Archive | November, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

22 Nov

I learned something interesting today…

If you research the first Thanksgiving, you will find that several states, including Florida, Virginia and Texas, don’t exactly agree with the claim that the first Thanksgiving was held in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Since I’m about to leave for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my own family, I’ll leave any further research up to you. But what I did find interesting is that in 1863, it was President Lincoln who proclaimed the 4th Thursday in November to be a national day of Thanksgiving, hence what Americans still celebrate today. After the Civil War, times were turbulent and Lincoln hoped this national holiday might be a way of bringing the county together. Something to hope for and think about today as we gather to celebrate across the nation.

How does any of this relate to Italy? Well another thing I learned recently is how to say Happy Thanksgiving in Italian. Of course, this being an American holiday, the Italians don’t exactly have a phrase, but several offered the following:

Felice Giorno di Ringraziamento

Happy Day of Thanksgiving

In a way, Italians celebrate Thanksgiving every Sunday as they sit around the table and dine and talk, often for hours at a time, sharing food, telling stories, making new memories, enjoying life, debating issues – often with multiple generations, extended family, friends, and sometimes even strangers. Not a bad idea…Thanksgiving every Sunday…something to think about.

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!



Venice Pounded by Heavy Rain

17 Nov

For years and years, I have heard that Venice is flooding. That was true when I was a student in Italy in the early 70’s, and still true today. Luckily for me, however, most times I visited Venice it was dry. I actually recall only once, in the summer of 2007, that there was water in the Basilica San Marco as well as in Piazza San Marco, but only in the evening.  At that time, huge wooden planks were laid strategically, forming little bridges enabling people to walk across the water. These photos were in the daytime, when only people and pigeons filled the piazza.


Recently, however, heavy storms have swept through parts of northern and central Italy, causing Venice to be under a high water alert.  Nearly 70% of Venice was flooded last week. People could be seen wading and actually swimming in up to five feet of water. In some locations, it was even challenging to distinguish between the sidewalks and canals, the busy thoroughfares of Venice.

Many Venetians do not actually live in Venice, rather on several of the other islands, and those that do tend to live above the ground floor. Street-level shops and restaurants, however, are not so fortunate and are suffering the effects of the storms. Even the flooding, however, can’t dampen the spirit of some tourists who are determined to make the most of their vacation!

Huffington Post

According to the BBC, while flooding is common this time of year, this flood ranks as the 6th worst in the last 150 years. Here’s hoping for sunshine, calmer winds, the return of Venetian romance and magic, and piedi per terra, literally –  feet on the ground!

This clip seems to say it all: Venice Flooding



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