Tag Archives: Cortona

Un Onore Davvero! (Italian Version)

10 Sep

Due settimane fa, e inaspettatamente, abbiamo ricevuto un invito a partecipare alla 76a Mostra Internazionale del Cinema di Venezia, ospiti del Prof. Dr. Massimo Lucidi, giornalista economico, autore e fondatore di numerosi eventi internazionali come il Premio Eccellenza o il Premio Italiano Eccellenza .

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Il festival si tiene al Lido di Venezia e il nostro incontro è stato all’Hotel Excelsior. Per il loro sito web: “Questa straordinaria creazione ha riscosso un grande successo il 21 luglio 1908, con una sontuosa festa in riva al mare per oltre 3.000 ospiti. È diventata rapidamente un paradiso per l’elite, le star del cinema e la regalità”.

Nel 1932, l’Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort ha dato il benvenuto al primo Festival del cinema di Venezia ed è ora la sede ufficiale di questo evento di fama mondiale.

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Ci siamo presi un momento per goderci un cappuccino in buona compagnia.

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L’incontro a cui abbiamo partecipato è stato intitolato “Cinema e Web”. Si è concentrato sul rapporto tra emozione e seduzione del cinema e le opportunità digitali di oggi per preservare e condividere storia e cultura.

Ma perché noi? Un po ‘di storia richiesta qui …

Io e Len, entrambi di origini italiane, abbiamo sempre avuto il sogno e l’obiettivo di trascorrere un periodo significativo in Italia. Dal 2001, con il nostro viaggio in Calabria per trovare i documenti dei nonni di Len, abbiamo continuato la ricerca delle nostre case ancestrali e visitato la maggior parte. Una volta in pensione, e desiderosi di vivere davvero il paese dei nostri antenati, abbiamo scelto l’antica e bellissima città di Cortona in Toscana.

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Per noi, era la dimensione e l’ambiente perfetti per darci una base centrale da cui partire, per interagire veramente con la gente del posto e per assorbire la cultura dei nostri antenati mentre ci immergevamo nella vita quotidiana italiana. Non avremmo potuto immaginare le grandi amicizie che avremmo fatto.

Crescendo, io e Len siamo stati entrambi fortunati ad essere circondati da grandi famiglie italiane estese. Ognuna delle nostre vite era piena di divertenti tradizioni italiane, grandi riunioni di famiglia e amore.

Nella mia famiglia c’erano 10 nipoti per parte. E mentre sapevamo dei risultati dei nostri nonni, non era come se parlassero di se stessi. Per noi, erano nonni tipici e divertenti che lavoravano duramente e amavano i loro nipoti a caro prezzo.

Di conseguenza, il mio fascino ancestrale iniziò davvero molti anni dopo, quando iniziai a ricercare mio nonno paterno, Alex Capraro.

©blogginginitaly.com   Alex Capraro and wife Maude

Lasciò Pietrabbondante in Abruzzo all’età di quattro anni ed emigrò con i suoi giovani genitori in America dove alla fine divenne il primo architetto italo-americano autorizzato in Illinois. Agli inizi degli anni ’30, fu nominato capo architetto dal governo italiano per il padiglione italiano alla Century of Progress Fair del 1933 a Chicago. Anche se è morto quando avevo cinque anni, mia nonna conservava molte delle sue lettere e dei suoi documenti. Alla fine, questi mi sono stati trasmessi. A tempo debito, sono stato in grado di mettere insieme così tanto di ciò che era e ciò che aveva realizzato nella sua vita, come documentato nella mia serie di blog: Attraverso le sue parole: riflessioni da e su mio nonno.

La storia di Alex ha suscitato interesse, non solo con i miei familiari, ma anche con molti amici italiani.

Questo mi ha portato a ricercare e condividere qualcosa in più su mio nonno materno, Salvatore Ferrara, che ha aperto una pasticceria al dettaglio nella sezione Little Italy di Chicago nei primi anni del 1900.

