Italian Formula 1 Drivers
By: Liz Flynn
Italy has produced top stars in almost all sports and one of them is motorsport. Many of the Italian Formula One drivers have achieved great success in this field. Here are the top 7 Italian Formula Drivers.
1. Alberto Ascari
Of the 17 races in the 1952 and 1953 championships, Ascari only entered 15 and won 11 of these. Throughout his career, he won over 40 percent of his races. In 1955, he was killed while testing a Ferrari sports car at Monza.
2. Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina
In 1950, Farina became the first Formula One world champion by beating Fagioli and Fangio at Monza. After this success, he raced just three more seasons. Despite surviving the deadly racetracks, he died in a car accident while driving to watch the French Grand Prix in 1966.
3. Riccardo Patrese
When Patrese retired in 1993, he was the most experienced F1 driver in history. During his career, he won six races and came in the top three of the championship on three occasions.
4. Luigi Fagioli
Although Fagioli was nearing the end of his racing career by the time the F1 world championships were organized for 1950, he still achieved great results in that first year. At the beginning of the season, he was 51 and this gives him the record of the oldest grand prix winner as he shared a win in the 1951 grand prix with Fangio.
5. Michele Alboreto
Over his long career, Alboreto won five races. He also came second in the 1985 championship which was won by Frenchman Alain Prost. He retired from the circuit at the end of the 1994 F1 season and was killed in 2001 while testing for Audi in Germany.
6. Piero Taruffi
Taruffi’s career was only short but extremely successful. He was one of the oldest drivers because he was 43 when the 1950 season began. Over the next six years, he started 18 races. However, the only race he won was the 1952 Swiss Grand Prix.
7. Luigi Musso
In the 28 races Musso was involved in, he achieved seven podium positions. His one victory was at the Argentina Grand Prix in 1958. Unfortunately, he was killed in the same year at the French Grand Prix at Reims.
Cold and Cured Italian Meats
By: Liz Flynn
Italy produces many different types of food and drink. Cold and cured meats are one of the food products for which the Italians are well known. Not only are these used as ingredients for other dishes, they are served alone as a snack or as part of a platter of cold meats. Here are some of the most common you will find in an Italian delicatessen.
Bresaola is a salted dried beef from the top round that is aged for between two and three months. It is often served on its own, thinly sliced and slightly chilled or at room temperature. Some people like to add either balsamic vinegar, lemon juice or olive oil to this meat. Another popular way of eating Bresaola is with a salad topped with Parmesan and a seasoning of black pepper.
This is like a cured ham but is meat taken from the neck and shoulders rather than from the buttocks or legs. It is thinly sliced and served as an antipasto, on a sandwich or as a pizza topping.
Genoa salami is usually made from pork but sometimes also contains beef. Other ingredients include black and white peppercorns, garlic, wine, salt and fennel seeds. While many people eat this as an accompaniment to bread or cheese, it is also served as an antipasto, on pizzas or in salads.
In antipasto dishes, Mortadella is topped with a drizzle of olive oil. This cured meat is also used as a sandwich ingredient along with provolone cheese. It resembles bologna in flavour, appearance and size.
This is a cured Italian bacon that is taken from the belly of the pig, salt-cured and cut into slices. It is also flavoured with pepper and other spices. It is served on its own, as a pizza topping or in pasta sauces.
Prosciutto is one of the most widely used cured meats in Italy. It is usually served uncooked and thinly sliced. Some of the ways in which it is served are as a stuffing to joints of meat, wrapped around vegetables or fruit, as a pizza topping, in sandwiches or as an ingredient in pasta sauces.
Although soppressata is usually made from ham, there is a version that is made from beef. There are mild and spicy versions of this meat and it is a great alternative to pepperoni on pizzas.
This is a type of smoked prosciutto that is chewy and robust. It is often served as a sandwich filling.
A form of dry salami that is leaner than other varieties. It has a robust and distinctive flavour but is not overpowering. Toscano salami contains lean pork, fat, peppercorns and garlic.
