Gwen Romagnoli was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., and received her B.A. at Syracuse University.
After graduation, she worked at station WNBC-TV in New York City. Then, because of an earlier trip to Europe during which she fell in love with Paris and Rome, she left the U.S. in 1957 to live in Paris. With her first husband, she subsequently moved to Bari in the region of Puglia in southern Italy where she taught English for several years at the U.S.I.S. sponsored American Studies Center.
After becoming a single parent in 1970, she went to live in Rome where she worked as assistant to the correspondent of the NBC News bureau. During her six-year stay she also wrote a monthly fashion bulletin for the Rome High Fashion Institute as well as articles about the Rome show business scene for the American daily, Variety.
In 1976, she moved back to the U.S. with her young son and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Spurred on by the advent of the women's movement and a desire for a fulfilling career, Gwen went to law school, graduating with a J.D. degree. She was a clerk for the judges of the Massachusetts Superior Court for one year, then worked at a personal injury law firm before going to the state Attorney General's office as an Assistant Attorney General, and finally Deputy General Counsel with the state Department of Public Health from which she retired in 1998. Her article on lawyer-retirees was published in the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly; she has also written articles on women and the law.
In 1998 she married Franco Romagnoli. They lived in Rome in 2000 while he was writing his book, A Thousand Bells at Noon, about daily life in that city. During that time, Gwen began to write travel articles that have been published in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and Expressions, the American Express magazine. They include, among others, pieces on trattorie in the Trastevere section of Rome, the Italian regions of Le Marche and Emilia-Romagna, the Boston restaurant scene and Buenos Aires.
Franco’s book, The Bicycle Runner: A Memoir of Love, Loyalty and the Italian Resistance (St. Martin’s Press), about his life growing up during Fascism and the Second World War, was published in 2009. Gwen and Franco wrote a book together: Italy, The Romagnoli Way: A Culinary Journey (Lyons Press, April 2008) about lesser-known places in Italy with a focus on the food in those regions.
Sadly, Franco died in 2008. Since then Gwen has been writing essays about widowhood, some of which have been published in The Boston Globe, all now collected in her new book, Learning to be a Widow: Stories of Love, Loss, and Lessons Learned Along the Way.