Month: September 2015


2 reasons why you should go to Monza

1) Be wowed by visiting Villa Reale recently come back to its original splendor 


Surrounded by the wonderful Monza Park, Villa Reale, must be the starting point of your tour around the city.

In 1861, with the new Kingdom of Italy just established, the palace became the residence of the Royal Family of Savoy.

The villa boasts a Royal Chapel, grand salons and halls but also the apartments once belonging to King Humbert I of Italy and Queen Margherita of Savoy.

After two years of restoration, the villa has been finally reopened to the public and it hosts plenty of art exhibitions, attracting visitors from the surroundings and beyond.


 2) Visit beautiful Niso Fumagalli rose garden

After visiting Villa Reale, please don’t miss out on heading to the beautiful Niso Fumagalli rose garden, where you can admire a large variety of wonderful roses.

Built in 1964 on order of Niso Fumagalli, it was designed by Italian architect Francesco Clerici and Vittorio Faglia.


Look this amazinhg underwater vegetable garden off the coast of Italy

Sustainability is the key word of the challenging project, called Nemo’s Garden, promoted and carried out by Mastel Safety, an Italian company operating in the underwater field that created a submerged greenhouse in Noli where they cultivate all types of vegetables: from basil and courgettes to salad and radish.

Wondering why? They want to find alternative ecological sources for human consumption, creating food even in those desolate areas and coral islands close to the sea that boast environmentally harsh conditions not so favorable to cultivate crops.

The idea of creating underwater plant cultivation was born in 2012 and then developed in Noli bay, in the province of Savona through the following years.

Nowadays, Nemo’s garden includes more than 5 biospheres boasting underwater bubbles anchored to the sea floor and floating vertically at depth between 18 and 33 feet.


Perfect Italian words we wish existed in English (Gallery)

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The people at Buzzfeed don’t just create hilarious tests, “Aww”-inducing animalpic compilations and send out the cat newsletter every Friday but they alsohave a keen eye on the sociological, the differences between cultures, fromfood to landscape, pop culture and even languageThe most recent attention paid to Italy is dedicated to some of ourUniquewordsMany multilingual readers will have found themselves frustrated at theexistence of the perfect word in one language, and the lack of the same inanother.


Portraiture and memory in Ancient Rome

The Roman concept of the family sees the male as the centre paterfamilias the sole subject by right, and the representation of the family takes on a particular social value, often linked to claims of status, whether real or desired. The great impetus given by the Romans to the art of the portrait is important: funerary portraiture was revived, with wax masks that fixed the features of the deceased and from which they could draw portraits in terracotta. These masks could be carried in procession during the funerals of other members of the family, in a large commemoration of ancestors and family history. From the masks they moved on to marble and bronze busts, works created with an extraordinary realism. These images of the dead were central in the homes of the patricians. They were originally stored together with the Lares and Penates, protective deities of the family, and were a hallmark of the family’s nobility.

A famous example of a Roman family portrait is that of Severan Tondo, one of the few examples of panel painting of antiquity to have survived to this day. It represents the family of Emperor Septimius Severus and, as you will notice, the face of one of the sons, Geta, was deleted in an example of damnatio memoriae (“Condemns in the memory”) – a penalty in Roman law that erased the memory of the enemies of Rome and the Senate. In this case, it was desired by Geta’s brother, Caracalla, who was also the instigator of his murder. The ancient city of Pompeii provides further evidence: the wall paintings of the houses were often devoted to scenes of family, mythological, or everyday life.


The great mothers of prehistory

As stated earlier, it was difficult to find prehistoric family portraits, but it is certain that the family already answered the need for basic management of social order, above all for reproduction and management of offspring. An early form of portrait is, in a sense, a family portrait. It is represented by the so-called Venus figurines. This represents the first time a human subject is represented alone, probably as a form of fertility goddess.

The most famous is the Venus of Willendorf (Austria 22,000 BC). This interest in the female figure, especially pregnant, dates back to the Paleolithic: it is considered to be the cult of the Great Mother, the archetypal female who, over time is further developed, also at a figurative level. In the Neolithic, the attention to females increases, now often represented with her son, in a symbolic-religious leading role.

