Things to Do in Bari, Puglia
By: Liz Flynn
Bari is the capital of the Puglia region of Italy and is located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. If this is the destination of your choice, you will find plenty of things to do to suit all ages and interests. Here are seven things you should see or do while you are in Bari.
Relax on the Beach
As this is a port city, it makes sense to spend some time on the stunning beaches of Bari. Here, you will have a chance to relax on the beach or take a dip in the Adriatic Sea. It is also a cheap day out if you are traveling with children and you have a limited budget.
Try Some Water Sports
Water sports are something else you should try while in this coastal location. There are many different water-based activities you can enjoy along the coast.
Visit Saint Nicholas Basilica
One of the most important and beautiful structures in Bari is Saint Nicholas Basilica and this is a great place to visit for people interested in history, culture and architecture. One of the focuses of a visit to this church is to pray at the tomb of Saint Nicholas.
Go to Local Towns and Villages
To catch a glimpse of true Italy rather than the Italy presented to visitors in the tourist destinations, you should visit some of the towns and villages that surround Bari. Ostuni (pictured) is a nearby Baroque hill town that is worth a visit and many of the surrounding villages are the most unspoilt and thinly populated in Italy.
Shop at Bari Market
The market in Bari is very traditional and many of the stalls have sold their wares for hundreds of years with the stall being passed down from one generation to the next. Just some of the things you can pick up at Bari Market include antiques, food, housewares and leather goods.
Try the Local Cuisine
During your stay in Bari, you should try some of the traditional local dishes rather than simply visiting restaurants that cater to tourists. As this is a port city, seafood is a specialty. Horsemeat in tomato sauce is also a traditional dish, but this is not to the taste of everyone. There are also many excellent pizzerias in this city.
By: Liz Flynn
While many people realize that Saint Joseph is the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus, and that he acted in the role of Jesus’ father, few people know much else about this fascinating Christian figure.
Different Accounts in the Bible
There is a lot of uncertainty about the life of Saint Joseph. The main reason for this is the different accounts of his genealogy and life in the bible. Some gospels, including the Gospel of Mark and the Pauline epistles, make no mention of Joseph at all.
The Gospels of Luke and Matthew are the first to mention Joseph as the father of Jesus and each of these accounts differ. According to Matthew, Joseph is directed by an angel to marry Mary and takes to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus where they stayed for several years. A dream prompted Joseph to take his family to Egypt to avoid the massacre of children that was taking place in Bethlehem at that time on the orders of King Herod. Following Herod’s death, an angel instructs Joseph to return to Nazareth.
Luke’s version of events differs as his account claims that Joseph and Mary already lived in Nazareth and only went to Bethlehem for a census. Jesus was born while they were there. In this account, there are no dreams, angels, massacres or a visit to Egypt.
Joseph also makes his last appearance in the bible in the Gospel of Luke when he is mentioned in the story of the ‘Passover Visit to the Temple’. This was when Jesus was 12 years of age. By the time Jesus is an adult, there is mention of his mother Mary being a widow, but no explanation of Joseph’s death.
Was Joseph a Carpenter?
Joseph is commonly known as a carpenter, yet this may not be an accurate description of his occupation. His occupation is stated in the bible as a ‘tekton’. While this is often translated as a carpenter, it is a general word that relates to the terms ‘technical’ and technology’. Therefore, in theory, Joseph may have worked with materials other than wood. However, other references in the bible support the theory that Joseph was a carpenter. For example, there are references to him making ploughs and yokes. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Joseph really was a carpenter.
Joseph: The Patron Saint
Saint Joseph is the patron saint of workers and it is this patronage that is usually associated with him. Joseph is also the patron saint of travellers, expectant mothers, fathers, families, craftsmen, engineers and house sellers. He was declared by Pope Pius IX as the protector and patron of the Catholic Church and Joseph has patronages to the sick and to a happy death. Furthermore, Saint Joseph is the patron saint of many cities and countries, including, America, Mexico, China, Canada, the Philippines, Austria, Belgium, Vietnam, Croatia, Korea and Peru.
