Ester, nella foto in alto, ci mostra la copertina del numero di marzo del Gourmet Traveller, dedicato interamente all'Italia e alla cucina italiana. Tantissime le ricette gustosissime, bellissime le foto, numerosi gli articoli interessantissimi, insomma un numero assolutamente da non perdere! Troverete la rivista in edicola al prezzo di $8.95. In basso, vi proponiamo alcune foto delle pagine interne e l'articolo scrito da Giovanni Paradiso, gestore dei ristoranti Fratelli Paradiso e 10 William St, che ci porta alla scoperta dei ristoranti e bar milanesi che il ristoratore frequenta abitualmente quando si reca a Milano. Seguono l'artcolo tre video: il primo, Tips for Visiting Milan, ci offre una breve introduzione alla città; il secondo, molto bello, What to Do in Milan, di The New York Times, ci propone una serie di locali milanesi dove mangiare e bere che proveremo sicuramente la prossima volta che andremo a Milano; nell terzo video impareremo come goderci la città di Milano con soli 10 euro (alloggio escluso!). Possibile? Se si è a dieta e si rinuncia al caffè e allo shopping, pare di sì! (Se siete autorizzati ad accedere alle Lezioni online troverete la trascrizione del video ed una serie di esercizi di comprensione orale basati su di essa.) Buona lettura, buona visione, e buon appetito!
Ester, in the photo above, is showing us the cover of the March edition of the Gourmet Traveller, dedicated entirely to Italy and Italian cuisine. Featuring lots of mouth-watering recepies, beautiful photos, interesting articles, it's a must! You'll find the magazine in all newsagencies for $8.95. Below, you'll find some photos of the internal pages of the magazine and the article written by Giovanni Paradiso, owner of the restaurants Fratelli Paradiso and 10 William St, who "takes us to his favourite haunts in Milan". The article is followed by three videos: the first, Tips for Visiting Milan, offers us a brief introduction to the city; the second, What to Do in Milan, by the New York Times, visits a number of bars and restaurants which we will surely try out on our next trip to Milan; in the third video, we will learn how to enjoy the city of Milan with only 10 euros (excluding accomodation!). Is it possible? If you are on a diet and you are happy to give up coffee and shopping, it seems so!
I've been visiting Milan every year for the past years. I spent a bit of time there in my youth, and now that I go to Italy two or three times a year, I always fly in there. It's my first port of call and gets me grounded, mainly because it feels familiar to me. That takes a while, and I know a lot of people who really hate the city, but it's one of those places where you need to scratch beyond the surface, get past all the glitz, to really get to know it.
I don't specifically seek out wines from Lombardy. Some producers are doing interesting things with franciacorta, but usually my imagination is more captured by Sicily and Friuli. There's great stuff coming out of Lazio now, and I'm loving the natural wines coming from Toscana. Sardinia is there, we're getting interesting things from Puglia, and Campania, and some of the things coming out of the Veneto are drinking really well, too.
insalata nervetti, the tendon salad, and then a risotto with osso buco and you'll be very happy.
The University of Chicago Press ha recentemente pubblicato una vasta selezione di poesie molto belle di Pier Paolo Pasolini, in edizione bilingue con testo italiano e inglese, selezionate e tradotte da Stephen Sartarelli. Con la morte di Pasolini nel 1975, è venuta a mancare una delle voci più penetranti, e insieme per tanti versi più scomoda, della cultura italiana del dopoguerra, e la pubblicazione di questa selezione di poesie ci offre l'opportunità di ricordarlo e, oggi più che mai, di rimpiangerlo.
Ecco, in basso, la recensione di Simon West di The Selected Poetry of Pier Paolo Pasolini apparso in The Australian del 22-23 novembre, 2014:
Narcissist and civic poet: the Pasolini variations
Per capire un po' meglio chi era Pier Paolo Pasolini, ecco, in basso, uno straordinario documentario, del 1981, di Philo Bregstein: Whoever says the Truth Shall Die: a Film About Pier Paolo Pasolini. Segue il documentario una scena meravigliosamente malinconica tratta dal film Caro Diario, del 1993, di Nanni Moretti, in cui il regista si reca in vespa al lido di Ostia, sul luogo dell’omicidio di Pasolini. L'interminabile piano-sequenza è accompagnata dalle note di Keith Jarrett tratte da The Köln Concert del 1975.
