“I” moments on an “Us” vacation

The first time I found myself in Italy, I was married.  We were traveling from Venice to Capri with a camera, a leather-bound journal, and far too much luggage. We ate individual pizzas and drank Campari and sodas. Gelato twice daily. Charred octopus salad eaten in open-air piazzas, a rest for our feet and a chance to consult maps. 

We traveled the only acceptable way there is when visiting a city for the first time: we walked. Everywhere. Though in Venice we didn’t use maps. We roamed, over the Rialto bridge, we got lost, sat on a bench and watched a man with his accordion. I purchased paper for my journal, some pencils fitted with marbled hand-made paper, then fine leather flats, broke them in along with the bank. I envied how put-together the women were, how their handbags were always the exact match of their shoes (though I’d witnessed this more in Florence and Rome than in Venice or Capri). 

We never took time to ourselves, each of us on our own, which I regret. I think even on a honeymoon there should be room for small "I" moments, to weave through a museum or church, into a newsstand to browse, through an outdoor market.  I feel memories more when they’re quiet ones, the sound of a broom on wet cement, the pigeons, the light at Harry’s Bar. I’d love one day to travel abroad alone and regret that I haven’t yet. Though, I’d be more guarded alone, frightened for my safety at night. I suspect I’d run through the streets because nothing bad happens when you’re in motion. It’s when you’re moving too slowly, when there’s time to plot, when you become a mark. I know, tell that to Central Park joggers. I don’t know what I’m talking about, of course. But it sounds right.

The next time in Italy, I was thankful to visit smaller places. Siena, San Gimignano, Portovenere, Cinque Terra.  Bologna for the food, chased down the streets by men. I was single, abroad with a close girlfriend.  I wouldn’t wait on lines this time or do touristy things.  I searched for dive restaurants with communal tables.  I found them. I cleared out for Guam, which I encourage everyone to do, even in their own cities. Upon seeing my car GPS system, a friend said to me recently, "It must be so much fun to just explore and let yourself get lost knowing you can always press the HOME button." There’s always a direct link back home, which makes it feel safer to be dangerous. 

And this time, I’m in Italy on the printed page. NUDA & CRUDA.  Yes.  How awesome is that?  Nude and Crude all in one sentence.  Though I don’t suspect it translates that way exactly.  There’s something to do with a "knot" in the direct translation. Either way, it’s fun when your book gets translated into different languages.  Aside from Italian, Straight Up and Dirty has also been translated into Russian and German and (for India and all of the UK), the Queen’s English. I wonder what it will be called. I wonder when I’ll be back in Europe.  This summer, I’ll be back in New York.  A week in June and three weeks in August… with the beans, when we will most certainly explore without maps. 



  1. Wow…I just finished reading the comments and there is already another post! You are an amazing writer, and I so appreciate the way that you share your life with all of us out here in Internetland! I read your blog every day, and absolutely LOVE all the pics and stories of your beans! Congratulations on your beautiful babies – you sound like a wonderful mom.
    That's great that your book has been translated into several languages already. So how could a girl get to be the one to translate your book into Spanish??? :-) I would love to translate something as fun as your writing!

  2. great news!!! I'm going to check it at the book shop here in Milan :)
    the meaning of cruda in italian is the same as crude in english :) and nuda means nude or naked..good translation :)

  3. are you doing a book signing when you go to New York…

    FROM STEPHANIE: Straight Up and Dirty comes out in paperback this summer. I'll be leading a reading and discussion of memoirs at Bryant Park called WORD FOR WORD, but more on this and other things to come…

  4. Congrats on your book being published in yet another language. You totally rock.
    I love that you gave a link with such gorgeous pictures!
    And I love your suggestion and term "clear out for Guam"… I think it's a must too.

  5. That's awesome! Thank you for that…I am going to Italy for the first time in September with my husband for our 1st anniversary. Now I am really really looking forward to it.
    Congrats on the success of the book. It's well deserved.