Saint Joseph’s Day Celebrations
In America, Saint Joseph’s Day is an important event that many Italian-Americans celebrate. One of the largest celebrations of this day takes place in New Orleans. One of the traditions that take place on this day is the construction of temporary altars across the city, both in people’s homes and in churches. These are filled with food to give thanks to Saint Joseph for answering their prayers. At night, the Mardi Gras Indians hold a colorful and joyful parade.
The Most Beautiful Cathedrals in Italy
By: Liz Flynn
One of the reasons why people choose Italy as the destination for their vacation is so they can appreciate the history and architecture in this country. One of the best ways of doing this is to visit cathedrals. Italy has some of the most architecturally stunning cathedrals in the world and here are some of these.
The Duomo di Milano is dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity. This cathedral is the largest in Italy and the fifth largest in the world. It took almost six centuries to complete. Three buildings were demolished to make room for the cathedral. These were the Baptistry of St Stephen, the Palace of the Archbishop and the Ordinari Palace.
The cathedral in Florence is called the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, or the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers. However, it is more commonly called Il Duomo di Firenze. The cathedral was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio and the dome was engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi. It was completed in 1436.
Saint Mark’s Basilica
This cathedral is one of the most iconic structures in Italy and its full name is the Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark. The cathedral has had many designs as it has been repeatedly remodelled. It was once completely rebuilt after it was destroyed in a fire.
Siena Cathedral is dedicated to the Assumption of Mary. Originally, the cathedral was designed and completed between 1215 and 1263. The dome of the cathedral rises from a hexagonal base. Both the interior and the exterior are constructed from marble.
Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran
The Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran is often simply known as the Lateran Basilica. Located in Rome, this is the oldest of the four papal major basilicas and houses the cathedra of the Roman Pontiff. This structure has been ravaged by fire twice; once in 1307 and then again in 1361.
Cattedrale di Sant’Andrea, also known as the Duomo di Amalfi, is located in the piazza del Duomo in Amalfi. Although it was originally built in the 9th century, it has been remodelled many times.
Verona Cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In 1117, two Paleo-Christin churches were destroyed in an earthquake and the cathedral was built as a replacement on the site. The cathedral was consecrated in 1187 on September 13.
Famous Italian Art
By: Liz Flynn
Italy is famous for its artwork and the country has produced some of the most talented artists in the world. Seeing some of Italy’s art is a major attraction for tourists. Here are some of the most famous masterpieces ever produced by Italian artists.
The Mona Lisa is possibly the most famous painting of all time. The painting was originally titled ‘La Gioconda’ and the artist, Leonardo da Vinci, spent many years amending this painting. Although he completed the painting between 1503 and 1506, he was still making amendments in 1517. The subject of the painting is Lisa Gherardini. It is now part of an exhibition at the Louvre.
The Last Supper
Another painting by Leonardo da Vinci that is almost equally famous as the Mona Lisa is The Last Supper. The creation of this painting marked an important new era in art development as it was the beginning of the Renaissance. The subject of this painting has been used in many parodies over the years. This mural painting was completed in the 1490s.
Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli often used mythological creatures and symbolic items in his paintings and Birth of Venus is a fine example of this style. It is believed that this piece was painted in the 1480s and that it was commissioned by the Medici family.
Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam is a work by Michelangelo that is an impressive five meters wide. The work is part of the ceiling at the Sistine Chapel. It was painted between 1508 and 1512.
In Italian, this painting is called La Scapigliata. It is one of Leonardo da Vinci’s works and was completed in 1508. It is one of a series of pencil sketches completed by the artist, including The Vitruvian Man.
The Vitruvian Man
Part of the same series of paintings as Female Head, The Vitruvian man is also a pencil sketch by Leonardo da Vinci. It was sketched in 1490 and in Italian it is called ‘Le preporzioni del corpo umano secondo Vitruvio. This translates as, ‘the proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius’.