A former student of Italia 500, Chris Harrison, has written a wonderful book, full of humour and poignant insights into Italy, called Head Over Heel (available here), about his experience of falling in love with an Italian woman from Puglia - the heel of the boot. Here is a synopsis:
A whitewashed fishing village, a shapely signorina, and an infatuated Aussie – head over heels on the heel of the boot. Head Over Heel is the autobiographical account of the fortunes, comic and shambolic, which befall an unlikely Australian resident in an eccentric Mediterranean outpost, whose love affair with a southern Italian provides a window on her world. Where olive groves slope to the coast and the aromas of cooking wander cobblestone lanes, Sydneysider Chris Harrison encounters a cast of curious characters who show him generosity, friendship, affection, but above all, the real Italy. There’s a policeman who rearranges crimes to suit the necessary forms, a driving instructor who sits exams for his pupils, a Fascist vet whose practice is a shrine to Mussolini, a doctor who prescribes patients his homemade lemon liqueur…
During his whimsical journey from tongue-tied outsider to local villager, Il Canguro – as Chris becomes known – abandons his country, language and culture, his comfortable modern life, to live amongst people of ancient traditions. But perhaps his biggest challenge is his lover’s squat Sicilian mother, determined to convert him to the Catholic faith, to supervise his choice of underwear, and build a second storey on her stucco home where the precarious couple might live happily ever after. Can their relationship possibly survive or will the sweet life turn sour?
And here is a very funny excerpt from Head Over Heel in which Chris talks about the Italian language (our very own Giacomo is mentioned!):
A contestant on an Italian quiz show is stuck on a multiple choice question regarding marble. He has narrowed down the answer to either marmo bianco - white marble, or marmo nero - black marble, but is undecided between the two. Giving him a clue, the host asks which one sounds better and encourages the contestant to articulate both. He complies, slowly, unearthing the music in mundane words. 'Marmo bianco, marmo nero. Marmo bianco, marmo nero.' The man's eyes light up. 'Marmo bianco sounds better,' he replies confidently.
'Is that your final answer?' asks the host. 'Si.'
The Italian rule of thumb is: if it sounds good, stick to it. Bear that in mind if you're ever learning the language. Italian grammar adheres to complex principles, until those principles make a phrase discordant and can be swept aside in the name of beauty. At my Italian course in Sydney, Giacomo had dismissed questions regarding grammar rules with an answer I found unsatisfactory at the time - 'Because it sounds better, basta.' Several years on, I realise there is no better explanation.
Italian is widely considered the most melodic of the Romance languages. King Charles V of Spain said:
When I'm talking to my horse I speak German,
When I'm talking to diplomats I speak French,
When I'm talking to God I speak Spanish,
But when I'm talking to women I speak Italian.
If you want to upset an Italian ear, subject it to the angular tongue of the Germans or the cold, efficient, sterile talk of the Swiss. To an Italian, rhythm and melody are far more important than efficiency, precision and perhaps even meaning. Italians enjoy speaking their language and view it as a pastime rather than a means to an end. In their eyes, or mouths rather, it's a dynamic organism, an instrument with which to make music, a brush with which to paint.
Energised and harmonised by vowels and double consonants, Italian words massage the mouth of the speaker and tickle the ear of the listener. Saying the word stuzzicadenti (toothpick), for example, will do more for your mouth than actually using one. Likewise, 'taste buds' in English sounds somewhat bland, while pupille gustative goes close to satisfying them.
Italian sentences are like symphonies, composed with the onomatopoeia in words like zanzara (mosquito). There is harmony in humdrum words like pipistrello (bat), schizzinoso (fussy), malavventurato (unlucky), like pipistrello (bat), or inoperosamente (idly). Even place names are fun to say, like Squinzano, Poggibonsi, Domodossola, or people's names, like Baldo Bologna and Marco Magnifico. Bob Matthews in English equates to Roberto di Matteo in Italian. And Joe Green is Giuseppe Verdi. Who would you rather be?
There is, unfortunately, an ugly side to this beautiful banter. Speaking Italian is addictive and most Italians would prefer to talk to themselves rather than stop. But verbosity inhibits clarity, with frustrating results. Ask a German where the bank is and they'll either tell you or say they don't know. Ask an Italian and they'll tell you regardless of whether they know or not. Their tongues are far too hyperactive for terse replies like 'I don't know'.