The Best Dishes in Campania
By: Liz Flynn
Each region of Italy has different culinary delights to offer. The traditional recipes of each region are passed down from one generation to the next. The location often influences the types of food eaten, both in terms of the availability of ingredients and of cultural influences that have impacted on food over history. The Campania is heavily influenced by Neapolitan cooking traditions and the coastal areas of the region often feature freshly caught fish and seafood. Here are some of the best traditional dishes of the Campania region.
This light and fresh dish brings together just four ingredients; tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil. The colors of the Italian flag are replicated in a Caprese Salad and this dish is served either as an appetizer, an entrée or as a side order.
The pizzas of Naples are famous and it is said that Naples is the birthplace of this well-known Italian dish. Although there are many different varieties to try, you can’t beat the simplicity and flavour of a Margherita pizza and these are served in pizzerias across Campania.
Totani e Patate
This delicious dish combines squid and potatoes. It is particularly popular on the Amalfi Coast. So, if you visit one of the restaurants in this area, it is highly likely to feature on the menu.
Spaghetti con le Vongole
If you are staying anywhere along the coast of Campania or on the islands Capri or Ischia, it is likely that you will come across this dish on the menu. It is a simple pasta dish that combines spaghetti, cream, clams, parsley, garlic and olive oil.
Risotto alla Pescatora
This risotto dish can include any type of seafood. Restaurants along the coast will usually use the catch of the day. Popular ingredients are clams, mussels, shrimp and squid.
In Campania, mozzarella is an important ingredient that is used in many dishes. Parmigiana Melanzane consists of thinly sliced and fried eggplant layered with mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil. It is then baked in the oven.
Polpette are a type of meatball that is traditional in Campania and they are accompanied by a tomato sauce. In Campania, pasta is served as a separate course unlike many other countries that serve meatballs on top of pasta and coated in sauce.
Pesce all’Acqua Pazza
This literally translates as fish cooked in crazy water, but the water isn’t crazy at all. This traditional dish involves simmering the fish in water that is flavored with garlic, parsley and tomatoes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
6 Amazing Italian Superbikes
By: Liz Flynn
Motorsports are one of the most popular sports in Italy. Thousands of people turn up to see the superbikes racing first hand and millions more turn on the TV to watch these exciting and spectacular events. Italy is also well-known for manufacturing motorbikes. Here are six of the most amazing superbikes to come from Italy.
1. Ducati Streetfighter S
This upgrade of Ducati’s Streetfighter boasts a phenomenal 155 hp. The low chassis helps it to keep its turns and it weighs five pounds less than the previous model.
2. Aprilia RSV 4 Factory
This Aprilia model produces a staggering 180 hp at 12,500 rpm as it packs an amazing 1,000 cc 65˚ V4. Somme aspects of this superbike are adjustable, such as the height of the engine within the frame, the height of the swingarm pin and the angle and position of the headstock.
3. MV Augusta F4CC
As one of the most exclusive motorcycle manufacturers, anything produced by MV Augusta is pretty special. However, when they release a limited-edition model like the F4CC, it makes it even more impressive and appealing. An interesting fact is that the ‘CC’ stands for Claudio Castiglioni, a patron of the company, who dreamed up this motorcycle which was then turned into a reality by Massimo Tamburini.
4. Bimota Tesi 3D
The design of this superbike is somewhat quirky as the pull rod front suspension has a hub-steering system developed especially by Bimota.
5. Vyrus 985
Like Bimota, Vyrus also decided to get rid of the traditional front fork. The Vyrus 985 uses a Ducati 999cc eight-valve twin engine. This superbike offers an unusual, nimble and fast ride.
6. Ducati 1198 R Corse
Many features of the Ducati 1198 R Corse were inspired by the MotoGP, including the elliptical throttle bodies. Other interesting features include the titanium valves and two fuel injectors per cylinder.
Most Famous Italian Actors
By: Liz Flynn
Italy is famous for producing some of the world’s best artists and fashion designers. However, these are not the only talents to come from this country. There are also some actors who have hit the big time achieved international fame and success. Here are six of the most talented and famous actors of Italian descent.
1. Marcello Mastroianni
Mastroianni is one of the most famous actors in Italy and he has won the Best Actor Award twice at the Cannes Film Festival. He also has an interesting life story including being captured by the Germans in World War II. He managed to escape and fled to Venice.
