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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

*** Note: This post has nothing to do with Italy, other than I’m writing it from Orvieto.

 

My personal list of the eleven things we should stop doing on social media right now:

1.  #instagramming “foot shots” by the pool or at the beach.

Feet are ugly.

2.  Posting photos of your medical procedures.

Self-explanatory.

3.  Sharing bogus news stories and urban myths.

Two words: Snopes.com people.

4.  Arguing with trolls.

You’re feeding the beast.

5.  Food styling your dinner rather than eating it.

Chefs and food writers excepted.

6.  Sending chain letters.

Your friends don’t want them. Trust me.

7.  Giving daily updates of your new love affair.

It’s nice that you’re blissfully happy, but when and if the romance ends your heartbreak will be in Facebook’s memory forever.

8.  Posting seductive selfies.

Smile normally and drop the fish face.

9.  Asking advice about sensitive things on behalf of other people.

“Does anyone know a good gynecologist for my 11-year old daughter? She just got her period.” Um, Noooooooooo!

10.  Using Facebook Live.

Unless you’re the host on of a History or Travel Channel show, don’t narrate yourself doing stuff.  

11.  Writing “what not to do” pieces on your blog.

 

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The rolling green hills of Umbria speed past the train window as I feel my body and mind start to relax.

Sometimes we need to get off the merry-go-round of our daily routines and say to ourselves, “Selves, it’s time for a little trip somewhere we’ve never been before.”

 

Faraglioni

 

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A granita (crushed ice and fruit juice) and a little serenade.

 

This is how the “other half” lives.

 

The natives must have the strongest hearts and calves in Italy.

 

Church bells and evening cocktails on the Piazzetta.

 

I think he’s giving me the side-eye!

 

Morning dip in the Mediterranean, anyone? Marina Piccola.

 

A light lunch at Pescheria Le Botteghe.

 

Window shopping for the colors of Capri at OROGAMI.

 

Ahhhhh.

 

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Sometimes it’s better to admit defeat—especially when it appears your opponents have the upper hand (and the youth and energy to outlast you.)

I could “go full postal” on these boys, but what would that accomplish, really? If my goal is to live harmoniously with others who share this little alley with me, then it’s time I wave the white flag of surrender and call a truce.

As I sit here on my stoop waiting for the owner of this lovely dirt bike to arrive, I wonder if he’ll be open to easing our hostility and strained relations too. I’m calling for an armistice: The end of our Vicolo Wars.

This is the final chapter in the continuing saga taking place in my little alley. (Read Vicolo Wars, Vicolo Wars: The Sequel and Vicolo World War III.)

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Pasticceria Nando Orvieto

Instead of an oversize bunny rabbit leaving a basket of candied eggs, citizens of Orvieto wake up on Easter morning to a breakfast of Pizza di Pasqua (it’s not really a pizza, but it’s not exactly a cake either).

Pizza di Pasqua is a yeast-filled bread (similar to Christmas pannettone) that’s served during the holy days of Pasqua (Easter Sunday) and Pasquetta (Easter Monday).

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Bar & Pasticceria Montanucci Orvieto

A cherished tradition typical of central Italy (Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche), Pizza di Pasqua comes in both dolci (sweet) and al formaggio (cheese) versions.

Folks in Orvieto take great pride in their Pizza di Pasqua, so you can imagine there’s lots of fighting discussion about who has the best recipe (there are as many as there are cooks). For the past 14 years, Palazzo del Gusto Orvieto has sponsored a bake-off to decide whose is the yummiest. Both professionals and amateurs are invited to compete for the coveted culinary distinction of “Best Pizza di Pasqua di Orvieto”.

 

IMG_1795Exuberant baker Gaetana Olini has been preparing the Easter specialty for decades and let’s us in on her secret for making a great one.

“You must have patience and allow the pizza to rise in a warm spot for at least 18 hours”, she warns. “It’s in this way that you can be sure it will turn out very soft and airy.”

Gaetana P di pasqua

Pizza di Pasqua: It isn’t Easter in Umbria without it.

 

IMG_1792A RECIPE FOR PIZZA DI PASQUA…

INGREDIENTS

4 yeast cubes (from the refrigerated section, not the powdered kind!)

1 kg of flour 00

250 grams of sugar

1 cup olive oil

6 eggs

300 ml of water

300 ml of milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (or one package)

1 lemon zest

1 small glass of anisette liqueur and ‘rosolio di cannella’ (cinnamon liqueur)

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PREPARATION

Dissolve 2 cubes of yeast in 250 ml of warm water.