Salvatore Ferrara (r) C.1908

La pasticceria produceva dolci italiani, grandi torte nuziali e mandorle ricoperte di zucchero, o coriandoli, che Salvatore aveva imparato a fare in Italia. Quando le vendite di caramelle hanno superato i pasticcini, ha lasciato la moglie per dirigere il forno e alla fine ha lanciato la Ferrara Pan Candy Company. Nel 2017 il Gruppo Ferrero, produttore di Nutella e il secondo produttore di cioccolato e azienda dolciaria al mondo, ha acquistato la Ferrara Candy Company.

Per non essere superata dagli uomini, mia nonna materna, Serafina Ferrara, divenne una dinamica personalità imprenditoriale e filantropo.

Serafina Ferrara and brother

A differenza di miei nonni, ho avuto la fortuna di conoscerla tra i 20 anni. Oltre a gestire la panetteria, ha aperto due delle prime sale per banchetti di Chicago, il Chateau Royale e il maniero di Ferrara. Ha anche dedicato un tempo significativo a cause caritatevoli e civili. Era conosciuta come “L’angelo di Halsted Street” per la sua infinita generosità verso i meno fortunati. Nel 1956, fu nominata nonna nazionale dell’anno insieme a Ed Sullivan come nonno dell’anno. Lo stesso anno, fu decorata dal Governo italiano per aver contribuito a cementare le relazioni italo-americane: i suoi numerosi successi nella vita sono stati inseriti nel record congressuale della Camera dei Rappresentanti degli Stati Uniti dall’onorevole Frank Annunzio nel 1972.

Nel corso del tempo, ho potuto vedere gli ingranaggi girare nella testa del nostro buon amico Carlo. Era incuriosito, non solo per la storia di questi immigrati italiani che hanno realizzato così tanto in America, ma che le due famiglie erano unite dal matrimonio di mia madre, Benita Ferrara, e di mio padre, Bill Capraro. Carlo è stato anche colpito dalla decisione di Len e dalla mia decisione di immergerci completamente nella storia e nella cultura dei nostri antenati, nonché di ricercare e condividere le nostre storie. Sapevo che aveva iniziato a parlare con gli altri, ma mai fino a che punto.

Avanti veloce alla scorsa settimana e l’invito.

A cena mercoledì sera, abbiamo incontrato Massimo Lucidi (di fronte a me) per la prima volta, sebbene fosse stato ben informato. Prima che la serata fosse finita, mi aveva invitato a partecipare a un panel la mattina successiva.

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La sala conferenze Tropicana dell’Hotel Excelsior ospitava il padiglione italiano dove si sarebbe tenuto l’incontro.

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All’improvviso, sono stato sul palco con un membro del parlamento, un colonnello dei carabinieri, il Presidente di Rai Cinema e Massimo Lucidi, tutti che recitano ruoli significativi e vari nella promozione del cinema e delle arti legate alla storia e alla cultura dell’Italia in un palcoscenico internazionale.

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Il mio ruolo è stato quello di condividere una breve storia (in italiano, ovviamente!) Dei miei nonni, tutti immigrati italiani e dei contributi che hanno fatto in America. E perché così tanto interesse? Come è stato sottolineato durante il panel, ci sono così tante storie meravigliose di immigrati italiani che non vengono mai ascoltate e mai raccontate, ed è la sfida di coloro che sono coinvolti in tutti i tipi di media a cercare tali storie.

Nella sala c’erano produttori, registi, attori, scrittori e giornalisti, e molti furono riconosciuti per il loro lavoro.

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E poi, alla conclusione del panel, è arrivata la nostra incredibile sorpresa e il nostro straordinario onore – Len ed io siamo stati riconosciuti dal Comitato Esecutivo del Premio Eccellenza come segue:

Per la storia di straordinario impegno, passione e stile,
siamo lieti di premiare
Judy e Leonard Gingerella
Ambasciatori della storia italiana dell’emigrazione

©blogginginitaly.com     Colonel Anania, Len , Judy, Massimo Lucidi

La cerimonia di premiazione effettiva si terrà a Washington DC in ottobre, ma poiché non saremo disponibili, ci è stato assegnato il nostro premio in anticipo. Ed è per questo che siamo stati invitati a Venezia.

