Ever since journalist Elizabeth Minchilli started a blog, Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome, in 2009, she’s been leading food tours, creating apps on where to eat in Italy, taking videos of chefs and cooks, and she rents out an apartment too. Minchilli has written six books, most recently Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City, a terrific part memoir, part guidebook and part cookbook.
I’m giving away a free copy of Eating Rome, Minchilli’s mouthwatering exploration of this ancient city. To enter this book giveaway, leave a comment below.
I interviewed Minchilli about her career, photography, and lifestyle:
Q. Your life in Rome seems so glamorous. You’re dining at fantastic restaurants, pressing olive oil and making pizza with masters. Is it really so stylish and all Sophia Loren?
A. Not Sophia Loren. I don’t think of it as glamour and style but delicious and fun. If that’s what’s coming through on my blog, then it’s true. But that’s how a lot of people live here.
Q. You have cobbled together a living from related products and services: food tours, selling apps, your blog, writing books, making videos. Which are most lucrative?
A. When I first started the blog, I wrote because I wanted to build a platform. I thought I was going to do it to sell books. But the things that turned out to be most profitable were the things I hadn’t planned out. I started doing food tours because people asked me. My food tours are private and one-on-one. It gives me a chance to show people a bit of Rome that they hadn’t seen before. And I love meeting the people on my tours, because they are from all over the world.
Also, I was asked to do my first app four years ago, and now I have several.
Q. You blog three times a week, for the past five years?
A. Yup. I don’t do things halfway. But it can start to feel repetitive, so that’s why I change things around. Lately I’ve had fun doing videos. I like learning to do something – take better pictures, edit videos – new ways to tell stories. That what keeps it interesting for me.
Q. Your book, Eating Rome, is part food guide, part memoir, part cookbook. Was it a hard sell in the US because of that mix?
No, not at all. I was approached by St. Martin’s to do the book. It was their idea to frame it that way. Publishing is changing, categories are changing, and ways of selling things are changing,
Q. You say branding is important in everything you do. What does that mean?
A. You have to be very focused. It all has to be cohesive. I don’t think you can write a book and have it not tie into your blog and your life. I was a journalist for 20 years and my job was hiding myself. When I started looking at blogs, the most interesting ones were personal and had a take-away. They let me see another way of living.
Branding is inspired by my day-to-day life, but then I can condense it into something. It’s not just my experience, but how I apply it to my own life. There’s a consistency. I’m very consistent on social media as well.
Q. Your photography on Instagram is gorgeous. You always seem to be somewhere beautiful. How does that work?
A. Am I really in beautiful places or am I using a lot of PhotoShop [giggles]? Instagram helps me improve my photography and my eye. It helped me see a lot of things I took for granted in different ways. Italy is gorgeous and I travel to really beautiful places.
I might post four to five times a day on Instagram but I’m taking 50 photos. I’m only posting a fraction. I wouldn’t post a photo on Instagram unless I thought was perfect.
Q. What have you learned about being an American in Italy, when it comes to food?
A. I’ve been here since I was 12 years old. So when it comes to food, I think I’m more Italian than American.
Q. Americans are obsessed with Tuscany and Venice. What can you say to get them to Rome?
A. Well, they’re pretty obsessed with Rome. My Rome app outsells my other apps by far. Literally, all roads lead to Rome and there’s way more tourism in Rome than in Florence and Venice. Cinema and literature has a lot to do with people’s fascination in Tuscany and Florence, but Rome is really the big draw.
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So if you’d love to visit Rome, or you’d like a vicarious thrill reading about a writer who’s living the culinary life there, please leave a comment below. I’ll pick a winner at random (US and Canada only, sorry!) Update: The winner of the book is Shayne Raze. Congrats!
April @ Girl Gone Gourmet says
Rome is next on my list for Italy – would love a copy of her book!
the book sounds wonderful! i would love to head back to rome with a copy!
Kim Carlson says
Thanks for featuring Elizabeth on your blog, Dianne. Fun reading!
Estella Sermeno says
I’ve followed Elizabeth for almost 2 years now and thankfully I discovered her blog before my husband and I went to Italy last year and she was right on with her suggestions. I follow her- here/there/every where because I can only daydream about Rome (Italy) and I satisfy myself with viewing her Instagram and trying her recipes. I would LOVE a copy of her book. OH, but to go back to Rome and take a food tour with this master…now that’s the stuff dreams are made of!!!
Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk) says
Italy is on my list of honeymoon ideas! The book sounds wonderful.
Linda Terrill says
Your posts are the highlight of my morning Coffee-and-Facebook time. Thanks for all the great ideas and photos #eminchilli
I loved my trip to Rome and I love food and travel memoirs. 🙂 A win-win! Thanks for the opportunity!
Arriving October 3rd. Mangiamo!
Phyllis Hunter says
A friend recommended Elizabeth’s writing to me. I’ve so enjoyed all of the beautiful images especially. My husband has not been to Rome yet, so I would like to be his guide through Eating Rome. We plan a trip very soon.
We loved Rome when we were there a few years ago, and I would love to return soon using this book as a guide!
Loved her response to your first question, “I don’t think of it as glamour and style but delicious and fun.” I look forward to reading, what I’m guessing, is her delicious and fun book. Thanks, Diane, for another inspiring and informative interview.
Sharon luciano says
big fan of all your media. Will be using your apps in October.
Rebecca Penivich says
Rome is on our travel bucket list! Would love to book a tour with her. For now would live to read her book!
Carol Lander says
I’ve been to Rome twice, but both times up it was for one day. It’s like tipping your toe in the water and not being able to dive in. Had four gelatos the first time, not knowing when I’d be back. Would love to explore more, if only through your book.
Greg Patent says
My wife, Dorothy, and I, stayed in Elizabeth’s apartment for a week one Christmas and took care of her feisty terrier. For the big dinner, Elizabeth had the local butcher reserve a capon for us to roast, and we bought real scampi at the fish market. Heaven! Thank you, again, Elizabeth, for that great week!
Carol Ungar says
Very cool Maybe I could do the same for Jerusalem. BTW, Dianne, I’d love to win a free book–I’ll even send her a free copy of my book Jewish Soul Food–Traditional Fare and What it Means.
Monica Lalanne says
We are spending two weeks in Rome in mid October. First trip as empty- nesters. Staying in the Monti at an Italy Perfect apartment. Maybe shopping at the market and cooking will be good for the soul. The book would help! This trip we are opting out of the family in Genova and Florence and getting to know Rome. Can’t wait! It’s because of Elizabeth’s Face Book page that I thought of this great trip. Thank you!
I’ve never been able to go to Italy, but when I do (even if it’s 20 years from now), Rome is first on my list! I studied Latin for years and absolutely love Italian cooking. This title looks fantastic!
Oh la la. Maybe I should recommend this book to my godmother, she’s a travel agent that specializes in Italy, getting people tours, flights, hotels, all that good stuff.
Denise @ welike2cook.com says
Love Italy! Can’t wait to go back and your Guidebook would be very helpful! 🙂
I’d love a copy for our trip in the spring!
Daniela Krause says
I’ve been to Rome twice and loved it. Both times I dropped a penny in the Trevi so I know I’ll be back…. Hopefully with Elizabeth’s book this time!! I hope I win! Gracie.
Thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth Minchilli. Her book sounds fantastic and her photos on Instagram are wonderful!
Nicola Miller- editor of the Millers Tale and Bury Spy says
Whenever I hear Rome being referred to as glamorous, I remember the tripe sandwiches sold from a street cart below my window.
How on gods earth can anything smell so * interesting * and be so coveted by the thousands of people who queued to eat it?
It resembled torn up sheets of creamy, unbleached kitchen roll as it hung, unceremoniously from each end of a long thickly holed Italian sub.
Unedifying to me but not to the Romans, clearly!
Amy White says
As a Latin teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to study in Rome and lead student tours there several times. The Latin is what gets me there, but my secret love is the food. I’d love to relive my meals there with this book!
Che Bella! Having written a modest family cookbook/memoirette about my Italian/American upbringing (with Dianne’s expert help!), I would so enjoy reading this book. Grazie.
Looking forward to booking a flight and taking her culinary tours. Thank you for sharing interview.
cindy winetroub rogers says
What wonderful questions and answers. So much to be inspired by. I’ve been to Rome twice. Once with my daughter when she was 10, and then again four years ago when I was lucky enough to shoot a cheese commercial in the Campo de’ Fiori market, and dine in tiny restaurants that few tourists could find on their own. I would likely devour Eating Rome in one sitting.
I’m a southern girl who married an Italian and never really thought much about Italian food until then. Now I can’t get enough of it and we hope to visit Italy soon and just eat our way through it! 😀 The book sounds like a great way to “visit” Italy before we actually get to go!
