The Italian Cowboy

MITICOMythical in name only, the Italian Cowboy lives in Toscana, not far from Lucca. Ever since he was a little boy, Piero (his real name), has been passionate about horses and the free-ranging lifestyle of the American cowboy, about whom he learned by reading everything he could get his hands on about the American West. And, growing up, his persistent dreams were of exploring unknown open spaces on horseback, discovering hidden paths through the Tuscan hillsides, and wandering free and unfettered under the broad Tuscan sky.

Backseat Italian Family

Fiat 500

Fiat 500

Ready for an Italian chuckle?


Another Mystery about the Mona Lisa?

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa

Florence. December, 1913. The Mona Lisa, stolen from the Louvre in 1911, turns up in an antiquarian’s shop on via Borgognissanti in Florence. Discover the true facts about the theft and the man who pulled it off in a new documentary film: The Missing Piece, The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa.

Screening October 6 and October 8 at The Mill Valley Film Festival. Tickets HERE

IEI Students in Italy!


Hi Mario:
I made it to many of the places you’ve mentioned. Unfortunately, this was my one and only full day here! I leave tomorrow to head back north. I absolutely love Napoli! I didn’t expect it; I thought it would be overwhelming, but it’s much softer and sweeter than Rome, even though yes total chaos! It’s like negotiating a crowded dance floor for me, I love the flow of it. I also experienced the “optional” red light.

The people here seem good-natured and gentle. Unlike in New York, where there is a sour mean streak. (Although I’m proud to say I survived the withering look of the barista at del Professore. That look was only surpassed by the one he gave me when I asked him for a pastry after finishing my Americano. I was prepared for this though, so it made me smile.)

Plus, almost no tourists except for at the museum! Trastevere in Rome was crawling with them (yes, people just like me, yech).

Italy – Baseball Powerhouse?

Italy vs. Canada

Italy vs. Canada

Watch out, Canada, we’re thinking of taking up hockey!

Beppe Grillo revisited
by Mario Fusco

Over the last few years, as an unavoidable consequence of online reporting and blogging, there has been a general degradation in the language of public discourse. For instance, the unmistakable reliance on automatic spell checkers is evident in many stories, and there has been a general relaxation of the rules of grammar, sometimes at the expense of intelligibility.

So, why does the observation above have a place on an Italian blog? Because of the following excerpt (“Crazy days in Rome with papal and political void”, Associated Press, under the byline Victor L. Simpson):

Yet perhaps the biggest gatecrasher of all is Beppe Grillo, who has upset the established order by riding a self-styled “tsunami” of disgust with the powers-that-be and grabbing a quarter of the parliamentary vote.

Italian Elections 2013
by Mario Fusco

Italian Politics 2013

Beppe Grillo

Beppe Grillo

On February 24 Italians went to the polls to elect a new government. The results were widely decried as inconclusive, resulting in a gridlocked Parliament that would be unable to govern effectively and lead Italy out of the economic morass in which it has languished for several years. Press and blogs were awash with opinions about the “two clowns” who had prevailed over the Social Democrats, Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi. Particularly offensive was the cover of the Economist, which prominently featured the “two clowns” and luridly highlighted their supposed shortcomings, in an echo of Peer Steinbrueck’s remarks.

It’s hard to defend Berlusconi’s record, so it’s advantage Economist here. It is equally hard, however, to accept the dismissive attitude toward Grillo, and not to see in it a continuation of the policy of ostracism by established interests towards the comedian-turned-politician. A policy that began in the early 90’s and that has manifestly failed to muzzle Grillo. One would hope that Grillo’s past life as a comedian should not weigh on anyone’s judgments of his achievement and of his importance to Italy, not any more, in any case, than Ronald Reagan’s career as a B-movie actor should weigh on any judgment of his achievements as Governor of California and President of the United States. Besides, weeping clowns are a staple of the Western cultural panorama, and we should pay attention to them.

Italian Restaurants

Italian cuisine is enjoying a renaissance on the peninsula. Notable among recently-launched Italian restaurants are FIGO and IL TERRONE, both in Palo Alto, and POSITANO and LIMONE in San Carlos. And in Menlo park we had the recent opening of PICCOLO. These new establishments will need to prove themselves against the likes of MEZZALUNA in Half Moon Bay, SAPORE ITALIANO in Burlingame, ACQUAPAZZA in San Mateo, DONATO and CHANTILLY in Redwood City, LA STRADA in Palo Alto, CARPACCIO and ANGELO MIO in Menlo Park, DON GIOVANNI and VASO AZZURRO in Mountain View, and VILLA NAPOLI in Sunnyvale.

We wish them all great success. We are definitely partial to Italian food!!!

The best in Italian cuisine

Fun at FIGO's

Great food, great people, great fun! Come visit!


Summer in Italy
by Mario Fusco

Whether you’re a first-time traveler to Italy or a seasoned veteran you won’t want to miss the Tuscany, Cinqueterre and Rome Tour being organized by The Sacramento Italian Cultural Society. Scheduled to depart on June 20, this 12-day tour hits some of the must-see sites in Italy.

TUSCANY – home to illustrious personages from Dante to Leonardo to Galileo, it was the incubator of the Italian Renaissance, which in turn spawned the European Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Scientific Revolution. The Medici family, lords of Florence, were inarguably the most active and effective patrons of the arts ever. Today Tuscany is famous for its wines (Chianti), the loveliness of its hill towns, its artistic patrimony, and events such as the Palio di Siena.

Winter 2013 Italian Language Classes


Classes at IEI begin on January 7, 2013, according to the following schedule:


Class Days Start Date Time Room Fee
Italian 1 Wednesdays Jan. 9 7 to 8:30 pm TBD 190
Italian 3 Mondays January 7 7 to 8:30 pm TBD 190
Evening Conversation Tuesdays January 15 7 to 8:30 pm TBD 190
Morning Conversation Wednesdays January 16 10 to 11:30 am TBD 190
Discovering Italy Thursdays January 10 7 to 8:30 pm TBD 190


Follow the links below for more information

Go to: