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Il panettone, traditional Christmas cake


December 27th, 2015

Historic notes on the panettone: Il panettone, traditional Christmas cake, is doubtlessly one of the most famous Italian sweet for celebrating the Christmas holidays. Tradition says to present it to friends and family and eat it all together during those long festivity meals. The panettone was born in Lombardia, in Milan, and its basic ingredients... View Article

Italian Christmas Carols


December 25th, 2015

My favorite lyrics, Italian Christmas carols, memory of many Christmas days spent with the family in the coziness of a decorated room singing along with the crackling of the fire while the snow gently lays onto the outside world… Tu scendi dalle stelle Tu scendi dalle stelle, o Re del cielo, You come down from the... View Article

Italian Christmas folklore


December 18th, 2015

Christmas Markets: the tradition of Christmas markets is very strong throughout Italy. On market days artisans showcase their crafts: wooden statues, characters from the nativity scene, glass or ceramic objects, candles, toys, fabric dolls, etc. You can also find home decorations like Christmas lights or ribbons. There are also the characteristic stalls that sell typical... View Article

Christmas in Padua


December 11th, 2015

Friday 26th of November 2015: the opening ceremony of Christmas in Padua. In the program this year: Christmas lights all around the city, a tall solidarity tree, Santa Claus in Prato della Valle, bows on the monuments, choirs, traditional songs, children’s games and shows, theatre in piazzas, presepe, Christams markets, exhibitions, and many many more…... View Article

Christmas legends


December 8th, 2015

Christmas legends: the legend of the decorated baubles After the birth of Jesus a poor artist was in Bethlehem and wanted to pay a visit to the new born child but he had no gifts to bring him. So he had an idea: he went to the grotto and did what we was best at... View Article

Abruzzo, a train from a fairy tale


December 4th, 2015

Abruzzo, a train from a fairy tale. Are you looking for a fascinating itinerary that will immerse you into the Christmas atmosphere? This year on the 5th of December the historic abruzzese train will leave the station of Sulmona and will follow the tracks of the Italian trans-Siberian stopping at Roccaraso and then Campo di... View Article

Traditional Abruzzese costume


November 13th, 2015

Traditional Abruzzese costume: wide and colorful Handkierchief in silk, cotton or wool with fringes. Handmade white long shirt in linen. Wide neckline decorated with crochet or with tombolo. Long and wide sleeves. Typical garment of the traditional abruzzese costume is a red-purple colored, rectangular rag that used to be winded up tightly to the body,... View Article

Musical instruments from Abruzzo


October 30th, 2015

“ddu ‘bbotte” from Teramo Among the musical instruments from Abruzzo I would like to mention the organetto (squeeze box) called “ddu ‘bbotte” in the local dialect. It is an instrument that goes with chants and dances during local festivals in the pretty abruzzese villages. The fun comes from the dialect term DDU BBOTTE incessant movement that the player makes opening and closing the bellows. In Abruzzo and Molise, especially in hilly... View Article

The straw hats of Signa


August 7th, 2015

The straw hats of Signa, history: In signa in 1714 Domenica Michelacci known as Bolognino, began to cultivate “grano marzuolo” a variety of wheat with small ears and tiny grains in order to have straw for weaving. He sowed it densily so that it would grow longer by seeking out the light in shallow furrows... View Article

Ascoli Piceno lace


July 24th, 2015

Ascoli Piceno lace, history: Textile weaving with vegetable fibres and wool has been an important activity for the Ascoli Piceno area for centuries. Almost all rural homes had at least one loom around which women would engage in spinning, warping, weaving, tailoring and embroidery. Complete bridal trousseaux were made at home as well as dresses,... View Article

Coral from Trapani


July 16th, 2015

Coral from Trapani, a brief history: In ancient times coral finds its popularity as an amulet, as evidenced especially by the classic “cornetto”, Italian for “little horn”, an amulet worn to protect against the evil eye. It was believed also to have beneficial effects on female fertility and to protect children from harm. But it is as prestigious ornament that coral finds its affirmation. The processing... View Article

Bread stamps


July 2nd, 2015

The bread stamps are one of the historical expressions of pastoral art in the Southern Italy, in particular in the area of Matera where until the first half of the twentieth century people marked the bread before baking it in the communal ovens, so they could be recognised by the owner. Made in hand carved... View Article

Ceramics of Grottaglie, Puglia


June 18th, 2015

Ceramics of Grottaglie, Puglia. A brief history: Grottaglie is in the south of Puglia, just in the middle of the Salento area, one of the most beautiful Italian regions: a landscape of red soiled farmland, ancient white houses, huge olive trees and, everywhere, the blue, clear water of the Mediterranean sea. The abundance of red... View Article

Fabriano: the excellence in paper


May 22nd, 2015

Looking at these Fabriano drawing books immediately puts a smile on my face. These are the days of my secondary school. It is late in the evening and the last thing I do before going to the bed is “preparare la cartella” (prepare the schoolbag). I notice that I have graphic arts the following day... View Article

The ritual of snakes in Cocullo


May 15th, 2015

One of the most popular traditional feasts of Abruzzo, well-known also abroad, is undoubtedly the Feast of San Domenico in Cocullo, a small mountain village in the province of L’Aquila. The peculiar part of this feast is that the statue of San Domenico is covered with real snakes caught by locals called “serpari” (snake charmers).... View Article

My darling Abruzzo


March 26th, 2015

Traditions in Abruzzo and how the passing of time has affected them. My mum’s love affair with Abruzzo. “Traditional festivals haven’t changed much with the passing of the years, with the exception of the simplest carousels and the children happy with just one balloon in their hands. I remember a traditional mask (la pupa) that... View Article