My fiancee and I got engaged during our trip to Rome last summer. Your app led us to our favorite restaurants and neighborhoods we visited! Thanks for making our trip extra special! Would love a copy of your book for the next time we visit and to try out the recipes at home until then!
Susan Huston says
I am a big fan of Italy and Rome is a favorite. My husband and I travel there every two years. I love reading about Elizabeth’s Italian adventures. She captures the true beauty of the food, places and people of Italy. If I can’t be there all the time–as I would love–I can see the beauty through Elizabeth’s eyes and great postings with her wonderful writing, rescipes and videos!
I would love to receive her new book and enjoy Italian even more! Ciao!
Randy DeFrancesco says
I’ve been to Roma three times …There is no place like Roma!
Yet, if I had 3 wishes they would be:
1.) Would be to live in Rome for a time long enough to know it like home.
2.) To be in the world’s most magnificent city with those that I really love.
3.) To know “The Best Places to Eat in Roma”…. I wonder if my wishes will every come true?
Linda DelCastilho says
Unfortunately, I won’t be going to Italy anytime soon, but I have always dreamed of going there. I even researched villas to rent. Anyway, I would love to win your book. Thank you for the offer.
Stacey@10 Legs in the Kitchen says
What an amazing way to make a living. How do we find out about the apartment she rents? Italy is next on my list after Spain.
Maureen C. Berry says
Italia , sì per favore!
Lili Rollins says
I am going to Rome in October and would love to read this book on the way over then visit the places you describe. Would be like icing on the cake for this trip!
Marge Burkell says
OMG my husband and I love Italy! One of our trips to our favorite villa found me IN their kitchen (can you believe that 350+ year old villa has a 10′ x 20′ marble island?!) learning how the local women cooked for the guests! I would absolutely LOVE the book and will definitely be checking out Elizabeth Minchilli’s blog! How the heck has it eluded me so far???
Ciao for now!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
I was born in Italy and after 61 years I was able to return. My heart and spirit is begging me to return one more time. When I landed in Venice after being gone for so long I had such an intense feeling of finally being home. We departed from Rome and I swore that one day I’d return. That was four years ago — the years seem to be passing too quickly. I pray that my return will be soon. I started my blog to keep in touch with my heritage. I’m looking forward to reading your adventures in Rome.
Betty Ann Quirino @Mango_Queen says
I love Rome and I love Italy. Will go back soon. Very helpful info for our next trip to Italy. Thanks for the info on this book and this post, Dianne! I followed Elizabeth on Instagram, too.
Love Italy and always looking for an excuse to go back!
Maria Stuart says
Longing to explore Rome, if even vicariously! Thank you for the insightful interview as well.
dotti cahill says
sounds like a fun trip(ROME)
Anne Ritchings says
Sounds like a wonderful book. Would love to have a copy
What a great interview, Branding for journalists (normally) is not an easy job, and she does it gracefully! Love to have that book
Susan McCreight says
Can’t wait to get a copy! I love the apps!
We have very fond food memories of Rome. Would love to go back and use one of Elizabeth’s books or apps to find some new spots.
Great interview. Would love to visit Rome and stay in this glorious city learning how to live and eat likjhe the Romans, this book would be a dream to read and lead me on this bucket list wish.
Mick Diede says
We are headed to Italy in October, starting in Rome. We could make good use of the book. Fingers crossed
I’ve visited many places in Italy but never Rome. It’s next on my bucket list. I look forward to reading more of Elizabeth’s work.
Annabel Hughes (SavannaBel) says
What an inspiring post! I’ve only been blogging for a year, and am in the process of building my brand, SavannaBel, here in Livingstone, Zambia … home to the resplendent Victoria Falls. I have recently been asked by tour operators and lodges to offer food tours, although in my case, the main focus is on the use of wild edibles and what we produce in our garden. Like Elizabeth, I’m a former journalist transitioning from the ‘back-of-house’ to the front, and I find it heartening to read just how successful she has been at doing this in Rome. Thank you for sharing this interview. All the best, Annabel
Sasha Kaplan says
Elizabeth is leading a life most of us have dreamed of experiencing. I too have.wanted to give food tours of Italy even though my Italian is very rusty.I do think her book would be inspirational and motivating.
Thanks Diane, for doing the writing that you do and keeping so many of us pumped about writing about food.
