Saturday, December 14, 2013

Un presepio un po' speciale

Il Nostro Inviato ci ha portato il presepio nella foto dall'Argentina qualche anno fa. Proprio carino, no?

Monday, December 02, 2013

Am I fetishisizing?

I look at this photo -- my typical "group shot" of all the items Il Nostro Inviato brought back from Italy last week -- and I am struck with an odd thought.

Does this look like a fetish?!

I find myself enshrining these items for a few days or even weeks as I gaze at them. Walking through the house, doing errands, every so often I glance over at my tower of special treats.

It's enough just to look at them. They make me happy!

And each crop of gifties is slightly different. Here the most notable items are the fresh olive oil from a friend's farm (look at that gorgeous deep green color!) and the 50th anniversary menu from Trattoria La Casalinga in Florence.

Plus, who doesn't love a gift? It's a mini-Christmas morning every time he comes back.

I will try to post some pictures of the specific items that stand out this round (including a t-shirt with a picture of a wild boar with the saying, 'Io vivo in Toscana'!) and the latest Elena Ferrante novel.

This should tide me over until Babbo Natale arrives!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Io mi chiamo.....

Anche se a volte mi fa rincrescere che c'è chi può viaggiare in Italia e c'è chi non può, menomale qualche regalino dal nostro inviato si fa trovare a casa nostra.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bell'Italia + pranzo

Buon appetito!

I might want to complain about the viaggi taken by Il Nostro Inviato (senza di me o Leonardo!) but on the other hand, he sure does bring back wonderful treats for Ciambellina.

Exhibit A, my favorite Italian magazine: Bell'Italia!

It's like a hybrid of National Geographic and Conde Nast Traveler. There are absolutely gorgeous photos, fold-out maps and charts, in addition to detailed itineraries around Italy with suggestions on places to eat, sleep and visit.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

'Faisbuck?' Oh The Italians! Born Mavericks.

"Non sono su faisbuck. Ma possiamo essere amici lo stesso."

Translation: I'm not on Facebook. But we can still be friends.

Il Nostro Inviato bought this t-shirt in Italy last week.

I love the way it shows how Italians picture the English word Facebook in their heads. That's how they sound it out in their language!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

L'amante di chi?

Ma possibile che il Berlusca venga anche qui ad Atlanta a trovare le showgirl?!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Leo, part deux

More photos of the birthday boy!

Enjoying cupcakes today at daycare for his birthday.

And some other recent pictures:

Un anno, ragazzi!

Tanti auguri a Leo!

Le foto: Baby and me through the year!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Perfect Hotel Amenity (IMHO)

Dal Nostro Inviato....he's in Sardegna for work (beato lui!) and here's what he finds at his hotel. Ok, it makes sense but for someone like me who's obsessive about my Moka coffee pots, this is PARADISO!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Anche se non ho ancora finito di leggere il libro della Ferrante, mi sono permessa di cominciare un nuovo libro, "Bagheria" di Dacia Maraini.

Che lettura squisita! E per fortuna non lo trovo deprimente come "I Giorni Dell'Abandono," il quale sto ancora leggendo, anche se solamente durante il giorno per evitare gli incubi.

Sara' la prima volta che leggo un libro della Maraini. Altri titoli da consigliare?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Deprimente ma squisito

Deprimente ma squisito.....quello e' il mio commento su 'I Giorni Dell'Abandono,' di Elena Ferrante.

Non l'ho ancora finito ed infatti lo posso leggere solamente durante il giorno perche' senno', ho paura di dormire male, inseguita da degli incubi!

Credo che chi l'abbia gia' letto potrebbe condividere questo mio parere (e fatti sentire se sei d'accordo o meno).

Pero' c'e' da dire che lei e' una scrittrice maestosa.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Gelsomina - finalmente!

Come ho detto altre volte, il profumo di gelsomina è il profumo d'Italia per me!

Basta sentirlo, e comincio a ricordare i bei giorni trascorsi in Italia.

Io non so perché. Cioe', non ricordo dove cresceva quando abitavo in Italia (in pieno centro di Firenze, no, o perlomeno non vicino al mio appartamento.)

Forse cresceva nel paese al mare vicino a Roma dove ho passato l'estate dopo aver preso la laurea.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Elena Ferrante & The Good Book Dilemma

(Caption: Un libro di Elena Ferrante + pranzo = pomeriggio perfetto!)

