Leading Online Gaming Provider Claims Highest Share in Italian Market
By: Aleksandra U.
Just two years after launching in the country, PokerStars Casino is topping the Italian online
casino and real money gaming market with a reported 8.85% share. The global online casino
gaming brand is now number one in Italy, having overtaken the former leader Lottomatica with
8.85% of the total share, according to the Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato.
The revenue figures for June, which were released this autumn, place the comparatively new
brand above Italy's own national lottery and other rival international casino platforms.
In the official brand press release, PokerStars Casino Managing Director Bo Wänghammar said
that the results show continuous growth and indicate that the online casino is “on track to
becoming Italy’s favorite iGaming destination”.
The PokerStars online casino is the sister company to the world's largest online poker platform,
PokerStars, which is renowned for its game selection and sponsorship of professional
tournaments, championships and pro poker players like Daniel Negreanu. A fundamental part of
the growth of the online casino has been the introduction of its Stars Rewards program, which
was launched in the Italian market during the spring. This exciting loyalty program offers
registered casino players an array of personalized rewards based upon the games they play across
both the PokerStars online casino and the brand’s online poker platform. One of the most
appealing features of Star Rewards program is that it avoids contribution percentages and
instead, rewards all players who use progress bars and boosts.
The loyalty scheme, which is a relaunch of the former VIP Club, also gives registered players
access to special games and events during official PokerStars Festivals and championship
tournaments. The biggest upgrade, however, is a shift from providing monthly rewards to daily
ones for all members, and various spot prizes for the most regular game players.
Since its release, PokerStars Casino has had a strong reputation for providing casino enthusiasts
with one of the widest selections of games and up-to- date mobile casino technology. It has
invested continuously in innovation and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. This two-
year-old brand has plans in place to expand into new areas and provide additional rewards for
loyal customers as confirmed by Bo Wänghammar: “we don't just want to match the best casinos
out there...We plan to continue improving our casino offering...expanding our selection of top
games, enhancing our VIP program, expanding customer acquisition.”
In addition to the online casino, the PokerStars platform has also launched a series of free-to- play
and real-money apps that are now available for U.K. players in the Google Play store. These
dedicated apps, which improve mobile access and the sheer range of casino games and playing
options available within the mobile and online casinos, have contributed significantly to boosting
the PokerStars casino within the Italian market.
The brand could also see an increased percentage in the overall casino and gaming market in the
next 12 months following changes in gaming regulations in Italy. Restrictions on slot machines,
video lottery terminals and electronic real money terminals are expected to be in place
throughout Italy next year. This move could end up increasing the amount of time casino
enthusiasts play online and attract new consumers into the market.
Italians at Play: Weird and Wacky Games that Originate in Italy
Italians are known for their passion and their love of football, so we thought we’d take a look at some of the other games that are, or have been, a part of Italian life. There are certainly some weird and wonderful games that have been invented in Italy over the years….
It’s always fascinating to look at the way someone relaxes to get a little insight into their character, isn’t it? Well the same is true of a people. If you look at the games Italians play today and some of the wacky sports that they have created over the years, you get a real sense of the Italian approach to life and that unmistakable panache and joie de vivre.
Take Bocce volo for example. Now, if you were to see this being played you might mistake it for the French game petanque as it’s a ball game that involves strictly under-arm throws. However, if you were to stick around for a while you’d notice a major difference: Bocce volo uses a run-up, almost like cricket. In fact, often a player will introduce a little drama into the proceedings with the run-up, using it as an opportunity to perform, as well as showing off athletic prowess. …Now that’s the Italian spirit! There’s a brilliantly dramatic representation here to give you the full flavour of the game.
Then there are some interesting card games. There’s Basset for example, the game that was once the preserve of the upper crust of society, involving high stakes deemed unsuitable for the hoi poloy! Invented in the 15th Century, this game involved a great deal of mere chance. In fact it became so inevitable that the banker would win and the poor, unsuspecting players would lose, that in the French version of the game the role of banker was only granted to men from families of a certain rank. The game spread from Italy to France and eventually to Great Britain. (There’s a nice read on some other fascinating card games from around the world if you’re intrigued here by Lucky Nugget Casino … ever heard of the Argentinian game Truco, for example?)
Now, Tamburello is quite a different sort of game but one that still manifests the classic Italian attitude. Rather more athletic than Basset, you might think of it as being a bit like tennis but with teams rather than individuals competing against one another. A ball is struck using an object that’s something like a racket… only instead of strings that are held taught by an oval loop, horsehide is drawn tightly across a circular frame to provide a firm but springy surface for the ball to bounce off.
It’s a bit like a drum, or tambourine, which is where the name comes from. The game is generally played outdoors, but there are indoor varieties and it can even be played on the beach- check out this video to get a better understanding of how it all works.
We hope that’s shown you a little something of the Italian character at leisure… now get out there and whatever you decide to play, do it with verve!
