Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Buon Anno!

Buon anno cari amici e lettori di Ciambellina! Mi auguro che l'anno nuovo porterà un po' di serenità al mondo. Divertitevi stasera ovunque siate!

Happy New Year to all the faithful readers of Ciambellina and even to some of you who are not so faithful (I'm talking to you Babbo!). I hope the new year will bring a little calmness to our crazy planet. Have fun wherever you guys may be!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Buon Natale!

Sono appena tornata dalla festa di nozze del mio cugino, Tim, nel Texas, e sto per partire di nuovo, questa volta andando su per passare le feste con la mia famiglia, sparsa tra New Jersey, New York e Massachusetts.

Oggi devo finire di impacchettare i regali e disfare e rifare le valigie, però prima di partire, vi voglio fare gli auguri di buon natale e buon anno!

Cari lettori di Ciambellina, vi ringrazio di cuore per aver visitato il blog quest'anno e spero che continueremo nell'anno nuovo di condividere la nostra passione per l'Italia e tutto quello che ci offre di bello!

Buone feste!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I opened the panettone.

I wasn't going to. I bought it last week at the Whole Foods store on Ponce with the idea of bringing it somewhere as a special treat.

But then I thought, well, I would like a special treat. Right here, right now.

So I opened it, and still mulling over a long-awaited email I had received from a British friend this morning, I had a flashback to, of course, what do you expect? the days when I lived in Florence and I would buy a panettone to bring for Christmas dinner.

(Please understand, I lived in Florence just after college and I think those early years of adulthood, no matter where you spend them, remain disproportionately impressed upon the brain, perhaps because it's then that we launch our own independent lives, with their own rhythms and routines, separate from Mommy and Daddy).

Specifically, I remembered going to order a specially-made panettone from a bakery on Borgo San Iacopo to bring to my British friend's family in Luxembourg.

They had invited me to spend Christmas with them that first year that I lived in Florence, and as I counted down the days until I boarded the overnight train from Santa Maria Novella station, I made the rounds of neighborhood stores to pick up treats and gifts.

I remember walking over to the bakery along the narrow, cobblestone street on the other side of the Arno from the Duomo, and pausing a moment in front of the glass storefront.

You know the type, either from movies or real-life.

It had a large front window through which you could see a display case full of Christmas delicacies and everyday pastries, and perhaps the baker had stuck his head out of the kitchen for a moment to share a laugh with the girl behind the counter.

Condensation had formed on the window from the heat of the kitchen, and there was a clutch of older women, in their quilted jackets, identical grey, knee-length wool skirts, and sensible brown leather shoes, issuing specific instructions about the items they wanted.

It seemed so evocative of city or village life, the neighborhood bakery. Ever since, I've always wanted to live in neighborhoods that are anchored by a bakery, but alas it's not so easy in America.

And while I was cutting myself a piece of panettone this morning, I wondered why that chore had remained lodged deep inside my mind. Living in Italy, one would not find it unusual to buy a panettone.

But I think the idea of rushing around town, preparing for Christmas, crossing chores off your list -- it all constitutes such a fundamental activity that it almost seems like a scene out of Dickens.

Going to the neighborhood bakery and ordering a Christmas treat is as far as you can get from the suburban shopping mall or car traffic or the incessant intertwining of romance with the birth of Jesus (doesn't that seem a bit odd?).

And it was enough just to breathe in the scent of the panettone this morning to unearth this memory.

Ok, so, if you buy a panettone this Christmas, you may not remember the same thing, but they are seasonal treats. And Lord knows, nothing is more Italian than eating a particular dish at a specific time of year -- and then not again until next year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cleaning lady - Italian speaking preferred

Ho trovato questo annuncio per una donna di servizio sul sito Craig's List.

Chiaramente, non basta saper pulire la casa -- bisogna anche conoscere l'italiano. Bello!

Cleaning lady - Italian speaking preferred
(Manhattan/Brooklyn Heights)
Date: 2008-11-25, 11:40PM EST

We are looking for cleaning ladies for a small cleaning company. We do business mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights downtown.

Please send:
A description about your experience
Why you want to clean apartments
A picture if you have it
If you speak any other languages
When are you available to start and if you can work days/nights/weekends
***Must not have a criminal record***

Pay: $10/hr weekly (cash)
*We have incentives for bonuses*


The same guy posted an earlier ad -- with lower pay! Here it is:

Cleaning lady - Italian speaking preferred
(Manhattan/Brooklyn Heights)

Date: 2008-11-15, 10:38PM EST

We are looking for a reliable cleaning lady for a small company. Most of the jobs will be in Manhattan and some will be in Downtown Brooklyn Heights.

***We prefer Italian speaking, but not necessary***

Pay is $8-10 per hour cash
Start immediately

POI....ho trovato un'altro annuncio, inserito sempre su Craig's List, ma nel reparto Roma. L'unico problema: la persona che l'ha inserito non vive a Roma, dove c'è il Papa. Vive nella piccola cittadina Rome che si trova nello stato di Georgia, qui in USA. Troppo buffo, ragazzi!

House cleaning (rome,ga)

Rispondi a: [?]
Data: 2008-12-11, 5:53PM CET

if you want the house clean for Christmas, call me, very professional job, done in time, very detailed, great price,reference.

call at 706-(***-****)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Baraonda restaurant @ Atlanta

Sometimes you just crave a pizza.

I think that's how Francesco felt, even though he was about to return to Italy (He's the "Italian in Atlanta" I wrote about a few months back). I went out for a pizza with him, two other Italian colleagues and two Spanish colleagues a short while ago.

He chose Baraonda, which is in Midtown (a neighborhood in Atlanta) and has been in business since 2000. It offers your typical Italian pizza list -- Margherita, Capricciosa, Quattro Formaggi -- il solito.

I ordered something a little different without venturing too far from familiar territory --

pizza ortomisto (mixed fresh vegetables). The lighting was a bit dark, so I overcompensated with flash, resulting in the photo above (sigh). But I can tell you my pizza was good enough to savor at home in the form of leftovers.

The crust was especially good -- perfectly seasoned, chewy and substantial. And that's saying a lot because it's often the part of pizza that's the hardest to master in America (in part because of our water).

Il Nostro Inviato actually didn't like his as much as the rest of us (since he makes pizza a lot at home, I think he's a bit more discriminating). And I actually added olive oil and salt to mine, which I usually don't do.

But the three born-and-bred Italians who were with us ate every bite! Here's another look at their smiling faces:

Want to eat at Baraonda? Here's the info:

Baraonda Caffe Italiano
710 Peachtree Street (at 3rd St, Atlanta)
Phone: 404.879.9962

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Plea to save Advanced Placement Italian

As I've mentioned, I'm on a listserv for Italian teachers, and through it, I've watched an ongoing debate about the fate of Advanced Placement Italian, which they didn't have at my high school but I guess is now offered at some schools (though it's now on life-support because of a shortage of funds after only four years).

In one letter I received, an Italian teacher warned colleagues not to get caught up in the holiday rush if it means ignoring the thirty-year struggle to raise the profile of Italian studies, namely by maintaining the AP Italian program.

Here's an excerpt from the letter:

Carissimi Amici e Colleghi,

L’atmosfera festiva in cui già siamo immersi non ci deve assolutamente distrarre riguardo all’obbligo morale che abbiamo verso l’AP: una lotta che dura da più di trent’anni.

Se procediamo ciascuno per suo conto, non riusciremo mai a valorizzare l’italiano e a fare in modo che raggiunga gli stessi livelli di altre lingue, come la spagnola e la francese, che sono riuscite a mantenere per molti anni anche un AP in letteratura, mentre noi corriamo il rischio di veder svanire anche l’unico che possediamo, l’AP Language and Culture, e dopo soli quattro anni di vita.

