Last year I decided to get my first dog. Because of Covid-19 restrictions I couldn’t visit a a local canile (dog shelter). Online I found a cucciolo (puppy) with ginger fur, floppy ears and alert brown eyes. Rescued from a breeding mill, she seems to be a Cocker-Pomeranian mix. I named the pretty little girl Bellina. With an Italian name, I thought she should learn la bella lingua.
I went to Rome this week. I savored local specialties like spaghetti alla carbonara and saltimbocca alla romana. I strolled through the lively markets of Testaccio and Campo de’ Fiori. I garnered tips on cooking pasta precisely al dente (it should resist the tooth—but the tooth should win). I delighted in stories of Italian men who courted their future wives with irresistible meals such as pollo al limone (chicken with lemons) and piselli e prosciutto (Spring peas with onions and prosciutto)… I made my journey via a new cookbook: AWAR’s Roman Kitchen: Food and Memories from the members of the American Women’s Association of Rome.
I am writing on behalf of a group of Italian schools for foreigners, scattered throughout Italy, that have come together in the LICET (Lingua Italiana Cultura e Turismo) association to overcome this difficult moment together. We cannot, must not, neglect the educators who have enriched so many lives with the unforgettable experience of falling in love with Italy, Italian, and Italians.
Please join us by adding your name to others who share our appreciation for Italy and all the gifts it offers the world. You can choose to sign the English or Italian version of our petition.
This year the Venice Carnevale will be differen. “Traditional, emotional, digital,” its organizers promise—and available to everyone everywhere via social media channels and virtual rooms (including one for the Best Mask Contest). Click here to find out more about the festivities, which begin February 6 and extend through February 16. I’m also revisiting a memory of a Carnevale a few years ago in Venice:
Not many people have a classic comedy dedicated to their birthday. I do—although that’s far from the second of February’s only claim to fame. This date may always signify Groundhog Day to fans of Bill Murray and the shadow-fearing furry creature who put the little town of Punxsitawney, Pennsylvania, on the map. In Italy, it marks the feast of La Candelora (Candlemas).
As we celebrate this Anno Dantesco (Year of Dante), I’m reminded of a special pleasure that the poet shared with his countrymen: a passion for the local bread. In his epic Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri, banished from Florence for political reasons, bemoaned as one of the anguishes of exile “the saltiness of other people’s bread.” His beloved hometown’s unsalted bread or pane (pronounced pah-nay) soaks up the flavors of sauces, stews and soups. In a similar way, the Florentine dialect, the basis of modern Italian, soaked up the richness of Dante’s lush language.