Things to Do in Andria
By: Liz Flynn
Andria is a charming city on the eastern coast of Italy in the newly formed province of Barletta-Andria-Trani in the Apulia region. This is a particularly interesting city for those who are interested in history and learning about the culture of Italy. If you choose to visit this city or the surrounding area, then here are some of the best things to see and do.
Castle del Monte
Located just 20 minutes from the city is the Castle del Monte and this is one of the most famous castles in Italy. It is for this reason that it is one of the biggest attractions in Andria. This symmetrical castle was built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century and is a World Heritage Site. The sculptures and stone designs are an interesting feature of the interior, including a throne sculpted from stone.
Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta
This 12th-century cathedral is in a Baroque style and is usually simply referred to as Andria Cathedral. It was reconstructed in the 14th-century and this is when the large rose window was added. One of the most prominent features of the cathedral is its large stone bell tower with a pointed spire. Inside the cathedral lies the Crypto of the Holy Savior which contains the tombs of Emperor Frederick II’s wives. The cathedral is also home to a number of important works of art.
Porta San Andrea
In the past, Andria was protected by a series of defensive fortifications to limit entry into the center of the city. One of these structures that dates to the 13th-century is the Saint Andrea Gate. It is named after the original church that stood nearby that was named after Saint Andrea. The gate is an impressive structure that stands out from its surroundings. There are several ornate circular reliefs crowning the gate.
The main square in Andria is uniquely designed and is the main gathering point in the city for activities. It is a fantastic place for eating out as the square is surrounded by restaurants, bars, and cafes. It is also a good place for some retail therapy as the square is surrounded by shops.
Parco Archeologico di San Leucio
Andria is a fantastic city to visit if you are interested in ancient ruins as there are several sites within the city and in the surrounding area. One of the top sites to visit is the San Leucio Archaeological Park. Built in 318 BC, the ancient temple sits on top of the hillside. It is dedicated to the Goddess Minerva. Several ornate columns and the outer wall still exist.
Parco Giuseppe Marano
The huge Ulivi Stadium and the large surrounding public park is a wonderful way to spend a day if you are visiting Andria. You can either enjoy a stroll, partake in sports or wander through the pretty landscaped gardens. The park also houses an amphitheater which is where concerts are held throughout the year.
St. Michael’s Cave
One of the top natural attractions in the area is St. Michael’s Cave which is located in the nearby village of Minervino Murge. It was formed over two million years ago, and is officially called Karst Cavern. There is a church located within the cave that dates back to the 11th century. A beautiful marble and stone monument is situated at the end of the cave and this is dedicated to Saint Michael.
While staying in Andria, you should try to sample some of the local cuisines. Some of the top restaurants to visit include Antichi Sapori and Il Turacciolo. At the former, you have the opportunity to sample some of the more unusual dishes from the area, including specialty meats. Il Turacciolo, on the other hand, is a much more traditional venue and also specializes in outstanding vegetarian dishes.
Top 5 Italian Restaurant Chains in the United States
By: Liz Flynn
When the Italians began immigrating to America, they took many aspects of their culture with them. One area in which they were particularly influential is the cuisine of America. Italian cuisine and dishes inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean have become amongst the most popular dishes in the United States with many restaurants devoted to selling these foods. In fact, some restaurants have become so popular that the owners have established chains to sell their food in a variety of locations across the country. Here are some of the most popular Italian restaurant chains in the United States.
1. Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Johnny Carrabba and his uncle Damian Mandola opened a restaurant together in Houston in 1986. Since then, this chain has expanded to include 240 locations in 32 states. This chain restaurant now belongs to a parent company called ‘Bloomin’ Brands’ which also owns Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Steakhouse, and Outback Steakhouse.
Bertucci’s was first opened in 1981 in Somerville, Massachusetts. There are now 89 restaurants and the centerpiece of each of these is the brick oven that is central to the production of most items on the menu. Diners have the option to build their own pizza from a creative selection of toppings and bases. The comfortable atmosphere is a huge draw and one of the main reasons this chain restaurant has become so popular.
3. The Old Spaghetti Factory
The Old Spaghetti Factory is one of the oldest chains in America as it was first established in 1969 in Portland, Oregon. There are over 45 restaurants that are distinctive in their style as they are housed in converted warehouses and highly decorated in antique-style fixtures and fittings. Despite its name, this chain offers much more than spaghetti on its menu.
4. Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Romano’s Macaroni Grill was founded in 1989 by Philip Romano. The first venue was located in San Antonio but there are now 200 locations across the United States. The extensive menu contains a wide selection of Italian favorites as well as a ‘Lite’ option and a ‘create your own pasta’ option. Seasonal specials are rotated throughout the year.
5. Maggiano’s Little Italy
The first Maggiano’s opened in the River North neighborhood of Chicago in 1991. There are now restaurants in 22 states and each serves classic Italian-American favorites. In addition to the regular menu, there is a ‘Family Style’ menu for parties that want to share large platters. Maggiano’s will also deliver to your home.
10 Facts About the Roman Gladiators
By: Liz Flynn
The Roman gladiators are one of the most interesting groups of people in history. The activities of the gladiators have played an important role in the history of Italy and many of the Roman ruins are monuments to significant moments in history that involved these truly hardcore Italians. Here are ten interesting facts about the Roman gladiators.
Italian Mysteries: The Perpetrators of the Fontana Bombing
By: Liz Flynn
Sixteen people were killed and a further 58 were wounded when a bomb exploded in the Piazza Fontana, Milan, on December 12, 1969. Three other bombs were detonated on the same day; one in Mila and two in Rome. Fortunately, thee bobs caused no further deaths.
Initially, the bombs were blamed on anarchists. Giuseppe Pinelli, a railway worker, was one of the main suspects. It was reported that he killed himself by jumping from the roof of the police station where he was being held. Officially, his death was labeled as a suicide but the leftists were insistent that he was actually murdered by a policeman called Luigi Calabresi. Three years after the death of Pinelli, someone shot Calabresi while he was on his way to work.
While the far left accused the far right, the far right blamed the far left. As a result of the accusations flying around, there was a series of terrorist attacks from the extremist groups of both the left and the right. A terror campaign called ‘The Strategy of Tension’ was launched by Ordine Nuovo, a neo-fascist group. The purpose of this was alleged to intimidate the general public into the acceptance of a planned overthrow of the Italian government.
The terrorist activities of Ordine Nuovo continued for a further five years with them targeting train stations. However, they initially denied their involvement in these bombings. Instead, they laid the blame on Communist groups, such as the Red Brigades.
Finally, the authorities became suspicious of their activities and three members of the group were arrested in 1972. However, all three were acquitted in 1985. A further trial took place in 1999 and this led to three other members being accused of the bombings. These members were also acquitted in 2004. Therefore, this is an Italian mystery that remains unsolved.
Top 7 Cathedrals to Visit in Italy
By: Liz Flynn
One of the biggest attractions in Italy are the religious structures which you can find in every city and almost all the towns and villages across the country. Cathedrals are top of the list when people are writing their vacation itineraries as these beautiful buildings are fine examples of Italy’s architecture and usually have a rich and interesting history. If you are planning to travel around Italy and visit the cathedrals during your vacation, then these are the top seven you should try to visit.
Florence Duomo- Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore
Of all the cathedrals in Italy, Cattedrale de Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence is probably the most famous. The dome was designed by Brunelleschi and is considered a masterpiece of construction. The exterior has an unusual façade of white, green, and pink marble. Another interesting feature is the stained-glass windows, of which there are 44. If you make the effort to climb to the top of the dome, you will be treated to spectacular views across Florence.
Venice- Basilica San Marco
The architectural style of this building is interesting as it combines both western styles and Byzantine. It is a focal point of Saint Mark’s Square as it has stunning mosaic covered domes. The interior is adorned with examples of art work by famous Venetian artists. It is named after Saint Mark, the patron saint of Venice.
Milan Cathedral- Duomo di Milano
Duomo di Milano took a staggering 600 years to complete and is the largest Gothic cathedral in the whole of Italy. It is adorned with 3200 statues, 135 spires, and beautiful stained glass windows. Other than to see the cathedral itself, another reason to visit is the amazing views you can enjoy across Milan from its elevated position.
The medieval cathedral in Orvieto has an unusual façade that is covered in mosaic. It is widely considered one of Italy’s best Romanesque-Gothic masterpieces. Statues adorn the exterior of the cathedral while other features include the two beautiful chapels, the interesting frescoes, and the large bronze doors.
Siena Cathedral-Duomo di Siena
If you admire Gothic architecture, then Siena’s Cathedral is one of the best examples in Italy. Elaborate carvings adorn the exterior of the structure while the inside boasts fine art works. Detailed frescoes and interesting floor mosaics are other features of this building. Amongst the artists who have work displayed are Donatello, Michelangelo, Pinturicchio, and Pisano. If you are visiting this cathedral, you should also take the time to view the Baptistry and the crypt.
The Field of Miracles site in Pisa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and this includes both the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the white Duomo. The cathedral was built in 1063 but its façade is from the 12th-century. It is home to many important works of art and has a stunning marble pulpit.
This 12th-century cathedral is a fine example of Romanesque architecture. The exterior is interesting as it features Romanesque figures that depict scenes from the bible. The inside houses many unusual treasures. These include a 13th-century parapet, beautiful mosaics, and two nativity scenes made of terra cotta from the 15th and 16th-centuries. The cathedral, its bell tower and the Piazza Grande are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Modena cathedral is the final resting place of Luciano Pavarotti.
Things to Do in Ancona, Italy
By: Liz Flynn
Located on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, Ancona is an Italian city that is the capital of the Marche region of central Italy. The beautiful beaches are one of the main attractions of the area and are where tourists spend much of their time. However, there are many other things to see or do in the city and the surrounding area.
