Luciano is an avid runner and this is his website: a compilation of stories, observations, information and inspiration…along with his own creative take on the world. This site is in Italian.

il paletto: The Veneto, our region in the north-east of Italy, is famous for the cities: Venice, Verona, Vicenza, and Padua. But the hills surrounding the towns are riddled with beautiful trails and this site, created and maintained by our intrepid leader Davide, reports on the recent and past excursions of our hiking club, Il Paletto, into those hills. You can find suggestions on dozens of different hikes in the Venento and beyond. This site is in Italian.

Christopher Hall is a writer from San Francisco who is a good friend and one of my biggest writing cheerleaders. He is an observer of the world and his stories have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic and Architectural Digest.

Constance Hale , also an erudite writer, serves a mean cup of tea, a sublime spaghetti con vongole and has a wicked grip on the intricacies of the English language. She is also a kind and supportive soul who knows how to kick a new writer’s butt.

Dianne Jacob is a successful author and a tough teacher who hails from Berkeley, but has projects going on seemingly everywhere. Her standards are high and criticisms tough to take, but it makes her praise really mean something.

Years ago, my friend Fred Speiser, a Berkeley photographer, attempted to teach me a thing or two about photography. I was trying to take a few shots of a small stuffed rabbit ( of all things) in various poses in San Francisco. He was saying something about "depth of field", some kind of photographer mumbo-jumbo I am sure, and I just couldn't get it. Luckily, Fred gets it as he chronicles life from a quirky, thoughtful and personal angle...using proper "depth of field"---whatever that is.

California Writers Club is a collection of experienced novelists, literary newbies, published author and educated wannabies. Put them all together and you have a club of supportive, knowledgeable, insightful writers who are actually good listeners.

Velvet Da Vinci: a part of my past, this eclectic San Francisco gallery contains probably the best collection of hand crafted contemporary art jewelry and metalwork in the world.

Mark Frost: need to get away from the world and get into Tuscany? You need to head for the hills, the craggy, remote and soothing hills of Vicchio and Mark Frost’s farm, an hour east of Florence. Bring a used book for the house library and sharp wits for Mark’s rapid-fire banter while sipping Chianti before the fire.

Epicurious: before I had my cookbooks, this site was my lifeline. Type in any kind of comfort food and “poof” you are set. Ok, then you have to find the ingredients, correct measuring device and calculate the temperatures, but for an American cook afloat in Italy without a recipe for, say, cornbread, it was a salvation.

My most recent, and already my most beat up cookbook, The Cheeseboard Collective Works, was instrumental to my finally harnessing the capricious power of Italian yeast. With clear, practical instruction and a very patient tone, this book was well worth carrying back from California. I can now say I can make sourdough bread, something I could never say in all my years in the San Francisco fog.

Thesaurus: an emergency hatch to an intellectual vocabulary, this is a magic button tool for any writer.