Dopo l’evento, Massimo ha condotto un’intervista con me e Carlo, disponibile su YouTubehttps://youtu.be/Ikif5iup2mY

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Abbiamo presentato a Massimo un libro di Luciano Meoni, il sindaco di Cortona.

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E il colonnello Anania ha presentato un libro all’onorevole Nicola Acunzo di Francesco Attesti, Consigliere culturale di Cortona.

Len ed io saremo per sempre grati a Massimo, Orazio, Carlo ea tutti coloro che vedono valore nel condividere il passato e sono impegnati a mantenere vive le storie. Grazie mille, grazie! Il nostro tempo trascorso insieme al 76 ° Festival Internazionale del Cinema di Venezia sarà qualcosa che apprezzeremo per sempre.

Soprattutto, la mia sincera gratitudine verso i miei nonni e bisnonni per avere il coraggio di lasciarsi alle spalle il noto, cercare opportunità in America e creare eredità straordinarie. Sarò sempre sbalordito e anche ispirato dai loro successi. Come loro nipote, sono così orgoglioso di poter condividere le loro storie.

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Su una nota profetica … a fine luglio, la nostra famiglia allargata si è riunita a Chicago per una settimana. Una notte attorno a una grande tavola rotonda, ci hanno chiesto ciascuno di completare la seguente frase:

“Sono un 10 a _________.”

Ho riflettuto, non sono sicuro della mia risposta, e poi a mia volta, la parola è semplicemente saltata fuori: RICERCA.

Non avrei mai immaginato che la mia ricerca mi avrebbe portato in questo incredibile viaggio.

Resta sintonizzato: potrebbe esserci ancora qualcosa in arrivo.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Honor Indeed!

10 Sep

Two weeks ago, and most unexpectedly, we received an invitation to attend the 76th Venice International Film Festival, guests of Prof. Dr. Massimo Lucidi, economic journalist, author, and founder of numerous international events such as the Premio Eccellenza or Italian Excellence Award.

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The festival is held on Venice Lido and our meeting was at the Hotel Excelsior. Per their website: “This extraordinary creation opened to great acclaim on 21st July 1908, with a lavish ocean-front party for over 3,000 guests. It rapidly became a haven for the elite, film stars and royalty.”

In 1932, Hotel Excelsior Venice Lido Resort welcomed the first ever Venice Film Festival and is now the official venue of this world-famous event.

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We took a moment to enjoy a cappuccino in good company.

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The meeting we participated in was titled “Cinema and Web.” It focused on the relationship between the emotion and seduction of cinema and today’s digital opportunities to preserve and share history and culture.

But why us? A bit of history required here…

Len and I, both with Italian origins, always had a dream and goal to spend significant time in Italy. Since 2001, with our trip to Calabria to find Len’s grandparents’ records, we’ve continued the research of our ancestral homes and visited most. Once we retired, and wanting to truly experience the country of our ancestors, we chose the ancient and beautiful town of Cortona in Tuscany.

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For us, it was the perfect size and setting to give us a central base from which to travel, to truly interact with locals, and to absorb the culture of our ancestors as we became immersed in daily Italian living. Little could we have imagined the great friendships we would make.

Growing up, Len and I were both very fortunate to be surrounded by large extended Italian families. Each of our lives was filled with fun Italian traditions, large family gatherings and love.

In my family, there were 10 grandchildren on each side. And while we knew of our grandparents’ accomplishments, it wasn’t as if they talked about themselves. For us, they were typical and fun grandparents who worked hard and loved their grandchildren dearly.

As a result, my ancestral fascination truly began many years later when I started researching my paternal grandfather, Alex Capraro.

©blogginginitaly.com   Alex Capraro and wife Maude

He left Pietrabbondante in Abruzzo at age four and emigrated with his young parents to America where he eventually became the first licensed Italian-American architect in Illinois. In the early 1930’s, he was appointed chief architect by the Italian Government for the Italian Pavilion at the 1933 Century of Progress Fair in Chicago. Although he passed away when I was five, my grandmother kept many of his letters and documents.  Eventually, these were passed on to me. In due time, I was able to piece together so much of who he was and what he had accomplished in his life, as documented in my blog series: Through His Words: Reflections From and About My Grandfather.

