The Food Police – Special Unit (episode 1)

Bad food is a crime! The new head of the Food Police has reports of tourists in Rome are getting ripped off. Watch the MB trio go undercover to collect evidence and show you what to look out for to avoid falling into a tourist trap.

Food Police – Special Unit (episode 1) from Cross-Pollinate Travel on Vimeo.

How to make a perfect cappuccino at home.

Often, when people come to stay at our house, and we make them a morning cappuccino, they wonder what our secret is.  It’s not a fancy machine – it’s just a low-tech Bialetti moka and a simple stove-top milk frother.  Not only do we prefer the cappuccino we make at home to the local bar, but we travel with it too!

The Story of Paper by artisan papermaker Lamberto Bernardini

by Steven Brenner

This video was initially intended to be a simple demonstration of how to make artistically marbled paper using traditional techniques, for an article by my friend Toni DeBella, who writes a blog about Orvieto.

However, after meeting Lamberto the papermaker, I realized the story was about so much more. With books from the 1600s that he pulls out and flips through to illustrate his points, Lamberto tells us the story of paper – its history and passage through ‘The Silk Road’, and how it changed society by permitting the spread of ideas in a cheap and accessible way.

As Toni says in the video, this is one of the things we love about Italy – how these history lessons spontaneously pop up in simple conversations and include things that are hundreds of years old, that “back home” would be held in a museum by glass.

You can read Toni’s full article on Italian Notebook here.

Barcelona vs. Rome

A collage of images and clips in praise of the success of Barcelona’s public space, waste management, transit and innovation. Rome still has work to do.  Video by Tom Rankin of Still Sustainable Rome Blog.

Rome – a 70th birthday gift

A few months ago we made a reservation for two sisters, Norma and Cladeen, at Elsa’s B&B, a small place near the Colosseum, owned by a sweet, older Italian woman who started renting out a few rooms in her flat after her husband died.  This was Norma and Cladeen’s first trip to Rome, and part of a 70th birthday gift from her family, all organized by her daughter.  We had exchanged at least 60 emails with Cheryl, the daughter, hoping that everything would go smoothly for her mother and aunt.

Just before their arrival, at the height of the Occupy protests, some violence erupted right near Elsa’s.  Cheryl wrote to tell us that she’d checked in with her mom about what she’d seen on the news and her mother, a trooper, responded:

“I don’t care if I have to hide out in the B&B, I am going!”

Rome had been an afterthought.  Initially they’d planned a special cruise through the Food Network, but having collected a good amount of money from contributing family members, they decided to add in Rome, do a cooking class, and then board the boat for what would be its maiden voyage.

After their stay, Cheryl sent us this video, made by Rome Walks, that shows these two sisters thanking their family for making this trip happen.

Though it’s been a few months since I received the e-mail with this video, I kept the e-mail in my inbox and every so often a thought about them will cross my mind:  ”close family, they must be.”  ”Lots of love going around there.”  Oh, and “I guess you’re never too old.”