In Italy, archaeological sites in Valcamonica provide evidence of this: scenes on rocks in which we see very close male-female pairs, linked by symbolic elements. This vision of the family imposed on the female is also found in prehistoric Sardinia, with the evocative menhir statues erected in the third millennium BC: initially just large boulders erected in sequence according to precise patterns, these gradually become stick figures, mostly female, and increasingly anthropomorphic.

The male comes to the fore only later in history, in the Copper Age, when masculine gods appeared along with the patriarchal family model that would become consolidated and dominate later cultures.


A tasty Italian recipe to make couscous at home like a chef: Part 3

Spring couscous with griddled onions, goat cheese, pistachios and mint by Alice Delcourt

5 kg couscous
3/4 spring onions
1 bunch of radish
250 gr peas
1-handful peas sprout
2 courgettes
1/2 bunch of asparagus

4 carrots
2 peaches or apricots
1/2 slices fresh garlic
minced mint
minced parsley
2 onions
100 gr minced pistachios
2 lemons
200 gr cut goat cheese
60 gr molten butter
Extra virgin olive oil


Blend the couscous with melted butter and the salt in a bowl, cover with the hot broth and let it stand covered with a dish cloth for at least 15 minutes. Then blend it again. Clean the peas and let them boil for about 2 minutes with salt. Do the same with the carrots (2 mins) and the asparagus (3 mins). Cut the radishes in halves and grate the lemon zest and squeeze it. Cut the onions in halves and cook them on a gridle pan until they start to darken. Now season them with salt, lemon juice and oil. Cut the spring onions and let them fry in a pan with fresh garlic. Once golden, add the courgettes and the peas. Let the mixture cook just for a few seconds and then add salt and lemon juice. Toast the pistachios and cube the peaches, adding both lemon juice and zest, then let them cook in a pan with butter, water, carrots, radishes, asparagus, salt and some herbs. Mix the couscous with the vegetables, peaches, herbs, pistachios, and chopped goat’s cheese, and radish leaves. Presentation: serve couscous garnished with carrots, asparagus, radishes seasoned in butter, peas sprouts, burnt onion petals, zucchini blossoms, mint leafs and oil adding salt and pepper.



Source: Swide


Tracing the origins of Couscous

Originally the traditional food of the poorest, namely the nomadic Berbers,couscous is nowadays considered as the staple food of North Africa.

It derives its name from the Berber seksu or kesksu, which means well formedor rounded and its North African origins would be allegedly due to thearcheological recovery of kitchen utensil aimed to prepare couscous and datingback to the tenth century.

We have more than just a few documents that give proof of popularity that couscous already boasted in the past.

The traditional couscous alla trapanese, typical of the province of Trapani (Sicily) is fish based and includes sea bream, red mullet, shrimps, rockfish, snapper and other fish soup.


A tasty Italian recipe to make couscous at home like a chef: Part 2

“La mia Sicila”, couscous with saffron and raisins, swordfish, pistachio and candied lemon and almond milk by chef Andrea Provenzani

Ingredients for 120 mini-portions 
4.5 kg clean swordfish
2.5 kg couscous
500 g sultanas
1.5 kg peeled almonds
2 aubergines

For the wild fennel pesto 
6 bunches of wild fennel
3 bunches of basil
200 g de-salted capers
250 g anchovies preserved in oil
1 kg unsalted pistachios
150 g candied lemon
1 l di extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and chilli pepper

For the stock
4 golden onions
4 celery sticks
1 garlic head
Black peppercorns
8 l water
15/20 g saffron pistils
50 g dried tomatoes
1 l aromatic white wine (better if a dry moscato)
Wild fennel stalks

For the onions with Marsala

10 golden onions
3 l dry Marsala
300 g sugar
Spices (cinnamon, mace, black peppercorns)

For the oil for the swordfish
1 l extra virgin olive oil
5 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of wild fennel
50 g ginger

Prepare the stock for the couscous: cut the vegetables roughly, toast them with a drop of oil, add some white wine, let it evaporate then cover with water, add the aromatic herbs, the dried tomatoes and the seasonings, leave to boil for 40 minutes, turn off the flame and strain. Add the saffron. Spread the couscous, not higher than half a centimetre, in a large baking tin, add the sultanas and cover with the boiling stock. If the couscous semolina is raw, instead, it will be necessary to work it over a flame, mixing it continuously, adding the stock until it has reached the desired cooking level, counting a ratio of around one to ten for the stock.