2. Vittorio Gassman
Gassman has many talents and had the choice of a career in acting or sport as he was a gifted basketball player. He opted for the former and made his stage debut in 1943. He first appeared in a movie in 1946.
3. Gian Maria Volonté
Volonté got a degree after studying at the National Dramatic Arts Academy in Rome. He initially worked in theatre and television. However, he earned international acclaim following his role in ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ in which he played Ramon Rojo.
4. Alberto Sordi
Sordi is a symbol of post-World War II cinema in Italy. Unlike many actors of his time, he did not like slapstick comedy and went for dramas and black comedies instead.
Although he played in many different types of movies, Totò felt most at home playing comedy roles. It is for this genre that this actor is most famous.
6. Roberto Benigni
This actor is best-known for his role in ‘Life is Beautiful’ (La Vita è Bella). For this, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. It was the first time an actor had won this for a non-English speaking role.
7. Raoul Bova
Not only did this actor win acclaim for his acting talents, he was also considered one of the sexiest males to hit the screens. A long-running Italian TV series called ‘La Piovra’ was where this actor made his debut. His movie appearances include playing Sophia Loren’s son in ‘Francesca y Nunziata’.
The Strangest Landmarks and Locations in Italy
By: Liz Flynn
The major towns and cities are the locations with the most attractions and these are where most tourists choose for their vacations. However, some of the most interesting and unusual locations and sights are well away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. If you want different experiences in your vacation than the usual cultural highlights and the attractions created purely for tourists, then you should consider visiting some of the following places in Italy.
Fiordo di Furore
Located in Salerno in southern Italy, Furore is a small town that is famous for its Fjord. This is an ancient gorge that was used to smuggle and hide bandits in bygone times. The gorge is home to several small houses and a tiny beach.
Also known as the Mangiapane Cave, this landmark contains a secret that you will not instantly see on your approach. Located close to Trapani on the west coast of Sicily, there is a whole village within this cave. Although nobody has lived there for over seventy years, the dwellings were occupied since the Palaeolithic era. This is now an open-air museum for people to visit and look what life in such a village was like in times gone by.
The Appennine Colossus
Located at the Villa Medici at Pratolina, the Appennine Colossus measures a humungous 35 feet. This eye-catching structure is more than just a statue as it contains a network of grottoes inside. The walls of these are lined with shells, pearls, crystals and corals. There are also frescoes painted with images of men mining ores.
Colors of the Amalfi Coast
The brightly colored houses along the Amalfi Coast are a spectacular sight. This picturesque area lies between Salerno and Positano. In addition to the multicolored towns, there are beaches, rocky cliff faces and lush forest. The site is included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Fairytale Village: Alberobello
In Puglia, a southern region in Italy, lies the Valle d’Itria. Many are the buildings in this area have cone roofs and are called ‘trulli’. The best examples of these are in a town called Alberello. People who visit this town say it is like being in a fantasy film or the land of the pixies.
This is one of the Egadi Islands, just off Sicily, and it is one of the strangest places you will ever see. The site was used for a quarry and there are now houses and sections of road on the top of towers of stone. All the surrounding ground was chipped away and there now remain strange rock structures, stone staircases, sections converted to gardens in an unusual cave system that you can explore.
8 Things to Do in Pisa
By: Liz Flynn
Pisa is a city that really shows tourists what the history, culture and architecture of Italy are about. If this is the destination of your choice when visiting Italy, then the following are just eight of the things you can see or do during your stay.
1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
This is probably the most famous structures in Italy and one of the most easily recognized in the world. The shallow foundations and the type of soil in the area are responsible for the lean of this building.
2. Piazza dei Cavalieri
If you are interested in architecture, then it is here you will see some of the most interesting buildings in Pisa. Piazza dei Cavalieri, or Knights Square, is a wonderful town square consisting of many churches and buildings you can visit.
3. The Monumental Graveyard of Pisa
While some people may think that a graveyard is a rather macabre place to visit, the graveyard in Pisa is more interesting than most. The deceased buried here are some of the most important in the history of Pisa. There are also artworks from the Roman age, throughout the Medieval age and up to the last century.
4. The Pisa Baptistery
Designed by the architect Diotisalvi, the construction of the Pisa Baptistery began in 1153. However, Giovanni and Nicola Pisano are responsible for many of the sculptures on the exterior of this structure. This is the biggest monument in Italy.
5. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta
Designed by Buscheto, this cathedral is the finest example of Pisa Romanesque art. Construction of this stunning building began in 1604.
6. Teatro Verdi
Why not add a musical experience into your vacation itinerary? The Teatro Verdi has a diverse program of ballets, operas and other performances for you to enjoy throughout the year.
7. Sunlight Park
If you want a day away from the cultural experiences and just want to have some fun, then a visit to this outdoor water park in Marina di Pisa is well worth consideration. There are some fun slides and the attraction is highly recommended as a day out for families visiting Pisa.
8. Il Pineto Parco Avventura
Also in Marina di Pisa is Il Pineto Parco Avventura, a woodland park. Visitors can climb through the trees, walk across rope bridges, swing across the forest on rope swings and return to the ground using zip wires.
8 Things to Do in Palermo, Sicily
By: Liz Flynn
Palermo is the capital city of the Italian island, Sicily. It is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to stay when they visit the island. Even if you are staying elsewhere in Sicily, you should definitely make the effort to visit the capital as there are plenty of thins to see and do in and around the city. Here are 8 of the things you should include in your itinerary if you are visiting Palermo.
1. Palermo Cathedral
The cathedral is one of the most prominent and architecturally interesting structures in the city. The original part was built in 1185 and the numerous additions and extensions continued
2. Watch a Puppet Theatre Show
One of the longest standing traditions in Italy is the ‘Opera dei Pupi’. There are very few places in the world where you will find similar entertainment, so this is a unique activity for your vacation.
3. Take a Swim
The rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and clear blue waters along the coast are stunning. The climate is perfect for taking a dip in the sea or relaxing on the beach.
4. Visit the Foot Markets
Not only are these a great place to buy fresh, local produce, they are also a fantastic way of trying delicious street food. At the end of the day when the stalls are packed away, the bars in the area come to life. The three main markets are Ballaro’, Capo and Vucciria.
5. Eat Local Seafood
The coastal location of Palermo means that the fresh seafood there is out of this world. Many of the cafes and restaurants sell daily specialties featuring seafood and these are something you should try during your stay.
6. Visit Capuchin Catacombs
A rather macabre attraction to say the least, yet still well worth a visit. The Capuchin Catacombs are home to hundreds of mummified bodies and is divided into sections in accordance with the status of the deceased. There is a perfectly preserved body of a little girl who sadly passed away in 1982.
7. Go to Palazzo dei Normanni
Once the seat of the Kings of Sicily, this is also known as the Royal Palace of Palermo. While you are visiting the palazzo, you should also visit the Palatine Chapel on the ground floor.
8. Watch an Opera at Teatro Massimo
Teatro Massimo was the first Italian opera house and the third largest in Europe. Not only is this a beautiful place to visit, it is a great opportunity to experience some musical culture. There is a packed itinerary of ballet, operas and other performances throughout the year.
By: Liz Flynn
More than ever, business is taking place on an international level with people from different countries working alongside each other. While some of this takes via distant communication, there are some occasions when business people need to meet face-to- face. If you are working with Italians, either in Italy or in your own country, then it is important that you understand how Italians conduct business.
In a business setting, the Italians dress formally in office attire and will expect others they are working with to emulate this style.
When Italians meet for drinks, social etiquette says that you should always be late and nobody ever arrives to a party or for drinks at the given time. However, this is not the case when it comes to business meetings. When you are given a time to meet, make sure you are punctual if not early.
Unless you know the people you are working with very well, it is expected that you will address people formally. There are also many unwritten rules about the way you communicate and conduct yourself in business, so you may need to take advice or learn from experience.
Prepare for the Paperwork
If you are working in an Italian business setting, there is always a lot of paperwork. Italy is famous for its bureaucracy and no matter what task you are completing, you are likely to find that you will have a phenomenal amount of forms and documents to complete.
While you are working with Italians, they may wish to entertain you. Even though this is less formal than a meeting in the office, it is still considered a working environment. You should arrive on time and dress appropriately for the venue. It is also worth remembering that drinking excessively is frowned upon in Italy, especially in formal situations.