Although there are several fantastic beaches along this stretch of the coastline, one of the most popular spots is Spiaggia del Passetto. This is a pleasant beach to relax and sunbathe during the warmer months and is also a picturesque place to visit.
Piazza della Repubblica and the Harbor
The hub of Ancona is the Piazza della Repubblica as this is the stretch of road running along the coast of the city. To the north end of the piazza, there is the Arco di Traiano which is a Roman arch that was erected in 115 AD. A large part of the area was uncovered in an archaeological dig so visitors can see the remains of the original port structure and ancient sections of a wall that was built to protect the port. The harbor lies to the west.
There are several interesting museums to visit in this city and two of the best are the National Archaeological Museum and the Museo Diocesano. The former consists of archaeological artifacts found in the area surrounding Ancona while the latter is housed in the former Bishop’s Palace and boasts stunning artworks and religious artifacts.
Cattedrale di San Ciriaco
Ancona’s cathedral lies on top of Monte Guasco and is reached by a winding road with steps. It was built on the site of a former temple that was dedicated to Venus Euplea who was a goddess that protected sailors. When looking through the glass floor panels of the cathedral, it is possible to see the remains of the bases of the temple’s columns. The cathedral is from the 12th century and is an example of the Byzantine-Romanesque style of architecture. From its elevated position, the cathedral has panoramic views across the city, the surrounding area, and the Adriatic Sea.
Piazza del Plebiscito
The Piazza del Plebiscito is one of the main roads through the city. It is a fantastic area to look at examples of the local architecture as it is lined with interesting public buildings and structures. Some of these include San Domenico church, Palazzo Mengoni Ferretti, the Palazzo del Governo, the Palazzo Benincasa, and the Civic Tower. This street is also home to many lovely cafes, so it is a great place to grab a bite to eat and relax.
Santa Maria della Piazza
This 13th-century church still has the flooring of the 6th-century church that was located there previously. There is an intricately carved portal and a highly-decorated façade of Dalmatian marble with arches. While the interior is simple, this is still a fine example of Romanesque architecture and is one of the most significant churches in Ancona.
The Roman amphitheater is built into the slope of Monte Guasco. Built in the reign of Emperor Augustus, it is believed it was a training ground for gladiators. It is decorated with mosaics from the Augustan Age and boasts thermal baths.
Passetto and War Memorial
On the hill by Passetto Beach lies the Passetto Monument. This white marble structure is a memorial to World War I. There are long staircases leading to the monument. If you stand at the top of the hill by the monument on a clear day, you can see the Croatian coast. By the beach is an old wooden port. This has caves that are carved into the rock and were once used by the fishermen to store their boats.
15 Facts About Roberto Rossellini
By: Liz Flynn
Roberto Rossellini was one of the greatest directors of Italian neorealist cinema of all time. He is famous for movies including ‘Dafne’, ‘The White Ship’, ‘The Ways of Love’, ‘Europa ‘51’, ‘The World Population’, and ‘Rice University’. Here are 15 facts you may not know about this famous director and screenwriter.
Things Not to Say to Italians
By: Liz Flynn
There are many stereotypes that people associate with Italy and the Italians. While some of these are true, there are other stereotypes that the Italians find quite offensive. There are many things that you should avoid saying to an Italian if you want to avoid causing offence. Here are six of these.
Do You Know the Mafia?
When people have watched mobster movies, such as ‘The Godfather’, it is easy to assume that everyone in some way knows someone in the Mafia. However, this is a distressing topic of conversation for many Italians. Not only is it highly unlikely that they will know a mobster personally, they may be from an area that has been severely affected by the criminal activities of the Mafia. Some of the areas where the economy has been particularly badly affected and the mob have wreaked terror include Calabria, Sicily, and Campania.
Do You Speak English?
While in many European countries English is widely spoken, this is not the case in Italy. They have a great respect for the beauty of their own language and consider it rude that people who speak English think that they should, too. If you are visiting Italy, it is well worth investing in a phrase book and putting in a bit of effort.
Shouldn’t You Have Left Home by Now?
It is a shock to many people who are visiting Italy the number of people who are in their thirties and still living with their parents. This is especially the case if the visitor comes from a culture where it is normal for a person to leave home in their late teens or early twenties. To a certain extent, it is a cultural norm for Italians to stay at home with their families until they are married. However, for many people, they simply remain with their parents as a result of high unemployment rates and a poor economy. Therefore, living with their parents is not something that most people in their thirties are happy about so you should avoid asking that question.
I Prefer French/ Californian/ Australian Wine
The Italians are well-known for their production of wine and it is one of the largest consumable exports from Italy. They are extremely proud of the quality and diversity of their wine and do not like it to be compared negatively to wine that is produced in other countries. Saying that you prefer wine produced in France, Australia, California, or any other location will make you no friends.
