Our common thread is an undeniable passion for Italy – we are composed of Americans and Italians who love to live, travel, eat, shop, hike and all things in between in this spectacular country.  Food, history, art, culture and the outdoors are some of the topics we love to write about and share with others.  Whether you’re a traveler, armchair or otherwise, we hope you join us and share our love and enthusiasm for the beautiful country of Italy.


Deborah ScarpaDeborah Scarpa – After traveling around the world working for an Italian tour agency and spending a year in the Dominican Republic, Deborah moved to magnificent Lake Garda. Born in Milan, she still loves the big city, but there’s nothing like the beauty and splendor of the lake.  Deborah leads guided tours of the charming villages and is an expert on the local hotels, food and wine. In addition to English and Italian, Deborah also speaks German, French and Spanish. An avid outdoors woman, hiking, climbing and canyoning are at the top of her list of Lake Garda recreation.

Monica Busatto

Monica Busatto – Born in Australia to Italian parents, Monica spent the first 17 years of her life as an “Aussie” eating bolognese and lasagna along with baked beans and scones all lovingly cooked by her mom, Nerina. Delighted when her parents decided to move back to Italy to be near their large family, Monica now lives outside of Treviso, north of Venice with her husband Massimo and son Alberto and luckily near her mom, an amazing cook from whom Monica always learns something new. From Sardinia to  Puglia to the Dolomites, Monica loves traveling and exploring all of Italy.

Laney Sachs

Laney Sachs (Editor)- American born, Laney’s bags are always packed for the next visit to Italy. It was love at first sight and a match made in heaven with this beautiful country and every trip brings a new and exciting experience. Traveling to source new products for Ortensia Blu online shop, meeting  interesting people along the way and eating magnificent food continues to nurture her bewitching love affair with Italy.

Cristina LenuzzaCristina Lenuzza – Cristina lives in Valdobbiadene, the beautiful region famous for Prosecco wine. Growing up in Belluno, not far from Trentino Alto Adige, she got the passion for cooking from her mother who taught her little secrets in the art of cooking and many Tyrolean specialties. One of her two children is gluten intolerant and Cristina has become an expert in gluten free cooking. An avid gardener, Cristina preserves the bounty of the fruits and vegetables from her garden to enjoy year round. Restoring old furniture and interior decorating are two of Cristina’s other passions.


Marisa Vergani – A love of cooking came at an early age for Marisa who spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her grandmother and grandfather and she has wonderful memories of their time together. Her mother comes from the island of Murano and Marisa now lives near Treviso with her husband Manuele and princess/dog named Grace. Un Ciclone in Cucina  (A Cyclone in the Kitchen) is Marisa’s cooking blog in Italian (encouraged by Manuele, her best taste taster and cheerleader) where she shares her love of food, fun and Nutella. And as a volunteer with Croce Bianca, she even saves lives!

NerinaNerina Bonara – Growing up one of the oldest of eight sisters, Nerina learned to cook using simple, fresh ingredients from the farm and vegetable garden. Collecting eggs from the chickens (which would later be used for soup), cooking spicy rabbit and cannelloni with a view of the Dolomites from the kitchen window are some of her fond memories. Soon after Nerina and Gianni married, they moved to Australia for several years, where she cooked for an Italian family who were avid hunters. Stuffed quail, duck soup, grilled kangaroo and wild pig meat sauce were a few of her specialties. She and Gianni live in a small town near Montebelluna close to their daughters, grandchildren and several of her sisters who are all fortunate to be able to enjoy her fabulous cooking.