Several years ago, (not so many) food shopping was a daily activity. The squares of many cities and towns markets were transformed into markets and places to meet people. You could buy food directly from the farmers of the surrounding areas, and, in addition, you could get information, recipes, suggestions and ideas of all kind. As part of a community, everyone seemed special and unique.
Food was extremely precious: it inspired respect and almost nothing was wasted. Every part was used and consumed. No rush, no hurry, every single leaf, berry, every small part of it was cooked and eaten .
Try to imagine all this, add the noise and the smells of a good Italian food market…We’ll take you to visit our personal market according the seasonal products, adding our suggestions, re-discovering old recipes, telling you our secrets. Together we’ll re-create the atmosphere of a real, old fashioned, Italian food market.
First step: let’s choose the seasonal products…
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The Italian Cultural Institute in New York is an elegant and discreet building in Park Avenue, when the city looked to the British models. The occasion yesterday was really amazing: Michael Cunningham, the Pulitzer Prize, was reading a dreamy and inspiring piece he wrote about Matera.
My thoughts turn to those magical places, led to our amazing history and culture. I thought to my land, to our emigrants, to this little piece of home overseas.
I stopped going out to the desk, to leave my address for the next events. Before my interlocutor a red box of AMARELLI licorice.
“Are you from Calabria?” I immediately asked him “Yes, a little village near Rossano. When I go to Italy I do hoard of them ”
How such a small piece of Italy helps us to keep our roots!
Salvatore P. Ambrosino (December 20, 2016) for i-ItalyNY
How an American student of Italian origin traveled to Florence to work on his Master’s thesis and mingle with the locals—and ended up tripping over the world of Italian artisanship. And how he discovered the secret ingredient of Italian lifestyle and elegance: heart.
To travel to a city and go beyond what meets the eye. To mingle with the locals, talk to them, become their friend, to dine with them, to create memories together. To understand truly what makes a city tick, to understand the engine that has powered it through the centuries. This was my goal when I moved to Florence a few years ago to work on my Master’s thesis. I wanted to dig deeper than the classic tourist traps, emerge from what is often described as the “study abroad bubble” and dive feet-first into the local culture. I had hopes for participating in the local customs, and tasting the local dishes. It wasn’t long before I ate more homemade ribollita recipes than I can count. They were all delicious. I even joined my friends in Santo Spirito’s fan section at the Calcio Storico championship match. The calcianti didn’t let me down, the game was just as brutal as it is reputed to be.
An unexpected surprise
What I didn’t expect, though, was to meet dozens of talents who represent the industrious core that has distinguished Florence for so many centuries cheap viagra 100mg. The decedents of those craftsmen that supplied Lorenzo de Medici’s court with the priceless jewelry, ceramics and furniture that today fill the shelves of so many museums throughout the world. In short, my personal discovery of Florence’s artisanal industry came as an unexpected surprise… As a matter of fact, I tripped over it.
It started with getting lost on my way to school and stumbling upon Paolo Penko’s workshop on Via Ferdinando Zannetti, just a few blocks from the Duomo. Through the store window, which glistened with elaborate necklaces and sparkling rings, I could see a man hunched over a workbench, shaping his next creation. I knocked on the door, introduced myself to Paolo, and through him discovered my greatest passion: Italian Artisanship.
Paolo is a goldsmith with more than 20 years of experience. We spoke extensively about his craft, and he explained how he applies historic techniques that are particular to the Florentine tradition to each one of his masterpieces. He showed me a few examples of jewels that he created as a direct result of his research: pendants inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera, bracelets inspired by the crests of notable historical figures, the list goes on, each jewel more beautiful than the next. What truly left an impact on me, though, was the timeless beauty of Paolo’s works that were so directly inspired by the Renaissance: each piece was just as contemporary as it was faithful to the 500-year-old esthetic that inspired it. It’s been a few years since we first met, and I have since met dozens of artisans from all over Italy. Despite the different crafts that they might practice they all seem to share a common ability to create timeless masterpieces. Although I cannot prove it, my instinct tells me that the artisans owe it to one secret ingredient: heart, the birthplace of passion in each and every one of us.