Is Everyone in Italy Corrupt?
It is widely acknowledged that Italy is one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. In fact, these corrupt activities cost the honest taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. This is a distressing situation for the honest citizens of Italy, so it is safer to avoid this line of conversation altogether.
Italian Mysteries: The UFO Case of Bruno Facchini
By: Liz Flynn
Bruno Facchini was a factory worker who lived in Varese. Those who knew him described him as honest and hardworking. While working on a late shift in the factory on April 24, 1950, he needed to step outside to check for any damage that could have been caused by the thunderstorm that night.
He spotted a bright light just next to the doors of the factory and decided that he needed to investigate. When he got closer to the light, he realized it was coming from a circular object that was hovering above the ground. From this object, there was a rectangular opening with something that looked very much like a ladder from it. On the ground by the object were two small figure wearing what appeared to be diving suits and masks. In fear, Facchini turned and ran away.
Later, Facchini reported that he had been struck by a beam of light as he fled from the object and this threw the factory worker to the ground. Facchini then witnessed the two small figures return to the craft and it then flew away.
The next day, Bruno Facchini gave a statement to the police and they investigated the scene. The police found burn marks on the ground where Facchini reported seeing the craft and the two figures. An analysis of a green metallic substance from the scene was found to contain tin and copper.
A week after the incident, Facchini said that his back had become bruised and black before later turning yellow. On the spot on his neck where the beam had allegedly hit him, he was experiencing pain.
In 1981, Facchini gave an interview about his encounter. He said that even after time had passed, he was still suffering psychological trauma. There were also physical manifestations relating to the incident. For example, he had continued to suffer from hot flushes and fevers. He also said that looking back, the figures were similar to moon-walking astronauts.
Although what happened to Bruno Facchini that night was never proved, there are many who believe that this was a genuine UFO encounter.
If Italian Men are Great Lovers, Why is the Italian Birth Rate One of the Lowest in the World
By: Just Jude Writer
When the Italians aren't eating, sleeping or drinking, they're fare l'amore. They're making love.
This enriched race has maintained its reputation for being wonderfully attentive lovers. And they adore children. But somewhere along the line, something has gone amiss. Their virility may be intact, but the Italian birth rate is now considered the lowest in the world.
The Italian Women Are Considered Very Beautiful
They are the voluptuous, generously endowed females who possess child-bearing hips. They carry themselves with a deportment that screams confidence and the world is in awe of them. They share a space in the universities, behind elegant desks in tastefully decorated offices, in factories, and in homes and churches.
They're emerging from a history that has had them firmly depicted as large-bodied matriarchs crooning to a brood of eight or ten young children who constantly mill around their knees.
Now, these women know their worth
The Italian Man Illustrated As Macho
He is independent and Italy's motor car fanatic, the dreamer of Ferrari and Maserati. He would rather give his right arm than endure the daily commute on public transport. His love extends to the images he beholds of his dream car and yet, curiously, he actually doesn't drive anywhere. God forbid if he's faced with a traffic jam and he's forced to gesticulate whilst explaining the astonishing debacle to his boss on his mobile phone.
You see, the Italians would prefer not to drive their cars. They're happier posing in front of them. The young bloods know that nothing draws attention more rapidly than the throaty exhaust of an idle Ferrari. Put them in front of a steering wheel of one of these graceful machines and they're in obsessive, frenetic love. And they adhere. God Bless them, they're only human.
Awareness In Tune Of Reality
But it's time to raise the Italian awareness that fertility issues do not include the sweeping foreign lines and intimate mechanics of an elegant Lamborghini. Rather, it is beyond time to awaken the real reasons behind a lagging birth rate. With only eight births born to every 1,000 residents, and these figures are according to EU statistics released only two years ago last July, this sum total represents less than half those born in the 1960's. That's a frightening statistic.
Is it the personal shift in the economics of a time-worn tradition that mothers are older now and careers and independence come first?
Maybe it is. And during the period 2002 through 2012, women of 40 and over were giving birth. In fact, the average age was almost 32 when Italian women were bearing their first child. Even at that age, there was controversy. They were damned if they did and they're damned if they don't.
The Cock’s Stone
By: Liz Flynn
Folklore is an important element of Italian culture and there are many stories that are passed from one generation to the next. One of these is the mysterious tale of ‘The Cock’s Stone’.
In the city of Black-Grotto, there was a man called Minecco who was so poor that all he owned was a cock he had reared on only breadcrumbs. One day, he was so hungry that he decided to sell the cock. At the market, he struck a deal with two magicians and sold the cock for half a crown. Minecco was told to take the cock to the home of the magicians and they would pay him the money there.
The three men left for the magicians’ home together and Minecco could hear them whispering together. The first magician was telling his friend that he could not believe how lucky they were to have the cock and that it would bring them good fortune. He believed the cock had a valuable stone within him that they could have set in a ring and sell for a fortune. The second magician agreed and began to plan how he could spend the money.
