Italy’s Carnival: A Venetian Tradition

Carnival starts today, which is a big celebration in our little town, with its historic tradition of a parade and a masked public street party. But no Italian carnival celebration more is famous than the one in Venice.

The word carnival literally means either farewell to meat or farewell to the flesh. The concept is, that mask firmly in place, a person is free to do whatever they want. And putting on the carnival mask, really is like leaving your own flesh behind, to take up another identity.  Continue reading Italy’s Carnival: A Venetian Tradition

Tradition, Tradition

Folks in our town often have an interesting mentality. Hint: sometimes antiquated, backward, impractical, and unrealistic. Which often comes as a surprise to us.

Because they are in many ways a practical and down-to-earth people. Which probably stems from Italy’s odd mix of old and new. An ancient land of timeless monuments, producing the Ferrari, the Lamborghini, and the world’s latest fashions. And while proud of these achievements, Italians love and tenaciously cling to their traditions.  Continue reading Tradition, Tradition

Groundhog Day in Italy

Many people on Groundhog Day (February 2) wait for groundhogs to emerge from their holes. For according to Anglo-Saxon folklore, if the groundhog sees its shadow, we’re sure to have six more weeks of winter. And of course, he can only see his shadow on sunny days, so a bright, sunny day foretells more winter. A cloudy day and no shadow supposedly means spring is on the way.  Continue reading Groundhog Day in Italy

Chestnuts Bursting on an Open Fire

The fire didn’t heat better out of the fireplace. Though no one would ever convince the dear, stubborn, old man of that! Yet we fondly remember those simple evenings of reading by the fire as some of the most cozy and delightful evenings of our lives, even with the choking smoke and watery eyes!

They were simple days in a rural village. Mostly untouched by time, with little entertainment: no cinema or shopping mall, no bowling alley or spa. Papà didn’t even have a phone or TV, and it was before PCs and mobile phones were common.  Continue reading Chestnuts Bursting on an Open Fire

Italy is for Nature Lovers

It’s a known fact that although Italy occupies only 0.05% of the earth and has only 0.83% of the world’s population, it has 70% of humanity’s artistic and cultural heritage sites. With its 50 sites, in fact, it tops the UNESCO World Heritage list. Followed by China with 47 sites and Spain with 44.

But Italy’s natural beauty, other than its beaches, often gets overlooked. Even though Italy’s unique biological and climatic conditions make our peninsula one the richest European nations for biodiversity. Italy, in fact, has:  Continue reading Italy is for Nature Lovers

It’s Summertime in Italy!

Roman Summer, that is! Otherwise known as Saint Martin’s Summer. According to legend, one cold and windy November 11th the saint, warmly wrapped in his mantle, met a ragged beggar freezing in the rain. Moved by compassion he divided his ample wrap, and giving half to the poor man, continued on his way.

Wind and rain soon subsided, until it became so warm that he removed the cape altogether. Folklore adds that God sent the unseasonable warm spell, which continues to this day, to reward Martin for his kindness.  Continue reading It’s Summertime in Italy!

Ready for Autunno?

Crackly leaves underfoot. Whiffs of wood smoke wafting on the air. Pumpkins and apples. Chestnuts roasting. There’s a cozy feeling to Autumn, isn’t there? And these are just a few of the things you can expect to find in an Italian autumn. And maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to catch some grape harvesting or olive picking. Two special events of an Italian autumn! Learn more about olive harvest with my post Autumn in ItalyContinue reading Ready for Autunno?