Does this happen to you?

A new order of books arrived, in my case a little cache of Italian novels and memoirs, including one by an author who's totally new to me.

First, I placed the package on my bed for later -- nothing like anticipation to sweeten a treat even further!

Then I opened it, and took out the books slowly and carefully, without reading them. Not ready to break the spines or introduce creases!

Finally I opened them and began to read one of them, "I Giorni Dell'Abandono" by Elena Ferrante, the author I had previously not heard of. She's clearly a master of prose, of story-telling, of conveying complex and unpleasant emotions.

So what's the problem?

It would be hard to overstate how depressing "I Giorni Dell'Abandono" is. It begins with this line:

"Un pomeriggio d'aprile, subito dopo pranzo, mio marito mi annuncio' che voleva lasciarmi."

Trans.: "One April afternoon,right after lunch, my husband announced that he planned to leave me."

And it really goes down from there, in terms of circumscribing the hellish trajectory of a mother of two living through a breakup she didn't see coming and that's now her undoing.

So what to do? My solution is I read it during the day. In the evenings or if I wake up in the middle of the night, I read Dan Brown's "Inferno" or "The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love."

Is it only me?!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dan Brown's "Inferno"

I couldn't resist! Yes, I'm reading Dan Brown's "Inferno," and quite frankly already imagining the movie! (Tom Hanks as Langdon, okay, sure but who will be Sienna Brooks? I could see someone like Kate Beckinsale, though I don't really like her).

Even though I'm already reading a few other books (including Elena Ferrante's "I Giorni Dell'Abandono"), I just couldn't pass up plunging into a book that will cover some of my favorite topics: the streets of Florence (including the Dante signs), Dante's Inferno, and Italian life in general.

In fact, I sort of see it as a refresher on Dante. I'll never stop studying Dante, I'll never stop reading snippets of La Divina Commedia, I'll never tire of learning something new about this incredible book. Mainly, because it's so complex! I'm quite sure Dan Brown has something to teach me about Dante.

And I hate to say anything negative about the book or the author, as I've already ploughed through 150 pages since I collected the book at the library Saturday, and he has me on the edge of my seat. No, it's not high literature but it sure is entertaining.

And he's popularizing an epic, three-part POEM written in arcane early Italian from the 14th century. As a lover of Italian literature, I'd say that's a pretty good deed!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Una buona forchetta!

Leo @ 10 mesi!

Chiaramente gli piace la pasta asciutta! Menomale dato che si chiama LEONARDO.

Per gli amici in Italia, vi posso rassicurare che sta cresciendo benino e spero vivamente di farvelo conoscere presto presto.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Gli angeli

One of my favorite places in Atlanta is Oakland Cemetery.

I love walking there, and like many others, I love to take photos there. Here are two of my favorites:

I love the combination of skyline, ornamental cemetery monuments and nature in this one picture.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Voglia di Messico/Ch-ch-ch-changes

Ho tantissima voglia di andare in Messico. (ENGLISH BELOW)

Nel passato, non ve ne avrei detto nulla perché che c'entra il Messico con questo blog, dedicato all'Italia e alla lingua di Dante?

Però, la passione che provo per l'Italia ha fatto nascere altre passioni, e il tempo trascorso in Italia ha trasformato il modo in cui vivo, mangio, viaggio, penso, ecc.

Quindi quando vado in Messico, cerco di mangiare ciò che è stagionale. Cerco di conoscere gente del posto, parlare la loro lingua, e cosi via.

Poi c'è da dire che non è mica facile viaggiare spesso dall'America in Italia, e diversi anni ce l'ho fatta solamente ad andare in Messico o altri posti più vicini.

E nel frattempo ho scoperto altri interessi, tipo le foto, la musica cubana, le città, passeggiate dovunque, e cosi via.

E d'ora in poi vorrei condividere queste passioni con voi, i lettori di Ciambellina. Spero di non farvi annoiare!

Per quanto riguarda la foto quassù, l'ho scattata sulla terrazza di un'appartamento che abbiamo preso in affitto in Zihuatanejo, sulla costa ovest di Messico.

Bellissimo, no?


I want to go to Mexico so badly!

In years past, I would never have mentioned it to you because what place does that thought have on a blog that's about Italy and the language of Dante?

