How It All Began

In a sense, Insider’s Italy began in 1919 when my 35 year old grandfather sailed to Italy from New York, together with my 34 year old grandmother, excited to take up the post of Commercial Attache at the American Embassy in Rome.

Three children were soon born, one of whom, my mother Isabel, would be married on Rome’s Campidoglio. Her husband, my father, was Howard Shaw, a Rome-based novelist whose The Crime of Giovanni Venturi got us all excited about Etruscan archaeology. The novel takes place in and around the Trastevere (Rome) trattoria of a sweet restaurateur, a setting which comes as no surprise to those who knew my father; for good food was as exciting to him as good story telling.

I was born in Rome, and grew up here. I loved having an Italian childhood : surely the world stops for children in Italy in a way it does not anywhere else. After Bryn Mawr College, I returned to Rome, founded Insider’s Italy here, then grew the company in New York and in London. Robert Stark, an American living in Amsterdam when we met, is my beloved husband. Our children were born in Amsterdam (13 year old Nathan Louis) and in Rome (11 year old Isabel, the third generation in our family of Rome born females).

It was always my hope to have children in Italy. To have them with us as we make our discoveries is an experience beyond any I had hoped. And then to share those experiences with other children and their parents is for me one of the great joys of Insider’s Italy.

We live in Rome’s Monteverdevecchio, above Trastevere, though we maintain our office in New York.

(Click photographs to enlarge)