Archive | March, 2013

Update on Cortona Spring

30 Mar

News from Patricia in Cortona:

Unfortunately, everything has had to be  cancelled this year due to rain.  No procession.  No lanterns.  Just grey sky and rain.  But trees are in blossom and little green leaves are shooting, so Spring MUST be here really.  Happy Easter –  Buona Pasqua from Cortona.

Thanks, Patricia. And to my friends in Cortona, wishing you sunny days…

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endless blue skies…

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And a good glass of vino!

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Ciao!

Judy

Springtime in Cortona

29 Mar

Cortona Spring is more than just a time of year. In the town of Cortona, it is a week of events commemorating spring and Easter week.

Tonight, on Good Friday, there’s a procession through the streets. Men carrying statues of Christ from various churches process through town. The statues, large and heavy, are carried on the shoulders of strong men in hooded cloaks.

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Others carry large crosses in the procession.

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Locals and visitors follow behind as the procession, which begins at the Church of Santo Spirito, passes several other churches and eventually ends in the historic Piazza della Repubblica.

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Patricia, my local friend, describes the procession as “quite dramatic.” On Saturday evening, assuming the weather cooperates, the skies above Cortona will once again be lit by lanterns (minus the Christmas decorations!).

Chinese lanterns Cortona 29 12 12 2

On Sunday, as in many parts of the world, families will gather at one of the many beautiful churches in Cortona to celebrate Easter. Later in the day, in their homes, they will gather with family and friends to feast on traditional dishes and Easter specialties.

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Whatever your traditions may be, I hope you have time to celebrate them with family and friends.

 

Buona Pasqua a tutti!

Ciao,

Judy

David – clothed?

22 Mar
Michelangelo Buonarroti

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A replica of Michelangelo’s magnificent Renaissance piece, David, now stands in the town of Okuizumo, Japan. As you might expect, the marble replica of David is tall, 16 feet in fact, and also naked, as Michelangelo had intended. One would expect the town’s people to be delighted with the artistic addition,

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however, according to a town official, some of the residents are asking that David be given…underwear. Hmmm. “It is the first time we have had anything like this in our town,” said Yoji Morinaga. “Perhaps people were perplexed.”

As for me, the old adage to leave well enough alone seems to apply. However, if they are serious about clothing David after all these years,

English: Michelangelo's David (original statue...

Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia in Firenze (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would suggest the town could richly benefit from a lotto to select a seamstress!

Ciao,

Judy

 

Buona Festa di San Giuseppe!

16 Mar
Painting by Guido Reni, c.1635

Painting by Guido Reni, c.1635

Growing up in a neighborhood filled with many Irish and Italian families, I was always happy that the Italians also had their day in March to celebrate. Of course, never as loud, rowdy or perhaps quite as “fun” as St. Patrick’s Day, and with much quieter fanfare, we nonetheless celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19. And while the Irish had their green beer and accessories, the Italians, often sporting something red, had their zeppole, a cream filled fried pastry that originated in Napoli.

Zeppole

©Blogginginitaly.com

According to my fellow blogger, MariaGiovanna, (Sharing My Italy) the “Zeppole di SanGiuseppe” originated in Naples, Italy, “where the first recipe was put on paper, in 1837, by the famous Neapolitan gastronome Ippolito Cavalcanti, Duke of Buonvicino.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to be in Italy to enjoy a zeppole. This morning, I headed to the Ferrara Bakery on Taylor Street in Chicago to check out the famous pastry. Light, airy and filled with cream, it was fun to see the smiles they generated on those wiping the cream from their lips.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Not surprising, Ferrara’s was busy filling and selling what appeared to be hundreds of dozens of the cream filled gems.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And since St. Joseph’s Day isn’t until March 19, you still have a few days to stock up!

Zeppole

©Blogginginitaly.com

So, to those looking to get beyond the grey days of winter, here’s an idea – participate in a St. Joseph’s Day custom by sharing some food with the needy and some friends, and, of course, be sure to share some zeppole!

Ciao,

Judy

Habemus Papam!

13 Mar

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

the former “Father Jorge”

now Pope Francis I,

becomes the 266th pontiff.

"Habemus Papam" - Cardinal Jorge Mar...

“Habemus Papam” – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., has been elected Pope Francis I (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

Coat of Arms of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio

Coat of Arms of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Emblem of Vatican City Italiano: Embl...

English: Emblem of Vatican City Italiano:  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you probably know, the Papal conclave or election of a new pope takes place in the Sistine Chapel, which is kept locked during all voting. The word conclave, taken from the Latin clave or key,  actually means “a room that can be locked.” Such intense focus enables the cardinals to be free from other distractions.

When asked by a reporter what she thought of the excitement before Pope Francis I emerged on the balcony, a lady in the square responded, “The cardinals picked a pope in two days. In Italy, we still don’t have a president!” Maybe a conclave would help?

Benedizioni per il nuovo pontefice – blessings to the new pope!

Ciao,

Judy

Carnevale in Venezia – 2013

5 Mar

This year, the Carnival of Venice, or Carnevale, was held from January 26 – February 12. About three million people participated in the festivities. While Venice is such a popular destination any time of year, the few weeks before lent offer something extra special.

My friends Mario and Marco, who just returned from an amazing trip, were fortunate enough to be among those participating in the 2013 festivities. Although the weather included some flooding and snow, none were deterred. The amazing pictures that follow were taken by their friends Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro.

Photo: Anthony Guida  and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro.

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro.

The word for masks in Italian is maschere, and in Venice, some of the most popular ones include the Bauta, a mask that covers the entire face; the Columbina, a half-face mask that is either tied in back or held by hand with a baton; and the Medico della Peste, meaning The Plague Doctor, symbolized by a long beak.

Photo: Anthony Guida andRaffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida andRaffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Masks are abundant in the shops in Venice. They are made by hand by Mascherari and have long played a part in Venetian culture and history.

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photos: Anthony Guida & Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

A panel of international costume and fashion designers shared the task of selecting “La Maschera piu bella”  – the most beautiful mask.

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Hard to pick a favorite – they are all so beautiful.

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

And just in case you have the itch, next year’s dates are February 15-March 4. Be sure to make your reservations early and remember to rent your costume in advance.

Photo: Anthony Guida and  Raffaella Spilotro

Photo: Anthony Guida and Raffaella Spilotro

See you there…well, I can hope too!

Grazie molto Marco, Mario, Anthony and Raffaella for sharing these incredible photographs! And many thanks to the Venetians for putting on such a remarkable show!

Ciao,

Judy

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