7 Things to Do When You Visit the Amalfi Coast
By: Liz Flynn
When thinking of picturesque places to visit in Italy, the Amalfi Coast is one of the first destinations that springs to mind. While the image of the colorful coastal houses is famous, there are plenty of other things to see and do while you are visiting this area. Here are seven things you should see and do during your vacation.
Pompeii is the site of one of the best-known natural disasters in history. Here you will see the historic remains of the city that was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79AD.
2. Climb Vesuvius
If you are feeling energetic, then climbing Mount Vesuvius will give you the unique opportunity to look inside an active volcano. There are buses from the Circumvesuviana Railway Stations at Pompeii and Ercolana that will take you part way up the mountain. However, you will still need to climb the last 800 meters.
3. Sail to Capri
The best way to appreciate the stunning views of the Amalfi Coastline is from the viewpoint of the sea. Taking a boat trip to Capri will allow you to enjoy these spectacular views. While you are on the island, you should visit the blue Grotto and take the chair lift up Monte Solaro.
4. Thermal Spa on Ischia
For many people, the purpose of a vacation is to relax and this is something you can definitely do when you visit the thermal spa on Ischia. The island is reached by boat and you may enjoy a walk around Ischia before visiting the spas. There are 12 thermal pools at Negombo Park and many people visit here in the hope that the high mineral content in the water will help to cure their ailments.
5. Visit Herculaneum
Herculaneum is a fantastic place to learn about the ancient history of this area. Two of the main attractions are the House of Neptune and Amphitrite and the Villa of the Papyri.
6. Eat and Drink in Sorrento
The city of Sorrento offers an entirely different experience to the pretty villages of the Amalfi Coast. While shopping is a popular pastime here, it is also a good place to visit for some excellent examples of Italian cuisine. Street-side cafes are perfect for a spot of lunch, while the restaurants and bistros are ideal for a relaxed evening meal. If you need to wind down after a long day, you will also find many bars where you can enjoy a drink.
7. Do the Amalfi Coast Drive
Before you leave, you really need to do the Amalfi Coast Drive. If you do not have a rental car, then there are many tourist trips that you can book to see the full wonder of this beautiful part of Italy.
Andrea Bocelli - Ave Maria
By: Mike Carioscia | Founder
Andrea Bocelli's most popular song to date! Here is him performing "Ave Maria" live at the Franz Schubert in Roma.
Top Ten Italian Soccer Teams
By: Liz Flynn
Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Italy and it is something that the Italians are very passionate about. Which team an individual chooses to support may depend on the location of the team, family tradition, personal preference or the ranking of the soccer club. Here are ten of the most popular and best-performing teams in Italy.
1. Juventus FC
This soccer team is based in Turin and is colloquially called Juve. The team play at Juventus Stadium and the club was founded in 1897.
2. AS Roma
Associazione Sportiva Roma is referred to simply as Roma. The team train at Trigoria Training Ground and play home matches at Stadio Olimpico. The club was founded by a merger in 1927 and is based in Rome.
3. SSC Napoli
Societa Sportiva Calcio Napoli was formed in 1926. Home matches take place at Stadio San Paolo and the team train at Centro Sportivo Castel Volturno Training Ground.
4. Atalanta BC
Founded in 1907, Atlanta Bergamasca Calcio is commonly known as Atlanta. The founders of this club were Giulio Amati, Ferruccio Amati, Alessandro Forlini, Giovanni Roberti and Eugenio Urio. They are based in Bergamo and their stadium is the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.
5. Inter Milan
Although the full name of this club is FC Internazionale Milano, it is usually called Internazionale or Inter. Outside of Milan where the club is based, people call this team Inter Milan. The team have remained in the top ranks of the Italian football leagues since the club was founded in 1909. The San Siro Stadium is where the team play their home matches.
6. SS Lazio
Societa Sportiva Lazio was founded in 1900 by Luigi Bigirelli. The team are based in Rome and train at the Formello Training Ground.