Alex’s story generated interest, not only with my family members, but also with many Italian friends.

This led me to research and share more about my maternal grandfather, Salvatore Ferrara, who opened a retail pastry and candy shop in the Little Italy section of Chicago in the early 1900s.

Salvatore Ferrara (r) C.1908

The bakery produced Italian pastries, large wedding cakes, and the sugarcoated almonds, or confetti, that Salvatore had learned to make in Italy. When candy sales surpassed pastries, he left his wife to run the bakery and eventually launched the Ferrara Pan Candy Company. In 2017, the Ferrero Group, maker of Nutella and the second largest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world, purchased the Ferrara Candy Company.

Not to be outdone by the men, my maternal grandmother, Serafina Ferrara, became a dynamic business personality and philanthropist.

Serafina Ferrara and brother

Unlike my grandfathers, I had the good fortune to know her into my 20s. In addition to running the bakery, she opened two of Chicago’s first banquet halls, the Chateau Royale and Ferrara Manor. She also devoted significant time to charitable and civic causes. She was known as “The Angel of Halsted Street” for her unending generosity to those less fortunate. In 1956, she was named national grandmother of the year along with Ed Sullivan as grandfather of the year. The same year, she was decorated by the Italian government for helping to cement Italo-American relations. Her many life accomplishments were entered into the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional record by the Honorable Frank Annunzio in 1972.

Over time, I could see the gears turning in our good friend Carlo’s head. He was intrigued, not only about the story of these Italian immigrants who accomplished so much in America, but that the two families were united though the marriage of my mother, Benita Ferrara, and my dad, Bill Capraro. Carlo was also struck by Len’s and my decision to fully immerse ourselves in the history and culture of our ancestors, as well as research and share our stories. I knew he had begun talking to others, but never quite to what extent.

Fast forward to last week, and the invitation.

At dinner Wednesday night, we met Massimo Lucidi (across from me) for the first time, although he had been well briefed. Before the evening was over, he had invited me to join a panel the next morning.

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The Tropicana Conference Room at Hotel Excelsior housed the Italian Pavilion where the meeting would be held.

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Suddenly, I was on stage with a parliamentary member, a carabinieri colonel, the president of Rai Cinema, and Massimo Lucidi, all who play significant and varied roles in the promotion of film and the arts related to the history and culture of Italy on an international stage.

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My role was to share a brief history (in Italian, of course!) of my grandparents, all Italian immigrants, and the contributions they made in America. And why so much interest? As was pointed out during the panel, there are so many wonderful stories of Italian immigrants that are never heard, and never told, and it is the challenge of those involved in all types of media to seek out such stories.

In the room were producers, directors, actors, writers and journalists, and several were recognized for their work.

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And then, at the conclusion of the panel, came our incredible surprise and amazing honor – Len and I were recognized by the Executive Committee of Premio Eccellenza as follows:

For the history of extraordinary commitment, passion and style,
we are pleased to award
Judy and Leonard Gingerella
Ambassadors of the Italian History of Emigration

©blogginginitaly.com     Colonel Anania, Len , Judy, Massimo Lucidi

The actual award ceremony will be held in Washington DC in October, but since we won’t be available, we were given our award in advance. And that is why we were invited to Venice.

After the event, Massimo conducted an interview with Carlo and me which is available on YouTube. https://youtu.be/Ikif5iup2mY

https://youtu.be/Ikif5iup2mY

We presented Massimo with a book from Luciano Meoni, the Mayor of Cortona.

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And Colonel Anania presented a book to Honorable Nicola Acunzo from Francesco Attesti, the Cortona Cultural Councilor. 

Len and I will be forever grateful to Massimo, Orazio, Carlo and all those who see value in sharing the past and are committed to keeping the stories alive. Grazie mille, thank you! Our time spent together at the 76th Venice International Film Festival will be something we’ll cherish forever.