Master tailors


March 25th, 2015

Master tailors: nonno and nonna “I grew up with a needle in my hands, I could do needlepoint and jackets since a very young age. I remember when I was ten I would come to Pescara to take some fabrics with me, I would then go home and embroider them. With the money from the... View Article

History of a Sicilian icon: the carretto


March 19th, 2015

History of a Sicilian icon: the carretto The Sicilian cart (or carretto siciliano in Italian and carrettu sicilianu in Sicilian) is an ornate, colorful style of horse or donkey-drawn cart native to the island of Sicily, in Italy. The cart has always been the symbol of Sicily and its traditions. The Sicilian cart, just like... View Article

Padua: traditions from the past and present


March 18th, 2015

My beloved mother in law Anna writes down some memories of her childhood in Padua, Veneto region. “My husband and I were both born in the 1950s in Padua, Veneto region, when the cultural and social transformation was very strong but we distinctly remember some old professions: • The knife grinder (el moleta in the... View Article

Memories of a lifetime


March 6th, 2015

My nonna remembers her childhood in the country village of Nocciano, Abruzzo. “Of my primary school years I remember going down in an underground room in the countryside, there was a torch to light up the room and keep us warm, my teacher was constantly drunk. I studied until I was 8 years old. I... View Article

Pasta made with love


March 4th, 2015

8th of March: International Women’s Day. I am going to make this one the month dedicated to the women in my life publishing posts about them and their lives. I love you all. In my life I have been lucky enough to meet and love my great grandmother; her name was Amalia. She lived till... View Article

Venice Carnival: the most gluttonous festival


February 20th, 2015

“La festa più golosa del mondo!” I have always celebrated Carnival, I have pictures dated 1989 with a little me dressed as a Spanish lady. As a little girl my mum used to dress me up and take me to the main piazza in town to watch the confetti carpet covering the entire surface of... View Article

Handmade traditional jewel: la Presentosa


February 4th, 2015

In 1894 Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio writes a brief description of the handmade traditional jewel: la Presentosa in his book “Il trionfo della morte” (The triumph of the death): “Portava agli orecchi due grevi cerchi d’oro e sul petto la presentosa: una grande stella di filigrana con in mezzo due cuori.” (“She was wearing two... View Article

Christmas markets: vacanza italiana part six


January 26th, 2015

The stops: Merano, Innsbruck, Bressanone, Ortisei, Bolzano From the 4th to the 6th of this month we were excited to go and explore the Christmas markets. Matteo and Roberta (my brother-in-law and his girlfriend) unexpectedly booked a place near Ortisei for 2 nights as their gift wedding for us, so sweet! And very much appreciated... View Article

New Year’s resolutions: vacanza italiana part four


January 19th, 2015

After a Christmas spent in my region we traveled to Padua to enjoy the other half of the holiday in the even colder north-eastern lands of Italy. For the last day of 2014 my husband and I stayed at home with his parents. New Year’s eve went by very quickly, a relaxed chatting morning and... View Article

Christmas games: vacanza italiana part three


January 16th, 2015

A white Christmas in Italy deserves some traditional Christmas games, and this year we couldn’t be the exception. A few days before New Year’s Eve we organized a game night with friends to get together around a table and laugh all night. We started with an unavoidable tombola (similar to Bingo), ours was the Neapolitan... View Article

Christmas luncheon with my Italian families


December 22nd, 2014

Christmas luncheon with my Italian families. In every dish there is the memory of nonne (grandmothers), mums or aunties that create little masterpieces and that at least once in a lifetime made us (as young Italian children) taste a dish with that homemade, special, authentic power. Every small village in Abruzzo has its own secret recipes... View Article

Typical Neapolitan Presepe


December 19th, 2014

The typical Neapolitan Presepe, along with the pipers, the tombolata and the typical dinner menu of Christmas’ Eve, is one of the most intense symbols of the Christmas tradition in Naples. The word “Presepe” comes from the latin praesepe that means what stands before the hedge, that is the “manger”. At the beginning, just like... View Article

Traditional Christmas dishes from North to South Italy


December 15th, 2014

Traditional Christmas dishes from North to South Italy, they vary from region to region, sometimes even from town to town. In some regions (especially in South Italy) it is common to celebrate Christmas’ Eve with an abundant dinner based on fish, in some other regions the celebration takes place on Christmas day and families get... View Article

How Italians get ready for Christmas


December 8th, 2014

How Italians get ready for Christmas: a trip down to memory lane I remember being a child growing up in a small town in Abruzzo, every year on the 8th of December (Immaculate Conception day) my mum would go up to the attic where we used to keep our special decorations and come down with... View Article

Trento and the commemoration of Saint Vigilio


November 28th, 2014

Every year the town of Trento (Trentino region, close to the National border with Austria) celebrates its patron Saint Vigilio on the 26th of June. At this time of the year the town gets transformed and it seems like it takes you back in time to the mediaeval era. Strolling in the streets of the... View Article

Autumn in Trentino


November 22nd, 2014

Autumn in Trentino: a weekend in September My friend from Trentino Noemi answers my question “What is your favourite country festival of your region?” My favourite country festival (sagra) is “Autumn in Trentino”, a weekend that celebrates good food and wine from the region and happens every year around the 20th of September and it... View Article

Andrea and his Cesena


November 17th, 2014

From the words of my friend Andrea, he shares with us the treasures of his region. “In Cesena you can find the Majestic Malatestiana Library, a monastic library from the fifteenth century, at the present day included in the UNESCO Memory of the World. It is the first civic library of Italy and Europe. The... View Article