7. AC Milan
Founded on December 16, 1899, by Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpin, the full name of this club is Associazione Calcio Milan. The team play at San Siro Stadium in Milan.
8. ACF Fiorentina
Based in Florence, this club was formed as the result of a merger in 1926. Following bankruptcy, the club was reformed in 2002. Th training ground of this team is Centro Sportivo Campini and the stadium is Stadio Artemio Franchi.
9. Torino FC
Founded on December 3, 1906, this club is based in Turin. The home ground of the team is Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Most fans refer to the club as ‘Toro’.
10. UC Sampdoria
This team train at Centro Sportivo Gloriano Mugnaini and play at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Unione Calcio Sampdoria is simply referred to as Sampdoria. The club is based in Genoa and was formed in 1946.
12 Most Visited Attractions in Italy
By: Liz Flynn
No matter where you are in Italy, there are interesting things to see and do. However, there are some attractions that are particularly appealing to visitors. In fact, it is these landmarks or attractions that bring tourists to Italy. Here are the top ten most visited attractions in Italy.
1. The Colosseum
This is the largest Amphitheater built by the Romans and it is a spectacular sight. It was used as a venue for shows, sports and even weddings. Anyone traveling to Rome should definitely include a trip to the Colosseum in their vacation itinerary.
2. The Venice Canals
Venice is often considered one of the most romantic cities in the world and the canals are often the first place tourists head for a romantic ride in a gondola.
Pompeii lies at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. An eruption in A.D. 79 devastated the town. Historians and archaeologists have discovered the remains of theaters, houses, baths, streets and temples. People who visit Pompeii can walk around the site.
4. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
There are few mistakes as famous as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The tower leans due to shallow foundations and the type of soil where the structure was built.
5. Lake Como
Lake Como is one of the most stunning natural features in Italy. It is an area that often attracts the wealthy and many famous people have bought lakeside homes. The lake is line with pretty villages and town and the mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the lake.
6. Florence Duomo Santa Maria del Fiore
Many people consider this the finest cathedral in the world and it is the most outstanding feature of the Florence skyline. The cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Climbing the 414 steps of the Belfry gives panoramic views over the city.
7. Amalfi Coast
A UNESCO heritage site, the Amalfi coast is located on the Sorrentine Peninsula. The most striking characteristic of this region is the brightly colored hillside houses.
8. Vatican City
There are many significant buildings that attract tourists to Vatican City. These include St Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and St Mark’s Square. The Vatican City also boasts some of the most priceless art collections in the world.
9. Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is one of the most historically significant places in Italy. The site once consisted of markets, courts, temples and public buildings. However, it does take a little imagination to envisage this scene from the ruins that remain.
10. Cinque Terre
This is one of the most picturesque regions in Italy. Cinque Terre translates as five villages. These are Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore and Vernazza. The surrounding landscape steep hills and ocean side cliffs.
A remnant from the Roman Empire, the Pantheon is a perfect architectural example of the achievements of the Romans. The Pantheon is also the resting place for many Italian Kings and other significant figures.
12. St Mark’s Basilica
Located in Venice, St Mark’s Basilica is one of the most famous features of the Piazza San Marco. In addition to the wonderful architecture and rich history of this building, tourists also come to see the vast collection of artwork the cathedral houses.
Things to Do in Little Italy, New York City
By: Liz Flynn
Little Italy is an area of New York where many Italians settled during the periods of mass immigration. The Italians stayed together to create their own communities and continue their cultural beliefs and traditions. Even though this is only a small area of New York City, there is plenty to see and do if you are staying in Little Italy or somewhere in the surrounding area.
Eat, Eat, Eat!
For such a small area of New York City, there are a staggering number of places to eat in Little Italy. Obviously, Italian food features highly in the restaurants, bars, cafes and bistros in this area. However, this is not your only choice of cuisine as there is a wide range of place to choose from to suit all budgets and tastes.