  6. I love the idea of life being safer to be dangerous … I thought by 40 I would only seek security, bland, boring – STABLE – life … instead, as I approach that magic number, I long for a little safe danger!

  7. I studied in Vicenza, Italy fall semester 2004. I loved every second of it and can't wait for my first trip back one day. I hope to read more about your experiences there. I am drooling over all your pictures right now!!

  8. Just think I'm probably going to review "Nuda e Cruda" at the beginning of the summer (as far as I come back to Italy) for a literary blog!

  9. Been reading you for years, but for some reason felt compelled to comment today. Congratulations on the successo! (Really is Italian for success). I wonder how "Pam Cooking Spray" will translate?

  10. The italian cover of your book got me to thinking – how do you feel about comparisons of your work to 'sex and the city?'

    I mean, you've had a successful blog for a while now, written a book that is presumably successful enough to be released internationally, and are in the process of writing a TV pilot – wouldn't you hope that your work would stand alone by now instead of being compared to a long-gone tv show?
    And what happens to that marketing strategy when you release 'Moose'?
    Personally, i'd be pissed, but i'd love to know what your take is?

  11. viridiana-
    I can tell you what Stephanies book is called in German: "Die Dating-Queen. Die Männer, Manhattan, Martinis und ich". And I have one question: who the heck has translated this? I mean, what a title is that? If I didn`t know more about it and Would have to choose a book by it`s title, I wouldn`t buy it.

  12. thanks simone..
    in german? "The dating-queen. The men, manhattan, martinis and I" too long, but then again who the hell am I to judge hahaha

  13. What a lovely translation! For me 'crudo' was always part of 'prosciutto crudo' (raw ham), but now I see (like in the song 'suddenly I see') that it could be you, too, that is, your book, to be precise

  14. Stephanie…

    Congratulations on the multiple publishings. As I've said before, you've made clear the artistic journey that is " a writer writing." True to your mission, you stay true to your voice…and clearly, that rings true in many languages.

    "¡Felicitaciones, amiga!"


  15. Now THIS is a post that brings back the best memories! I was a healthy 18-year old ready for the world, with a boy I loved in the high school kind of way. Italy was our first stop abroad.

    We drank Peroni outside on warm summer nights, and drank a lot more in the hotel rooms! Had the best pasta, pizza and even croissants I will ever have eaten. Art I will probably never see again, the Sistine Chapel halfway refurbished, the Pope waving from his window, the leaning Tower of Pisa REALLY leaning!

    Got caught doing "inappropriate things" in a hotel room by our chaperones and almost sent home. Got high on a train on the way to France and couldn't find my cabin again! Met a boy on the Eiffel Tower I still speak to a decade later, though he's married with a baby girl.

    Thanks Stephanie for taking us down your memory road, that so brings back the best, most carefree times of my life.

    AND sooo loving Nuda and Cruda! That's fantastic!

  16. I'm italian and live in Rome. I was waiting for the italian version for such a long time (my english is not so good)I'll go today to find a copy.

  17. Die Dating-Queen. Die Männer, Manhattan, Martinis und ich
    -> That's the german title (looked it up at amazon.de).
    Sounds not as good as "Straight Up and Dirty" ;(

  18. Die Dating-Queen? Die Männer, Manhattan, Martinis und ich? Oh no, please… Yes, add me to the list of people who would really like to meet the person who translated this… Someone listening to "Dancing Queen"? Compare this title to NUDA & CRUDA and you know why Italians are considered the by far sexier people than Germans… Steph, seriously, have a talk with your translator! It will not do your book any good! I agree with Simone, I also NEVER would pick a book with this title in a bookstore. Glad I read it in English and didn't wait for the German version, although I admit it was sometimes hard to catch the little inside jokes as a non-US-resident… not at all because of the language itself but the brands and everyday expressions… nevertheless, it was great fun reading, I am looking forward to your next post.
    And, Stephanie, as a huge fan of Italy and someone who has the privilege of living only 3 hours away from its border :-), I have a recommendation for you: Ever considered traveling Italy's south? Calabria, Sicilia? Great landscape, not very touristy, very genuine and simply gorgeous…