I’m paddling next May in Venice with my dragon boat team. I could easily add on a visit to Rome. While I have only been there twice, and both for a day, I yearn to go back and eat my way through the city. Rome had the best pistachio gelato I have ever licked.
Love all of Italy and I envy Elizabeth. The beauty, food and wine if Rome.
I would go any time the opportunity presented itself. The book would be a wonderful asset for anyone to have.
Marie Giannoni says
I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth’s for years, and have used her apps when in Italy–they are terrific. I had lived in Rome but her Eat Rome app had me eating in places I’d never known existed. I would love a copy of her book!
Susan Beninato says
I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth’s for about 5 years now and always enjoy the stories, recipes and now the videos. I’ve been trying to convince my husband that he needs to visit Italy at least once, so we hope to visit in May. I would love to win Elizabeth’s book – thank you!
I can’t remember how I came to know about Elizabeth’s blog, but it gives me profound pleasure to read it. Her new videos are really good, too. I would treasure the book! Thanks for the opportunity.
Lisa Keys says
Going to Rome for the first time this November for a wedding which is so very exciting and lovely. Being Italian it has been a dream come true thanks to the Food Network naming me CHOPPPED Champion! Can’t wait to get there.
polly mccall says
Love Elizabeth’s blog. Know her a bit. Rent (not this year) in Umbria and love Rome. Please put my name in the hat for her free book.
Shayne Raze says
Would love to be a winner!!
Boy, I would love to go on one of Elizabeth’s tours around Rome! Until I can I look forward to her every blog post.
Michael Young says
I’ve not yet visited Italy so am torn between hoarding the book to fuel my fantasies or presenting it to a frie n d to commemorate his time as an American expat there.
Barbara Adly says
Like Elizabeth, I spend some time in Umbria every year. My husband was born there in a charming lakeside town called Piediluco. We feel at home there and are fortunate that our two boys can spend time with their nonni and live a la Italiana for a few months each year. Like Elizabeth, I am also a foodie, which is why I enjoy everything she posts. Looking forward to reading Eating Rome! And if you’re reading this Elizabeth, ti aspettiamo sulla terrazza più bella di Piediluco (a casa nostra!) per un bel piatto di ciriole!
I would LOVE my own copy of the book and highly recommend Elizabeth’s blog – the writing and photos are memorable, delightful, vivid and express not only a love of food, but a deep appreciation for the culture, places, and people who produce the food she loves. Her recipes are very do-able for home cooks – cherry tomatoes are now roasting for tonight’s pasta. Brava, Elizabeth! Looking forward to our November trip to Italy….
Jacqueline Zambrano says
Will be in Rome in October and want to bond with my college student, just beginning American University of Rome. Hoping we can have a mother-daughter culinary exploration with Elizabeth’s book as our guide!
Rosemary Wolbert | Sprigs of Rosemary says
Visiting ANY part of Italy has been on my wish list forever. Would love the book!
Alegria Arce Hibbetts says
We will be 71 this year, and because of health reasons, we haven’t travelled in fifteen years. You inspire me with your life, food, and energy. Magnificent Italia beckons me with its language, art, food, music, and people. Next April, God willing, we will go to Rome, Florence and Venice.
Shannan Tuthill says
I’ve always wanted to go to Rome! A food tour of Italy is definitely in store for me!
Wow, just what l am looking for! Thank you for introducing me to Elizabeth. I’m from Canada and will be visiting Rome next summer!
I’m very intrigued by the concept of Minchilli’s book and how it defies/blends genre. I’d love to read it!
Dana E. says
I’m a longtime follower of Elizabeth. I appreciate her consistent approach to posting across social media. I love that she goes a little crazy each year when the Roman artichoke season is at its peak. That may be what originally endeared her to me!
Jenn Mitchell says
The books looks wonderful. I’d also love to hear more about creating apps as a possible revenue stream.
vanessa netto says
Excellent article. I from Paraguay but live at Treviso, near Venice. I’ve been several times in Rome but I never been the chances to know good places where to eat. I’ll love to have a very good guide for my next time in Rome!
Ilana Sharlin Stone says
I loved reading this interview, and especially liked what Elizabeth said about branding. As someone who is new to blogging — writing about the food experience in Cape Town — I am realizing how much I still have to learn in this particular department. I’d love to win the book, but mostly, I’d just like to say thank you for the insight!