Abbiamo perciò bisogno dell’impegno di ciascuno di voi, affinché gli studenti si iscrivano anno dopo anno all’esame di AP, in quanto solo l’incremento del numero degli studenti riuscirà a far diminuire i costi dovuti al College Board.


She does end on a positive note:

Buone feste!

Friday, December 05, 2008

We have gelato!

Atlanta has its very own gelateria! (Actually I think there's more than one, but I think this one has been in business the longest).

As you can see it's called Paolo's and it's located in Virginia-Highlands, which is a chic little neighborhood crammed with cutesy boutiques and some cool bars.

Il Nostro Inviato tried the gelato a few months back and gave it the thumbs up (Ciambellina is trying to maintain her girlish figure). It's run by an actual Italian, so that's always a good start.

And right next to Paolo's is this restaurant:

We ate at Figo once and to be honest, I found it a bit odd. First off, it's actually fast food. You order at a counter, then you sit down -- not something you do every at a trattoria.

What's more striking is you can mix and match sauce and pasta style. If you want spaghetti and ragu sauce, you can have it. Typically in Italia, the pasta dishes are somewhat set. Vongole (clams) go with spaghetti, while pappardelle is paired with wild boar sauce.

That's because the Italians believe the shape of the pasta is an important factor in properly unleashing the taste of the sauce.

And of course, then there's the name. But I'm not going there.

Anyway, at least there's some bit of Italy here!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


There are few things that remind me more of the autumn I spent living in the countryside outside of Pisa than chestnuts.

One night while I was living there, we holed up in the rectory of the tiny church across from my house, and Don Dante, who was the pastor, shared local wine and roasted chestnuts (castagne in Italian) with a dozen residents of the tiny village. It was a wonderful fall ritual that a temporary resident -- me! -- happily observed and participated in.

Il Nostro Inviato prepared the chestnuts you see in the photos here yesterday. They are actually from Italy! He bought them at Your Dekalb Farmers Market outside of Decatur.

You can adopt this as your own fall tradition, but you have to remember to score the chestnuts! Otherwise they will explode in the oven. So use a sharp knife to make the incisions (you can see the little slash marks in the chestnuts in the photo below), place the chestnuts on a cookie sheet, and then slide them into the oven for 20 minutes or so.

I find the power of scent almost humbling at times in its capacity to conjure up a time and a place so far from where you are now.

Just as chestnuts whisper, "Fall, 1995, Pisa" in my ear, so does that other autumnal smell, the scent of crops burning in the early evening.

Perhaps it may not seem very evocative, but I inhaled that scent as I biked through fields in the Pisan countryside that were still smoking. On my way back from the train station where I had just returned from Florence, I felt like I was biking through a sepia-toned photo. Instead, I was just living.

Yay chestnuts!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Oggi è la festa di ringraziamento in USA.

E' la festa che ricorda e celebra i primi giorni del nostro paese, quando, seconda la leggenda, i puritani fecero un cenone con gli indiani per ringraziare Dio che avevano infatti sopravvissuto un'inverno bruttissimo.

Come potete immaginare, è anche un giorno quando noi ringraziamo Dio (o chiunque) per la nostra salute, per le nostre famiglie, per tutte le cose che a volte rendono la vita bella.

Allora che c'entra la torta nella foto quassù?

Vabbè, tocca a noi portare i dolci (ed il vino!) per la cena, che si avrà luogo per noi quest'anno alla casa dei genitori del fidanzato della mia amica Beth, e Il Nostro Inviato ha preparato la torta di mele tipicamente americana.

Per quanto riguarda il vino, portiamo una bottiglia di Santa Cristina! Un po' di Toscana ce la portiamo dietro ovunque andiamo!

(Quella torta nella foto è la torta che lui aveva preparato domenica scorsa per practica. Era buonissima!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Due anni!!!

Sono due anni che scrivo questo blog!

Sì, sì, Ciambellina compie 2 anni questo mese.

Me ne sono accorta proprio ora quando ho dato un'occhiata al mio profilo personale (che di solito non guardo).

Eh, vabbè, spero che il blog continui a piacervi ed ad offrirvi qualcosa di bello ogni tanto. Sappiamo tutti che il mondo spesso non è un posto molto divertente, quindi dobbiamo noi cercare a rallegrarci ed a volte anche sollevarci.

Il mio scopo per il blog è sempre stato di mantenere la mia conoscenza della lingua, e forse anche far crescere un desiderio fra altri americani di impararla.

Sapete di già, se leggete questo blog anche solo di passaggio, che parlare in italiano, leggere libri o addirittura qualsiasi cosa in italiano, e conoscere gli italiani -- tutt'e tre mi sollevano, mi ispirano e mi divertono moltissimo.

Anzi, a bestia!

Credo che la conoscenza di qualsiasi lingua straniera possa darvi un piacere intenso, e possa far una squisita parte della vita. Ma come straniera che ha imparato l'italiano da adulta, io vi posso dire che la lingua italiana è cosa unica.

Allora faccio auguri a me stessa e a tutti voi!

Friday, November 21, 2008

International Year of Languages

Did you know 2008 is the International Year of Languages?

Oh you did?

Hmmm....Ciambellina was unaware of this.

Apparently, on May 16, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2008 International Year of Languages to promote "unity in diversity and global understanding."

Well who knew?!

Quite frankly, there are too many groups, and too many special designations and too many events and... Ciambellina can't keep up!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Best coffee bar in Milan! (Il Nostro Inviato brought the napkin back for me a month ago. Yes, I love Zucca that much that a little napkin would make me happy).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dove abito ora: foto

Una statua al cimeterio nel mio vicinato.

Una veduta del centro di Atlanta dal parco nel mio vicinato.

Una scultura pubblica di Sol Le Witt ad Atlanta.

Lavazza opens cafe in Chicago

Not sure if you guys saw this but Lavazza has opened its first cafe in America in Chicago!

I meant to post this last week but got busy doing a translation for a documentary film. Yes a translation! I will fill you in on that later.

Lavazza, which in the announcement billed itself as Italy's Leading Coffee Company (what about Illy?), opened a cafe last Tuesday in the Drake Hotel in Chicago.

In addition to its world-famous coffee, Lavazza will be serving food at the cafe, including brie and prosciutto panini with fig and tangerine marmalade and smoked salmon caprese salad.

Oh Lavazza you had me at smoked salmon!

Apparently, Lavazza runs similar cafes in Europe. I've never been to any; I always stick with a local neighborhood bar when I have my coffee in Italy.

That said, how about a Lavazza cafe in Atlanta? Hey Lavazza folks: I would be happy to show you just where to build it! (Within walking distance of my house!)

Buona giornata ragazzi!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Berlusconi -- An Inspiration to So Many

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been in the news lately, namely for calling American President-Elect Barack Obama "sun-tanned."

His reveling in a disco as financial markets crashed was also mentioned in a story in the New York Times last month, which we linked to here.

Now, some Italians feel they need to speak up, if only to say Berlusconi is not speaking in their name.

And they have launched a Web site called, drumroll please, I'm Italian and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Is Not Speaking in My Name.

The site is a series of photos of Italians as they hold signs saying, appunto, that Berlusconi does not speak for them! Here's the link:

Allora, ripeto: chi lo vota e perché? Fatevi sentire!

Berlusconi's also the subject of a new article in last week's New Yorker by Alexander Stille, a respected historian. The story summarizes reporting seen elsewhere, including Berlusconi's visit to the disco, and gives Americans a good survey of just how wacky this guy is!

How wacky is he? Well the story is called, ahem, "Girls! Girls! Girls!"

You can find an abstract at the link below, but you need to register to read the whole story:

Ah il Berlusca!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Vespa Watch continues....

Pretty fancy, huh?

I saw this Vespa at the Martin Luther King Jr. Natatorium @ Boulevard in Atlanta. The owner said it was modeled on 1970s British police vehicles. Really? I'm out of my league now -- I have no idea what 1970s British police vehicles look like!

But I do know a cool Vespa when I see one!