  19. I am happy for you Stephanie, that is great news, but really, I know I have asked you this before:
    WHEN IS IT RELEASING IN INDIA???? (No translation please)

    (I get so pissed off when everyone says about how nice your book is and I haven’t even laid my eyes on the cover. That is soooo unfair)

  20. ciao Stephanie,
    great translation for the title I think. Nuda e Cruda in Italy are two terms associated with truth (meaning plain truth) so, knowing and appreciating your style of writing, it seems a very well chosen title!
    I've read your book in English so i'll buy it in italian now to check the rest of the translation…if I don't like it I'll translate MOOSE for you…free of charge obviously!! ;-)

  21. I am stil waiting for my dear aunt to bring your book to me. I really want to have the american version, but i am definitly curious if your book will be translated in Dutch.

  22. Question! In your pictures from Venice I noticed the colors are kind of soft and muted in a really nice way. Is this an editing effect you applied or some setting in your camera? White balance or something? Or did it just happen that way? I'd love to know.

  23. Hi Stephanie,
    I'm very happy: your book is available in Italy at last.
    I think "Nuda e Cruda" is a fine italian adaptation. Congratulation.

    Tonight, after work, I'll look for it in my favourite book shop.

  24. I think i'm gonna collect Straight Up & Dirty versions like baseball cards!

  25. Actually, the direct translation is "Naked & Raw" – nothing about a knot. It's your book – didn't anyone tell you what the direct translation was?

  26. Ciao Stephanie, ho scoperto il tuo blog da poco tempo, leggendo su diverse riviste la recensione del tuo libro appena pubblicato in Italia.
    Ti faccio i miei complimenti per i tuoi post, molto belli e simpatici: uno di questi giorni acquisterò "Nuda e cruda", sono sicura che non mi deluderà.
    Spero che ci sia qualche persona volonterosa che ti trdurrà il mio commento, scusa se non ho scritto in inglese, ma è veramente sopra le mie forze!

  27. For Roberta: "Hello Stephanie, I have discovered your blog recently (or for some time now), reading in different magazines the reviews of the your book just published in Italy. My compliments for your post, very attractive and nice: one of these days I will obtain "Nude and raw", I am sure that it will not disappoint me. I hope someone can help with my post…sorry, I did not write in English, but it is really beyond my ability at this time." (I tried!)

  28. Hi Step!
    I'm italian, I come from Bologna and I'm happy to know that now I can read all about you also in italian language.
    I'm following you blog since 2 years and … I love your way to write, to live and to feel.
    When you had beans I cried! really!
    You are able to emotion me (I don't know if it's correct but I hope you'll understand!)
    So, we usually say "In bocca al lupo" (=good luck) for your new italian-book,
    and you have to answer "crepi il lupo".
    I'm going to buy it! save my money!!!

  29. Congrats on the Italian version of the book!

    I am just finishing up Straight Up & Dirty, and I can't put it down!! I love it and so much rings true to every woman world-wide.

    I leave for a vacation this Saturday and wish that "Moose" was already available to purchase for some great beach reading!

  30. Did you know you had so many readers in Italy? I was going to buy the English version, but I might get this one just for fun! It'll last me longer so I can take it to the beach in the summer (I live in Positano).

  31. Love it! Makes me want to sail off into the sunset for parts unknown. If only I didn’t have this darn thing called "work" to hold me back. I hope you’re all playing violins for me. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more international travel in the next few years before I have children.

    PS- I hate when people correct others grammar and spelling. It's just in poor taste. Stephanie you should feel free to spell GELATO and SIENA however you like.

  32. I’ve been reading your blog for years and not only do I love your words but your photographs are incredibly beautiful and inspiring.
    So much so that Im going to Cinque Terre and Portovenere this July. (along with St Tropez, Nice, Monte Carlo, Portofino and Florence)
    I would be thrilled (and grateful) to have your input and advice.

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