When Minecco heard this, he decided he wanted this fortune for himself. He ran back home and killed his cock. Just as the magicians had predicted, there was a stone inside the creature. Minecco set the stone in a brass ring and wished that he was younger. Instantly, he showed signs of returning to his youth; his limbs were stronger, his blood flowed faster, his missing teeth returned and his wrinkles disappeared.
As his first wish was so successful, he decided to try his luck with a second wish. This time, he wished to marry the King’s daughter and live in a splendid palace. A magnificent palace immediately appeared before his eyes. The magicians heard of Minecco’s good luck and plotted to steal the ring to bring themselves good fortune.
Minecco was once married but his wife had died leaving him alone with their daughter, Pentella. The magician’s planned to get at Minecco through Pentella, so they made her a dancing, clockwork doll. The duo dressed as merchants and visited the house. When Pentella opened the door, they said she could have the doll in exchange for a favor. They wanted to take Minecco’s ring so they could make a replica. They would then return the ring and give Pentella the doll.
Pentella persuaded her father to lend her the ring by saying it would distract her sad heart. The magicians returned the next day and she gave the magicians the ring as promised. The magicians vanished into thin air leaving Pentella stood alone.
At this moment, the newly youthful Minecco was standing before the ring. At the same time, the magicians had reached a wood and destroyed the spell that had made Minecco youthful. Instantly, Minecco returned to his former disheveled appearance in full view of the King. The King was disgusted at the state of this miserable beggar and ordered for his banishment from the palace.
Minecco returned home and asked his daughter for the ring. He then discovered the trickery of the magicians. He vowed to find the magicians and seek revenge. Minecco threw on a cloak, fastened his sandals and began his pursuit of the conmen. He walked until he reached the Kingdom of the Deep-Hole, a place inhabited by mice. Minecco was mistaken for a cat spy and led before King Nibbler. Minecco told him his woes and King Nibbler felt great pity for the poor man.
The King summoned the mice elders and they were supportive of Minecco. For their kindness, Minecco asked two of the mice if they would accompany him on his search and help him to retrieve the ring. In return, he would give them as much cheese and salt meat as they wanted. Minecco and the mice set out across the seas and mountains.
When they arrived at Hook-Castle, the mice asked Minecco to hide under some trees. They waited until the magicians were asleep before entering the castle. One of the mice nibbled at the finger of the magician that was wearing the ring. Feeling discomfort, the magician woke and removed the ring from his finger and the mouse popped it into his mouth.
The mice returned the ring to Minecco, who promptly made a wish for the magicians to turn into donkeys. He loaded one with cheese and bacon while using the second donkey for his ride back to Deep-Hole.
Once he had thanked the mice and their King for their assistance, he returned home looking more youthful than ever before. He was received with affection by both the King and his daughter, Pentalla. Minecco lived a happy and fulfilled life with his daughter and never once removed the ring again.
Fun in Novara, Italy!
By: Liz Flynn
Located in Piedmont in northwest Italy, Novara is the capital of the province of Novara and is the second most populous city in Piedmont. It lies between Milan and Turin and is on the route to both Genoa and Switzerland. For these reasons, many people visit Novara in passing to other destinations. Whether you are staying for a full vacation in this city or simply passing through, there are many things you can see and do.
Basilica di San Gaudenzio
This cathedral is one of the most notable structures in Novara and is the centerpiece of the city. As the basilica is 121 meters high, it is possible to see the cathedral from most points in the city. It also has an immense central cupola. The exterior of the cathedral is a magnificent sight and the dome towers are a masterpiece of 19th-century architecture. The interior of the church is stunning, with opulent decorative features, such as pretty chapels and delightful frescoes.
Of all the theatrical establishments in Piedmont, this is one of the most important. You will find the theater next to Parco dei Bambini in Giacomo Puccini square. It is architecturally interesting and was built in the 19th century. The inside is equally stunning, especially during performances when it is lit up. Watching an opera here is an unforgettable experience should you get the opportunity to do so.
Located in the center of Novara is the Broletto. This is a courtyard surrounding by interesting buildings in four different architectural styles. One of the most beautiful buildings around the courtyard is the Palace of the Paratici.
The cathedral is situated next to Teatro Coccia in the heart of the historic town center. The front façade resembles a Roman temple. Inside, the altar features some outstanding artwork and a large golden cross.
Parco Naturale delle Lame del Sesia
This park is just 15 minutes away from Novara and is a fine example of the natural beauty of the area once you are outside the city. Located on the banks of the River Sesia, this is a protected area. It is great for getting back to nature, enjoying a relaxing walk, or taking a bike ride.
Visiting Surrounding Towns and Cities
Rather than simply staying in Novara during your visit, you should try to visit some of the pretty surrounding towns as you will find many more things to see and do in these locations. Some of the best local towns to visit are Galliate, Vercelli, and Arona on Lake Maggiore (pictured). It is also worth taking a day trip to enjoy the delights of Milan.