Most of all, my heartfelt gratitude to my grandparents and great grandparents for having the courage to leave the known behind, seek opportunity in America, and create extraordinary legacies. I will always be in awe and also inspired by their accomplishments. As their granddaughter, I am so proud to be able to share their stories.

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On a prophetic footnote… in late July, our extended family gathered in Chicago for a week. One night around a large round table, we were each asked to complete the following sentence:

“I am a 10 at _________.”

I pondered, not sure of my response, and then at my turn, the word just popped out – RESEARCHING.

Little could I have ever imagined that my research would take me on this incredible journey.

Stay tuned – there just might be more to come.

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il Pozzo “Tabacchi” Cortona

29 Sep

When you spend time in Italy, you quickly learn the value of a Tabacchi. It is a place to buy bus and train tickets, stamps, postcards, gum, candy, lozenges, etc.

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You can recharge a phone card, buy a lottery ticket, often send a fax, and at most tabacchis, sort through various dollar store types of souvenirs. And yes, the word Tabacchi means tobacco, so, that too.

But when is a tabacchi much more than a tabacchi? When you find this large  “T” sign and awning on Via Nazionale in Cortona. Then it’s a destination.

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No matter how often I visit, there is always something new and creative to see. And the best news? Most items are actually Made in Italy, many from local and nearby artisans. Here are some examples.

These purses, ornaments and wallets are made from old sheet music, newsprint and/or comic pages, formed into shapes, laminated, and then woven together.

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There are numerous prints of familiar Tuscan scenes, towns, buildings and monuments, available in many shapes and sizes, 

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as well as whimsical pieces of art.

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Sara Lovari©Blogginginitaly.com

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As for me, I can never have enough kitchen towels, especially when they depict places I’ve visited or recipes I want to remember.

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Planning to attend Carnevale in Venice or a Mardi Gras party? They’ve got you covered.

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There is beautiful pastel stationery, as well as bound journals, all hand-made with 100% cotton paper, and each journal is individually embossed.

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Traditional Florentine notecards and ornamental angels come in a rainbow of colors.

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Need a birthday or anniversary card? There’s an abundance to choose from.

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Italians love beautifully fragranced soaps, especially Campostrini soaps that have been produced  in Firenze since 1894.

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Like so many businesses in Cortona, Il Pozzo Artisan’s Gallery and Tabacchi is family owned and operated, and generally open daily. If you’ve been to Cortona, you probably recognize these faces. 

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(L-R) Marta, Ivan, Loriana, Thomas©Blogginginitaly.com

Ivan speaks English well and is an incredible resource for most questions, whether about an artist, a painting, the Etruscans, or local antiquities. It’s no wonder many of us consider him Cortona’s ambassador. 

If you are heading to Cortona, be sure to add this wonderful place to your list. You’ll be so happy you did!

And one last note: At the back of the tabacchi, take the winding staircase down one flight to visit the beautiful Il Pozzo Galleria. In addition to seeing many more interesting and beautiful works of art, you will also see an ancient well, or pozzo, hence the name Il Pozzo. Ivan actually uncovered the well during excavation, but I’ll leave that story to him.

For more info and photos on Il Pozzo Galleria, please click below:

https://blogginginitaly.com/2013/09/14/il-pozzo/

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

A Beautiful Italian Birthday!

23 May

44 years ago, I celebrated my 21st birthday at Gino’s restaurant in Rome with a wonderful group of friends/fellow students. Shortly after, I would return to the US with my badge of honor – a driver’s license showing I was 21.

Yesterday,  I celebrated my birthday, (you can do the math!), with a wonderful group of friends at Tuscher Cafe in Cortona. Soon, I will return to the US with another badge of honor – a red, white and blue Medicare card!

Yesterday was the kind of day one would order – sunny, warm, and filled with blue skies and wonderful greetings from family and friends, near and far, including this:

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Len decided we should start the day at Tuscher with brunch and a prosecco toast – sounded good to me.

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Afterward, we went for a long walk and enjoyed vistas that never get old.