Buona domenica ragazzi!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

In giro per Atlanta: la Vespa!

I'm officially launching Vespa Watch. If I see a Vespa in my travels around Atlanta, I will take a photo of it!

I just love to see a little touch of Italy in my city!

Stay tuned for other photos.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Un Italiano ad Atlanta per OBAMA

Si, c'è un ragazzo italiano qui ad Atlanta che è un gran sostenitore di Barack Obama, il candidato democratico per il presidente in USA (forse avete sentito dire?!)

Lui si chiama Simone e viene da un paese vicino ad Ancona che si chiama Urbisaglia.

Io l'ho conosciuto un mese fa tramite una amica, e da quando è arrivato, non fa altro che attività di volontariato per Obama. Ha fatto delle chiamate, è andato a bussare alle porte per convincere la gente di votare Obama -- ha fatto tutto.

Manda degli aggiornamenti via email ad altri 300 sostenitori sparsi per il mondo -- alcuni qui, la maggior parte in Italia.

E tramite il suo blog, sparge la voce per evenimenti che hanno a che fare con Obama. Per esempio, ho letto stamani che a Parigi oggi ci sarà un "Nuit Obama" al Tennis Club Couvert (l'indirizzo è 42 avenue du Général de Gaulle).

Stasera, Simone aspetterà i risultati delle elezioni -- come il resto del mondo.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Auguri di Halloween da Ciambellina e Fiona!
(Questa gattona sonnolenta si chiama Fiona, nel caso che non avevi capito).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Il Biscotto Americano

Voi in Italia vi potete vantare di piatti gustossimi come gli spaghetti alle vongole; il risotto alla milanese; e la bistecca alla fiorentina. Per mangiare, c'è anche la gorgonzola, la schiacciata e il bombolone.

Per quanto riguarda la cucina e la buona tavola, siete messi bene.

Ma c'è qualcosa, forse una sola cosa, che abbiamo in America che è un capolavoro gustoso.

Vi presento i biscotti con scaglie di cioccolato -- il biscotto classico americano (Da noi si chiama il chocolate chip cookie).

L'ho trovato qualche volta quando vivevo a Firenze, e i blogghisti italiani hanno pubblicato parecchie ricette in rete. Ma non è un dolce molto comune da voi. Da noi, invece sì. Io auguro che almeno una volta abbiate occasione di gustare questa delizia americana.

Semplicissima da preparare: ci vogliono la farina, due tipi di zucchero, il cioccolato, l'essenza vaniglia (estratto) e poche altre cose.

Io li preparo spesso d'inverno perché col loro profumo in aria, la casa sa di infanzia, ed il sapore non delude mai. Difatti, faceva un po' freddo l'altro giorno, e mi avanzava un po' tempo e quindi mi sono messa a fare i biscotti. Guardate la foto insù.

E poi oltre al caffe latte che preparo tutti i giorni, è una delle poche cose che faccio in cucina che fa impazzire al Nostro Inviato.

Infatti lui fa parecchio il goloso quando li preparo e mangia qualche biscotto ogni giorno. Va a finire che si ingrassa ma a me non importa. L'importante è che gli piacciano.

Sto leggendo: "Il Segreto di Luca" di Ignazio Silone

Monday, October 27, 2008

Food, glorious food -- Weekend edition!

Ciambellina and Il Nostro Inviato were very busy in the kitchen this weekend.

Take a look at what we cooked up! (Or ate; we are not against eating good food other people have made).

From the top, Farro salad with Fried Cauliflower and Prosciutto. A bit of an unusual recipe, in large part because the star is farro, or spelt -- something we don't eat much in Amerca. The fried cauliflower were delicious, though it wasn't easy to reach the high-frying temperature needed.

Poi: pizza fatta in casa -- homemade pizza. The photo is not the best but the homemade crust, the thickly-cut prosciutto and the carmelized onions were indeed the best.

We washed it all down with a bottle of Planeta La Segreta 2006, which is from Sicily.

Last but not least, gelato. Yes, Italian ice cream -- and my favorite flavor, no less: nocciola (hazelnut).

For you local folks, I bought it at Your Dekalb Farmers Market, which I dare say may be a bit like Eataly in Torino, except there are foods from every corner of the globe, and lots of local produce as well. Not sure why, but the Ciao Bella brand uses the plural of the word (nocciole), which I have never seen in Italy.

But the gelato is good! And you can't beat that name (you could translate it as, "Hi Gorgeous!").

Somehow we still found time for a spin in the Little Red Car. The weather in Atlanta lately has been absolutely fabulous -- Alfa Romeo convertible weather, as you can see.

Buon appetito!

Friday, October 24, 2008

NYT: Italy's Premier Riding High

The New York Times had an interesting and frightening article the other day on the expanded power -- on top of already expansive power -- the financial crisis has handed Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Reading it, I started humming the Simon and Garfunkel tune, "Still Crazy After All These Years."

The link is below but to get just a taste of Il Cavaliere, read the beginning of the story:

"This month, as markets plummeted and investors panicked, Italy’s billionaire prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, watched shares in some of his own companies nose-dive 40 percent. Yet he seemed buoyant as ever, reveling until dawn at a disco in Milan after returning from a meeting with European leaders on how to tackle the financial crisis.

“If I sleep for three hours, I still have enough energy to make love for another three,” the newspaper La Repubblica quoted him as telling the younger crowd.

The link is below.

Italy’s Crisis Has Premier Riding High
Published: October 22, 2008
Italy’s prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is getting a boost to his political fortunes from the economic crisis.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Wine Library offers free shipping for Aglianico Sannio

The Wine Library, that crazy wine supermarket in New Jersey that's run by the zany Gary V. (who's been getting a lot of attention lately), is offering free shipping tomorrow on an Aglianico that Ciambellina actually bought a case of earlier this year.

Villa Carafa Aglianico Sannio 04

I can wholeheartedly recommend this wine! Particularly at $14.98. I don't know why I did not write about this wine previously, but I would suspect it's because of the low quality of the photo I've posted here!

I am so pleased that Aglianico is getting the attention it deserves. More importantly, it's available in many places now in the U.S. -- or just order it from The Wine Library. This particular wine I did not drink when I was in Campania last year, but we tried many other Aglianicos, and they did not disappoint.

I do not lend Ciambellina's endorsement lightly. I have shopped at the Wine Library, ordered wines from this store and built wonderful Christmas baskets of goodies at this store.

The folks who work there are the type of people who find a great wine in YOUR budget. One of those stores where they greet you right away and ask you if you want help. If you don't, no problem. If you do, you will be treated right.

As Gary V. notes, this particular wine was not tested by the New York Times for its article on Aglianico in September (which I wrote about). But I would guess that's because the NYT typically skews more expensive. They are only going to include one wine in the $15 range, and they chose a different one.

For more information, visit or call 888-980-9463.

Wine Library
586 Morris Avenue
Springfield, NJ 07081

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dove abito ora: Halloween Parade

C'è una zona di Atlanta dove tu puoi vedere un po' di tutto sempre, tutti i giorni all'anno. C'è sempre un po' di caos lì.

I punk, i ragazzacci che fumano le canne, i rasta, le lesbiche che odiano gli uomini, le persone coperte di tattuaggi, i ragazzi col orecchino per il naso -- ogni tipo di persona c'è in questa zona (il quale mi piace moltissimo -- voglio bene a tutti).

Allora, potete immaginare com'è per la festa di Halloween, l'unico giorno da noi quando tutto è lecito? Che si fa quando gli è permesso di scatenarsi?

Vi faccio vedere.

Sabato io e il Nostro Inviato siamo andati ad una sfilata per la vigilia di Ognissanti (tenuta in anticipo, non so perché, ma ormai qui in USA si festeggia la festa di Halloween quasi tutto il mese d'ottobre) in questa zona della città (si chiama Little Five Points), e non eravamo delusi.