But my love of Italy has been a springboard for other interests, and the time that I spent in Italy changed how I live, eat, travel, think, etc. So if I go to Mexico, for example, I try to eat what's in season. I make an effort to meet local people and speak their language.

And I guess it's worth noting that traveling to Italy from the U.S. isn't all that easy for me, and some years all I could manage was a trip to Mexico or some other place that's closer.

Meanwhile, I've discovered all sorts of other interests -- for example, photography, Cuban music, cities, walks, etc.

So from now on, I'm going to write about these interests on this blog and I hope you won't be bored!

As for the photo above, I took it on the terrace of a house we rented in Zihuatanejo, which is on the west coast of Mexico.

It's gorgeous, no?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dante @ Emory University

I saw this sign in a laboratory at Emory University in Atlanta (not a great photo but a great line from the Divina Commedia: "Lasciate ogne speranza voi ch'intrate.")

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Delusione (Disappointment)

I went to see "Lezioni Di Cioccolato" last night as part of the Italian Film Festival in Atlanta, and as I should have expected, it was a profound disappointment.

Unfortunately Friday night was the only night I could attend -- likely a common scenario for many busy Atlanta residents the annual film fest might want to otherwise attract.

But I don't even know why you would bother projecting the film outside of Italy.

It was your typical stupid romantic comedy. Note, Italians know how to make good romantic comedies. Why not show those? Why not find the latest version of something like Pieraccioni's "I Laureati"?

I think people expect more from a foreign film festival than an Adam Sandler-level comedy (and I don't mean "The Wedding Singer"; he's stopped making movies as good as that). This one didn't even feature Italian film stars of that magnitude!

Regrettably, I worry it's a trend. Last year, I wound up going to see "Gli Immaturi," another film in this vein of forgettable, poorly-executed romantic comedies. I believe they showed it twice!

In past years, they've shown serious films such as "Il papà di Giovanna" with the accomplished Italian actor, Silvio Orlandi.

Why hasn't the film festival shown a movie like "La Doppia Ora"? I had to go see it on my own when it came to Atlanta, but I'm sure even many Italophiles missed it and it could have made a nice addition to the film festival any of the past years (since the festival doesn't seem to showcase the latest releases, something that also seems surprising).

I so want to patronize Italian culture here in Atlanta, and I've been a big supporter of the film festival. But I'm really disappointed with the trend of uninspiring films that seem to take center stage at this festival.

And I think from a marketing standpoint, it makes no sense. You'll get the serious cinema-goer if you show important films. You'll get the casual movie consumer if you show broad blockbuster comedies.

But you won't get anyone if instead you show lackluster films like "Lezioni Di Cioccolato."

I should probably add a personal note: I so look forward to the film festival each year! I want to see Italian cinema, I want to practice my Italian, I want to exercise the 'Italian part' of my brain! I want to catch up on where the Italian film industry is headed, etc.

And now that I'm a mom, I was thrilled to see the festival fell during a week when my daycare offers a Parents Night Out babysitting option. I felt like it was fate! But I essentially wasted a night of babysitting, a night out with my partner, a night of freedom on something so disappointing.

Thank God for the Standard in Grant Park, which gave me a glass of wine to enjoy on the patio with the brilliant late afternoon sun, and Miso, which as always provided a wonderful meal of sushi and izakaya specialties for dinner!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Atlanta Italian Film Fest -- "Lezioni Di Cioccolato"

I'm headed tonight to see "Lezioni Di Cioccolato" at the Plaza Theater as part of the 7th annual Italian Film Festival in Atlanta.

Vieni anche tu!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Leo: "Eccomi a nove mesi!"

Dopo di avermi permesso di scattare questa foto, Leo mi ha detto quanto segue:

"Va bene, è vero Mamma che mi chiamo Leonardo ma come puoi vedere dalla maglia che indosso sono tifoso della squadra Irlanda!

Ho 9 solo mesi ma figurati: faccio a modo mio di già!"

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

William Weaver, traduttore

I happened to read an essay recently about the translator, William Weaver, who translated many of the great books in the canon of 20th century Italian literature.

And as soon as I finished, I jumped on and bought the book you see in the photo. There's a long biographical essay about his living in Italy after the war and hobnobbing with Alberto Moravia and Elsa Morante and Giorgio Bassani, and then translated excerpts follow.