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Time for lunch – back to Tuscher for Edoardo’s new fish sandwich with fries… we split one, and enjoyed people watching as we sipped some vino.

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Feeling the need for another walk, the antique fair in town was the perfect venue. Finally, we headed home for a rest before dinner.

At 8pm, we arrived at Tuscher, (yes, it was definitely a Tuscher kind of day!) to a beautiful table and waited for our guests to arrive.

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Massimo and Niccolo took care of us as Dani and Edo worked their magic in the kitchen.

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Although the invitation said no gifts please, our guests claimed to not understand English!

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Len had already given me a relaxing day at the local spa, and Benita surprised me with family tickets to see James Taylor at Wrigley Field this summer.

Dinner began with Champaign and appertivo.

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Often interrupted for photos and toasts…

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I brought hand-made honey candles for each guest and created a bit of a game around their choice.

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First course –  spaghetti with fresh tomatoes and basil…delicious!

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Second course – beef filet cooked to order, roasted rosemary potatoes and sautéed artichokes. Perfect!

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Sometime after dinner and singing and stories, and feeling we couldn’t eat another thing, the lights went out…

And Dani and Massimo entered with this incredible wine cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Wow!

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After all other customer were gone, Dani, Massimo, Niccolo and Edo were finally able to close the doors and join us. Applause! Applause!

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Many thanks to all, either with me or in my heart, who made my day so special, and a very, very  special thanks to Len. A perfect ending to a perfect day!

Molte grazie a tutti, sia con me o nel mio cuore, che ha reso il mio giorno così speciale, e un grazie molto, molto speciale a Len. Una conclusione perfetta di una giornata perfetta!

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Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

 

 

Tuscher Caffé

26 Sep

On our last day in Cortona this summer, a group of ladies stopped me and asked where they might enjoy a great breakfast. “Follow me,” I said, then walked them to our favorite eating destination in all of Cortona – Tuscher Caffé.

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As I’ve written many times, one of the things we enjoy most about Cortona is its Italian authenticity. Most of the restaurants, shops, and stores are owned and operated by local Italians, and these places are where we prefer to spend our time.

This two-story Caffé opened in 2003 in the beautiful Palazzo Ferretti on Via Nazionale. Massimo and Daniela, the owners and operators of the caffé, named it after the building’s architect, Carl Marcus Tuscher, who worked in Italy from 1728-41.

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They, along with their sons Niccolo and Edoardo, tend to every detail, and it clearly shows.

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Looking for breakfast? Whether a simple coffee and pastry, or an omelet, look no further.

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Thinking about lunch? Your biggest decision is not whether to sit inside or out, rather, how to choose which delicious dish to order. Always the freshest ingredients coupled with creativity, and always made to order…

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And let’s not forget about dessert:

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In Italy, people often gather in the evening for appertivo. This wonderful tradition consists of meeting friends or family members for a pre-dinner drink such as prosecco or vermouth. Historically, these drinks were accompanied by nuts and olives so as not to ruin an appetite, and instead, open up the stomach for the meal to come.

Today, appertivo has taken on a different meaning where along with a wide variety of specialty cocktails, delicious and creative appetizers are served – all free of charge.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Winter or summer, appertivo is an evening ritual in Cortona.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Unless it is Monday, and Tuscher is closed, hardly a day passes that we don’t enjoy one or more meals here. After our several mile hike each morning, Len always declares, “It’s time for a proper lunch,” and for us, that’s typically a Tuscher lunch. We love the food and the atmosphere, and most of all, we love the friends and friendships we have made here.

As for those lovely ladies I introduced to Tuscher in the morning…well, they obviously liked the recommendation as they were back having lunch when we arrived to do the same.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

To Dani, Massimo, Niccolo and Edoardo, thanks for all of your hard work and dedication and for making Tuscher Caffé such a special part of our Cortona life. And to my dear friend, Dani, Buon Compleanno!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

You truly are a sweetie pie!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

If you are a regular, see you there. If you’ve never been, try it. You’ll thank me later!