Influential Italian-American Architects
By: Liz Flynn
Some of the most stunning and notable buildings in the United States are designed by Italian-American architects. Here are some of the best and most famous architects and their work.
Belluschi was born in Ancona, Italy. He completed his degree in civil engineering in Rome and then moved to the United States. When completed his studies at Cornell, he worked in Portland, Oregon, as a draftsman. He built his career and became known as one of the best architects in the United States. In addition to working as the dean of the MIT School of Architecture, he designed over 1,000 American buildings. Two of his most famous structures are the Pan Am Building and the Equitable Building (pictured).
Much of modern day San Francisco is attributed to Mario Ciampi. He was born in San Francisco and studied architecture at Harvard University and then continued his studies in École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1945, he founded his own company, M.J.C. and Associates, His work is diverse and includes schools, churches and highways. One of his most famous works is the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, formerly known as the University of Berkeley Art Museum (pictured).
Giurgola is not just an architect; he is also a professor and an author. Born in Rome, Romaldo Giurgola studied architecture at La Sapienza University. One of his first commissions, when he qualified, was The Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center (pictured). This established his professional reputation in the United States. Other designs of Giurgola include Columbus East High School in Philadelphia and the Lang Music Building at Swarthmore College.
Vito Hannibal Acconci
Although he was originally a poet, Acconci built a career in many different aspects of architecture. These included working as a conventional architect, a landscape architect and an installation artist. Many of this architect’s designs have caused controversy over the years. Rather than focusing on designing buildings, he also designed structures and outdoor furniture. Pictured is a public bench designed by this architect.
6 Activities to Include in a Trip to Milan
By: Liz Flynn
Milan is one of the most visited cities in Italy. It attracts many different types of travellers as the Milan is diverse with lots of things to see and do during your stay. If you are visiting Milan, then you should try to include the following activities and attractions in your itinerary.
1. Shop in Style
Milan is famous for style and fashion. This city is home to many of the top fashion houses in the world. If you like to keep up with the latest trends or have a passion for shopping, then this is the city for you. You will find everything from big designer stores to independent boutiques and products ranging from classy leather accessories to sophisticated evening wear. You should visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele; a shopping arcade that is home to the world’s most glamorous shopping malls.
2. Visit the Art Galleries
Art and culture are an important part of this city’s history. Take the time to admire some of the world’s greatest masterpieces during your stay. Visit Pinacoteca di Brera to see Caravaggio’s ‘Supper at Emmaus’ and Mantegna’s ‘Dead Christ’. You might also enjoy a visit to Pinacoteca Ambrosiana where you will find ‘The Musician’ by Leonardo da Vinci.
3. Eat Dinner on a Tram
A more unusual activity to enjoy while you are in Milan is dinner on a tram. The trams in Milan were yellow and orange in the 1920s and 1950s. They were luxuriously fitted with fluted glass lampshades and varnished wooden seats. Book a meal on ATMosfera, one of the original trams, that shows you the night sights in the city while you enjoy a meal served with wine.
4. See "The Last Supper"
5. A Musical Experience at Teatro Alla Scala
A trip to Milan would not be complete without enjoying a musical experience at Teatro Alla Scala. This is the world’s most famous opera house and some of the top opera, orchestra and ballet companies perform here throughout the year in a jam-packed schedule.
6. Cruise Down the Navigli Waterways
Although it is the canals of Venice that are best-known in Italy, the Navigli waterways in Milan are also worth seeing. Take a trip down one of the two canals before having lunch in a canal-side café or visiting the bohemian shops in this area.
8 Mistakes People Make When They Move to Italy
By: Liz Flynn
For many people, Italy is a country where they would love to live. There are many reasons why people may choose to make the move, such as a new career, a different type of lifestyle or retirement. However, when people take the plunge and move to their dream destination, they often make many mistakes as they adapt to the Italian culture. Here are eight of the most common.
1. Liking Things
When you first move to Italy, you will want to let people know what you do and do not like. However, the grammatical structure of language is confusing to many foreigners who move to the country and they find they are not expressing themselves correctly. The Italian verb for ‘liking’ is ‘piacere’. You need to say ‘me piace’ if you like something and this literally translates as ‘it likes me’. The plural form for ‘I like them’ is ‘a me piacciono’.
