Some things I found strange the first time I went to England

All Italian people love England, especially London: many of my friends tell me that their plan for 2013 is to go there, at least for a weekend or a short period, but definitely all parts of England (and United Kingdom) are a “must go 2013 destination” for someone.

I was lucky to spend 6 months in Manchester for my Exchange (Erasmus) experience, and I must say it was the first time I set foot in England.

Obviously, as a language student, I previously made my research, and I was also obliged -during my secondary school years – to learn by heart not only all the main monuments in London, but also the most important historical events and the main capital cities of the UK.


January 23, 2013 1 comment

Picture Postcards: A lake in Tuscany

Today’s water-themed photo was snapped by our contributor in Italy, Caterina. It is of a frozen lake near her house.

Read more:
5 Good Reasons for Having an Italian Coffee
Tuscany: Discover Valdichiana Valley
Twenty Favourite Italian Gelato Flavours

January 14, 2013 Comments disabled

Five good reasons for having an Italian coffee

There is no doubt, in Italy, all parts of the peninsula, coffee is not only a good morning wish, but has gradually become part of a specific ritual: every Italian, since childhood, remembers the memory of the perfume of fresh-made (yet hot) coffee. But coffee for Italian people is not only part of the culture, there are many good reasons someone takes coffee or could invite you to have it together.

Firstly, having one is a sort of a no-strings date: if the boy or the girl you like asks you for such a break, it does not necessarily mean they have an interest in you. Yet, coffee is something informal but could be seen as a way of approaching the person you are interested in without seeming too involved, as the coffee break does not last long (Italian coffee is served in a little cup called tazzina) and this limited time may allow you to talk and get to know each other. That is why a coffee is a nice idea for a first date in Italy with someone, or for example for simply getting to know an Italian friend that you previously met on the web. Remember that if after coffee a dinner is what you are asked for, you are on your way to love (at least hopefully).


December 12, 2012 3 comments

Tuscany: discover Valdichiana valley

In this post Caterina, our new contributor from Italy, shares some tips for discovering lesser known places in Tuscany and some secrets for getting to know the locals.

Is this how you think of Tuscany? There is more to discover

Castiglion Fiorentino

If you loved the movie “Under The Tuscan Sun” you will adore the village of Castiglion Fiorentino, a sort of little Cortona but not so well known: its graceful shaped hills, together with its buildings of Etrurian origins, are really unique; why not wander under the Tuscan sun while the perfumes of golden sunflowers tickle your senses? Its romantic paths, shaded by emerald pines, are the perfect set of a romantic walk hand in hand; Castiglion Fiorentino really is a little secret jewel in Tuscany!

But, on the other hand, Castiglion Fiorentino is not just a typical picturesque country village: all the young people in the area would more easily remember its name for the very nice and fashionable pubs (The Garden and the Velvet) than for its typically Tuscan surroundings. Personally, I am also fond of the “Carro Armato” ice-cream: there is no better way of enjoying Italian life than with a gelato in hand.


November 2, 2012 6 comments

Giuseppe Boschetti – portrait of the artist

Although he does not sell his paintings, Giuseppe Boschetti is well known in his native Romagna (a region of North East Italy). His paintings are so much a part of him that he prefers to keep them on display in his house for family and friends, where they almost completely cover the walls of his apartment in Santarcangelo’s historic centre.

Giuseppe Boschetti exhibition

The artist’s studio is as chock full of detail as one of his paintings. A small, low table next to the easel is filled with paintbrushes in jam jars. Other surfaces are crammed with knickknacks: the top of one cupboard is crowded with empty glass bottles, another with wooden models. Look around and you see a vintage radio, an arrangement of seashells in a basket. A collection of modern art books sits inside one of the bookcases, pencil sketches hang on the walls. Light enters through skylights in the sloping roof, which ‘Pino’ warns us not to bang our head on.


September 28, 2012 1 comment

What buttons can tell you about Italian society

When I was a child, one of my favourite pastimes was playing with my grandma’s button tin. Over the years she had collected hundreds of buttons, and I used to tip them out onto the carpet and spend hours arranging and admiring them.

Giorgio Galavotti, founder, owner and curator of the Museo del Bottone (Button museum), has spent a lifetime playing with buttons. For years he ran a button shop, setting up the museum when he retired, so he could share his passion with others. The buttons on display are mostly from the shop, as well as buttons brought along by friends and locals who raided their own button tins after he opened the museum. When I ask Giorgio if he has favourites he looks a bit schocked. “They are all my children” he says.

I learn that my grandma’s button tin was not unique “every house had one, and it’s a classic childhood story, playing with the button tin”


August 29, 2012 1 comment