Ciao,

Judy

www.caffetuschercortona.com

Arrivederci Cortona – 2014

30 Jul

Some wonderful sights, sounds, smells, settings, 
and most of all,  salutes and smiles (and a bit of splash!)
that we will take home, in photos and in our hearts…

Sights:

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Pietrabbondante ©Blogginginitaly.com

Bagnoli dei Trigno - blogginginitaly.com

Bagnoli dei Trigno – blogginginitaly.com

Gubbio - blogginginitaly.com

Gubbio – blogginginitaly.com

Lago Trasimeno - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Lago Trasimeno – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Cortona – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Sounds:

Quercinella - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Terrenean Sea, Quercinella – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Marinelli Bell Foundry Agnone ©Blogginginitaly.com

Marinelli Bell Foundry, Agnone ©Blogginginitaly.com

Carmen in Cortona ©Blogginginitaly.com

Carmen, Cortona Teatro ©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Smells:

Tuscher Cafe - blogginginitaly.com

Pasta with Melon and Ham, Tuscher Cafe – blogginginitaly.com

Pasta Napoletana, AD, ©Blogginginitaly.com

Pasta Neapolitana, AD Ristorante, ©Blogginginitaly.com

Pasta with Mozarella, rocket and Tomatoes, Domus Hotel, blogginginitaly.com

Pasta with Mozzarella, Greens and Tomatoes, Domus Hotel, blogginginitaly.com

Eggplant a la Giovanna©Blogginginitaly.com

Eggplant a la Giovanna©Blogginginitaly.com

Fernanda's Green Peppercorn Filet - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Fernanda’s Green Peppercorn Filet and Garden Vegetables – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Settings (come rain or shine):

Ivan, Lori & Tomas ©Blogginginitaly.com

Ivan, Lori & Tomas
©Blogginginitaly.com

Lapo & Paola - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Lapo & Paola – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Giovanna & Franco - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Giovanna & Franco – ©Blogginginitaly.com

Massimo & Daniela  - ©Blogginginitaly.com

Massimo & Daniela – ©Blogginginitaly.com

And most of all – Salutes:

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©Blogginginitaly.com

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©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.co

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Smiles:

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©Blogginginitaly.com

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©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

blogginginitaly.com

blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

And a bit of Splash!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Grazie a tutti! 

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©Blogginginitaly.com

A prossimo!!! 

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Tanti Abbracci!

Giuditta e Leonardo

 

Cortona in Winter

12 Feb

I always wondered what Cortona would be like in winter, and now I know. The same wonderful people, the same beautiful town, albeit a little quieter, and the same feeling like I’m home…ok, also colder and sometimes rainy, but certainly warm compared to Chicago.

Benita and I took the train from Roma last Saturday and spent two wonderful days and nights in Cortona. It’s an incredible feeling to walk through the market or down a street and recognize so many faces. We shopped, walked, ate, drank, talked and laughed with our wonderful Cortonese friends.

I think the pictures and smiles tell the story!

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Grazie ai nostri amici per un tempo meraviglioso!

And Len, this one is for you…un baccino from Daniela!

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Can’t wait to return this summer!

Ciao,

Judy

Happy New Year – Buon Anno!

31 Dec

A warm thank you to all who have found and followed Blogginginitaly.com, which had over 10,000 views from 83 countries in 2013. When I began writing in 2011, little did I realize the joy this blog would bring me. It is such fun for me to share my thoughts and experiences and know others enjoy reading about them as well.

A few things in store for Blogginginitaly 2014…

A winter visit to Rome… (haven’t done that since I was a student!)

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as well as Cortona, which I’ve never been to in winter!

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Much more about Alex and his travels to Italy

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and a summer journey for Len and me to Alex’s birthplace, Pietrabbondante.

Pietrabbondante

Pietrabbondante (Photo credit: diffendale)

As we anticipate our summer return to Cortona, we know it will be filled with wonderful new and familiar experiences, great food and wine, the tranquillity of piazza life, and so many roads less travelled to discover and share with you. But best of all, we know we will be spending time with dear friends we have made through our travels.

