By Alfredo Iannaccone
The final countdown to Milan Expo 2015 has started yesterday in Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan. Born as a night of celebrations, hosted by Antonella Clerici and Enrico Bertolino, and made particularly pleasant by the cuisine of Davide Oldan, the soirée saw its climax in a magnificent performance by Andrea Bocelli.
One year separates us now from the official inauguation of the Expo, a year where the event's planning will enter an entirely new phase. This phase will be characterized by a further acceleration of the Expo 2015's site development, as well as a spur in...
The festival di Sanremo
Music is very important for Italians, because singing is part of our own history and tradition. Traditional Italian music has had, since the 1950s, a most prestigious appointment followed by the entire country: the Festival di Sanremo.
The festival di Sanremo is also known as Il Festival della Canzone Italiana, the festival of Italian music. It takes place at the famous theatre Ariston in Sanremo where, for a week, famous -and less so- Italian singers and performers propose original songs, newly written just for the occasion.
The first festival of...
Italians like to play with words and there are plenty of examples out there to show us so. Proverbi, sayings, still pepper conversations and are used quite profusely by older and younger generations alike. You'll recognize some of them, as they are common in English, too. Others, you may find a bit more original.
Let's take a look at a few of the most famous!
Donne e motori Gioie e dolori. Women and motors, joy and pain
A caval donato non si guarda in bocca. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
A chi dai il dito si prende anche il...
Death and Mourning in Italy: a View of the Monumental Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa, from
the Early 1900s (www.wikimedia.org)
Italians celebrate life with verve but how do they deal with death? Is it in the same practical, but lively manner? When I visited the cemetery in Belgirate, a small village on Lake Maggiore, I was very impressed. It was extremely well kept - the grass was carefully mown and there was no sign of a weed anywhere. Even more impressive were the graves, which were cared for with great love. Most had framed photos of the deceased nearby and newl...
Giuseppe's shop, where he makes by hand baskets and other stuff
In Omignano, in the heart of the National Park of Cilento and Vallo di Diano, you'll find the workshop of Giuseppe Giuliani, who creates hand-made baskets of various types, ropes, mats, fans, hats, necklaces, slingshots, troccole (popular musical instruments that are rotated) and gourds used as musical instruments.
The troccola, a musical instrument handmade by Giuseppe
The techniques are those used for generations in these area: in the shop (lo...
Casanova, the first Italian latin lover
(image from Wikipedia)
The Latin lover is a stereotype that stretches back for centuries. Italians are known as a passionate race—they live and laugh and love in a big way, and they enjoy the finest things in life, from sumptuous food to gorgeous women and men. Many North Americans admire the fire that flows through the veins of Italians and there has been many a woman who has travelled to Italy to find her own Latin lover. Whether or not there are still Romeos wandering the streets of Rome, however, is...
Italy is by many considered a very romantic country, where people decide to spend time with their partner.
Some Italian towns and cities are truly special for those in love, also because they have been the backdrop to some of the most famous historic, literary and legendary love stories of all times.
Whether real or not, every Italian knows the names of these lovers, some of them famous because sang by our poets, others simply because they automatically spring to mind when thinking of Italy and love. Let's take a look at some of them!
Summer on the Riviera Romagnola: Italians paint the town pink
"Let's paint the town red" is a famous English way to say "let's go out and have fun": similarly, the Riviera Romagnola paints itself pink during the summer to celebrate the Capodanno d'Estate, the summer version of New Year's Eve. Italians enjoy ongoing parties, special events, concerts and aperitivi, all having as main theme the color pink.
The choice of this color is not due to the celebration of women, conventionally associated to pink; in fact, the event is open and addressed to everybody, with no exception. It aims...
Old games in Italy
Once upon a time, Italians used to play games that no longer exist; these games were often played in the streets, safer then, as there was little traffic and other types of dangers. Friends'houses, bars or circoli, clubs, were the most common places where people met and gathered to entertain themselves and spend their free time.
These games had been played for centuries, generation after generation, before technology became such a huge part of people's lives: today computer games, social networks, the internet have replaced what are now considered old fashioned games...
Some common standardized images Italians want to overcome
Traditions, history, politics and food are always considered important, identifying elements for a nation, so much so that, at times, we tend to forget there is more to a country and its people than that. We are often influenced by national stereotypes related, for instance, to particular events that have called international attention, and often tend to associate a given country only and exclusively to them. Italians, just as everybody else, don't want to be solely linked to certain personalities or events, nor being labelled because...