Festivals

Two Related BLOGs

As most of you know Jo Anne has been working on a much need BLOG about Southern Italy and in particular southern Campania called Mezzogiorno Living. My BLOG, Travel in Italy BLOG, is still about traveling in Europe and in particular Italy. These both BLOGs together will give you a high level view, in my BLOG, and a drilled down detail view of southern Italy, in Jo’s BLOG.

I will be discussing all the places in Europe we travel with emphasis on Italy. Italy is special to both of us. Jo will be discussing what to do in southern Italy. Her BLOG is both a website and a BLOG. Her home page is a regular BLOG with her last BLOG on the top. The sidebar on the right side has a SEARCH box to find anything you are looking for. It searches all BLOGs as well as all her menu pages.

Her menus look at stores, restaurants, beaches, towns etc in Southern Italy. On a smart phone the menu is gotten to by clicking the bars in the upper left hand corner. Each menu may have sub-menus that will take you to pages of information. You will find addresses, phone numbers, links to websites and Trip Advisor links.

When we bought in this area, we had a hard time find local restaurants, supermarkets, stores and interesting towns to visit. I wish we had this site when we were first visiting this area. I hope both sites help you with information and travel in Europe and in Italy. Buon Viaggio!

George

 

Categories: Campania, Customs, Dolce far niente, Europe, Ferries, Festivals, Food, General Travel, Italian Facts, Italy, Italy BLOGs, Mezzogiorno, Mountain Towns, Owning a home in Italy, Planning a vacation, Regions of Italy, Renting a place in Europe, Romance, Small Towns, Smart Phones, Southern Italy, Supermercato, Traveling without a tour, Xpats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Venice, Who doesn’t love Venice?

Venice is on everyone’s bucket list. It is a truly unique city on the Adriatic Sea. You have to experience this city, its people and its food and wine. What better way to see this city than during a festival. Venice is a town that knows how to throw a party. Some great festivals in Venice are:

  1. Regata Storica in the beginning of September – This includes boat races, customs and of course food and wine

Regata Storica

  1. Venice Film Festival – Come see the films that have won (September 2-9, 2015).

Venice Film Festival

  1. Venice Carnival (Festival of Masks) – Is held the day before Ash Wednesday.

Festival of Masks Venice

Venice is always a great city to visit but during a festival it is even more fun. This city is spectacular from its start. It was built on tree trunks, millions of them. They hold up a marble & stone foundation that all the buildings are built on. Put it on your bucket List. This is one of the most romantic cities in the world. Just let it do its magic on you.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Adriatic Sea, Carnevale, Carnival, Europe, Festivals, Italy, Romance, Traveling without a tour, Venice, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Carnevale Italia

Carnevale in Italy is celebrated on Ash Wednesday (February 18, 2015). It is a celebration Catholics do before entering Lent. In the USA it is a big celebration in New Orleans (called Mardi Gras). In New Orleans it is celebrated on Fat Tuesday. In Italy the city of Venice celebrates each year with masks, parties and lots of sweets (this is what is given up for lent).

lady-in-red-carnevale

Italians love festivals and their sweets (dolce). Lent represents a period of abstinence. So before entering this period they celebrate a period of indulgence. If you are able to be in Venice at this time it is a wonderful celebration. If you know an Italian family, join them for their celebration. It is a happy time so enjoy.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Carnevale, Dolce, Europe, Festivals, Italy, Sweets | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amalfi Coast – Salerno

Salerno is a large city on the eastern end of the Amalfi Coast Highway. It is known for its history in medicine and it is the location of the Allied invasion on Mussolini in WW2. Today Salerno is a modern city with fast trains south to Sicily and north to Naples, Rome and all of Europe. The A3 Autostrada runs through it on its way to the ferry docks to Sicily. Salerno boasts a major port. During the Christmas Holidays, it has a magnificent light display done by local artists.

Salerno

 The Salerno tourists guide gives a lot of information on this beautiful city. Castello di Arechi (a hilltop castle) is worth a trip to. It is nearly 1,000 feet above sea level and dominates the city view.

Castello-Arechi

The walk up this mountain is very strenuous. You can take public transportation or drive and park at the castle. The other major attraction is the Salerno Cathedral with its beautiful bell tower designed by Ferdinando San Felice. Head to Lungomare Trieste, the city’s promenade and stroll this tree-lined street. Here is a great place to people watch and enjoy the spirit of Salerno.

Monday we will look at some smaller towns along the Amalfi Coast Highway.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Amalfi Coast, Campania, Christmas Lights, Europe, Festivals, General Travel, Italy, Salerno, Trains | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Befana – Italy

Yesterday was the feast of the Epiphany, the celebration of the three wise men bringing baby Jesus gifts in Bethlehem. Monday therefore was the eve of the Epiphany. In Italy this is a much celebrated evening. It marks the legend of the arrival of an old but friendly witch, Befana. She brings small gifts and candy for the Children’s stockings.

ANSA Arts & Culture has a post on the celebration in different Italian cities. It talks about the boat parades in Venice, the longest stockings in Milan and children’s acivities in Rome. Befana arrives at night riding her broomstick. If the children were good they get the candy and presents if bad they get a lump of coal or dark chocolate. The dark chocolate in Italy is so good, it is worth being bad to get it!

befana 2

Some of this legend comes to us in our Christmas stockings and the lump of coal that Santa may leave if you are bad. If you are in Italy during the Epiphany, seek out a town celebrating La Befana and join in.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Chocolate, Festivals, Italy, La Befana, Milan, Rome, Venice | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

White Truffles

Italy produces all the world’s white truffles and consumes most of them. Black truffles also grow in Italy and in France. People all over the world have tried to get the prized white truffle to grow without much success. It grows as a fungus (mushroom family) on the roots of certain Oak Trees. Know one knows why the Oak Trees in Alba area of the Piedmont region of Italy can grow such delicious truffles. They are not pretty to look at and their smell will turn off those that have never had them. The taste is divine. Italians shave them very thin over veal or grated on pasta and risotto. They can also be grated over eggs.