Shop Until You Drop
Another great way to spend your time in Little Italy is shopping. There is a cast range of shops, from well-known brands to little boutiques. In fact, it is a shopper’s paradise.
The Museum of Chinese in America
It seems a rather strange place to locate The Museum of Chinese in America, especially when Chinatown is the next neighborhood. However, Little Italy is home to this interesting museum nonetheless. This is a chance to learn about the history of people with Chinese heritage in the United States.
The Italian American Museum
It makes more sense that the Italian American Museum is located in Little Italy. Here, you can find out about the history of Italians in America. The museum has a variety of interesting exhibitions, including photographs, films and memorabilia.
Color Me Mine
This attraction is a chance to unleash your creative side. Visitors to Color Me Mine can choose a ceramic ad then create their own designs on the piece. This is a great memento of your trip to New York City.
New York Urban Adventures
If this is the first time you have visited the area, then taking a tour with a guide is an excellent idea. They can point out all the landmarks and provide interesting information about the area. For example, one of the tours available will teach you about all the different immigrant groups in the area and how they have contributed to New York culture. Also during the tour, you will have the opportunity to sample food from a variety of different establishment.
Female Italian-American Singers of the 21st Century
By: Liz Flynn
Some of the top singing talents in America who have achieved international success are, in fact, of Italian heritage. Here are five of the most successful singing sensations of the 21st century.
Madonna’s real name is the very Italian sounding Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. She was originally a dancer before embarking on a singing career. Her first Top Ten hit was ‘Borderline in 1984 and this was the start of a successful career in music that has spanned four decades. She has also had a career in the movies and written children’s books. She has released 83 singles, 13 promotional singles, thirteen studio albums, five compilation albums, four live albums, three soundtrack albums, four remix albums, eleven extended play albums and 21 box sets. She has received many awards during her music career.
Lady Gaga is a controversial figure who has become just as well known for her wacky fashion sense and bizarre behavior as her talent for singing and music. Her real name is Stefanie Joanne Angelina Germanotta. She already showed musical talent at the age of ten when she began playing the piano but didn’t launch her singing career until she recorded her first songs in 2005. Her debut album was launched in 2008.
Alicia Keys was born Alicia Augello Cook and has a multiracial heritage. Her father is African-American and her mother is of Italian, Scottish and Irish descent. Since 2001, she has released six albums and completed seven concert tours. However, she made her debut in the performing arts as an actress when she first appeared on The Cosby Show in 1985.
Demi Lovato is a singer, songwriter, model, author, philanthropist and actress who began her career in the limelight as a child actress in Barney and Friends. In 2008, she gained prominence as a performer when she starred in Camp Rock and released ‘This Is Me’, her debut single. She has released 16 singles and 9 albums.
Ariana Grande-Butera began her career on Broadway in the musical ‘13’. However, it was her recording of the soundtrack ‘Music from Victorious’ that propelled this singer and actress into the limelight. Following this, she signed a recording contract and released ‘Yours Truly’, her debut studio album, in 2013. She released two further albums in 2014 and 2016.
Saint Patrick: Was He Italian
By: Liz Flynn
Celebrated on March 17 each year, Saint Patrick’s Day is an event to honor the life and work of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. People of Irish heritage become very patriotic on this day regardless of where they currently reside and events take place across the globe. While most people are aware of Saint Patrick’s Day, very few know much about the man himself.
A Man of Mystery
Very little is known about the birth, life or death of Saint Patrick. 370 AD is often given as an approximate date of birth, though some argue he was born as late as 432 AD.
It is widely believed that he lived in Britain but was kidnapped by Irish pirates when he was about 16 years old and was taken to Ireland. Although he made his way home, he later returned to Ireland following a vision and began work as a missionary during the second half of the fifth century. He is credited with being the first bishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland.
Although the exact year of his death is unknown, there is some evidence suggesting that he may have died on March 17 461. It is for this reason that people celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day on this date. The earliest recorded celebration of this Patron Saint was in the seventh century.
