Hi, I'm Thea Prando.
It was back in 2003, and I was doing a semester abroad in a small town about 1 hour outside of Rome. The town was so small that, on a few occasions, complete strangers would stop me and ask "so you're the exchange student from Miami?".
It was the perfect experience for a young student trying to immerse herself in Italian life and culture. The town was small enough that few people spoke English, and my Italian language skills improved rapidly out of necessity.
I lived just off the main street, where people walked back and forth chatting with others before heading home for dinner. The food market was held smack in the middle of the town square and offered lots of quality fruits, vegetables and Italian delicacies at absurdly low prices.
I WAS IN LOVE! And determined to come back.
A few years later, thanks to a scholarship from Rotary International, I pursued my master's degree at Bocconi University in Milan. Completely different from my lazy little town where the stores closed at midday! But, I enjoyed it nevertheless.
While in Milan, I did what people there do: worked in "fashion". I helped organize events and translate press releases at major Italian luxury brands like Gucci and Loro Piana, and acted as a liaison at the Milano Fashion Global Summit. The experience helped cement my obsession with all things quality.
But, my true passion is food. I've taken numerous Italian cooking classes. I literally read cookbooks. I'm always out to discover the best food producers and stunning places to stay.
Along the way, I met and married my incredibly loving and romantic husband, who's from a stunningly beautiful microscopic village, Tellaro, along the Italian Riviera, not far from the Cinque Terre.
Doing Italy is my space to share my experiences and to help others #traveldeeper into Italian life.