The other downside is that Italians dislike listening almost as much as they love speaking. Community service announcements on Italian TV don't aim to stop people smoking, littering or drink-driving, instead they try to stop them babbling. 'Chi ascolta cresce' is their catchphrase-'Whoever listens, learns'. Errico the bank manager told me that if you don't shout in Italy you won't be heard, something conversations with Francesco duly confirmed. Raising one's voice to speak Italian is a form of social Darwinism, a fight for survival in a conversation. As a result, learning Italian also means learning how to interrupt, to bellow, to dismiss and to shout down.
For the newcomer, there is a danger that the enthusiasm required to converse in Italian can influence the composure with which they speak their native tongue. After a short time in Italy, the undesirable habits that came with Italian had crept into my English, alienating friends and family who mistook passion for aggression. Cut off the Italians mid-sentence, swat your hand at them, call them fools; they'll still be your friends and will have done worse to you. Do it in Australia and you'll be drinking on your own.
Unaware of the pitfalls, I fell in love with Italian and began talking so much I almost got stretch marks on my tongue. Giacomo knew his language was addictive when he planned his course. By first teaching us colourful expressions, he ensured I became so excited by what Italian did to my mouth that I was prepared to tolerate what its intricate grammar did to my head. My first French lesson at university was grammar based, meaning I could take or leave my second. But after Giacomo's first lesson I had the audacious ability to ask a woman to my bed, ensuring my attendance at lesson two on the off-chance she accepted.
If you would like to find out more about the book, and Chris himself, visit Chris' website at www.chrisharrisonwriting.com. Click here to read a very very funny article by Chris about la Puglia in general and about eating horse meat in Puglia! Below, we've posted Tony Tardio's excellent interview with Chris which was broadcast on Rete Italia in December, 2008. Buon ascolto!
Il consiglio più prezioso che chiunque vi possa dare prima di visitare Venezia (ma lo stesso vale per tutta l'Italia), ancor più del nome di un ottimo albergo o ristorante a buon prezzo, è quello di studiare un po' la storia di Venezia, che è assolutamente affascinante. Infatti, la storia di Venezia è forse l'esempio più eclatante di quanto la geografia fisica, la geografia politica, e un pizzico di fortuna possano influire sulla nascita e determinare lo sviluppo di una città, e conoscere la storia di Venezia è la chiave per apprezzarla appieno. Venezia ha sempre affascinato gli storici e continua a farlo, quindi non è difficile trovare libri dedicati alla storia di questa bellissima città. Per esempio, tra i libri in lingua inglese pubblicati di recente troviamo: City of Fortune, di Roger Crowley (2011); Venice, Pure City, di Peter Ackroyd (2009); The Spirit of Venice, di Paul Strathern (2012); Venice: A New History, di Thomas Madden (2012); Venice, Lion City, di Garry Wills (2001); Venice: A New History of the City and Its People, di Elizabeth Horodowich (2009); Venice: History of the Floating City, di Joanne Ferraro (2012); The Siege of Venice, di Jonathan Keates (2005); Italian Venice: A History, di R.J.B. Bosworth (2014); quindi non c'è che l'imbarazzo della scelta. Ma addentrarsi nella storia di Venezia, soprattutto per quanto riguarda i primi secoli, non è facile se non si ha una conoscenza generale della storia del Tardo Impero romano, e di ciò che è accaduto dopo la caduta dell'Impero romano d'Occidente. Abbiamo alcuni studenti che conoscono la storia d'Italia e dell'Europa meglio di tutti noi messi insieme ma, per coloro che volessero informarsi di questo periodo storico, c'è un corso di storia online assolutamente fantastico, The Early Middle Ages, 284 -1000, della Yale University, di 22 lezioni, del professor Paul Freedman. Se avete il tempo vi suggeriamo di vedere tutte le lezioni perché sono interessantissime, ma, se non avete tanto tempo a disposizione, abbiamo inserito in basso le lezioni che ci sembrano più pertinenti per capire meglio i primi secoli della storia di Venezia.
