The Italian Connection {#DolceVitaBloggers}

The Italian Connection ~ Link up #1

#DolceVitaBloggers is a dream come true. Let’s raise our glasses in a virtual Prosecco cheer!!!

I consider sharing our stories through our blogs the next best thing to sitting around the table and chatting together (because what’s more Italian than that?)

Grazie di cuore to each and every one of you for being part of this #DolceVitaBloggers community that is nearly a year in the making! This couldn’t have happened without Kristie from and Jasmine from and of course you!

We’re all here because we have one important thing in common: a love for Italy. And I’m sure there is a heart-warming story behind that love. We thought sharing our Italian connection would be a great way to get to know each other and kick off our monthly #DolceVitaBloggers linkup.

My Italian Connection

My Italian connection is as old as this bridge that recently celebrated its 500 year anniversary.

Grexino Bridge, Varese Ligure, Italy
Grexino Bridge, Varese Ligure, Italy

It’s amazing to think that my great-grandparents used to cross this bridge too before they left Italy for California.

I remember learning about my ancestry for the first time in elementary school for a family tree project. My mind was blown when I found out that my ancestors were German, Irish & Italian!

My German & Irish culture had more or less been washed away by generations of assimilation…but ITALIAN, that was different! My mom told me stories of her grandparents, aunts & uncles from “the old country” who only spoke Italian. I couldn’t believe that OUR FAMILY spoke ANOTHER language!

Most of all I wanted to know about my grandpa who died before I was born. He was born shortly after his parents arrived in California, and since they lived in an all Italian community, that was his language & his culture. Italian was how others described my grandfather and how he identified himself. Can you imagine back then that it was drama that my grandmother with Irish-German heritage married an Italian?! But now even my grandma considers herself Italian by injection (cover your ears kids!)

My grandma never dated again after my grandfather’s death because he was the love of her life, and my mom was daddy’s girl. I pieced together a sense of him through snapshots of memories from them. My favorite stories always involved language. How he had the unfortunate address of “third street,” which he endearingly pronounced “turd street” in his accented English. How when he got excited he didn’t know how to express himself in English. I just couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for him to start school not knowing a word of English; it was all sink or swim back then.

That is how I became determined to learn Italian; it’s my way of knowing my grandfather and carrying on his legacy, something eternal. 

Here he is at the beach in Carmel, California. I actually never knew we had a picture of him in Carmel until tonight when I was looking for a picture to include in this post. Which makes SO much sense to me now because I used to visit this beach ALL.THE.TIME. when I lived there for grad school in nearby Monterey (where he was stationed at the Presidio before serving in WWII).

my grandpa
mio nonno a Carmel, California

My quest to learn Italian took me abroad to Torino, Italy where I studied for a semester as an undergrad. I felt such a sense of fulfillment being immersed in Italian culture. A more relaxed pace of life (I mean, a two hour meal is like my dream), lessons over cappuccinos, beautiful aesthetics (style, architecture, and landscapes), piazzas and city centers with pedestrian zones, the most incredible food…

I loved Italy so much that in my “geography of the world economy class” I chose olives as my commodity just so I would have an excuse to write a 10 page paper about Italy…

And now…I’m still learning Italian, which is the subject of my blog, along with all things food and wine – essentially learning Italian through cooking, wine tasting, cappuccino chats, and other culinary adventures with amore mio, but that my friends is a story for another day…


il borgo rotondo Varese Ligure SP Liguria Italy
Il Borgo Rotondo, Varese Ligure (my great-grandparents’ village)

You can link your #DolceVitaBloggers post by clicking on the blue button below:

Join us January 7th for the next #DolceVitaBloggers link up! Have a suggestion for a topic? Send me a message or let me know in the comments !

Dolce Vita Bloggers Link Up






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Ciao, I'm Kelly!

Welcome to my adventures in learning Italian, often while cooking authentic Italian recipes and wine tasting! I love discovering the traditional regional cuisine of Italy and trying to recreate those dishes when I'm back home in the US. I'm also on my way to becoming an Italian citizen through jure sanguinis (by ancestry).

WSET Level 2 Certified Wine Blogger


Join me for a virtual "aperitivo chat" to get exclusive updates on my Italian progress, dual citizenship journey, plus food & wine adventures in the Bel Paese and beyond!

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2 years ago

The story of your grandfather was so heartwarming! And your writing makes it so vivid, I can almost imagine his days in the Italian community and feel the struggles he experienced with the English language. Thanks for sharing this with us and for creating this monthly event to connect people who love Italy.