Prepare the wild fennel pesto, removing the leaves from the stalk, adding the pistachio, the candied lemon, salt, pepper and a little oil, chop it in the cutter, season with some salt and add oil.  For the Marsala sauce, cut the onions into strips and cover them with Marsala, sugar and spices, cook them for an hour on a low flame and finally season with salt.

Dice the swordfish and brown the cubes on a high flame on all sides, finish the cooking with the previously aromatised oil for three minutes without reaching frying temperature.

For the almond milk, lightly toast the roughly chopped peeled almonds, cover them with twice the weight of boiling water and boil for a few minutes. Cover and leave to rest for 8 hours, put back on the stove and strain with a sieve and a cotton napkin, in order to better squeeze it, adding a little salt. Finally prepare the aubergine ash, cutting it into half a centimetre high slices, burn them in the oven for 2 hours at 160°C, blend them and sieve them so as to obtain a very thin and very aromatic ash. Presentation: Spread the couscous in the middle of a dish and press it into a ring, place the hot swordfish cut into halves on top, add the onions with Marsala and put a quenelle of pesto beside it. Finish at the table by pouring the almond milk almost to cover the couscous. For the final touch, add the ash right on top of the milk and then some salt flakes and extra virgin olive oil to finish.



Source: Swide


A tasty Italian recipe to make couscous at home like a chef: Part 1

Couscous with braised lamb, onions and honey, raisins, almonds and spices by chef Alice Delcourt

Ingredients for 6 people
For the stock
3 carrots
3 onions
2 celery sticks
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
50 g ginger
5 juniper berries
5 cloves
10 g saffron
10 g black pepper
3 star anise pods
For the lamb
1 lamb thigh (around 2.5 kg)
2 garlic clove
5 anchovy fillets
100g soft butter
Alice’s spices*
For the couscous
500g couscous
100g raisins soaked in fruit juice
3 Tropea onions
2 carrots
½ bunch of chopped coriander
½ bunch of chopped mint
½ bunch of chopped parsley
2 lemons preserved in salt (zest)
2 lemons (zest and juice)
2 tablespoons of honey
extra virgin olive oil
Alice’s spices*
salt and pepper
For the presentation
2 prickly pears
lemon juice
shaved toasted almonds
extra virgin olive oil

For the stock:
Fill a pot with water and add all the ingredients except for the saffron, ginger and cinnamon. Cook over a strong flame, once you have brought it to the boil, lower the flame and add the remaining ingredients. For the lamb:
Remove the exceeding fat from the thigh and carve it delicately. Pestle the garlic, anchovies and spices in a mortar, until you obtain a cream. Add the butter and mix. In a casserole tin with high borders, place the lamb and spread the cream. Cook in the oven at 160°C for 35 minutes. Add lots of stock (some 5 cm above the base). Continue to cook for around 3 hours always at 160°C, wetting the meat with the stock every hour. Once the cooking is completed, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 30 minutes. Reduce the meat to small pieces and put them back in the stock. For the couscous: Cook the couscous. Dice the onions, cook them until they are golden, then add the honey so they are caramelized. Dice the carrots, pan-fry them with the spices over a strong flame. Season the couscous with raisins, onions, carrots, the zest and the juice of the lemon and the herbs. Season with salt and pepper and, if necessary, add some stock so as to reach the desired humidity. For the presentation: 
Cut 4 prickly pears and blend them, strain them, add the lemon and whisk adding the oil and using a hand blender. Place the couscous and the lamb above this, pour the sauce, and sprinkle some Alice’s spices and the toasted almonds. Decorate the dish with the prickly pear sauce.



Source: Swide


One of the most beautiful beaches at Italy

San Vito lo Capo, Sicily

Quite simply, Sicily never gets old, and currently we have San Vito Lo Capo on our minds.

This charming seaside town hosts the annual Couscous Festival, taking place this year from 18 to 27 September.

Best seaside destinations in Italy to visit in September san vito lo capo ristorante Opt for a beachside locale like Hotel Capo San Vito, home to Jacarando restaurant, which is famous for its local specialties or Hotel Mira Spiaggia.

Also check out the Ghibli Hotel’s Profumi del Couscous restaurant, known for Mediterranean cuisine and distinct Moorish décor.