Tuesday 26 February 2008

Online Italian Recipes

Many of my friends ask me about food and "real" Italian recipes, so I have decided to publish a few online as time allows.
I normally jot down a few instructions on pieces of papers but in this way they are online for all :-)
So, if you are a keen cook and wish to see what my suggestions are, please visit my recipes, on my personal blog designed with the Web&Blog technology! Fantastic!

Saturday 23 February 2008

Boat trips to the Riviera and accommodation in Piedmont

It occurred to me that people may not realise that it is possible in a day to go to the Riviera from the Monferrato region and spend the day along the shore in a nice boat, enjoying the sunshine and the seaside, while keeping the base for the accommodation in Piedmont.

I am trying to put together some possible practical itineraries for you to consider. In the meantime, if you have any particular request about boat trips do not hesitate to get in touch with me (Claudia) at claudia@villamimma.com or drop a comment to this post.

Watch out this space!

Sunday 17 February 2008

Women's day - La festa della donna

The 8th of March is not far away and Italy recognises that it is the International Women's Day. Thanks to slowtrav.com community, I just discovered its historical origins and I have been humbled by the significance of this day, that I have certainly underestimated in the past.

Today, I doubt that generally people know where "La festa della donna" started from.

According to Wikipedia:
International Women's Day (IWD) is marked on March 8 every year. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women.

If you continue reading, the website gives the historical origins of this commemoration:
The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America.

The idea of having an international women's day was first put forward at the turn of the 20th century amid rapid world industrialization and economic expansion that led to protests over working conditions. By urban legend, women from clothing and textile factories staged one such protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City. The garment workers were protesting what they saw as very poor working conditions and low wages. The protesters were attacked and dispersed by police. These women established their first labor union in the same month two years later.

More protests followed on 8 March in subsequent years, most notably in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1910 the first international women's conference was held in Copenhagen and an 'International Women's Day' was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin. The following year, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. However, soon thereafter, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women's Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.

It is a tradition in Italy to give a yellow mimosa to women on the 8th of March. It is a beautiful scented flower, theat is in bloom early in Spring. Unfortunately this day si now becoming a celebration like Valentine's day, and the social and political reasons behind its historical origin are often forgotten.

Friday 15 February 2008

Attedning a wedding: advice

I read various threads on slowtrav.com about attending a wedding in Italy and what it is "proper" and what is not. Things are evolving and differ between regions but here is my advice:

OUTFIT: Although it is becoming more popular to get married in the afternoon with evening reception, morning ceremonies are still very popular. I would never wear a black or white dress at a morning wedding, nor in the evening, unless specifically requested. You may ask and people may do it, but it is considered "tacky".

GIFT: Wedding lists ("Lista nozze" ) are quite popular and they are the easiest way to please the bride and groom without worrying about what you can get them. The amount of money that you spend is totally up to you. There is no fashion and there is no link to what the wedding reception costs at all. If you are travelling from abroad and attending an Italian wedding, a token from your Country may be the best idea. Consider that your Italian friends will know that you are committing quite a bit of money to attend the wedding in terms of travel arrangements, so they won't expect you to go OTT - unless you can afford it!

TOASTS: Italian wedding receptions do not evolve around a specific scheme, like in England where the speeches have a specific format and have to be of a certain length. There are no such a thing like speeches and people just sit and chat all the time. If there are lively groups of friends or cousins, people may end up cheering the bride and groom or asking for a "bacio" (kiss) towards the end of the meal, but nothing formal and always very spontaneous.