In this episode of The Italian American Podcast, we speak with Carole “DiFalco” Radziwill, an Emmy Award winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author, as well as a cast member of the hit Bravo-TV series “The Real Housewives of New York City.” Her first book,What Remains, is a memoir that traces her life from a child growing up in a boisterous working class family in upstate New York to her start in journalism, through her marriage to fellow ABC News producer Anthony Radziwill, the son of socialite/actress Caroline Lee Bouvier (younger sister of First Lady Jacqueline Lee Bouvier) and Polish Prince Stanisław Albrecht Radziwiłł, and the young couple’s heartbreaking battle with cancer. Her second book, a novel, The Widows Guide to Sex & Dating, was released in 2012.
Carole started her career as a journalist at ABC News working for Peter Jennings’ documentary unit, where she reported on stories in Cambodia, Haiti, India, and Israel. She traveled extensively on the Thai-Cambodian border reporting and filming in refugee camps and with Khmer Rouge soldiers for the award-winning documentary titled From the Killing Fields. For her journalism, she received three Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award, among other accolades.
During the 2001 Afghan War Carole spent four weeks filming with the 101st Airborne Division, stationed with an infantry unit at the U.S. military base in Khandahar. She produced segments for an ABC-TV series called Profiles From the Frontline.
In the Italian American Story Segment, we feature an interview with Beth Rubin, a travel expert from Select Italy with some pointers on how to start your initial planning for your next trip to Italy. She covers three very specific points to consider.
Carole Radziwill, our guest for this show, grew up in Suffern, New York, the same town where Italian American Podcast hosts Dolores and Anthony grew up, which is why we chose this quote for this episode.
“When I think of Suffern, I think of longing for something else. I think of Chris Nucci sitting on the hurdy-gurdy in Kingston, after I have just started an internship at ABC, asking, “Who do you think you are, Barbara Walters?” The question was rhetorical and wrapped in a sneer that suggested a girl from Suffern had no business being there. I was embarrassed, but I thought he was probably right. Who do you think you are?” – from Radziwill’s memoir, What Remains.
- “All the Italians were moving there.” – Carole Radziwill on her mother telling her why they were moving to Suffern
- “I thought all families were big and loud and boisterous and ate pasta every day…I didn’t realize it was unique to Italians.” – Carole Radziwill
- “I still self-identify as a journalist. That was my true passion.” – Carole Radziwill
- “Italians are very welcoming.” – Carole Radziwill
- “No one thinks of me as Italian, which really pisses me off.” – Carole Radziwill on the cast of The Real Housewives
- “The Italian truffle is like a mushroom, but way better.” – Beth Rubin on travel to Italy
Here are some key points from the episode segments:
Interview with Carole Radziwill
- Carole talked about her transition from working as an Emmy Award winning journalist to becoming a star on a reality television show.
- The memoir that Carole wrote gave here a chance to really reflect on her relationship with her husband after he passed away.
- Carole discussed that she tends to be very introspective, but she decided to take on the reality TV show role to challenge herself.
- Carole talked about her childhood during which he spent her summers with her Italian grandparents in upstate New York.
- Regarding Italian-American stereotypes in “The Real Housewives” series, Carole said that these shows really work when everyone on set has a deep love and understanding for each other underneath all of the screen acting.
- Carole gave her thoughts on why she didn’t change her name back to DiFalco after her husband passed way.
- Carole talked about her upcoming book that includes a series of essays on different aspects and experiences in her life.
- Relentlessness has played a huge role in Carole’s success.
Interview with Beth Rubin of Select Italy
- There are three items you should focus on when doing your initial planning for a trip to Italy: dates, budget, and location.
- Regarding dates, June, July, and August will be the most crowded, but all of the coastline treasures will be open and available. However, if you can travel in the offseason, there are some great things to see and do in the interior of Italy, and your hotel rates will likely be much lower than the summer months.
- Regarding location, the big three of Rome, Venice, and Florence are great and everyone should see them, but there are other amazing spots beyond these larger cities, like Sicily, Calabria, Campania, and Puglia.
- Regarding budget, your dates will really affect your budget. Airfares can be very inexpensive, maybe even half the price, in the off season.
Anthony Fasano and Dolores Alfieri
Co-Hosts, The Italian American Podcast