C'era veramente tutto -- anche la musica tradizionale di una sfilata americana (cioè, c'era la banda liceale che marciava in corteo -- vedete la foto in fondo).

La cosa che mi rallegra è la grandissima fantasia della gente. Che bello!

Oh and strike up the band!

Happy Halloween ragazzi!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NYT on Naples: Clean but empty

For Culturati in Naples, the City’s Notoriety Is Outshining Its Beauty
Published: October 14, 2008
In Naples, the big question is how much culture ever does to turn around a struggling city.

Read more here:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brunello debate continues

VinoWire has an excellent post on a meeting that took place last week in Siena to address the Brunello scandal (In April, five major Brunello producers were exposed for using a small portion of grapes other than Sangiovese in the wine, which is against the rules).

Read more here:

Alla ricerca dei motorini @ Atlanta

Domenica il 5 ott., all'incrocio fra Oakland Ave. e Woodward Ave., Atlanta, Ga. USA!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Polpette, oh and La Vita è Bella!

Does this belong on the blog or no?

On the one hand, what you see in the photo are meatballs (polpette), which people do eat in Italy.

But they don't typically eat them meatball-sub sandwich-style over there, and these particular meatballs were covered in Southern barbecue sauce.

But these polpette were fatte in casa (homemade) and contained high-quality ingredients, both hallmarks of good Italian cooking.

The dish, which was seasoned with goat cheese and covered in greens, was the special Tuesday at Le Petit Marché, a sandwich shop and market in a neighborhood in south Atlanta called Kirkwood (The shop is located at 1963 Hosea Williams Drive, in case any of you locals are curious).

I was still debating whether to post info about my sandwich while I biked home. But then I saw a sign of bell'Italia that helped me make up my mind.

I'm always looking for signs of Italy wherever I go, and especially wherever I live. Of course at home, I stack the deck by lining the bookshelves with Italian novels and the walls with Italian posters.

But that makes it oh so sweet when a little piece of Italy shows up in an unexpected place. I especially love seeing Italian words.

So when I saw what's in the photo below, it seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up. Sometimes we need a little boost, and a little reminder. This wooden sign on the front porch of a house in Kirkwood provided just that (you may need to click on the photo to read the sign).

È vero! La vita è bella!

"Nicola Cabibbo scippato del premio"

An article in Il Corriere della Sera about the awarding of the Nobel prize for Physics to two Japanese scientists Monday argues that a third scientist, the Italian Nicola Cabibbo, was overlooked by the award organizers.

I don't know if he was or he wasn't overlooked.

But I do know that Il Corriere's main headline "Nicola Cabibbo scippato del premio" is awesome.

Cabibbo was "scippato" of the prize, they say.

Scippato. It's the word used when you're walking in Florence, or more likely Naples, and a thief on a motorbike rides up next to you and snatches your purse from your shoulder and then rides off.

Awesome description. Da schiantare!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Il Nostro Inviato è bravo!

Il Nostro Inviato recently returned from a trip to Milan and he did not disappoint little Ciambellina.

Like Babbo Natale, he brought back all of her favorite things!

Looking at the photo, you can see I've hit the jackpot of Italian culinary, periodical and grooming treasures.

Left to right, among the items you see are tarallini (a dry, olive-oil based snack that comes from Puglia); La Settimana Enigmistica, the most awesome puzzles magazine I have ever seen (and so widely available in Italy -- on the newsstand, bought by everyone); lots of wine; two types of coffee (Segafredo, which is a large national brand and Chicco D'Oro, which I have never had); foot cream from L'Erbolario Lodi; and Vie Del Gusto magazine.

Seriously folks, these are my favorite things.

I want to draw your attention to something that may strike Americans as unusual.

It's vino sfuso. It's bulk wine that has not been bottled ... and it comes in a little box! Apparently Il Nostro Inviato sampled so much of it while he was "shopping" that he felt compelled to bring some home.

Vino sfuso has not undergone many of the standardizing processes such as bottling and pasteurization that ensure quality and are hence part of Italy's wine certification system (DOC and DOCG, for example). That means it's an adventure (and a cheap one at that).

The wine shop in Milan where he bought the vino sfuso -- La Vineria -- is on Via Casale in the Navigli section of Milan, which is a cool, gentrifying area of the city that's centered around an old canal.

The wine shop, which vigorously defends bulk wine and calls pasteurization and other standard wine processes unsafe, has received attention from lots of magazines in Italy. You can visit the shop's Web site here

And here's something else he bought there:

A bottle of 2007 Oltrepò Pavese Bonarda. We first drank Oltrepò Pavese when we visited Milan back in 2004. It's just a wee bit fizzy and a whole lotta wonderful.

I will wrap up this post here. Time to enjoy all of my wonderful regali!

Umberto Eco @ Emory (lecture 2)

Umberto Eco gave the second of three lectures at Emory University in Atlanta Monday:
"Author, Text and Interpreters." He elicited frequent laughter from the good-sized crowd, particularly when he described a common interaction he has with translators of his books.

Eco, (seen at center in the photo above, speaking with Italian professors following the lecture) said a translator will often contact him to say a particular passage is ambiguous.

Eco said he can respond in one of three ways. First, he said, he might say, "Oh excuse me, please disregard. I'm glad you discovered that -- it was a mistake." (The academic crowd laughed wholeheartedly hearing this response because Eco, author of Foucault's Pendulum and The Name of The Rose, is known for writing books that have myriad meanings and literary allusions that reference ancient Latin, the Bible and countless other texts.).

Or he can respond, "The ambiguity is intentional."

Last but not least, he said, he may respond by saying the ambiguity was unintentional but as a reader he finds it "intriguing" so please keep it in the translated work!

He said readers "find" meanings in his texts that he does not intend. He has often tried to explain why a particular meaning does not make sense, in the hopes of dissuading them, but he finds, "I was wrong!"

In my previous post on Eco's appearance at Emory, I neglected to write about the lecture series, which is named for Richard Ellmann, the distinguished biographer of James Joyce and a one-time Emory professor.

Ellmann's biography of James Joyce is considered the gold standard for biographies and an essential text for anyone with any interest in the Irish writer. I have the book at home -- I borrowed it from my father as a senior in college when I took a course on James Joyce, and, woops, just never gave it back.

You might think how interesting could a biography be? Read this one and you'll find out.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Recalling La Dolce Vita in Eritrea

It's easy to forget that Italy -- and I don't mean the Roman Empire -- once had colonies. But I suppose I say that because I've never lived in an Italian colony.

The people in Eritrea clearly have not forgotten that they were once subjects of the Italian nation. The New York Times travel section on Sunday published an article on Italy's legacy in the African nation, including striking architectural examples from the colonial period.

Recalling La Dolce Vita in Eritrea
Published: October 5, 2008
A bloody history of conflict and civil war has kept this little-known country hermetically sealed to the outside world. The result is a surreal, out-of-body tourist experience.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Ho votato!

Si, ho già votato nelle elezioni americane che avranno luogo il 4 novembre.

È possibile ora in alcune regioni (per esempio, lo stato di Georgia) di votare in anticipo, ed è una buona idea perché ci sta che ci sarà un casino della Madonna ai seggi elettorali il 4 novembre.

Ci sono tante persone che voteranno per la prima volta, tipo i giovani che non potevano votare prima, oltre ai vecchi non volevano votare nelle ultime elezioni.

Non voglio dire quali dei due candidati per presidente ho scelto, ma vi posso dire che AMO LA LIBERTA'.

Quindi, spetta a voi indovinare.

Yay Democracy!

Ciambellina: Why the changes?

I'm following up today with an English version of a post I wrote yesterday about changes on Ciambellina.

I've added links to and I want to explain why.

I had noticed on sites such as
that bloggers were posting images of the things they loved, and I wanted to do that!

I finally stumbled upon the Amazon Associates program and found out that one way to post such images was to provide links to these products on the site.