The most precious advice anyone can give you prior to visiting Venice (but the same applies to the whole of Italy), even more so than the name of an inexpensive excellent hotel or restaurant, is to study a little the history of Venice, which is absolutely fascinating. In fact, the history of Venice is perhaps the most striking example of how the physical geography, the political geography, and a pinch of fortune can influence the birth and determine the development of a city, and acquainting oneself with the history of Venice is the key to appreciating it to the fullest. Venice has always fascinated historians and continues to do so, therefore it's not difficult to find books dedicated to the history of this most beautiful city. For example, amongst the books published in English in recent times we find: City of Fortune, by Roger Crowley (2011); Venice, Pure City, by Peter Ackroyd (2009); The Spirit of Venice, by Paul Strathern (2012); Venice: A New History, by Thomas Madden (2012); Venice, Lion City, by Garry Wills (2001); Venice: A New History of the City and Its People, by Elizabeth Horodowich (2009); Venice: History of the Floating City, by Joanne Ferraro (2012); The Siege of Venice, by Jonathan Keates (2005); Italian Venice: A History, by R.J.B. Bosworth (2014); therefore we are quite spoilt for choice. But to delve into the history of Venice, above all in relation to the early centuries, is not easy if one doesn't have a general knowledge of the history of the Late Roman Empire, and of what happened after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. We have some students who have a greater knowledge of the history iof Italy and Europe than all of us put together but, for those who would like to learn more about this historical period, there's an excellent Yale University online history course, The Early Middle Ages, 284 -1000, made up of 22 lectures presented by Professor Paul Freedman. If you have the time we reccomend you watch all the lectures because they are very interesting, but, if you don't have much time on your hands, we've embedded below the lessons which to us seem the most relevant at understanding better the first centuries of Venice's history.
Ecco un documentario molto interessante che parla di Diocleziano e di Costantino, tratto dalla serie di sei puntate, della BBC, del 1997, I, Caesar. Nelle sei puntate della serie vengono esaminate le vite di Cesare, Augusto, Nerone, Adriano, Costantino e Giustiniano e potete acquistarla su Amazon. In basso, vi proporremo anche la puntata dedicata a Giustiniano.
The origins of Venice encircle her still. No great city has managed to preserve, in its immediate surroundings, so much of the atmosphere and environment which gave it birth. The traveller approaching Venice, whether by sea as she should be approached, or by land across the causeway, or even by air, gazes out on the same flat, desolate expanse of water and reed and marsh that the first Venetians chose for their own; and is struck, more forcibly every time, not just by the improbability but by the sheer foolhardiness of their enterprise. It is a curious world, this world of the Venetian lagoon; some 200 square miles of saltwater, much of it shallow enough for a man to wade through waist-deep, but criss-crossed with deeper channels along which Venetian shipping has for centuries made its way to the open sea; studded with shoals formed by the silt which the Brenta, Sile and other, grander streams like the Po and the Adige have brought down from the Alps; scored with endless lines of posts and piles driven into its sandy bed to mark invisible but important features - lobster pots and fishing-grounds, wrecks and cables, moorings, shallows, and recommended routes to be followed by the vaporetti that ply to and fro between the city and the outlying islands. In any season, under any light, it appears strangely devoid of colour; the water is not deep enough to take on either the rich, velvety blue of the Central Mediterranean or that astringent green that characterizes much of the Adriatic. And yet, especially on autumn evenings when the days are drawing in and the surface glistens like oil under a low, misty sun, it can be beautiful - so beautiful that one is surprised that the great Venetian painters, seduced as always by the splendour of their city, took so little interest in their less immediate surroundings. How differently the Dutch would have reacted! But then the Venetian school was essentially joyous; the lagoon, for all its beauty, can be quite unutterably sad. Who in their senses, one wonders, would leave the fertile plains of Lombardy to build a settlement - let alone a city - among these marshy, malarial wastes, on little islets of sand and couchgrass, the playthings of current and tide? This is a question to which there can be only one answer, since there is only one motive strong enough to induce so apparently irrational a step fear. The first builders of Venice were frightened men.
