Favorite Reads on Italy (FRI) is a weekly roundup published on Fridays featuring interesting articles, fascinating experiences, and handy resources that I’ve come across that week.
This week’s roundup covers a tribute to Verdi on his bicentennial birthday, a time-sensitive offer for a free download of the Uffizi Guide ebook, things to do in Turin, the different types of coffee you find in a bar, all about the arrotino, and more.
Culture / Travel
Uffizi Guide ebook free promo October 11-12 by ArtTrav – Time sensitive! Today and tomorrow only, the ebook Uffizi Art History Guide, which usually costs $3.99, can be downloaded for free. This handy resource “helps you spot the masterpieces in the Uffizi Gallery and puts the works in relation to one another”. Don’t miss this!
Much ado about Italy by The Independent – Interesting article that covers places in Italy which Shakespeare used as settings for play. Not only does it mention Verona, the famed setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but also the nearby towns of Mantua and Padua, and all the way down south to Sicily. Any guesses as to which play had a few parts set in Sicily?
Juliet’s breast disfigured ‘from too much touching’ by The Local – Apparently touching the right breast of the bronze statue of Juliet is meant to bring good luck. Unfortunately, not for the bronze statue. I’m not surprised at the terrible state of the statue as we saw how packed the courtyard was when we were in Verona this past summer.
Treasures of the Cinque Terre by The New York Times – A great read where the author recounts her tales in the Cinque Terre which served as her “base for five days of feasting, boating and hiking, and a swimfeasting, hiking, and a swim in the grotto where Lord Byron once skinny-dipped “. My hats off to the author who managed to remain calm and made the most of her trip despite having lost her luggage.
Pope Francis visited Assissi, and you should too by Huffington Post – Photos of this gorgeous hill town in Umbria and the celebrations that took place during the Pope’s visit on the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
Leonardo da Vinci painting lost for centuries found in Swiss bank vault by The Telegraph – There were doubts if this painting even existed, and preliminary scientific tests suggest that it’s the work of da Vinci.
A Weekend in Turin, Part One: Palaces, Museums and Mummies by Italy Chronicles – I’m keeping this one handy. Often associated with Fiat that has its headquarters here, the city offers plenty of fascinating attractions. One that caught my eye – the Royal Palaces. And don’t miss Part Two.
Verdi’s Italy by BBC Travel – Paying tribute to the bicentennial birthday of Verdi, the article takes you through “the countryside he called home, a landscape that mixes the majesty of lyrical music with the simplicity of a farmer’s life.” A beautiful read!
Italian Food and Drinks
The culinary joys of Sicily’s harvest season by FT.com – Mentions award-winning olive oil producers as well as biodynamic wines from Sicily. The article also goes on to share some of Sicily’s archaeological sites such the Greek temples in Agrigento, the mosaics at Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina, and the city of Syracuse. We’ve been to Agrigento and Piazza Armerina, both to this day remain vivid in my mind.
Italy Festival Guide: Top Events in Italy by Eating Italy Food Tours – Basically, you can say that Italians party all year round! From film to food festivals, there’s something to celebrate. My favorites are the food festivals – often a riot of fun that involves a copious amount of food.
Chestnuts fever: best chestnuts festivals in Tuscany by Tuscanycious – Summer definitely has left us and with cooler temperatures, it’s time to celebrate fall with special dishes made from chestnuts. In Tuscany, here’s a list of towns that will be holding a chestnut festival.
How to read an Italian menu by Walks of Italy – Love Italian food but feel a bit intimidated when ordering in a restaurant? This post breaks down the different sections of a menu from appetizers to desserts and more.
New iPhone App Translates Italian Menus to English by The Daily Meal – And if you run into a word that you don’t understand on the menu, fear not – this new iPhone app, which is free, “will tell you exactly what you are ordering from an Italian menu: the ingredients, how it is cooked, and how to pronounce a dish”.
Water Everywhere by Rachel Eats – The article shares the recipe of one of my favorite Tuscan dishes, acqua cotta. It was also in Pitigliano that I first tasted this simple yet divine dish. And with winter on its way, I’ll be referring to this recipe quite a bit. A few bonuses – Rachel also suggests places to eat near Saturnia, situated in the Maremma area in lower Tuscany, and bordering the Lazio region.
A guide to ordering coffee in Italy by The Travel Bite – There’s a reason why Starbucks have not set up shop in Italy – competition is tough. The post lists some of the more common coffee drinks you will find on a menu at the bar (café).
Life in Italy
The Arrotino, Neighborhood Knife Sharpener by Un’americana a Roma – We all love the arrotino. Read the post to find out why.
‘Sardinia feels like an ancient forgotten land’ by The Local – Interview with an expat who has lived in Sardinia since 2008. A glimpse of island life.
Have you come across any great reads or resources on Italy this week? Share them with us in the comments below.