That means two things. First, I'm able to show you what I love about Italy and also show you the path to buying these things, if you're interested. Some of these items are hard to find in America, and it's cool to know you can order them through a trusted site.

It also means if you were to buy something, I would receive a portion of the price.

But it's important to me to state that that was never my goal or interest, and I have no expectations that anyone will buy any of these things. Showing pretty pictures of cool Italian stuff was and is my goal. Perhaps there is another way to do it, and if you have suggestions, let me know.

In any event, I hope the semi-commercialization of the site does not offend you, and you are perfectly within your rights to totally ignore the links. But do me a favor, and just look at the pretty pictures!

Because when I look at them -- the cover of my book on Boccioni, the jar of honey, my beloved Italian coffee-maker -- I feel good!

Thanks for your understanding and continued support.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ciambellina: Lavori in Corso

Cari lettori,

Voglio accennarvi alcuni cambiamenti effettuati sul sito di Ciambellina, e voglio anche spiegarmi un po' perché ho effettuato queste modifiche.

Alla colonna destra del sito, ora potete vedere dei collegamenti al sito dove i lettori possono guardare e persino comprare dei libri, film, ed altri oggetti italiani che mi sono cari.

A parte, importa nulla a voi in Italia che seguono il sito, perché sono prodotti molto comuni che voi potete comprare ovunque.

Ma volevo dirvi che non ho impostato i links per guadagnare, anche se mi è possibile guadagnare se qualcuno dovesse comprare un prodotto che accenno qui.

Io volevo semplicemente far vedere le cose italiane che mi stanno al cuore, e avevo osservato tal immagini a diversi altri siti (per esempio, qui: e quindi ho indagato un po', e ho scoperto che se stabilisci i collegamenti con, puoi riscuotere il 4 per cento del prezzo dell'oggetto.

Ma non è il mio scopo guadagnare! Il mio scopo è far vedere, soprattutto ai lettori americani, il miele e i libri e i film e gli artisti italiani che adoro.

Penso che spesso voi italiani siate ignari di quanto affascino gli americani prestono ad oggetti italiani!

Succede spesso che amici e conoscenze ci chiedono un consiglio per il vino o formaggio o altre delizie italiane.

E allora, questa nuova rubrica (divisa in due tra le cose più ricercate che mi piacciono personalmente e le cose un po' più comuni) è il mio modo di non solo spargere la voce che, per esempio, il miele di castagno che viene da Toscana è favoloso ma anche accennare dove lo si può comprare e quanto costa!

Vi ringrazio e spero che continuate a frequentare Ciambellina!

Firenze, silenzio: sto lavorando!

"Il lavoro debilita l'uomo." Io non devo aggiungere altro!

Balcone fiorito

Piece of Heaven
Inserito originariamente da truth82
Bella foto scattata a Bologna.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Umberto Eco in Atlanta

Umberto Eco, the well-known Italian author of "The Name of the Rose" and "Foucault’s Pendulum" and a professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna, has been tapped to provide a series of lectures at Emory University, which is in Atlanta.

You know, where I live now. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!

The lectures take place this Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Is Ciambellina going to the lectures? Is the Pope Catholic? (Very Catholic, last I checked).

Here are some details from Emory's press release:

Eco's lecture series is titled "Confessions of a Young Novelist," a way of letting his audience know that he has been writing novels for a relatively short time, says Ronald Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, who directs the lecture series named for the late literary scholar and Emory Woodruff Professor Richard Ellmann.

"I don't think people have heard Eco talk this way before," Schuchard says of the lectures. "It's an exciting first for Emory to have him come and tell us about his writing life."

Eco's first lecture, "How I Write," will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5 in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, followed by a reception on Patterson Green, adjacent to Goizueta Business School.

Monday's lecture, "Author, Text and Interpreters," is scheduled at 8:15 p.m. in Glenn Memorial Auditorium. Tuesday's lecture, "On the Advantages of Fiction for Life and Death," will be at 4 p.m. in the Schwartz Center, followed by a reading and book signing beginning at 8:15 p.m., also at the Schwartz Center.

Admission is free to the public.

For more information, see

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sei Toscano se....

(Ah the legacy of Jeff Foxworthy!)

Dalla nostra amica, Ilaria, che è toscanissima!

Sei Toscano se.... ("You're from Tuscany if....")

Sei Toscano se...ti scappa detto un: 'maremma maiala!' anche quando non dovresti.

Sei Toscano se ... hai sempre la battuta pronta...

Sei Toscano se ... sei stanco della 'coha hola con la hannuccia horta horta'...

Sei Toscano se.. mangi i crostini neri fatti con i fegatelli...

Sei Toscano se.. oltre alla C strascicata, basta muoversi di qualche chilometro per sentire l'accento che cambia: si passa da un 'boia deh!' di Livorno, ad un 'icchè tu vvoi, icchè tu dici...' di Firenze, ad un 'maiala!' di un 'Alò' di Arezzo e chi più ne ha, più ne metta!..

Sei Toscano se.. sai fare le imitazioni degli accenti della tua regione..

Sei Toscano se.. riesci a sdrammatizzare tutte le peggio situazioni con una battuta...

Sei Toscano se.. alla fiera mangi i brigidini...

Sei Toscano se.. a Natale mangi cantuccini e li inzuppi nel vin santo.

Sei Toscano se.. pensi 'noi in toscana abbiamo tutto, mare montagne colline'...

Sei Toscano se.. ti senti orgoglioso del tuo accento, anche quando ti prendono in giro...

Sei Toscano se.. pensi 'eh, ma noi si!!! noi parliamo l'italiano, l'italiano puro!!!'

Sei Toscano se.. sai che tra livornesi e pisani c'è l'odio...

Sei Toscano se.. tutti ti fanno i complimenti per l'accento...

Sei Toscano se.. dici A ME MI...

Sei Toscano se.. ti vanti di esser della stessa regione di Ceccherini, Nuti, Pieraccioni, Benigni, Dante e Leonardo...

Sei Toscano se.. quando ti dicono 'Voi toscani non avete un dialetto', tu rispondi in dialetto stretto e loro 'un'intendano nulla'!

Sei Toscano se.. quando ti imitano nel modo di parlare, rispondi con un sorriso: 'E un ti riesce, gnamo, t'insegno io..'

Sei Toscano se.. almeno una volta da piccolo sei andato al Carnevale di Viareggio...

Sei Toscano se.. dici 'ma che ssei grullo?'...

Sei Toscano se.. mangi i cenci...

Sei Toscano se.. esclami 'SIE!' quando qualcuno spara una cazzata..

Sei Toscano se.. i verbi li dici a metà o li abbrevi: FO, VO, VEDE', ANDA', VENI' ecc ecc...

Sei Toscano se.. dici 'I su fratello', 'Mi mà', 'I mi babbo' o 'Mi pà', 'I
mi amico'...

Sei Toscano se.. dici 'CHETATI!' parecchio convinto invece di 'stai zitto!'...

Sei Toscano se.. chiami la sigaretta 'CICCHINO'...

Sei Toscano se.. mangi le Pappardelle Al Sugo di Cinghiale o di Lepre...

Sei Toscano se.. sai fare sempre casino, metti allegria e sei molto accogliente con le persone...

Sei Toscano se.. chiami 'CENCIO' lo straccio per pulire...

Sei Toscano se.. chiami 'GRANATA' la scopa...

Sei Toscano se.. quando non te ne importa nulla di una cosa dici: 'MA M'IMPORTA UNA SEGA'...

Sei Toscano se.. soprattutto sei fiero di esserlo!!

....E IO LO SONO!!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Today's Dante Moment of the Day

We continue our journey with Charon, the white-haired ferryman, who has attempted to block Dante's way through the Underworld. Virgil, Dante's trusted guide, says not so fast Charon.

E 'l duca lui: «Caron, non ti crucciare:
vuolsi così colà dove si puote
ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare».