They are harvested in the fall and there are festivals in the north of Italy to celebrate. We have seen in our news the record-breaking white truffle that was just auctioned off. These little gems are like gold. They grow underground and are very hard to find. Humans can not smell them underground. In days of old, Italians would use pigs to find them. The one BIG problem was the pig! It seems pigs like truffles even more than we do. Can you picture a small Italian farmer fighting a ton sized pig for a truffle? Today they use trained dogs. They can find them just as well as pigs do but won’t eat them.

If you are so lucky to be in northern Italy in the fall, get some dish with truffles on it. Make sure they are white truffles and not black ones. We recently bought a truffle in Philadelphia that was overnighted from Italy. It cost $5,280 per pound. No we didn’t spend that much. They are so light that a medium size truffle cost us about $100. They last about a week. We had great food for one week. You can also buy white truffle oil and use it in cooking your dishes or sprinkle it over risotto or pasta dishes.

Enjoy!

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Alba, Cooking, Eating Italian, Europe, Festivals, Italy, Risotto, Truffles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Luci d’Artista Salerno Italy

It’s Christmas Time and Italy celebrates its towns with lights as we do. Rome is beautiful with miles of lights along its major streets. No town does it better than Salerno with its “Luci d’Artista” (Artist lights). This is a magical place with fairy tale like lights. It will delight both adults and children. You can not help be transformed into a magical place with these floats and lights all around you.

luci artisti 1 luci artisti 2  luci artisti 3 luci artisti 4

It does get crowded so go early. Enjoy the lights and enjoy Italy.

Naples and the Amalfi Coast (Positano, Amalfi and Capri) are close by. Naples you can go by car on the autostrada or by train. The Amalfi coast you will need a car, ferry, bus or driver. This is an area of Italy that you can spend several weeks enjoying.

George & Jo Anne

Categories: Amalfi, Amalfi Coast, Campania, Capri, Christmas Lights, Europe, Festivals, Italy, Naples, Positano, Rome, Salerno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Winter in Italy

Is winter a good time to go to Italy? It depends on what you want to do! Northern Italy gets snow but if you are a skier this is perfect. Picture yourself in a small hotel at the foot of the alps. You have T-Bars up the mountain and at the end of your day you return to a warm hotel with a blazing fire. Maybe a drink and some warm polenta. Northern Italy is all about snow and skiing.

As we move away from the mountains to Milan we still have winter snows but Christmas time in Milan is beautiful. Christmas lights everywhere, warm people and great food. Don’t forget the Milanese fashion. Milan does everything first class. If you enjoy the character of New York city in the USA, then you will love Milan, Italy.

As you travel south to Rome you can still get cold weather and some occasional snow but again Christmas time is a celebration. We were in Rome in 2011 for New Years Eve and New Years Day celebrations. We got to see the Christmas lights and walk the main streets at midnight (closed to car traffic) and drink champagne under the Christmas lights. At Victor Emanuel (The “birthday cake” building) they set off fireworks at midnight.

Victor Emanuel Building

Victor Emanuel Building Rome

Proceed farther south into Campania and beyond and winter is mostly in the mountain peaks. They can get an hour snow every so many years but it never lasts long as normal winter temperatures are in the 60’s. It is the rainy season in southern Italy. This can be heavy at times but is usually very tropical. Wherever you go, enjoy yourself and be Italian.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Champagne, Europe, Festivals, General Travel, Italy, Milan, Regions of Italy, Rome | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Castelnuovo Cilento, Italy

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that Castelnuovo Cilento is our sister town. It is where people would go when the pirates raided the beach towns below. It is located in Campania and in the Cilento National Park of Italy. It is high up on a mountain top and has ancient fortified castle walls around it. Inside its walls is a church and restaurant. Just outside is a small town. The road up is steep, winding and in need of some repairs. We had read about a festival featuring Cilento foods in this castle. We went up around 7:30 pm thinking it would be going on. It was just being setup. We learned it was going to start around 10 or 11.

We met a man setting up for the festival that owned the restaurant/bar within the castle walls. His restaurant was closed for the season (it closed September 1st). He actually opened his restaurant and gave us a tour. He had a wonderful bar and decks with magnificent views of the valley below. It totally amazes us the friendliness and warmth of these people. We vowed to return next trip for dinner.

All that was left was the steep downhill road home. At the bottom we relaxed a little and continued to our home.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Campania, Castelnuovo Cilento, Cilento, Eating Italian, Europe, Festivals, General Travel, Italy, Mountain Towns, Small Towns | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you like Italy and Music?

Italy has many festivals in the summer time. These can be in both large cities and sm,aller ones. Many revolve around religious ceremonies. Italians, like most of the world, enjoy all kinds of music. In the summer there are many music festivals around Italy. ABOUT.COM has a BLOG on some of these festivals. If you are going to Italy this summer see if there are any festivals near where you will be. Go to the festival and enjoy it along with some food and wine. Local foods and wine are great in Italy.

In most of the world you need a reference to a good restaurant or you might get stuck at a terrible one. Italy is normally not like this. Any restaurants or Trattoria serves great food and wine. Stay clear of tourist areas and don’t eat at places that offer hot dogs and hamburgers. Instead seek out smaller places off the beaten track that serve to the locals. Always leave room for some gelato.

George & Jo Anne

 

Categories: Cooking, Eating Italian, Europe, Festivals, Gelato, Italy, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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