A History of Venice, di John Julius Norwich, continua ad essere uno dei migliori libri sulla storia di Venezia. Norwich è indubbiamente innamorato di Venezia, e lo ammette apertamente nell'introduzione, ma A History of Venice non è un'agiografia della città. Infatti Norwich appartiene alla folta schiera di storici, non Italiani, spesso di lingua inglese, che scrivono sulla storia italiana senza quel fastidioso attaccamento al proprio luogo d'origine e appartenenza politica che spesso caratterizza gli storici italiani. Inizialmente A History of Venice venne pubblicato in due volumi: il primo volume, Venice: the Rise to Empire, risalente al 1977; il secondo, Venice: The Greatness and the Fall, al 1981. L'attuale versione tascabile, facilmente reperibile in libreria [Penguin: $26.99], include entrambi i volumi, ed è la storia cronologica di Venezia dalle origini alla «caduta» della Repubblica in seguito all'occupazione napoleonica della città nel 1797. Norwich si concentra sulla storia politica di Venezia e non si sofferma molto sulla storia sociale e culturale della città, ma è bravissimo a rendere la storia politica di Venezia avvincente e a mettere in risalto sia gli episodi straordinari, purtroppo spesso crudeli, che i personaggi indimenticabili che hanno reso Venezia unica al mondo. Ecco un passo del libro tratto dal primo capitolo (bellissima la frase: «The first builders of Venice were frightened men.»):
A History of Venice, by John Julius Norwich, continues to be one of the best books on the history of Venice. Norwich is undoubtedly fond of Venice, and he openly admits so in the introduction, but A History of Venice is not a hagiography of the city. In fact Norwich belongs to the extensive group of non-Italian, often English-speaking, historians who write about Italian history without that annoying attachment to one's birthplace and political persuasion that often characterises Italian historians. A History of Venice was first published in two volumes: Venice: the Rise to Empire, in 1977; and Venice: The Greatness and the Fall, published in 1981. The current paperback edition, readily available in bookstores [Penguin; $26.99], includes both volumes, and is a chronological history of Venice from its origins to its eighteenth century "fall" of the Republic following the Napoleonic occupation of the city in 1797. Norwich focuses on the political history of Venice and he doesn't dwell much on the social and cultural history of the city, but he has a knack for making the political history of Venice enthralling and for picking out both the extraordinary episodes, unfortunately often cruel, and the unforgettable characters which have made Venice unique in the world. Here's a passage from the first chapter of the book (the phrase: "The first builders of Venice were frightened men.", is simply wonderful):
Street Fight in Naples - Peter Robb (Allen & Unwin; RRP $32.99). For those who are not familiar with Peter Robb, he is an amazing writer! Author of Midnight in Sicily and M, a biography of the artist Caravaggio, in 2010 he published Street Fight in Naples, which is a must read even for those who are not familiar with the city itself. Here's a description:
"Naples is always a shock, flaunting beauty and squalor like nowhere else. Naples is the only city in Europe whose ancient past still lives in its irrepressible people. Their ancestors came from all over the early Mediterranean to the wide bay and its islands, shadowed by a dormant volcano. Not all of them found what they were looking for, but they made a great and terribly human city.
Peter Robb's Street Fight in Naples ranges across nearly three thousand years of Neapolitan life and art, from the first Greek landings in Italy to his own less auspicious arrival thirty-something years ago.
In 1503 Naples became the Mediterranean capital of Spain's world empire and the base for the Christian struggle with Islam. It was a European metropolis matched only by Paris and Istanbul, an extraordinary concentration of military power, lavish consumption, poverty and desperation. As the occupying empire went into crisis, exhausted by its wars against Islamists in the Mediterranean and Protestants in the North, the people of Naples paid a dreadful price.
Naples was where in 1606 the greatest painter of his age fled from Rome after a fatal street fight. Michelangelo Merisi from Caravaggio found in its teeming streets an image of the age's crisis, and released among the painters of Naples the energies of a great age in European art- until everything erupted in a revolt by the dispossessed, and the people of an occupied city brought Europe into the modern world".
Sounds fascinating? Yes, it most definitely is!!! Peter Robb was interviewed by Phillip Adams on Late Night Live on the 22/8/12. We tried to find a link to the programme but to no avail so we've included the podcast (being subscribers to Late Night Live) in the audio file below. It's a precious interview and a shame not to share. Buon ascolto!!!
At Italia 500 we've been offering Italian courses, in Sydney, since 1995 and one of the most beautiful aspects of learning Italian is that it opens the door to a culture of unrivalled richness and diversity. In this blog we'll be sharing some of our favourite books, movies, places in Italy to visit, music, links to podcasts, information about local and international Italian themed events, and the odd "personal" view, in the hope that it will encourage you to delve further into a culture which continues to inspire us and millions of people all over the world.