Quinci fuor quete le lanose gote
al nocchier de la livida palude,
che 'ntorno a li occhi avea di fiamme rote.

Ma quell' anime, ch'eran lasse e nude,
cangiar colore e dibattero i denti,
ratto che 'nteser le parole crude.

Bestemmiavano Dio e lor parenti,
l'umana spezie e 'l loco e 'l tempo e 'l seme
di lor semenza e di lor nascimenti.

Poi si ritrasser tutte quante insieme,
forte piangendo, a la riva malvagia
ch'attende ciascun uom che Dio non teme.

Caron dimonio, con occhi di bragia
loro accennando, tutte le raccoglie;
batte col remo qualunque s'adagia.

Dante's Inferno, Canto III, 91-108

Our last Dante Moment of the Day came on Sept. 2, if you want to see where we left off.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Noia o disappunto

noia o disappunto
Inserito originariamente da g_u
Ho trovato questa foto oggi sul sito fotografico, Flickr. C'è da dire che a volte la vita è veramente dura. Su, coraggio!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Il Tempo di Morire

C'è voluta solamente una decina di anni ma finalmente Il Nostro Inviato ha capito che Lucio Battisti è bravo e che la sua canzone "Il Tempo Di Morire" è mitica.

Gliel'ho detto che la canzone piace alla nostra amica Ilaria, e credo che l'abbia finalmente convinto che la canzone è forte!

Chissà? Forse fra poco capirà che la canzone "L'America" di Gianni Nannini è altrettanto mitica!

Nota bene: Il Nostro Inviato è partito l'altro ieri per Milano. Gli auguro un buon viaggio e aspetto con anticipazione quali regali lui riporti a casa.

Il libro che sto leggendo: La Bella Figura di Beppe Severgnini

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zidane: «Ho sbagliato. Mi pento.»


Zinedine Zidane, il giocatore di calcio francese, ha ammesso di aver sbalgiato quando ha dato una testata a Marco Materazzi durante la partita Francia-Italia della Coppa Mondiale del 2006, dopo i due si sono scambiati parole in campo.

Io l'avevo sempre difeso ma ora al suo avviso, non si può difendere quello che ha fatto.

Ecco l'articolo dal Corriere della Sera:

Zidane e la testata a Materazzi: «Ho sbagliato. Mi pento»
L'ammissione al cugino: «Non dire mai più che ho fatto bene a dare quella testata. Non ho fatto bene e mi dispiace»

PARIGI - La confessione pubblica, l'ammissione di aver sbagliato con quella testata a Marco Materazzi non c'era mai stata. Eppure Zinedine Zidane, a qualcuno, ha detto «ho sbagliato, mi pento».

Lo rivela l'attesissimo libro, una biografia non autorizzata, «Zidane, una vita segreta», di cui fu misteriosamente rubato a due riprese, in marzo, il manoscritto.

L'AMMISSIONE AL CUGINO - Il libro, che esce il 24 settembre in Francia, è stato scritto dalla giornalista Besma Lahouri e rivela tutta una serie di «segreti» della vita privata, familiare e professionale del giocatore più amato della generazione «mondiale» dei Bleus.

In «Zidane, una vita segreta», la giornalista racconta, tra l’altro, del particolare dopo partita di Zidane, che dopo la sconfitta in finale non avrebbe raggiunse l’albergo della squadra con i suoi compagni, ma sarebbe prelevato dai fratelli Noureddine e Farid e portato a cena in un modesto ristorante di Berlino.

«A tavola - racconta il libro - Noureddine e Farid non hanno chiesto al fratello spiegazioni per la testata a Materazzi, limitandosi a consolarlo. Invano». Nel dicembre 2006, poi, in visita dai suoi parenti in Algeria, Zizou è tornato ad evocare la testata per replicare al cugino Akbou, un farmacista di 40 anni, uno dei pochi ad avere mantenuto sempre i contatti con la famiglia Zidane a Marsiglia.

«Hai fatto bene a dargli quella testata», avrebbe detto Akbou al cugino. Ma la risposta di Zidane sarebbe stata davvero stupefacente: «Non dire più che ho fatto bene. Perché non ho fatto bene e mi dispiace», avrebbe infatti replicato Zizou. Mostrando per la prima volta un segnale di pentimento per il gesto con il quale ha amaramente chiuso la sua carriera.

ALTRI SEGRETI - Francia-Arabia Saudita del 1998 e Francia-Italia del 2006: in entrambi i casi - una partita della prima fase dei mondiali e la finale di Berlino - Zinedine Zidane fu espulso. Eppure, nonostante quanto prescrive il regolamento Fifa, evitò il controllo antidoping prescritto in questi casi. Il libro contiene un capitolo contenente un paio di allusioni al «potere» di Zidane che, in qualche modo, gli avrebbe evitato due controlli «scomodi».

Suffragata dalla testimonianza di due medici Fifa, la notizia che Zidane non ha fatto il test antidoping nemmeno dopo essere stato espulso nella finale in Germania per la testata a Materazzi, viene attribuito nel libro allo statuto di «semidio» ormai raggiunto da Zizou nel mondo del calcio.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Cantina Venosa Vignali Aglianico Del Vulture '03

The Wine Library, in Springfield, N.J., sent an email this morning saying the New York Times' article on aglianico helped the retailer move 85 cases of the Cantina Venosa Vignali Aglianico Del Vulture '03 before 11 a.m. on Wednesday (the day the story appeared).

That wine was the New York Times' top pick for taste and value. (I linked to the online story on Tuesday and casually mentioned that Ciambellina had been writing about aglianico a year ago!)

At $10, the Cantina Venose Vignali was the only wine tested that a "normal person" (i.e. someone like me) could reasonably afford on a regular basis.

Indeed, Gary V., a rabid football fan and the wine guru at the Wine Library says: "Out of the 10 wines that made the NYT list, the Cantina Venosa was the ONLY one that was under $20. In fact, we have it on sale for $9.99....The next best of the Top 10 list was $22 and they only went up from there!"

I think most people are looking for every-day wines. The special bottle of champagne or the $100 bottle of Solaia -- who drinks those wines every day? No one I am writing about. And I would guess most people have quite a few of the good bottles on hand.

I know at Casa Ciambellina, there are two bottles of champagne from France that have been chillin' like villains in the fridge for months.

But I digress!

If you want to order some aglianico from the Wine Library, call 888-980-9463 or go here

Stefano Ramunno, part deux

A long time ago, I wrote a post about an artist based in Florence by the name of Stefano Ramunno.

He creates drawings and watercolors of some of Florence's most famous sites, but he does it with a bit of whimsy.

One drawing features the Duomo in the background, and a clothesline with a clergy's garments drying in the breeze in the foreground. I bought a bunch of small watercolors from him, some framed, some not, and I gave them as gifts or hung them around the house.

Reading back through old comments, I realized a Ciambellina reader very helpfully posted Stefano's Web site.

Here it is:

His shop remains at Via Romana, 18-20r, Florence.

As someone who lived in Florence, I can tell you his works make the perfect keepsake. Here's a photo of one of the works I bought from him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Italian in Atlanta

Last week when I attended my first meeting of the Italian Conversation Club of Atlanta, I met an Italian engineer named Francesco. (Engineers, Italian and otherwise, seem to find me!)

He lives in Milan and has a temporary stint working at Georgia Tech here in Atlanta.

And he writes a blog in Italian about his experiences in America (or really, in Atlanta, which is something in its own right!).

He chose a cute name for the blog and it's very entertaining! He's discovering things that would give many Italians pause -- stuff like boiled peanuts and the fact that if you want to order a prosecco and you're under 50, you're going to need to show your ID.

Here's the link:

And below is an excerpt from his blog in which he tells of his first encounter with the (silly) produce watering-systems you find in supermarkets (The first line is classic: "Americans are strange -- we know this.")

"Gli americani sono strani, lo sappiamo. Molto strani. Ma riescono ad inventare cose veramente fuori dalla portata della più fervida immaginazione.