The book led me to re-read "Il Giardino Dei Finzi-Contini," this time side by side with his English translation.

Oh Lord I had forgotten how glorious Bassani's prose was! And it's fascinating to review Weaver's language choices, particularly as he translates certain words that are particular to the world of Jews in Ferrara during the Fascist era.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Libri: una bella vista

Le cose che mi fanno rallegrare....sinceramente basta un'occhiata ai scaffali di libri a casa!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Leggendo e rileggendo

Mi sono fatta un regalo questa settimana.

Anche se sto leggendo alcuni altri libri e ho in programma (e su comodino) di leggere qualche altro titolo, mi sono permessa di rileggere "A Ciascuno Il Suo," sapendo che sarebbe stato un piccolo piacere, un squisito divertimento, qualcosa che senz'altro mi avrebbe rallegrato e gradito.

Appena ho letto qualche pagina, ho pensato subito: Leonardo Sciascia fu un genio!

E si che questa rilettura mi e' un piccolo, squisito piacere.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vino per le mamme

Ho comprato questa bottiglia di primitivo ad un alimentari nel mio quartiere. Bere un bicchiere di vino puo' essere una piccola pausa ["time-out"] per la mamma!

Un'altra etichetta da considerare, per quanto riguarda i vini primitimo, (ed infatti e' migliore) e' Layer Cake. Ne ho bevuto un bicchiere ieri sera con la cena ed era buona anche se ha un nome insolito per i vini italiani.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Harry Belafonte

Local radio can sometimes furnish a cozy little world in our minds, with its eclectic choices and homespun style. Listening to WRFG this morning, I heard a song with vaguely Caribbean rhythms, and within a few seconds I was transported to a spare, sunken living room in a fourth-floor walkup in Florence, Italy.

The living room was the largest room in the apartment, and it was there that I spent many a night during my first winter in Florence, listening to my roommate’s tape of a Harry Belafonte concert.

I had little money and was still finding my way in the expat racket of English lessons and translations. With little to spend, my diet consisted largely of big bowl-life cups of caffelatte into which I dunked endless amounts of cheap biscotti. At night, I’d eat bowls of vegetables or greens swimming in olive oil, dipping crusty chunks of bread into the golden salsina that developed to stretch the threadbare meal.

In the background was Belafonte, singing traditional Caribbean songs. It became the soundtrack to my early desperate months in a city that would take its time to welcome strangers, particularly ones who were pawing around aimlessly for a life raft.

I got up early those days and worked what I considered a graveyard shift: the 7:30 a.m. class for the factory workers at the plant where I taught English. It was on the outskirts of the city, and after the class, I’d take the 23 bus back into the city to have the first of my various daily caffelatte meals.

As I compose these lines, I’m driving down the streets of my neighborhood in Atlanta – first Waldo, then a left on Glenwood, and finally a right on Boulevard to access the highway. But mentally, I’m sitting at the drafting table in that sunken living room on Via dei Serragli, locking onto the longing Belafonte conveys, longing for his homeland, longing for what was, longing for a time when whatever evil chasing us has become tired.

My longing at that drafting table, of course, was different. I was longing to settle down to my much-awaited Italian life. I was longing for steady work. I was longing to meet people. Day to day, I was just longing to make a little money so I could buy a cappuccino at a corner coffee bar and maybe get myself a proper meal.

Right now I’m remembering that sense of longing felt so keenly night after night in that windowless living room. And it's all because a local radio station played a song that sounded like a Harry Belafonte ballad, lodged deep inside my memory.

Friday, February 01, 2013

E' d'origine irlandese.....

Si che si chiama Leonardo, pero' questo bello bambino e' difatti sia d'origine irlandese che d'origine italiana! E allora ha bisogno di un maglione stile irlandese. Chiaro!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Leonardo + Umberto Boccioni

Leo meets his mother's favorite Italian artist, Umberto Boccioni (at the High Museum in Atlanta). I figure it's never too early for the baby to learn about Futurismo! Although, he was sleeping while we were look at the sculpture....but I think it surely seeped into his collective unconscience!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Leonardo compie 6 mesi oggi!

Il nostro caro angelo ormai sta con noi da 6 mesi. Non ci posso credere! E fra poco cominciera' a mangiare gli spaghetti!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Da Babbo Natale

Ciambellina's favorite Christmas gift! A new Moka and lots of good Italian coffee.