It’s August and time for vacation–even for me. So I invite you to enjoy some of my posts from last year’s visit to Italy, like this one, or this one, or maybe this. Enjoy the August holiday, and I’ll see you in September!
Does the Villa Caesar Augustus on Capri sound like your ideal wedding venue? Maybe you are more inclined to exchange vows on the Lovers’ Walk along the Amalfi Coast. Or take a few of your friends on an antique sailboat and tie the knot on the water. Destination weddings in Italy come in all shapes and sizes.
Commercial wedding organizers are prepared to help you plan a wedding just about anywhere in the Italian South. (No doubt the north, too, but that is somebody else’s blog!) Here are some examples:
Sicily: A seventeenth century baroque castle near Taormina offers garden weddings for up to 250 guests, with on-site catering and hotel rooms for about 50 people. Enjoy music and dancing ’til dawn.
Calabria: A medieval chapel attached to a nineteenth century luxury residence near Cosenza, with religious ceremonies available in the chapel or civil ceremonies in other parts of the venue.
Basilicata: A masseria, or large farmhouse, in the hills, has been converted to a beautiful wedding venue with lots of privacy, and a more informal environment.
Apulia: Need space for 800 of your closest friends? Get married on the beach at Monopoli. The club has a private beach and restaurant–with parking for 500 cars.
Campania: Romantic to the core, Sorrento offers numerous wedding venues, and the possibility of a religious wedding inside the medieval cloisters in the historic center of town. Stunning views of the Gulf of Naples and Vesuvius.
Abruzzo: In a castle near Chieti, you can host your reception dinner in the cantina, the castle’s winemaking cellar, surrounded by enormous wooden casks. The castle sits among grapevines on a hillside above the Adriatic Sea.
One Italian wedding website, Slow Dreams, has an especially helpful page on legal factors involved with marrying in Italy. A Google search for ‘wedding venues in Italy’ turned up nearly three million hits–you won’t have any trouble finding a wedding planner to help you. If you have accomplished the first step–finding your lifelong partner–see what Italy has to offer for your perfect wedding.
If you saw the movie The Big Night which I reviewed last week, then you’ve seen timpano, an Italian dish I had never heard of before watching the film. I tried to buy the cookbook written by actor Stanley Tucci’s mother but it is out of print, so I’ll be scouring for a used copy. In the meantime, I find that the internet is full of recipes for timpano, and I’m going to share some links with you to find them.
I have never made this dish. I now live in a household of two, and making a six-quart baked pasta is a little intimidating, not to mention the complexity of the dish. Have you made it? Is a smaller version possible? I have to admit, we do have a pretty big gathering for Christmas and I think this may be our next Christmas or Christmas eve dinner!
Here are some links to recipes:
There is one in Los Angeles Magazine online.
And another with a video tutorial! from Coco’s Italian Market.
This one from Epicurian is made in a 10″ or 12″ springform pan, but from the list of filling ingredients, I don’t know how it could fit in that size pan.
And here’s another adaptation, just for the fun of it–with lots of good photos of the construction process. And it’s a little smaller, so maybe I’ll try it for a dinner with some friends.
Do you enjoy hearing a little Italian when you watch a movie? Me too! And that’s one of the things I really enjoyed while watching The Big Night. Though it takes place in America, many conversations between Italian characters are in Italian (with subtitles). This 1996 movie has a great cast–Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver, Isabella Rossellini, Ian Holm, Allison Janney–and the acting is great.
An Italian restaurant, run by two immigrant brothers, is on the brink of failure. One big night could change their fortunes–and they throw everything into it. Although not every aspect of the characters is adequately explained, they are realistically flawed characters and I found myself rooting for their successes and wincing at their failures.
This is a wonderful “foodie movie” and if you have ever been comatose over too much wonderful Italian food, this will bring back all the memories.
The Big Night is available on Netflix, so pour yourself a glass of wine and trade the popcorn for some bruschetta. After you’ve watched, tell me what you think of it.
According to this video, we have the Oracle of Delphi to thank for directing the Greeks to settle in Italy almost 3,000 years ago. Although it’s a fairly long (26 minutes) video, I found it very interesting. I hope you do too!
Italy is a country of coastlines, and those include many beautiful beaches. Broad swaths of sand stretch into the distance at some of them. Tiny white crescents hide between rocky cliffs at others. While the beaches of Tropea and the Amalfi coast get lots of attention, there are also lovely beaches on the Adriatic, Italy’s eastern coast.
Note: Nude beaches became legal in Italy in 2006. Click here for an article in English about them. Most of the beaches mentioned in the article are in central and northern Italy. Here is another article, in Italian, about the first nude beach in Abruzzo. There are others around southern Italy too, if you want to seek them out.
Everywhere you go, there are certain dining practices, expectations, and rules. In Argentina, mate (a tea) is served in a gourd with a silver straw, and is passed from person to person around the table. In Morocco, if you take a bone from the stew, you are expected to suck out the marrow. In Russia, table settings typically include a vodka shot glass. Japanese chopsticks are different from Chinese chopsticks.
I have always found Italy pretty laid back about rules in general, but there are some “food rules” that continue to come up. Cappuccino (and coffee with milk in general) is for morning. Don’t twirl spaghetti using a spoon. (That’s for children.) And please for the love of all that is edible, do not put cheese on seafood dishes.
Some people have compiled and explained these rules, and one of the places to find them is a website called Etiquette Scholar, which can help you with dining and related etiquette just about anywhere in the world.
Life in Italy also has a post about Italian food rules, and the comments on it are fun and instructive as well.
And Conde Nast Traveler‘s website has advice for Italian dining from a couple of Italians.
I’m sure during my travels in Italy, I have broken lots of the “rules” and nobody made a big deal of it. I know I’ve had cappuccino in the afternoon. Hubby loves grated cheese on his seafood pasta. But if I see an opportunity to learn more about Italian life and culture by adjusting some dining habits, I’ll do it! Most often, Italians will be gracious enough not to point out your gaffe, but if they do, I hope you’ll be able to thank them for teaching you something new. Buon appetito!