There are many interesting traditional dishes in Piedmont that you should try during a visit to Novara and you will find these on many of the restaurants in the city. Two of the top restaurants to visit to sample the local food are La Locanda delle Due Suocere and Civico 27.
The Great Arrival: The 1880s to 1920
By: Liz Flynn
From Columbus finding the New World to today, Italians have immigrated to the United States. However, there was an era that saw a particularly large influx of Italians in the United States and this is now referred to as The Great Arrival.
Ellis Island was the place where most Italians took their first steps on American soil and this place is now legendary for its part in The Great Arrival. The 1880s saw the first surge of Italian immigrants with numbers exceeding 300,000. However, the numbers continued to rise as the 890s saw the arrival of over 600,000 Italians and in the first decade of the twentieth century, the United States welcomed more than two million Italians. Over four million Italians had arrived in the United States by 1920.
There were multiple reasons why there was a sudden surge of immigrants at this time and these differed from one family or individual to the next. The situation in Italy was one of the predominant motivations for people to seek a new life. There was a lot of political and social unrest in the country and this had caused widespread poverty. Several natural disasters also occurred but the government did not have the means to help its people. Travel to America became more affordable and people realized that it was an opportunity to live a better life, earn more money and get away from the issues in Italy.
Prior to the 1880s, there were Italian immigrants in the United States but these had consisted mainly of shopkeepers and artisans. The new immigrants were somewhat different as the majority were either laborers or farmers seeking work. A large percentage of immigrants were men who came alone. Between 30 and 50 percent of the immigrants who arrived during The Great Arrival returned home to Italy within five years. Often, their intention was to earn enough money to buy land in Italy, which they did on their return. Those who did this were called the ‘ritornati’.
However, there were many Italian immigrants who stayed in the United States and made a life for themselves and their families. Those who had family still living in Italy would often send home money to their families. Government records estimated that anywhere between $4 million and $30 million was sent to Italy each year. This had a significant impact on the improved economy in Italy.
By 1920, the Italians were making a significant contribution in the workplace and many secured higher paying jobs than those they had initially taken on their arrival. The ‘Little Italy’ neighborhoods in some of the major cities were now well-established communities. However, some chose to move away from the security of these small Italian communities to move to more affluent neighborhoods.
Gorgeous Italian Models
By: Liz Flynn
A common stereotype about the Italians is that they are blessed with good looks. However, the number of famous fashion models who come from Italy may prove that there is some truth in this belief. Here are six of the most beautiful Italian models in the world.
Monica Anna Maria Bellucci is an Italian model who was born in Citta di Castello on September 30, 1964. She is also known for her acting work, especially her role as a Bond Girl. She is often described as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Carla Bruni is a successful French-Italian model whose modeling career was at its most successful in the 1980s and 1990s. She has since worked as a singer and songwriter. She was born in Turin on December 23, 1967. She is married to Nikolas Sarkozy, the former French President.
Elisabetta Canalis began her career as a showgirl before progressing to successful careers in acting, presenting and modeling. She was born on September 12, 1978, in Sassari.
Bianca Balti was born on March 19, 1984, in Lodi, Italy. She is considered one of the most beautiful and successful of the Italian models. She was married to Christian Lucidi between 2006 and 2010. She has two daughters, Matilde and Mia.
Vanessa Hessler is an Italian-American model who is especially well-known in Italy, France and Germany due to her work in publications in these countries. Born in Rome on January 21, 1988, Hessler has worked as a model since the age of 15.
Isabella Fiorella Elettra Giovanni Rossellini was born in Rome on June 18, 1942. She is the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini. She has a twin sister called Isotta. In addition to her work as a model, she is also a famous actress, filmmaker, author and philanthropist.
12 Facts About Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese is one of the most successful and well-known Italian-American movie directors of all time. He is also a screenwriter, producer, and film historian. He is often regarded as one of the most significant people in the film industry in terms of cinematic history. Here are ten more facts you might not know about this Italian-American director.
The Cuisine of Italy
By: Liz Flynn
Although Italy is well-known for the quality and diversity of its cuisine, there are many that argue that there is no finer example of Italian food than that of Sicily. Although the food is predominantly typically Italian, it also has Spanish, Greek, and Arabic influences. Here is an overview of the cuisine of this Italian island.
Produce of Sicily
The volcanoes on the island have made the soil rich and this is perfect for growing a wide variety of produce. This means that Sicilian cuisine is diverse as there are so many ingredients widely available. Some of the best Sicilian produce includes grapes, olives, grain, pistachios, almonds, lemons, vegetables, artichokes, figs, manna, carob, and capers.
As Sicily is an island, fish and seafood are staple parts of the Sicilian diet. Swordfish, tuna, sea bass, sea bream, and lobster are some of the ingredients used in many Sicilian dishes. Pasta alla Scoglio is a popular seafood dish. This is pasta with shrimps, mussels, and clams. Other ingredients include tomato and herbs.