Are There Two Saint Patricks?
There are many different theories about the life and works of Saint Patrick. One of these is that he was, in fact, two men. By this, the theorists mean that many of the legends and accreditations attached to Saint Patrick may not have related to his life. They believe that they are linked to a man called Palladius who was also a bishop in Ireland at around the same period of history.
Is Saint Patrick Italian?
Another theory that has caused much controversy over the years is that Saint Patrick was actually Italian. Although there is no documentation relating to his birth, it is widely believed that he was born in Scotland or Wales. So, why would people think he was Italian?
One theory for this confusion is that he is referred to in many texts as coming from Roman Britain. During this period of history, Britain was part of the Roman Empire and British residents were given Roman citizenship. In this sense, it is possible to argue that Saint Patrick was indeed Italian. Also, many true Romans were in Britain during the fifth century and had relationships with people of different heritage living in Britain.
However, it is also worth noting that at this time, Italy as a country did not exist. Of course, its geographical location remained the same but it was divided into areas under different rule. Although it is possible that Saint Patrick had descendants originating from the country we now call Italy, it is highly unlikely that this was where he was born.
The Legends of Saint Patrick
There are many legends associated with Saint Patrick, most of which have an element of truth about them but the stories have become exaggerated over the years.
The first is the legend of Saint Patrick banishing all snakes from Ireland. This story came about because there were no snakes in Ireland. However, scientific studies have shown that there were never any snakes in post-glacial Ireland and this was nothing to do with Saint Patrick.
The second legend links Saint Patrick to the Irish using the shamrock as their national symbol. It is said that he was trying to teach the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Using a three-leafed shamrock, he attempted to visually demonstrate how there are three Gods; the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. This legend first appeared in writing in 1726 but is probably much older.
Finally, there is the legend of Saint Patrick growing a living tree from a walking stick. Saint Patrick walked all over Ireland using a walking stick made from ash wood. When he was evangelizing, he would put his stick into the ground. According to folklore, it took so long for the people of Aspatria, meaning ash of Patrick, to understand the message of the dogma that the walking stick grew roots and became a living tree.
The Scaliger (Sinking) Castle in Lake Garda, Italy
By: Mike Carioscia
The Scaliger Castle is a rare medieval port fortification from the 13th century. The castle is located in Lake Garda, Italy and has become quite the tourist attraction! The castle is surrounded by a moat and the only way in is threw the two drawbridges. It was built to protect enemies and locals from entering. It claimed the nick-name "sinking castle" because at first place it appears that the castle is sinking into the water beneath it. Watch the video below to see more!
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Eggs in Purgatory
By: Mike Carioscia
Eggs in purgatory has been passed down in families for generations and is done in multiple different ways.
It is one of my favorites! A few of my friends were hesitant to try them. Thought that eggs in sauce didn't sound very appealing.
Once they tried it, they realized that they had been wrong! Enjoy.
Connie Francis - Mama
By: Mike Carioscia | Founder
In August of 1959, Italian singer Connie Francis traveled to London to record her album Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites. The album was finished in November of the same year, and was quickly a huge success.
The album was on the top charts for over 81 weeks and is still known as her most successful work. Her song, 'Mama' below is one of the most beautiful songs to date.
Click below and take a listen :)
Di Bruno Bros. – Italian Specialties
By: Mike Carioscia | Founder
Have you heard of the Di Bruno Bros? We love them! They are a Italian Specialities store that not only has 5 locations around the United States, but ships directly to your door.
It all started in 1939 when two Italian immigrant brothers, Joe and Danny, came to Philadelphia and started selling Italian cheeses and other foods for 25 years. Next, they decided to open the first store in 1965. The company saw continuous success and profits and has been continuing the tradition of selling high-quality Italian speciality foods for over 75 years now.
In fact, they put together a great video for their anniversary that gives you a snippet of what they are all about! Check out the video below to see some of their work.
To order foods or find more information, be sure to check out: DiBruno.com