back. So until that point, I'll be living vicariously through her blog and now yours! 🙂

    The one post that she included is Er Baretto and it was the caf my husband and I went to almost every single day – loved it!!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I'm a big fan of Elizabeth's work. I love what she had to say about living in Rome.

  • Reply
    John De Lorenzo
    September 3, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Real inspiration, hope to get closer with these interesting people!

    We're now in the process of prepping and moving to a 10,000 sq ft Normandy Tudor home and hope to add some Tuscan Charm. You can view our photo videos of the before and during now, with the after coming soon.

    We're also planning on spending some significant time in Tuscany next year for even lots more ideas and adventures!

  • Reply
    John De Lorenzo
    September 3, 2011 at 3:30 am

    We're also into cooking too … check out for more info.

  • Reply
    John De Lorenzo
    September 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I want to try Tuscan and see Italy for a month. Since I don't know the language or the country, I'll need to rent a home or apartment and a car and driver. I think an apartment would be better for shopping and restaurants, but I could use some suggestions.

    Can anyone help?

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