Unlike many other parts of Italy where the majority of meals have meat as the main ingredient, Sicilian dishes are often vegetarian and this is partly because of the diverse range of vegetables that are readily available on the island. One popular vegetarian dish is caponata. This is a vegetable stew that uses eggplant as the main ingredient.
Like most parts of Italy, cheese is produced in Sicily and they have their own varieties of cheese that are specific to the island. Caciocavallo is one of the main varieties of cheese and its name is rather cryptic. It means ‘horse cheese’ even though this cheese is made from cow’s milk. This is aged for at least eight months to give it a sharp flavor, though mature versions of this cheese are aged for up to two years. It is often grated over pasta dishes and is a good accompaniment to strong wines.
Although many dishes are vegetarian or seafood based, meat is eaten on this island. They use all parts of an animal, so offal is frequently used. A typical street dish is pane con la milza; a pork spleen sandwich. Another popular dish is jaw. This is a stew made by stewing the jaw of an animal in broth for hours.
Ice Cream and Desserts
It is believed that ice cream, or gelato as it is known in Italy, was invented in Sicily. Therefore, it is little wonder that the Sicilians eat so much ice cream and prefer this to any other variety of dessert. Other types of desserts are usually cakes or pastries.
The Aeolian Islands
By: Liz Flynn
While mainland Italy is a diverse landscape with many beautiful places to visit, there are also many stunning islands along the coast of Italy. One group is the Aeolian Islands and this consists of seven separate islands; Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, and Vulcano. In addition to the main islands, there is also Basiluzzo which is a large rock rather than an island. The islands are located in the Tyrrhenian Sea approximately 60 kilometers west of Calabria and 25 kilometers north of Sicily. These islands are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Alicudi and Filicudi
These are two of the smaller islands and far less developed than the other islands in this archipelago. For these reasons, these are the least visited of the islands in the archipelago.
This is the largest and main island of the archipelago. Lipari measures ten kilometers in length and five kilometers in width. The area of the island measures 37 kilometers square. The main town on this island is also called Lipari and this is where visitors will arrive at and leave the island by ferry. Features of the island which visitors can enjoy include an archaeological museum and a Norman church.
Although this is the smallest of the islands, it is widely considered the most fashionable of the Aeolian Island to visit and attracts wealthy tourists. One of the main reasons people choose to visit this island is the spectacular views of Stromboli. The port is the central point of the island’s activity.
In comparison to the other islands in this archipelago, Salina is much greener and is predominantly covered in hills and forests. Of all the Aeolian Islands, this is the only one that is suitable for agriculture. Salina is popular with tourists who enjoy walking and hiking. At 27 kilometers square, it is the largest of the islands.
This is the most remote of the islands. It is most famous for the Stromboli volcano as this has been erupting almost continuously since 1932 and this makes it one of the most active volcanoes on earth. These eruptions are visible from miles away and it is for this reason that the island has earned the nickname of the ‘Lighthouse of Mediterranean’. People take boat trips around the island at night to view the spectacular activity of the volcano first-hand.
The main feature of this island is the Gran Cratere volcano. Even from a distance, it is possible to see the smoke and clouds of sulfurous gas coming from the volcano cone. Vulcano is also known for its hot water springs and mud baths.
Christopher Columbus Vandalized Statue
By: Liz Flynn
Police in Baltimore are currently investigating the vandalism of a well-known monument to Christopher Columbus that is located close to Lake Montebello, northeast Baltimore. Residents of the area were surprised when they woke up and saw what had happened to the local landmark.
The vandalism happened overnight and there is a YouTube video of the captured incident that shows a person dressed in dark clothing. This person, who currently remains unknown, took a sledge hammer to the monument causing significant damage.
In Baltimore, there are three monuments that are all dedicated to Christopher Columbus. Located on the corner of Harford Road and Walther Avenue, this monument is the oldest in the country. It was erected in 1792 and is owned by the city. The police have taken the incident seriously and have stated that it was an illegal act and that those responsible would face prosecution.
The incident has evoked strong emotions in the community. However, there are those who are distraught at the damage done to the monument and others who agree with the act as they disagree with many of the things Columbus did in his life, particularly with regard to racism.
A YouTuber called ‘Ty’ was responsible for posting the video online. The only other fact known about the narrator of the video is that he is from somewhere in the city of Baltimore. In the video, Ty suggests that the intentional damage was to make a stand against the racial hatred Christopher Columbus showed to certain minority groups in his lifetime.
Although there is only one person clearly shown on the video, police currently believe that there were actually three people involved in the vandalism. They are urging anyone who knows anything to come forward as they are taking this situation very seriously.
The statue is now in consideration for being removed from the city. Many Italians are outraged about this idea, and are scheduling a protest to keep the statue in the ground. How do you feel about this issue?
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