Ieri ero al supermercato a fare la spesa, un bel supermercato dove si possono comprare anche i cibi freschi. Ero vicino al reparto della frutta e della verdura esposte a vista, con le cassette come da noi, e stavo cercando di decidere quale succo di frutta avesse la confezione più piccola.

Ad un certo punto sento un tuono da temporale. Penso: cavolo, ok che fuori piove, ma sentirsi cosi tanto... Al che mi giro, e vedo che lo scaffale frigorifero dove c'è la verdura stava innaffiando automaticamente il suo freschissimo contenuto.

Per dare l'idea di un cibo fresco, e che più fresco non si può, ti fanno sentire anche il suono del temporale quando annaffiano la verdura. E tu, contento, la compri come se fosse appena colta dal campo. Ancora umida di pioggia."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Aglianico in the New York Times tomorrow

The Wines of the Times column tomorrow will feature wines made from the aglianico grape.

Hey, Ciambellina readers: you read about it here a year ago!

We drank a lot of aglianico in Campania last year when we were visiting the town near Benevento that was the birthplace of Il Nostro Inviato's grandfather.

The article even mentions a wine producer I wrote about a few weeks ago: Tormaresca (though the Times drank a bottle from 2003, not 2006).

Man, if they were interested, they could have called me last year! Really, it just shows that Eric Asimov and I are on the same page. Heck, we even attended the same college!

Anyway, here's the article, which will appear in tomorrow's print edition:

Wines of The Times
An Italian Name Worth Practicing

Published: September 17, 2008
Aglianico wines, the leading red grape of southern Italy, seem to pass unnoticed by most people, which is a shame because they have so much pleasure to offer.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nino Franco Prosecco is here!

By that, I mean Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco di Valdobbiadene -- one of my favorite, favorite wines, and one of Italy's best exports -- is for sale at Kroger.

You know, the run-of-the-mill, not in any way high-end supermarket chain.

That Kroger! I saw it today while I was picking up a few things.

As Bob Dylan said, the times, they are-a-changin!

Of course, a bottle at Kroger costs $15.48, which Ciambellina knows is not a good price. I've bought it at the Wine Library in New Jersey for around $13.90.

But still. It's one more step in the Italianification of America!

Let's hear it for the Bel Paese!


Inserito originariamente da b3bò
I found this photo -- taken in Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence -- on Flickr and thought it was pretty cool. My thoughts -- 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' meets the city of Dante.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Italian Conversation Club -- of Atlanta!

Ieri sera ho parlato italiano dalle 8,00 fino alle 11,00!

E non sono dovuta andare in Italia o a New York.

Ero qui ad Atlanta!

Sono andata ad una cena organizzata dal Italian Conversation Club. Una volta al mese si organizza una cena qui ad Atlanta alla casa di un socio, con l'idea che si deve parlare italiano.

Infatti, all'ingresso, c'era un cartello su cui c'era scritto: "Qui si parla italiano."

In practica c'erano tante persone che invece parlavano inglese, ma io ho incontrato quasi subito un ragazzo da Moldova che parla bene l'italiano e Francesco, un ingegniere da Biella, e quindi ho potuto practicare alla grande!

Alla cena, c'era una trentina di persone -- Americani, Italiani, Europei, vecchi, giovani, pensionati, professionisti. Il club ha 1,200 soci!

E si mangiava bene! Il padrone di casa, Michele che è nato in Sicilia, ha preparato le melanzane grigliate (che erano squisite!), la pizza, gli spaghetti al pomodoro, insalata di mare fredda, ed un sacco di altri piatti.

Per entrare, bisogna o portare da mangiare o bere, o pagare $10. Mi sembra giusto -- se avessi pagato, avrei fatto un affare perché ad una ristorante avrei speso di più per pagare tutto quello che ho mangiato.

Io invece ho portato una bottiglia di dolcetto.

Conviene probabilmente spargere la voce in inglese ma ieri sera ho parlato italiano per tre ore e oggi non voglio fare altro!

Va bene: Looking for more information about the Italian Conversation Club?

The site is actually chock full of information. It provides detailed instructions about hosting an Italian Conversation Club event. For example, your house should be able to hold 100 to 200 people! I'm trying to think if somehow our house could hold 100 people.....hmmm...

I think the next meeting/dinner will take place in Midtown (Atlanta) and I will post information about it as it gets closer.

Buon appetito e buon studio!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Machiavelli: Philosophy, Rhetoric, & History

Email can be such a wonderful thing.

I looked at my email just now and saw the following magical words:

"Machiavelli: Philosophy, Rhetoric, & History"

Wow! Whoever sent it has my attention now!

Sure, it was a long, long, long time ago that I wrote my senior college thesis on Machiavelli, but the Mach doesn't pass out of one's life quickly.

Anyway, it's the title of a conference at Yale University in October.

Ok, so I probably can't go but somehow, just writing about the conference jumpstarts my internal life of the mind, and allows me to take a brief break from the drudgery of every day life.

It probably seems like I am a Dante-head, given the semi-regular Dante Moment of the Day posts.

But I've actually spent much more time puzzling over Machiavelli's prose. Was he a republican thinker? A fascist? A devil? Well, I think he was definitely a devil, as in, "You little devil, you!"

He produced just about every type of writing there is -- essays, plays, diplomatic writings, treatises, historical works. And like many of the best writers, he spent some very bitter moments in exile.

Here's to Machiavelli! And here are the details of the conference, just in case you are luckier than I am, and can attend.

"Machiavelli: Philosophy, Rhetoric, & History"

A conference sponsored by Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Friday and Saturday, October 17 – 18, 2008

This conference will provide a venue for a broad interdisciplinary exploration of Machiavelli as a political philosopher, historian, and literary figure in his own time and beyond.

Sessions will explore Machiavelli’s thought as it related to the ancient world, to the historical imagination and history writing, and to public opinion in his own day and earlier epochs, as well as consider the critical study and evaluation of Machiavelli in the twentieth century.

Open to the public without charge, but registration is required

Details and registration information:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Vandalismi contro la sede di Forza Italia (Berlusconi)

I found this short news item today on Corriere Fiorentino, a service of Corriere della Sera.

Apparently, someone threw a piece of asphalt at a photo of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that was hanging outside the Florence offices of his political party, Forza Italia.


My favorite line: "Non ci faremo intimidire." ("We won't be intimidated.") Yeah, I would guess the Berlusconi folks know a thing or two about intimidation. Ask any journalist in Italy!

Here's the article:

«Un grosso pezzo di asfalto è stato lanciato la scorsa notte contro una foto di Silvio Berlusconi affissa a una delle tre vetrine esterne della sede di Forza Italia di piazza Pier Vettori a Firenze.

Il vetro non è andato in frantumi ma è visibilmente incrinato». Lo dice Tommaso Villa, coordinatore di Forza Italia Giovani a Firenze. L’atto vandalico - continua Villa - è stato segnalato da un gruppo di giovani attivisti del partito che stamani, intorno alle 8, erano andati nella sede per prendere il materiale per un volantinaggio da effettuare davanti alla facoltà di architettura dell’Università di Firenze.

Sul posto è intervenuta la Digos. Villa ha annunciato che Forza Italia presenterà una denuncia.

«PERSISTENTE CLIMA IDEOLOGICO». «Non credo che sia un episodio da sottovalutare: è confermata la persistenza di un preoccupante clima di odio ideologico e di intolleranza nella nostra città».

Lo afferma, in una nota, Bianca Maria Giocoli, capogruppo in consiglio comunale a Firenze di Forza Italia-Pdl, commentando l’atto vandalico compiuto la scorsa notte ai danni della sede di Forza Italia via Pier Vettori a Firenze.