While people in the United States tip for everything, there is not the same tipping culture in Italy or many other European countries. A tip is not an expectation but if you do want to leave one, simply round up your bill to the nearest 0 or 5.
3. Train Tracks
Trains are one of the most common ways of getting around in Italy. However, there is a specific system you must follow when buying a ticket or you face landing yourself in trouble. You must first buy the ticket and then have it validated in a machine at the station. If you are found on board the train having not first validated your ticket, you can get thrown off the train and get given a fine. This is a situation that many foreigners find themselves in because they do not understand the system. If you make this mistake, it is important to find the conductor on the train and tell them you have forgotten to avoid getting in trouble.
4. Using Bank Cards
Strictly speaking, there is an Italian law that forces Italian businesses to allow customers to pay for any purchases totalling over €5 heir cards. However, this law is rarely enforced and many shopkeepers ignore it entirely. Italy consists mainly of small and medium-sized businesses. It is too expensive for them to pay the fees associated with card transactions, so they do not take card payments. Therefore, do not be surprised if your request to pay by card is denied as cash is usually the preferred method of payment.
5. Expecting Fresh Milk
In most countries, it is an expectation that you will visit the local grocery store or supermarket and find a good supply of fresh milk. This is not the case in Italy and if you live there it is something you must get used to when you are shopping. In Italy, UHT is the norm in most shops. Similarly, very few places serve anything other than full-fat cow’s milk.
6. Kissing Rules
Of all the social etiquette rules in Italian society, it is kissing that probably causes the most confusion. What is even more confusing is that different rules apply in different areas. In general, kissing as a greeting is informal, so do not kiss people such as your boss or the bank manager. In informal situations, men and women kiss in greeting and women meeting other women will also kiss. In the central and northern regions of Italy, it is unusual for two men to greet each other with a kiss. In southern regions and Sicily, men kissing in greeting is more common. If you are unsure, following the lead of other people or wait for them to make the first move.
7. Drinking Too Much
As wine is one of the major food and drink products of this country, people often assume that the Italians are big drinkers. However, drinking too much at a party is seriously frowned upon. When attending events, it is important to take this into consideration.
While it is important to turn up for work and for meetings on time, it is the norm in informal situations to arrive late. In fact, arriving punctually to a party is almost considered rude and you will be stood alone. In most cases, half an hour after the time stated on the invitation is considered polite.
Shop the Hardcore Italians Store!
8 Top Italian Actresses
By: Liz Flynn
Italy is not just a beautiful, historic and cultured country; it is also the birthplace of some of the most amazing talents in the world. Here are eight of the top actresses to come from Italy.
1. Sophia Loren
Of all the Italian actresses, Sophia Loren is probably the best-known on an international level. The longevity of her career was due to both her talent and her natural beauty. This Hollywood icon won over fifty international awards and this included two Academy Awards.
2. Isabella Rossellini
Isabella Rossellini is a well-known Italian actress who is particularly famous for her roles in ‘Blue Velvet’ and ‘Death Becomes Her’. This talented is more than just an actress, though; she is also known as a model, a philanthropist, a filmmaker and an author.
3. Monica Belluci
In the opinion of many, Monica Belluci is one of the most beautiful women in the world. Although Belluci was well-known in Italy for many years, the American audience were first introduced to her talents when she acted in ‘Tears of the Sun’ alongside Bruce Willis.
4. Valentina Cervi
Talent runs in the Cervi family. Valentina’s father is an Italian director and her grandfather is Gino Cervi, a famous Italian actor. She made the move to English-speaking acting roles in 1996.
5. Claudia Cardinale
During her most successful years, the 1960s and 1970s, Claudia Cardinale was a sex symbol. She predominantly played Italian or French speaking roles.
6. Francesca Bertini
Although she mostly performed in Italian films, Francesca Bertini still earned acclaim as one of the most talented silent movie artists of the early twentieth century.
7. Maria Grazia Cucinotta
Maria Grazia Cucinotta famously played a Bond girl in ‘The World is Not Enough’. She has worked as an actress in both television and film.
8. Asia Argento
Asia Argento is another actress that proves talent can run in families as her father is an Italian director. In addition to her work as an actress, she is also a writer and a film director.
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