Meanwhile, in a large plastic bowl put 300 grams of flour.

Add the yeast mixture into the flour and mix with a fork until all the water is absorbed into the dough (be careful not to let it get hard). Add flour gradually making sure the dough remains soft!

Cover with a cloth and put in a warm space (inside a shut-off oven is best) and let the dough rise (about 1 hour).

Melt the remaining 2 cubes of yeast in 300 ml of warm milk. Remove the bowl from the oven and add the eggs, sugar, olive oil, lemon zest and milk with yeast. Blend with an electric mixer, adding more flour gradually, by hand.

Pour in two glasses of the liqueur and the vanilla.

At some point, if you did everything right, you will see that you will be forced to stop mixing because the dough will stick to the whips and it won’t be possible to continue. At this point use your hands to knead the dough, still continuing to add flour until you find that the dough comes off easily from your hands. But beware, it must not become a nice smooth ball! It must always remain soft and wet!

Grease two baking pans (large and tall) and put a quantity of dough that must not exceed one quarter of the height of the container to allow the dough to rise more than twice its size. It’s ready when the dough reaches the edge of the container.

Put in a preheated oven at 100C, then increase the temperature to 180C. The pan should be placed on a lower rack but not resting on the bottom of the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Pasticceria Nando, Via dei Sette Martiri, 68, Orvieto Scalo

Bar Montanucci, Corso Cavour, 23, Orvieto

Palazzo del Gusto Orvieto, Via Ripa Serancia I, 16, Orvieto TR

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Orogami collages

Friends  Massimo Aloisio and Tiziana O. Aloisio are the dynamic duo behind  OROGAMI, an exquiste jewellery store located on Via del Duomo. What makes their work especially unique (as well as beautiful) is the fact that, along with great craftsmanship and technique, their designs contain elements of both art and architecture. Pieces are not only made of gold, silver, colorful and precious stones – each collection contains high symbolism and deep meaning: The Seed is the symbol of life; The Labryinth expresses life’s journey; Attica draws inspiration from ancient archaeological finds. Their most astounding work is found in a gold medallion reproducing the intricate details of the rose window of the Duomo di Orvieto. Although many mistake their shop’s name for the art of Japanese papermaking, it’s actually a blend of the Italian word for gold (oro) with the ancient Greek word for wedding (gamos). The two together form “Orogami” which means “union of gold”. Massimo and Tiziana are truly the ‘golden couple’, demonstrated in both their work and their personal life! I’m as ‘good as gold’ to be able to call them ‘amici’. http://orogami.it Like! Share! Visit! 

 

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Famous Orvietani

ASCANIO VITOZZI (1539–1615) was an Italian soldier, architect and military engineer (and the son of Ercole lord of Montevitozzo). He was instrumental in the design and building of Palazzo Reale in Torino, where he lived until his death…Also, my vicolo is named for him! BONAVENTURA CERRETTI (1872- 1933) was made Cardinal-Priest of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere in Rome by Pope Pius XI, where he is buried. In 1930, he was painted by his friend, Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862-1947), the portrait is believed to hang in the Palazzo Municipale di Orvieto. LUIGI BARZINI, JR., the journalist/writer/politician most famous for his 1964 book “The Italians” was NOT born in Orvieto, but his fascist-sympathizer-journalist father, Luigi Barzini Sr. (1908-1984) was. The last, is an “Orvietana” by adoption only. Like! Share! Visit! 

‪#‎31daysofOrvieto‬ ‪#‎orvietoorbust‬ ‪#‎iloveorvieto‬ ‪#‎Orvieto‬‪#‎famousnativeOrivetans‬ ‪#‎Italy‬

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Slavic Montanucci

Coffee bars in Italy are its life’s blood. For over 100 years, Bar Montanucci has been pouring caffeine-addicted Orvietani their morning cappuccinos (in my case, caffe latte) as well as offering fresh, handmade pastries, cakes and…..wait for it…chocolate! At lunch choose from fresh salads, sandwhiches and pasta. After lunchtime, the case transforms into a gelato counter, and in the evenings you can order cocktails with small plates. The terraced patio is a great place to hang-out on warm, summer days and nights, too. Like! Share! Visit!

giraffe

candy

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‪#‎31daysofOrvieto‬‪#‎orvietoorbust‬ ‪#‎Orvieto‬ ‪#‎barmontanucci‬ ‪#‎coffeebarsinitaly‬ ‪#‎Italytravel‬

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