«Non ci faremo intimidire - aggiunge Giocoli, insieme agli altri consiglieri comunali Paolo Amato, Jacopo Bianchi, Enrico Bosi, Massimo Pieri, Marco Stella e Gabriele Toccafondi - ma quanto avvenuto è purtroppo un effetto di una lotta politica che talvolta si basa solo ed esclusivamente sulla delegittimazione dell’ avversario.

Nei giorni scorsi sono apparse scritte intimidatorie contro l’assessore Graziano Cioni. Ieri l’atto vandalico contro la nostra sede: sarà opportuno che di questi episodi si occupi il comitato provinciale per l’ordine pubblico»

Monday, September 08, 2008

Uva di Troia

Uva di Troia or Nero di Troia -- I've seen it now both ways -- is a grape grown primarily in southern Italy that makes for a great wine.

We first enjoyed Uva di Troia last year when we traveled through Puglia. Please note, kind readers, it's thought to have originated in Ancient Troy, hence the name.

Il Nostro Inviato found a bottle of Nero di Troia at the Dekalb Farmers Market here in Atlanta Saturday and we promptly drank it that night.

It was good! It's a hearty red, which went well with the grilled chicken and pasta he had prepared.

(Looking over this post, I realize I've neglected to mention another minor reason we like to drink Uva di Troia: the word troia in Italian means hoebag! You know, bitch. Che brutta troia. Kind of funny. He he he.)

Uva di Troia was one of three types of wine that we drank throughout Puglia -- the other two being Primitivo and Negroamaro. What's interesting is these wines are already making their way into bottle shops and restaurants in the U.S.

I don't know what you're drinking at dinner, but I would put aside the Merlot, the Shiraz, the Cabernet Sauvignon, and try these wines. You won't be disappointed!

Here are the details:

Bottaccia Puglia IGT 2005 Nero di Troia
Torre Quarto -- Cerignola (FG)
13 percent alcohol by volume

Berlusconi loses libel suit against The Economist

I can't find any word of this on the Corriere della Sera but Reuters is reporting that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has lost his lawsuit against The Economist, which in 2001 said he was unfit to lead Italy.

I remember that story -- I still have it!

Here's the story from Reuters:

ROME (Reuters) - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi lost a defamation suit he brought against The Economist over a 2001 cover story that accused him of being "unfit to lead Italy," the British news magazine said on Friday.

Berlusconi, one of Italy's richest men, was ordered to pay The Economist's legal costs of 25,000 euros ($35,760) after a Milan court rejected his libel claims.

The Economist's April 26, 2001, edition ran a front page photo of the media mogul with the headline: "Why Silvio Berlusconi is unfit to lead Italy."

It accused him of having conflicts of interest, analyzed his business empire and detailed trials against him, in an issue which came out just ahead of elections that Berlusconi won.

"They (The Economist's arguments) fully fall within the right to criticize, which is guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution," Milan Judge Angelo Ricciardi wrote, in a copy of the ruling.

Berlusconi's attorney said he would lodge an immediate appeal.

"The Milan court is, in fact, mistaken in ruling lawful an article which in reality should have been considered offensive to the Honorable Berlusconi and was peppered with unfounded assertions," Fabio Lepri said in a statement.

"It is not by chance that the words of the Economist periodical, published shortly before the 2001 elections, have been disproved many times by the votes of the Italian people."

The judgment will do nothing to soften the conservative billionaire's frequent criticism of both the media and Italian judges, who he claims have unfairly targeted him since he entered politics in the early 1990s.

The Economist has repeatedly launched broadsides against Berlusconi, whose business empire spans television, publishing, film and top flight soccer team A.C. Milan.

Just before he narrowly lost his bid for re-election in 2006, the magazine ran a cover story saying "Basta, Berlusconi" ("Enough, Berlusconi"). When snap polls approached in April 2008, it told voters Berlusconi was "still unfit" to lead Italy.

The magazine accused the conservative billionaire in July of using his third term as prime minister largely to pursue his "personal and corporate interests."

The headline was "Berlusconi fiddles, Italy burns" and displayed a caricature of him in the likeliness of Roman emperor Nero.

"There is no hint of debate on the liberalizing measures that Italy's hidebound economy badly needs," it wrote.

Italy's economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the second quarter of the year compared with the first, and Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti has said growth will be "around zero" in 2008, underperforming the euro zone average.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Naples Soccer Fans, Secondo Tempo

It's hard to even begin to describe the video I just posted below.

Briefly, though, on Sunday, Naples soccer fans damaged buses, attacked train conductors and took over the Roma Termini train station by force on their way to a championship match between the Roma and Napoli soccer teams.

It was the latest in a long series of increasingly violent clashes among *some* Italian soccer fans. Such clashes, not unique to Italy, are more common in Europe, where fans are likelier to travel to away games to see their teams.

If you don't speak Italian, the video's images will tell the whole story.

If you do speak Italian, you'll hear that four train conductors were hurt and that the train was two hours late coming from Naples, where train personnel tried to persuade people who did not have tickets and simply wanted to cause trouble to exit the train.

Some of the fans threw small explosives, and wore ski masks not unlike what you would see on a bank robber, or more to the point, on a terrorist.

Italy -- what a beautiful country. But how does this happen?

I scanned a half a dozen videos and different details jumped out at me. In one shot of passengers at Roma Termini, you can see Japanese tourists simultaneously panicked and curious -- they are taking photos of the demonstration but keeping a safe distance.

In another excerpt from TV news, a message about the status of Hurricane Gustav flashes on the screen, while the images of the soccer riot play behind.

The incident has sparked a passionate debate online between those who see the hooligans as a small minority, and defend Naples, and those who have simply had enough of the violence and don't have the heart to see such distinctions.

On YouTube, the video I posted has so far spurred 320 comments online.

In my opinion, you can debate the issue all you want -- you can say it's a small minority that unfortunately besmirches the city of Naples.

But in the end, the innocent passengers who witnessed Sunday's guerrilla warfare probably don't care who's at fault -- they just know Italy has a problem it has to deal with.

Government officials in Italy proposed today that Naples soccer fans will not be allowed to attend away games. Yeah, like that's the bold response needed.

File this under the "Worst of Italy."

Naples Soccer Fans Attack Bus, Take over Rome Train Station

Dante Moment of the Day returns!

È giunto il momento di riprendere i nostri studi Danteschi.

The last time we studied Dante together was March 4 (Yes, my cousin Tim's birthday).

No time to waste! So we will take up where we left off, in Canto III of Dante's Inferno. When we left Dante last, he was touring the Underworld, including a meeting with what translator Ciaran Carson calls "so-so souls," the people who were neither saintly nor full of sin.

In today's installment, Dante encounters Charon, the famous white-haired ferryman, with the less than gentle boatside manner.

Elle rigavan lor di sangue il volto,
che, mischiato di lagrime, a' lor piedi
da fastidiosi vermi era ricolto.

E poi ch'a riguardar oltre mi diedi,
vidi genti a la riva d'un gran fiume;
per ch'io dissi: «Maestro, or mi concedi

ch'i' sappia quali sono, e qual costume
le fa di trapassar parer sì pronte,
com' i' discerno per lo fioco lume».

Ed elli a me: «Le cose ti fier conte
quando noi fermerem li nostri passi
su la trista riviera d'Acheronte».

Allor con li occhi vergognosi e bassi,
temendo no 'l mio dir li fosse grave,
infino al fiume del parlar mi trassi.

Ed ecco verso noi venir per nave
un vecchio, bianco per antico pelo,
gridando: «Guai a voi, anime prave!

Non isperate mai veder lo cielo:
i' vegno per menarvi a l'altra riva
ne le tenebre etterne, in caldo e 'n gelo.

E tu che se' costì, anima viva,
pàrtiti da cotesti che son morti».
Ma poi che vide ch'io non mi partiva,

disse: «Per altra via, per altri porti
verrai a piaggia, non qui, per passare:
più lieve legno convien che ti porti».

Dante's Inferno, Canto III, 66 to 90.