It’s great to read the words of someone who loves my country so much, it’s almost like seeing Italy with new eyes for the first time.

Good luck with your Italian studies, a presto!

2 years ago

This is such a lovely story. Imagine how proud your Grandpa would be knowing his heritage is so important to you. It’s really something quite special xx #DolceVitaBloggers

2 years ago

Love this connection Kelly. Your grandfather would be looking down at you most proud of his granddaughter. We can all see your passion for this beautiful country. Xx

2 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

You most probably do. I so believe in that stuff. Xx

2 years ago

I loved hearing about your Italian family and heritage! I was also so jealous of people with such strong family ties to Italy. Luckily now I have my boyfriend’s family to learn from which makes me feel more connected to the Italian culture.

2 years ago

I can totally get your desire to explore your cultural heritage as a way to connect with your nonno…Even if I’m Italian I find myself looking for the places where my great-grandparents and other ancestors had been. Discovering one’s roots is important, it’s almost a way to discover oneself!

Thanks for sharing your story, Kelly πŸ’—

2 years ago

Very nice story and all the best in your language studies!

La Brutta Figura
2 years ago

What a lovely story, especially about wanting to get to you more about your Nonno. Learning Italian through food adn drink seems the ideal way, cin cin to that! Thanks for setting up this link up, it’s great finding so many other Italy lovers and bloggers!

2 years ago

This is amazing! Your reason for learning Italian is the same as mine and my cousins. Being Italian-American is always something to be proud of!

2 years ago

Ciao Kelly!! I finally get time to read your post. (YAY!!!!!!!!!) Love your story….!! I am so grateful to Instagram for our connect and thanks to it, I already knew a little more than I expected πŸ˜‰

Your grandma’s story is fascinating! Both of them would be super proud.

Here’s to more Italy dreaming and inspiring conversations. *clink clink*

LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia

Congrats on making this a reality! I’m so pleased to be a part of this community. Everyone has a unique story to tell with a common thread, and I find that so amazing.

I’m sorry you never got to know your grandfather, I also didn’t really get to know my nonno in Italy but I feel his presence. Italian blood runs strong…. There is no way to avoid it! πŸ˜„

Lucy and Kelly
2 years ago

Oh my goodness Kelly, this is the sweetest post. We love that you found out about your heritage and that it struck a big enough cord with you to keep searching and to find out all you did about your Grandad. Then to be so motivated to learn the language because of him, is wonderful. We laugh that he struggled with the language, our Grandad was exactly the same!! Italian Grandad’s are the best in the world!!! <3

Looking forward to reading next months post! <3
Lucy and Kelly xx

2 years ago

It sounds like your grandfather was a great man, and it is wonderful that you are honouring him by learning Italian and investing in all of the traditions and culture he left behind.
I look forward to reading more of your posts!

2 years ago

Fantastic writing in this one Kelly! And what a cute photo of your nonno. I’m so happy to play a pseudo-part in this quest of yours to conquer Italian and couldn’t be prouder of the response to #DolceVitaBloggers. I was writing to Kristie that someday maybe Dolce Vita Bloggers Retreats in Italy might be a thing!!! Can you imagine?!

Angela Williams
2 years ago

There is something so invigorating walking the streets of Italy, especially in my grandparents home town. When I went to visit my grandparents home town in Italy, we visited their old homes and places they went to regularly. I was like a child. Touching everything and walking every where while in my head I was thinking, “Nonna touched this door!”, “Nonno climbed these steps!” “My Nonni drank water from these exact springs.” I don’t know. Maybe I’m weird but by the time I left, my heart was so full. It was like I just went on a tour for a… Read more »

2 years ago

Ah! I thought I’d commented already. Thank you for your part in setting up this wonderful way to meet so many others who share a love of Italy in one way or another. It’s sweet that you get to get a better sense of your grandfather through your travels and studies.

2 years ago

Hi Kelly. Such a beautiful story of your heritage. I think it’s such a wonderful journey for you to step back in time. And to connect with your grandfather.. he must be so happy for your love of Italy. And he is with you on the journey too. How uncanny you spent tine at the beach in California. I think it’s such a great coincidence. I look forward to hearing more about your heritage.. mine is mostly British on my mother’s side. Although I did get to trace back to Brutus king of Britain.. so j have very diluted Roman… Read more »

2 years ago


Your family’s story touches me. Italian-Americans will always have connections like this that keep us going and strengthen our love for Italy. Also, you’re a great writer! A presto.


Mummy Lauretta
2 years ago

What a lovely story, Italy really is in your blood πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read more of your posts x

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