Friday, August 23, 2013

Be a traveler NOT a tourist!

Turn your usual sightseeing vacation into an exclusive voyage inside the Italian language and culture:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Venice: facts you may not know thanks to Daniela with

St. Mark’s Square Curiosities

This is a great story from out new friend, Daniela, the owner of the language school  located outside of Venice.   see the link below for the great programs she offers.      St. Mark’s Square Curiosities This photo brought back the memory of my last visit toVenice…..   I stayed at a convent near  St Marks square that was a grammar school during the day!   See the listing at www Daniela shared some interesting facts that I did not know and can make your visit to Venice so richer....

      "A few small curiosities before leaving the beautiful St. Mark’s Square. If you manage to stop for a little while in the middle of the flow of people, look at the two pink columns among the other white columns in the upper arcades of the Doge’s Palace.

      It is said that the doge was standing between the two columns during official ceremonies and that he pronounced death sentences from there (the pink color is a reminder of the red blood color). 

      Just a little further away there are two black street lamps that in the past were always alight. They were positioned there in order to remind an error that the Venetian Republic made in the administration of Justice and that was recognized as such.  Here goes the story: the baker Piero Tasca was going to work one morning when he noticed something shiny at the edge of the street: he knelt down to pick it up and realized that it was a dagger and that a corpse of a man was lying not far away from it. The baker was seen with the dagger in his hand and that was his condemnation: on March 22, 1507, he was executed, but soon after his death the true murderer was caught.          The spot where the executions were carried out is located between the two columns which face the lagoon towards St. George’s island: here criminals were killed and hung by their feet.The two columns are made from two blocks of granite brought from the Orient in the XII century. They have been a symbol of the city for almost one thousand years. At the top of one column there is the statue of Todaro (Saint Theodorus) which is made up of parts of various origins and time periods:   the head is Greek, the chest and the shoulders are Roman, while the rest of the statue dates back to the XV century.    On top of the other column you find the famous Lion of St. Mark, most probably a Chinese art Chimera with the addition of wings. As this was the place where executions took place, even today in Venice when somebody says “to find oneself between Marco and Todaro” means “to be really in big trouble”.   

Friday, August 9, 2013

Puglia, an Important Wine Destination

Puglia: an Important Wine Destination

Sun, Sea, Wind , Wines of the Salento

By, Yle Sambati, Lecce, Italy


Being an native of the area of Puglia, the Salento, Ylenia Sambati knows the land, the people and the rewards that hard working farmers can obtain from the grape vines that cover the rich soil.


This spectacular fertile peninsula called Puglia is surrounded on two sides by water; the Ionic and Adriatic Seas.    Situated in the  “heel of the boot” it is actually one of the most fertile growing regions in all of Europe.      Thousands of  olive trees  as well as Mediterranean herbs, wheat, almonds and figs  add  complexity to the several grape varieties.


The emphasis of Puglia’s wines is placed on quality of production, not on quantity.         Puglia is finally a wine destination in Italy.    “I can only be happy about this recognition.”   Before it was known as   “europe’s wine cellar” producing 10% of all the wine consumed in Europe.      For many years in fact the wine of Puglia was shipped north of Italy to France to give structure to their wines and when their local harvest was insufficient.    Puglia produces more wine than any other region making up around 17% of the Italy’s national total.    

 Puglia wine has a specific personality and balances density, sweetness, acid and alcohol content.   This region has a romantic, rustic, simple landscape with a unique red earth revealing the presence of red clay underneath as well as a layer of limestone that gives Puglia wine such a minerality and complexity.    Furthermore the wines get the aroma and flavor from the soil and the plants, all organic of course, that grow naturally.    Its’ Mediterranean climate is hot, with sunny days and most of the time cooled by the ocean breezes.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Venice Regata this September, dont miss it

If you are traveling in Italy, consider attending the Venice Regata
Our new FB friend Daniela at , a language school close to Venice,  told me about this event.    Why am I never in Italy for all the great festivals? 
First Sunday in September -

Regata Storica. The Regata Storica (Historical Regatta), Venice's most exciting gondola race, sees teams of gondoliers - some decked out in costume - racing a course along the Grand Canal. Accompanied with food, music, and much fanfare, the Regata Storica is a fun event to catch if you're visiting Venice in September.   For more information, visit the Regata Storica website.

All month during odd-numbered years - La Biennale.

The months-long contemporary arts extravaganza that is the Venice Biennale begins in June every other year during odd-numbered years and runs through November. Read more about the Venice Biennale.
September 14 - Festival of the Triumph of the Cross. This holy day is marked with a procession at the church and grand school (Scuola Grande) of San Giovanni Evangelista in the Sestiere di San Polo.
 above from:  Venice Historical Regatta also known as the Regata Storica

Dating back to the second half of the 13th Century, the Venice Historical Regatta is a spectacular competition whose origins are firmly entrenched in the history of Venice. As the maritime nation considered it vital to have expert oarsmen.

The Venice historical regatta, is the main regatta of the year. Although the other islands and communities of the Venetian lagoon also hold their own regatta's throughout the calendar year.
The Regatta storica takes place on the first Sunday of September in Venice. 

The historical regatta takes place on the Sunday afternoon. It begins with a ceremonial parade along the Grand Canal of historical boats manned by Venetians in period costume. The most important rowing races are between the various neighborhoods of Venice.

Like the celebrated Palio of Sienna, the fans and followers of each neighborhood boat and crew are a form of entertainment in themselves. In fact, in ancient times, a fleet of bissone (typical long boats) would proceed the race clearing the way and maintaining order.

The traditional points of reference for the Venice historical regata are the spagheto, a rope stretched across the starting point in front of the public gardens in the Castello sestiere of Venice;
the Paleto, a pole driven into the center of the Grand Canal in front of the Church of Sant'Andrea de la Zirada, around which the boats must turn before going back up the Grand Canal to cross the finish line.

The finish line is indicated by the Machina, a construction erected on a wooden raft richly carved, painted and gilded, and where the prize-giving ceremony is held.