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Archive for the ‘Italian Culture’ Category

Photograph by Wendy Dreary

I could start a series about the hundreds of things I’ve walked past, wondered about, and then just kept going.

One of those things is the enormous golden statue of Christ perched above Roma Termini. For years I’ve exited the station on the Via Marsala side, looked up in awe at that glistening Jesus in the sky but, I’m sorry to say, never bothered to take a closer look. That is, until today.

The golden boy…

  • The statue is entitled “Christ The Redeemer.”

  • It’s made of gilded bronze and was sculpted in Milan by artist Enrico Canaanite.

  • In 1931, the effigy was transported to Rome where it was added to the Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio’s bell tower.

About the basilica itself…

Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio (considered a minor basilica) is quite modern as Roman churches go. Designed in the neo-Renaissance style, it was conceived at the urging of priest-turned-saint Giovanni Bosco. A rockstar clergy of his time, “Don Bosco” applied a little pressure on his friends at the Vatican and hooked up the architect Conte Francesco Vespignani to oversee the church’s construction. The basilica was finally completed in 1887—a year before Don Bosco’s death. A relic of the popular saint (a cotton swab soaked in the blood) is exhibited in a glass display case inside.

Basilica del Sacro Cuore di Gesù a Castro Pretorio, Via Marsala 42, Rome.

 PHOTO CREDIT: Wendy Dreary and Toni DeBella

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coffee sf

There’s an audible gasp when the price of my morning coffee is announced ($5.00) and the bill arrives for two martinis ($35, nuts included). Doing the grocery shopping causes small aneurysms – a 12oz container of strawberries and blueberries comes in at $7.99. I’m experiencing sticker shock on steroids.

Downtown office buildings have hi-tech elevators that run based on algorithmes. Tap a computerized keypad and it scientifically figures out which car you should take to get to your floor most efficiently.

IMG_2077

At commuter train platforms people form queues behind black squares that indicate where doors will line up. Folks wait for others to get off before boarding. I guess these people have never met a Signora at the Saturday morning market.

I’ve been seen standing dumbfounded in front of new-fangled ATMs, bus ticket machines and parking meters. I ask way too many questions and require loads of explanation. Suddenly I’m a stranger in my native country.

After nearly four years living in Italy, I’ve adapted to its culture and grown accustomed to its ketchup (less sugar), pastries (less sugar) and mayonnaise (less salt).

The other day a barista asked me if I wanted my cappuccino “wet or dry?”

Ten days and counting…Orvieto or bust.

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DickseeRomeoandJuliet

Romeo and Juliet

Chosy, an American woman living in Rome decided to dip back into the dating pool after a long hiatus from romance. She was curious to know if being a single woman in Italy was any less disappointing than in the U.S.

For her first foray back in the game, Chosy picked OKCupid’s free mobile App as the platform for finding an Italian mate online. Not knowing what to expect, she was pleasantly surprised by the number of responses she’d received. Within minutes of posting her profile, she had more than a half-dozen emails in her inbox from men who thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

“The girl of their dreams”, many declared. “It was totally amazing!”

The first man to write Chosy was an engineer from Milan – a widower whose wife had died in a tragic car accident. He had a teenage daughter named Cinzia. “He wrote with such emotion and passion of his love for me.”

They were lining up for Chosy.

“Another gentleman from Trieste was super keen on me. He was also a widower and an engineer, but his wife had died of cancer, not in a car crash, and his daughter’s name was Giulia, not Cinzia.”

Chosy gushes, “I’ve learned that the Latin Lover is still alive and well in Italy!”

373px-Casanova_ritratto

Casanova

SWIPE RIGHT

Taking a different tack, pretty brunette and yoga enthusiast Cuteyogi uses Tinder as a networking tool to find dates/employment opportunities in the Italian capital. She’s figured out a way to zero in on professionals in her field and then segue the hook-ups into spontaneous job interviews.

When Mark, an executive for an international organization in Rome was asked his opinion on Cuteyogi’s unique approach to finding a job and love at the same time, he had nothing but good things to say. “In this competitive job market”, Mark explains, “you’ve got to think outside the box. It’s really just taking Linkedin one step further.”

Paolo and Francesca - Dante's Divine Comedy

Paolo and Francesca – Dante’s Divine Comedy

MEETING YOUR MATCH

Mswrite, a slinky, blond editor and self-described cynic on sabbatical in the Eternal City hasn’t had much luck on Match.com. Paying a whopping 45£ ($68) for a month’s subscription, she’s highly skeptical that she’ll ever receive a return on her investment.

“Italian men these days don’t seem to want to put in the time and effort it takes to form a love connection.” She blames social media. “If someone can’t be bothered to use more than 140 characters (the average Tweet) to introduce themselves, I figure they don’t have the attention span to be in a long-term relationship.”

Rudolf Valentino

Rudolf Valentino

After several weeks of vetting potential suitors, Mswrite admits to being discouraged and befuddled. “Why in the world, in this day and age, are people still taking selfies in the mirror?” It makes her worry that these guys don’t have any friends to take the photo for them, or worse, that they’re not smart enough to know there’s a feature on their phone that turns the camera towards them.

As opinionated as Mswrite is, she resists the urge to offer advice. “Look, I don’t want to be a know-it-all and start dishing out dating advice or anything, but frankly, what some of these guys are presenting online is counterproductive – bordering on the repulsive.”

EnglishRose007, an exasperated Brit in her late 30s, totally agrees.

She too has come across some pretty shocking behavior on dating sites. “Do you know how many men will openingly and unapologetically admit to being married? One guy even posted a photo of himself with his arm around his wife – her face fuzzed-out, thankfully.” 

On the other hand, EnglishRose007 tries very hard to be forthright, representing herself accurately in her profile. “Of course, I post photos that are flattering, but not photoshopped to the point where I can be accused of a bait-and-switch.”

“Another thing”, she goes on to say, “I’m not a prude, but I don’t especially care for guys who pose full-frontal in a Speedo. Sure, I want to see what I’m getting, but some things are better left to the imagination.”

Mswrite confesses that she’s finally had enough and is cancelling her subscripton to Match.com. What was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I asked?

“A guy holding a dead shark over his bathtub. At that moment, I realized that being single was not so bad after all.”

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Rupe and clouds

I can’t believe it’s been 31 days already! Time flies when you’re having fun! What a wonderful experience it’s been to sit down everyday and write about the people, places and things that make this city so special and unique. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who inspired, participated or supported me in sharing a little bit of Orvieto with the world, day-by-day. In 2013, I wrote an article for BrowsingItaly entitled, “Insiders Guide to Orvieto”, and I thought it might be a good way to wrap things up. Remember, August may be over, but you know me….I’ll never, ever stop shouting it from the terracotta rooftops…Orvieto, Italy Rocks! Like! Share! Visit!

http://www.browsingitaly.com/umbria/orvieto-insiders-guide/972/

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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

MONTANUCCI 1

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

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