May your new year be filled with health and time spent with loved ones, and may you find  time to enjoy a sunset, wherever your roads lead you.

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Happy New Year and Buon Anno 2014!

Ciao,

Judy

Preludio

14 Nov

Sometimes, we walk by a place, take note, and know we need to return. That was the case for us with Preludio, an elegant restaurant in Cortona. Unfortunately it took us three summers to eat there, but now it’s on our annual To-Do list.

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From the outside looking in, it seems as though this is a restaurant for celebrating an occasion – a birthday, an anniversary, etc.  Draped linens adorn the tables which are set with long stem wine glass and glowing candles.

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Local friends Luca and Simone first introduced us to the restaurant and assured us that wanting great food is occasion enough.  Fortunately for us, they did all the ordering, but I must admit, we dined as if we were celebrating a big occasion. First things first, some incredible wine from the Bolgheri region of Italy.

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Then on to the primi. The attention to detail at Preludio is as incredible as the food, and the presentation of each dish is truly a work of art. I especially loved how our friends chose their favorite local and regional dishes to share with us. While I can’t remember the names of many of the dishes,  I do remember the taste.

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Escalope of foie gras sauce, lettuce, grapefruit and potatoes pumpkin

Not being such a foie gras aficionado, I was very content sitting next to this incredible fondue!

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For the secondo, we were treated to a Tuscan trio – two pastas with meat and one saffron porcini risotto with black truffle. I headed right for the risotto!

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Although two-thirds of my plate was still covered, our friends wanted us to share a Florentine steak. With no more room for dinner, we finally agreed on dessert which they insisted was mandatory. Well, feast your eyes!

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According to their website:

Preludio is always looking for new challenges posed by the evolution of taste, frequently revisited by combining creativity and continuity and adapting it to the current seasons. 

Do not ask us what is our main dish, because our ambition is to ensure that every dish that leaves our kitchen is new and unique…

Sometimes a night doesn’t need a special occasion to celebrate as the night itself becomes the occasion.  Our dinner at Preludio with our local friends was one of those nights. Grazie for a special night we will long remember.

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Just like in English, the name Preludio (prelude) means the beginning or an introduction. I’m so glad we’ve been introduced!

Ciao,

Judy

Postscript:

Len and I enjoyed the restaurant so much, we returned another evening for a “simpler” dinner of risotto, salmon, artichokes and potatoes. We’ll be back for more. 

Ristorante IL CACCIATORE, Cortona

20 Sep

Since it’s Friday, I was thinking about where I’d like to have dinner tonight. A simple choice would be Ristorante IL CACCIATORE, except for the fact that it is in Cortona and we are in Chicago. Oh, well, I can still think about what we might order after receiving a warm welcome from Alessandro, owner and always visible greeter.

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The entrance to the two-story restaurant is on Via Roma, and you can choose indoor or limited outdoor seating. According to its website, “It was the first restaurant opened in the medieval town of Cortona, around 1904.” The word cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and the restaurant serves typical Tuscan dishes and “specialities including grilled meat chianina, ribollita and pici with meat sauce,” a local pasta favorite.

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There’s an ample selection of wines to choose from, and the house wine is fine as well.

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The food is very good, and the atmosphere and staff are always warm and inviting.

Whether we stop in for pizza and a tomato salad

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Tonight, perhaps we’d start with an antipasto of cheeses and freshly sliced meats…

IMG_0001or order pici with speck and tomatoes.

IMG_0637After, we’d choose sliced steak with rosemary

IMG_0004or delicious roasted chicken, (my favorite!)

IMG_0002some hot off-the-grill veggies

IMG_0639and of course, wonderful roasted potatoes!

IMG_0003So simple, so delicious.

And to top off a most satisfying dinner, why not a little tiramisu? (It’s so much better in Italy!)

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All in a night’s work, but then someone gets to do it. Just wish it could be us tonight!

Whether it’s just the two of us, or we are part of a large group, Ristorante IL CACCIATORE is one of our favorite go-to restaurants in Cortona.

Ciao,

Judy

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