The New City – Genzano di Roma

Genzano di Roma is one of the 16 towns set on the Alban Hills, collectively called Castelli Romani, or Roman Castles.  The area is just outside of the city of Rome and has a population of about 300,000

The area of the castles is set in a fertile volcanic area. The former crater is occupied by two lakes, the Lake Alban and Lake Nemi.

3D Topographical Map of Castelli Romani

Continue reading “The New City – Genzano di Roma”


Language Learning Programs

When we tell people we are moving to Italy, the second question they ask after “Oh for work?”, is usually “Do you speak Italian?”  The answer is after about 1.5 years of self-study, “Yeah, I can hold my own pretty well?”  Am I fluent? NO! Absolutely not, in no way shape form or fashion. I first decided to start learning the language late 2014 after we fell and love and realized we would probably continue to vacation in Italy every year.  Now we’ve never had any trouble communicating.  Almost everyone in the main tourist areas we’d visited spoke English.  But I just felt that I should at least make an effort to learn the language enough to hold basic conversations.

In 2010, we visited Madrid and Barcelona (in addition to Rome).  I’d taken two years of Spanish in high school but wanted to freshen up my skills.  I was discussing with my best friend about getting Rosetta Stone and she relayed to me that her brother had used it for free by checking it out from the Houston public library.  I went that day and got a library card but soon discovered they no longer had Rosetta Stone and had replaced it with Mango.  Anyone who knows me, knows I hate spending money, so since it was free, I decided to give it a shot.  I loved it.  During work, yeah sorry, I know that’s bad, but during work, I would do a couple lessons a day.  In just a few short weeks, I’d progressed further than I thought could.  My husband and best friend who joined me on the trip to Spain were impressed that I used only Spanish to check into our hotel.  So naturally, the first program I downloaded when it was time to learn Italian, was Mango. I used this app for about 4 months before we went on vacation in 2015 and I was really surprised at how much I’d picked up.  After we made the decision to move, I beefed up my studying with several programs and have them listed below, along with a short description, pictures, pros and cons. Continue reading “Language Learning Programs”

We got our visas!

Genzano di Roma, here we come!  On May 12th, I was scrolling through my inbox and saw the following message and literally started screaming.


That’s right, 6 words, no punctuation, no capitalization.  Doesn’t matter. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you won’t be moving to a new country as an illegal immigrant.  So wonderful, in fact, Niko drove there today to get them…an 8 hour round-trip drive.


First Car Shipped!

After our visa appointment, and some Crescent City Beignets, we headed down to the port in Galveston, Texas to ship Niko’s car.  I’d been researching for some months for a reliable yet affordable company to use. Niko has a Mercedes CLK500 and the quotes I’d received to ship the car from Galveston to Livorno ranged from $1350 to $1900.  About a month ago I started sifting through the quotes again to decide on a company and start the paperwork.  One problem…Bad reviews, I mean bad.

 “Every one of their agents is a liar. DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THEM IF YOU EVER WANT TO SEE YOUR BELONGINGS AGAIN. They make me wish cutting off the hands of thieves was legal. These lying stealing crooks would have no hands if the law allowed that remedy.” Continue reading “First Car Shipped!”

Visa Attempt #2

Visa Attempt #1

After having our visa request denied, we were back in Houston, almost 1 month to the day and only 55 days before we were set to fly out for good. After hours and hours of blog reading, forum searches, and even a successful attempt to reach the Houston Italian Consulate by phone, we thought we had it figured out. Note: Each Consulate has it’s own set of rules for approving visas.  Although there are guidelines established as a minimum by the country, Italy, itself.  Each consulate is given complete autonomy for all approvals.  They can require more money for cash reserves, more money for passive income and even if you do meet the criteria, they can still flat out deny you. However, this consulate told us we needed 30 days bank statements and proof that we have at least 32,000 EUR in passive income per person. When asked if that “per person” requirement included our 6 and 12 year old daughters, we were not given a clear answer. We were not given an answer at all, only a scolding.  The woman on the other end, said “It doesn’t matter what I tell you over the phone, you need to come in person anyways.” Continue reading “Visa Attempt #2”