A matter of motivation
In fact, while we live in a world of quantifiable data: returns on investment, key performance indicators; profits, margins and ratios, there exists a parallel world where passion is the primary motivation to get to work every day. It was passion that inspired Marcello Aversa of Sorrento to leave his family’s lucrative brickmaking business and dedicate his life to making miniature créches in terracotta. He has since been commissioned by the Pope. The same passion led Piero Dri of Venice to step away from his university degree in Astronomy to dedicate his life to making forcoli, or oarlocks particular to the Venetian gondola. He now sees rowing as a way of life and, in addition to his craft, helps many explore this alternative, healthy and low cost option to discover the Floating City. Likewise, it was passion that pushed Elena Bianchini of Florence to pursue a career as an artisanal Costume and Set Designer. She researches sustainable ways to transform simple household objects like paper and even rags into elaborate busts and 18th century frocks; most recently she was appointed founding-director of the in-house atelier for Set and Costume Design at Florence’s prestigious and historic Teatro della Pergola.
Heart and the passion it generates cannot be analyzed on a spreadsheet. Its essence has been a mystery since the beginning of time. It is what inspires photographers to take pictures, singers to sing, and creators to create. It is that magic that fills the room in anticipation of a live performance, the wondrous moment of awe-filled suspense when human hands are on the verge of creating something from nothing. It is an unquantifiable extension of the human spirit – every artisan’s most valuable tool. So often we allow spreadsheets to cast their shadow on the heart. We tend to favor indicators like the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) over the Emotional Quotient (EQ), which is favored over what I like to call the Human Quotient (HQ) – that extension of the heart that is every artisan’s secret ingredient. It is the core of what makes their creations so beautiful, and why they, as individuals, are such an inspiration… an inspiration that never overlooks the heart.
In January the days are clear, crisp light. Hardly ever the temperature goes below freezing. When it happens, the ice competes with its artists and the fountains of Rome are filled with joy!
A special team.
People makes the difference! Margherita, Elena and I started talking about the new apartment in Florence looking for a good decoration. I always say:” 1+1=3”. That’s what happened. The three of us, talking, drawing, essaying, we went over the problem getting great ideas!
Elena proposed an unusual tiles floor. Both I and Margherita were a bit unsure about. Fortunately Elena insisted and I supported her ideas. Hexagonal tiles now constitute the “texture” of the new interiors.
In the central area there was a living/dining room with a small, closed kitchen. A stained glass door connecting to the studio.
I proposed to use the central room as a traditional Italian kitchen with a wide open kitchen, opening a second door to the studio, letting light come in as from a “veranda”. It became the real heart of the new apartment.
The bedroom is really a huge room. That was Italian style master bedroom. We wanted to keep this “space” giving a more contemporary footprint. Then the love of Margherita for Botticelli drove me to realize a big, traditional painting, as there are at the “Uffizi” as an impressive bed-head.
At the back I imagined a sort of wardrobe and, in front of the bed, the traditional CHARMSUITE fireplace/tv. An armchair with a standing lamp ant a coffee table, gave to the room exactly what we expected.
Margherita, I and Simona, who joined us, later, really enjoyed looking for pieces of furniture, mirrors, photos, objects.
Everyone of us gave a bit, but the result is much more then the simple sum of personal contribution.
Go and see the photos, read the report of our guests and you’ll get an idea about how our passion, become their joy!
Free entrance Jan.1st to the unbelievable archeological area of the roman age form 10AM to 3PM.
Don’t lose the chance to follow in the footsteps of the ancient Romans emperors.
Four different entrances: Navona Square, L.go Corrado Ricci, Colosseo and via di S. Gregorio.
Amazing, powerful artist, Manzù (1908/1991) left his mark on Italian XX century second part realizing several bronze masterpieces.
The exhibition theme is the relationship between such a revolutionary period of our times and religious art. It will be very interesting the comparison between his pieces and Lucio Fontana’s ones. The location is St. Angel’s castle, a perfect case for such a precious treasure.
Here few shots by the incredible talent of Srdja Mirkivic