The Most Famous Italian Woman You’ve Never Heard Of

Sofonisba Anguissola is not only an uncommon name, but also one that has gone unnoticed and forgotten along with her masterful portrait paintings. But Sofonisba is important because she reached international acclaim as an artist in her day and age by her ability to dream far beyond the limitations set for women during her era.

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Giving Thanks in Italian

Italians don’t observe the all-American holiday of Thanksgiving (la festa del ringraziamento). There are Italian words but no cultural equivalents for the day when the Pilgrim fathers and the American Indians came together to celebrate the harvest  in the New World. Although turkey and pumpkin are available, Italians don’t prepare them in the traditional ways  that Americans do on Thanksgiving.

On any day of the year, Italian offers a wonderful array of ways to say thank you, including grazie (thanks), grazie infinite (endless thanks), grazie mille (thanks a thousand, but it translates as thanks a million), molte grazie (thank you very much),  grazie di cuore (thanks from the heart) as well as a more colloquial grazie, a buon rendere! (thanks, I owe you one).

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The Enduring Passion of Sophia Loren

The Life Ahead, a Netflix movie starring Sophia Loren and directed by her son, marks the return to the screen of a woman with an unquenchable passion for life—and for acting.

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Italy’s Passion for Ceramics

In the thirteenth century an Arabian technique for glazing rough clay with gleaming white enamel made its way, via the Spanish island of Majorca, to Italy. The Umbrian town of Deruta embellished maiolica (majolica) with colorful designs baked into the glaze during a...

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Italy’s Days of Wine and Olives

The warm days of early November –- known as Indian summer in the United States –- are called l’estate di San Martino (the summer of St. Martin) in Italy. Wine producers celebrate the  saint’s feast on November 11 by uncorking the vino novello (new wine) from the recent vendemmia (grape harvest) and getting the first preview of the year’s vintage. As an Italian saying puts it, “Per San Martino, cadono le foglie e si spilla il vino.” (For St. Martin, the leaves fall, and the wine is tapped.)

In Italy, one of the world’s top producers of olive oil, November  is  also the time of the raccolta delle olive (olive harvest). But to Italians, the olive (l’oliva) is far more than a crop.

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