Italy’s best party, known to others as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is all about the food for Italian families.

A plate of lasagne is the ideal treat for Carnevale, which is Italian for Mardi Gras. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
A plate of lasagne is the ideal treat for Carnevale, which is Italian for Mardi Gras. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

Carnevale is the way Italians refer to the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. In normal times, the people in Venice take to the streets. They wear elegant and detailed masks, feast on decadent food, and toast the good life.

The next day, they go to church for a priest to place a cross of ashes on their forehead. It marks the start of Lent, the holy period Christians observe in anticipation of Easter Sunday. During Lent…


These are not the fried shellfish you’ll find on the boardwalk in the U.S., but they will make you swoon.

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Fried mussels on a bed of arugula pairs well with olive oil and lemon or buttermilk ranch dressing. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

When you crave normalcy, you may find yourself turning to your food cravings. Or at least that is what my husband and I do. One day, my husband went to the local Korean market and found beautiful, already cleaned mussels in a transparent box. They called his name.

Immediately, the juicy looking mussels brought him back to his home of Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples in Italy. Seafood is ubiquitous. Imagine yourself on the beach with the sea breeze flowing through your hair. Beautiful people all around. A waiter comes by in his swim trunks, sunglasses, and…


Miscarriage remains a taboo subject, but we can share our stories to help people understand the distance between darkness and light.

Miscarriage made me look at nature differently. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Miscarriage made me look at nature differently. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
While I endured my miscarriage, I turned to nature to sort out my feelings. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

There are bad days for your hometown, the country, or the world. They can sting you hard, especially if you are personally embroiled. Perhaps, you cry. Perhaps, you never forget. You find comfort in the shared suffering.

But then there are bad days that are yours and yours alone. You own them like the black dress in your closet. Like the dress, they fade over time, but the holes remain. You can try to sew them up, but usually…


Find out how you can ensure your kids avoid boredom regardless of whether they are locked in the house because of weather or the coronavirus crisis.

Let your kids play mad scientist by mixing vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Let your kids play mad scientist by mixing vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Let your kids play mad scientist by mixing vinegar, baking soda, and food coloring. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

One of the facts of life is that kids’ cabin fever is real, and it can be really annoying to parents. We’ve all been there. “Mom, I’m booooooored,” says your kid with the heaviest sigh and an eye roll to boot.

Well, fear not, I have spent 10 months locked in the house with my husband and our two young sons, 9 and 1. And before that I spent years of fighting my own…


I am waxing nostalgic and sharing this love letter to my former home, the nation’s capital, in the wake of the Trump Capitol insurrection.

Democracy is as fragile as the snow globe of Washington, D.C., the U.S. capital. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Democracy is as fragile as the snow globe of Washington, D.C., the U.S. capital. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Democracy is as fragile as this snow globe of Washington, D.C., the U.S. capital. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

Some places will stay with you. The memories of the place stick to you like your DNA. Washington, D.C. has always been that place to me. As a bright-eyed 17-year-old girl, I went to the nation’s capital for the first time. A friend of mine and my teachers had recommended me, then the captain and MVP of my high school debate team, to be part of the National Young Leaders Conference. I don’t think that conference…


Find out how Italians celebrate the Epiphany on January 6 and learn all about the Italian Christmas witch.

La Befana is the Italian Christmas witch, who gives gifts on the feast of the Epiphany. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
La Befana is the Italian Christmas witch, who gives gifts on the feast of the Epiphany. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
La Befana is the Italian Christmas witch. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

Buona Befana! This is the greeting Italians share with one another on January 6, the feast of the Epiphany. It marks the end of the holiday season and recognizes the arrival of the three Magi to baby Jesus’ manger. As a religious feast, the Epiphany also is a celebration of the realization that Jesus was God incarnate and thus the Savior.

As a secular holiday, Italians usually have a special meal that includes sweets and bread with their loved ones. And the…


I spend much of my time talking to MBA students, administrators, and professors at the best business schools in the world. Discover their advice.

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Businesspeople are the masters of job hunting and networking, which is why they have the best career tips. After all, business schools train students to build a long-term career that reaps professional and financial rewards. Much of this training happens in the career centers at top MBA programs, such as University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, London Business School, and more.

As a reporter for global business publications and…


Find out how I’m dealing (or not dealing) with the fact that the pandemic upended all my plans for my son’s first year of life

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In November 2019, while I was at the hospital with my newborn son Pasquale, I held him in my arms and looked at his delicious little face. I whispered to him that I had big plans for his big brother Enzo and him. First, we would celebrate Thanksgiving with guests from Italy, who were coming to meet him. Then, we’d have a big party for his baptism and Christmas with our extended family in the…


Discover the annual tradition of building an artistic nativity scene that takes people far beyond Bethlehem and the manger

Check out my father’s presepio and his story about it, which changes every year, and better understand this delightful Neapolitan tradition. Video by Francesca Di Meglio with cooperation by Pasquale Di Meglio

In Naples, Italy, some families will have a Christmas tree but all Catholic families will have a presepio or nativity scene. A few will be simple manger scenes typical of what you’d see anywhere during the holidays. But most will be an elaborate artistic expression. …


Discover the traditional Christmas Eve menu full of seafood and sans meat for Italians and those of us living in Italian America.

Pasta with octopus and tomatoes. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Pasta with octopus and tomatoes. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio
Pasta with octopus and tomatoes is a typical dish served on Christmas Eve in southern Italy and among Italian Americans. Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

Christmas Eve, known as la Vigilia di Natale in Italy, is the true holiday for Italians. Certainly, we exchange gifts on Christmas morning and have a lovely lunch all together. But our feast with the extended family and friends happens the night before Christmas. It is when we eat fish, only fish.

There is a lot of misinformation about the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This is a tradition of mostly southern Italians. Some northerners and modern southerners…

Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio is a veteran reporter who has worked for Bloomberg Businessweek and Ladies’ Home Journal. Visit francescaandantonio.com for her blog.

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